Denmark occupies the peninsula of Jutland, which extends northward from the centre of continental western Europe, and an archipelago of more than 400 islands to the east. Jutland makes up more than two-thirds of the country’s total land area; .
The largest of the country’s islands is Zealand at 2,715 square miles (7,031 square km). Along with Norway and Sweden, it is a part of the northern European region known as Scandinavia. The country’s capital, Copenhagen is located primarily on Zealand; the second largest city, Århus, is the major urban centre of Jutland.
Boats docked in Copenhagen harbour.
Though small in territory and population, the country has nonetheless played a notable role in European history. In prehistoric times, Danes and other Scandinavians reconfigured European society when the Vikings undertook marauding, trading, and colonising expeditions. During the Middle Ages, the Danish crown dominated north western Europe through the power of the Kalmar Union.
In later centuries, shaped by geographic conditions favouring maritime industries, Denmark established trading alliances throughout northern and western Europe and beyond, particularly with Great Britain and the United States. Making an important contribution to world culture, it also developed humane governmental institutions and cooperative, nonviolent approaches to problem solving.
The Kingdom of Denmark also encompasses the Faroe Islands and the island of Greenland, both located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Home rule was granted to the Faroes in 1948 and to Greenland in 1979, though foreign policy and defence remain under Danish control.
Unusually for a European country it only has one direct land border – it is attached directly to continental Europe at Jutland’s 42-mile (68-km) boundary with Germany.