How will Denmark adjust?

By Alana Repstock

COPENHAGEN—a city renowned for design and part of a country recognized as being home to the happiest people on earth.  But beyond the facade, what problems does the city face? And what makes the country a ‘happy place’?

Denmark has been voted the happiest country by the UN’s World Happiness Report multiple times, including in March 2016.


Denmark seems to have all but perfected its state, with high voter turnout, cheap child care and free university and health care.  Moreover, Denmark is a relatively peaceful country. In fact, it does not even meet NATO’s requirement for members to spend at least two per cent of their GDP on defence.    

But to what is Denmark’s cohesive success attributed to? For one, Denmark’s population is largely homogenous. The majority of danes are white and share the same religion.  Immigrants make up approximately ten per cent of the overall population.  To compare, Canada’s immigrant population was 20.2 per cent in 2011 and has since risen.

At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, Denmark released a stark message to migrants. It outlined a cut of social benefits to refugees and immigrants by 45 per cent, which it deemed an “integration benefit”. Refugees were also to spend a period of time (1-2 years) in an asylum before being integrated into Denmark. The task of integrating different cultures into its population will only continue to grow and manifest itself in the future of Denmark.