In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.
An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark. As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.
Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France.
They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back. My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.
Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family. This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world.
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