Scandinavia – 3 must-know words before visiting

Ready for a hygge fika with snus? Let’s start….

              1. Hygge

Wherever you are in the Nordic countries, it’s all about HYGGE.

Name it “cozy”, “comfy”, “the Scandinavian way to live well”, “the art of creating intimacy”, “the absence of annoyance”, it’s all down to one big, universal truth: it is not how you say it or spell it, it is how you feel it.

HYGGE is about an inner experience or that special atmosphere that makes you just be…and dream in the same time. For me is the equivalent of deep winter nights in my grandparents village, when the fire from the stove was painting all the possible and impossible fairy tales on the ceiling. That smell, that warmth, those images …. it’s something I never want to forget.

This is how HYGGE should feel, like a hot chocolate for your heart. And, the Nordics know how to create it: a looottt of candles, fireplace, warm light, soul music, slow cooking, cozy books, warm blanket, super-comfy clothes, wool socks, a glass of a good red wine…and a husky at your feet.

There is a great book I would recommend on how to HYGGE  The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living

        2. FIKA

The concept of FIKA is about enjoying moments of life, slowing down, mindfulness. It basically means  take a break … it can be for coffee or tea, combined with some pastry … but this are only the reasons. You can be at work, or home, alone, with friends, family or coworkers. It doesn’t matter. Just FIKA!

It’s more of a Swedish tradition, but if you ask me it applies everywhere in the North. They all know how to slow down, to appreciate moments, to breath.
Of course, there are some special recipes for FIKA pastry, but in the end the pairing it’s not that  important. As long as you have a good cup of coffee or tea and something to go with, you’re on FIKA. What really matters is to be in the moment, to allow yourself to relax, to bring yourself in the present, to enjoy slow living.

        3. SNUS

When you say Sweden, you say SNUS. But, what is that, beside a funny sounding word? Scandinavian snus is a moist form of smokeless tobacco. You can buy it either as a moist powder known as loose snus, or prepackaged into small teabag-like sachets known as portion snus. You consume it by being placed under the upper lip for long periods of time. It does not result in the need for spitting.

Swedish Snus has a long history. Dating back to 1637, Snus was first mentioned in Sweden in a customs document from Finland. The basic recipe of traditional Swedish Snus is a perfect blend of ground tobacco, water and salt, but new taste experiences are continuously developed. Nowadays, you can find mildly flavored snus, with food-grade smoke aroma, bergamot, citrus, juniper berry, herbs and/or floral flavors.

In Sweden, SNUS is more popular than cigarettes, and it’s believed to be safer for health. And, from all European Union, it is only legal in Sweden, so indulge yourself.

If you’re planning to relocate towards Scandinavia, make sure you first read my article Moving to Denmark – what you should know and expect

         Photo credit Alisa Anton


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