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DENMARK

Denmark sits like a star atop the European continent, the geographic and cultural link to Scandinavia and the gateway to the Baltic. It's thoroughly European, yet distinctively Danish. One of the smallest countries in Europe, it has the oldest capital city and the oldest flag. The queen, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe, is the youngest queen in Europe, yet hers is the oldest lineage, dating from early 900 and Viking king Gorm. Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the political and economic integration of Europe. So far, however, the country has opted out of some aspects of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, including the economic and monetary system (EMU) and issues concerning certain internal affairs 

Vestiges of its royal past are readily apparent in Denmark's stately castles, gardens, and manor houses. When it was built in 1585, Kronborg Castle, the backdrop for Shakespeare's Hamlet, was the finest castle in northern Europe. Spottrup Castle (1450-1500), with its unique double moat, is one of the most impressive medieval fortresses in Scandinavia. Ledreborg Castle (I 743), set in a 2 00-acre river valley, is known for its magnificent terraced gardens, no mean feat in a country where the land never rises more than 500 feet above sea level.

Danish cities are filled with gracious plazas, statues, fountains, gardens crisscrossed with wide, tree-lined walkways, open-air markets, flower vendors on street corners, museums, galleries, and little cafes offering strong coffee and delectable pastries. In Copenhagen, the traditional changing of the guard ceremony takes place in front of the queen's palace.

Danes are friendly ("If you have to throw yourself on the mercy of anyone," it has been said, "let it be a Dane"), English-speaking, and fun-loving. And we come from a great literary and artistic heritage that includes the writers Hans Christian Andersen and Isak Dinesen, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, the choreographer August Bournonville, and the designer Georg Jensen.

In Copenhagen and its surroundings, you can enjoy more than 60 museums and sights,  and the private art gallery Louisiana in Humlebæk, north of Copenhagen, one of Europe's leading galleries for modern art. Copenhagen is one of Europe's greenest capital cities. 15% of the city is park land and due to its comprehensive public transport system, cleanliness, and strict anti-pollution laws, the typical drawbacks of other metropolises such as heavy traffic jams and pollu   tion, are very limited in Copenhagen. It is very common that many people go on their bicycle to work in the city. Copenhagen has a very international atmosphere. The cultural life of the city, theatres, museums, evening classes, sports clubs, etc. is - per head of the population - the most extensive of any capital city in Europe. The Danish National Ballet is one of the oldest and most renowned in the world. The city has numerous movie theaters, many of them show art movies and special movies. In cinemas as well as on television, all films are in original language with Danish subtitles.


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