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Overview

Denmark is the happiest place to live on earth. This is not a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, numerous surveys have confirmed it. But part of this little Nordic country's remarkable bliss factor is owed to high taxes. The Danes' liberal social-welfare system provides a soft pillow from cradle to grave and the fact that everyone pays high taxes can mean that the person riding alongside you on a bicycle can be a banker or a baker — given the excellent education system they can choose to be either. Having a country with a cool capital such as Copenhagen, vibrant market towns and perfectly-preserved medieval towns such as Ribe, 7000 ...

Denmark is the happiest place to live on earth. This is not a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, numerous surveys have confirmed it. But part of this little Nordic country's remarkable bliss factor is owed to high taxes. The Danes' liberal social-welfare system provides a soft pillow from cradle to grave and the fact that everyone pays high taxes can mean that the person riding alongside you on a bicycle can be a banker or a baker — given the excellent education system they can choose to be either. Having a country with a cool capital such as Copenhagen, vibrant market towns and perfectly-preserved medieval towns such as Ribe, 7000 kilometers of romantically-windswept coastline, and an array of pristine offshore islands for weekend escapes can't hurt either. There's also the country's Viking history to engage you, with its many preserved monuments such as the Viking longboats at Roskilde and Trelleborg, a gastronomic organic cuisine to sate you, and myriad spas and wellness centers to pamper and relax you. From the sandy beaches and vast dunes of north Jutland to the fishing villages and nature walks in Zeeland, Denmark offers a wealth of opportunities to be happy. And the Danes know it, no more it seems than when they're sipping a beer canal-side, downing delicious herring, contemplating myriad smørrebrød (open sandwiches), deconstructing their signature Danish pastries, and being overly polite to each other. And when they're not enjoying life, they are designing funky and functional furniture, sleek buildings and new Lego kits — yes even Viking-themed ones — for us to enjoy.

Lara Dunston
About the Expert

Lara Dunston and Terry Carter have traveled to over 60 countries and written more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Rough Guides, Footprint, and others on destinations in the Middle East, Europe, and South America.

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Lara Dunston for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.
  • Language: Danish, Faroese and more
  • Currency: Danish krone
  • Research: Wikitravel | Denmark
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight