Sharing the house: a story of trust from Denmark

“I need a favor” says one of your friends. “Go on” you reply. 

Your friend: Are you not visiting your summer house this summer?
You: No, we are off to the Mediterranean. You can spend your holidays there. Let me give you the keys.

So simple. Nordic people are very easy-going when it comes to sharing things.Whether it is their car, home or even boat, they really do love to share them. Even with strangers.

This is why all the sharing economy platforms thrive in the Nordics. However, there is one particular nation that is even more relaxed and easy-going with sharing their stuff.

Read on to find out who they are and why they do it!

Flat but attractive

Denmark that is. It is a small and flat country. But very attractive to tourists from all over the world. From world-classy Copenhagen to the charming Nordic beaches in the mainland of the country.

Houses are in abundance. As with all Nordic people, the Danes like to have summerhouses in the countryside or near the sea. And when they don’t use them they like to share them.

Denmark is officially a vast home-sharing land. The largest in the Nordics. According to the stats, approximately 9% of all Danes take an active part in the sharing economy.

When it comes to homes, Airbnb thrives in Denmark. Although Sweden is 10 times larger than Denmark, the latter has double the number of listings.

Also, more than 50% of the nights spent in shared-homes in Denmark are by foreigners. Danes have overall no big issue with renting to strangers, moreover foreigners.

And more than 1 out of 3 tourists in Denmark rents a charming summer house by the Danish coast. Oh! So pretty! 

But why is that? Why are Danes more open to sharing their stuff? Is it about money or something else?

3 reasons why

Well, there are quite a few reasons why the Nordic people and especially the Danes are more into sharing their possessions.

– trust. Danes are one of the most trusting people in the world. Trust is deeply ingrained in the Danish society. They have faith in other people, even strangers, that they will not misuse or damage their homes when they stay there for their vacation.  Sharing is caring.

– efficiency. It is also about being effective and efficient. If they don’t use something, they prefer to make something out of it. So, why not sharing it for money? Idle possessions are no good.

– environment.  It is also about sustainability. Why will they have to build more houses and hotels if there are already enough places to stay, that are not used and can be rented? Take for example the Danish summer houses. Bingo!

Bonus trust signs

OK, Danes are trusting. But to what extent?Um, to the extent that there are farmers selling their products on a stand by the road, in the Danish countryside, without them being present. They put the price tags and then leave. There is just one little cashbox on the stand, where buyers put their money in when they buy from their stuff.

And if you are into business and you are about to make a deal or buy something in large quantity (physical products or services), just an oral agreement (or a simple email at most) will suffice to make the deal active. No need for contracts and the hassle of lawyers and legal advisors.

How trusting are you towards other people? Or even to strangers?
Image: Kim Wyon / VisitDenmark