This Sunday the popular Danish actress and now Hygge novelist Marie Tourell Søderberg will be descending on East Village Christmas Makers Market. She’ll be doing a signing of her fantastic new book ‘Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness’, and joining a Q&A session with Norwegian blogger Scandinavialist.
We caught up with her ahead of her visit to get an early heads up on all things Hygge.
Hi Marie! So how did you find your way to Hygge?
Hello! I think a lot of people, not only in Denmark, have a lot of Hygge in their life but don’t know it.
There’s a lot of things in the Denmark version of it, but it’s a very natural thing and I think it’s quite universal.
So what does Hygge mean to you?
I think it’s about togetherness and the things we value most. I heard that the things people regret on their deathbeds are things like ‘I wish I didn’t work too much’, ‘I wish I had spent more time with family’. We get too absorbed in our working lives and don’t take the time to relax. In many of our lives, my own included, we forget the things we love the most. So for me and for a lot of people we are constantly on our phones and it means we can forget those natural things. Hygge is the natural things and that’s what makes it universal.
Sometimes when trying to understand the concept of Hygge people can only look at exteriors like warm socks and gloves and things like that, but when asking what is Hygge really? It’s togetherness.
It sounds you’ve had to really immerse yourself in learning about Hygge
Yes! Think exteriors - they can be enclosing a place that you’re overlooking at some point. The concept of Hygge is that when you are in a warming place it’s much easier for exteriors to evolve. Just things like a warm blanket or sitting with a hot cup of tea they can save the atmosphere and connect with it.
It sounds a lot like mindfulness…
Some things about mindfulness are very similar such as being present. But Hygge should not something you have to work to do, it is a natural way of being together, and just embracing moments.
What can people expect on Sunday?
I’m excited about the Q&A session which we can go into Hygge in depth. It’s about much more than a nice interior. What is it actually about? It’s become a trend but becoming aware that it’s right in front of you and is really about enjoying your surroundings.
You’ve had a really successful acting career, what made you decide to write a book?
I’ve always been into writing and done that besides acting. I was filming the Scandic-noir TV Series 1864 in June which talks a lot about Denmark and the events of 1864 which looks a bit at the roots of Hygge. I was in so many interesting talks and thought it’s interesting to go into. I teamed up with my journalist friend to help me write it as I’d never written a book before. I love my job and love acting but I love a lot of other things as well.
People kept telling me that Denmark is the happiest country in the world, but you know that the grass is always greener on the other side. Really the grass is greener when and where you water it. I wanted to write this book, and it’s happy because it can help to remind us to water our grass.
Have you been to East Village before?
I love East Village! One of the most vibrant areas in London and I’m really looking forward to coming back and to seeing the Christmas Market. I’ll be in London with my mum and she will come to East Village with me and we’re going to go around on bikes together which should be good fun to do together.
Well that sounds quite Hygge to us...
Yes, it’s definitely very Hygge!
You can hear more about Marie’s journey of discovery of her homelands understanding of Hygge on Sunday 11th December from 2pm – 3pm. To register for your free ticket visit: