Crazier than Christmas | Oh happy Danes!

Vivenneweb
August 18th, 2014 7:00 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

How happy are you on a scale of 1-10? I asked this as part of my stand-up comedy show ‘Killing the Danes’, which I performed in London this summer, and told audiences to base their decision on the same criteria used by the UN Happiness Report – factors like income, health benefits, lack of corruption, trust etc.

London’s limits
Hardly anyone amongst the London audiences returned a score as high as seven. I told them that Denmark has been labelled the happiest nation in the world every year since surveys began in 1976, and that, as members of the EU, they could hop on a plane tomorrow and join the happy Danes and share their happy lives. But I made this proposal with a gentle warning.

The Danes are happy. It’s true. When I asked the same question in the Copenhagen version of my show, there was a avalanche of 8, 9, and 10s from the Danes in the audience.


“Mmmmh, sausage caked in sand, how hyggeligt”

As cheery as Von Trier
But why are they so happy? After all, they make the most depressing prize-winning crime series (‘The Killing’, ‘The Bridge’) and angst-ridden films (‘Melancholia’, ‘Antichrist’) on the planet, and yet are not internationally recognised for any laugh-out-loud comedies.

They have high taxation, an alarming suicide rate and many Danes complain loudly about day-to-day things that other nations shrug off as normal or trivial. So why? Could it be because their expectations are lower than those of other nations?

Happy with their lot
The average Dane, with his efficient health service, reasonable salary, and (relatively) uncorrupt government is deliriously happy – not when he receives his monthly pay check, but when the sun comes out.

A Dane is thrilled to bits if he has a good wind behind him when he is cycling on those bitterly cold winter evenings when it gets dark at 3.30pm. A Dane is beaming on Friday afternoons sitting in traffic on the way to his summerhouse located a short distance from his home.

If you ask him what he does there, he looks nonplussed. He does nothing very much. Every weekend he drives from his small apartment in Copenhagen to his smaller and, often quite primitive, summer shack close to a beach. And, once there, he does the same as he did in the city. He cycles around, reads the paper and he grills.

Undisputed grillmeisters
Danes grill more than any other country in the world. Often he does not communicate with anyone but his closest family for the whole weekend. There are no outings to crowded pubs in the evening to meet and chat with other drinkers. No cricket or baseball matches to watch on the village green. No impromptu invitations to strangers to come and visit. A Dane is happiest when there are no surprises.

And maybe therein lies the key to his happiness. A sense of security and predictability. And, when I look at other nations and their fears for now and the future, who can knock that?

The opening of the festival's main stage is viewed as an esteemed honour by many (photo: Bill Ebbesen)
Syrian National Orchestra to open Roskilde Festival
The Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music with Damon Albarn and g...
The wind turbine manufacturer expects to make at least 67 billion kroner in revenue this year (photo: Samir Luther)
Vestas announces another strong annual result
Vestas shares surged 10 percent today after the company announced a record...
Payment will be made using the vehicle's number-plate (photo: kk.dk)
Copenhagen ushering in digital parking throughout the city
In a bid to make it easier and more flexible for motorists to park in the c...
The Veteran Council will be open both to soldiers and humanitarian workers returning from a mission (photo: iStock)
Municipalities to support returnees from war and disaster zones
The municipalities of Gladsaxe, Herlev and Ballerup are opening Denmark's f...
Support the traditional Danish drinking establishments this month (photo: Tuborg)
Celebrating the old-style bodega with a round on the house every Friday in February
In a bid to give Denmark's struggling old-style bodegas a helping hand, Tub...
Unfortunately, the meteorite hasn't been recorded on camera directly. (photo: iStock)
Meteorite landing site located in Greater Copenhagen area
The Natural History Museum has established that the meteorite that hit Denm...