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Hygge and Martelism: together forever

A piece of advice before we start: settle down on the sofa at home, light a candle, open a bottle of Martelo and put your mobile in flight mode. Now you’re in the right frame of mind, read on.

Denmark is the happiest country in the world, according to the United Nations. And the Danish proudly say that the secret to their happiness is Hygge (listen to how it’s pronounced here). So, what is Hygge? Pages of text have been written on this as, to start with, it’s a word that can’t be translated to other languages.

Part of Hygge is about intimacy: it’s relaxation, wellbeing, tranquillity: it’s creating a warm, cosy atmosphere at home, usually surrounded by candles… But it also has a social component, which is about sharing these pleasurable moments with other people, whether eating home-made cakes or opening a bottle of good wine.


But Hygge goes beyond all this. It could be described as a philosophy of life, which involves putting aside time to enjoy the little things that make us feel happy and free. The idea is to relax at home and forget all about life’s worries. So, more than a physical space, Hygge is a state of mind. As a philosophy of life, it involves not only creating those moments surrounded by other people, but also decoration, the way you dress, cooking, listening to relaxing music…

The Danish complain (rightly so?) that many other nationalities aren’t as keen on inviting friends into their homes, making it difficult to create this kind of atmosphere. That, in many countries, people are more likely to meet in a bar or pub. Maybe they’re right that emulating our Danish friends would help us take life at a slower, more relaxed pace. But life is all about balance: there will always be times for staying at home and snuggling up with a blanket, with candles flickering and calm acoustic music playing in the background; and then there are moments to go out and wander the city streets, discovering new bars and restaurants.

How about you? How do you relax? At home or out and about? Alone or in company? Leave your comments on our Facebook wall: we’re really interested to see how you can contribute to #martelism.

18 February, 2019
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