Equality and the Electric Bike

When I first arrived in Denmark, you could shut down any dispute in Denmark by appealing to equality and the common good. Solidarity - “solidaritet” -  and “fælleskab”, or community, or even “samfundssind”, societal spirit, were magic words. They still are with the older generation that built Denmark’s welfare state. If you want to convince this generation of anything, just make a reference to solidarity and community and societal spirit. Works like a charm. I’m often asked if the younger generation is as dedicated to these principles as their elders, and if they still follow the "Jante Law". Jante Law is not really a law – it’s like a legend, in which people living in Denmark are not supposed to act like they’re better than anyone else, or smarter than anyone else, or know more than anyone else.  But young people aren’t too keen to put up with that, in particular in an environment where they are competing internationally. For many Danish young people, the idea that all Danes are equal and we must all move together, at the same pace, seems outdated. And one contemporary example is the rise of the electric bike.  What has now been accepted in Denmark’s bike lanes is a concept that is used to be very "uDansk", or un-Danish….that some people simply go faster than others.    This is the 125th episode of the "How to Live in Denmark podcast", and originally ran in 2023. Get all of Kay Xander Mellish's books about Denmark at http://books.howtoliveindenmark.com. Book Kay for a talk to your group or organization at http://events.howtoliveindenmark.com.  

Om Podcasten

Life as an international in Denmark, one of the world's most homogenous countries, isn't always easy. In Denmark’s longest-running English-language podcast, Kay Xander Mellish, an American who has lived in Denmark for more than a decade, offers tips for enjoying your time in “the world’s happiest country” plus insights on Danish culture and how to build friendships with Danes.