SAMFUNDSSIND - In the context of Covid-19


Earlier this month,  BBC Travel featured an article which focused on the Danish concept of ‘Samfundssind’.

This term can be translated to ‘community spirit’ and is a concept that sits at the base of the danish society. Nonetheless, this term has become more and more relevant during the time of COVID-19 and as a result was assigned the ‘word of the year’ by Dansk Sprognævn (the Danish Language Council) and P1 radio station. 

The Danish Language Council defines ‘samfundssind’ as ‘putting the concern of society higher than one’s own interests’. There is a strong tradition for community in Denmark that dates back to earlier ages when dairy farmers would, amongst others, team up to finance jointly owned dairies. 

Today however, this term is more relevant than ever and  ‘samfundssind’ has become the buzzword of the Corona Virus crisis. Early in the crisis, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen appealed directly to Danes’ samfundssind by stating: ‘ We need community spirit. We need help. I would like to thank… all who have so far shown that this is exactly what we have in Denmark – samfundssind.’ To this message Danes responded enthusiastically. Private companies helped ease pressure on healthcare services by procuring medical equipment and attractions such as the Lego factory started manufacturing visors for healthcare workers.

Read more about other ways in which the danish society showed their sense of community here.

(Photo by: Alexandra Mitache)