Origins of Hygge: How to Foster and Embody the Concept

From its very roots, Hanna Hygge has embodied a meticulous ethos, guided by a crystal-clear vision of what it means to embrace this concept and what it truly means within the Australian context.

Gentle light is filtered through white partly sheer curtains bellowing from an open door. A side table with books stands in the centre. A simple moment of hygge.

I see it as an opportunity to explore what the concept of hygge presents to us as an antidote to fast-paced lifestyles or unconsciously moving through our days. By that, I mean the hustle and grind that can lead us to an existence that doesn’t feel like truly living. Here I explain the evolution of hygge, how it is understood in different contexts at present, then offer some examples of what this means to me and could mean to you.

Hygge as a word has many contexts and connotations, with a beautiful history of semantics and use in social fabrics. The concept is very much alive and used by people from different cultures through multiple interpretations, though all derive from distinctly Danish origin. Hygge has permeated and flowed from Europe to other parts of the world. It is also important we acknowledge that similar but unique notions that resemble or embody the values of Hygge may or do exist in cultures outside of European or Western interpretations, but are yet to be understood as such. We keep our focus on the evolution of the Danish concept but look forward to exploring this further.

A sunny second story room, with sunlight hitting a mid-century sideboard and vintage hi-fi system. Gentle reflections and enjoying sensory delights is hygge.

A critical part of understanding hygge is that it exists as a noun, a verb and in an adjective form, hyggelig (hygge-like).  As a noun, meanings of hygge can be interpreted through English adjectives like convivial, cosy, homely, warm, down-to-earth, comfortable, snug, friendly, welcoming, tranquil and relaxed. The German term Gemutlichkeit draws very similar conclusions. As a verb hygge denotes being together as an activity in certain ways, describing a low-key and intimate socialisation. While the reference to hygge had been around ‘safe-habitat’, or the experience of ‘comfort and joy’ in eighteenth-century Norwegian, its meanings have evolved and translated to new contexts. It has become somewhat of a phenomenon appearing more frequently in scholarly literature that traverses design, architecture, sociology and culture as a result of broader application and consequently wider use.

A person with dark brown wavy hair and tan skin under an outdoor shower, with droplets bouncing off their hair. The photograph tone is cool. It is a quiet moment of peace. Hanna Hygge

In Denmark, hygge is so ubiquitous within Danish culture that it is almost invisible. So deeply a part of the everyday mainstream and regular speech it is not considered something to explain or promote. Which is why people outside of Denmark are so avidly interested in what the concept means and how to achieve it. THE quintessential book of the concept “The Little Book of Hygge” by best selling author Meik Wiking, sold relatively few copies in Denmark but millions elsewhere. Because those not a part of Danish culture, find this unique concept a beautiful remedy to the challenges of modern living in the Western World and an opportunity to foster something distinctly hygge for themselves, their homes and with the people they know and meet.

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Hanna Hygge endeavours to encapsulate this essence, infusing it into exquisite home furnishings that pay homage to Danish aesthetics while embracing distinct qualities and interpretations unique to Australia. Melding the elegance of Danish design with the vibrancy of Australian landscapes, my collection encompasses luxurious yet functional linens and diningware. I invite you to shift your perspective, seeing these items not as occasional indulgences but as essential components of your daily life, worthy of investment and appreciation.

A landscape photograph of a saline lake with greying driftwood tree trunks sticking out from the water surface. A mountain range is deep green and blue-grey in the background. The scene is serene and eombodies hygge in an Australian context.

Visit my website journal and social channels to discover inspirations on how to incorporate hygge into your routine. Find joy in life's simple pleasures, from savouring a steaming cup of tea to relishing the tranquillity of nature's embrace. Whether it's the comfort of freshly laundered linen or the warmth exuded by our tableware under the gentle flicker of candlelight, Hanna Hygge aims to evoke an atmosphere of serenity and comfort within your home.

May the spirit of hygge envelop your everyday experiences, fostering a conscious lifestyle that nurtures your well-being, relationships, and inner contentment.

With Warmth and Care,

Hanna Hygge