World’s happiest country has applied for the UN to recognise the idea of hygge – being warm and cosy
The Danish ability to appear permanently relaxed, satisfied and refreshed is something a large part of the world envies them. Now, Denmark has decided to apply for their brand of everyday happiness – hygge – to be inscribed on Unesco’s list of intangible cultural heritage.
The wellness trend, that is pronounced hoo-gah, brought such a wave of popularity across the nation and the rest of the world in 2015, that the term was published in various self-help books and magazines. Even the Oxford English Dictionary recognised the word as one of the most influential of 2016.
It is a word that cannot be translated directly into English, but hygge covers the concept of feeling warm and cosy, sharing graciousness and contentment with your friends and family. It is a satisfying feeling of well-being.
Hygge is believed to be associated with a number of polls resulting in Denmark being voted the happiest country in the world, and they want to protect it for generations as an essential and historic part of global society.
“With increasing societal pressures and the growing importance of wellbeing, hygge’s emphasis on togetherness and equality can have real and tangible benefits, not only to the Danish people but to anyone that practises this uniquely Danish social ritual,” said Meik Wiking, founder and CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, which is supporting the initiative.
“The importance of intangible cultural heritage is that you have to live it. While it’s something we inherit from our past, hygge is absolutely relevant today and will have real value long into our future.”
If successful, the hygge term could join the company of such brands as Mediterranean diet, traditional winemaking in Georgia, and coffee culture in Turkey.
In 2017, Unesco added to the intangible cultural heritage register the “art of Neapolitan” pizza from Italy, “uilleann piping” in Ireland and the craft of operating windmills in the Netherlands.