|Taken from my Instagram here|
I had high expectations about this book - so many people had raved about it and mentioned wanting to move to Denmark afterwards, or at least recreating a little of Denmark at home. The author, Helen Russell, is persuaded to move from London to Denmark for a year after her husband gets a job at Lego. As a journalist, she decides to investigate why Denmark is labelled the happiest country in the world, speaking to famous names from Denmark's worlds of art, culture and education (to mention just a few). The book is divided up into the months of the year, focusing on a specific topic and discoveries that month, wrapped up with a 'things I've learned this month' section. If the book had simply focused on facts and statistics, I don't think I'd have kept reading but I really enjoyed discovering Danish culture through Helen's eyes, as she was even able to find the funny side of moving to a new country in January, when the cold and dark drives everyone indoors, and they're sternly reprimanded by their bearded neighbours (the Misters Beard) for running the wrong flag up their flag pole. It turns out that Denmark is a country that loves a rule, where tradition is keenly prized, where although the citizens are eye-wateringly taxed, they are really well looked after by the state and this fills them with a sense of national pride and people appear to genuinely trust each other.
|Image found on Pinterest here|
Trust, as I mentioned above, seems to be the key to happiness - making people around you happy, and yourself happier by not stressing so much. There's also so much importance placed on family and friends, which I love - the traditions and rituals which form a great part of Danish society all focus on spending more time with the people who are important to you. Doing activities outside work is massively encouraged - sport, craft, whatever you're interested in. As play forms a huge part of children's education, it's something we shouldn't stop doing as adults - life is to be enjoyed! And what about hygge, which after reading this book, seemed to be a concept I've spent my whole life looking for without realising it...
|Image found here|
Also, if this book doesn't leave you craving Danish pastries, then you're a stronger person than I am. They're hygge too, you know.