Cozy in Copenhagen

Encountering 'hygge' and much more in Denmark.

I am attending  MINDevent 2014 this week in Copenhagen, a guest of VisitDenmark, along with about about 6o international meeting planners. Among the many things I’ve learned is the meaning of the Danish word hygge.

It translates roughly to “coziness,” and Copenhagen is drenched in it this time of year. The days are short and dark here in winter; sunrise is well after 8 a.m. and twilight begins to fall by three in the afternoon. In response, Copenhagen is illuminated by blazing fires, outdoor torches, scores of green Christmas trees lit with white lights, and thousands and thousands of candles. In four days, I haven’t eaten a single meal that wasn’t lit by candlelight, including breakfast.

I am staying on this week to take a course in “Meetovation,” a deep dive into meeting-design principles developed in Copenhagen, beginning about 10 years ago.

Like the candles, Meetovation was a way to take a city in a smallish country and make it shine. Copenhagen may not have the best weather, Steen Moeller, director of business events for Visit Denmark, told me at the event’s conclusion. “Our way of thinking is our advantage.”


Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.