Denmark recently made headlines with its first place ranking in the United Nation’s 2016 World Happiness Report, but we didn’t need a title to tell us that! DIS Student Blogger Eden shares her insight with you on what is behind Danish happiness. Read on to learn about what she has discovered to be the aspects of Danish culture that attribute most to this happy country!
1. Simple commute
It might be long, but at least it’s not complicated! The Danish transportation system is very modern and efficient. If you’re not within walking or biking distance of a train station, you can easily hop on a bus to get to your destination; the bus stops are everywhere! The train makes your commute even easier, as you can bring your bike on board for free.
- Even though fellow DIS Blogger Carli has a long commute, she makes the most of her time on the train—check out her thoughts here. Maybe Danes are such a happy people because, instead of spending their time sitting in traffic on their morning commute, they are able to relax in one of Denmark’s comfortable public transportation vehicles.
- DIS Blogger Bailey, who is in the Urban Studies program at DIS, has learned about the intricacies of the public transportation system in Denmark—take a look at her insightful thoughts in her post!
2. Pedestrian-friendly streets
It’s nice not to have to share your path to class with tons of buses and cars. Just watch out for the bikes! Not only are the streets as cute as you could imagine, but the fact that you’re not constantly watching out for loud cars zooming by makes your walk to and from classes much more enjoyable. DIS is located in a perfect area for students—a few steps from restaurants, bakeries, and cozy cafes!
3. Pastries everywhere!
From Danish birthday parties to mid-week pick-me-ups, indulging in warm, freshly baked pastries is easy when bakeries are on every corner in Copenhagen. On Wednesdays, many bakeries sell specific cinnamon rolls, or snegles as they call them. They’re so popular, sometimes there is a line out the door!
- Read about Caroline’s interesting thoughts on the many food options she has tried out in Denmark.
4. Cute kids in even cuter snowsuits
While many people assume that cold weather makes people unhappy, Danes manage to stay positive throughout the winter season, and I think it’s mostly because their kids are so precious! Everywhere you look during the winter months, you see these tiny humans dressed in the tiniest snowsuits. On my short study tour with my Children in a Multicultural Context course, I was able to visit a Forest Kindergarten. There, all of the kids were covered in head to toe. Plus, these outfits keep the kids so warm they can fall in ice-cold puddles and not even bat an eye. Danes let their children learn from experience, which is perhaps another reason for their ‘happiest country’ title—they aren’t constantly worried about the safety of their kids.
After a few months here, I think I’ve finally grasped the concept. You see, hygge isn’t a word—it’s a feeling. It’s that feeling you get when you come inside after a long, cold, windy day and see your host has finished making dinner and the whole house smells like frikadeller. It’s the warmth of a few candles at the coffee shop to help you get through studying for that midterm. It’s when your host dog jumps on your bed and refuses to leave until you rub his belly and cuddle him. Hygge is what makes Denmark feel like home.
6. The feeling of (sort of) understanding another language
Let’s be real: Danish is sometimes a strange language. It has been a struggle to learn when I’m 20 and have lost most ability to learn unique phonemes. Even though most Copenhageners speak English, train station names and signs are in Danish. After four months of living in Denmark and taking my Danish Language and Culture class, I finally feel that I am not as utterly confused as when I first got here. (but – I am still trying to figure out how ‘æ’ sounds any different than ‘a’!)
7. Casual fashion
Locals have perfected the ‘effortless’ style, so you’ll never feel underdressed walking the streets of Copenhagen. While you won’t see too many people wearing workout clothes – Danes still manage to look put together without dressing too fancy. The mentality when putting together an outfit seems to be based on practicality; sneakers are often paired with skirts or dresses, and clothes are professional but not stiff! If you want to know what your clothes mean in Scandinavia, consider enrolling in The Meaning of Style at DIS.
8. Nature…in the city?
Whether in a suburb or right in the heart of Copenhagen, you are never far from some kind of nature. Because the city is located along the shore, water is all around you. If you ever need a break from the stress of school or life in general, a quick bike ride to the beach will calm your thoughts. And trust me, the beach is just as amazing (if not more) in the winter.