In 2016 the Danish expression hygge almost got chosen as word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries. Even though it didn’t make it to the final it is still a word that has sparked a buzz the last couple of years, where Denmark has also ranked among the happiest countries. A theory is that hygge is one of the reasons for this. Here is a quick guide for you who wants to experience Danish hygge when visiting Copenhagen.
The English dictionary defines hygge as 'a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)'.
Hygge is a concept that Danes practice all year round, but especially during autumn and winter. In Denmark this period is almost half a year. It is 6 months of cold, wet and windy weather and short dark days. This period definitely calls for indoor time together – it calls for hygge.
Hygge is the feeling you have when you place yourself in cozy surroundings with people you care about. It is the feeling you get when you make time in the busy everyday life to slow down and enjoy the small often simple things.
Hygge is big sweaters and cozy socks. It is candles, a good movie with your family, a good talk with your best friend. It is the atmosphere and the feeling of tranquility. And when Danes plan to hygge it often involves eating and drinking.
If you want to experience the feeling of hygge, here are some suggestions for you.
Coffee and a stroll. Fælledparken is Copenhagens most visited park. It’s located at Østerbro and holds both large areas of grass, cosy paths shadowed by big trees, football fields, playgrounds, a skate park and a flower garden. If you enter the park from Serridslevvej you will meet an open space between a playground and basketball fields where small trucks sell lovely warm coffee and crepes to keep your fingers warm and your tummy happy. A perfect place to start before strolling round the park and enjoying this piece of nature in the middle of the city.
Slow morning. Danes love to go out for brunch. So much that they have made it into a verb: to brunch. Brunch often involves large amount of food and a big cup of coffee. Brunch is hygge. It should be enjoyed slowly, making the morning last forever and all stress disappear. It’s not hard to find a place to enjoy a good brunch in Copenhagen. Try for example Kalaset in Vendersgade where the interieur is very homely, imperfect in the perfect way and the atmosphere is just hyggelig.
A traditional sail tour. The classic canal tour around Copenhagen’s harbor and canals are not only for visitors. Many locals feel very warmly about the canal boats that has sailed on the canals since 1904. Put on some warm clothes, bring someone you care about, maybe bring a coffee or hot chocolate and embrace the dark Danish afternoons that gives way to the hyggelige city lights.
Come join the Danish hygge!