To the World from Denmark

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark is the southernmost and geographically smallest of the five Nordic countries if its offshore territories are excluded, and the largest if they are included. Denmark is one of the Scandinavian countries. The mainland is located north of its only land neighbour, Germany, southwest of Sweden, and south of Norway. Denmark also encompasses two off-shore territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, granted home rule in 1979 and 1948 respectively. The national capital is Copenhagen.

Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland, which borders northern Germany, plus a large number of islands, most notably Zealand, Funen, Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland and Bornholm as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has historically controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, and these waters are also known as the Danish straits.

Denmark's northernmost point is Skagens point (the north beach of the Skaw) at 57° 45' 7" northern latitude, the southernmost is Gedser point (the southern tip of Falster) at 54° 33' 35" northern latitude, the westernmost point is Blåvandshuk at 8° 4' 22" eastern longitude, and the easternmost point is Østerskær at 15° 11' 55" eastern longitude. This is in the archipelago Ertholmene 18 kilometres northeast of Bornholm. The distance from east to west is 452 kilometres (281 mi), from north to south 368 kilometres (229 mi).

Denmark consists of the peninsula of Jutland (Jylland) and 443 named islands (1419 islands above 100 m² in total (2005)). Of these, 76 are inhabited, with the largest being Zealand (Sjælland) and Funen (Fyn). The island of Bornholm is located somewhat east of the rest of the country, in the Baltic Sea. Many of the larger islands are connected by bridges; the Øresund Bridge connects Zealand with Sweden, the Great Belt Bridge connects Funen with Zealand, and the Little Belt Bridge connects Jutland with Funen. Ferries or small aircraft connect to the smaller islands. Main cities are the capital Copenhagen (on Zealand), Århus, Aalborg and Esbjerg (on Jutland) and Odense (on Funen).

The country is flat with little elevation; having an average height above sea level of only 31 metres (102 ft) and the highest natural point is Møllehøj, at 170.86 metres (560.56 ft). Other hills in the same area southwest of Århus are Yding Skovhøj at 170.77 metres (560.27 ft) and Ejer Bavnehøj at 170.35 metres (558.89 ft). The area of inland water is: (eastern Denmark) 210 km² (81 sq mi); (western D.) 490 km² (189 sq mi).

Denmark is split into 443 named islands which results in a long coastline, 7,314 kilometres (4,544 mi). A perfect circle enclosing the same area as Denmark would have a circumference of only 742 kilometres (461 mi). Another feature that shows the close connection between the land and ocean is that no location in Denmark is farther from the coast than 52 kilometres (32.3 mi). The size of the land area of Denmark cannot be stated exactly since the ocean constantly erodes and adds material to the coastline, and because of human land reclamation projects (to counter erosion). On the southwest coast of Jutland, the tide is between 1 and 2 metres (3 to 6.5 feet), and the tideline moves outward and inward on a 10 kilometres (6 mi) stretch.

The climate is in the temperate zone. The winters are not particularly cold with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C and the summers are cool with mean temperature in August 15.7 °C. There is a lot of wind, which is stronger during the winter and weaker during the summer. Denmark has an average of 170 rainy days. The greatest rainfall comes in September, October and November.

Because of Denmark's northern location, the length of the day with sunlight varies greatly. There are short days during the winter with sunrise coming around 8 a.m. and sunset 3:30 p.m., as well as long summer days with sunrise at 3:30 a.m. and sunset at 10 p.m. The shortest and longest days of the year have traditionally been celebrated. The celebration for the shortest day corresponds roughly with Christmas (Danish: jul) and modern celebrations concentrate on Christmas Eve, 24 December. The Norse word jól is a plural, indicating that pre-Christian society celebrated a season with multiple feasts. Christianity introduced the celebration of Christmas, resulting in the use of the Norse name also for the Christian celebration. Efforts by the Catholic Church to replace this name with kristmesse were unsuccessful. The celebration for the longest day is Midsummer Day, which is known in Denmark as sankthansaften (St. John's evening). Celebrations of Midsummer have taken place since pre-Christian times.