When she was suddenly given the opportunity of a new life in rural Jutland, journalist and archetypal Londoner Helen Russell discovered a startling statistic: the happiest place on earth isn't Disneyland but Denmark, a land often thought of by foreigners as consisting entirely of long, dark winters, cured herring, Lego and pastries. What is the secret to their success? Are happy Danes born or made?
Helen decides there is only one way to find out: she will give herself a year, trying to uncover the formula for Danish happiness. From child care, education, food and interior design to SAD, taxes, sexism and an unfortunate predilection for burning witches, The Year of Living Danishly is a funny, poignant record of a journey that shows us where the Danes get it right, where they get it wrong, and how we might just benefit from living a little more Danishly ourselves.
Helen Russell is a journalist and former editor of MarieClaire.co.uk. She now lives in rural Jutland and works as a Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian as well as writing a column on Denmark for the Telegraph.
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About the Author
Helen Russell is a journalist and former editor of MarieClaire.co.uk. She now lives in rural Jutland, Denmark, and works as a Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian and the Independent (UK), as well as writing a column on Denmark for the Telegraph.
Table of Contents
Prologue: Making Changes - The Happiness Project ix
1 January - Hygge & Home 1
2 February - Forgetting the 9-5 35
3 March - Leisure & Languages 61
4 April - Great Danes & Other Animals 87
5 May-Traditions & Getting Told Off 105
6 June - Just a Girl 131
7 July- Going Away & Playing Away 159
8 August-The Kids are Alright 183
9 September-Butchers, Bakers & Culture Makers 211
10 October-In Sickness & in Health 239
11 November - 'Here comes the Snow/Sleet/ Soul-destroying Darkness…' 259
12 December-Trusting the Taxman (or Woman) 283
13 Christmas - God Jul! 303
Epilogue: Made in Denmark 337
Top ten tips for living Danishly 349