It establishes a constitutional monarchy—the current monarch is Queen Margrethe II—organised as a parliamentary democracy.
The government and national parliament are seated in Copenhagen, the nation's capital, largest city and main commercial centre.
Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving powers to handle internal affairs.
Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community (now the EU) in 1973, maintaining certain opt-outs; it retains its own currency, the krone.It is among the founding members of NATO, the Nordic Council, the OECD, OSCE, and the United Nations; it is also part of the Schengen Area.Danes enjoy a high standard of living and the country ranks highly in some metrics of national performance, including education, health care, protection of civil liberties, democratic governance, prosperity and human development. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate.The unified kingdom of Denmark emerged in the 10th century as a proficient seafaring nation in the struggle for control of the Baltic Sea.
Denmark, Sweden and Norway were ruled together under the Kalmar Union, established in 1397 and ending with Swedish secession in 1523.
Denmark and Norway remained under the same monarch until outside forces dissolved the union in 1814.
The deterioration of the Kingdom of Norway, caused by the Black Death, made it possible for Denmark to inherit an expansive colonial empire from this union—of which the Faroe Islands and Greenland are remnants.
Beginning in the 17th century, there were several cessions of territory; these culminated in the 1830s with a surge of nationalist movements, which were defeated in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. In April 1940, a German invasion saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945.
An industrialised exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early 20th century that created the basis for the present welfare state model with a highly developed mixed economy.
The Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, ending the absolute monarchy which had begun in 1660.