This year Denmark was ranked second in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report having been top of the list the year before. And for the last few years I have become a little obsessed with trying to find out the Danish secret of happiness. So, when Mr EBB bought me a long weekend in Copenhagen for my birthday I was excited that I would finally get to check out whether the Danes were in fact as happy as everyone said and if so just what their secret is.
Here’s what I learnt from 4 days of completely unscientific research amongst the people of Copenhagen:
1. Slow down
The Danes we saw never seemed to be in a hurry, whether it was the slowest moving queue in the supermarket on a Friday night or on a bus at rush hour on a Monday, I never saw a Dane rushing anywhere, or appearing stressed about time. No one shoved others out of the way to get on the bus – even in the rain or got annoyed at how long they had to wait in the supermarket queue. They seemed to take everything in their stride and just go with the flow. Danes also seem to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life, from a coffee to a stroll in the park to a meal with friends. See point 2…
2. Get cosy
Hygge (a Danish term) has been well talked/written about LOADS over the last couple of years. While it has no literal translation, it basically represents a feeling of cosiness, contentment and wellbeing. I’ve been reading a lot about hygge and was pleased to see evidence of it in action on our trip to Copenhagen. In the apartment we stayed in there were fairy lights and candles in every room. At the coffee shops and bars there were blankets on all the outdoor seats. And everywhere we went there were groups of people out enjoying the simple things in life from coffee, brunch, dinner, drinks, looking content and happy just to be in each other’s company.
3. Trust & respect
I was surprised in Copenhagen to see that many people leave their bikes unlocked along the side of the streets. In London bikes don’t seem to be safe even when locked up – which makes me incredibly sad. There seemed to be a complete trust in the other people in the city as well as a complete respect for others. Itseemed that no matter what someone’s job or social situation, others respected them and their role. Something which has to go a long way towards building a happier, more harmonious community. We didn’t see anyone begging on the streets because the state takes care of people when they are in need – whether that’s childcare, education, healthcare, employment or housing. Danish people are cared for by their Government and therefore they do not need to worry. As the taxi driver who took us back to the airport put it: “Danish people live for today because someone else is worrying about tomorrow.” What a beautiful way to be able to live.
From fashion to interior design everything in Denmark felt sleek, clean, calm and simple. It is the epitome of how I want to live my life. Less things, organised simply.
5. Eat well
We had so much good, healthy food in Denmark. And while food and drink out there is EXPENSIVE. I loved the number of independent coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. We obviously chose those serving healthy, vegetarian food but there was plenty of choice all round. Here is a list of our favourite spots:
BOB Biomio Organic Bistro – organic vegetarian and vegan restaurant
Mad & Kaffe – the best brunch – served tapas style
Neighbourhood – Pizza but not as you know it! The thinnest crispiest pizzas with super unusual organic toppings – vegetarian and vegan options available accompanied by beer or cocktails.
Hafina Bar – smoothies, juices, acai bowls and sugar free cakes
So those are the things I learnt from my time in Denmark (also a little influenced by the reading I have done on the subject – I’ve listed a couple of the books I’ve read below…). They are all things I’d like to incorporate into my life to bringing even more happiness. Now excuse me while I go and lust over Scandi-lifestyle pics on Pinterest.
Scandinavian Lifestyle Inspiration
Book: A Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
Book: Hygge by Miki Wiking
Blog/You Tube Channel: Use Less
Follow my Pinterest Scandinavian Influenced Lifestyle Board