The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell is an absolute wonder to read. And I’m so glad this book FINALLY made it’s way off my to-be-read list and onto my read list. The Year Of Living Danishly has been on my radar for a number of years. My old flat mate was sent a copy to review way back when and it’s always been on my list to read. I hate to say it, but it got lost among the other books, but finally it resurfaced! And for that I am glad.
So what’s the premise of the book. Well without giving too much away, the book follows Helen and her husband Lego Man, as they embark on a year-long move to Denmark. And during this twelve month period they learn a lot. And through Helen the audience does too! By including her personal story, whilst balancing it with the facts and figures, Helen takes readers on the journey of what it’s really like to spend a year living Danishly.
The format of the book for me was an absolute dream. It’s probably the organised perfectionist in me, but having the different parts of Danish life and culture discussed each month was great! Each section is littered with facts, teetering on the line of too many on some occasions, so having little summaries at the end of each chapter were super helpful in remembering the main take homes from the chapter.
Some of my favourite chapters include; January- Hygge & Home, February- Forgetting the 9-5 and of course, Christmas- God Jul! The concepts of celebrations, having a work life balance and hygge are all something I need to strive towards in my own life and the fact that it is activly encouraged by the state and the people of Denmark is incredible. More countries (I’m looking at you UK) need to embrace this way of life and pronto! For me the idea of bunking down during winter, surrounded by candles, beautiful architecture and loved ones is a perfect one. And for me Helen really does sell this way of life. From the instant I began reading I began to form ideas in my head around moving to Denmark (there are just so many positives)! But I did enjoy the balance the book gives about this way of life. For every cosy night in, you get a bitterly cold winters day. For every snegles, you get a pork dish of some sort. For every day you finish at 4pm, you get an average of four hours sunlight a day. It’s practical and real. Life isn’t all perfect and living Danishly definitely isn’t portrayed as such, much to Helens credit.
Copenhagen is about as far as my travels to Denmark goes, so it was fantastic to not only find out what it’s like to live in a more rural part of the country, but also to find out more about the happiest country in the world. Why are Danes so happy? What makes them this way? Well that’s a huge spoiler alert for the book, so if you want to find out you’ll have to pick up a copy and get reading! I’d absolulty recommend this book to anyone out there who loves learning about different cultures, enjoys travel or may even want to move to Denmark one day. I’m also on the lookout for similar books so if you have a suggestion please let me know in the comments below!
Until next time.
*NB* My copy of The Year of Living Danishly was a purchase I made for myself and has not been gifted to me or commissioned as a sponsored post. The links to the book (which I would have put in anyways) are using a Waterstones Affiliate link, but this does not cost you any extra and may earn me a little extra money (to put towards more books!)