Click here to view this article: Gezellig Is The New Hygge
“Hygge” was a major trend in 2017, so much so that there are even books and websites that will tell you exactly how to, erm, do it? Be it? Use it? Who knows, but we all definitely like it.
Hygge is a Danish word that basically means a cosy atmosphere or moment. Imagine a warm cabin with a fireplace, a fur blanket, snow outside, and a pair of fuzzy socks on your feet, and that is hygge.
Well, it turns out the Danes aren’t the only folks to adopt the cosy concept, the Dutch have their own version called “gezellig.” Maybe it’s all those rainy days that force them into finding the silver lining, but they sure know how to do it right.
If you’re headed for the Netherlands — heck, even if you’re not — here’s a few ways we can all embrace this adorable philosophy in our lives.
Having a borrel
Foreigners are frequently surprised when they find themselves invited to a Dutch party, expecting some sort of embarrassing drunken dancing and 50 to 60 people.
The Dutch like to get down with what you might call a “circle party”, an intimate circle of chairs for about 10 people with lots of snacks and alcohol in the middle. Don’t let the mountain of cheese scare you, it’s famous for a reason.
“Borrel” in Dutch really just means “to have a drink”. So, if you’re invited to a borrel, expect lots of drinks, intimate conversation where you really get to know your neighbour, and a cosy or “gezellig” atmosphere.
The main difference between gezellig and hygge, is the social aspect. Photo: iStock
Gezellig knows no time
Imagine a pub packed with people, dim lighting, candles on every table, people laughing, talking and having a good time. When you’re having a gezellig night at the bar with friends, the Dutch would say “gezelligheid kent geen tijd,” meaning “gezellig knows no time.”
It doesn’t matter how late it gets at the bar, if the atmosphere is gezellig, then you could be there all night — or at least until the bartenders kick you out.
It’s about the connection
The main difference between gezellig and hygge is that gezellig is more about the connection to a place and the people in it, rather than just a cosy atmosphere.
What makes an atmosphere gezellig for Dutch people is when they are connecting to the people and things there. The word gezellig derives from the word “gezel,” meaning companion or friend.
You can attain a gezellig atmosphere with candles, and fur blankets, but only if you have a companion or lover there with you — and put down that phone, too.