Hygge (pronounced “hooga”) is one of those Danish words that has no exact translation in English, but is used to describe cosy social gatherings, and intimate get-togethers with family and friends. In the winter, hygge could involve that cuddly feeling in front of a fireplace after visiting a Christmas market on a cold snowy day. In the spring or summer—or whenever the sun is out—it includes gathering outside in a park, by the beach, or on the streets, seeking out every warm spot to chat, have a beer, and feel hygge while enjoying the fresh air and sun. Hygge is something Danes strive for in pubs and cafés like those along Nyhavn (seen here), or during candlelit dinners with family and friends. Perhaps hygge explains in part how Denmark earned the title of the world’s happiest country, as determined in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report 2013? Whatever its broader implications, for the traveler the legendary happiness of Danes carries over into a warm welcome for visitors.
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