Speech by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark, H.E. Mr. Ole Frijs-Madsen at the Danish National Day celebrated on 19 May 2016.

الرياض – سفاري نت

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you on yet another beautiful night in Riyadh
Before I start let me express my condolences and respect for victims and their families from the Egypt Air flight from Paris to Cairo. We are all touched by this terrible accident. The same goes for any casualties of war, terrorism, disease and natural disasters

As many of you may have noticed we are celebrating Her Majesty – Queen Margrethe the 2nd’s – Birthday. Our celebration tonight takes place with four weeks delay.
There were two good reasons to postpone our National Day this year. First of all the weather would hopefully be more stable with less sandstorms and rain. Secondly and more substantially we had an important visit by THR the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of the Kingdom of Denmark earlier this year accompanied by three government ministers, 43 Danish companies and a delegation of 110 persons visiting Riyadh for 3 days

Various new agreements and partnerships were signed and Danish competences within design, food, health, energy efficiency and clean energy solutions were presented to Saudi partners.
This very important visit along with other visits during the year underlines our constructive relations and cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which has increased over the past years. The Kingdom has launched an ambitious Vision for 2030 with a number of decisive elements which sets clear targets for Saudi Arabia to meet future aspirations of a young and talented population. We wish every success for this initiative and Denmark stands ready to lend its support with know-how and best practice.

We are also happy to see women playing an increasingly important role in the Saudi society both at the workplace, in higher education and domestically. I have no doubt that women will be key drivers in the new vision for the Kingdom.
My country is proud to be co-hosting this week in Copenhagen the United Nations Conference “Women Deliver” which is the world’s largest global conference in the last decade on the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women.
In actual fact over the last five years, the Danes have been elected three times by the United Nations World Happiness Report to be the happiest people on earth.
The happiest people on Earth is a title we Danes are very proud of, and we hope to illustrate it for you this evening, as we chose happiness as our main theme. But why are we so happy in our small kingdom of 6 million people? And what factors are essential for happy people around the world?
First of all welfare: a welfare model guarantees that people’s basic needs are met including healthcare, education and social benefits in case of unemployment. In our case welfare goes hand-in-hand with some of the highest income taxes in the world………and people are still happy….believe it or not!

Social trust: Denmark has the highest level of social trust in the world (together with our Scandinavian friends – Norway and Sweden).  Trust helps to create a comfortable, convenient society, a society that removes major worries of day-to-day life.
Freedom & security:  Freedom ensures that opportunities are not limited on the grounds of a person’s race, sexuality, religion or gender. In Denmark most people experience that they are able to control the course of their life.
They have the opportunity to take an education irrespective of their parent’s income; they can marry whomever they want, they can speak freely, travel freely and think freely.
Denmark is also the least corrupt country in the world, with the highest level of transparency. This has contributed to make our country on top of the best countries to conduct business in. Justice and fairness is one of the great happiness secrets!
Denmark is furthermore named one of the best places in the world to establish a family, with generous maternity leave, child allowance and excellent child care institutions where parents can safely place their kids. If your family is happy chances are that you will be happy as well!
So, at the end of the day happiness of people depends on various factors which every society can strive to achieve in the best way possible within their culture.

Finally we also thought that tonight we would link happiness with a little bit of geography. Copenhagen is of course known by most people as the capital city of Denmark. There are, however, many other important and nice cities in Denmark which we would like YOU to know.

This is why we have placed names and pictures of these cities close to the food stations so that you can learn and taste some different Danish flavours. Before you leave tonight you will all be familiar with not only Copenhagen, but also Århus, Ålborg, Odense and the beautiful island of Bornholm.
Before I conclude and leave you enjoying some good food and drinks I would like to thank all our Saudi partners in government and business sectors for their co-operation during the year. I – along with my team at the Embassy – highly appreciate the co-operation.
It is a pleasure to inform you that any excess food from tonight’s reception will be picked up by Saudi Food Bank Ita’am and served for underprivileged families.
I wish you all Happiness, good health and a great evening here at the Royal Danish Embassy.

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