Helen Russell

British expat Helen Russell on living life the Danish way

Helen Russell, author of the book "The Year of Living Danishly", sat down with us for a candid chat about all things Danish and what she has learned about Danes during her first year of living in Denmark.


From your perspective, how do Danes perceive themselves?  

In my experience, Danes are proud to be Danish in a way that Brits perhaps aren’t back home. There is a lot of flag waving – literally and metaphorically – and Danes are fairly self aware. They know that they are perceived as patriotic, trusting, happy (sometimes!) libertarians with a healthy appetite for life, love, beer, pork, potatoes and of course pastries…


Does this Danish self-image differ from how you have experienced Danish people or how British people tend to perceive the Danes?

Coming from the UK, I probably thought that all Danes were either Sandi Toksvig or Helena Christensen before I moved here. Both are wonderful (wonderful) women but they don’t represent the entire scope of the Danish experience. Plus there are a few Mads Mikkelsen alikes thrown in as well. Which is nice. 
Danish style is becoming better known around the world and the idea of the top heavy silhouette – skinny trousers and boots with big chunky knitwear on top and lots of scarves, usually in 50 shades of grey – is something that you can definitely see around you when you visit Denmark.

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Helen Russell's top 10 to live Danishly

In the book, Helen Russell lists her top ten tips for living Danishly. Pick up the book or enter our competition to uncover what's behind the list. 

1. Trust (more)

2. Get hygge

3. Use your body

4. Address the aesthetics

5. Streamline your options

6. Be proud

7. Value family

8. Equal respect for equal work

9. Play

10. Share

The Year of Living Danishly...

Helen Russell is the author of "The Year of Living Danishly - Uncovering the Secrets of the World's happiest Country". The book was published in January 2015 by Icon Books. 

Helen Russell

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Read Helen Russell's column in The Telegraph

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