• Full Episodes
  • Characters
  • Web Extras
  • Recaps
  • Home

5 Reasons Why 'Borgen's' Denmark Is Culturally Progressive

If last week's episode of "Borgen" didn't convince you that Denmark is one of the most progressive countries in the world, these five factors are sure to sway your vote. And even though the show has already shed light on the nation's political and social advancement, other progressive issues, such as same-sex marriage and universal health care, have yet to be addressed.

We're streaming and recapping full episodes online.

1. Environment:
• After adding a Ministry of Environment to the cabinet in 1971, Denmark became the first country in the world to implement an environmental law two years later. The country signed numerous international treaties (including the Antarctic Treaty, the Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, and the Endangered Species Act), national legislation, and local regulations to preserve the environment, combat global warming, and reduce its carbon footprint. Copenhagen even hosted the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference.

• As seen in "Borgen" -- Biking is a common mode of transportation. Birgitte biked to parliament daily before she became prime minister and Katrine bikes regularly to TV1's studios. Young adults living in Denmark's major cities, especially Copenhagen -- where the show is set -- are like to rely on two-wheelers. The country's network of bike routes extends beyond 7,500 miles.

2. Same-sex equality:
• Denmark legalized same-sex marriage (a.k.a. gender-neutral marriage) last year. It was the first country in the world to pass "registered partnership" laws in 1989. Registered partnerships had almost all of the same legal and fiscal rights as marriages.

3. Gender equality:
• Helle Thorning-Schmidt became Denmark's first female prime minister in 2011. As a member of the Social Democrats Party, her election ended a decade of center-right rule in the country.

• As seen in "Borgen" -- Birgitte Nyborg Christensen's appointment in the show as the country's first female prime minster foreshadowed Thorning-Schmidt's election to the post. Her selection (as the leader of the Moderate Party) also challenged the Liberal and Labor Parties' established reign. However, unlike Thorning-Schmidt's cabinet, Birgitte's is half full of women. Her cabinet also ratified a gender equality bill that implemented quotas ensuring that women comprise at least half the board members of Danish companies. If only the U.S. could make use of its binders full of women.

4. Health care:
• Like its Scandinavian sisters Sweden and Norway, Denmark has universal health care. The system is financed through local taxes instead of social contributions.

5. Pornography:
• Denmark was the first country in the world (yes, yet another first) to legalize pornography in 1969. Now, this is a nation we can get behind.

About the Author

KCET site editor, movie over-analyzer, TV binge-watcher.
RSS icon