XII: Denmark

In preparation for my Copenhagen trip I thought it’d be a good excuse to read a book from Denmark. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking had caught my eye a year or so ago. So, I thought I’d give it a try.

Hygge roughly translates as cosiness in English. Though perhaps there is an extra emotional layer of significance in the Danish word. As it happens, I am enormously fond of the English word cosy. I have been known to repeat it like some form of mantra (“cosy cosy cosy”) when trying to warm up with a cup of tea and a blanket during cold winter nights. Almost with the belief behind my words that somehow just saying cosy so many times will enable me to change my body temperature.

I suppose I had especially high hopes with this book because I was very impressed that the author is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute. During my postgraduate year I spent a lot of time reading about health economics and became fascinated by the concept of comparing happiness levels. When I first heard that there was a Happiness Research Institute in existence, my immediate thought was, “I want to work there some day!”.

Whilst The Little Book of Hygge was an easy read and a good excuse to get a few candles out when reading curled up on the sofa, I don’t think I learnt much new information. I think I’d been expecting to get to know more about Danish culture specifically. Despite the claim that hygge is a uniquely Danish tradition, I can’t help but conclude that for me, hygge exists in various forms around the world. Perhaps the word hygge or the equivalent is just used with higher frequency in the Danish language.

I’m hoping that my trip to Denmark will be more inspiring to my hygge-habits than this book was.

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