Why is Denmark so expensive

theme - wealth

A few weeks ago, together with a well-to-do Danish lawyer, I listened to a lecture by an Eastern European woman who was trying to lure Danish private individuals to their home country by promising them drastic tax savings. “Oh, as long as I still have enough after taxes, I almost don't care what I have to hand over. It's well spent, ”he told me after the event. “We're all socialists up here,” says Copenhagen furniture dealer Kiki Borch Jensen. Women in particular also benefit from the fact that the Nordic countries are pioneers in reducing gender inequalities. In Sweden in particular, childcare has been greatly expanded since the 1970s, and the law on maintenance promotes the employment of mothers.

There are several reasons why incomes are so evenly distributed. On the one hand, the wages are not so wide apart. Put simply, workers earn more than in Germany, while top managers often have to be satisfied with a lower income that is taxed even higher. For example, hairdressers in Denmark receive an hourly wage of at least 17.70 euros - provided they are paid according to the tariff. This is why a haircut at a normal hairdresser in the capital Copenhagen quickly costs 40 euros and often even considerably more - after all, the high wages have to be paid. Health workers, such as nurses or occupational therapists, also earn significantly better in Northern Europe, but at the same time have more skills and a correspondingly better training than in Germany. This applies to all Nordic countries. However, Norway stands out very clearly: wages there are so high in many areas that numerous workers are pouring into the country even from the equally affluent neighboring countries, above all from Sweden.

The question of how far one is willing to share one's wealth remains a determining issue

For a long time after World War II, most of the Nordic countries were predominantly ruled by Social Democrats and had extremely strong unions. Norway is governed by a conservative-liberal minority government, Denmark is governed by a center-right coalition, and right-wing populists have been in parliament in Sweden since 2010. This shift to the right was also led by the argument that the state had spent a lot of money in recent years on taking in and integrating migrants. The Danish People's Party became the second strongest force in the 2015 election - among other things with the demand that the welfare state should only care for Danes.

The question of how far one is willing to share one's wealth remains a determining issue. While Sweden has taken in a large number of refugees, the other countries, particularly Denmark, have held back. Immigration from Europe is also often seen as a threat there. Even the left-wing newspaper “Information” called for the sale of residential property to foreigners to be limited. Workers - often from Eastern Europe - who are willing to work for lower wages are regularly prevented from doing so in Sweden and Denmark using rather rigorous methods: the powerful unions simply block the relevant companies because of wage dumping.

The ace: Phil Hellmuth (53), Poker Grandmaster & Rüpel

Because of his choleric attacks and insulting remarks at the poker table to opponents - especially when defeated - the US poker professional Phil Hellmuth has long since been nicknamed "Hellmouth" (German: "Hellmouth") in the scene. But defeats are rare for him: he has already won a total of around 21 million dollars in live poker tournaments - mostly in his favorite discipline "Texas Hold‘ em ". Some poker fans find it annoying that Hellmuth's ranting tirades disrupt the flow of the game, but overall there is great admiration for him. At the age of 24 - in 1989 - Phil Hellmuth was the youngest player to date to win one of the most important American poker tournaments: the main event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas. In 2007 he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and now holds, among other things, the record for most WSOP cash wins and participation in final tables. Hellmuth evidently has a perfect command of "reading" his opponents and their style of play. That's why his poker books and video tutorials are selling so well. His own clothing series with the label “Poker Brat” (German: “Poker-Rüpel”) is also a hit.

Photos: Martin Parr / Magnum Photos / Agentur Focus