The Danes have come up with an unusual way to lure travelers to their country. They’re very happy, and if you visit, it might rub off on you! (And save you some money.)
The claim of joyfulness is based on scientific surveys, not merely on, say, an interview with a Copenhagen resident after a few glasses of schnapps on a Friday evening. In one recent research endeavor—the World Values Survey, the work of a global network of social scientists—Denmark came out on top when it comes to the happiness of its residents.
The researchers compiled the ratings after asking residents a series of simple questions: How happy are you? How satisfied are you with your life? And contrary to the image of the country’s most famous native—the “melancholy Dane” himself, Hamlet—the Danish came off as the most content people in the world, topping Puerto Ricans, Colombians, and Icelandians, the next-happiest populations (though the collapse of Iceland’s economy likely had a dire effect of the mood of its inhabitants after the survey was completed).
At the very bottom of the list of 97 countries: Zimbabwe, which is under the thumb of a dictator and suffers from devastating poverty. The U.S., meanwhile, took 16th place—which is fairly happy, in the grand scheme of things.
So what is Denmark doing to capitalize on the results? Happiness Packages! Among the offerings are a complimentary Copenhagen City Card, good for free admission to the city’s top attractions and museums, when booking air travel with Scandinavian Airlines. Hotels are offering special deals, among them Hotel D’Angleterre, the Radisson Blu Royal (designed by famed Danish architect Arne Jacobsen), the Copenhagen Admiral Hotel, and the Clarion Collection Hotel Twenty Seven.
Go to VisitDenmark.com for more details. They’re practically daring you to find something rotten in the state of Denmark.
Soren Larson is a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.