With an average of 170 rainy days per year, just 6.4 hours of daylight in the winter months and one of the highest income tax rates in the world, Denmark might not be the obvious winner when it comes to inspiring national happiness. Yet for the past six years it has ranked as one of the three happiest countries in the world, alongside its Scandinavian neighbours Finland and Norway.
So what lies behind this national contentment? Many believe it is the much cherished tradition of ‘hygge’ – a sense of cosiness and emotional peace that comes from small pleasures like curling up on the sofa with a good book. Danish ‘hygge’ is inextricably linked with the idea of the home as a space of safety and wellbeing and in 2017 IKEA investigated this notion with its Life at Home Study. Surveying 22,000 people in 22 countries, the study found that 90% of Danes felt peace and happiness when thinking about their homes – an astonishing figure compared to the 1 in 3 people from other nations who felt more at home in spaces other their houses.
This autumn IKEA will take its findings one step further by inviting a lucky ‘Happiness Hunter’ to visit Denmark in hopes of discovering if the secret to happiness really lies in the home. Chosen via a global competition, the winner will live like a native for two weeks, staying in a normal Danish home in Copenhagen, receiving an average Danish salary and paying Danish taxes to get an authentic experience of what it truly means to be Danish and what typical Danish life at home is all about.
Having been prepared for this anthropological investigation by lifestyle experts and futurologists, the winner will be fully immersed in local Copenhagen life. He or she will have ordinary Danes over for dinner, shop in Danish supermarkets, enjoy the beautiful Danish landscape and take in Danish culture, food and social life. Throughout their time in Denmark, the winner will share their experiences with the world via a blog on the IKEA website as well as being followed by a small film crew to create a mini documentary on pursuing happiness like a Dane.
So what is IKEA looking for in its ‘Happiness Hunter’? “It is an anthropological task but there’s no need to be a researcher to be the candidate we’re looking for,” says Lena Gaarde, Country Communication Manager at IKEA Denmark. “As long as you’re equipped with a large dose of curiosity and have the courage to get involved in the investigation and share it with the rest of the world, you might just be the right person for the job.”
Enter by 1 July 2019
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