Board Games and Hygge: A Danish Tradition of Happiness

by Lina Krauß & Zoë Daniëls

Denmark is the second happiest country in the world, according to the World Happiness Report 2024. Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, says, “This is because Danes are living the Hygge way.”

The definition of Hygge is different for everyone and there is no direct translation. It means more or less comfort, warmth or togetherness. It is the feeling you get when you are cuddled up under a blanket with your loved one, in front of a crackling fireplace. It is the feeling of being together with your closest friends, having good conversations by candlelight and eating comfort food.

Some of the top five things Danes associate with Hygge are for example hot drinks, candles and fireplaces. Besides that, approximately 70 percent of the Danes associate board games with Hygge. A combination of hot drinks, board games and togetherness, people experience in board game cafés, which you can find all over Denmark. One of them is the Bastard Café in Copenhagen. You can find this Café in the middle of the city center on the ground floor of Huset KBH.

“We want Bastard Café to have a cozy and comfortable atmosphere to make it a welcoming place for everybody. We have loads of little corners with a lot of stuff everywhere,” says Jan Schley, manager of Bastard Café. “We want it to feel a little bit more like somebody’s living room rather than some cold, Nordic design.” Besides the one in Copenhagen, you can also find board game cafés in Aarhus, Aalborg or Horsens. 

Boardgames are not only for geeks – Bastard Café is a place where a lot of different people come together. Credits: Lina Krauß

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