Danes are the happiest people in the world, apparently

Sarah Lund might be surprised (and no doubt, unimpressed) to hear it, but Danish people are the happiest in the world.

That’s according to the United Nations, which, as The Telegraph reports, has ranked the world’s countries according to factors like life expectancy and individual freedoms. All of the Scandinavian countries made the top 10, but Britain lags behind at 22, just below Mexico (?) but above France and less surprisingly, Sierra Leone.

Denmark even has its own Happiness Research Institute, based in Copenhagen, which has found that factors including a stable economy, high social security, free higher education, the shortest workweek in Europe (34 hours, woo), and greater equality for gay people and women all boost Danes’ moods.

Helen Russell, the British author of a memoir called The Year of Living Danishly, which comes out on 8 January, moved to Denmark with her husband in 2013 and told The Telegraph that the Danes’ sense of happiness isn’t hedonistic or excitable, but calm and collected. ‘The Danish have a deep contentment with themselves and with their lives, which creates a solidarity and makes people more trusting of one another and less stressed,’ she said.

So it’s all down to quality of life and appreciating small pleasures rather than a non-stop fun fest. That or everyone’s filled with national pride over being home to one of the most fabulous feminist TV characters of all time, Birgitte Nyborg from Borgen.

Image by Jacob Bøtter via Wikimedia Commons.

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Diane Shipley