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Is it uncommon to see Norwegian men dating women of different race?
Three years ago, if you had asked a person from Denmark the secret to happiness, you probably would have gotten back a blank stare.
Vial knows she will never be rich, but says that she valued family, the ability to travel, and simple economic security above all else.
"I just chose a simpler lifestyle, one where I could ride my bike all over and where I don't have to make a great living to survive," she says.
Denmark, with its free universal health care, one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the world, and first-rate schools, came in first. Niels Martiny, a 26-year-old social anthropology student at the University of Aarhus in Denmark's second-largest city, spent last year in Peru doing research.
Even there, word about the survey had gotten around to locals.
"The gist of it is that you don't have to do anything except let go," says Vial.
"They had this idea about Nordic people being very reserved and very serious." Foreigners weren't the only ones scratching their heads at the results. "A lot of my friends were surprised," says Martiny, who considers himself quite happy in his own life but thought that the study must have made some mistake.
Earlier this summer, the Stockholm-based World Values Survey, which uses a very different methodology, reported that it also found Danish people to be the world's most contented.