Danes are the most laid back of Scandinavians and the happiest people in the world. There are quite a few reasons that keeps them hale and hearty throughout the year, although it snows for most days of the year, which maybe a turn-off for many like us. Their high spirits can be attributed to the fact that they are thankful for the simple pleasures of life and have a good social support system. These are five of the many happy facts about the joyous Danes.
1) Danes are very passionate about protecting the environment and keeping their surroundings clean, which is why they love to cycle. This is like killing two birds with one stone. Cycling keeps them fit and at the same time keeps vehicular pollution in check. It's doesn't embarrass the citizens at all and you''ll find most of them cycling their way to work or school. In Copenhagen alone, 50% people commute by bike everyday and there are more bikes than inhabitants in the city. The other side of the story is that public transport is very expensive, and bikes are the cheapest modes of transport.
Perhaps we can take a cue from them and adopt these measures to battle our pollution woes, especially in large cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Denmark plans to become carbon neutral by 2025 and is working towards it.
2)Danes are disciplined people. They believe in following rules, especially traffic rules and make sure that they do not jaywalk even when no cars or bikes are plying on the roads. One of these days as I imagine our beloved Indians crossing heavily congested roads by ignoring traffic signals or safety rules for pedestrians, I think we can look upto them when it comes to pedestrian safety.
3) Denmark has one of the best child care models in the world. Expectant mothers get four weeks of paid maternity leave before pregnancy and fourteen weeks afterwards. Fathers get two paid weeks off and both parents are entitled to thirty two weeks during first nine years of a child's life. The state also takes care of three quarters of the child cost. Due to such gender neutral policies seventy percent of women in Denmark are employed and there is a very high percentage of women returning to work after childbirth.
4) University education is free in Denmark and generous grants make the country one of the best places to be a student. Sigh! I was remembering the times when I was running from pillar to post to pay off my educational loans. Only if our government had student friendly policies like these that wouldn't have made education a business.
5) Denmark has been ranked the happiest country in the world for the third time. They do not have high expectations from life and live for today, which is why they are stress-free in comparison to citizens of other countries.They have great freedom to make choices and practice generosity.
One of these days as I was filling up my migration forms, I regret choosing Canada over Denmark as my destination. Even though I am unsure of how perfectly will I fit into their mould, but to know of the kind of happiness that the Danes practice everyday will be a good learning lesson in life.