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Delightful Denmark: The Epitome of Hygge

Girls Who Travel | Denmark Copenhagen Nyhavn

Denmark boasts the “hygge” lifestyle that calls out my name; beckoning me to make it my home.

When I tell you that I literally fell in love with Denmark, I really mean it. My visit has honestly made me consider moving and starting a new life in the country.

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women

Hygge: The Denmark Way Of Living

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, hygge means “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”, which is regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.

At its core, hygge is more than just a word; it’s a way of life. It embodies the joy derived from simple pleasures, the art of creating an atmosphere of comfort, and the cultivation of a genuine connection with others. Hygge is not about extravagance; rather, it’s about cherishing the ordinary moments that bring happiness and a sense of security.

To understand hygge better, I’ve broken down the concept of what this lifestyle truly means:

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women

Creating Cosy Spaces

Danish homes are often decorated with elements that evoke a sense of warmth and tranquility. Soft curtains, flickering candles and elegant accessories contribute to creating a cosy sanctuary. It focuses on adopting a harmonious environment that encourages relaxation and cooperation.

Social Connections

Although hygge is relative and personal, it is often enhanced when shared with loved ones. Getting together with friends and family for a relaxing meal, having a meaningful conversation, or just sharing a moment of laughter is all about fostering connections and creating memories that contribute to the social side of hygge.

Savouring Simple Pleasures

The world of hygge celebrates the little things in life that are deemed beautiful. From enjoying a hot cup of cocoa on a chilly evening to a homemade meal made with locally sourced ingredients, the focus is on enjoying the present moment and savouring life’s simple and uncomplicated treasures.

The Outdoors

Appreciating nature is another important part of the hygge lifestyle. Whether it’s a leisurely walk in the park, a picnic in the countryside, or just the sound of rain falling through a window, Danes recognise the therapeutic value of connecting with the natural world.

Beyond the Home

Hygge extends beyond the confines of its own abode. It can be experienced in local cafés, where patrons linger over cups of coffee, or in densely populated urban areas of Denmark, where community is formed through shared stories and experiences.

Well-Being

The Danish commitment to hygge isn’t just a cultural phenomenon; it is intimately connected with the high quality and prosperity of the nation. By prioritising comfort, connection, and the pursuit of happiness in everyday life, the Danes have created a lifestyle that can resonate with anyone from different parts of the world.

Notable Cities

Places like Copenhagen, the vibrant capital of Denmark, seamlessly blend historic charm with modern amenities, creating an atmosphere that appeals to every visitor. Walking through the city, you will be welcomed by cobblestone streets, picturesque fountains, and centuries-old architecture. Copenhagen’s historic landmarks narrate its own history.

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women

And then there’s Aarhus, the “city of smiles”, which holds the European Capital of Culture for showcasing its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. Aarhus is a city that seamlessly combines its historical roots with a modern and dynamic urban environment. Or we can also look at Odense, birthplace of renowned fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, that wrote many of my favourite nighttime stories as a young girl. And how can we forget about The Faroe Islands, or the Faroes, the most beautiful archipelago that is home to numerous volcanic islands, located between Iceland and Norway.

You could put me anywhere in Denmark and I would be happy. It seems like Denmark just calls my name.

Here are more reasons why moving to Denmark just makes sense, especially as a woman of my generation:

Sustainable Practices

Denmark is a global leader in sustainable practices, and demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, renewable energy and social welfare. Several key initiatives and practices contribute to Denmark’s reputation as a sustainable and environmentally responsible country.

Denmark is known as a leader in renewable energy. Wind energy in particular has seen significant investment and growth. The country is a global leader in wind energy technology and has a strong offshore wind industry. Wind turbines are populated on Danish soil, both onshore and offshore. Denmark continues to generate a significant proportion of its electricity from wind energy and aims to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Denmark’s cities are designed to be bicycle-friendly, with extensive bike lanes and dedicated cycling infrastructure. This encourages sustainable travel, reduces traffic congestion and promotes healthier lifestyles. Strict building codes and a focus on energy-efficient construction help reduce energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. Many new buildings meet high energy efficiency standards.

Thrifting and pre-loved selling is huge in Denmark. In Copenhagen, I came across a huge open space filled with ordinary residents selling their used-but-in-good-condition clothes, jewellery, and shoes, as well as local independent sellers that offer recycled apparel and upholstered furniture that were both affordable and, of course, environmentally helpful, all in fashion! This is because Denmark is actively transitioning towards a circular economy, which emphasises recycling, reducing waste, and reusing of materials. The goal is to reduce the impact of unnecessary consumption on the environment.

Innovation and Research

Denmark has a rich tradition of innovation and research, with a strong emphasis on creativity, collaboration, and the development of cutting-edge technologies.

The country’s world-class education system is embodied by universities and research institutes known for their excellence in various fields. Institutions such as the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University are world-renowned for their research support. Collaboration between education, industry, and government departments is central to Denmark’s innovation ecosystem, making the nation successful in economic growth and workforce development. Public-private partnerships facilitate knowledge exchange, transfer of technology, and commercialisation of resulting research that attracts scholars from all over the world.

Denmark has a thriving life sciences and biotechnology sector. Research institutes are collaborating with biotechnology companies in industries ranging from drug development to agricultural biotechnology, contributing to advances in health care and agriculture. The Danes also embrace digital innovation and technology-driven solutions. The country has a thriving tech startup scene, focusing on areas such as fintech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and e-commerce.

Lastly, Denmark actively participates in international research collaboration and networking. Partnerships with EU programs, research institutions and multinational companies facilitate knowledge exchange and innovation across national borders.

Danish Cuisine And Diverse Food

Denmark’s food scene is a vibrant tapestry of traditional Danish food, culinary innovation, and a strong commitment to sustainability and quality. Denmark leads the way in the new Nordic food movement, with their focus on locally sourced, convenient, clean, and fresh seasonal ingredients.

Denmark now has a total of 17 green Michelin stars. Two Danish restaurants, noma and Geranium, both boast three Michelin stars, and their position as leading restaurants on the international gastro-scene have continually proven that Denmark is a melting pot of culinary masterpieces.

Culinary adventures await especially in Copenhagen’s New Nordic Cuisine scene. From the innovative dishes of high-end restaurants like the Alchemist to the diverse offerings in Torvehallerne market, or the vibrant street food market in Reffen (which is my personal favourite, by the way!), the city’s gastronomy mirrors its progressive spirit.

Alchemist

The Alchemist is a highly acclaimed restaurant located in Copenhagen. It is renowned for its innovative approach to fine dining, immersive culinary experiences, and artistic presentation. The Alchemist is more than just a restaurant; it is an immersive dining experience that aims to stimulate all the senses. The concept revolves around storytelling, creativity, and pushing the boundaries of culinary artistry. It was founded by Chef Rasmus Munk, who is known for his bold and visionary approach to gastronomy.

Chef Munk’s culinary creations blend traditional techniques with cutting-edge innovation, resulting in dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious. Of course, be prepared to shell out some mone,y because a meal would set you back 2,500 Danish Krone, which works out to be around 300 GBP/$380 USD, with additional wine pairings clocking in at a further 600 GBP/$760 USD.

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women
Refshalevej 173C, 1432 København K, Denmark

TorvehallerneKBH

Torvehallerne is the glass market in the centre of Copenhagen. It sells fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, meat, cheese, and lots of ready-to-eat choices from coffee and Danish pastries to sandwiches and pizza. Locals love to frequent the place as it offers a great introduction to the Copenhagen food scene, and contains some of Copenhagen’s best restaurants. Travellers can enjoy those aspects, as well as finding items they might want to take home, such as chocolates, wine, liquor, and cook books!

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women
 Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 København, Denmark

Reffen

Located in the vibrant city of Copenhagen, Reffen is a bustling street food market that offers an unparalleled culinary experience. With over 50 food stalls serving a wide range of cuisines from all over the world, it is heaven for all the foodies out there. They even have a Filipino stand, where my favourite chicken & pork BBQ is sold, and it is very authentic. I also couldn’t pass on the Argentinian chimichurri steak sandwiches. Or the Greek souvlaki gyros that were downed in less than six minutes!

While you savour the delectable street food at Reffen, you can also indulge in the breathtaking views of the city. The industrial-designed market’s waterfront location provides a picturesque backdrop, especially during sunset when the colours of the sky paint a mesmerising picture.

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women
Refshalevej 167, 1432 København, Denmark

But the winner of it all goes to my go-to Danish staple, the Smørrebrød. This traditional Danish open-faced sandwich is ultimately the culinary icon of Denmark. I probably ate 10 of these across three days! These beautifully crafted sandwiches feature a variety of toppings such as herring, salmon, ground beef, and roasted vegetables, served on thick rye bread.

Girls Who Travel | Delightful Denmark: Embracing Hygge As Women

Happiness

As the world searches for a path to balance in an increasingly hectic existence, the Danish way of living serves as an inspiring guide. It encourages us to slow down, appreciate the simple joys, and prioritise the moments that contribute to a life well-lived. In the gentle glow of candlelight and the embrace of a cosy blanket, their mindset invites us all to find comfort and contentment in the beauty of the present.

All these, again, bring us back to the the Danish commitment to hygge. It is not merely a cultural quirk; it is deeply intertwined with the nation’s high quality of life and well-being. By prioritising comfort, connection, and the pursuit of happiness in the everyday, Danes have crafted a lifestyle that resonates globally.

In another life, or maybe in the far future, Denmark would be my home.

Rachel Galvan

Rachel is an intrepid world traveller, lifestyle connoisseuse, and Girls Who Travel's resident beauty advisor. She is a lover of the ocean, flowers, movies, journalism, and has a penchant for medium-sized tattoos. When she is not busy with life, she writes stories of her globetrots as well as tips & tricks on how to make the best out of travelling.

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