What is Denmark known for? Is there anything in particular that comes to your mind when you think of the country?
It could be the flag, Dannebrog, or it could be their currency, the Krone of Denmark (some of which have holes in the centre!), or it could be the Danish language.
Below are sixteen famous things associated with Denmark.
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#1 The Vikings
Exploring the Danish heritage of the Vikings is a great way to spend your holiday. Denmark is known for being the land that the Vikings came from, and while they were a bloodthirsty bunch, they left behind some fascinating sights and possessions, such as ancient Viking burial grounds.
There are so many opportunities for you to experience the Viking culture when travelling around Denmark, for example, you can visit any of the numerous museums or perhaps even sail on a real Viking ship in Roskilde.
#2 The Danish Royal Family
Denmark is known for having one the longest continuous royal families in the World; it has existed for over 1000 years! As such, the royal family are a large draw for tourists, who may not necessarily have a monarchy where they are visiting from.
Over the years, since 1746, various queens have added their jewellery to the Danish crown jewels, a tradition which began with Queen Sophie Magdalene.
The Danish Crown Jewels are items of jewellery that are to remain with the crown and can only be used by the queen within the Danish borders.
If you are hoping to learn more about the royal family, you can visit Amalienborg Palace, which is their residence but also a museum on their history.
#3 Google Maps
Google Maps wouldn’t exist the way we know it if it weren’t for two Danish brothers. In 2000, these two danish brothers, Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen, began the process of developing Google Maps.
Since ironing out some issues that occurred when the first version of the maps came out, the brother’s software has gone on to also map areas in space, such as the moon!
#4 Interior Design
Denmark is also famous for its interior design. This is because Danish furniture brands are known for being both minimalist and comfortable.
The Danish design also involves a lot of windows to let in natural light which is good for improving your mood.
Many of us enjoy lighting candles in our homes to bring in additional light, which is also true for Danish interior design.
However, did you know that theirs are strictly non-scented, unlike the ones that are commonly found in homes across the world.
#5 The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid was published in 1837 by Hans Christian Anderson (who is mentioned later in this article), since then it has become a story that is known for being Danish.
If you or your kids are big fans of the tale then you need to visit Copenhagen (Denmark’s capital city), where in 1913, they erected a statue in tribute of the mermaid princess. This statute is one of the most famous landmarks in Europe.
Did you know that bike is the most common way to travel around Denmark? It is even thought that there are more bikes than people in Copenhagen (the Danish Beauty)!
It might seem crazy when you are so used to driving everywhere, but there are many benefits to both yourself and the environment when you swap the car for a bike.
Danish bicycle culture means that people cycle everywhere in all kinds of weather, so you could potentially be seeing someone cycling to work in the snow, which you probably wouldn’t see anywhere else.
If you know a lot about Lego, then you will probably already know that it originated in a small town in Denmark.
So, if you are looking for a holiday where you can visit the original Legoland and learn everything you can about Lego then Billund is the place for you to visit.
Who knows how many Lego bricks or full sets you will return home with from your holiday to Denmark.
#8 Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is a major amusement park in Denmark. It has been around since 1843, so is the third oldest park in the world! Walt Disney even travelled here when he was thinking of opening Disney World.
You wouldn’t believe that Tivoli Gardens was built in the centre of a city with its lovely gardens and wooden roller coaster. The park is beautiful, and if you’re lucky enough to be around at night, the rides get illuminated.
#9 Danish Butter Cookies
You may have heard of butter cookies, but did you know that they are also known as Danish biscuits because they originated in Denmark?
They are similar to shortbread biscuits and consist of sugar, butter and flour, then are often flavoured otherwise, they have no specific flavour. When visiting Denmark with kids, they will love trying these world-famous butter cookies.
If you are hoping to enjoy this delicacy outside of the country itself, the most notable company to choose is Royal Dansk, who claims their product is created according to tradition and have been in business since 1966.
Pandora is now a household name, when you hear the word, your brain automatically thinks of the jewellery brand. But not many realise that the brand was created in Copenhagen, Denmark.
What we now know as Pandora was started in 1982 by a goldsmith and his wife but grew to be a designer jewellery company that is known worldwide.
#11 Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Anderson is possibly the most famous person to have come from Denmark. He is most known for his work in fairy tales such as, The Little Mermaid (which was mentioned earlier, and now has a statue in commemoration of it) and The Ugly Duckling.
Anderson was also known for creating a new way of writing, as his work incorporates idioms and a more casual way of speaking instead of being overly formal.
He wrote in a more similar vein to speech, so that his language mirrored the spoken language more than the written language.
#12 Quality of Life
Denmark has consistently been voted as one of the best countries to live in, not just within the European countries but in the world! This could be for any number of reasons, such as the great work-life balance or the beautiful surroundings.
One reason that it is thought the Danish have a better quality of life is their practice of hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”), which refers to a time of cosiness with either friends or family.
This means that they are happier with the ordinary and take enjoyment in the simple acts of spending time together.
There is a higher tax rate, however, this enables the Danish government to offer free education and healthcare, as well as maintain communal locations like parks and cycling/driving routes.
You can learn more about the different European countries and their lifestyles through the Europe quiz.
#13 Danish Pastry
A Danish Pastry (or simply a Danish to some) is a multi-layered sweet pastry that originated in Denmark. They are created using a variant of puff pastry and is a staple of Danish cuisine that has expanded through immigration.
Although did you know that it was actually Austrian bakers who bought the idea for Danish pastries across to Denmark? The recipe was altered to match the tastes of the people of Denmark to create the Danish pastry we know today.
#14 Hot Dogs
When visiting Denmark, you have to try their hot dogs, and will probably get plenty of opportunities to do so, because they are possibly one of the most popular fast foods in the country.
It is more than likely that wherever you are in the city, there will be a hot dog stand within walking distance.
You will probably have many different topping options that you wouldn’t necessarily try otherwise as well. For example, a common combination is to have chocolate milk with your hot dog, which stems from a collaboration with Cocio back in 1953.
#15 Raising Children
Denmark is thought of as one of the best places to raise children, possibly due to the general happiness of the population but also for a variety of different reasons.
In Denmark, there is an emphasis on well-being and independence when raising children. Parents allow their children to play as they want instead of leading activities that they want. Which allows the children to gain some independence and choose what they are interested in.
Also, in the younger years their school day finishes early so that they can spend the rest of the afternoon playing.
There is also a better work-life balance for parents.
Not only do they have the ability to leave early to pick their kids up from school and no overtime, but they also get offered 52 weeks of total paid leave each to take when their newborn arrives.
So, overall, parents are able to spend more time with their children without it affecting their work.
Lurpak is almost certainly a brand that you have seen on the shelves when shopping or possibly have bought in the past. It is a high-quality, slightly salty butter that originated in Denmark, which is commonly used in Danish cuisine.
This butter is also commonplace in Danish cafes, being used for Smørrebrød (open top sandwiches), which many claim aren’t complete without Lurpak.
FAQ’s: What is Denmark Known For?
Denmark is located in Northern Europe, its most famous exports are milk, pork, oil and natural gas. The country is actually the largest producer in the EU of oil and natural gas due to its large reserves, while milk and pork are responsible for a quarter of Denmark’s exports.
There are so many famous things in Denmark that it is hard to choose a single most Danish thing, there are the hot dogs with chocolate milk (Pølser og cocio), hygge, or The Little Mermaid. But the most Danish thing is probably the Danish bicycle culture and seeing people cycling regardless of the weather.
Danish is the official language of Denmark, a country located in Northern Europe. Historically rooted in the Kingdom of Denmark, the language reflects the nation’s cultural and historical evolution. Danish also has minority status in Northern Germany, specifically in Southern Schleswig.
f you’re from Denmark, you are called a “Dane” and the adjective form is “Danish.”
Denmark is renowned for a variety of culinary delights, including:
Smørrebrød: Open-faced sandwiches, typically made with rye bread and topped with various ingredients like pickled herring, cured meat, seafood, cheese, and fresh vegetables.
Frikadeller: Danish meatballs often made from pork.
Wienerbrød: Known internationally as “Danish pastries”, these are sweet pastries filled with creams or jams.
Pickled herring: Often served with rye bread or as part of a lunch buffet.
Grød: Porridge, typically oatmeal or rice pudding.
Akvavit: A spirit flavored with herbs and spices, often consumed during festive occasions.
Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is known for:
Tivoli Gardens: One of the world’s oldest amusement parks.
The Little Mermaid statue: Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale.
Nyhavn: A picturesque harbor with colorful buildings and historic ships.
Christiania: The famous “free town” with its unique and bohemian lifestyle.
Danish design: Showcased in various museums and stores around the city, emphasizing simplicity, functionality, and minimalism.
Bicycling culture: Copenhagen is often considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world.
“Dansk” is the Danish word for “Danish”, referring either to the Danish language or to something being of Danish origin or character.
Plan Your Trip to Denmark with Kids
Discover Denmark with Kids
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.