Hygge: The Danish secret to be happy

Happiness in Denmark is a serious business. The Dane is not only happy, but also holds the title of happiest people in the world according to a survey released in 2016 by the University of Colombia. To discover the reason for such prosperity, it is necessary to unravel a typical Danish concept, the Meaning of Hygge. The term is used to describe various situations of well-being and contentment, which can be from having a hot chocolate with friends in a cold winter to reading a book in a lazy hammock on a summer afternoon. It is as if the Danes allow themselves to live situations only to consciously feel a sense of comfort. In other words, it is a choice for well-being.

I Hygeia, you Hygeia

In Denmark, there is a general understanding of what habits and programs are considered Hygeia and on how to do Hygge. Nevertheless, there are no hits or misses, as there are also personal perceptions of what Hygge is. For example, it can be dinner with friends for one person and, for another, watching a football match of the team of the heart. It can also be dinner with friends, reading a book while it rains outside, having lunch in the park on a sunny day, going to a show, having a beer by the beach and so on. In other words, what matters is the well-being of each one. Even those comfortable pants you love to wear at home have the word in their name in Danish.

Hygge manifesto

Hygge is one of the simplest and most effective ways to be happy. More than objects, this is a concept that is based on experiences and sensations. From spending a lazy afternoon enjoying the good weather, or having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life with friends, you can include anything in a conversation. There is no better way to feel Hygge than cuddling on the sofa with someone we love, sharing with our best friend that food that comforts us, or waking up with the first light of a clear morning.

  • Ambience – Dim the light
  • Presence – Living the here and now, turning off your cell phone
  • Pleasure – Chocolate, coffee, cake, a hot bath
  • Equality – “We” instead of “I”, sharing time
  • Gratitude – Appreciate the Moment
  • Harmony and Comfort – Relaxation
  • Truces – Leave an unpleasant conversation for another day
  • Conviviality – Creating relationships and narratives
  • Refuge – Creating a place of peace and security

Being aware of having a good time and paying attention to small gestures are essential.

Do not translate!

Of Norwegian origin, the word arrived in Denmark in the 19th century and is present throughout the language. It is almost impossible to converse in Danish without using a word related to Hygge, which is as much a part of the Danish language as it is of the Nordic country way of life. The Danish word Hygge means ‘well-being’, ‘contentment’, ‘sociability’ and ‘security’, in the sense of feeling safe and secure. Therefore, there is no single meaning and it is difficult to translate actually.


Rachel Martin: Rachel, an adventure travel blogger, shares her experiences of hiking, climbing, and trekking around the world. Her blog includes detailed guides, safety tips, and inspiring stories to encourage others to embark on their own adventures.