Danish Language Blog

That’s hygge to me! Posted by on Mar 10, 2012 in Culture

Hygge is one of the best known ”mystery words” of Danish. It can’t really be translated. (My dictionary suggests ’comfort, cosiness’, but I’d say that’s only an approximation…) I asked some young Danish-speakers to tell the readers of this blog what hygge (and its adjectival form hyggelig) meant to them.


I want to tell you about hygge. I’m at a højskole (folk high school) – we eat together, we learn Danish. (Of course, I’m from another country!) Playing football together is hyggelig – and now I’m learning how to play the guitar. Once in a while we also have a party – that’s exciting and dejlig (pleasant, nice).


I think it’s hyggelig when you’re out in the woods riding on your horse and the weather is nice. It’s also hyggelig when you’re sitting with your family in the sofa and you’re drinking hot chocolate and eating boller (Danish buns) or playing a game of ludo (parcheesi).  It’s hyggelig to go for a swim with someone from your class. And then drop by a restaurant afterwards, where you can sit and talk and the mood is good. It’s hyggelig to be together with your classmates, to spend some quality time with them.


I think it’s really hyggelig when you’re with you family, just talking, or eventually playing a game. And eating some good food during the evening. Sharing a good bottle of wine. And finally end the evening with a cognac or whatever you like. Some hot coffee or tea – whatever the family fancies. Just some quality time together.


Hygge means a lot of things to me. Something about sitting around a hot fire. It’s getting dark and you’re sitting there with a beer or a warm cup of cofee or tea and having a hyggelig chat and someone is playing some live music on guitar or something. Or it may also be just sitting alone in your room with a warm blanket reading a good book and having some candles lit. It can also be hyggelig spending time with farm animals. When you’re there with them, you just think – my, that’s hyggelig, they are cute and nice and you stroke them… Hygge can be the companionship with other people or just your own company, and it can be – something that warms your heart. Yes.


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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Joel:

    Just with the samples I can deduce that hygge could be perfectly translated to nice or pleasant.

    Those examples made me drooling ^^

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Joel 🙂

      Well, perhaps it could… I think the special thing about hygge is that it can only be used with some settings!
      I mean, you wouldn’t use the word to describe the weather… It has something to do with a nice, quiet ”homely atmosphere”, as they say in the UK!

      BTW, thanks for the laugh! ^^