Denmark

Fecha de publicación:
03/2012
Autor:
Kristian Jensen, Johanne Helboe Nielsen, Morten Brænder, Per Mouritsen and Tore Vincents Olsen
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Danes perceive Denmark as situated on the fringes of Europe, and not only geographically. At face value, this perception is a peculiarity, since Denmark has always been surrounded by and interacting with key players in the struggle for European dominion. Today, Denmark’s closest neighbors in cultural, political and economic terms, Sweden and Germany, also constitute its main trading partners (Danmarks Statistik, 2008). As Denmark’s role in the great European power struggles was gradually but inevitably reduced at the brink of the modern age, Danish national identity was more and more defined in accordance with its role as a minor European state. A national awakening in the 19th century fitted the political reality of the losses of Norway (in 1814, to Sweden) and Schleswig-Holstein (in 1864, to Germany) as well as the ideal of romanticism. The separation from its former lands created a Danish state without noticeable differences in nationality and language. The Danish nation and the Danish state eventually became so closely knit together that it to this day is difficult to think of the nation without the state. In the early 20th century Denmark gradually became a social democratic Scandinavian welfare state formed by the non-revolutionary Social Democratic Party. Their struggle to reform the state was linked to a perception of the political elite as out of touch with the backbone of the nation: the working class (Hansen, 2002: 60-61).