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Hygge’s out and Lagom’s in – but why are we so taken with Scandinavian trends? By Jenna Greig

female legs in woolen socks close up

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In case you missed it (and I’m certain you didn’t), in 2016 cosiness received a Scandinavian rebrand and suddenly you couldn’t open a magazine without being confronted with the almost unpronounceable Hygge (hue-ga). The age-old Danish phrase is more accurately translated to a comfortable state of being or a warm feeling of contentment, yet in Britain we filtered this down to listing soft furnishings and the most comfortable socks.

In October, The Guardian championed Hygge as a soothing balm for the traumas of 2016, yet come November had cottoned on to the ‘conspiracy’ of the buzzword, at the same time as The Spectator crowned Hygge the most annoying word of 2016 – a sure sign it’s on its way out. So, what’s next?

That would be Lagom, according to Elle – a Swedish word meaning ‘just the right amount’. Or perhaps Sisu, as the Times reports, a Finnish word that means fearlessness and stoicism. Either way, whether we’re ditching knitwear for balance or bravery, it looks like the next big lifestyle trends are migrating from Scandinavia once again.

So, the question remains, why the overwhelming interest in Nordic culture? It could be because they’re just so happy. In the 2016 World Happiness report, the top five countries listed are Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland respectively. As a region, Scandinavia seem to have their collective lives together, and that’s pretty appealing. Perhaps it’s just a clever marketing tool? It’s all too easy it seems to find a mysterious-sounding foreign word for an everyday concept. Or maybe it’s just a long-standing notion that the birthplace of Ikea can do no wrong? At the end of the day we’re in it for the kaukokohteisiin (that’s long-haul in Finnish), but at least Lagom is easier to pronounce.

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