1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Denmark
DENMARK (see 8.23). Since the incorporation of North Slesvig (1,496 sq. m.), returned to Denmark in 1920 according to the Treaty of Versailles, the area of Denmark proper is 16,958 sq. miles. About 75% of the area is occupied by cultivated land, about 10% by woods and plantations, while the rest, 15%, is either uncultivated or is used as gardens, building lots, roads, etc. Besides, the Faeroes (540 sq. m.) and Greenland (a little more than 770,000 sq. m.) belong to Denmark.
Population.—Since the incorporation of North Slesvig Denmark proper has something over 3,200,000 inhabitants, of whom about 150,000 live in North Slesvig. The Faeroes have 20,000 and Greenland about 13,000 inhabitants. In Denmark proper, apart from Slesvig, the density of pop. is 195 per sq. m. (325 per sq. m. on the islands, 127 in Jutland). One-fifth of the pop. lives in the capital, about another fifth in the provincial towns and about three-fifths in the country. The average death-rate in the years 1910-9 was about 13 per thousand, the average birth-rate 25 per thousand. Before the World War the overseas emigration was some 7,000 persons a year. In war-time it fell off, in 1918 to 800, rising again to 3,300 in 1919. The yearly increase of pop. is a little more than 1%, the average percentage of the years 1910-9 being 1.11. On the basis of the statistics of the years 1911-5, the average duration of life has been calculated at 56.2 years for men and 59.3 years for women, while 75 years earlier the figures were 40.9 and 43.5.
Communications.—The total length of roads in 1919 was about 28,000 m., some 4,300 m. being main roads. There were in 1921 about 2,700 m. of railways (Slesvig excepted), of which one-half was under State administration. Motor-cars numbered about 18,000, including about 2,300 taxis and omnibuses, 3,800 commercial vehicles and 12,000 motor-cycles.
Occupations.—In 1911 36% of the population were engaged in agriculture (horticulture, forestry and fishing included), about 27% in industry and manufactures and about 17% in commerce and transport. The remaining 20% included those occupied in different trades or in non-productive work, domestic servants, independent persons and those supported by the State. In 1901 some 40% of the population lived by agriculture and 14% by trade, transport, etc. Since 1911 this movement from agriculture towards other occupations has been on the increase.
Legislation.—In Sept. 1917 a joint-stock companies Act at last was passed, introducing directors' liability, public registration, protection of the rights of the minority, and public accounts.
Agriculture.—By a law of 1919 land held as feoff or by entail, large estates formerly undivided in succession (Lehn), was made freehold property. Owners must deliver to the Treasury part of the capital value of the estate and—on—compensation hand over to the State one-third of the fields for small holdings. In the same year it was decreed that property still held on lease should become freehold. This legislation, especially the Acts of 1919, concerning the parcelling-out of lands previously in the possession of the State and of entailed property passing into free possession, was a continuation of the movement, begun by the Cottars' Allotment Act of 1899, towards establishing a number of independent small holdings; in 1899 the idea was two acres and a cow; now legislation aims at 20 ac.; from 1899-1919 some 10,000 new small holdings had been established, the State holding the secondary mortgages.
In the middle of the 19th century the market price per Tönde Hartkorn (Danish unit of land valuation, equal to 18 ac. good soil) was about 2,000 Danish kroner; in the first half of the 'eighties 6,500 kr.; prices declined till towards the close of the century, the price then being 5,200 kr., rising later to about 8,500 kr. in 1913. A constant rise took place during the war, prices in 1918 reaching 12,800 kr. per Tönde Hartkorn. This decline of prices from the middle of the 'eighties to the close of the century, due to the general fall in corn prices, was met by a change of the whole system of agriculture in consequence of which milk, butter, bacon and seed took the place of corn and live stock as chief product. This development continued till the outbreak of the World War. The new industries were based on the use of home supplies together with imported grain and artificial manure, the result being a very considerable output, especially of dairy produce, pork, eggs, cattle and horses. Only a part was marketable in Denmark itself, and a considerable export trade was developed, dairy products, pork and eggs mostly going to England.
During the war, and after the beginning of the ruthless submarine campaign, conditions were altered, the importation of raw materials being very much impeded. The import of corn and forage, including oilcake, amounted before the war to 1,700,000 tons annually, while Denmark's home production was 2,400,000 tons of grain: allowing 500,000 tons for food supplies and for industrial purposes, about 3,300,000 tons remained for forage. During the war the import of rye, maize, and oilcake partly, and in 1918 almost totally, failed; moreover, the harvest in the country was reduced by one-sixth owing to the want of artificial manure. Denmark was compelled to reduce its live stock. The number of cattle was in 1914 2,500,000 and after 1917 two million. Notwithstanding that the best milch cows were least affected by this reduction of stock, the output of milk and subsequently of butter was reduced by about 50%, butter from 117,000,000 kgm. in 1914 to 67,000,000 kgm. in 1918. But while in 1914 about 95,000,000 kgm. were exported, in 1918 only 15,000,000 kgm. were sent out of the country. Home consumption of butter was much more than doubled—due to the stoppage of the import of copra, the raw material for margarine. The number of swine, in 1914 about 2½ million, almost equalling the number of the population, was in 1917 reduced to 1½ million and in 1918 to half a million. This reduction manifested itself in the rapidly decreasing export of pork, from 150,000,000 to 3,000,000 kilograms. The number of hens fell between 1914 and 1918 from 15 million to 9 million, export of eggs being in the same years 450 million and 320 million respectively. The number of horses and sheep was almost undiminished, about 500,000 of each.
After 1918, with the coming of peace, Danish agriculture recovered rapidly, but the production, especially of pork, was still in 1921 less than before the war. The butter and pork production is mainly in the hands of the farmers' own coöperative factories; thus, of the 1,380 Danish butter factories 1,168 are on a coöperative basis and about 90% of the swine killed in Denmark are taken to the coöperative slaughter-houses.
Two important laws relating to agricultural exports were that of May 27 1908, dealing with the control of meat exported from Denmark, and a similar law of April 12 1911, dealing with the control of butter. They were based on section 62 of the British Trade-Marks Act 1905, which enabled Danish farmers to register a common trade-mark as against all other trade-marks in these articles. Thus all exported meat or bacon receives a public trade-mark and a Government stamp showing it to have been passed for export at the control station either as first- or second-class produce. Agricultural goods for export can therefore receive an official trade-mark certifying the quality of the articles. No butter is allowed to be exported that contains over 16% of water, or other preservatives than salt.
Industry.—Manufactures dependent on the import of coal and raw materials did not develop in Denmark until about the last decade of the 19th century, as the country produces no coal and very little raw material apart from farm products and material for brick- and cement-making. It thus happens that Denmark as a whole is the loser in the years of high prices and so-called prosperity—the raw materials having to be bought abroad at the highest price level—and regains the losses in the years of depression. The rather small-sized factory is typical, but some big factories have been established in connexion with the manufacturing of leather and footwear, cement, margarine, textiles, tobacco, spirits, sugar, beer, oil, matches, paper, agricultural machines and iron ships. Of the 140,000 persons engaged in factories employing more than 20 working-hands in 1914 more than half belonged to Copenhagen. Most of the larger establishments belong to joint-stock companies. In 1919 there were 994 industrial joint-stock companies with a total capital of 621,000,000 kr., of which three-fourths belonged to companies with a capital exceeding 100,000 kr. each. During the last decades Danish industry has shown an increasing tendency towards centralization. Customs duties were considerably reduced in 1908, but as they are almost always calculated upon weight, the general advance in prices made the protection left to industry completely ineffective. During the blockade industry had to face difficulties regarding the importation of raw material and coal; but the blockade mainly affected industries producing oils and margarine, which were practically at a standstill in 1918. The failure of the coal supplies was met with the strictest economy in consumption and partially made up for by an energetic utilization of the native fuels—woods, peat and brown coal. In spite of heavy difficulties, Danish industry was to a large extent able to supply the demands of the home market.
On the whole the war period must be said to have been economically favourable to the neutrals, as appears from the formation of a number of new industrial concerns and the extension of many of those already in existence, and the fact that between 1914 and 1920 the number of companies increased by 50% and their capital by 150%. Industrial profits were largely invested in extensions and improvements which could not be turned to full account during the post-war depression. The following table shows the total number of persons, the number of skilled workers, and the horse-power of prime movers concerned in the principal industries in the year 1914:
| Total Number
| Power. |
|Building and Furniture||79,000||52,000||21,000|
|Earthenware and Glass||20,000||16,000||28,000|
|Chemical and Technical||13,000||9,000||15,000|
Shipping.—At the close of 1913 Denmark's mercantile marine counted—apart from vessels of four-ton register or less—1,970 sailing vessels with a joint tonnage of about 90,000 tons register, 941 motor vessels of 30,000 tons register and 642 steamers of 420,000 tons register. At the close of 1919 the respective figures were 1,584 sailing vessels of 103,000 tons register, 1,465 motor vessels of 89,000 tons register, 514 steamers of 332,000 tons register. The number of Danish steamers sunk by submarines, torpedoes and mines was 147, representing a tonnage of 229,000 tons register in gross. The gross freight carried in Danish ships—excluding home coast traffic—amounted in 1913 to 110 million kr. and in 1919 to 445 million kroner. The average dividend on steamship shares was in 1919 70%. From 1916-20 foreign-going shipping of the country was controlled by a Freight Board, elected by the shipowners themselves. Rather generous maximum rates were fixed for the supplies of the country. Owners were bound to employ their ships according to the instructions of the board. In July 1917 an arrangement was made according to which all Danish owners put tonnage at the disposal of the Freight Board for the coal supply from the United Kingdom at a fixed rate and quantity.
Commerce.—The total imports and exports from 1912-20 were as follows:—
| Excess of Imports: |
Thus it appears that the excess of imports over exports was in the years preceding the war about 130,000,000 kr., while in the first four war-years export and import were almost equal. Yet in 1914, on account of “hidden exports,” the trade balance was actually favourable. In 1918 the balance was 200,000,000 kr., and in 1919 and 1920 it averaged 1,500 million kr. against Denmark. In the years 1914-8 the position was favourable, partly owing to the consumption of stocks and the selling-out of assets, such as the stock of domestic animals, and partly owing to the profits of shipping. It is only natural that the commercial and therefore the financial balance after the war should present a somewhat different aspect. Also it must be borne in mind that some of the war-time profits were invested in extensive purchases in order to replenish the empty warehouses; also considerable contracts were made with a view to subsequent exportation to the Baltic states, a possibility which, however, had not been realized in 1921, and involved many individual concerns in heavy losses. A comparison of the value of Danish imports for home consumption in 1913 and 1918, the last of the war-years, is as follows:—
|Raw material for agriculture||170||23||33||4|
|Raw material, etc., for industry||130||16||183||20|
|Partly manufactured articles||48||6||130||14|
|Articles of food or luxury||148||19||56||6|
|Fuel and illuminants||81||10||299||33|
|Articles of industry||200||26||209||23|
|Entire import for home consumption||777||100||910||100|
The figures show the remarkable changes in the relative values of different imports arising in consequence of the war, but the varying advance in prices must also be taken into account, and the corresponding changes in quantities imported are not indicated. As for fuel, the yearly import before the war was about 3,000,000 tons, while during the war it fell below 2½ million.
A comparison of the exports during the normal year 1913 with the war-year 1918 gives the following:—
|Other agricultural products||—||71||—||150|
The chief articles of export were the more or less manufactured agricultural products. But between 1913 and 1918 this export was so much reduced that, notwithstanding the great advance in prices, the total value declined. After the Armistice the export of farm products increased. The value of manufactured products and eggs exported was in 1920 about 920 million kr. and of live animals about 110 million kr. The butter export rose in 1920 to 75,000,000 kgm. and the pork export to 45,000,000 kilogrammes. The trade with foreign countries in 1913, 1917 and 1918 was as follows:—
The export of home-made articles to the United Kingdom in 1913 was 398 million kr., of which butter (180 million kr.), pork (160 million kr.) and eggs (31 million kr.) made up 371 million kr., or more than 90% of the total. Exports to Germany were in 1913 valued at 159,000,000 kr., cattle and meat 65,000,000 kr., and hides 10,000,000 kroner. Before the war Denmark did most of its business with England and Germany, but during the war much business was done with the Scandinavian countries, especially with Sweden. A considerable part of the foreign trade in war-time was conducted by agreements between the countries concerned as to desirable interchanges of supplies. After the war foreign trade partly returned to pre-war lines. The import and export of raw materials and agricultural produce is largely conducted through the farmers' own coöperative organizations. During the war only a limited quantity of goods was admitted from England and America. Agreements to that effect were made with the United Kingdom in Nov. 1915 and with the United States in Sept. 1918, negotiations being conducted between the respective Governments and the Danish commercial and industrial organizations, “Grosserersocietets Komitë” and “Industriraadet.” These organizations also distributed the imported quantities among such Danish firms as had hitherto been importing or using the articles in question. The export of agricultural produce is mainly conducted through Esbjerg or Copenhagen. Copenhagen is by far the most important commercial city. A part of the retail trade is in the hands of the peasants' own coöperative societies.
Economic Legislation During the War.—Immediately upon the outbreak of the war, on Aug. 7 1914, the Government was authorized to take measures to ensure supplies and to prevent an unfair rise in prices. A special committee was appointed for the regulation of prices and supply of necessaries of life and of other articles, and export was either prohibited or required a licence. For such articles as butter, pork, etc., the object of control was not merely to ensure the supply of the home market but quite as much the control and regulation of the export trade.
The special committee commenced immediately to forbid the use of rye and wheat for forage. Till that time home-grown grain had been largely used for feeding swine, horses, etc., bread being baked from imported corn, the supply of which completely ceased. In the winter of 1916 the use of sugar and in 1917 of potatoes for forage was prohibited. Licences for potatoes were, however, always granted when supplies for human requirements were sufficient. Maximum prices for home-grown rye and wheat were fixed about Christmas 1914. In May 1915 maximum prices followed for swine and pork. By order in council of Nov. 27 1916 it was notified that any advance in the prices of food decided on by mercantile unions or firms holding monopolies must be notified to and sanctioned by the special committee. On Jan. 31 1917 maximum prices were fixed for potatoes. Sugar production and prices were also placed under observation and control.
Thus Denmark had the distribution of commodities and maximum prices, especially of farm produce of importance to the home market, well under control before the blockade in its severest form took effect. Immediately upon the beginning of the blockade a general decree made it punishable for commerce to raise the percentage of profits above the level of 1914. On May 19 1917 orders were issued to prevent the enhancement of prices of commodities as a result of their having passed through more hands than necessary and customary (the so-called “chain-commerce”). The existing maximum prices were retained and new ones were fixed for a constantly increasing number of commodities. In the spring of 1916 the State had already taken possession of the corn harvest, but at the beginning of the blockade it took the sole control of the trade through the Board of Food Control, established in 1917. Before Feb. 1 1917 only sugar had been rationed but had not been materially reduced, home production almost equalling consumption. Grain was rationed in the spring of 1917 and pork in the autumn of 1917. Owing to the increasing scarcity similar measures were taken later with regard to butter, margarine, fuels, illuminants, benzine, coffee, tea, rice and other articles. The scarcity of fats made it necessary to introduce special regulations for the soap industry. At the same time maximum prices were fixed for the articles in question. Several other branches of industry were also put under control. After the war, imports having gradually reached their former level, these rules and regulations were discarded. In the spring of 1921 only a very few were left, such as regulations and maximum prices for bread and sugar and certain regulations of the beer and spirit industries. To ensure thorough economy in the production of spirits the respective concerns formed a combine. These measures for controlling prices were taken after consultation with the different trades.
Taxation and Public Finance.—The former basis of taxation of landed property in Denmark was the assessment of Hartkorn which was based on the quality of the land and had remained unaltered since 1844. For other property there was a variety of taxes of old standing. A law of 1903 introduced a new general assessment of all estates and property. Land rent was based on periodical valuations (“selling value”). A general income and property tax of a progressive per-cent. rate increasing in amount almost every year, and at the same time made more progressive, was introduced in the same year. The indirect taxes are the customs duties and the inland taxation of industry and trade. The tariff of 1863 was moderate but became heavier than was intended because of falling prices; and in 1908 it was revised, all necessaries of life, raw materials and agricultural produce being relieved of duty; protective duties were made small and duties on tobacco and spirits relatively high. Objects of taxation giving the best return are beer, spirits, tobacco and sugar. In the financial year 1913-4 the revenues of the Danish State amounted to 124 million kroner. Of these 101 million kr. were raised by taxation, 28 million kr. by direct and 73 million kr. by indirect taxes. The war occasioned an increase of taxation, and at the same time a change from indirect to direct taxation was effected. The State revenues of the financial year 1919-20 were 601 million kr., of which 575 million were from taxes, 347 million kr. direct, 248 million kr. indirect. Yet the main part, 235 million kr., of the direct taxes were extraordinary taxes. The national debt was in 1914 361 million kr. and in 1920 925 million kroner. The debt of all the municipalities was in 1914 375 million kr. and in 1920 750 million kroner. It must, however, be borne in mind that the value of State and municipal assets had proportionately increased.
Money and Banking.—Before 1908 the right of the National Bank to issue bank-notes was based on the same system as the Bank of England, but in that year the quota system was adopted. By legislation of 1915 the bank is required to be in possession of gold to the amount of one-third of the notes in circulation, and for the
remaining part there must be security in assets easily cashed according to special rules. The amount circulating in notes in 1900 was about 100, and just before the war about 150 million kroner. In the middle of 1917 it was 365 million kr., in 1919 541 million kroner. In 1914 the duty of the National Bank to redeem its notes with gold was temporarily suspended and it had not been reimposed in 1921. The other big banks of Denmark are the Danske Landmandsbank, with a stock capital of 100 million kr. and a balance at the end of 1919 of 1,421 million kr. (of which more than one-quarter is put under the ample heading: “Sundry Debtors”); Privatbanken, stock capital 60 million, balance 594 million; Köbenhavns Handelsbank 50 million, balance 672 million; Köbenhavns Diskonto og Revisionsbank, 48 million, balance 452 million kroner. In connexion with the farming import and export organizations a coöperative banking institute, the Danske Andelsbank, was established in 1914 with a guarantee fund of 11 million kr. paid in. There are also several smaller banks, but in recent years many provincial banks have been absorbed by the big banks.
Prices.—According to an average calculation wholesale prices—if the immediately pre-war index figure is put at 100—rose to 249 by July 1917. The upward tendency continued until the maximum was reached in Nov. 1920 with the figure 430. The general tendency afterwards was downwards, the figure for April 1920 being 270. The advance in the retail prices of necessaries of life is illustrated by figures calculated on the basis of household budgets for families belonging to the working classes. The expenses of such a family just before the war being put at 100, the index figure rose constantly till it reached 265 at the close of 1920. The value of the Danish krone was very unsteady during the war compared to other values. In the post-war years the £ and $ rates declined—the minimum was reached in Nov. 1918, 1£ equalling 13 kr. and $1, 2.80 kroner. The exchanges were afterwards reversed, the maximum being reached in Sept. 1920, when 1£ equaled 25.68 kr. and $1, 7.40 kroner. In April 1921 £1 equalled about 21.50 kr. and $1 about 5.50 kroner.
Finance.—About 1910 the yearly revenue of the Danish State was estimated on the basis of the assessment for income tax, at about 1,200,000,000 kroner. In the war period this showed a constant increase, 1917-8 disclosing a yearly revenue of 2,600 million kr. and 1918-20 of over 3,300 million kroner. Thus since the war the yearly revenue has been multiplied by 2½, i.e. in almost the same ratio as the retail price index. The incidence of incomes is more equal in Denmark than in many other states, though here as elsewhere the contrast between rich and poor was to some degree sharpened during the war. In 1915 about 70% of the adult population (married women excepted) had incomes of less than 1,000 kr., making together some 30% of the total income; about 29% had incomes of between 1,000 and 10,000 kr., 48% of the total incomes; and nearly 1% had incomes of more than 10,000 kr., about 22% of the total incomes. While in 1908 three-quarters of the adult population (again with the exception of married women) had incomes of less than 1,000 kr., in 1918 only half the population were below that amount. The national wealth before the war was estimated at 10 milliards, and in 1921 had probably doubled (the assessed property had risen from 5,000 to 10,000 million kroner). While in 1908 about 92% of the adults possessed property of less than 10,000 kr., the corresponding figure for 1918 was only 87%.
The value of the shares represented on the stock exchange was in 1912 about 800 million kr., the quotation of the same shares was in 1918 about 3,000 million, in 1919 2,000 million and in 1921 probably 1,000 million. The difference of 2,000 million kr., forwards and again backwards, may represent individual gains and losses, to some extent made and suffered by the same persons. ([[Author:|F. G.-T.]])
Labour.—In the 'seventies and 'eighties of the 19th century, the era of modern industrial development, an impetus was given to the trade-union movement, closely connected with the Social Democratic party. Both employers and employed are very strongly organized, chiefly under the two main organizations, the Combined Trade Unions and Danish Employers' Organization. The trade unions included in 1919 nearly 350,000 members, 277,000 belonging to the Combined Trade Unions. In 1910 Denmark was foremost in the movement, 51% of the workmen employed in industry, commerce and communications being organized. Since then the movement has made rapid progress. In most industries nearly all the workmen were in 1921 members of the organizations. There has also been a considerable inflow of agricultural labourers. The usual basis of classification of the unions is trades, not industries.
Besides the divisions for the different towns there are factory clubs and shop stewards; in some places a system by which chosen representatives exercise an influence over the general conditions of work has grown up in connexion with these clubs. In the summer of 1920 syndicalistic tendencies manifested themselves rather strongly, but in 1921 the movement largely died away.
The Employers' Organization, dating in its present centralized shape from 1898, exercises considerable authority over its members, by whom about 200,000 workmen are employed. After an extensive lockout in 1899 the two main organizations made the so-called “September agreement,” deciding, for instance, that a positive majority is required for the declaration of strikes and lockouts, which must, moreover, be notified according to certain rules, and that all differences on the question of the interpretation of existing contracts and agreements must be referred to arbitration. After a conflict in 1910, on the proposition of the parties concerned, a law was passed adopting the system of conciliation in disputes and the establishment of a special court to decide questions of law. The average number of days lost in labour conflicts over a series of years was only one day a year for each workman, but in the unsettled state of the labour market in 1919-21 much higher figures were reached, chiefly owing to strikes in the Copenhagen building trades and among sailors and navvies. During the transport strikes of 1920 the activities of “Samfundshjaelpen,” a voluntary civic organization for carrying out indispensable work left undone by the strikes, were of considerable importance.
The Employers' Organization attached great importance to the simultaneous expiration of the labour agreements of the different trades. This often resulted in joint negotiations for the renewal of agreements, in most cases accompanied by threats of extensive stoppages of work, which had, however, until 1921 always been averted at the last moment. In later years yearly agreements were made, adopting an automatic regulation of wages according to the price index of the Statistical Department from the middle of the period. A smaller part of the wages of State employees was also calculated according to this price index. Even before the war Danish industry suffered considerably from unemployment, which amounted to 10% in the period 1903-13. After the close of the war, conditions became still more complicated owing to the after-effects of the blockade and the critical state of affairs generally.
Wages in Denmark were somewhat high compared with other European countries. The average weekly wages for skilled labourers were: in 1897 20 kr.; 1905 25 kr.; and 1920 120 kr.; for unskilled labourers 16, 20 and 100 kroner. During the war wages rose continually, at first slower than prices, later somewhat faster, but in the spring of 1921 a general though not very important reduction of wages took place. Before the war about 20% or 25% of the workmen in industry were paid by the job. The wages of agricultural labourers were: in 1910 700 kr.; 1915 800 kr.; 1918 1,400 kr.; and in 1920—partly owing to the increasing organization—1,800 kroner. The position of Denmark in the matter of working hours has, as was the case in the matter of wages, been something between that of England and the rest of Europe. The average working hours of industry were in 1872 11.4; since then they have gradually decreased. Accordingly, when the eight-hour day was adopted on Jan. 1 1920 by voluntary agreement between the chief organizations, this was a step of comparatively small importance. Denmark joined the international agreement about the eight-hour day, but in May 1921 no law concerning this question had been passed.
At the close of the 19th century a general interest in social questions was greatly awakened. The year 1873 brought the first factory legislation, and in the beginning of the 'nineties came the general decisive acceptance of insurance relief legislation. The leading principle is voluntary State-aided insurance against illness and unemployment, and for the rest public relief, apart from accident insurance, which, as elsewhere, is paid by the employers. The poor law of 1891 not only regulates pauper administration proper but also lays down certain rules, which have been repeatedly extended, for State or parochial relief, directed through the ordinary pauper administration but without the usual unpleasant consequences to the recipients. Such aid is given in cases of a number of chronic diseases, insanity, epilepsy, tuberculosis, blindness and to deaf-and-dumb persons. Medical and obstetric aid is also given and extended aid to members of benefit clubs. Since 1907 every parish has had, besides the poor-rates, a relief fund—Uhjaelpekasse, with a board of its own, intended to administer relief in cases of urgent need. This fund has, however, in many cases become merely a more respectable form of pauper administration. By the Old-Age Pensions Act passed in 1891, Denmark took the lead in the question of providing for the aged. Certain conditions are laid down as to the need and worthiness of the recipients, and it is especially stipulated that persons who have for five years previously received parish relief are excluded. The age limit is 60 years. The amount of the pension, which is decided upon the merits of each separate case, should suffice for sustenance of life, and medical aid in case of illness is included. In 1919 the number of recipients was 74,000 and the expenditure amounted to 34 million kr., State and parishes contributing each one-half. Denmark has several voluntary benefit clubs, mostly locally organized, but State-aided and under State control, in accordance with the Benefit Club Act of 1892, amended in 1921. Notwithstanding the voluntary system 70% of the working classes and a large number of others of similar standing are members, the total number amounting to two hundred thousand. As children of the members below the age of 15 years are also entitled to the benefits, the full number makes about three-fifths of the population. The chief benefits are hospital treatment, medical aid and subsistence money not exceeding 6 kr. a day. The State aid is 3 kr. per member and one-quarter of the chief expenditure. A considerable economic advantage to the benefit clubs is the very low charges made by the public hospitals for treatment of the members. The clubs recognized by the State have limited self-government under control of the State inspector of benefit clubs.
By three decrees of 1921 persons suffering from chronic diseases were admitted to the sickness insurances without any extra charges;
an insurance against disablement, forming an obligatory supplement to the voluntary sickness insurance, was established; and special rules were laid down concerning “poor-relief without the effects of poor-relief,” to be paid to a considerable part of the uninsured disabled. The first Accident Insurance Act relating to a number of dangerous industries and based on the principle of em- ployers' liability was passed in 1898, and after some gradual im- provements a general comprehensive Act was passed in 1916. It is the duty of the employer to have all persons employed insured in the private accident companies. For compensation a sum of money not exceeding 24,000 kr. is given. Special rates are paid to the sons of widows. As early as 1907 an Unemployment Insurance Act was passed. The unemployment funds are voluntary and are practically identified with the trade unions. During the critical years 1917-9 the ordinary State aid was very considerably raised, and large sums were distributed according to rules which were less strict than usual.
In 1918 the entire contribution of the State to social insurances and the various forms of relief was, apart from sums arising out of special war-time legislation, 17 million kroner. The municipalities contributed 39 million kr., while the contribution of the members of sickness and unemployment insurance societies was 12 million kr., and the employers paid for the accident insurance 6 million kr., altogether about 74 million kroner. While the social insurance system proper is generally considered satisfactory—though in the recent difficult years the administration of the unemployment funds has been the object of criticism—strong claims were advanced for a modification of the old-age pensions system, which should establish a right to fixed rates, and also for a thorough reorganization of the lower branches of social relief (the pauper administration and relief funds), the administration of which had become complicated and unpractical owing to their gradual development. Danish factory legislation is, notwithstanding its inauguration by the conservative but very far-seeing Ludvig Bramsen (in the 'nineties)—father of the Danish Employers' Liability Act—rather radical and thorough-going, and very ably and effectively administered. On the other hand, Denmark has no Wages Board or Minimum Wage system.
Political History.—After the Cabinet of J. C. Christensen—the formation of which in 1905 had led to a split in the ranks of its supporters, the Left Reform party separating from the Radical Left party—had been forced by the Alberti catastrophe to retire, a new Cabinet was formed by Niels Neergaard, a distinguished historian, as leader of the Moderate Left, with the support of the Moderate and Left Reform party (Oct. 12 1908). The problem of defence became the most prominent under this Cabinet, as the defence commission, which had been working since 1902, now reported. The members of the commission had not reached unanimity. The Socialists proposed disarmament; the Radicals wished the military to be replaced by a naval and police guard; while the Right proposed a material increase of military forces. The Government and its supporters in the Rigsdag were divided on the question of Copenhagen's land defences, and only after great confusion—new elections had not brought clearness—did the old leader of the Left, Count Holstein-Ledreborg, who had been away from active politics for years, succeed, as premier of a new Cabinet, in carrying through a new arrangement. The army and navy were enlarged; Copenhagen's naval defences were strengthened; and the land defences were to be dismantled not later than March 31 1922.
No party had a majority in the Folkething, and the Holstein Ministry was forced to retire in favour of a new Cabinet, formed by the Radicals with C. Th. Zahle, a barrister, as premier. This Cabinet could depend on support from the Socialists in the Rigsdag, though without thus acquiring a majority in either of the Houses. Under these conditions the Government announced its intention of postponing the introduction of the Radical programme. With the support of the Right it was able to secure a majority in favour of a proposal to prosecute the two ex-ministers, J. C. Christensen and Sigurd Berg, before the State Parliamentary Court, the Rigsret, for neglect of their ministerial duties in regard to Alberti (Mr. Christensen was acquitted and Mr. Berg sentenced to a fine). As the Government proposed a democratic amendment of the constitution and met with opposition, the Folkething was dissolved, and at the elections of May 20 1910 the Left, which was still divided on the defence problem, won half the seats. The two moderate Left groups now united into one party, the Left, and one of the old Moderate leaders, Klaus Berntsen, a former teacher in the peasant high schools, formed the new Cabinet on July 5 1910.
King Frederick VIII. died on May 14 1912 and was succeeded on the throne by his son, Christian X.
With the support of the Radicals and the Socialists the Government again raised the constitution problem in 1912, but because of opposition in the Upper House (Landsthing), where the Right controlled about one-half of the seats, no solution had been reached when the ordinary elections were held in May 1913. At these the Radical and Socialist parties gained control of 63 out of the 114 seats in the Folkething; Zahle formed the new Radical Cabinet. The constitution problem immediately became prominent, and the constitutional parties decided to let nothing divide them because of the importance of the issue; under these conditions the Socialists voted for the budget for the first time. The Right raised the most decided opposition against this united democracy; powerless in the Folkething, they undertook, by a policy of obstruction in the Landsthing, to check the further development of the case. As an answer to this the Government dissolved the Landsthing. The election results were: 29 supporters and 25 opponents of the constitutional amendment. Of the 12 members nominated by the Crown 9 were on the side of democracy, hence the Government was certain of a solid majority.
The outbreak of the war temporarily hindered the final solution of the constitution problem. It was with great anxiety for the future of their country that the Danish people experienced the fateful days of Aug. 1914. On Aug. 1 the Rigsdag passed a number of laws which the extraordinary conditions made necessary. The mobilization of the emergency army, numbering in all about 70,000 men, began on the same day. All political parties agreed in maintaining the neutrality of Denmark. An attack by Germany was especially feared. A difficult situation arose on Aug. 5 in consequence of an inquiry from Germany as to whether the Danish Government intended to block Danish waters with mines, an inquiry which could only mean that if Denmark refused Germany would lay the mines. The Government was uncertain as to Denmark's responsibility as a neutral Power, and only after great hesitation was it decided to lay the mines. With this Germany was satisfied, and England sanctioned the action in view of Denmark's precarious position.
It became apparent that the war situation might have serious effects upon Denmark's economic life. Accordingly the Rigsdag on Aug. 7 authorized the Home Secretary to regulate prices and to confiscate all goods on giving full compensation. A Price-Regulating Committee was established to advise the minister. Further the Secretary of Justice was given power to prohibit exports. The Government exercised these powers several times during the following months to secure the supply of food grains and for other purposes. As in military affairs, the Government adhered to the policy of keeping the warring nations always informed of the measures adopted, and in this way succeeded in establishing, with both sides, confidence in Denmark's desire for real neutrality, and an understanding of the importance of maintaining effective industries. This in time resulted in fixed agreements with Germany and England as to exports.
When the first anxiety was allayed the constitution problem was again taken up. As the opposition of the Right was declining, a result was reached without great difficulty and June 5 1915 the King signed the new constitution. This introduced equal suffrage in the elections for both Houses, men and women being entitled to vote under identical conditions; the voting age was fixed at 35 years for the Landsthing and was lowered successively from 30 to 25 years for the Folkething. Of the 140 members of the Folkething, 93 are elected in individual districts, 27 in greater Copenhagen according to proportional representation, and 23 supplementary seats are divided among the parties that have received too few representatives at the other polls in proportion to their number of votes. The Landsthing has 72 members, of which 54 are indirectly and proportionally elected in the large districts, while 18 are elected by the retiring Landsthing according to the same principles. In the case of a constitutional amendment a referendum must take place, and 45% of the eligible voters must vote for it to give it validity. The constitution came into force on April 21 1918.
Other important legislative Acts of the first years of the war, which were passed unanimously, were the Reform of the Administration of Justice (April 11 1916), which separated the administrative and judicial systems, and introduced oral proceedings and publicity—with trial by jury in criminal and political cases—and the Accident Insurance law (July 6 1916), which made it the duty of all employers to insure their employees. The privileged suffrage in elections to the Amtsraad (county councils) was abolished with the consent of all parties.
In the late summer of 1916 the comparative quiet which had marked political life since 1914 was succeeded by a bitter struggle. The cause was the announcement by the Government that it had concluded a treaty with the United States ceding the Danish West Indies to that country for $25,000,000. Both in the Rigsdag, whose ratification was essential, and outside strong feeling was aroused against the sale. The Left proposed a postponement till after the war or, if an immediate decision was necessary, the holding of fresh elections under the new constitution. The only solution of the crisis seemed to be new elections, but the King implored the party leaders to avoid such a situation, which would be a danger to the country. The result was a compromise: the Cabinet was supplemented by representatives of each of the political parties (Th. Stanning, the Socialist member, being the first member of the working classes to become a minister), and the sale of the islands was to be decided by the Rigsdag after a plebiscite of the people. At the polls (Dec. 14 1916) 283,670 votes were cast in favour and 158,157 against, and shortly afterwards the Rigsdag ratified the cession.
A contest of like character, but not nearly so far-reaching or bitter, arose in connexion with the rearrangement of the relation of Iceland to Denmark. With increasing force, Iceland demanded political independence and integrity. Despite the opposition of the Conservatives, the support of the other three parties sufficed to pass an Act of Union (Nov. 1918), in which Denmark acknowledged the independence of Iceland. The King is joint ruler of both countries and Denmark directs Iceland's foreign policy. The Act of Union is valid till 1940.
From 1917 onwards the unrestricted submarine warfare, combined with the stricter measures of the Entente, caused increasing difficulties in the economic life of Denmark. The Government, for whose economic policy the Home Secretary, Ove Rode, was primarily responsible, made further efforts, by means of maximum prices, export prohibition, and also by the rationing of certain articles, to create tolerable conditions for the people. It sought to mitigate the effects of the increase in prices by an extensive policy of relief; both the State and the communes rendered direct aid to those without means; public officials received increased pay until their salaries had undergone a thorough revision; and the unemployed, whose number rose to 70,000 in the winter of 1918-9, were given extra support. Through an increase of the succession, income and personal property taxes, and the introduction among others of ataxon exchange business, the Government tried to cover these and the greatly increased military expenses. In the five years of the war 1914-9, the expenditures of the Government were 156, 185, 251, 369, 616 million kr. respectively (in all 1,577 million kr.), and the total revenue for all five years 1,343 million kroner. The deficit was covered by loans. While the indirect taxes 1913-4 amounted to 55% and the direct to 28% of the total revenue, the figures of 1918-9 were 21% and 62% respectively. A radical anti-militaristic Government had from 1914-9 spent more than 500 million kr. on defence—more than all the Conservative war ministers together from 1865-1901.
After the spring of 1918 the elections could no longer be postponed. At the elections for the Folkething, when women voted for the first time (68% voted to the men's 84%), 72 supporters of the Government were elected, 39 Socialists and 33 Radicals, receiving 263,000 and 196,000 votes respectively; and 68 opponents, 45 Left and 23 Conservatives, receiving 273,000 and 168,000 votes respectively. The Landsthing was constituted as follows: 17 Conservatives, 26 Left, 13 Radicals and 15 Socialists.
At the time of the Armistice the old problems were viewed differently and new questions arose. The troops were quickly demobilized, the special defence works were razed, and on March 17 1920 a law was passed abolishing the land defence and artillery of Copenhagen. In 1919 the special military administration of justice had ceased. The Government's economic policy, which had caused some dissatisfaction, but as a whole had been supported by all parties, became the object of very strong criticism, as the Opposition thought it time to abrogate the war-time legislation in this respect. Instead of improving, the economic conditions became worse: small exports, the falling value of the Danish krone both at home and abroad, and numerous strikes, partly caused by the syndicalistic agitation, characterized the industrial and economic situation until near the close of 1920.
The Allied victory affected Denmark chiefly through the prospects of a reunion with the Danish part of Slesvig. On the same day—Oct. 23 1918—as the deputy of North Slesvig, H. P. Hanssen-Nörremolle, raised the demand of a renunion with the mother country in the German Reichstag, the Danish Rigsdag unanimously passed a resolution “that no other change in Slesvig's present position than an adjustment according to the principles of nationality would harmonize with the wishes, feelings and interests of the Danish people.” With reference to this and statements made by the leaders of the Danish population in North Slesvig, the Danish Government communicated its wishes to the Allies (Nov. 28 1918), so that, when the Peace Conference in Feb. 1919 reached the discussion of the Slesvig problem, a united Danish North Slesvig delegation was sent to Paris to present the Danish point of view: a plebiscite en bloc in North Slesvig (Zone 1), a community ballot in Central Slesvig and Flensburg (Zone 2), and voting rights to all those who were born in the voting districts. The Peace Treaty was presented to Germany on May 7. The fact that it contained a provision for a plebiscite in South Slesvig (Zone 3), and gave voting rights to natives of the districts without consideration of their present place of residence, caused considerable excitement in Denmark. This departure from the wishes of the Government and the Rigsdag was due to the influence of a small group of the Danish people who wished the Slesvig question to be solved from a legal and historic point of view. Representations to the Peace Conference by the Danish Government were successful in getting the article providing for a plebiscite in Zone 3 omitted from the Treaty.
On the coming into force of the Peace Treaty on Jan. 10 1920, an international commission, containing among others the ambassadors of England and France, Sir Charles Marling and M. Paul Claudel, took charge of the plebiscite district. The plebiscite in Zone 1 on Feb. 10 gave 75,431 (75%) votes for Denmark and 25,329 (25%) for Germany; even the doubtful Tönder Amt had a majority for Denmark of 59%. On March 14 Zone 3 gave 48,148 (79%) German and 13,029 (21%) Danish votes.
While the plebiscite results in Zone 1 satisfied Danish expectations, this was not the case with the results in Zone 2. In the last years before the war the Danish element had here been yielding in the national struggle, but there seemed to be plain evidence of a change of feeling, especially in Flensburg, during the agitation before the plebiscite. The disappointment over the result was great. The Zahle Ministry had for months been the object of the most vehement attacks, because of its cool attitude towards the national propaganda in Central Slesvig, and the assailants made it responsible for the poor result of the plebiscite. In certain circles it was still hoped to prevent the final union of Central Slesvig with Germany by the so-called “Internationalization” of Zone 2. A storm of indignation at the national attitude of the Government in connexion with its economic policy began in the weeks after the plebiscite. When the Government refused to order new elections, with reference to the necessity for a new electoral law, the King dismissed it. A Cabinet of non-politicians, formed by Liebe March 30 1920, took the responsibility for the King's action, which was regarded by the supporters of the dismissed Cabinet as unconstitutional, and had caused the threat of a general strike from the Socialists. During this “Easter crisis” Denmark was not, but may have looked as if it were, on the verge of a revolution. The mediation of the city council of Copenhagen and others conciliated the Crown and the Socialists, and on April 5 a new Ministry, consisting chiefly of State officials, was appointed to formulate an electoral law and to order new elections. The new law was based on proportional representation in the county districts (Amtskredse), and the supplementary seats system was retained in a slightly altered form. At the Folkething elections (April 25 1920) the Left received 351,000 votes (49 seats), the Conservatives 201,000 (28),“Erhvervsparti” (trades party) 29,000 (4), against the Socialists' 300,000 (42), and the Radicals' 122,000 (17). Niels Neergaard formed the new Left Cabinet on May 5.
On July 7 1920 the international commission handed over the executive power in Zone 1, awarded to Denmark by the Allies, to the Danish Government. After the constitutional amendments necessitated by this expansion had been adopted, the Folkething elections were held on Sept. 21 1920. In these the people of North Slesvig took part, and the voting age was 25 years for the first time. The results were 412,000 votes cast for the Left (52 seats), 390,000 Socialists (48), 217,000 Conservatives (27), 147,000 Radicals (18), 27,000 “Erhvervsparti” (3), and 7,000 for the German candidates (1). The Left maintained the leadership, and the Neergaard Ministry continued.
The problems relating to the constitution and to defence, which formerly were of the greatest consequence, had during later years been thrown into the shade by social problems, and the political parties were in 1920-1 developing in an increasing degree as representing economical interests, and as attached to certain classes: thus the Left was supported by the farmers, the Radicals essentially by the small holders, the Socialists by the industrial labourers, and the Conservatives by the capitalists and the middle classes in the cities.
See also: Erik Arup, Rids af Danmarks Historie (1921); Fr. Nörgaard, Danmark fra 1864 til Genforeningen med Sönderjylland (1920); Alex. Thorsde, Grundrids af den danske Rigsdag Historie 1866-1015 (1920).
Literature.—Between 1910 and 1921 Danish literature lost by death several of its representatives already famous Karl Gjellerup (1857-1919), Herman Bang (1857-1912), Peter Nansen (1861-1918), Vilhelm Bergsoe (1835-1911), Sophus Bauditz (1850-1915), Troels Frederick Lund (1840-1921), Edvard Holm (1833-1915) and A. Fredericia (1849-1912). In 1917 Henrik Pontoppidan (b. 1857), the novelist, was awarded the Nobel prize.
While the older generation was still productive, either on the old lines or, as in the case of Karl Gjellerup, taking up new themes (classical, ancient Gothic, Indian), a good many young authors came to the front. Niels Möller (b. 1859) and Ludvig Holstein (b. 1864), in their few but elaborate poems, represented the scepticism and dark views of the 'eighties; Vigo Stuckenberg (1863-1905) and his friend Sophus Clausen belong essentially to the aesthetic renaissance; and partially this may also be said of Sophus Michaelis (b. 1865) and Edvard Blaumüller (1851-1911), although they have some features in common with the younger generation. All these were mostly lyric poets, but Stuckenberg and Michaelis had also written powerful novels.
The foremost younger lyrical poets were Valdemar Rördam (b. 1872; Selected Poems, 1918) and Helge Rode (b. 1870). Thor Lange (1851-1915), as well as Rördam and Möller, made many excellent translations of English and foreign poems. To the same school belong L. C. Nielsen (b. 1871; Cantatas, Children's Songs); Kai Hoffmann (b. 1874; The Town and the Sea, 1902; Selected Poems, 1916); Olaf Hansen (b. 1870; Selected Poems, 1918; Translations from Icelandic); Thoger Larsen (b. 1875; Selected Poems, 1917); Axel Juel (b. 1883). Of a more pessimistic and satirical type is Harald Bergstedt (b. 1877; Jack and Elsie, 1916 “a modern Adam Homo”).
Powerful novels were produced by Harald Kidde (1878-1918) and Johannes Buchholtz (b. 1882). Ever since the latter half of the 'nineties the provincial note had been strong in Danish literature, as represented by writers emanating from the farmhouses and workshops. Foremost stands Jakob Knudsen (1858-1917), son of a parson, and for a time himself a clergyman but descending from and in the closest contact with Jutland peasants, a novelist of extraordinary power, but without artistic refinement. From Jutland also came Jeppe Aakjaer (b. 1866), a peasant's son and a peasant himself; his masterpieces are short stories and lyrical poems, but he has also written novels and historical essays. Johannes V. Jensen (b. 1873, son of a Jutland veterinary surgeon) has shown himself a master in his treatment of the Danish language (Prehistoric Novels, 1909-19, translations from Frank Norris and Whitman). From Fünen there is the novelist Morten Korch; from Zealand, Thorkild Gravlund (b. 1879), partly novelist, partly folklorist; Knud Hjortö (b. 1869), a prolific novelist; and from Bornholm, Martin Andersen Nexö (b. 1869), who had given pathetic pictures of the proletarians' lives. H. Bergstedt has manifested a satirical vein of some consideration.
The outstanding name in archaeology has been Sophus Müller (b. 1846, director of the National Museum till 1921). Ludvig Wimmer (1839-1920) was supreme as a runologist (Danish Runic Monuments, 1895-1908). Folklore has had eminent representatives in H. F. Feilberg (b. 1831; Jutlandic Dictionary, Danish Peasant Life), in Evald Fang Kristensen (b. 1843) and in Axel Olrik (1864-1917; Heroic Legends of Denmark; in English 1919). Celebrated linguists are Kristoffer Nyrop (b. 1858; Grammaire historique de la langue française i.-iv.), and Otto Jespersen (b. 1860; Progress in Language, 1894; Growth and Structure of the English Language, 1905; Modern English Grammar, 1900-14). The domestic culture of Scandinavia about 1600 was depicted by Troels Frederick Lund (Daily Life in Scandinavia, i.-xiv.), while Danish and foreign literatures were treated by Vilhelm Andersen (b. 1864) and Valdemar Vedel (b. 1865).
See Vilh. Andersen and Carl S. Petersen, Illustreret dansk Litteraturhistorie (1916 seq.); Dahl and Engelstoft, Dansk biografisk Haandlexikon (1918 seq.).