The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country

By Helen Russell

Denmark is formally the happiest country on the earth. while Helen Russell is pressured to maneuver to rural Jutland, can she observe the secrets and techniques in their happiness? Or will the lengthy, darkish winters and pickled herring take their toll?

A yr of residing Danishly appears to be like at the place the Danes get it correct, the place they go wrong, and the way we would simply reap the benefits of residing a bit extra Danishly ourselves.

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All of us are inclined to glance greatly alike,’ he informed me. ‘There’s a uniform, counting on your age and intercourse. ’ ladies lower than forty it seems that wore thin denims, loose-fitting T-shirts, leather-based jackets, an artfully wound shawl and a topknot or poker-straight blonde hair. males less than 30 sported thin denims, excessive tops, slogan or band T-shirts and 90s bomber jackets with a few type of flat-top haircut. Older women and men most popular polo shirts, brilliant sneakers, slacks and jackets. and everybody wore sq. Scandi-issue black-rimmed glasses. ‘But ask a Dane how they’re feeling and what they give thought to appropriate and you’ll get extra various answers,’ stated Christian. ‘People don’t imagine a lot is bizarre in Denmark. ’ He defined how social distinction wasn’t taken too heavily and used the instance of the tennis membership to which he belonged. This instantly conjured up photos of WASP-ish, Hampton’s-style whites, ny iced tea, and undesirable Woody Allen movies yet Christian quickly set me instantly. ‘In Denmark, there’s no social one-upmanship excited about becoming a member of a activities membership – you simply are looking to play activities. a lot of people sign up for golf equipment the following, and that i play tennis on a regular basis with a instructor, a grocery store employee, a chippie and an accountant. we're all equivalent. Hierarchies aren’t fairly vital. ’ What Danes rather cared approximately, Christian advised me, was once belief: ‘In Denmark, we belief not just friends and family, but additionally the fellow or girl in the street – and this makes an enormous distinction to our lives and happiness degrees. excessive degrees of belief in Denmark were proven time and time back in surveys while individuals are requested, “Do you think that most folks may be depended on? ” greater than 70 in step with cent of Danes say: “Yes, most folks should be depended on. ” the typical for the remainder of Europe is simply over a 3rd. ’ This appeared outstanding to me – I didn’t belief 70 in line with cent of my . i used to be extra gobsmacked while Christian advised me that Danish mom and dad felt their young children have been so secure that they left infants’ prams unattended outdoor houses, cafés and eating places. motorcycles have been it appears left unlocked and home windows have been left open, all simply because belief in other folks, the govt and the approach was once so excessive. Denmark has a miniscule defence finances and, regardless of obligatory nationwide provider, the rustic may locate it nearly most unlikely to guard itself if below assault. yet simply because Denmark has such sturdy kinfolk with its neighbours, there's no cause to worry them. As Christian placed it: ‘Life’s rather a lot more uncomplicated if you can belief humans. ’ ‘And does Denmark’s social welfare process support with this? ’ I requested. ‘Yes, to an volume. There’s much less reason for distrust whilst everyone’s equivalent and being sorted by way of the country. ’ So what may occur if a right-wing celebration got here to energy or the govt. ran out of cash? What could turn into of the fabled Danish happiness if the country stopped taking care of each person? ‘Happiness in Denmark isn’t simply depending on the welfare country, having the Social Democrats in strength or how we’re doing within the world,’ Christian defined.

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