Hygge in London
Ask any Dane “what’s the most important word in Danish?” and he or she will probably say ‘hygge’. We will then try to claim that this word can’t be translated into any other language, but for the purpose of this blog I will do my best to at least explain it.
Hygge, pronounced ‘hue-gah’ (but not really), is used by Danes to acknowledge a moment of pure cosiness. It’s that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you look around a room and realise that there’s no other place you’d rather be at this very moment. And not unlike a well-made film, Danish hygge also requires a certain mise-en-scène. A combination of that perfect setting, incredible people, just the right lighting (preferably with candles) and hopefully no disturbances.
I do struggle to find a worthy equivalent in the English language, but that is not to say that British people wouldn’t know the meaning of it. In my experience the concept is just as embedded in your culture as it is in ours, but it presents itself in slightly different ways. In London, the intimacy of hygge is not only reserved for the people you know; you practically get to second base with strangers every day on the tube. Tea is not just something you enjoy under a blanket in the privacy of your own home; PG tips basically runs through your veins and is happily shared with everyone on an hourly basis. And whereas the line between work and play is never to be crossed in a Danish office, I was fairly surprised when I first experienced just how blurry that line can get around ‘beer‘o’clock’ on a Friday afternoon.
What I love about working in London, is how moments of hygge can occur at any point throughout the day. I’ve been so used to a culture of very private people rushing home at 5PM to finally enjoy some hygge, but the English would never wait until the end of office hours to have a good laugh. Perhaps that’s why some of the funniest most creative films have been made in the UK and why Danish cinema often tends to look like this:
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a major fan of both, but I can definitely get used to working with people who won’t ever take themselves too seriously, are never too busy to put on the kettle and not even close to running out of great ideas. I’m at least hoping that I get to hygge in London for a very long time and that I won’t be kicked out after Brexit (fingers crossed)! xx