Leisure Time and the Danish Art of ‘hygge’
Leisure time is easily spent together with others involving the Danish term ‘hygge’ a word for cosy social gatherings and intimate get-togethers with family and friends. ‘Hygge’ during winter could involve that cuddly feeling in front of a fireplace after a day at the Christmas market on a cold showy day. During spring and summer, actually whenever the sun is out, "hygge" involves gatherings in parks, by the beach, or in sidewalk cafés. Hygge is something Danes strive for, at all times, no questions asked, in quaint little pubs and cafés or during softly lit dinners with family and friends.
Denmark is considered to be one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, where both men and women have careers. Taxes are high in Denmark, which makes up for a governmental healthcare system where everybody has free access to hospitals and surgery. Schools and universities are free and under- and graduate students get monthly student grants. Unemployment benefits and schemes to help you find a job are generous. And government spending on children and the elderly is higher per capita than in any other country in the world. It is highly considered that the welfare system in Denmark provides a sense of security that makes people feel at ease and confident that if they get unemployed or ill, the system will support you and help you back on your feet.
Safe and Security
Trust is another key factor in the Dane’s prescription of happiness. Trusting the government, trusting the work place, the kindergarten and schools who takes care of your children, trusting you are safe, with low crime and government corruption, a respected police force and friendly neighbours. Mothers leave their babies unattended in strollers outside cafés and people might leave their doors unlocked in the countryside. And perhaps the Danes beloved bicycle is actually the best symbol of the Danish happiness, needless to say that the very idea of a bike gives you freedom to go anywhere. Many Danes, those who can afford to buy a car, choose the bike – simple, economical, non-polluting machines that keep you fit.