“Welcome to Denmark!” they may say, as you cross the North Sea into their beautiful kingdom. Or, more accurately, “Velkommen til Danmark!”, as it would be spoken in Danish. Although almost 9 out of 10 Danes actually have English as a second language, so they may still say “Welcome to Denmark!” … Come to think of it, you might not even arrive via the North Sea, you might get there through Germany or Sweden. Or if you fly, which I’d say is the most likely, it wouldn’t really be right to say that you arrived via the North Sea or even Baltic Sea, which it also borders… Yes, erm… Vikings!
Denmark, despite being once home to the loud and uproarious Vikings, have now chilled out somewhat (no pun intended). It is frequently lauded as a bastion of social equality, and ranks highly in metrics such as education, health care, civil liberty, democracy, prosperity and human development.
Perhaps because of the emphasis on the community, the Danes are ranked number one in the world in terms of well-being. It is home to the happiest work force in the world, though this happiness is not unique to the local populace. Studying here is a joy, as well as an education in itself, as simply observing such a society grants a tremendous amount of insight.
Denmark is serious about their investment in education, meaning the options available for students are extensive (including the languages courses are available in) and exquisitely taught at each level. Simply put, there is a lot to be gained from living and working here.
If you are interested in working while in Denmark, and you should be, Denmark has one of the world’s highest per capita incomes. But as the saying goes, more money, more problems. Except that there are far fewer problems here. It has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, next to no poverty, lots of financial security and its people are committed to clean technology and collective responsibility. Honestly, it’s a social paradise. And a cultural one.
In a majestic country marked by its rugged coastlines and often surreally beautiful landscapes, Denmark still finds time for modern and clean styles, particularly in the worlds of food and fashion. Copenhagen is edgier than Stockholm and worldlier than Oslo, home to style bibles like Monocle and Wallpaper magazines, which fawn over the capital’s industrial-chic scenes as well as its culinary revolution, including the oft-cited world’s best restaurant, Noma- a New Nordic pioneer.
It’s not always so serious here though; residents and tourists alike enjoy frivolous days out like the Tivoli Gardens, BonBon-Land, the Experimentarium, rich and diverse zoos, parks and museums alongside a collection of exquisitely designed architecture.
Although Denmark is small, it is noted for its strong sense of identity. Hold on, an island nation that is part of the EU, refused to use the Euro and is generally a bit stubborn compared to mainland Europe? Where have we heard that before? Yet unlike the United Kingdom, Denmark merges well its own identity with that of its European neighbours. It shares a love of environmentalism with Sweden, a passion for bicycles like the Dutch and of course, a sense of independence with the British…
Artistically, Denmark punches far above its weight. It has produced, in short, the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, the philosophy of Kierkegaard, the films of Lars von Trier and Nicolas Winding Refn and the music of Lars Ulrich. This is likely due in part to the enormous amount of government funding the arts are granted as well as the stark and striking environment that set Viking hearts on fire, inspiring them to cross the mountainous waves and stake claim in the name of Denmark. And if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us too.
When considering Europe, many are quick to jump at the chance of living in a metropolis like London, Paris or Berlin. Denmark cannot perhaps offer the astonishing skylines or breadth of people that those cities can, but try and consider yourself in such a picturesque, progressive and welcoming country. Denmark is truly unique and a home every student should consider.