Jan 21, 2018

Having hygge?

- We are thinking of taking some pictures in the beautiful weather and maybe swing by for a fika, how does that sound?

Sounds good to me! I wouldn’t agree on the weather being precisely beautiful because it’s overcast, but the landscape is like a story book of fluffy two feet cold white, the trees heavily covered with snow. I do agree with Trouble 2 and Audrey on the general feeling of a beautiful northern Swedish winter day.

So, the conditions for hygge is optimal. Like they also are in Seattle, the number 1 hygge city in the US! Never heard of hygge? Let me explain.

Hygge is a Danish word summing up the feeling of coziness, contentment, warmth and socials making you feel really good. You might curl up at the fire place with a book or a knitting, gather together with some friends for a board game or meet up at a coffee shop or a pub to hang out with your mates as pastime. It’s relaxed quality time designated for just being and feeling good, and a lot of times there are candles involved.

This is something people in the Nordic countries really have a talent for. I would say the Finnish saunas is there way of hygge. Swedes get together for a fika, a sit down social including coffee, cardamom buns and some cockies. And Norwegians go inside their hytte, cabin, after the cross country tour in the mountains. I’m not sure what the Icelandic hygge looks like, maybe someone can fill me in?

According to Bert Sperling, American demographic expert and founding of Sperling’s Best Places, there are certain factors required to achieve hygge. You need cozy weather, fun activities, fire places and gathering places. His idea of cozy weather is, rain, cold, snow etc, weather that pushes you to want a fireplace and candles.

It was my friend Jannie who works for my home care company making dinner for me today. As it so happens she is actually Danish, perfect for a reality check! She agreed on Sperling’s list, although not quite on the weather point. Hygge is not weather-dependent. Hygge happens in any weather all year around where people get together to hang out and enjoy each other during hyggelig conditions. So, hyggelig is the adjective meaning pretty much nice and cozy.

As the term hygge now is starting to spread outside Scandinavia, Sperling’s Best Places is naturally taking an interest in finding the best places for hygge in the US. They have made an inventory of American cities, listing cozy weather, fun activities, fire places and gathering places as ranking factors. Not too surprisingly they found that four of the top five cities are all in northern states. And Seattle is the hygge-ist of the hygge cities, taking home top honors with a first-place ranking!

Seattle earned it’s spot because of the book loving Seattleites and the fact that 58% of the homes have fire places, the most in the country. The runner up Portland OR, Seattle’s baby sister, has the most hygge venues in the US and a good overall hygge pastimes. And here are the top five!

Sperling’s top five hygge cities:

1. Seattle
2. Portland
3. Minneapolis
4. Salt Lake City
5. Denver

So do you want to know which cities are the least hygge in the US? Here they are:

46. Tuscon
47. San Antonio
48. Miami
49. Riverside
50.Los Angeles

Bert Sperling, who himself is Swedish-Norwegian means that Denmark and Miami is the most far from each other on the list when it comes to life styles. And Salt Lake City, which might come as a surprise as the nr. 4 hygge city in the US actually has a large Danish heritage, that would explain their hygge tradition.

So, Trouble 2 and Audrey stopped by for a cozy Sunday afternoon fika in my yellow kitchen. Jannie and I had good laughs as she fixed my dinner while light flurries started falling over my snow-covered perfectly still landscape. And tonight I am enjoying my candles while writing my story under my blanket. It’s been a hygge day.

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