Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The Year of Living Danishly

 

Author: Helen Russell

Publisher: Icon Books

Year: 2015

This was definitely a bookstagram make me read it book. I saw someone’s review of The Year of Living Danishly here on booksta and thought it looked interesting. 

Journalist Helen Russell moved from London to rural Denmark when her husband landed his dream job at LEGO. Helen was surprised to learn that statistics showed Denmark is the happiest country in the world. The Danes are famous for hygge- the feeling of coziness, comfort, well being, and contentment. Helen gave herself a year to discover what makes the Danes so happy and to see if some of that happiness and contentment could rub off on her. 

Helen looked at the Danish educational system, jobs, food, interior design, hobbies, employment, healthcare, and taxes. Danes pay some of the highest taxes in the world, but the amount of social services they receive is astounding (compared to here in the US). 

There are some huge differences in the Danes attitude toward their jobs compared to the US. Their wages provide a high standard of living no matter what the job is. They don’t put in overtime and leave the office at a reasonable time every day, and they have a generous amount of vacation days. Their family leave and child care policies (for both mothers and fathers) frankly puts the US to shame. 

Of course, Denmark is not perfect. Sexism and misogyny can be found. And Russell points out that Denmark is dealing with racism after a rise in immigration over the past few years. 

Russell’s breezy and often humorous writing style made this a quick read. It’s fascinating to see how people in other countries think and live. Since it’s officially the first day of winter, it’s a good time for me to practice some hygge by lighting some candles, snuggling up in a blanket in front of the fire, and reading a book. I’ll skip the pickled herring though. 😀 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

QOTD: how do you practice hygge? 

My answer: tbh it’s been easier since I retired. More time to be with family, to walk with the dogs, to try a new recipe, to just be. 

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