The Danes know the secret to happiness. Now, they want recognition for it
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The Danes know the secret to happiness. Now, they want recognition for it

Ever wondered why Denmark is one of the happiest countries around the world? Danes say their concept of ‘hygge’ is responsible for it. And now, they are seeking UNESCO recognition for it.

art and culture Updated: Apr 19, 2018 10:11 IST
Soma Das
Soma Das
Hindustan Times
Denmark ranked third in the World Happiness Report 2018.(Shutterstock)

The Danes can teach us a thing or two about living happily. They consistently rank (along with Nordic countries like Norway and Finland) among the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Report produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. And the concept of ‘hygge’ plays a major role in it. To define briefly, ‘hygge’ is a Norwegian and Danish word to describe a mood of coziness and feelings of well-being and contentment.

‘Hygge’ became a lifestyle trend globally after it inspired a number of books, most of which have achieved best-seller status — the notable ones include The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well by Meik Wiking and Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg. Creating an atmosphere that fosters warmth and comfort is considered to be ‘hygge’. So, lighting candles, sipping on hot chocolate, going on a picnic, and cozying up with a book all constitute ‘hygge’.

Now, Denmark is planning to ask the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO to officially recognise the concept of ‘hygge’, which, they argue, makes their country among the happiest in the world. The Visit Denmark tourist campaign said on Wednesday that the country would make an application to UNESCO. If it is successful, UNESCO will recognise hygge as the intangible cultural heritage of Denmark.

“With increasing societal pressures and the growing importance of well-being, hygge’s emphasis on togetherness and equality can have real and tangible benefits,” said Meik Wiking, author and founder/CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, who is also a backer of the bid.

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First Published: Apr 19, 2018 10:10 IST