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Why Hamlet’s heirs are happy

Shakespeare's prince was a gloomy sort. But a trusting society makes today's Danes rather jolly

By Sally Laird   September 2008

Discuss this piece at First Drafts, Prospect’s blog

I live in Denmark, the happiest country in the world. This summer, the University of Michigan published the results of its World Values Survey, and there we were, top of the happiness league—again. Several recent studies have produced the same result: in 2006 Denmark ranked first out of 178 countries on the University of Leicester’s Map of Happiness (40 places ahead of Britain); it was first again in the Dutch World Database of Happiness in 2005, and has come top in every Eurobarometer survey for the past 30 years.

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