The Danish people are closely related to those of Norway and Sweden.
Some 85 percent of the Danish population lives in urban areas. The
population (1997 estimate) of Denmark proper is 5,305,048, giving
the country an overall population density of 123 persons per sq
km (319 per sq mi).
Danish is the official language, and many Danes also speak a second
language, usually English. By about 1500, the chief characteristics
of Danish had evolved, and it began to be used as a national language.
The printing and publishing activities that occurred during the
Reformation led to a considerable transformation of the medieval
orthography and contributed markedly to the development of a literary
A geographical expansion of Danish took place when it became the
official written language of Norway, which was then united with
Denmark. Under the influence of humanism, Latin was used extensively
in literary writing from about 1550 to about 1700.
Lutheranism, the established religion of Denmark, is adhered to
by almost all Danes; however, complete toleration is extended to