Denmark Economy

Denmark Economy


Immediately before the Second World War, Denmark made the transition from an agricultural to an industrial society and then, from around 1970, to a service society. With a gross national income (GNI) per resident of (2017) 55 220 US- $, Denmark is one of the countries with high material prosperity worldwide. However, despite considerable regional funding measures, there are still strong regional disparities in Denmark: North Jutland is one of the poorest regions in Denmark, while the fastest growing companies concentrate on Zealand, especially the capital region. At 5.8% (2017), the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the EU, but in 2008 it was only 3.3%. The inflation rate is low in Denmark and was 1.4% in 2018. According to Countryaah, Denmark is one of countries starting with letter D.

In the course of the international financial crisis, the gross domestic product developed negative in 2008 (-0.8%) and 2009 (-5.8%). In the period 2011-2013, however, a slight recovery was recorded (2013: + 0.4%), which was expanded in the following years (2017: + 2.2%). The economic system is characterized by a market economy and is subject to strong state intervention (e.g. wage increases). The most important economic policy problem areas are the regional balance and the containment of unemployment. With the modification of the welfare state policy practiced until 1992, the Danish economic policy pursues the goal of limiting the growth of public expenditure and reducing the budget deficit. The foreign debt, which in 2002 still corresponded to 18% of the gross domestic product (GDP), could be completely reduced by 2005.

Foreign trade: The Danish trade balance shows constant export surpluses since 1986. With an export value of (2016) US $ 94.4 billion and an import value of US $ 85.1 billion, the surplus is considerable. The most important commodities are chemical products, foodstuffs, machines and petroleum. The most important trading partners are the other EU countries (69.4% of the import and 63.5% of the export value). The most important individual country is Germany (20.8% of imports and 18.3% of exports), followed by Sweden and Norway.

Denmark Economy


The Danish industrial structure is characterized by medium-sized, highly specialized and export-oriented companies. Since Denmark is poor in raw materials, the industry concentrated from the beginning and still today on the refinement of agricultural raw materials (food and luxury food industry, especially canned food, sugar, margarine, chocolate, beer and other alcoholic beverages). The chemical, electronics and mechanical engineering sectors are also important branches of industry. The »genius industry«, which is widespread in Northern Europe and is based on the inventions of individual people, is carried out in Denmark by the Lego company (headquarters: Billund in Jutland, there also the tourist magnet Legoland ®) and Danfoss (headquarters on the island of Alsen, thermoregulators and controls). Despite intensive government efforts to diversify geographically, industry is still largely concentrated in the greater Copenhagen area. The share of the industrial sector in GDP (2016: 23.7%) and in employment (around 18%) is declining, while the share of industrial goods in exports has risen to around three quarters. The most important groups of goods are machines and chemical products (especially pharmaceuticals) as well as agricultural products.


In 1910 90% of total Danish exports consisted of specialized agricultural products. Today agricultural products only make up 17.2% of exports and only 3% of all employees work in the primary sector.

The agriculturally used area is 62.2% of the total national territory (excluding the Faroe Islands and Greenland). This is considerably more than in the other countries in Northern Europe. However, it has declined in recent years due to other uses; the number of companies (1990: 79,000) has halved to date, so that the proportion of highly mechanized large companies has risen to over 33%. Danish agriculture is highly effective, has high production growth and is characterized by purchasing and sales cooperatives. The focus of arable farming is in the east of the country and is based on grain (especially barley and wheat about half each) and sugar beet on the southern islands as well as horticultural products (flowers, ornamental plants) around the big cities. The field crops are used primarily as fodder (processing industry) for dairy cattle, pig and poultry farming. Animal products account for more than two thirds of the production value of agriculture. Denmark is one of the world’s largest pork exporters. Around 11% of the area under cultivation is organically farmed. In 1987, Denmark was the first country in the world to legislate for organic farming.

Forestry: Forests cover 14.4% of the land area. For industrial use, wood is mainly imported from neighboring countries in the north, from the states of Central and Eastern Europe and from tropical countries. The logging in the local forests is around 2.6 million m 3. Denmark is the world’s largest Christmas tree exporter.

Fisheries: Denmark is the second largest fishing nation in Europe (after Iceland). However, part of the total Danish catch (749,000 t) is so-called industrial fish, which is not used for human consumption, but for the production of fish meal and oil, which is used as a protein supplier in animal production.

Energy industry

At the beginning of the 1970s, almost all of Denmark’s energy needs had to be covered by imports. In 1971 the production of crude oil from our own deposits in the offshore area of ​​the North Sea began. Since 1991, Denmark has been producing more oil and gas than it consumes itself, namely 6.9 million tonnes of oil and 4.5 billion m 3 of gas (2016). Natural gas is supplied to southern Sweden via a pipeline system. The use of the energy sources sun, wind and biomass is increasingly being promoted (Denmark renounced nuclear energy in 1980). The Danish manufacturers are now leaders in the development of systems for the use of wind energy and the world’s largest exporters of these systems and related technologies. Denmark covers (2017) 43.6% of its electricity consumption from wind turbines and is therefore the world leader.

Service sector

78% of all employed persons are employed in the service sector (share of GDP 2016: 75.0%). This high proportion results among other things. from a broad public sector and the trade and transit function that Denmark assumes due to its geographical location between Scandinavia and Central Europe.

Tourism: Denmark’s role as a travel destination is explained by Denmark’s bridge location, but also by its tourist potential (long sandy beaches, many cultural and historical monuments, good transport links). Over 47 million overnight stays are registered annually, roughly evenly distributed among hotels, campsites and holiday homes. More than a quarter of the more than 9 million foreign guests come from Germany, while other important countries of origin are Sweden and Norway.