Some people are well traveled and have vast knowledge about the world around them. Others, like me, know there’s a world outside their front door, but maybe haven’t explored it as much. It’s for this second group that I present to you some facts about Denmark, the team that Canada should be taking care of later tonight at the World Juniors. If by chance we lose, I for one welcome our new Danish overlords!
- Denmark has a population of around 5.6 million people, and is bordered by Germany, Norway and Sweden. It consists of 443 islands plus the mainland. None of the islands is the home of Jurassic Park.
- Denmark’s head of state is a queen, Margrethe the Second, who took the throne in 1972 after the death of her father. She’s one of two queens currently on the throne. You can find the other on the back of our money.
- Denmark signed a 10 year peace treaty with Germany in 1939, only to be taken over in two hours after being invaded the next year. Several thousand Jewish people were smuggled into Sweden before they could be taken to concentration camps.
- The national language is Danish, which is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian. If you can speak any one of the three languages, you can get by in the other two! (That’s three Rosetta Stones for the price of one!)
- The traditional Danish pastry came about because of a bakery workers strike in the 1850. The strike caused the hiring of Austrian bakers, who brought the Plundergebäck recipe with them. When the strike ended, Danish bakers changed some of the ingredients, and created the will-smothering pastry of today.
- Greenland, with a population around 56,000, is still technically “ruled” by Denmark, even though it is physically a part of North America. Just wait until they find oil there…
- College and university education is free, with NO tuition fees to enroll in classes. Health care is also universal and free. That could be in part to the tax rate, as Denmark has the highest minimum individual tax rate IN THE WORLD, at 46.03%. So, you know, “FREE.”
- Without the knowledge of the Danes we wouldn’t have dry cell batteries, insulin or Lego bricks to destroy the bottoms of our feet!
- Famous people from Denmark include Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Mads Mikkelsen of Bond and Hannibal fame, and Nina Agdal, who I have not been Google Image searching for the last few minutes.
- The national sport of Denmark is football, having won the Euro tournament in 1992 and reaching the World Cup quarter finals in 1998. Handball is a close second, with the men’s and women’s teams doing well on the international stage. (Insert handball joke here.)
- The men’s hockey team is currently ranked 12th in the world, and has an 0-3-1 record against Canada. Which is better than the Oilers.
- Their shootout win against Switzerland was their first ever win at the IIHF Junior tournament, and regardless of today’s result will earn them their highest finish ever.
For more information on the wonderful world that is Denmark, the Internet is your friend! That’s where I found most of this stuff. You’ll find me in front of the television around 8pm tonight, either passively watching the inevitable, or with my head in my hands watching the greatest upset in junior hockey history. Let’s hope for that first scenario!