The Danish concept of “hygge”

About a year ago, I heard the word “hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga, sort of) for the first time. It interested me for two reasons. One, it’s Danish, and I have very strong Danish roots. Two, the definition.

Last night we hosted a fabulous little gathering — a tapas party in honor of and a send-off for friends of ours to their 3 year mission assignment in the U.K. As I took a few snapshots I thought to myself, “This is ideal. This is the way things should be.”

  • Our house isn’t much of a looker, but it seems to function pretty well for our food-oriented gatherings. And it is quaint (and well-decorated on the inside (mostly), with as much money as we can — and are willing to — put into it.).
  • The food was grand! The person who spearheaded this particular gathering prepared about half of it, and he actually scanned and emailed portions of a tapas cookbook he has with the email invitation.
  • The music was magniferous, and provided by another of the attendees (although we might have had some that would have worked too): Including “Ravel*Bolero,” the Gipsy Kings and something called “Radio Tafira.”
  • The company was fantabulous. Hm, I haven’t stopped to count yet . . . 18 besides us, at least.

It just caused me to think of how important and vital such community is in life, and in the Church. And how seldom it seems to happen — at least in comparison to how often I (and most of those who attended) wish it would happen. And also to think of the idea, the concept, of “hygge.”

Post Script: After learning of the word “hygge,” and purchasing our first home last year, my wife and I eventually decided to name our little house “The Hygge and Fika” — “fika” being a swedish variant, of sorts, on the concept of hygge. She has a very strong Swedish heritage, to go along with my Danish.

The funny thing was, as I learned from my father’s Danish cousin via snail mail, that this Danish cousin’s grandmother (I’m not even going try and figure out how this person is related to me) owned a home and small shop which was named “Hygge.” She sent me a picture of it that was in their newspaper a year or so before, when it had been up for sale.



About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

4 Responses to The Danish concept of “hygge”

  1. Pingback: New home, er, house comparison « The Aesthetic Elevator

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  3. Tobias says:

    Ravel’s “Bolero” is one of my favorite over time classics, and the Gipsy Kings are one of my top favorite bands.

    “Ravel*Bolero,” the Gipsy Kings an

  4. Pingback: Massive design FAIL « The Aesthetic Elevator

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