Best Books About Denmark

Best Books About Denmark

Best Books About Denmark

Denmark, a small Nordic country known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and progressive society, has inspired numerous writers to produce captivating literature. From classic works to contemporary novels, these books offer an in-depth exploration of Denmark’s culture, society, and people. Whether you’re planning a visit to Denmark or simply interested in learning more about this fascinating country, here are some of the best books about Denmark that you don’t want to miss:

1. “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow” by Peter Høeg

In this internationally acclaimed bestseller, Peter Høeg takes readers on a gripping journey through the streets of Copenhagen. The story follows Smilla, a mixed-race Greenlander, as she investigates the mysterious death of a young boy. Høeg’s atmospheric prose captures the essence of Denmark and delves into themes of identity, cultural clashes, and the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface.

2. “Hans Christian Andersen: The Life of a Storyteller” by Jackie Wullschlager

Hans Christian Andersen is a beloved Danish author known for his fairy tales cherished by both children and adults around the world. Jackie Wullschlager’s biography takes readers on a captivating journey through Andersen’s life, exploring his humble beginnings, struggles, and his extraordinary imagination. This book provides a comprehensive understanding of the man behind the timeless stories.

3. “The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country” by Helen Russell

Denmark consistently ranks among the world’s happiest countries, and in this entertaining memoir, Helen Russell explores what makes Danish people so content. Through her personal experiences, Russell delves into the Danish way of life, including their focus on hygge (coziness), work-life balance, and welfare system. This book offers valuable insights into Danish culture and may inspire you to adopt some Danish principles in your own life.

4. “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen

Written under the pen name Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen’s memoir takes readers on a captivating journey to colonial-era Kenya, where she owned a coffee plantation. Despite not being set in Denmark, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in Blixen’s life. Her elegant prose, vivid descriptions, and reflections on love, loss, and the human condition make this a timeless classic.

5. “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia” by Michael Booth

Michael Booth, a British journalist living in Denmark, provides a thought-provoking account of the Nordic countries, including Denmark. This book challenges the widely held notion of Scandinavian utopia and explores the cultural, social, and political aspects that often go unnoticed by the outsider’s eye. Booth’s humorous yet informative writing style offers a fresh perspective on Danish society.

6. “Denmark: A Short History” by Knud J. V. Jespersen

For readers who want a comprehensive look at Denmark’s history, Knud J. V. Jespersen’s book is the perfect choice. Covering over a thousand years of Danish history, Jespersen provides a detailed account of the country’s evolution, from Viking origins to the development of a modern welfare state. This book is a must-read for history enthusiasts and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Denmark’s past.

7. “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” by Meik Wiking

No list of books about Denmark would be complete without mentioning hygge. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, explores the concept of hygge in this delightful book. Through anecdotes, research, and practical tips, Wiking delves into the Danish philosophy of coziness and well-being. This book will inspire you to create your own hyggelig moments, no matter where you are.


If you’re a fan of fiction, these Danish novels are a great way to immerse yourself in Denmark’s literary world:

  • “Pelle the Conqueror” by Martin Andersen Nexø
  • “The Unit” by Ninni Holmqvist
  • “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” by Peter Høeg
  • “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen
  • “The Keeper of Lost Causes” by Jussi Adler-Olsen


For those who prefer non-fiction, these books offer a deeper understanding of various aspects of Danish culture and society:

  • “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia” by Michael Booth
  • “The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country” by Helen Russell
  • “The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life” by Anu Partanen
  • “Denmark: A Short History” by Knud J. V. Jespersen
  • “How to be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark” by Patrick Kingsley

Children’s Books:

Introduce your little ones to the wonders of Denmark with these engaging and educational children’s books:

  • “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen
  • “Are We There Yet? A Journey Around Australia” by Alison Lester (Featuring Denmark, Western Australia)
  • “The Boy Who Lost His Name” by Michael Escoffier and Frederic Bertrand (Set in Copenhagen)
  • “Niels Holgersens Wonderbare Reis” by Selma Lagerlöf
  • “The Cat Who Walked by Himself” by Rudyard Kipling (Featuring Viking culture)

Travel Guides:

Planning a trip to Denmark? These travel guides will help you make the most of your visit:

  • “Lonely Planet Denmark” by Lonely Planet
  • “DK Eyewitness Denmark” by DK Eyewitness
  • “Fodor’s Essential Scandinavia” by Fodor’s Travel
  • “Rick Steves Scandinavia” by Rick Steves and Cameron Hewitt
  • “Cycling in Denmark: Danish National Cycle Route Network” by Cycling Embassy of Denmark
Melvin Arredondo

Melvin D. Arredondo is a Danish travel writer and blogger based in Copenhagen. He has been writing about Denmark since 2006. He also runs a travel blog dedicated to exploring the best of this small Scandinavian country. With an eye for detail and an infectious enthusiasm for all things Danish, Melvin's stories are sure to inspire your next vacation!

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