Denmark: The good life and the common good

Denmark has one of the highest ufabet tax rates in the world. The average income in Denmark is about 39,000 euros per year and the average Dane pays around 45 per cent in income taxes. If you make more than 61,500 euros per year, there is an additional tax rate – making it 52 per cent over this threshold.

The good life and the common good


However, the Danes are happy not despite the high taxes but because of the high taxes – and most Danes would agree. Almost nine out of ten people living in Denmark say they happily pay their taxes, according to a Gallup survey undertaken in 2014.

It’s all about knowing that happiness does not come from owning a bigger car but from knowing that everybody you know and love will be supported in their time of need. What works well in the Nordic countries is an understanding of the link between the good life and the common good.

We are not paying taxes; we are purchasing quality of life. We are investing in our community.

Words of Wisdom


9 out of 10 people living in Denmark say they happily pay their taxes

In Danish, the word for community is fællesskab. Fællesskab can be split up into fælles, meaning ‘common’ or ‘shared’, and skab, which can mean either ‘cabinet or ‘create’.

Not only is community our common cabinet (our shared supplies), it is also something we create together. I think there is some beauty in that.

Danish Dictionary

Danish Dictionary 

There are seventy words in the official Danish dictionary by the Society for Danish Language and Literature that have the word fællesskab in them. We talk about…

  • Bofællesskab: A co-housing scheme
  • Fællesgrav: A shared grave, e.g. where several people are buried together
  • Fællesskabsfølelse: A sense of community
  • Fællesøkonomi: A shared economy, e.g. when couples have a joint bank account
  • Skæbnefællesskab: A shared destiny
  • Fællesskøn: A shared gender. Whereas most languages divide nouns in masculine and feminine, Danish nouns are divided into ne gender and common-gender – they are the hermaphroalco of nouns, if you will.