Cycling, smørrebrød and Sarah Lund sweaters
Butter, bacon, Carlsberg, some mean cheeses and the continent’s greatest range of pastries: little wonder Denmark is internationally recognized for churning out some phenomenal food and drink; with more Michelin-starred restaurants than the rest of Scandinavia combined, it is renowned for fine dining too. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking the Danes might be content to sit feasting in their trendy restaurants or traditional old bodegas but they’re a health-conscious people: a bunch will have jogged past your table before you can say smørrebrød and cycling is inherent – Denmark has one of the world’s most integrated cycle networks. With agriculture its primary industry, technological innovation is a big part of the economy and of daily life: fair enough from the country that invented Lego and leads the world’s alternative energy production. Expect impeccable design at every turn, and an ultra-efficient transport infrastructure – Denmark definitely is one of Europe’s most enjoyable countries to navigate.
Wedged between mainland Europe and the rest of Scandinavia, Denmark has preserved a distinct national identity, exemplified by the universally cherished royal family and the reluctance to fully integrate with the EU (the Danish rejection of the euro was more about sovereignty than economics). There’s also a sense of a small country that has long punched above its weight: it once controlled much of northern Europe and still maintains close ties with Greenland, its former colony.
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After Denmark, where next?
Check out Slovakia