Danish Language Blog

The World’s Happiest People Posted by on Mar 31, 2016 in Uncategorized


From the celebration of Margrethe II’s 40th anniversary as Queen of Denmark. (Photo courtesy of Comrade Foot at Flickr, CC License.)

Do all Danes wake up to Pharell’s song ”Happy”? According to FN (De Forenede Nationer  United Nations), they probably should. The 2016 World Happiness Report once again kårer (elects) Denmark as verdens lykkeligste folk (the happiest people on earth), followed by Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland.

Maybe it’s because Danes take so many lykkepiller (happiness pills = antidepressants), an Australian bartender earnestly jokes. Ude på gaden smiler folk til solen (out in the street, people are smiling to the sun). In the rainy winter months, however, many people do suffer from vinterdepression (winter depression). A Norwegian friend of mine asked me why so many Danes look angry?

A pretty Dane. (Photo courtesy of Xuanxu at Flickr.)

A pretty Dane. (Photo courtesy of Xuanxu at Flickr, CC License.)

Turister often think of Danmark as a magical country from an H. C. Andersen eventyr (fairytale). They go to ”Wonderful Copenhagen” that is so peaceful that politiet (the police) stops the cars so andemor og hendes ællinger (mother duck and her ducklings) may cross the street. In recent years, however, there have been many ugly misforståelser (misunderstandings) between ”traditional” Danes and new groups such as Muslim Danes. No matter how you vote, I hope we can agree that Denmark is a changing land that is both exciting and a bit confusing! 🙂

Here are some things to be happy about in Denmark:

  • there’s almost no fattigdom (poverty). Jobs are well paid, and staten (the state) helps people who are unable to work or find a job.
  • life’s – comparatively – easy. Mad (food) is quite billig (cheap), and there’s public transport everywhere.
  • basic uddannelse (education) is free, as are most medical services (except the dentist and, ahem, the psychologist)
  • Denmark has got some of the world’s prettiest women (and maybe men, I can’t quite tell)
  • the Danish language has got so many vowels that you can sing all day long 😉

Do you agree that Denmark is the world’s happiest place? I would love to hear your stories and experiences! 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.