I was recommended this book by a friend who knows that my daughter is now living Danishly and enjoying herself immensely. The byline of the title is ‘Uncovering the secrets of the word’s happiest country’. It’s great news that my daughter is living in the world’s happiest country but what is their secret? I had a read to find out. The first thing I find out is that the author is taken to Denmark when her husband gets a job at Lego, the headquarters of which are about an hour away from where my daughter has settled so there is even some familiarity in there from when I have visited. It is written in an engaging and easy to read way though there are rather a lot of statistics.
Visiting another country often open us up to other cultures which is one of the joys of travel for me. Here the author is living in another country and despite not being very far away, the Danes’ lives are quite different to ours. The author takes us through her introduction to Denmark on a month by month basis, always trying to find out why the Danes are so happy. She asks each of the Danes she meets or speaks to how they would rate their happiness out of 10. No one scores below an 8 which certainly backs up the theory that the Danes are very happy though I can’t help feeling that not everyone can be that happy.
It isn’t all good though, with sexual discrimination appearing to be quite prevalent. While the laws protect against discrimination and the maternity and paternity packages are very generous, according to the book there is a lot of less formal discrimination in the form of questions at interview about likelihood of having a baby, a high rate of women being let go during maternity leave and a somewhat shocking and bizarre TV show. Here, fully clothed men appraise a line of naked women, commenting on every aspect of their body. It certainly brings a new meaning to the likes of Blind Date!
Despite that, the Danes are friendly and do indeed seem happy and suffer less stress. As the author points out this is particularly commendable for a country that experiences severe winter weather and a distinct lack of daylight for a large part of the year. The conclusion is that the Danes are happy as they appreciate the simple things in life (part of hygge that has been so prevalent of late), appreciate each other and live in a country with a relatively small population helping the sense of being part of an exclusive club. They also know how to play (well, they did create Lego!).
Does the author extend her year of living Danishly – I won’t give that one away just now!