October 26, 2009

Happiest Place on Earth?

Nope... not Disney World. That would be Copenhagen, Denmark according to the Oprah show last week. After watching it today, I have to say that I may agree! *I'm sure there will be lots of differing opinions on this and I look forward to hearing them* :) Did anyone see this episode??

If I move there I may have a little bit of an inferiority complex. Next to all those leggy, blond hair, thin women - my 5'2" brunette self would stand out like a sore thumb! But to enjoy this lifestyle, I think I could hang!

  • Cobblestone streets - Charming canals
  • They think it's crazy that American people focus so much on getting married and that it's shameful that young girls grow up fantasizing about it. They put more stress on the actual marriage, not getting married. As it should be, they value relationships, not where you are in that relationship.
  • 1/3 of the population ride bikes everywhere... even to the grocery store. Exercise? Fresh air? Wind blowing in my face? Yes please!
  • If you lose your job, the government helps you find a new one and pays up to 90% of your salary for 4 years. Therefore there is no homelessness, no poverty, women are much more self-sufficient. They don't need a man to take care of them. (so you're with him because you're happy, not because they feel stuck, which we see happen a lot here)
  • No fears... no fear of being homeless, no fear of losing your job and therefore losing your house.
    Everyone makes just about the same amount of money... no middle class. Everyone taxed the same. People choose careers based on what they want to do, not how much money they'll make
  • Free education from preschool and up. You actually get paid to go to a university. They call it education support.
  • 1 year paid maternity leave.
  • Free health care... They like their people to be healthy and well educated!
  • They do pay the highest income tax in the world.. but they are okay with that. They clearly get a lot out of it.
  • They live with only the bare necessities. Small, cozy homes. Very clean because they don't have a lot. One quote I loved hearing from a husband and wife on the show was: "less space, less things, more life" I love that! Makes you think about what's really important... spending time with the people you love and less time thinking about what you don't have.
  • They spend a lot of time with their families. It's just about mandatory for everyone to leave their jobs between 4 and 5 - on their bikes mind you and always stop by the market on the way home for fresh bread and produce.
  • It's the norm to leave your children unattended. One couple had their 1 month old twins sleeping outside in the yard unwatched. Want to enjoy a nice lunch with your husband with no screaming, whiny kids at a nice cafe? Ehh.. just leave them outside. "No one wants to steal your babies", they say. They don't even think of child molesters.
I know, I know... sounds a lot like socialism? But man, they made it sound like Utopia. One lady said they don't think of it as Socialism, they think of it as humanity. It really got me thinking about this huge health care debate that we have going on now. Why are we making such a big fuss about this? Why would it be such a horrible thing? *these aren't rhetorical questions, I'm really trying to sort it all out in my head. So please... leave your thoughts* In the meantime - I'm fantasizing about packing up NONE OF MY STUFF and moving to Copenhagen.

One more interesting tidbit that got me thinking: They are known as the happiest people on earth, but also the least religious! That I have no answers for.


Carrie said...

1 year paid maternitiy leave? I wouldn't put up a fuss about anything for that one alone. ;)

I can't imagine a place where it would be fine to leave my children unattended though. That seems a little too good to be true. Is it really possible for a community to be that trustworthy?

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I saw this too! I thought it was fabulous!