Social conformity: why Janteloven is essential for understanding Danish culture

Oct 19, 2022 11:01 am


We're back with Season 3 of What The Denmark!

It's been a while, but we're really happy to be back and able to share lots of great episodes with you that we've been working on over the past few months.

Don't stand out

In this episode we tackle Janteloven or "The Law of Jante".

In 1933, a Danish-Norwegian author called Axel Sandemose wrote a book describing a fictional town in rural Denmark.

The people of the town were very set in their ways, and didn't like it when individuals tried to break from the norms, or think that they were in any way special.

This fictional (satirical) piece of work has come to define how many in Scandinavia see their lives today: people are sceptical of individual success, and prefer to "be average" rather than aspire to stand out from the crowd.

Of course, it's not that simple, but knowing about this undercurrent of conformity can help explain why people in Denmark are seemingly content (or frustrated by!) following the crowd. 

Our guests

We were joined by:

Michael shares his experiences of getting to grips with Janteloven and even learning to love it (on occasion). In the episode we reference this article he wrote for The Guardian that caused a bit of a storm.

Søren discusses how breaking free from Janteloven has allowed Geranium to achieve the next level of culinary greatness, but still without fully discarding the central law of Jante - "You are not better than anyone else"

There's much that's discussed on the pros and cons of social conformity, as well as many anecdotes from life in Denmark.

We hope you enjoy!

A message from our sponors...

Very excitingly (for us, at least) is that What The Denmark now has a sponsor! This means that we are able to pay ourselves to make the podcast which is, of course, nice.

This episode is sponsored by the State of Denmark's "Talent to Denmark" campaign. 

Denmark is actively looking to attract international talent to move to the country and by partnering with us, they are able to share opportunities to an audience that might not otherwise hear about them.

If you're interested to learn more about jobs in (one of) the happiest countries in the world, head to

Where to listen

As always, you can listen to this episode on Janteloven (+ all previous episodes) on:

Whilst there, a rating/ review would be much appreciated (if you can spare the time)

That's all for now!

As always, you can get in touch via the contact us page on our website if you have ideas for the show, or by replying to this email.

Happy Tuesday,


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