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5 Key Ingredients to Danish HYGGE

by Louise Fischer | December 02, 2014

We are noticing that many people are intrigued by the Danish concept of HYGGE [pronounced sort of like HUYGAHH]. The fascination is probably linked to the fact that the Danes are considered the happiest people on the planet [according to the World Happiness Report by the United Nations].  Many factors contribute to that often quoted happiness statistic [i.e. health care, vacation and maternity policies, not to mention ever present bikes] but it is our view that a key contributor to Danish happiness is HYGGE. Now, what does that hard-to-translate word actually mean? 'Coziness' doesn't describe it fully: It's both physical and mental; it's being in the moment and enjoying good conversation and togetherness. It's contentment and conviviality and a sense of well-being. To achieve HYGGE, you'll need a few key ingredients in our view: # 1. The right company - for you to decide of course, but HYGGE brings families and friends closer together, can be the start of relationships and can make you reconnect after a hectic day. So don't attempt to create HYGGE with people who won't appreciate that type of togetherness - it's a waste of time [and good candles].  # 2. Delicious food - that goes without saying. Preferably something to share and nibble on, to enhance good conversations. We prefer lighter bites like these, a bit of a modern take via restaurant The Copenhagen in NYC. # 3. Drinks, yes preferably alcoholic [but not every day, some wise people claim]  - a great white Burgundy [the Danes don't do wine that well] or a dill infused aquavit like this one from Denmark.
 # 4. Candles, candles - As described by Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes: "To have a hyggelig time is social nirvana in Denmark. Candlelight is used to encourage a hyggelig atmosphere. In fact, the Danes are mad about candles and use them everywhere, both in public places like cafes, bars, restaurants and offices, and in the home". It's critical they are of good quality [not like many of the American ones that melt too fast all over your table]. Ideally 100% stearin [get them at IKEA], and plenty of them, presented beautifully # 5. Comfortable surroundings; perhaps enhanced by gorgeous pillows to cozy up with and flowers in vases. 
 All leaving you with that happy, content feeling of having been 'in the moment' and shared a special time. Now, that's HYGGE!

Tagged: Hygge