What makes Denmark a unique country to travel to?
The Kingdom of Denmark is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy. Greenland is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Faroe Islands have home rule within the Kingdom of Denmark.
Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroes all have relatively low violent-crime rates. Muggings, sexual assault, and racially motivated violence are rare. Violent confrontations occasionally take place between various immigrant gangs and outlaw motorcycle gangs operating in Denmark, but do not typically affect tourists and law-abiding Danish citizens. However, there is always a possibility that travelers could be caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings and immediately leave the area if they feel threatened. Be particularly vigilant in the Nørrebro and Vesterbro areas of Copenhagen.
Freetown Christiania, located in the Christianshavn area of Copenhagen, has been known to be a hostile environment for tourists. Historically, Christiania has been the site of illicit drug activity and recent drug enforcement efforts have resulted in violent clashes between the police and Christiania residents. Because of the illicit activity, Christiania residents have imposed a strict no-photography policy. Tourists have been assaulted and robbed for taking pictures in Christiania. Police and emergency services are limited in Christiania.
Pickpockets and purse-snatchers operate mainly at train stations -- the Copenhagen Central Station in particular -- and on crowded trains or buses, as well as in areas frequented by tourists. Sophisticated thieves target the Copenhagen Airport and cruise ship quays. The best precaution is to keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Do not put any bags containing valuables, such as your passport or credit cards, down on the ground or on the back of a chair. Watch your computer bag, which is particularly desirable. Popular tourist attractions, like shopping streets and restaurants, also attract pickpockets and thieves. Hotel lobbies and breakfast rooms attract professional, well-dressed criminals who blend in with guests and target purses and briefcases left unguarded by unsuspecting tourists and business travelers. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers often work in pairs or groups with one person distracting the victim while another grabs the valuables. Since car and home break-ins have become more prevalent in recent years, we strongly recommend that you not leave any valuables in parked vehicles.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, if you purchase them, you may also be breaking local law.
While you are traveling in Denmark, you are subject to Danish laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In Denmark, the police may take you in for questioning if you violate the law and don’t have proper identification with you. However, most forms of identification, such as student ID or a driver’s license, are acceptable, and there is no legal requirement for foreigners to carry their passports. Under Danish law, the police are permitted to detain someone for up to eight hours without charge. In addition, possessing knives with a locking blade longer than seven centimeters in a public place carries an immediate jail sentence. Some activities may be legal in Denmark, but are illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with minors and using or disseminating child pornography are crimes prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Denmark, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what activities are legally permissible at your travel destination.
Greenland has very strict laws on the removal of natural resources, including precious and semi-precious metals, stones, and gemstones found there. Before attempting to extract or export any of these materials, make certain that doing so is not against the law.
Persons violating Denmark’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Denmark are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, depending on the drug type. The possession of heroin, speed, ecstasy, cocaine, etc., will, in most cases, result in a jail sentence. A tourist’s possession of smaller amounts of marijuana or hashish for personal use will in most cases result in a warning or deportation. For larger quantities and trafficking, jail sentences are likely.
Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Denmark, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the U.S. Embassy of your arrest. You also have the right to have your communications forwarded to the Embassy.
The Danish alphabet has a total of 29 letters: 9 vowels (a,e,i,o,u,y,æ,ø,å) and
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Excellent medical facilities are widely available in Denmark. In Greenland and the Faroe Islands, medical facilities are limited, and evacuation is required for serious illness or injury. Although emergency medical treatment is free of charge, the patient is charged for follow-up care. There are modern, fully equipped hospitals throughout Denmark; the largest – also called University Hospitals – are located in Copenhagen, Odense, and Aarhus.
Safety and Security
Denmark remains largely free of terrorist incidents; however, like other Western European nations, Denmark faces an increased threat of terrorism. In 2011 and 2012, police arrested individuals accused of planning terrorist attacks in Denmark. In particular, the 2005 and 2010 publication in Denmark of cartoons depicting the Islamic Prophet Muhammad continues to impact Danish relations with the Muslim world and draw the attention of extremists. The Department of State recently re-issued the Worldwide Caution, which includes information about the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe.
As with other countries in the Schengen area, Denmark’s open borders allow for the possibility of terrorist groups entering and exiting the country with anonymity. You are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to your personal security and to exercise caution. In general, Copenhagen is a safe city. However, certain areas pose more of a threat than others; for instance, you should avoid downtown Vesterbro and Nørrebro late at night.
Public demonstrations occasionally occur in Copenhagen and other cities, and are generally peaceful events. Prior police approval is required for public demonstrations, and police oversight is routinely provided to ensure adequate security for participants and passers-by. Nonetheless, as with any large crowd composed of diverse groups, situations may develop which could pose a threat to public safety. You should avoid areas where public demonstrations are taking place. Be aware that participation in illegal demonstrations or street riots may result in immediate imprisonment and long-term bans on re-entering Denmark.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Denmark, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. You must be 18 years of age to drive a car in Denmark. U.S. tourists may use their state driver’s license in Denmark for up to 90 days. Long-term residents must obtain a valid Danish driver’s license. Driving in Denmark is on the right side of the road. Road signs use standard international symbols. Many urban streets have traffic lanes reserved for public transport only, and bicycle lanes are common. Unless otherwise noted on traffic signs, the speed limit is 50 km/h in urban areas, 80 km/h on open roads, and 130km/h on expressways.
Use of seat belts is mandatory for drivers and all passengers. Children under three years of age or under 135 cm in height must be secured with approved safety equipment appropriate to the child’s age, size, and weight.
Driving any vehicle, including bicycles, under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a very serious offense. The rules are stringently enforced and violations can result in stiff fines and jail sentences. It is against to law to drive while using a hand-held cell phone.
Denmark has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. Trains, buses, and ferries connect Copenhagen with other major cities in Denmark and with Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Germany. Bicycles are also widely used in Denmark. Passengers exiting public or tourist buses, as well as tourists driving rental cars, should watch for bicycles in designated lanes and paths, which are usually located between the pedestrian sidewalk and the motor-vehicle lane.
Danish expressways, highways, and secondary roads are of high quality and connect all areas of the country. It is possible to drive from the northern tip of Denmark to the German border in the south in just four hours. Greenland has no established road system, and domestic travel is by foot, boat, or air. The majority of the Faroe Islands are interconnected by roads and tunnels as well as by boat, and on the large islands even small hamlets are accessible by road. On the smaller islands, travel is mostly done on foot. There is excellent mobile telephone coverage throughout the islands.