Studies claim that Danes are the happiest people on Earth – at least as a nation.
But is life really all champagne and strawberries in Denmark? Or are these studies full of “BAE”?
Why are Danes happy?
According to Visit Denmark, part of the secret lies in equality. High taxes level the playing field a lot as the cost of health care, education and child care are shared. The ones who earn the most, pay the most. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to go. I’m glad if it works that way here. In Finland, the “haves” are annoyed by the fact that they pay for the lives of the “have-nots”. And the “have-nots” are whining that the “haves” are not paying ENOUGH taxes. Taxation in Finland doesn’t make people happy. It makes people angry.
I have not heard as much whining here in Copenhagen. Perhaps I do not know enough rich people in Denmark yet – or for that matter, any from the poorer sections of society. I, so far, only know people who work 9 to 5 five days a week and do just fine in life.
The UN report also found out that Danes trust their government, which is something I can’t say about the Finns. Based on what I’ve heard in the coffee room though, nationalist thoughts have been rising and that does not fit well with the more open people.
But that’s what studies claim: equality and trust.
How I see it
Beer. It must be all the beer. Danes are know for – well, first of all for drinking a lot of it, but secondly – for quality beers. For most other people, alcohol here seems overpriced. But for a Finn, beer here is cheap. I can get a really good small brewery product for 15-30 Danish krona which at the moment would be 2-4 euros. And I’m not talking about some small 0,33l crappy cans – I’m talking about beautiful 0,5l glass bottles. I’m talking about beers that have been brewed with love. And you can taste it.
In Finland such beers would start from around 4€ a bottle. Well, to be honest, you might get a small 0,33l for 3 or 3,5 euros if you’re lucky, but then again, you might end up paying 5-10 euros per bottle depending on the brewery. And guess what… In Finland these good microbrewery products can only be found at Alko – the state monopoly – as only they sell products that contain more than 4,7 % alcohol. In Denmark, you can buy quality beers from any small market.
And people drink beer all the time. Not at work. Well, on Friday’s at work as well… But here it is alright to have a beer over lunch any day of the year. No one shuns you. No one thinks you’re doing something wrong if you order a cold one at brunch. It’s part of the culture.
And I love it.