How to be hygge - the key to Danish happiness

29/09/2016 — By Alexandra Julian

How to be hygge - the key to Danish happiness

Minimalistic and innovative design, a great sense of style and bicycles are all synonymous with the Danish way of life, but the unsung hero of the happiest nation on Earth, is ‘hygge’.

Denmark has been reaping the rewards of hygge for many decades and only recently has the UK started to follow suit.


What is hygge?

Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, the best translation of this quintessentially Danish word is ‘cosiness’, but this doesn’t do it justice.

Green People’s founder and MD, Charlotte Vøhtz, was born and raised in Denmark and says:

“For me, hygge is all about togetherness at home and taking time out from life’s stresses. There are many ways to incorporate a little hygge into your lifestyle: it’s about sharing a good time with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounding yourself with candles and fresh flowers, enjoying a home cooked meal and playing games with the kids.”

According to the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, hygge can be defined as “Togetherness, relaxations, indulgence, presence and comfort. It all boils down to the pursuit of everyday happiness – the art of creating intimacy and cocoa by candlelight.”




Hygge speaks of a positive outlook on life. Though the winters in Denmark are long, cold and dark, Danes have turned this into a positive. Rather than complaining about the weather, they have made the colder months a time for cosiness and camaraderie.


How to lead a Hygge lifestyle

The Danish are well trained in the art of hygge, but we Brits may need a little more practice. To help you get a taste of the Danish way of life, here are a few tips on how to be hyggelig.


1. Togetherness

Arguably the most important aspect of hygge is coming together and sharing a good time with the people you care about. Have a movie night, a cosy dinner party with a home cooked meal, or get the kids involved with some baking.

For extra levels of hygge, make steaming mugs of hot chocolate or mulled wine, it’s a sure fire way to clear away those post-summer blues.


2. Create cosiness

It’s time to dig out the blankets, woolly socks and hot water bottles and make your space a hygge heaven.

Light some candles, light the fireplace (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and decorate with delicate fairy lights to give your home a warm, inviting glow.

Creating atmospheric lighting is a classic way to get that hygge feeling, so dim the lights and get cosy!


3. Enjoy the moment

Switching off doesn’t come naturally to us all, with the lure of social media or emails popping up on your phone, relaxing can be harder that it looks.

Try to spend some time away from screens, switch off from social media and really enjoy the present moment.

Whether that’s just catching up with friends, playing board games or enjoying food and good music with your family, having a digital detox, even for just a few hours can really give you a boost.

Are you going to incorporate a little more hygge into your life? Let us know what you think of this cosy Danish tradition in the comments below.



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