Denmark is officially the happiest nation on Earth, so when journalist Helen Russell finds herself spending a year in rural Jutland, she decides she'll do all she can to uncover the secrets of the Danes' happiness. But will the long, dark winters and pickled herring take their toll?
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 childcare, 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.
About the Author
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.
'A lovely mix of English sensibility and Danish pragmatism. Helen seems to have understood more about the Danish character than I have! My only worry is that it will make everyone want to have a go and my holiday home area will get overcrowded.' -- Sandi Toksvig
'Russell is possessed of a razor-sharp wit and a winning self-deprecation - two of the things that make this book such a delight.' * The Independent *
'A hugely enjoyable romp through the pleasures and pitfalls of setting up home in a foreign land' -- PD Smith * Guardian *
'A wryly amusing account of a new life in a strange land.' * Choice Magazine *
'if you can't up sticks and move to Denmark... don't despair: here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up for getting a slice of the Danish work-life balance wherever you are.'
'Russell's husband takes a contract with Lego and they are catapulted into rural Jutland, in Denmark.
Russell, who is a fast living journalist in London, is at first overwhelmed with the silence, the people, the sheer differences of living in a very foreign country.
She then discovers that Danish people have the highest-rated happiness scores in the world... what's their secret? Why are they so damn happy?
I'll let you know, it's a lot to do with something called "Hygge".'
'Giving up isn't always a bad thing; being a dropout can even change your life for the better. Helen Russell was a high-flying glossy magazine editor before moving to rural Jutland in Denmark which, despite its long dark winters, is also statistically the happiest nation on earth. While there, Helen soon discovered there's more to Danish life than cured herring and Nordic knits, as she described in her book, "The Year of Living Danishly".'
'Ever bought a book for a friend and ended up reading it yourself? I dipped into this and ended up buying my own copy so I could finish it'
'A hugely enjoyable autobiographical account of upping sticks... to the sticks.'