Madness: The Entirety Of Denmark Recreated In Minecraft

By Nathan Grayson on April 25th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Chickens and horses generated by exact topographical data

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. No wait, blocks. Something is blocks in the state of Denmark. And by that, I mean everything. This isn’t just an approximation, either. It’s a 1:1 recreation of Denmark based on real-life data collected by the Danish GeoData Agency. Countless places, things, and well-known television show space ships have been reborn, phoenix-like, by way of Minecraft’s blocky black magic, but I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like this.

Wild, right? The stats behind this massive undertaking make it even crazier. Creators Simon Kokkendorf and Thorbjørn Nielsen from the Danish Geodatastyrelsen are housing their homeland across three servers, to the tune of roughly 4 billion blocks. The whole thing constitutes 1TB of data.

You can roam around on their servers, or you can download Denmark (that still sounds strange to say) in 10km x 10km chunks. The servers will evaporate in October, so either cherish your virtual getaway/geography lesson while you can or drop an entire country on your hard drive and then, er, probably buy another hard drive.

As you might expect, the Geodatastyrelsen has some pretty strict rules in place for its own servers. However, you are allowed to alter the landscape so long as you build something new yourself. So now the real fun begins. What will Denmark become with a million power-mad ant gods crawling around on its colossal back? I am intrigued. Also terrified, because I would flinch if the Internet were given a moldy scrap of napkin and a single half-eaten crayon, let alone an entire country.

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58 Comments »

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  1. MuscleHorse says:

    But does it contain a block Mads Mikkelsen?

  2. Mr. Mister says:

    They shoudl’ve put it in Survival.

  3. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Can we now get the game of The Killing that we’ve always wanted? Does it have a “scandi-noir” biome?

  4. rikvanoostende says:

    I wonder what Legoland looks like in Minecraft.

  5. Firkragg says:

    I’m half tempted to log in and build my own house where I live. Why do we do these things?

  6. grechzoo says:

    why is the only tag needed for this article.

    seriously….why?

    so much time and effort, to recreate something that benefits noone and nothing. watching that video gave me a sickly feeling in my stomach honestly, that couldn’t have been fun and that many man-hours could have actually achieved something much more substantial and creative.

    use google maps if you really want to see all of Denmark from your computer….and if you do…why?

    • Mr. Mister says:

      So they have a spare DEnmark, just in case.

    • JFS says:

      I don’t think they did this by hand. And if it took them a month to automate the projection of their data into a Minedraft auto-building software, that was time well spent.

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      Gap Gen says:

      “why is the only tag needed for this article.

      seriously….why?

      so much time and effort, to recreate something that benefits noone and nothing. watching that video gave me a sickly feeling in my stomach honestly, that couldn’t have been fun and that many man-hours could have actually achieved something much more substantial and creative.”

      This article isn’t about it, but yeah, I don’t know why people play World of Warcraft either OH NO BUUUURRRRRNNNNNNnnnnnNNNNNNNnnnnnNNNNNnmmmm.

    • Gothnak says:

      That was my first thought, and i almost posted it, and then i thought some more. if they enjoy doing it (which i assume they do) then it absolutely no different than Playing Prison Architect, practicing doing a fast lap of Silverstone, finally destroying France in Crusader Kings 2, building an unassailable fort in Dwarf Fortress, colonising 5 planets in Starbound.

      they are all ultimately pointless, but they are thing you enjoy doing when you have a day off or get home from school or work. Humans are partially driven by a sense of achievement, otherwise why are Jigsaws so popular?

      Tbh, if someone went to an average games company and said they had spent 3 months building the whole of Denmark in Minecraft and wanted a job as a Level Designer, they’d probably get through to the interview stage :).

      • Trespasser in the Stereo Field says:

        True. In fact, you could say that about any hobby, really. Why practice tennis for 3 hours a week? You’re not playing in any championships. Why read books? You’re going to forget everything in a couple of months anyway. Why watch movies? The cumulative time spent in a theater could’ve been spent doing something else just as worthle…excuse me. I’m going back to bed.

        • toxic avenger says:

          Reading books is not comparable to playing Minecraft. You don’t magically turn into a doctor, in part, by playing hours and hours and hours of Minecraft. Most of the world’s problems can be solved by reading books and some affiliated action. I understand how one would have a low opinion of reading if they forgot everything in the matter of a several months.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Fifty Shades magically turned me into a sexpert. But I will sadly forget how to do it in sex months.

          • The Random One says:

            I can still use a sextant.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            The “and some affiliated action” is kind of the major hole in that point. Reading books WON’T magically make you good at anything.

            Besides, the commenter specifically said “hobbies”. Reading books recreationally is a hobby. Reading as a supplement for education certainly isn’t.

      • Mr. Mister says:

        I dunno, have you seen Denmark? It’s not precisely the pinnacle of environmental design.

        • JFS says:

          I think the graphics are okay. The island idea was well executed. Deductions for the strange language they implemented. I’d give it bacon/10.

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      DrollRemark says:

      It wasn’t manually done, it’s some sort of clever scripting being used to transform geodata into Minecraft. Frankly, I think it’s bloody awesome.

    • skullBaseknowledge says:

      there are only three other posts tagged “why”. there should be many more…

    • Leb says:

      You are posting this on a website about videogames. Where literally every game we play could be tagged with a “why” and nothing else.

      Why fight virtual wars in Battlefield/Cod/RO2?
      Why build an Empire in CK2?
      Why build a rollercoaster in GMOD? Why destroy that same roller coaster?
      Why would I race cars around?
      Why would I drive a transport truck across Europe?
      Why would I colonize all of earth in CIV?
      Why would I colonize all of the galaxy in Endless Space?
      Why did you even write this comment?

      • The Random One says:

        The response to all of those would be, “Because I found it fun.”

        What follows is that the response for this is the same, and the man genuinely found creating an entire country in the world’s worst 3D rendering software was fun.

        That is why the next tag is “what even”.

    • jalf says:

      Huh? You think the build all this by hand?

      It is generated from freely available geodata.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Art is, almost by definition, devoid of purpose. Of function.
      There are some individual applications of it that defy that, but they’re the exception, and even then the function is (usually) secondary.
      Games are also, almost by definition, devoid of purpose. At least of practical purpose. They pretty much exist to be a waste of time.
      I’m generalizing a lot, yet, but in these situations you pretty much inevitably will.

      I’ll tell you something, though. In both cases, art and games, that lack of practical purpose is really important to me. I think it’s part of the reason I enjoy them both so much.

      PS this is still crazy

    • Frank says:

      Your first sentence broke my brain. Learn to use quotation marks, please.

  7. Sakkura says:

    You wouldn’t download a car country.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Everything is going digital: music, movies, games and now even countries! It’s a mad world and an even more insane future as more and more, previously only physical, stuff gets digital.

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      I can’t wait for the inevitable “Guy 3D printing Denmark” news.
      Edit: Gah beaten to it just three posts down and about an entire day earlier. :P

  8. natendi says:

    This is madness!

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    RedViv says:

    Skide godt.

  10. mscheetham says:

    Now to-scale 3d print, that would be interesting…

    • MichaelGC says:

      On Exactitude in Science
      Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions [tr. Andrew Hurley]

      …In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

      Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

      • teije says:

        I commend you sir, for that quote. My favourite reading in younger years.

        • toxic avenger says:

          I commend him, too. I never was exposed to Borges up until today. Got to check ‘im out.

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        Arren says:

        Michael, that may have been the best comment I’ve seen this year. Bravo.

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    Lim-Dul says:

    I want to point out one of the rules posted on the translated page linked in the article:

    Talk dirty to each other, keep a good tone. Bullying will not be accepted.

    • Golden Pantaloons says:

      First modern country to legalize pornography, you know. Talking dirty is part of the national agenda.

  12. TonyB says:

    “… I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like this.”

    Apart from when Ordnance Survey put the entirety of the UK in Minecraft last year.

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-09-24-ordnance-survey-maps-britain-in-minecraft

    Edit: Not actually the whole UK, just Britain. But still.

    • Ich Will says:

      That’s not 1:1 though – trust me, the river test in Southampton isn’t 10 meters wide at the docks!

      • TonyB says:

        Fair enough, point conceded.

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        Gap Gen says:

        Probably shouldn’t matter, either way it’d be run through an automated map converter I imagine.

    • El Stevo says:

      A 1:1 copy isn’t feasible for Britain. The highest point in Denmark is only 171 m and the deepest lake only 38 m, easily within Minecraft’s default built height limits of 193 m above sea level and 63 m below sea level. The highest point in Great Britain, on the other hand, is 1344 m, and the deepest lake 310 m.

      • vivlo says:

        hahaha “yo’ country so flat it fits in Minecraft limits”

  13. TormDK says:

    Madness? This is SPARTA DENMARK!

    I like that my tax kroner are funding something as educational as Denmark in Minecraft, good on the administration I say.

    • Similar says:

      Agreed. Would be nice if you could actually try it, though. Their MC servers are down and you have to make an account to download the maps, but their account system is apparently broken.
      I imagine things are a tad overloaded right now, but still.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        There needs to be some kind of support group for all the hard-working people who’s servers are utterly destroyed by RPS each year.

  14. Laco says:

    Obvious application: Google Glass or AR goggles. Imagine walking around real-life Denmark, seeing the world in Minecraft-vision!

  15. Patrick Christensen says:

    Dane here.
    Tried it out, compared some stuff to real life – including my own home.
    http://funnyjunk.com/channel/videogames/Minecraft+vs+Real+Life/rumDLeh/

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    Christian Dannie Storgaard says:

    Yay, doesn’t work in the latest Minecraft version. Now I’m sure it was developed by part of the Danish government!