Hygge

The art of Danish hygge

Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word 'hygge' (pronounced 'hooga') translates roughly to 'cosiness'. It may be hard to say, but that hasn't stopped people finding out that hygge might be a recipe for a happier life. Oxford Dictionaries even shortlisted hygge as one of their Words of the Year 2016! But what is hygge really? Are candles hygge? Woolly socks? As our guide Anna discovers, there's much more to the unique Danish concept of hygge...

The Danish meaning of hygge

Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are the happiest people in the world?

Christmas in Tivoli

The high season of hygge

The high season of hygge is Christmas, when Danes pull out all the hygge stops. Danish winters are long and dark, and so the Danes fight the darkness with their best weapon: hygge, and the millions of candles that go with it. Ever been to Tivoli Gardens or walked the streets of Copenhagen during the festive season? Then you know what Danes can do with lighting and mulled wine (known as gløgg)! If you haven’t, you should experience it! 

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How to pronounce hygge

Hygge is a useful word to use when in Denmark! It sounds a lot like 'hooga', so give it a try when you're here!

The Scandinavian origins of hygge

Hygge actually comes from a Norwegian word meaning "well-being." It first appeared in Danish writing in the 18th century and has been embraced by the Danes ever since!

Seeing is believing

Some of the UK's top Instagrammers went about capturing hygge during their recent trip to Copenhagen.

Happiness and hygge go hand-in-hand

CNN - Where are the World's Happiest Countries?

BBC - A heart-warming lesson from Denmark

Lonely Planet - How to get cosy in Copenhagen

NPR - Winter Doldrums Got You Down? Have Some Hygge

Fathom Away - What the Hell is Hygge?