Geography Now! Denmark

Remember in the Angola episode I mentioned how
I went to Denmark one time about a sandwich that was twenty-one dollars? Well, this was that sandwich and my reaction was like, “TWENTY ONE DOLLARS?!” Well, this better be the best sandwich
I’ve ever had in my life. …you got lucky. It’s time to learn Geography, NOW! Hey everybody I’m
your host Barby. Legos, vikings and Rødgrød Med Fløde. We have a lot to cover, so let’s jump in! Ahh, Denmark. The link between the rest of Europe and Scandinavia so much to
discuss. Denmark is classified as a Nordic country, hence located in the
northern european region, even though it’s kind of like the southernmost state
in the Nordics. Full disclaimer : Ignore Wikipedia, I’m going to pronounce the
location names in their proper Danish context, so here we go. Denmark is made of the Jylland (yule-land), not ‘jut-land’ peninsula that connects to germany in the south, as well as 1419
islands of those only 443 are named, and 74 are inhabited. With the largest
island being Sjælland, not ‘Zea-land’, which is not to be confused with Dutch Zeeland, which is not to be confused with New Zealand, although they did get their name- “I CAN’T TAKE IT, THAT’S TOO MUCH INFORMATION” It is connected to Fyn (f-yoon) island, not
‘Fin’ Island by the great belt bridge, completed in 1998. The country is divided
into five regions, the capital being Copenhagen, located on Sjælland. Copenhagen is home to a myriad of historical sites, palaces, statues,
residential units; that are all the same height and style, with pockets of
colorful quaint cozy shops and cafes and dangerous bicycle lanes -that you are not
supposed to walk on. Now, this is where things are gonna’
get a little spiced up, and by spiced up I mean freezing cold and covered in
whale blubber. Denmark, for those of you who didn’t know, is a kingdom, one of the
last surviving ones in Europe, and is currently under the headship of chain-smoking Queen Margrethe the second. They still fall under danish sovereignty and
make up the massive Greenland island and the little Faroe islands. Both of these
places are radically different from mainland Denmark. For one, Greenland is primarily inhabited by
Native Inuit tribal peoples that live on the island, and is eighty percent covered
in ice year-round. The Faroe islands are conglomeration of twenty-ish mystical, cloudy,
windy islands that have this crazy looking like that looks like it’s about
to spill over the cliffs into the ocean. These two areas have their own self
governing ‘home rule’ , otherwise only depending on Denmark for military,
justice, currency and foreign affairs. Otherwise, I mean that’s pretty much it, I
mean historically they did ‘try’ to kind of create an empire by colonizing parts
of the Caribbean, Ghana, India and then in the Nicobar Islands in the Indian
ocean, but they kinda’ ran out of money and ended up selling everything to other
countries. Too bad, it would be awesome to see people in the Indian Ocean speaking
Danish. Nonetheless, mainland Denmark is kinda’ like a fast-moving economic
machine. Let’s talk about how. Now, when it comes
to land make-up, Denmark is pretty flat. I mean the highest point – Møllehøj (muh-lei-hoy) is only
about a hundred and seventy meters tall, and it looks like this. Otherwise, only
about 13% in the country is forested, including the tree plantations, and the
rest is pretty much used for agriculture that can produce enough food to feed
about 15 million people. That’s about three times the size of their entire
population. Good for you, Denmark! But one thing
Denmark is actually famous for growing is non-produce plants like grass, fodder
and Christmas trees. The highly sought-after danish Nordmann Fir has
been classified as the ‘rolls-royce of Christmas trees’ , and every year investors
from Germany, the Netherlands and even the UK jump in at the end of November
and grab whatever they can before it’s gone. Now, one thing you need to know is
that, like many other areas in the Nordic region, Denmark’s weather can be quite dreary. First of all, Denmark is the only Nordic
country that doesn’t really get a lot of snow. Denmark is kinda’ like the mud pit
located below the jet stream, blocked by Norway and the UK. This means that even though it gets
really cold, pressure systems rarely cause snow. That’s also pretty much why
everybody dresses like a J. Crew fall-fashion line model on the streets.
If you’re gonna’ get wet and freezing, you may as well look good while doing it. Otherwise, yeah. I mean pretty much the rest of Denmark is just rolling-green
plains with sandy beaches and quirky little islands that people like to hop
over for camping trips in the summer. If we were going to talk about Greenland
and the Faroe Islands, we would get a radically different story of
mind-boggling captivating cliffs, blocks, sea stacks, glaciers, fishers, icebergs
and mountains. If you don’t know what a Moulin is, it’s not this, but this. “This Moulin is large enough to swallow a school bus.” But we’ll have to save that for
another video, that’ll come out in 9374 years. In the meantime, let’s talk about
the people. Now, this is gonna’ get really fun. Denmark’s people are really unique in their cultural, historical and postmodern
upbringing. First of all, the country has about 5.7 million people and is one of
the highest taxed countries in the world. About 89% of the country
identifies as ethnically Danish, about 11% are others. Some of the
largest groups in the ‘Other’ category being the Polish, Germans, Turkish,
Romanians, Iraqis and Afghans. Now, when it comes to Danish culture there’s a lot
behind it, but in a nutshell, Vikings. Vikings pretty much had their start in
what is now present-day Denmark and, pretty much, dominated all of the Nordic regions as far as Newfoundland in Canada to Estonia. Which is why most of the
Nordic states and regions can pretty much understand each other when they
talk. Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders can generally understand each
other as they have the same basic linguistic structure. Sure, there are several discrepancies, but
overall, they can kind of get by conversationally. Granted, there’s a saying : The norwegian and swedish languages
sound like dancing fairies whereas the danish language sounds like
a dude with a potato in his mouth. By the way, anybody who wants to learn
Danish, full disclosure : it’s gonna suck. The J makes the Y sound, the
Y makes the “oo” sound, the V makes the W sound, the R makes the R (Gutteral) sound, the H is
silent half the time. A ton of the letters are never even used
and don’t even get started on Æ, Ø and Å. I kind of discover a little trick that
when i went to Denmark. When speaking Danish, all you really have to do is kind
of like pronounce the first part of the word that you think makes a sound, and
then just kind of like give up on the rest of the word. For example, I’m literally just
listing names of places in Copenhagen that I’ve been to. Honestly though, you really won’t have
much of a problem getting around if you speak English. Over 80% of the
entire country, mostly the younger generation, speaks proficient English
to the point where they don’t even need subtitles when watching american TV
shows and movies. Also, keep in mind Greenland has its own
language that is completely unintelligible as it’s an Inuit language
closer to the indigenous in the languages found in Canada
and Alaska, and Faroese is pretty hard for most Danish people to grasp as it
actually has more words rooted in the ancient Norse language and it’s actually
more intelligible to Icelandic. Back to culture though, Denmark has definitely
left its mark whether it’s notable figures like author Hans Christian
Andersen, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard whether- “That’s actually how you pronounce his
name.” “Wow” “it’s not So-ren Kirke-gaard, it’s-” Or
whether it be the invention of the loudspeaker, or Legos, or their love of
handball, their impeccable architecture, love of cuisine Noma, in Copenhagen by the way, being
voted the best restaurant in the world with plates that feature live ants and
moss, if you’re really going to get a ‘feel’ for
Danish culture though, you kind of have to know about Janteloven and Hygge. The funny
thing is, Danes are kind of brought up in a social mindset that is kind of
integrated into their subconscious known as Jantaloven which kind of translates
to something like “You are not better than the crowd” which, I know, sounds kind
of depressing, but it’s really trying to instill a sense of equality and communal
cooperation. Hygge translates to something like “Spend good times with
friends and family and it’s like a cozy thing.” Of course, Denmark is known for being
ranked one of the happiest overall countries, even though they are also kind
of one of the highest ranked consumers of antidepressants as well, but hey. They
still pull off everyday life looking Oh-so-good. Even if it’s during one of those
really loud annual emergency drills. Man : “Ok, Christina explain what’s happening
right now. ” Christina : “Denmark is testing the sirens, or uhh, warfare. and we’re being attacked
by the Germans again.” Seth: “I’m scared, I’m really, really scared right now.” Christina: “Just run to the security basement ! *giggles* ” Barby: “THE GERMANS ARE COMING !” Speaking of Germans, Now, we all know that one person we’re
all kind of jealous of because they’re kind of rich well-adjusted and have a
ton of friends and they’re like kind of good-looking, well that’s Norway. Denmark is a little
bit rockier. No, but seriously. For such a small nation, Denmark has a huge
entourage of friends and it’s almost kind of hard for anyone in the world to
dismiss them at a party. As a founding member of the EU and NATO, Denmark has
had roots planted in diplomacy for decades. First off, Denmark generally gets along
with Germany. Business between the Germans is a hugely integral part of
their economy and Denmark acts like the gateway to Scandinavia for them and the
rest of Europe. The US and the UK are incredibly close as both tangible and
cultural imports have been established for centuries. For a while, the Danes even
took over parts of the UK, which is why to this day the English language still
retains hundreds of Old Norse derived words like leg, dog, and window. the closest friends though would have to
be the Nordic countries. Finland, Sweden Norway, and Iceland. These four are, without a doubt, Denmark’s closest friends, even though Sweden and them have kind of had more
wars and battles historically than any other two states in the world, they’ve moved on and grown up. Out of the
Nordic countries though, Norway would probably be considered their ‘best friends’. Danes are obsessed with Norwegians and
often considered Norway ‘the girlfriend they took away from Sweden’. In conclusion, Denmark is the rich, rainy rascal that
always seems to show up on time for every party, but somehow gets all his
work done in an organized efficient manner. Stay tuned; Djibouti, is coming up next.


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