Since I’m from Denmark and currently studying in Copenhagen I know a lot about the Danes. If you’ve been to Denmark before, you have probably heard of the word hygge, which describes the cosy feeling you can have when being together with your relatives or friends.
Hygge does not only mean “cosy”. It is much more than that. It’s all about the atmosphere, the mood, environment etc. When I think of hygge I imagine being with someone I love at a place where I can be myself.
In Denmark we experience cold winters and not much sun during that time. January 2014 we only had 17 hours of sunlight through the whole month. As a person who loves to travel to sunny places I’m just glad I wasn’t in Denmark at that time. I believe I would get depressed and run to the nearest airport to fly away.
But having hygge in our lifes is very important to us Danes. We describe feelings, restaurants, moments, activities and much more as hyggeligt. I honestly don’t know a synonyme for that word and don’t believe it exists.
The moment where I think I feel the hygge is when being able to look outside the window and think about how cold it is outside and how happy I am to be inside. Inside there is the perfect temperature. I could either be sitting in a café with a close friend talking about daily life, drinking a hot beverage and feeling relaxed without pretending to be someone else.
I could also be home or at a friend/relative’s house watching a good movie with a blanket and candles to warm up the room. Especially during christmas time we experience this feeling a lot.
But it’s also something that happens during the summer. Going to a festival or having barbecue with friends in the park can also be described as hygge.
I think hygge is a feeling that we Danes have become attached to. It helps us through the cold and dark winter and it’s a word that describes a feeling of comfort and happiness. There is no stress and no perceptions behind the word. Without hygge we would probably have a hard time describing many things in Denmark.
The word hygge can’t be translated without being misunderstood a little. Maybe it’s just something that Danes can experience? In Norway they have the word kos which I believe means pretty much he same. They say hyggelig as well, but in their country this word has a completely different meaning.
If other countries have anything similar, I would very much like to know! Has anyone been to Denmark and experienced it themselves as a traveler? I’d like to know what people from other countries think when they hear the word hygge while being in Denmark.
This winter it helped me a lot! I haven’t been to other countries than Denmark, Norway and Germany for more than 6 months now. I am so glad I have something to look forward to (Sharm el-Sheikh in less than two weeks)!