1. Progressive politics
Denmark’s politics are based on compromise. Because no government has held an absolute majority since the beginning of the 20th century, everyone tends to get a say. Old, young, gay, straight, rich, poor – everyone’s welcome in Denmark. The result? People here actually like their government, and it’s rated as one of the most accountable and transparent systems in the world.
2. Cities that work
Denmark believes in ‘people-friendly cities’. You know, the ones where a city’s design actually makes life better for the people living in it. Bicycles and pedestrians rule the streets, public transport is ubiquitous, cheap and efficient, money is invested back into parks and infrastructure, and everyone gets a say. It’s a nice change to visit a country where they probably haven’t heard the phrase ‘traffic jam’.
It’d be hard to find a greener bunch than the Danes. Copenhagen in particular has been singled out for its commitment to sustainable development. It’s aiming to get 50 per cent of its citizens to cycle to work or school, not to mention going fully carbon neutral by 2025. It’s even got a special ‘Green Laboratory’ devoted to thinking up new eco-technologies for the country.
4. Great design
There’s a certain Danish attitude towards food, fashion, architecture and fine art: less is more. You’ll find a simple and functional aesthetic in almost everything in Denmark, from chairs to buildings to dinner. The Danes even designed the sweeping wings of the iconic Sydney Opera House. It all comes back to the notion of hygge: the idea that beautiful things can enrich people’s lives.
5. Quality of life
It’s the thing every country is searching for. Everyone except Denmark. This little country of 5.7 million people consistently tops global rankings for quality of life, and it’s mostly down to the ‘Solidarity System’. This is the country’s idea that no one should be left behind. So although citizens pay a lot of tax (especially the rich ones), the country is rewarded with low unemployment, universal health care, great childcare, public transport and free education. Worth it.