Illustrated by Asbjorn Gyldenlund
To Denmark, With Love shows why the Danish people are said to be the happiest in the world.
Year after year, Denmark has been rated highest amongst nations for people who are the happiest with their quality of life. What’s their secret? Judy Falck-Madsen lets us know with her wit and her wonderfully humorous anecdotes, as she tells us about town life and the countryside of Denmark inTo Denmark, With Love.
Denmark has also become the country of the moment, with books such as How to Be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark and well-known TV dramas like The Bridge and The Killing. But if you want a real-life story of an American living in Denmark, raising a family, married to a genuine Viking, you must read To Denmark, With Love.
To Denmark, With Love is Judy’s delightful account of the day-to-day joys and tribulations of family life in the land of Hans Christian Andersen during the 60s and 70s.
“Living in Denmark, I’ve come to love her and her people,” said Judy. “It’s home.”
Friendly Danes, mischievous children, an assortment of wild and domestic animals, as well as Judy’s Viking husband furnish the story lines. It’s a life that’s built on a deep respect for nature, tradition, and just plain fun.
Asbjorn Gyldenlund provides wonderful illustrations. Published by Polar Bear & Company of Solon, Maine. Available worldwide, just ask your local bookstore to order it in for $15.95 or equivalent in currency.
An interview with the author:
What relevance does your book have for today’s society?
Society is always in a state of flux. Today it is unlikely that I would have wanted the role of a home-going housewife, and the life that inspired me to write this book would not have been possible if I had wanted a career.
By being at home, I was able to enjoy preparations for countless dinner parties and family outings. I could tend a beautiful garden and keep order in a house that could accommodate all the quests and activities we enjoyed. All of this would have been stressful if I had been hours each day outside the home. Added to this is the fact that Danish customs make fun living very easy.
However, there are certain traits that will always be part of human nature. No matter how much we control our surroundings and create cities that are technological wonders, some of us will always feel a sense of peace and harmony when quietly soaking up the beauty of nature. My hope is that there will continue to be people who will protect areas in every country where this bonding with nature will be possible, and it is clear from my book that I have been blessed with this possibility.
Does the world in your book still exist?
Yes and no. Very much has changed since I wrote my book about Denmark, but change has always been part of the human story. When I came to Denmark in 1960, I married into a well-educated, wonderful family at a time when there was a definite dress code, a well-defined set of manners and proper speech. Already then, the younger generation wanted changes and thought that the changes they were promoting would give them more personal freedom. Ironically, this “freedom” complicated society.
I had enjoyed the luxury of not having to worry about what to wear for any occasion and the ease of being immediately accepted by knowing how to address people I met. One could be completely free in one’s opinions, as long as one used polite grammar. Not only could we discuss freely, my husband could make jokes without anyone ever being offended. Having had a very unsettled past, it was pleasant to so quickly feel at home. I have always felt free and never doubted that I could get my way, and in such an orderly society, it was ever so easy.
What advice do you have for young American women contemplating living in Denmark?
I am not sure I could give advice to anyone! When I married a Dane, we both wanted children, and in those days, it was considered best if a mother could stay at home while her children were small. Those were wonderful, happy years, without the stress of two careers and fitting it all together. Now most Danish women marry late and put their babies in daycare centers in order to continue with their careers.
Aside from that aspect, I once was asked to make a speech for the American Women’s Club, and my advice was to always be positive and willing to eat whatever food is served when we are guests in a Danish home. Danes place great importance on hospitality, and they will do their best to serve what they think is special. (You might have to have a large handkerchief in your handbag, in case you want to discreetly hide a bite of food.)
Other than that, a smile is the quickest way to bond with people of all ages — something an infant is born to make use of and a lot of people tend to forget.
Please visit Judy’s FACEBOOK PAGE HERE