Come on, have a big HYGGE



Image: Pixabay

They know a thing or two, the Danes.

They know how to make good TV for a start. Any of you out there who fancy a bit of intelligent, slightly offbeat European drama with a line of black in it as dark as a miner’s armpit, then Danish national broadcaster DR are your go-to guys.

The Bridge, The Killing, Borgen, 1864 – what they can’t do with a fairisle jumper, an unlit sewer, a strong female lead with intimacy issues and several gallons of Kensington Gore isn’t worth doing.

Okay, sometimes you want to shout

For god’s sake, just put the light on rather than stumbling towards the armed psychopath waiting in that pitch black abattoir

And the same actors turn up in different shows – one minute as a politician, the next as a drunk homeless guy – so there’s a constant, disjointed feeling of deja vu, but what can you expect from a country where the population is below 6 million? (London’s is a bit over 8.5 million, which gives you some perspective.)

I’m no linguist, but by the time you’ve watched several of these programmes – reading the subtitles while Nordic vowels flow into you like ink into blotting paper – you’ll become convinced you can speak the language like a native.

Then there’s Hans Christian Anderson, of course, he of Little Mermaid fame, the heroine who is perhaps the epitome of self mortification in the name of love. You can’t help but wonder if she might have had some influence on the Scandi-noir girls who come after (like Sara Lund and Saga Noren from the above shows), adept as they are at doing the right thing despite the personal cost.

There’s also: 

Lego, Danish pastries, the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”), conductor and comedy pianist Victor Borge, film director and obscurist misery-monger Lars von Trier (Dogville, Breaking the Waves) author Peter Hoeg (Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow) and poet Benny Andersen.

And Vikings.


I haven’t brought you to Wednesday Word Tangle – the fabled W4W – for any of this. I’ve brought you here for one, single Danish word –


Pronounced something like hooga, hygge isn’t just a word or a concept – it’s a national mindset.

Think of it.

You live in a small country, culturally impressive – and the happiest place to live in the world – but with no great power, influence or empire to swing around to impress the big hitters on the global stage.

What you do have is a lot of fish, ice, snow and some days in winter in which the sun only rises above the horizon for seven hours.

And this, friends is where hygge comes in. Because it means a sense of cosy intimacy. Think curling up somewhere warm – by an open fire, under a duvet – reading a good book, candles burning, your most cherished loved one by your side and eating something delicious.

It’s about relishing small things, normal things – making rituals out of preparing tea, lighting a candle as you drink your coffee in the morning.

Let’s take a leaf out of the Book of the Danes and accept HYGGE into our lives.


A little something for those of you who’d like to get hygge-ish with Viking Alexander Dreymon.


Thanks to Kat, founder of W4W.





10 thoughts on “Come on, have a big HYGGE

    1. The Last Kindom might be on Amazon Prime – you can get a free trial month I think. It was a fun programme – kind of Game of Thrones with a smaller cast and based on real events. Lots of blood and sex and a dishy leading man – highly enjoyable. It’s having a second series too, apparently. Yes, I love the idea of hygge too – we all need a bit of that. Make yourself a hot chocolate and grab a puppy and you’ve got hygge right there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know, I haven’t – that’s on Amazon Prime too, isn’t it? I suspect I’ll struggle to persuade the other half. After The Last Kingdom he may be fed up of Vikings – though I can’t get enough :). Is it very silly?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I shall search it out. Actually, I’m sure it’s on Amazon Prime, so I don’t need to do much searching. What with hunky actors and County Wicklow, at least it’ll look amazing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Great post! Hygge is a beautiful concept that should be adopted the world over because it allows us to enjoy the simple things in life. As we become so consumed in the work-place with emails and the demands of everyday life, hygge is the perfect way to enjoy our leisure time and we think the Danes are onto something!! That’s why, at What Would Denmark Do, we are committed to bringing happiness back into life by looking at Danish concepts and applying them to our every day life. We’ve recently explored the concept of hygge and are looking for tips and tricks to achieve this concept right here in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a lovely concept and one we could do with applying more here in the UK. Mind you, there are a lot of other Scandinavian attitudes we could do with too … Love your idea. Fantastic. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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