How to Live Like a Dane

Be inspired by Scandinavian style

Words by Beatrice De Franceschi
September 27th, 2017

How many times have you heard that Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world? It seems to make headlines on a weekly basis but what is it that makes life in Denmark so great?

There are many reasons why this Scandinavian country is considered to be one of the best places to live but before you pack your bags and buy a one-way ticket, let’s take a look at what makes the Danish lifestyle so special and how you can implement these traits in your own life.

1. Hygge

If you truly want to live like a Dane then you better get to grips with hygge. Pronounced hue-gah, hygge is all about finding happiness in the little things in life. It is not something you can buy, but rather a mindset. It can be translated into English as cosiness, warmth, or the ability to find peace wherever you are. With a nationwide wellness movement like this, it’s no wonder the Danish are voted the happiest people in the world! For me, hygge is drinking a glass of wine while reading a book on my own, having a cup of coffee in my favourite café in town, listening to music, sitting by the fire on a cold night, or eating homemade food. It’s the simple things!

To find out more about hygge, read our article here!

2. Work 

The Danes have the best work-life balance in the world, according to the OECD Better Life Report and most think that working after 5 pm is a crazy idea. While we know that sometimes this cannot be avoided we do think they’re onto something here! To them, what is most important is finding time for family and ensuring that they eat together at the end of the day, every day.

That being said, work still has to be done. In order to truly enjoy your work life, you should make the most out of your workspace. Get rid of anything frivolous and unnecessary. Set up a mood board to remind you of your goals, dreams and inspirations. Use bright storage boxes and containers. Ensure there is good light around your desk and work close to a window if possible. Surround yourself with flowers and candles and don’t forget your favourite coffee mug by your side.


3. Home

If there’s one thing the Danes are famous for (even more so than hygge), it’s interior decor. Home life is of the utmost importance in Denmark so it makes sense to spend time on good design. Just like their fashion sense, Danish people live by the saying ‘less is more’ and so their homes have a modern, minimalist aesthetic.

To achieve the look at home, incorporate a calm, neutral colour palette which is a signature trait of Scandi design. Start with a blank canvas by painting your walls and floors a light, muted colour such as white or grey. Invest in wooden furniture and geometric design pieces. Danish homes are full of plants and flowers and they are an easy way of introducing colour into a room.

Of course, the most important aspect is hygge. Make sure your abode is warm and cosy with plenty of light. One of the best things you can do when you come home from work is light a candle. This might sound weird but a study by The Happiness Research Institute shows that 85% of people associate hygge with candlelight and 28% of Danes light candles every day!


4. Fashion

The Danish fashion industry is booming like never before. But while the fashion scene in Copenhagen is quite unique, overall style in Denmark, for men and women, can be quite minimal in a colour palette of black, white, slate grey and – if you really want to pick a colour – navy. Ganni, Wood Wood, Mads Norgaard, Rain are just a few of the Scandinavian brands you need to add to your wardrobe now to look the part.


5. Food and Drink

Dining out in Denmark can be somewhat expensive so it’s no surprise that the Danes tend to enjoy healthy homecooked meals with family and friends. For lunch, Danes traditionally eat smørrebrød which is an open sandwich made on rye bread. Toppings include thinly sliced cured meat, pickled cucumber, boiled egg, avocado etc. For dinner, Danes make the effort to gather with family and friends and dine on delicacies such as frikadeller (pork meatballs), stegt flaesk (crispy fried pork belly), pølser (hot dogs) and potatoes. Although Carlsberg and Tuborg are internationally acclaimed, Danish people love Akvavit; one of the most popular local liquors made from potatoes and grains.