Denmark and the World Happiness Report

Article by: Penny Jackson, guide at Copenhagen Free Walking Tours
Photos by: Laura Ioana V, guide and resident foodie @lauraioanaeats

The World Happiness Report

The World Happiness Report was released on the 23rd of March 2021 and Denmark ranks as the 3rd happiest nation behind Iceland in 2nd and Finland in 1st. The World Happiness Report is a publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network gathering, compiling, and analyzing a wide array of data and surveys. In addition to ranking in the top 3 of the happiest nations, two Danish cities are also in the top 5 with Aarhus second to Helsinki and Copenhagen as the 5th happiest city in the world.  

The Happiness Research Institute and Happiness Museum in Copenhagen

Our friends at the Happiness Research Institute gave the tour guides of Copenhagen Free Walking Tours insights why data suggests people living in Denmark are among the happiest people in the world. The Happiness Museum opened its doors in 2020 on Admiralsgade 19, next to Nikolaj Kirken, a church built in 1591 right in the heart of the city! The museum is bright, informative and somewhat interactive aimed at helping us understand why Denmark is often called the happiest country on earth and why more and more countries are focusing on their GNH - Gross National Happiness. 

Copenhagen Docks
Summers in Copenhagen

We were given a private tour of the museum by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and author of the Little Book Hygge, which has sold over 1 million copies worldwide, Meik Wiking. Meik greeted us on a gray day in Copenhagen with a bright smile, as we walked into the bright yellow, neoclassical building. Meik shared with us the science behind measuring happiness. As tour guides, we are often asked why are the Danes so happy?

The Little Book of Hygge
The Little Book of Hygge

Why are Danes so happy?

Denmark along with its northern neighbors are ranked high on this list even if the dark, dreary weather would otherwise suggest. The Happiness Research Institute quantifies happiness not with how many times a day a person finds themselves smiling, but rather by the overall satisfaction of how one’s life is going. Some of the characteristics these countries share that increase overall life satisfaction are: 

  • High levels of prosperity: Suggests there is a correlation of happiness to GDP, although the happiest nations are not necessarily the wealthiest. 
  • Good balance in life: Denmark has one of the shortest work weeks, minimum of 5 weeks holiday (not counting public holidays) and nearly a full year for parental leave. A good balance between work life and home life is key to happiness. 
  • Satisfaction with personal relationships: Is there someone in your life you can rely on in times of need, someone with whom to share your hopes and worries? As social creatures, satisfaction with relationships correlates with satisfaction with life overall. 
  • Social support and healthy life expectancy: The welfare state is great in Denmark which includes; universal healthcare, free university, unemployment benefits among many other forms of support and security from the tax funded welfare programs. This leads to happiness because it allows people to feel secure in times of uncertainty, less stress and more life satisfaction knowing that those around you are safe and secure as well. 
  • Absence of corruption: Danes have a high level of trust in all levels of society, yes even politicians are trusted. One of the ways trust is evident in Danish society is often seeing prams / strollers with babies outside of cafes or boutiques while their parents are inside and bikes parked all throughout the city with only the back tire locked.

We believe that Denmark has something extra which factors into our happiness; hygge. We will share more about hygge in one of our future articles but until then, you can visit the links below for more details about the World Happiness Report.

Copenhagen Harbor
Enjoying the harbor with friends and wine
Copenhagen Outdoors
Enjoying the sun and nature in Copenhagen

Next time you are in Copenhagen, join one of our tours so we can share more about the Happiness Report and the Happiness Museum with you! You can book your tips-based walking tour on our website.

Planning to visit some of the top 10 of the happiest countries? Check out our friends.

Thank you for reading the article. For more travel tips from our local guides around the world, check the blog section of our website! We release unique travel recommendations every week. Have you read our last article about Danish Carnival Traditions?

If you like this article or have any questions, feel free to leave us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More blog posts 

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this