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Sweden trails Denmark in happiness league

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18:28 CEST+02:00
Is it the sausages, the pastries or perhaps the mermaid that make Sweden's neighbours to the south so much happier? According to a study just published by the World Value Survey, Danes are the happiest people in the world, closely followed by Puerto Ricans and Colombians.

Sweden comes in a full 13 places behind the Danes, while Norway fares even worse with its 19th place finish.

The study is based on a survey of 350,000 people in 26 countries, who were asked the questions: “Are you very happy, quite happy, not really happy or not at all happy?” and “How satisfied are you with your life?”

Quite why the Danes consider themselves so much happier than their neighbours in Scandinavia is something of a mystery.

It can hardly be financial bliss that sets the Danes apart, since the Nordic countries are all relatively well off, with the oil-rich Norwegians putting their neighbours somewhat in the shade.

And the weather up north is no laughing matter, especially compared to, say, Spain.

Perhaps the Danes are just happy to be the only ones in Scandinavia who can buy their alcohol in ordinary supermarkets. But prices are still steep compared to many other countries.

Even some Danes are at a loss to explain the nation's apparent surplus of glee.

"I'm not sure about these studies and I really wonder about the suicide rates in Denmark," journalist Benjamin Holst told The Independent. "I mean is it that we're so happy we kill ourselves? I really wonder about that."

Maybe the Danes are just thrilled to have finally edged out big brother in the tax stakes. As The Local reported earlier this year, Denmark recently overtook Sweden as the country with the highest taxes in the world.

Mareike Neumann

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