I briefly thought about what I knew about Denmark before I started researching Denmark in preparation for this study abroad.
Roughly in chronological order of when I learned of them:
1) The Little Match Girl and other dark Hans Christian Andersen stories. It was in a picture book of fairy tales I had as a kid, along with the version of Cinderella where the two stepsisters cut off their toes and heel respectively and then get their eyes pecked out by birds.
2) Lois Lowry's children's book Number the Stars
Spoiler: A happy story. A Jewish girl gets smuggled from Copenhagen to Sweden in a little fishing boat during the Nazi occupation. I thought it was terribly clever that the family who took in the Jewish girl pretended she was their daughter by giving her the identity of their dead daughter. It was also a bit sad that that daughter died.
3) I didn't know until I stopped playing with Legos that they were Danish.
4) I read somewhere that Scandinavian countries have the highest per capita coffee consumption.
5) The whole Muhammad cartoon fiasco. A lot of people got angry.
6) According to some survey that I don't know the methodology of, Danes are the happiest people in the world. Then I read an article explaining that this is because they have low expectations*.
*Christensen, K. Why Danes are smug: comparative study of life satisfaction in the European Union. BMJ 2006; 333:1289-1291.