The Library Stack and Hygge

So…

My next post was to be about writing Artist Statements (since I have one I really, really, really need to complete), but if you have followed me for a while you know my mind works like the golden retriever Dug in the Pixar movie, Up – “Squirrel”!

Instead I am going to continue my ongoing series, The Library Stack,  sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library and talk about something dear to my heart: the Danish concept of Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”).

Here is the latest stack of library books:

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This stack currently contains the book – The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

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and How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen.

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The latter book is not in the library stack photo which was taken a couple days ago; I recently picked it up from the library. 

You may already be familiar with the concept of “hygge”, however bear with me as I share some of the cool things I learned.

Hygge 101

Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) refers to hygge as “coziness of the soul”. It is “about atmosphere and am experience, rather than about things…it is about being with people we love…a feeling of home…a feeling that we are safe…shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down…”

Signe Johansen (How to Hygge) defines hygge as: “a Danish/Norwegian word that translates as a feeling of cosiness…it can also mean kinship and conviviality…hygge is about being sociable and look outward; it’s about taking pleasure in the simple things in life…”

Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) states that the hygge experience has ten components (The Hygge Manifesto):

  1. Atmosphere (candles!)
  2. Presence
  3. Pleasure
  4. Equality
  5. Gratitude
  6. Harmony
  7. Comfort
  8. Truce
  9. Togetherness
  10. Shelter

No wonder, based on international surveys, Denmark is one of the happiest countries on earth! (Norway is #1 and Denmark is #2 – Where are the world’s happiest countries? CNN.com)

In his book, Meik Wiking provides wonderful examples and details in achieving these hygge related experiences. His book includes tips, recipes, and suggested activities and experiences to bring a feeling of hygge into your life.

Signe Johansen’s book (How to Hygge) takes a similar approach but presents the material in the different format. She shares many essays about hygge experiences and strategies to incorporate a sense of hygge in your life by creating a feeling of coziness in your home, using candles, board game nights with family and friends, making delicious healthy satisfying foods and spending plenty of time outdoors.

I am still reading through both of these books, there are so many gems of wisdom and wonderful ideas in these two books. There is also a lot of reinforcement and affirmation of the choices I have made on how I live my life. Basically my life has a lot of hygge in it!

One of my new favorite words (I would slaughter the pronunciation if attempted) is “hyggekrog” which Meik Wiking describes as “a nook…a place in the room where you love to snuggle up with a blanket”. For me that would be a quilt and here is my “hyggekrog”:

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Postscript

I love Denmark, it is one of my most favorite places I have ever visited.

I first visited Denmark in the summer of 1998 and stayed with my friend Torben (my “Danish brother”) and his parents in their lovely home outside of Copenhagen. I returned to Denmark for a visit in 2004, this time bringing Terry the Quilting Husband to experience this wonderful country and we stayed with Torben and his future wife.

I definitely had a hygge immersion experience visiting Denmark. Although it was August, during my first trip to Denmark, Torben’s mother made Christmas dinner so I could experience Danish Christmas! The Danish-Christmas-in-August experience included board games after dinner and lots and lots of family fun (even a family “floor show”)!

During my first trip I of course had the required tourist experiences such as seeing The Viking Museum, Tivoli and Nyhavn. I also got to rollerblade for the first time, tour the country on an exceptional road trip, bike ride to a castle (only in Europe would you have a castle outside your suburban neighborhood) and many other wonderful experiences. The Danish people were so friendly and I felt so welcome. I sort of felt like I was “home”.

One of my most memorable Danish experiences was going sailing with Torben and his brother in a handmade wooden sailboat in August 1998!

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My Danish brothers getting ready for us to sail

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Tierney sailing in Denmark!

These photos were before the days of smart phone photos so these images are scans of the original hard copy photos I have scrapbooked (as part of my minimalism journey I got rid of all loose photos – they are either scrapbooked, in a frame on display or discarded – no more boxes of photos!)


A random bit of info to close out this post – Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge) lists the items that Danes associate with hygge, here are the top 10:

  1. Hot drinks
  2. Candles
  3. Fireplaces
  4. Christmas
  5. Board Games
  6. Music
  7. Holiday (vacation)
  8. Sweets and cake
  9. Cooking
  10. Books

I think the fact that Torben’s family had Christmas for me in August while I visited confirms just how much Danes enjoy Christmas!

18 thoughts on “The Library Stack and Hygge

  1. marthaginn says:

    A most interesting post!!! And of course, early on I was wanting to know how to pronounce hygge. I’ll have to check that out on my own. Definitely need to see if my library has this or can get it on loan.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. handmade habit says:

    Lovely! I recently put the first book on hold (!) and am looking forward to reading more about this concept and admit to being fascinated! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it – the elements of hygge sound quite wonderful. I love your hyggekrog; it looks totally cozified and is the perfect place to curl up! Wonderful sailing photos. Sounds like a very fun stay. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. PaperPuff says:

    That trip sounds like the most fun. Isn’t it nice when you can have friends showing you their home town/country? Your ‘hyggekrog’ (never typed that word in my life before) looks a perfect place to read some of that book pile…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. devisecreateconcoct says:

    So interesting Tierney. A friend mentioned hygge not so long ago to me and I had no idea what is was. Hygge sounds right up my alley. Love the photo of you in the boat. That must have been a blast. Putting in my library request for the little book of hygge right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Well hygge sounds right up your alley too! Thanks and yes my sailing experience in Denmark was both a blast and terrifying because I never went sailing before, much less in a handmade boat. But it is doing the things that terrify us that can lead to awesome experiences (but do not expect a post about me going skydiving anytime soon – ha!) Let me know what you think of the book when you get it from the library 🙂

      Like

  5. tinaor says:

    Ooh I was given the first Hygge book in your stack as a Christmas present. I have dipped in and out of it – though my sis in law who was the gifter thinks I am lucky enough to have a lot Hygge already in my life! Love what I’ve seen of Denmark too – which isn’t much – been to Copenhagen and nearby to visit friends a few times. Nyhavn is so pretty!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Very cool – what a lovely gift and how lovely to already have the feeling of hygge already in your life 🙂
      Nyhavn is incredible, I got to take a boat ride down it (in those tourist boat thingies) . What I appreciated even more, and I bet you had the same experience visiting friends, was to see Denmark from a local’s perspective!

      Like

      • tinaor says:

        That’s true. We’ve done both summer and winter trips and discovered things we might have missed (restaurant in the woods we would never have stumbled upon, sledging down a hill on makeshift trays in a residential area – two of many memories!)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Marcia Strykowski says:

    I recently listened to the audio version of The Little Book of Hygge with Wiking himself, reading it in his lovely Danish accent—loved it! Being part Danish, I’ve long had visiting the country on my bucket list (lucky you). Your cozy nook looks perfect. Wishing you much hygge in your life!

    Liked by 1 person

    • tierneycreates says:

      Ooooh! I do love Danish accents! My Danish brother/friend has a very mild Danish accent but when I visited him in Denmark he would put on as a joke his “Danish Tour Guide” accent, that cracked me up! Thanks so much for your comment and for reading! Wishing you much hygge too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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