Can You Really Hygge If You’re Not Danish?

So “hygge” is all the rage just now. The intrinsically Danish, un-translatable concept of cosiness. It’s definitely a trend, because in the UK they’re using it to sell soup and there’s already a backlash against it. (Actually we think using it to sell soup is just taking the piss. It’s our culture, not your trend.)

I’m starting to wonder if this is how the French feel when people collect fil de fer or hang Parisian road signs up in their apartments with one hand while making macarons with the other. You can try to be Parisian, but unless you go there and really immerse yourself in the culture, will you ever be more than a tourist asking the way to the patisserie in a really loud voice?

You see, in Denmark “hygge” is not something we have to think about. It’s just something we do. It’s bred into our bones, passed onto our children both at home and in school. In nursery school, even. We can explain it to you and we’re glad you enjoy it, but it’s not something we have to think about doing. The French don’t go and buy a baguette because it’s chic and vraiment français, they do it because that’s just what you do.

If you really want to embrace “hygge” then come to Denmark. Learn by observing, by doing. Not by reading. It’s not just something we do in the winter to keep the darkness at bay; winter is just where we add candles to the mix.

It’s not just about cosy throws and hot chocolate. It’s also about the people you spend time with. The things you do together. But that doesn’t mean that every time you hang out with friends it’s “hyggeligt.” Or that you can’t have “hygge” on your own.


Come to Denmark. We’ll show you how it’s supposed to be done. When you’ve been here for a while, you’ll see what it’s all about. And then you’ll take it home with you, and it will become a part of who you are. Maybe there will be hygge in soup – if you make it from scratch and invite your best friends round to enjoy it with you in the candlelight.

Now, where’s my macaron recipe…


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