It is the geographic position of Denmark which has determined its stormy early relationship with Norway, Sweden and Germany, mainly for control of the passage to and from the Baltic Sea. This has led to Denmark ceding territory to these nations over the past several centuries.
In 1940 the Germans occupied Denmark and it was liberated from Nazi rule in May 1945. After the Second World War, Denmark became a charter member of the United Nations in 1945, a founder member of NATO in 1949 and a member of the European Economic Community (subsequently the European Union) on 1st January 1973.
Denmark had its first democratic constitution in 1849 which allowed for a bicameral parliament consisting of the Folketinget (the lower house) and the Landstinget (the upper chamber). In 1953 a new constitution was introduced which got rid of the upper chamber and created a unicameral Folketing.
Since the new constitution in 1953 there have been 21 general elections of which 13 have been won by the Social Democratic Party or Social Democrats (SD). They were in power from 1953 through to 1973, from 1975 to 1984 and then from 1994 to 2001.
Two other parties have a record of electoral success.
Venstre, Liberal Party of Denmark (VDLP) who governed briefly between 1973 and 1975 and more recently from 2001 to 2011. They have been the second largest party for most of the rest of the period from 1953.
The Conservative People’s Party (KF) had one extended rule between 1984 and 1994 but since then have declined somewhat.
Queen Margrethe II is Head of State.
The unicameral People’s Assembly or Folketing has 179 members including 2 from Greenland and 2 from the Faroe Islands. Members are elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms unless the Folketing is dissolved earlier.
The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 places Denmark in joint 1st place out of 176 countries with a CPI 2016 score of 90 (where 100 is least corrupt).