As winter approaches, and the nights become longer, we break out the warm blankets, hot chocolate and snuggly slippers. As our homes become a haven of cosiness, it’s no wonder winter is seen as the most hygge time of year.
The Danish concept of ‘hygge’ first took the UK by storm when it became a lifestyle trend in 2016. The illusive term is difficult to define with 34% Danes believing that the term cannot be translated. Feeling undeterred, we here at The Bird Box decided to use a few of the key hygge components of the ‘Hygge Manifesto taken from ‘Little Book of Hygge’ written by Meik Wiking, the CEO of a Copenhagen think tank called the Happiness Research Institute, to help us decipher the most hygge countries in the world.
Using data from the Happiness Research Institute’s ‘World Happiness Report 2017’ Each countries’ social capital and safety & security rankings from the 'Legatum Prosperity Index’ Chocolate consumption per capita from the National Confectioners Association and Statista, The average minutes of TV watched per capita per day from ZenithOptimedia’ Media Consumption Forecast for 2017, we compiled a list of the most hygge countries in the world:
As hygge originates from the Norwegian word for ‘well-being’, we decided to use data directly from the Happiness Research Institute’s ‘World Happiness Report 2017’ which takes key well-being related factors into account such as income and employment, education and family life, and mental and physical health. Norway beat Denmark to the top spot moving up four spaces from the 2016 results.
According to the 'Hygge Manifesto' 'it's all about relaxation' and taking a break. That's why looked at the average number of minutes spent watching TV per capita from ZenithOptimedia’s Media Consumption Forecast, and interestingly found that Saudi Arabia held the top spot with the average person watching over 400 minutes of TV each day!
According Wiking ‘time spent with others creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed, friendly, down-to-earth, close, comfortable, snug and welcoming.’ To find countries that truly celebrated togetherness, we took data from the Legatum Prosperity Index that looks specifically at each country’s ‘Social Capital’ which measures the strength of personal relationships, social network support, social norms, and civic participation in a country. The results had New Zealand at number one. According to the index, ‘99% New Zealanders say they have relatives or friends to count on’, more than any other country in the world.
According to Wiking, “Hygge is about being kind to yourself — giving yourself a treat, and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living”. Allowing yourself the occasional indulgence is definitely hygge, and what could be more indulgent than chocolate! We looked at research on chocolate consumption per capita from the National Confectioner’s Association, and discovered Switzerland consumes the most chocolate with each person on average spending over $236 (£180) on chocolate per year! The UK was only slightly behind spending $146 (£111) on chocolate.
Finally, harmony is a key component of the hygge manifesto, so looking again at the Legatum Prosperity Index's 'Safety & Security' sub-index which looks at each countries national security and personal safety. Singapore took the top spot in this category.
Let's take a look at the top 20 results: