Agency spokesman Pierre Garnier said the decision came after long internal discussions.
“Some of us at BIS thought that Denmark should be excluded because it is so over-represented at the top of these comparisons while others argued that there must be something fishy going on when one country, particularly one as small and relatively insignificant as Denmark, constantly rises to the top,” he told The Local.
Garnier pointed to Denmark’s position as the happiest country on earth, the best country for women, the best country for business, the ‘most connected’ nation and the world's best democracy with the least amount of corruption.
“I could go on, of course, but it just gets a bit tiresome,” Garnier said. “In the end, we decided to exclude Denmark for the time being so that some other countries could get a chance.”
He added that it was the hope of BIS that other countries could share in some of the accolades that Denmark will certainly abandon when not included in the next round of ‘best of’ lists.
“When we looked at, for example, the United States, which prides itself on being ‘the greatest country on Earth’, and saw that it usually lands in the middle of the pack we thought it could benefit from lesser competition. After all, it looks to be on the verge of electing a lunatic who might run it into the ground,” he said.
At tourist organization Visit Denmark, the BIS decision was a bitter pill to swallow.
“Denmark has built a strong brand off the back of all of these international accolades,” spokeswoman Kristine Marie Jørgensen-Sørensen told The Local.
“I mean, it’s one thing for us Danes to tell each other that we live in the greatest place on earth but how will that message get out to the wider world if we don’t continue to top at least one international survey per week?” she added.
At the Geneva-based BIS, which provides rankings to a wide variety of publications and intergovernmental bodies, Garnier said that the Denmark-free lists would initially be a six-month trial.
“There is some fear that if we remove Denmark, then every list will just be topped by Norway. We considered disqualifying all of the Nordics but we figured that would be too obvious. We’re sort of banking on the fact that no one will really notice Denmark,” he said.
This story, if you haven't guessed by now, is not actually true and is part of The Local's longstanding tradition of April Fools' jokes. We will go back to dutifully reporting every time Denmark tops a new list.