All about “hygge”

All about “hygge”


Commitment is very important to Thasima Falkenberg: if you are going to be an active member of the Danish minority sports club, then why not be on its managing board?

Hygge: a word which describes a cosy, cordial atmosphere and a certain type of good living, and which has become rather overused in recent times. But it still does a good job of precisely summing up the typically Danish approach to life – and also that of the minority Danish community. This group now numbers around 50,000 people between the Danish border and the Kiel Canal.

Thasima Falkenberg counts herself among them, in spite of the fact that Thasima herself does not have directly Danish roots – her great aunt is Danish however, and her mother went to a Danish school. That is how she came to know about hygge – and now she is bringing up her own two children in the tradition, as they attend a Danish nursery and Danish school.

But Thasima’s involvement in the minority Danish community is more than superficial: she is the 1st chairperson of the Danish gymnastics and sports club in Bredstedt. The club brings together around 200 members of different age groups to take part in sports in four divisions: gymnastics, table tennis, badminton and football.

Thasima took up her leading role rather by accident. After the instructor of her two children retired, no successors were found; Thasima and her husband stepped in, saying: “We will do it to make sure children’s gymnastics is still available here.” Ever since, the two of them have thrown themselves into the Monday classes they offer for three- to six-year-olds, with sessions taking place in the hall of the Danish school in Bredstedt.

Optimal framework conditions

“Demand is high, and parents like the concept. They are close by and can get involved. Other clubs aren’t like that – at some you just drop your kids off at the door and have no idea what happens during the hour,” says Thasima. Parents should feel good about entrusting their children to the club. Ultimately it’s about everyone having a good relationship with each other. And that’s also what hygge means.

She says that the framework conditions are optimal, and there are no bureaucratic hierarchies in the club. She adds that anyone who would like to contribute is welcome to do so. What’s more, the membership prices are unbeatable low. “The annual contribution for a family is just 40 euros,” says Thasima.

Fun and play are emphasised here, not performance and competition. “That’s not how it is in German football clubs, where parents have to be travelling every weekend.” Obviously that does not mean no goals are scored here though. And teams can also take part in tournaments if they want to.

Although the club is Danish, it is open to everyone and should not be accessible only for the minority, emphasised Thasima. A mixture of Danish and German is spoken in the club, and to ensure that everyone understands everything, topics are always gone over again in German.

Recognition for a small and brilliant club

And of course they also celebrate. The Danish minority’s annual celebration comes around in summer of each year, and prominent guests are invited to join in. “Last year we paraded through Bredstedt with drums and trumpets,” Thasima reported.

But drums and trumpets don’t bring enough attention for the 1st chairperson. A new website is currently being built to entice even more sports enthusiasts to join. And so that internal collaboration runs even more smoothly, younger participants in particular are to be more heavily involved and tempted to join the managing board. “We are breathing new life into the club.”