Country profile - Distinguishing factors (Denmark)
Climate, geography and population density
Denmark is a typical low-lying country, with several hundred islands and the highest altitude being 173 m above sea level. The country is characterised by a long coastline of approximately 7 300 km. Except for the southern border to Germany, Denmark is surrounded by sea, i.e. the North Sea, Skagerak, Kattegat and the Baltic Sea. The total area is 43 094 km2 and the population is 5 511 million (2009). Most of the country is cultivated, i.e. approximately 60 % is agricultural farmland, 16 % is forest or heath, 7 % is lakes, rivers and wetland areas, and 11 % is covered by roads and built-up areas.
The Danish climate is temperate with an average yearly temperature of 8.5 °C as measured since 1990. Climate change has already occurred in Denmark and since 1873 the temperature has increased by approximately 1.5 °C. In the same period, the average yearly precipitation has increased by approximately 100 mm, from 650 mm per year before 1950 to approximately 750 mm per year during recent years. The sea-water level is increasing and the Danish littoral region will be affected due to many lowland areas, e.g. 4000 km2 of areas being below three meters above sea level. It is difficult, however, to quantify the impact of climate change, due to other geological factors influencing the changes.