Portal:Denmark

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Location of Denmark within Europe

Denmark is the smallest and southernmost of the Nordic countries. Unified in the 10th century, it is also the oldest. Located north of its only land neighbour, Germany, south-west of Sweden, and south of Norway, it is located in northern Europe. From a cultural point of view, Denmark belongs to the family of Scandinavian countries although it is not located on the Scandinavian Peninsula. The national capital is Copenhagen.

Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland, which borders Schleswig-Holstein, and many 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 those waters are also known as the Danish straits.

Denmark has been a constitutional monarchy since 1849 and is a parliamentary democracy. It became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973. The Kingdom of Denmark also encompasses two off-shore territories, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, both of which enjoy wide-ranging home rule. The Danish monarchy is the oldest existing monarchy in Europe, and the national flag is the oldest state flag in continuous use.

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File:Niels stensen.jpg

Nicolas Steno (Danish: Niels Stensen) (10 January 1638 – 25 November 1686) was a pioneer both in anatomy and geology.

After having completed his university education in Copenhagen, the city of his birth, he set out travelling in Europe; in fact, he would be on the move for the rest of his life. In the Netherlands, France and Italy he came into contact with prominent physicians and scientists, and thanks to his eminent power of observation, he very soon made important discoveries. At a time when scientific studies consisted in the study of ancient authorities, Steno was bold enough to trust his own eyes, even when his observations differed from traditional doctrines.

Steno first studied anatomy, beginning with a focus on the muscular system and the nature of muscle contraction. He used geometry to show that a contracting muscle changes its shape but not its volume.

However, in October 1666, two fishermen caught a huge shark near the town of Livorno, and Duke Ferdinand ordered its head to be sent to Steno. Steno dissected it and published his findings in 1667. Examination of the teeth of the shark showed a striking resemblance to certain stony objects, called glossopetrae or "tongue stones," that were found in certain rocks. Ancient authorities, such as the Roman author Pliny the Elder, had suggested that these stones fell from the sky or from the moon. Others were of the opinion, also going back to ancient times, that fossils naturally grew in the rocks. Steno's contemporary Athanasius Kircher, for example, attributed fossils to a "lapidifying virtue diffused through the whole body of the geocosm."


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Rundetårn (lit. the round tower) is a 34,8 metre high tower in the central Copenhagen. It was build on order from king Christrian IV between 1637 and 1642.

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Skåneland, or Skånelandskapen, (Scanian Provinces in English) are Swedish denominations based on the Latin name Terra Scaniae ("Scania Land"), used for the historical Danish land in southern Scandinavia, which as the autonomous polity Scania joined Zealand and Jutland in the formation of a Danish state in the early 800s. As a cultural and historical region, it consists of the provinces Scania, Halland, Blekinge and Bornholm. It became a Danish province, sometimes referred to as the Eastern Province, after the 12th-century civil war called the Scanian Uprising. The region was part of the territory ceded to Sweden in 1658 under the Treaty of Roskilde, but after an uprising on Bornholm, this island was returned to Denmark in exchange for the ownership of 18 crown estates in Scania. Since Bornholm and the small island of Anholt (once forming part of the parish Morup in Halland) have remained Danish, the Danish part of the historical region is sometimes excluded in modern popular usage of the terms.

The name Skåneland is first recorded in print in the year 1719. Today the term is mostly used in historical contexts and not in daily speech. In Danish, Skånelandene is used more often. The terms have no political implications as the region is not a geopolitical entity but a cultural region, without officially established political borders. In some circumstances, the term Skåneland, as opposed to the terms Skånelandskapen and Skånelandene, can also be used as a figure of speech for the province Scania, which has the only administrative entities connected to the name, namely Region Skåne and Skåne County, both created in the late 1990s.

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Entrance to Christiania
Freetown Christiania, is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood and Anarchist community of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989 which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. The rules forbid stealing, violence, guns, knives, bulletproof vests, hard drugs and bikers' colors.

Famous for its main drag, known as Pusher Street, where hash and skunk weed were sold openly from permanent stands until 2004, it nevertheless does have rules forbidding 'hard drugs', such as cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy and heroin. The region negotiated an arrangement with the Danish defence ministry (which still owns the land) in 1995. Since 1994, residents have paid taxes and fees for water, electricity, trash disposal, etc. The future of the area remains in doubt, though, as Danish authorities push for its removal.

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