Feeling the hygge

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Copenhagen felt a bit like late-fall Seattle today, as the city was doused with rain and covered by clouds for all of the daylight hours. But it was still a great day. We again enjoyed our hotel’s wonderful (and free!) breakfast spread and then ventured out into the rain for some additional exploring. We visited the Danish Design Museum, which contains some beautiful examples of Danish furniture and also explains the construction process (they steam and compress the wood, then bend it, and when it’s dry the wood retains its bent shape). We also ducked into the National Museum and various shops/stores to stay dry.

During yesterday’s walking tour, we learned the Danish term hygge. I love this word/concept. There is no direct English equivalent, but most everyone says that the closest term would be “coziness.” But that’s not quite right, because it’s an emotional feeling as well as physical warmth or comfort. The idea is that when you are in a comfortable/cozy setting with a group of friends or family and are enjoying good food, wine and conversation, you have hygge. It’s also associated with candles and fire, so almost every Danish bar and cafe has candles on every table. Here is an overview of The Danish Art of Hygge.


During our three days in Copenhagen, we’ve been lucky enough to find hygge on several occasions. Last night we met up with Amy’s friends Egil and Nanna — and had a wonderful time sampling Danish microbrews in a small pub called Lord Nelson. We talked politics, traded travel stories, and got the inside view of living in Copenhagen. We hope they will visit us in Seattle during their next visit to the U.S. so that we can repay their hospitality. Then, Dan and I found some hygge in a cafe called Stella’s, which served a great lunch and provided respite from the rain during a particularly heavy downpour this afternoon. And finally, we stopped for a glass of wine this evening at a very cool bar/cafe/coffeshop named Bang og Jensen in the Vesterbro neighborhood where we are staying. We definitely found hygge there.

So although we got a bit damp today, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in Copenhagen. There is a lot to see here and it’s a city in which I could imagine a very happy (and fit … from all the bike-riding) life.

Tomorrow morning we will pack up our stuff, hope that our jeans have dried, and catch a late morning flight to Vienna.

“Skol” from Copenhagen!

See our gallery of photos tagged with “copenhagen”.


No, this isn’t about dip. It’s the Danish greeting you give before sipping an $8 beer in a bicycle-filled square in the center of town, as Abby and I are doing as I write. We landed here yesterday afternoon and after checking into our hotel, we’ve spent the past couple of days wandering around, taking a walking tour, visiting the hippie district (Christiana – a fascinating place), all while trying to conserve our kroner. Hot dogs and kebabs are key to our strategy, but we’ve had some excellent Danish food as well. Meanwhile, we’ve been fighting jet-lag with $6 coffees (not key to the strategy). Yes, Copenhagen is an expensive city, but it’s beautiful and we’re so happy we’re here. Tomorrow we plan to rent bicycles and ride all over town!