I don't know how well I'd fit in if I lived in Denmark. But their personal and societal formula intrigues me. On my last visit, I asked Danish people I met about their society — and why they're so happy. Here's a sampling of what they told me:
“Yes, we are the most contented people. Regular workers pay on average 50 percent taxes — big shots pay up to 70 percent. Of course, we expect and we get a good value for our taxes. We've had national healthcare since the 1930s. We know nothing else. If I don't like the shape of my nose, I pay to fix that. But all my basic health needs are taken care of. Here in Denmark, all education is free. And our taxes even provide university students with $800 a month for living expenses for up to six years. We Danes believe a family's economic status should have nothing to do with two fundamental rights: the quality of their healthcare or the quality of the education their children receive. I believe you in America pay triple per person what we pay as a society for healthcare. Your system may be better for business…but ours is better for people. Perhaps a major negative consequence of our socialism is that since Danes are so accustomed to everything being taken care of by the government, we may not be very helpful or considerate towards each other when in need.”
When I saw a tombstone store with Tak for Alt ("Thanks for Everything") pre-carved into each headstone, I figured it was a message from the dearly departed after enjoying a very blessed life in Denmark. But I asked a Dane, and learned that it's a message from the living bidding their loved one farewell (similar to our “Rest in Peace”). Still, I think when a Dane dies, it's a good message from both sides: Tak for Alt.
About This Entry
You are reading "Thanks for Everything", an entry posted on 25 November 2009 by Rick Steves.