The Culture, Traditions, and Heritage of Denmark
Danish culture is characterized by simplicity, minimalism, egalitarianism, good manners and propriety. Culture is an important part of Danish life and much is done to foster it. Public authorities avoid interfering in the world of art and culture and the state supports the creative community and cultural institutions generously, without demanding accountability or return.
Danish applied art and industrial design is renowned worldwide for its high standards of quality, craftsmanship and functionalism. It has won many awards for excellence. Georg Jensen is known worldwide for modern design in silver. Danish design is also a well-known brand, often associated with the world-famous designers and architects Børge Mogensen, Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen, who gave us what is possibly the most famous chair in the world today: The Ant.
In literature, Denmark has produced the legendary Hans Christian Anderson whose stories for children are repeated in many nations across the world even today. One of the most popular Danish authors in the 1990s is the writer Peter Høeg who shot to fame in the Western world with his novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (1992).
Danes have distinguished themselves as jazz musicians, and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival has acquired an international reputation. In cinema, Danes are credited with starting the Dogme 95 movement. An avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by the Danish directors Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring, and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen, the movement seeks to purify filmmaking by rejecting costly special effects, postproduction modifications and other gimmicks. The emphasis on purity forces the filmmakers to focus on the actual story and on the actors' performances.
Hygge is an important part of Danish culture and almost a national obsession. It refers to a particular state of mind or an atmosphere where the outside world is shut out and a warm, intimate, convivial mood is created. The desire for hygge may be traced to the long dark winters. Many Danes put a great deal of effort into creating that 'cozy, comfy' atmosphere in their own homes. Coffee, candlelight, soothing music are essentials of a hyggelig atmosphere.