Journey – The one phrase that connects Denmark – BBC Information


In the direction of the top of every yr, Dansk Sprognævn (Danish Language Council) and P1 radio station choose Denmark's phrase of the yr. Inevitably capturing the (typically unflattering) vibe of the period, earlier winners have included klimatosse ('local weather fool') in 2019 and hvidvask ('cash laundering') in 2018.

One of many first contenders for the 2020 title is definitely samfundssind, which the Danish Language Council defines as 'placing the priority of society above its personal pursuits'. Extra loosely translated as 'group spirit' or 'social spirit', samfundssind has change into the buzzword of the coronavirus disaster: Looking out a database for Danish information, the language council discovered that the usage of "samfundssind" had elevated from solely 23 instances in February to 2,855 in March.

"There’s a robust custom of group spirit in Denmark," mentioned Eva Skafte Jensen, senior researcher on the Danish Language Council. “Within the 19th century, this was seen in the best way rural dwellers established andelsbevægelsen (cooperatives) based mostly on widespread objectives. Dairy farmers to staff as much as fund co-owned dairies [and] farmers and different peasants would type shopper cooperatives, thus bypassing the monopoly of personal grocery distributors … This concept was additionally launched into labor actions the place it helped to create robust unions. "

Samfundssind has change into the buzzword within the coronavirus disaster

The institution within the 19th century of højskole (people colleges), which aimed to offer rural populations non-formal training for citizenship, nonetheless exists right this moment. It’s this affiliation with people colleges, cooperatives and the labor motion, "the place the individuals who come collectively have achieved greater than the person," believes Jensen, who has helped samfundssind change into a phrase in style for 2020 – identical to its sharp use by the present Prime Minister.

Firstly of the disaster, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen appealed on to the Danes' samfundssind. "We should keep united by preserving our distance," she mentioned at a press convention on March 11 because the nation was on lockdown, one of many first in Europe to take action. “We’d like a group spirit. We’d like assist. I want to thank… everybody who has to this point proven that that is precisely what we have now in Denmark – samfundssind.

The Danes responded enthusiastically. Personal firms have helped ease the stress on well being providers by buying medical tools as a part of the Denmark Serving to Denmark marketing campaign – the response to which confirmed "unimaginable goodwill and group spirit," in response to the CEO of Danish Medicines Company, Thomas Senderovitz.

A number of of Denmark's most beloved points of interest additionally flourished: the Lego manufacturing facility began making visors for healthcare employees; the Tivoli Gardens amusement park has change into a brief kindergarten, with social distancing pointers in place; and the two-Michelin-starred alchemist has gone from serving unique 50-course tasting menus to cooking pasta for 12 homeless shelters round Copenhagen. Along with showing usually within the information, the phrase has proliferated as a hashtag on social media highlighting acts of solidarity and kindness. However maybe extra importantly, peculiar folks have proven group spirit by following the foundations.

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In his speech, Frederiksen pressured the necessity to observe authorities pointers and begin as quickly as attainable. The Danes largely complied with out making a fuss. Observing that daycares and colleges have been emptied the morning after the announcement, 4 days earlier than the measures went into impact, Affiliate Professor David Olagnier and Professor Trine H Mogensen from the Division of Biomedicine on the HQ Aarhus College wrote that this illustrates that 'Danes have a powerful sense of social accountability for his or her group. "

Olagnier and Mogensen additionally noticed that “Denmark is a rustic the place belief guidelines every part”. So, does the important thing to samfundssind lie within the easy indisputable fact that Danes belief their authorities, and one another, to do the appropriate factor?

Social belief fosters cooperation, wrote Kim Mannemar Sønderskov, professor of political science on the College of Aarhus, and Peter Thisted Dinesen, professor of political science on the College of Copenhagen, in an article of 2014. The authors discovered that the extent of social belief in Denmark is among the many highest on this planet and, furthermore, that it has elevated considerably over the 30-year interval between 1979 and 2009. "In 1979, 47% of Danes mentioned that 'most individuals may be trusted', up from 79% in 2009. ' The authors attribute this partly to "the development within the high quality of state establishments and a concomitant enhance in residents' belief in these establishments."

The anti-corruption NGO Transparency Worldwide publishes an annual rating of the least corrupt international locations on this planet. This yr, Denmark got here out on high, tied with New Zealand. With accountable authorities, Danish politicians take pleasure in a comparatively excessive stage of belief. When politicians 'behave incorruptibly', write Sønderskov and Dinesen, 'they ship the sign that … most individuals may be trusted'.

Many guests to Denmark be aware that they’ve witnessed a stage of belief within the nation hardly ever seen elsewhere. Touring via rural areas in the summertime, for instance, you might be prone to spot unattended roadside stalls promoting farm produce with solely an honesty field to gather cost. It's additionally not unusual to see prams with sleeping infants inside parked outdoors eating places or cafes: a extensively reported story from 1997, when a Danish lady was arrested throughout of a go to to New York Metropolis for leaving her child outdoors a restaurant, exemplifies this tradition. shock. The benefit with which oldsters can go away their kids unattended in Denmark is the product of a society much less apprehensive about its fellow residents. In 2016, the Ministry of Tradition held a public vote to resolve the nation's official values: belief was thought-about one of the necessary. "The Danish tradition of belief is predicated on the expectation of trustworthiness from fellow residents and from public establishments," the ministry mentioned.

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That's an commentary that Matt Orlando, the US-born chef and proprietor of Amass, one other of Copenhagen's high eating places, shared. “The diploma of management and belief in authorities has been unimaginable,” he mentioned, reflecting on his expertise with the pandemic in Denmark. "Within the sense that society has stored itself beneath management, because of the arrogance of the federal government: within the confidence of the choices taken [and] the transparency of every part. "

The phrase has proliferated as a hashtag on social media highlighting acts of solidarity and kindness

Orlando is amongst those that are absorbing the spirit of samfundssind into their post-pandemic life. Together with others within the restaurant business, he created Bowline, a collaborative platform geared toward strengthening and supporting the restaurant group through the disaster and past. Its fine-dining restaurant has additionally change into extra community-based by dedicating half of its meals courtroom to Amass Fried Hen & Wine, which serves extra reasonably priced dishes at a cheaper price.

Individuals transferring to Denmark from elsewhere rapidly familiarize themselves with one of many clearest examples of social belief in Denmark: its notorious tax charges. Danish residents settle for a few of the highest taxes on this planet, assured that if everybody pays their justifiable share, tax cash will likely be put to good use for the widespread social good – common healthcare, college tuition charges free and beneficiant maternal and paternal go away, to call only a few examples. A tradition the place everyone seems to be nicely groomed fosters belief and a way of being all collectively. A way of equality can be necessary. Denmark, in response to the Group for Economic Co-operation and Improvement (OECD), has one of many lowest ranges of revenue inequality on this planet. Sønderskov and Dinesen write that “residents of economically extra equal societies additionally are inclined to have a better stage of belief. That is defined by a stronger sense of group among the many residents.

Closely sponsored by taxes, Danish nurseries promote the social spirit from the very starting of life. “Nearly everybody goes to public daycare in Denmark,” mentioned Kay Xander Mellish, creator of the books Find out how to Dwell in Denmark and Find out how to Work in Denmark. “Even Prince Christian, future King Christian XI, attended the general public nursery. Each baby born in Denmark is assured a spot in a daycare from six months to 6 years outdated the place the emphasis is on play and socialization – formal training doesn’t start till they’re eight or 9 years outdated.

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A tradition the place everyone seems to be nicely taken care of fosters belief and a way of being all collectively

“Within the early years,” Mellish mentioned, “kids study the bottom guidelines for functioning in society. They study to take a seat at a desk throughout lunchtime, wait for his or her flip to be served, and how you can feed themselves. Within the playground, they spend most of their time in “free play,” wherein they make guidelines for their very own video games. "

Workers don't often run the sport, she defined, which "permits the youngsters to type their very own teams and study to work collectively on their very own." Usually, Mellish added, colleges begin the day by singing collectively a tune from the favored Højskolesangbogen, (the Folks Excessive College songbook), a cultural custom that spans universities, places of work and, on Wednesday mornings. , on the fundamental library in Copenhagen. Singing collectively is a part of life for Danes of all ages, as anybody who has visited in the midst of summer season or Christmas is aware of nicely. Morgensang, the communal morning tune, is valued for the sense of unity and solidarity it fosters, particularly throughout troublesome instances, which is why through the lockdown one-fifth of the nation sank ; is tuned in to hitch conductor Philip Faber in a each day televised group chant-along.

"The concept they’re a part of a group is impressed by Danes at a really younger age," Mellish mentioned. "You’ll be able to usually win an argument in Denmark by suggesting that your opponent is usolidarisk or 'displaying lack of solidarity'.

Denmark was the primary in Europe to reopen colleges and daycare facilities in mid-April. The dying toll from Covid-19 in Denmark is under 700 on the time of writing, and regardless of a surge in early fall, an infection charges stay comparatively low. The nation's lengthy custom of placing society forward of self-interest – seeing the group as stronger than the person – appears to have been its energy.

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