As if once again being declared the world’s happiest nation wasn’t enough to stroke the national ego, the British press added to the flames over the past week with a collection of articles on the fabulousness of Copenhagen.
First up, the Guardian posted a 1,400-word tome espousing the wonders of the city. Following on from a previous piece in which it told its readers that they should all move to Nørrebro, some may wonder if the Guardian is in cahoots with tourism organisation Visit Copenhagen.
The latest effusive praise, entitled ‘Copenhagen really is wonderful, for so many reasons’, was written by Copenhagen-based blogger Cathy Strongman – a contributor to InOut – and was a tribute to the Danish work-life balance, national welfare system, Danish design, and several of the other predictable candidates.
The national Danish press ate up the praise, and Facebook and Twitter feeds lit up with links to the story. Both Politiken and Berlingske newspapers ran articles with headlines declaring that the Guardian “lavishes praise on Denmark” and a rundown of Stongman’s list of compliments.
However, Berlingske made no mention of any of the less than glowing parts of Strongman’s lengthy love letter. Politiken, at least, pointed out that Stongman included high prices and bad weather as Copenhagen’s negative sides, but it conveniently left out any mention of her comments that Danes display “a greater willingness to conform” and that in Copenhagen there is “a lack of … cultural diversity and understanding” and “an unspoken fear among many that this perfect society, which functions so efficiently because of universal high taxes, might shatter under the strain of an influx of immigrants”.
Not to be outdone by its competitors, BBC then got into the game by publishing a travel article entitled ‘Living green in Copenhagen’, in which it declared our fair city “Europe’s greenest” and praised Copenhagen’s cycling culture and our apparent penchant for organic food and fabrics.
Even Jeremy Clarkson, the host of BBC’s popular motoring programme ‘Top Gear’, penned a column for The Sunday Times in which he expressed admiration for the Danes’ use of the old iron horse.
Both additional feathers in Denmark’s cap were dutifully reported by the national press.
With all these reminders from across the North Sea about how wonderful we are – which then make the rounds through a self-glorifying echo chamber – it’s no wonder we’re so damn happy.