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 You are in: Front Page > Programmes > World Today > Euro Special
Euro Special

Carsten Jensen

Carsten Jensen

Listen to Carsten Jensen

To coincide with the launch of the Single Currency across 12 members of the European Union,
The World Today
has commissioned seven short original works from leading European writers.

Denmark is one of three European Union Members who will not be taking part in the single currency. Controversial Danish journalist Carsten Jensen first made his name on the newspapers Politiken and Det Fri Aktuelt.

Carsten Jensen: A Single Currency

When the rest of Europe joins the single currency, Denmark doesn't.

We shall stick to our "krone" with its portrait of our queen.

To understand the reason for this obstinacy in a people that historically has mostly been known for its lack of passion and its willingness to adapt, you must understand then in Denmark nationalism takes the shape of moralism.

In a world where almost all nations are bigger than Denmark with its number of inhabitants that is only half of that of London how do you compete? How do you become visible on the world map?

By claiming you belong to another world, that of moral superiority. Big is bad and small is good, you claim. You celebrate David as the symbol of your small nation and take on the rest of the world as if it was a kind of Goliath. It is not your contribution to the world that singles you out, it is your resistance to the world, the stones you throw at it.

Danes have acquired the habit of saying no to the world, in referendums on the European Union, in elections for parliament where words hinting at the existence of a world outside Denmark have become a taboo, in our attitude to strangers to whom we behave with increasing and embarrassing hostility.Carsten Jensen

Any Dane can tell you what is wrong with the Muslim world, but also with the UK, with Germany, France, United States of America, even our closest neighbour Sweden.

When it comes to his own country he will tell you about the word "hygge" which he claims is unique to the Danish language and doesn't exist in any other, even though the English have the word "cosiness", the Germans the word "Gem├╝tlichkeit" and so on.

"Hygge" means to close your door, roll down the curtains, light a few candles, drink coffee and watch television, not the news though but an old Danish movie from the fifties. Basically "hygge" means something the others don't have which proofs that we are better people than they are. It is "hygge" that helps us preserve our moral superiority.

Albania has quit the stage as the simpleton of Europe, but we are striving to replace them. You should come and see us. We will teach you about "hygge" and especially collectors of old coins will have a great time here.

 Todays programmes

 More Essays
  Colm Tóibín
  Michèle Roberts
  Carsten Jensen
  Nico Helminger
  Antoni Libera
  Peter Schneider
  Manuel Rivas

Is time running out?

A currency's wild ride

Redefining Europe
Notes & coins guide

Related Links:
Carsten Jensen biography
I have seen the world begin
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