Australian Equivalent of Hygge


In 2017, Denmark took the title of the happiest country in the world. According to Meik Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and the author of the bestseller “The Little Book of Hygee; The Danish Way to Live Well”, there is a strong link between happiness and Hygge (hoo-gah) in Denmark.

“Danes are the happiest people in Europe, but they are also the ones who meet most often with their friends and family and feel the calmest and most peaceful. Therefore, it is with good reason that we see a growing interest in Hygge. Journalists are touring Denmark searching for Hygge; in the UK, a college is now teaching Danish Hygge; and around the world hygge bakeries, shops and cafes are popping up”’.

Hygge doesn’t directly translate to English, but it can be explained as wellbeing, comfort, togetherness, warmth. Hygge is particularly practised during the winter season when deprived of sun rays and natural daylight; Danes turn to the cosiness of their homes and enjoy the company of family and friends. They invest in the atmosphere rather than in things and celebrate the simple pleasures in life; like having hot cocoa by the candlelight or a relaxing movie night with friends.
Although the winter season naturally provides the most hyggelig (hygge-like) moments, Danes enjoy Hygge all year round. Backyard dinner parties, bonfires on the beach or outdoor movie nights are just some hyggelig summer activities.

The Outdoor Bliss

In contrast to cold Scandinavian countries, Australia enjoys plenty of sunshine, and is home to the most amazing landscapes. Australian lifestyle is free-spirited and easy-going; Australians don’t take their home for granted and consider themselves extremely lucky. Like the Danes, Aussies, as well, love spending time in the company of friends and family, they enjoy good humor, laid-back gatherings and friendly atmosphere.
With Sydney and Melbourne who year after year are battling over the title of the world’s most liveable city, Australia is persistently scoring high in international quality of life and happiness surveys. Furthermore, Australia was named the world’s happiest nation by the OECD for three years in a row, starting 2013. So, it looks like Australians have a lot in common with the Danes. Only, Australians don’t have a unique word to articulate their wellbeing.

But what could be the Australian equivalent of Hygge?

One thing is sure, if we would look for those special moments of happiness in Australia, the indoors are not a place to start. It’s more likely that the path would take us to the backyards and in the gardens; it would take us along the beaches, to the lakes and river shores. We could hear loud murmurs of joy in the shades of trees in the parks, under the gazebos at the beaches, and in the hypnotising sound of the ocean.
Outdoor living is Australia’s state of mind; it’s the fount of the simplest daily joys and the greatest and wildest adventures. There is a feeling that anyone living in Australia would recognize; a feeling of deep appreciation for the amazing surroundings and the unique atmosphere about it.
It does not surprise then, that blurring the line between indoors and outdoors is the imperative and favorite design statement in Australia.


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