Why are the Danes so smug?
March 23rd 2007, 11:36 | Bryan HubbardWhy are the Danes so smug? In every survey over the past 30 years, the Danes have come out on top as the most satisfied and fulfilled people in Europe.
Usually around two-thirds of Danes categorise themselves as being "very satisfied" with life which is more than double that recorded in other European countries.
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark decided to investigate, and concluded that the smugness was down to a range of factors.
Hair colour: It's been scientifically proven, and later endorsed by Rod Stewart, that "blondes have more fun". However, there are more blondes in Sweden, and they are bloody miserable.
Genes: Is self-satisfaction genetic? The Danes and the Swedes share the same genotypes, and the Swedes are. . .(see above).
Food: The Danes conclusively prove that happiness is no way associated with good food. The staple diet consists of potatoes and gravy and, for a special treat, they'll eat 'butter breads', which we can only assume is bread with butter on it.
Climate: The Danes also conclusively prove that a good climate is not associated with happiness. The Danish weather is even colder and cloudier than England's. In 2004 there were 1539 hours of sunshine in Copenhagen, 1573 in London and 1821 in Stockholm, which is in Sweden, where the people are . . .(see above).
Language: The Danes don't say they are "satisfied" as that's English. They say they are "tilfred". The Swedish would say they are "nojd". Tilfred is an easy word to say; nojd isn't. Perhaps Swedish people find it easier to say "bloody miserable" (in English) than their native "nojd", which suggests the results could be skewed.
Alcohol and smoking: Experts tell us that smoking lots of cigarettes and drinking gallons of alcohol is bad for our wellbeing. The Danes are carrying out a lengthy experiment to disprove this theory.
General health: When the Danes are asked about their own health, they come out top. However, when independent researchers conduct similar surveys, the Danes are among the least healthy. Life expectancy in Denmark is 13th out of the 15 countries surveyed. This may be a consequence of 'Alcohol and smoking'.
Sport: The Danes don't do sport. They did once, in 1992, when their nation amazingly won the European football Championship. It's true to say the Danes have lived off the glory ever since (see 'Alcohol and smoking').
Expectations: The Danes are never disappointed. However, Italians and Greeks, who have the highest expectations in Europe, spend their days in utter despair and depression.
So the key to happiness seems to be: win a football game once in a while (England take note), and expect nothing else from life.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2006; 333: 1289-91).