As World Happiness Day approaches on 20 March, Denmark shares its happiness tips as well as the happiest places to visit.
Denmark has championed the World Happiness Report since it was launched in 2012, hitting top spot in 2012, 2013 and 2016, and runner up in 2019 and 2020. Aarhus and Copenhagen were ranked in the top 5 happiest cities worldwide.
International happiness expert, Meik Wiking is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute based in Copenhagen. He comments that happiness does not have to come at a price. “Denmark has been able to decouple wellbeing from wealth. Whether rich or poor, you are able to enjoy a relatively high level of quality of life. We also see that levels of trust can explain national differences in happiness levels.”
Danish happiness concepts:
The Scandinavian concept of ‘friluftsliv‘ – living life in the fresh air – is easy to activate wherever you are and does not depend on income level. The weather is not a barrier to getting outside in nature, embracing outdoor swimming, countryside walks and cycling.
The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ is about enjoying life. Take some time to consider personal happiness – a beer with a friend, a good book and make it a priority! A little bit of hygge every day is the key to a happy life.
Look for ways to build trust in your community or area. Danes have a high level of connectedness and involvement in groups and volunteering. This increases feelings of ‘samfundssind‘ or community feeling, which in turn breeds trust.
Happiness landmarks in Denmark
It’s not just Danish lifestyle that makes people happier, city planning and design play a part:
This bright red playground and outdoor fitness park is in an unlikely place on the roof of one of the buildings in Copenhagen’s newest Nordhavn district, complete with ocean views and trampolines.
If you go down to the woods today, you’ll find more than 10 trolls ready to surprise you. It’s part of artist Thomas Dambo’s drive to get people exploring the lesser-visited parts of Denmark.
This circular bridge near Aarhus is a bridge to nowhere. The only reason to visit is to enjoy the walk, the fresh air and the sea views.
In Aarhus, Olafur Eliasson’s Your Rainbow Panorama, set at the top of the ARoS modern art gallery, has views across the city and allows you to walk inside a rainbow.
Want to ride a wave of happiness? In Vejle, the Wave is an apartment block with a difference. It loops up and down next to the fjord and is just another example of joyful living and design from Denmark.