The Danes are an urban people. Almost a quarter of the 5.7 million residents live in the capital Copenhagen, while two-thirds live in other urban areas with at least 200 residents. Only eighth Danish was living in the countryside.
The population is relatively homogeneous. Every eighth resident (700,000) was immigrants or born in Denmark of foreign nationals in 2016. One third of this group comes from the Nordic countries and the EU, one third from Turkey, former Yugoslavia or Arab countries, while the rest come mainly from other non-Western countries.
- COUNTRYAAH.COM: Key populations estimated size and data of Denmark, including population density of how many people per square mile. Also included are facts for population and language.
The rules for immigration and asylum have been tightened step by step since the late 1990s. Net immigration dropped to about 8,000 people per year during the period 2001-2006, but increased again in 2007-2013 to 24,000 people per year and to 37,000 and 47,000 respectively in 2014 and 2015.
The number of asylum seekers reached a peak in 2001 of just over 12,000 people, then dropped to 2,000 per year but began to increase again in 2009 and was 2015 up to 21,000 people. More than half of the asylum seekers receive asylum. In 2017, 3,500 asylum seekers were registered in the country, which was the lowest figure since 2008.
There is an old German minority of about 15,000 people in southern Jutland, and a Danish minority of about 60,000 people in northern Germany. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Faroese and Greenlanders live in Denmark.
The country’s languages are Danish, which together with Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian and Swedish belong to the Nordic group within the Germanic language family. Faroese is the first language in the Faroe Islands and Greenlandic in Greenland, but also the Danish has the status of official language. The German minority has its own school system with German as the main language.
FACTS – POPULATION AND LANGUAGE
ethnic Danes 90%, Greenlanders and Faroese 0.3%, German speaking 0.3%, immigrants and their children about 8%
Number of residents
Number of residents per square kilometer
Percentage of residents in the cities
87.8 percent (2017)
Nativity / birth
10.8 per 1000 residents (2016)
Mortality / mortality
9.2 per 1000 residents (2016)
0.7 percent (2017)
1.7 number of births per woman (2016)
Percentage of women
50.3 percent (2017)
81 years (2016)
Life expectancy for women
83 years (2016)
Life expectancy for men
79 years (2016)
Danish is spoken throughout the country; in addition to Greenlandic, Faroese and German
No to closer EU cooperation in legal matters
In a referendum, the Danes say no to closer EU cooperation in legal matters. The victory for the No side, which was primarily made up of the Danish People’s Party, is a political setback for the government, which believes that increased cooperation with the EU in police and legal matters would have strengthened the fight against terrorism and human smuggling.
Increased terror preparedness
As a result of the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13 (see France, current policy), Denmark raises the risk of terrorist acts targeting the country from three to four on a five-degree scale, that is, from an increased risk of terrorist attacks to a high risk. Copenhagen Airport is temporarily evacuated after police heard two men talking about a bomb placed in one of their carrying bags.
More difficult to become a Danish citizen
The government makes it more difficult to become a Danish citizen through a number of measures, including stricter knowledge requirements regarding the Danish language and Danish contemporary orientation. The time that a person seeking citizenship should have been self-sufficient increases from 2.5 years to 4.5 years in the last 5 years. For those convicted of a crime, the requirement for the length of time that must have elapsed between the person serving his sentence increases to the time the person in question can become a citizen.
Protests against lower funding for higher education
The government announces that state grants for higher education will be reduced by two percent a year over the next four years. The Government believes that this can be done without jeopardizing the quality of education. Between 10,000 and 15,000 students in Copenhagen and around half as many in Aarhus protest against the cuts. Critics believe that up to every ten teaching jobs are threatened by the government decision. The government refers to OECD statistics which show that teacher salaries are high compared to the average in OECD countries and that Denmark is among the countries in the world that invest most resources in education.
Danish no to refugee quota will be no
Denmark first declines to take part in the EU’s plans to distribute 160,000 refugees among the member states. Minister for Integration Stojberg says that there is already an informal distribution of the refugee reception and that in relation to its population Denmark is the fifth largest refugee recipient in the EU. (Denmark received just over 15,000 asylum refugees in 2014.) Opinion surveys show that 78 percent of Danes want their country to participate in the EU’s distribution of refugees. The government later changes its decision and says that Denmark will receive 1,000 of the refugees in question. At the same time, Denmark announces that it will contribute an additional DKK 750 million to humanitarian aid over the next two years and to Frontex, the EU’s border control unit.
Denmark advertises in newspapers in Lebanon
In an attempt to reduce the flow of refugees to Denmark, Minister of Integration Inger Stojberg announces in several Lebanese newspapers to inform refugees there about the Danish government’s halving of support for refugees coming to Denmark.
Denmark rejects refugees to Germany
As a small part of the flow of refugees from war-torn countries, such as Syria and Iraq, to Europe, hundreds of refugees migrate from Germany via Denmark to Sweden, whose refugee policy is known as more generous than the Danish one. Danish police say that very few of the refugees are seeking asylum in Denmark, which has a more restrictive refugee policy. They would rather do it in Sweden. In the middle of the month, Denmark begins to reject refugees back to Germany, which is the first asylum country for this refugee group. The trains from Germany into Denmark are temporarily stopped. Individual Danish citizens try to take refugees past the police’s barricades and help them into Sweden.
Support for new arrivals is halved
With the support of the Danish People’s Party, the government decides to almost halve the support for newly arrived refugees. Families with children now receive 16 600 Danish kroner a month instead of 28 800. A special bonus of 1,500 kroner will be paid to those who learn Danish. The Government justifies the change in the need to gain control over the influx of asylum seekers.
Minority government under Løkke Rasmussen
Left leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen appointed new prime minister for a minority government, consisting solely of Venstre. Attempts to form a coalition with the Danish People’s Party fall among other things on disagreement on tax issues. The Left wants to lower taxes for high-income earners, which the Danish People’s Party does not accept. Helle Thorning-Schmidt resigns as leader of the Social Democracy.
Civil victory in the general election
In the general election, the bourgeois bloc wins a tight victory over the government parties. However, the Social Democracy will be the largest party with 47 seats, an increase of 3 seats compared to the 2011 election. Thus, the immigration-critical party comes second in the election. Venstre backs from 47 seats in 2011 to 34 seats and becomes the third largest party.
New election to the parliament in June
Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt announces new elections to the parliament on 18 June. The demands for her resignation have increased and through the elections the prime minister wants to try to strengthen her government’s mandate. In the opinion polls, the government parties are after the opposition.
The Security Police Chief resigns
PET’s chief Jens Madsen resigns after extensive criticism of how the police handled the terrorist act in Copenhagen in February 2015. An investigation into the police’s work shows that it took four hours from the film director murdered in the cultural center to the police being at the city’s synagogue, where a Jewish man was later murdered by the perpetrator.
The police and PET receive increased resources
The government has allocated the equivalent of EUR 130 million to strengthen the police and PET’s IT capabilities. Monitoring should be sharpened on, for example, social media, such as Facebook, and through surveillance cameras. The purpose is to be able to more easily monitor terrorism both in Denmark and abroad. PET should be able to monitor Danes who go abroad to fight for IS, as well as Danish prisoners who are at risk of being radicalized during prison time. At least 110 Danes have traveled to Syria to take part in the war there.
PET confirms the perpetrator’s identity
PET announces that technical evidence links Omar El-Hussein to the attacks, among other things the murder weapon has been found. PET also reports to the media that in September 2014, prison staff were warned that El-Hussein was approaching a violent Islamist ideology but that there were no signs that he had planned a terrorist act. PET says the first obituary is a 55-year-old Norwegian documentary filmmaker, the second a 37-year-old Jewish guard who guarded the Jewish Assembly home next to the synagogue, as a confirmation party was going on there and many guests were gathered.
Manifestation to honor the victims
In the evening, up to 40,000 people gather in central Copenhagen in a manifesto to honor the victims of the terrorist act. Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt speaks before the public sea. Manifestations are also held at several other places in Denmark.
The perpetrator is identified
On Sunday evening, more information about the perpetrator’s identity leaked out in the media. It concerns Omar El-Hussein, a 22-year-old Copenhagen resident with Palestinian outbursts. The man has a criminal past and has recently served a prison sentence for violent crime. PET says he has been “on the radar” but that he is not known in militant Islamist contexts. However, he was probably inspired by the January attacks against Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish grocery store. Two men are arrested, accused of helping the perpetrator with weapons and hiding from the police after the death.
Offender is shot to death by police
Early on Sunday morning, police shot a man in Norrebro who is believed to be the perpetrator behind both gunshots. Upon arrest, the perpetrator shoots at the police, who defend themselves. At a press conference on the same day, the Danish security police (PET) chief of media states that the perpetrator has been identified and known by PET since before. For investigative reasons, the media only knows that the man is from Copenhagen, that he may have been inspired by the terrorist act in Paris a few weeks earlier and that he was probably influenced by the violent propaganda propaganda that IS spread.
A death in attack on synagogue in Copenhagen
At one o’clock in the night until Sunday, a perpetrator shoots a guard outside a synagogue in the Norrebro district. The death victim is a member of the Jewish congregation. Two police officers are injured at the time.
A death in terrorist acts in Copenhagen
This weekend, February 14-15, two violent assaults will be carried out in central Copenhagen. Both are referred to by the police as terrorist acts and one of the largest police operations in modern times is initiated. On Saturday afternoon, a civilian is killed when a perpetrator shoots numerous shots at a debate meeting on freedom of speech in the district of Österbro. Attending the meeting is the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who escapes unharmed. Vilks lives with constant death threats and police protection since he portrayed Prophet Muhammad as a walking dog. Also present at the meeting is the ambassador of France, to talk about the act of terror against the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo (see France, current policy). Three police officers are injured in the attack in Österbro.