Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

The Danish “Hygge” | August 18, 2009

Yesterday we began our first day of Danish language instruction, and I’ll have more to say about that later, but the real highlight of the day was the Danish “Hygge” (pronounced “Hugh-ge”). The Danes are a friendly, social people, and they wanted to introduce the exchange students to this concept right off the bat.

After packing 250+ exchange students into a room way too small for all of us, the Hygge was described as the essence of Danish culture. It is somewhat related to the English term “coziness” but that’s not it exactly. It’s also somewhat related to the American concept of hanging out and drinking beer with your friends, but that’s not it exactly, either. Put the two together though, and you’re pretty close, and that’s what happened last night. After an entertaining sketch detailing some aspects of Danish culture (the huge emphasis on bicycling, love of chocolate and the generally direct nature of the people), the introductory team announced that it was happy hour at the bar outside (yes, there is a bar on campus). The bar was serving 2 beers for 25 kroner (roughly $5).

Needless to say, we had a very cozy, Hyggey time for the next couple hours. Then giant Danish hot dogs were served outside, and we all had a nice meal before walking back to the dorms to try and catch up on some sleep and recover from jet lag.

Tonight, we’ll be heading to Christiana, an international “free zone” which I’ll have more to say about as well a bit later this week.

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