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December 12, 2023

The State of Happiness

Star of the show at DTAS’s conference earlier this year was a Dane called Soren Hermansen talking about the energy system on the island of Samso where he lives. Although his talk was principally about a decentralised energy system it was as much about issues of ownership and control and Denmark’s hyper local system of democracy. A system that has enabled so much of what is to be admired about the country. Lesley Riddoch was in the audience, liked very much what she heard and decided to follow up with a film exploring why Denmark is such a happy place.


Lesley Riddoch

They are judged the happiest people on earth, with the world’s best energy system, a GDP per capita almost a third higher than Britain, more bikes in daily use than the Netherlands, a swim just 15 mins away from every Copenhagen resident and state-run TV that changed the face of drama with Borgen, the Killing and the Bridge. Yet Denmark is small (with about half Scotland’s land mass and the same population). It has less oil/coal/gas to fuel its economy and lost an empire – just like Britain. Yet the Danes have bounced back to become the modern, eco-leaders of Europe. How did they do it?  

The new film, made with Charlie Stuart has a run time of 60 minutes. It’s the latest in the series of Nordic films that includes Norway, Iceland, Faroes and Estonia.

Quotes about the Denmark film:

“This is a truly inspiring film, showing the power of a good example. Denmark has become one of the world’s happiest and most sustainable countries on Earth not by chance, but by investing in public services, developing a vast active transport network, providing high-quality and affordable housing, and cleaning up its waterways. Progressives in Scotland, and indeed across the UK, would do well to learn from a radical blueprint with fairness at its heart.” Caroline Lucas Green MP

A tantalising glimpse of what an independent Scotland could look like — and what we deserve.’ Val McDermid, writer

List of screenings here –

Info about the film here – 

Trailer YouTube link –