Denmark (pronounced /ˈdɛnmɑrk/ ( listen); Danish: Danmark, pronounced [ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊], archaic: [ˈd̥anmɑːɡ̊]) is a Scandinavian country inNorthern Europe and the senior member of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Swedenand south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland (Jylland) and many islands, most notably Zealand (Sjælland), Funen (Fyn), Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, Falster andBornholm, as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has long controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, as over water this can only take place via one of the three channels, that are also known as the "Danish straits".
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Denmark has a state-level government and local governments in 98 municipalities. Denmark has been a member of the European Union since 1973, although it has not joined the Eurozone. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and the OECD.
Denmark, with a mixed market capitalist economy and a large welfare state, ranks according to one measure, as having the world's highest level of income equality. Denmark has the best business climate in the world, according to the US business magazine Forbes. From 2006 to 2008, surveys ranked Denmark as "the happiest place in the world," based on standards of health, welfare, and education. The 2009Global Peace Index survey ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country in the world, after New Zealand. Denmark was also ranked as the least corrupt country in the world in the 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index, sharing a top position with Sweden and New Zealand.
The national language, Danish, is close to Swedish and Norwegian, with which they share strong cultural and historical ties. 82.0% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of the ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church. About 9% of the population has foreign citizenship—a large portion of those are from other Scandinavian countries.