Synopses & Reviews
Part reportage, part travelogue, this is a fascinating introduction to contemporary Danish culture for anyone who wants to know more about the world’s happiest nation.
Denmark is the country of the moment. The motherland of the TV series Borgen and The Killing, it’s the runaway champion of Eurovision and home to Noma, the world’s most eccentric restaurant.
But though we wear their sweaters and read their thrillers, how much do we really know about the Danes themselves? How to be Danish fills in the gaps as an introduction to current Danish culture that spans politics, TV, food, architecture, and design.
Welcome to the happiest country on Earth.
"Through a set of meandering and passionless notes that is part reportage and part travelogue, British journalist Kingsley inexplicably explores various aspects of Danish culture, hoping to reveal the 'wider context to the bits of Denmark that over the past few years have intrigued us in Britain.' With the wide-eyed wonder of a stranger in a remotely familiar land, Kingsley roams listlessly through topics ranging from politics and economics to food, film noir, Legos, and architecture. For example, Kingsley describes Copenhagen's small size as the secret to its creativity: it's 'where the world's foodies currently go to eat'; its television studios are the home of Danish noir, and it heats and cools its homes from a central hub, a plan that has reduced carbon emissions 70%. The Danish capital is such a bicycle-friendly city that 'Copenhageners cycle to live, but they don't live to cycle.' Using the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen's design of the Egg chair as a starting point, Kingsley discusses the impact of Danish Modernist furniture designs on the world while revealing that most Danish Modernists simply 'wanted their furniture to change the way people lived at home... and were concerned about the context in which it was placed and the problems it could help solve. 'In the end, Kingsley's digressive and unmoored ramblings offer a too-personal reflection on why Denmark interests the British. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A brilliant introduction to the coolest country in Europe."
“Kingsley is an eloquent and inquiring observer.”
"Patrick Kingsley’s introduction to Denmark...makes fascinating cultural connections between everything from the Nordic food revolution to Danish modern design and the Muhammad cartoon controversy."
"[A] delightful guidebook."
“Engagingly written and incisively reported...Kingsley renders the quality and complexity of life in Denmark with an outsider's fresh perspective and a journalist's sharp instincts.”
"[A] delightful guidebook." Wall Street Journal
"Part reportage, part travelogue...a delightful guide."
Denmark is the country of the moment. Recently named the happiest nation in the world, it’s the home of The Killing and Noma, the world’s best (and most eccentric) restaurant. We wear their sweaters, watch their thrillers, and covet their cool modern design, but how much do we really know about the Danes themselves? Part reportage, part travelogue, How to Be Danish fills in the gaps—an introduction to contemporary Danish culture that spans politics, television, food, architecture, and design.
About the Author
Patrick Kingsley is the Egypt correspondent for The Guardian, having been a feature writer for the newspaper for two years. In 2009 he was named journalist of the year at the Guardian Student Media Awards, and in 2012, MHP Communications named him one of the top five young journalists to watch. Kingsley’s work has also appeared in Wired, Time Out, Daily Mail, and The Sunday Times (London). He lives in Cairo, Egypt.