This will be my last post about Copenhagen and I’d love to discuss their culture and philosophy with you, because it’s quite different than in Belgium for example.
Scandinavia is known for it’s ‘model’; the way they organize the state and politics and how that influences the lives of the people. It’s, yet again, all clean lines. In Belgium it’s no problem for a politician to be in director’s boarders of companies or organisations while in Denmark, our guide told that such thing was impossible.
In Denmark (and I think Scandinavia in general), tax rates are really high, even over 50% on income alone. There is a 180% tax on cars, 25% VAT and probably taxes I do not know of. Especially drinks – in Copenhagen – are expensive.
To compare: in Belgium, I think the tax on income is around 40 to 50%, VAT is 21% but not on all items. And a car… that’s surely a lot less, but I do not know the exact numbers. For a drink in Belgium, I’d say you pay €2.30 to €3 (maybe €4 or €5 in Brussels), depends on where you go.
But what do they get in return? Because, that’s the main
In Denmark, health care is completely free (my mouth dropped when I heard that), unlike in Belgium. Work weeks are shorter (think of Sweden!) Students studying at universities get a monthly pay (but apparently it’s less than it used to be). The state is much more involved in the lives of the citizens. It’s a thing you like or do not like.
I think in Belgium we’re sort of inbetween, but even with our waterfall of taxes in Belgium, we have to pay schools, health care and a lot of other things mainly ourselves. It’s just different.
The culture is therefore a bit different too. People live in smaller homes and spend – surely in cities – most of their income on rent and just living. They’re more modest in a way, I think. I too heard that Danes do not invest in houses, but in design furniture. And that Scandinavian design I absolutely adore.
I think Scandinavia has society structures which are less focused on consuming but more on being together. It’s reflected in how they build houses, in the openness of the land. The Danes for example are thought to be the happiest nation in the world. That puts things in perspective.
That being said, I’d surely recommend to visit Denmark or any other Scandinavian country! It’s a nice encounter with a slightly different philosophy but it gives ideas and inspiration.
Enjoy your day!
*featured image: Malmö, Sweden
**earlier posts about Copenhagen & London: menu-> wanderlust -> travelling
***Stay tuned for posts about travelling & books coming up!
(I have my final exams next month, so perhaps I won’t be posting a lot in June.)