Denmark is a nation in Northern Europe that is part of the Nordic region. It is the most populated and politically important element of the Kingdom of Denmark, a constitutionally unitary state in the North Atlantic Ocean that includes the autonomous regions of the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Danish Europe is the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations, located southwest of Sweden, south of Norway, and north of Germany.
The peninsula of Jutland and an archipelago of 443 designated islands, the biggest of which are Zealand, Funen, and the North Jutlandic Island, have a total area of 42,943 km2 (16,580 sq mi). The geography of Denmark is defined by flat, agricultural terrain, sandy beaches, low height, and a moderate climate. It had a population of 5.88 million as of 1 March 2022, with 800,000 living in the capital and biggest city, Copenhagen. Denmark has hegemonic control in the Danish Realm, delegating authority to manage domestic matters. Home rule was established in the Faroe Islands in 1948 and in Greenland in 1979, with the latter gaining more autonomy in 2009.
During the battle for dominance of the Baltic Sea in the ninth century, the united kingdom of Denmark developed as a skilled naval force. It formed the Kalmar Union with Norway and Sweden in 1397, which lasted until the latter's independence in 1523. In the 17th century, the remnant Kingdom of Denmark–Norway was subjected to a series of battles that culminated in more territory cessions to the Swedish Empire. Norway was taken by Sweden during the Napoleonic Wars, leaving Denmark with the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. The First Schleswig War of 1848 suppressed a wave of nationalist movements in the nineteenth century, however, the Second Schleswig War of 1864 resulted in more territory losses to Prussia. The era witnessed the passage of the Danish Constitution on 5 June 1849, which ended the absolute monarchy founded in 1660 and introduced the modern parliamentary government.
Denmark, an industrialised exporter of agricultural goods in the second part of the nineteenth century, launched social and labor-market reforms in the early twentieth century, laying the groundwork for the current welfare state model and sophisticated mixed economy. During World War I, Denmark stayed neutral but reclaimed the northern part of Schleswig in 1920. Following a rapid German invasion in April 1940, Denmark's neutrality was compromised. During the occupation, a resistance organization arose in 1943, Iceland proclaimed independence in 1944, and Denmark was freed in May 1945. Denmark, along with Greenland but not the Faroes, joined what is now the European Union in 1973, but with some concessions, such as the right to keep its own currency, the krone.
Denmark is a developed nation with a good level of living: it ranks near the top in education, health care, civil freedoms, democratic government, and LGBT equality. Denmark is a founding member of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, the OSCE, and the United Nations, as well as a member of the Schengen Zone. Denmark has tight political, cultural, and linguistic links with its Scandinavian neighbors, with Danish being somewhat mutually intelligible with both Norwegian and Swedish.