It’s as Danish as Hans Christian Andersen and smørrebrød. In fact it’s now so well known that it is the name of a furniture company in Bangkok, a bakery in Los Angeles, a brand of big watches that don’t look remotely hyggelig, and a store in London selling cute Scandinavian artifacts and accessories (“hyggely things”!). Pronounced roughly “HEU-ga” (the first vowel sound is like “ew” without the “w”), hygge (originally a Norwegian word meaning “well-being”), like the Dutch gezellig, is more than the sum of its parts—coziness, fellowship, security, intimacy.
It’s atmosphere and companionship, says visit-denmark.dk: “Gather the family and invite over a couple of good friends. Douse the electricity and light some candles. Serve plenty of food and drink. Look at each other until you see the candlelight shimmering in each other’s eyes. You’ve got hygge!”