NEED TO KNOW
Capital City: Copenhagen
Population: 5.2 million
Area: 16,600 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 45
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Denmark Kroner = $0.18 US Calculate Other Amounts
Denmark, a member of the EU, does not require visas for citizens of the United States. A valid passport is sufficient for a three-month stay.
GOOD TO KNOW
Books and Movies
Start with local son Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairy tales are considered anything but cuddly bromides in his home country. Though the bittersweet, existential fables are autobiographical enough (Andersen was partly evoking his own sense of displacement when he invented heroines like the jilted Little Mermaid), Jackie Wullschlager's biography Hans Christian Andersen offers a joint portrait of 19th-century Copenhagen high society and the writer's stunted romantic life. Follow Andersen with Denmark's other essential modernist writer, Isak Dinesen, who finished her haunting Seven Gothic Tales back home in Denmark after she moved out of Africa for good. Among more recent Danish best-sellers, Smilla's Sense of Snow, by Peter Høeg, offers a vivid portrait of Copenhagen's contemporary outsiders.
The best-known current Danish filmmaker, Lars von Trier, echoes the country's literary taste for fables; his most popular films, such as Breaking the Waves, read like millennial, fractured fairy tales. Another must-rent film: Babette's Feast, which does justice to the Dinesen story it's based on, evoking the wild, stony beauty of Denmark's Jutland peninsula.
You've probably heard about this country and its pastries. The moist, delicious morning snacks we know as Danish are called wienerbrød by the locals. Smørrebrød, the dominant form of lunch food, are open-faced sandwiches, stacked high with choice meats and perhaps a touch of fruit. Order one for a starter, two for a whole meal.
Small tips of one or two kroner will be accepted, but are not expected for even exemplary service. Total cost can greatly exceed published price here, with a 25 percent value-added tax and 15 percent service charge automatically added to restaurant, hotel, and taxi bills. Note that non-European Union residents can receive tax refunds of VAT when exiting the country.
Although Denmark remains one of the safest countries for tourists, well-dressed thieves may sometimes lift unguarded bags and briefcases in hotel lobbies.
Did You Know?
Denmark's artistic Queen Margrethe II designs sets for ballet and opera productions, illustrates books, and paints.
January: 1, New Year's Day
May: 1, May Day
June: 5, Constitution Day; 24, Summer Solstice
November: 10, Feast of St. Martin
December: 24, Christmas Eve; 25, Christmas Day; 26, Boxing Day; 31, New Year's Eve
Spring: Thursday before Easter, Maundy Thursday; Friday before Easter, Good Friday; Easter; day after Easter, Easter Monday; fourth Friday after Easter, Common Prayer Day; sixth Friday after Easter, Ascension; eighth Monday after Easter, Pentecost Monday