The Art of Coziness: 11 Buildings That Embody “Hygge”

Earlier this month, Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” as its international word of the year. At the tail end of a year marked by Brexit, Trump’s victory and now Kellie Leitch in Canada, the choice seems fitting. Post-truth, an adjective, denotes circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion. While post-truth swept the top acclamation, the shortlist is just as fascinating, so let us bring the underdogs to light. The list includes “Brexiteer”, “glass cliff”, “Latinx” and “woke” — all markedly political terms. In such compelling company, how did cozy Danish-concept “hygge” nuzzle its way onto this list? Hygge also appeals to emotion, but in a strikingly more innocent way. The Oxford English Dictionary defines hygge as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” First documented in 18th-century Denmark, how has such a locally and culturally specific term exploded into international and colloquial usage? Hygge has caused a fuss on social and popular media because really, it can be anything that is cozy and not emotionally overwhelming: dinner with your friends, wool socks, whatever! After all, what ...
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