According to the World Happiness Report, a yearly survey of the state of global happiness, commissioned by the United Nations, Denmark is often ranked as the “happiest country in the world”.
While studying photography in Denmark in 2014, Italian Giulia Mangione had to work on a final project. Most of her classmates went to far away countries. Giulia decided to stay to understand what made Denmark the happiest country in the world.
Giulia Mangione writes: “People often ask me if the Danes are really the happiest people in the world. I still don’t have an answer to this.
But I know what I like about the Danes. I like that they use cemeteries as places to celebrate life more than death. I like their innate sense of freedom in being what they want to be. I like the fact that Danes go to ‘højskole’ (High School) to learn something for life, to be aware of what they are good at and what makes them happy.
In her New Year’s Speech 2017, Queen Margrethe of Denmark said:
‘Try and do something that is not necessary, something that there is no need for, something pointless!’ And continued: ‘I think it is important to have experiences that appeal to our senses, something that inspires our imagination, that stimulates the mind, and that can enlarge our world. That is not so pointless after all.’
Driving around Denmark, often sleeping in a tent under pouring rain, I would find myself asking why I was doing it. But now I have the feeling that Margrethe might be right.”
53 color images • Text by Giulia Mangione and Kristen Bjørnkjær • Translation to English: Maria Morris and to Swedish: Gösta Flemming • Quote by Aksel Sandemose • Editing and design: Gösta Flemming and Giulia Mangione • Soft cover with flaps • 165 x 220 mm • 116 pages • English/Danish/Swedish • 2018
Shortlisted for Prix du Livre 2018, Arles, France.