The family way!

Never mind see-saws, Denmark has its famous work-life balance and children as contented as their parents

Ever noticed how many popular TV series have the word ‘family’ in them? ‘Modern Family’, ‘Family Guy’, ‘Family Ties’, ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Family Feud/Fortunes’ … the list is kind of endless. 

After all, as far as target customers go, the family’s an easy gig, sitting and laughing together, tolerant of repeats and missed beats. Nobody’s going to put the word ‘family’ in a horror or disaster film. Family is its own genre.

But none of this is very cool. A quick search on Google reveals that ‘family’ is a word avoided at all costs by the music industry. Only the Pointer Sisters prevailed with ‘We are family’. Nobody wants to like the same music as their Dad.

Far more than normal
Denmark might be an exception, though. The result of its famous work-life balance perhaps (see pages 4-5), families appear to enjoy far more time and activities together.

Ever noticed how popular those ‘Far til fire’ films are? At the last count, there have been 19 … and they’ve been going strong since 1959. No fantasy, like with most children’s films, it’s mostly munDane. 

Besides, Lukas Graham seemed to do pretty well singing about family – and never mind dancing with Dad, there are times when it even sounds like they’re listening to his advice.

Unique childhood
When you consider Scandinavian life in general – from the hygge and the Jantelovn, to the short prison sentences for murderers and the liberal attitudes to sex and nudity – you start to realise that most of this stems from what is a rather unique childhood (see pages 6-7). 

When it comes to bringing up their kids, the Danes are steadfastly against going with the flow, as if they’re saying: “You’re disgusted by a TV show that shows weird-looking naked adults to pre-teens … fine, you deal with the fallout when an entire generation thinks perfect is the norm” and “Children need to see what the inside of a giraffe looks like.”

As long-stay expats in Denmark, foreign parents face a challenge ensuring their offspring retain their nationality. And sometimes the easiest option is to just give in and let your children absorb their surroundings. 

Orientated to kids
After all, it’s tremendous fun being a kid in Denmark. With playgrounds in every park and sports and culture clubs vying for their after-school participation, there is never a shortage of activities for them to do (see pages 8-9).

While the options may dry up in the winter, this gives families more time to huddle up at home for hygge, heated boardgame sessions and home cinema. 

And then in the summer, the country is yours with all manner of family excursions just a few hours away (see pages 10-11).

We hope this special edition will inspire you and your brood to make the most of your time in Denmark. Few countries are more orientated and suited to wholesome family fun. 

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