Hygge in Reverse; Art about death and the black hole we all try to ignore
AARHUS, DENMARK: In some old history books, Himmelbjerget was listed as Denmark’s highest peak 147 metres above sea level. It’s wrong, another point stretches up to 170 metres, without anyone caring of such hard facts. In people’s mind Himmelbjerget, directly translated to Heaven´s Mountain or Sky Mountain is one of Denmark´s finest places and the mountain to walk and talk. Kind of Danish Hygge.
That´s genuine Hygge
My second mission to Aarhus and Jutland was a hunt for the authentic Hygge, a Danish and Norwegian world for mood and enjoying the good things in life. Hygge is the Danish Art of Cosiness and part of the people´s soul, although Denmark has not the world´s happiest population as they recently moved out of the top ten.
Still hygge is like enjoying the good things with friends or love ones, and there is nothing more hygge than sitting around the fireplace a cold night surrounded by candles and a bottle of red wine. That´s definitely hygge.
The Art Region. As Ryanair fly from London Stanstead to Aarhus Airport, Denmark´s second largest city has become an alternative for watching art installations, drink cheap Tuborg beer and eat some local food.
Students of today, people from the past
Pay a visit to ARoS Aarhus Art Museum with large international exhibitions. Few miles out of Aarhus, Moesgaard Museum with grass-covered roof appears to grow up out of the hilly landscape. Here you meet students of today, people from the past and watch a special exhibition about Djengis Kahn, Mongolia’s history and the masculine traditions of the nomads.
In the historic city of Viborg, artist Sergei Sviatchenko used cut-and-paste technique, facing historical facts upside down with surprising and humorous image compositions to celebrate the city´s 1000-year of history.
In nearby Silkeborg, the sculpture park is a pleasant art experience until you enter the main building at Art Centre Silkeborg Bad and meet the exhibition “Beyond the Body” – about death and the black hole we all try to ignore. It was like passing the door of no return and no one can tell us what happens.
When does Tuborg taste best..?
Eat with locals. From Mexican tacos, American soul-food to Danish open-sandwiches. At Aarhus Street Food Market they serve food and drink from more than 30 kitchens and bars. In Viborg, do not miss Danish tapas at historic restaurant Bygger Bauer Caves. Meet tasteful nostalgia at Hotel Julsø by the foot of Himmelbjerget – which is not a hotel but an excellent restaurant with a New Nordic Kitchen. When does a Tuborg taste best..? Most likely at an English pub in Aarhus, serving a pint of lager for less than two pounds or only 20 Danish kroner. With such a price, a pub visit certainly is hygge.
The Old Town. In the middle of Aarhus I walked through a museum of living history and met people dressed and behaving just like they did in the olden days, like sewing, chopping wood and cooking food. This is an interesting story about living towards the late 1800s and the 1970 in Danish cities.
Smog-free boat with calm
Silent hygge. The visit to Aarhus and nearby area gave a lesson in local lifestyle and what Hygge is all about. Now it turns out that the UK has its own version, hidden in Scotland. It is called “Coorie” and is about “Cuddle” and used to describe a feeling of cool and paying respect to the oldest traditions. Swimming in lochs or crystal-clear seas is the ultimate coorie activity.
Most enjoyably, however, was a very silent boat trip with “Solboat” from the village of Ry to the foot of hilltop Himmelbjerget – a solar power journey at 2-3 knots slow speed and with Bjarne Jensen as the skipper – pollution-free with calm and cosiness, like Danish Hygge.
Like any other place, it´s far to heaven in Denmark. But a walk to the top of famous Himmelbjerget is absolutely achievable and in some respect a lifetime journey.
More to read: Bornholm the Danish pride
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: With Aarhus Airport this city has moved closer to Europe. SAS has opened Oslo-Aarhus route and Ryanair is flying from the UK. A short bus ride take you directly to the heart of Aarhus.
Stay: Hotel Cabinn is a reasonable option in the heart of Aarhus with a short distance to many sights. Abnormally small guest rooms. At the other end and close to Silkeborg Hotel Gl. Skovridergaard is idyllic and offers a stay of art and gastronomy. A one-night stay with breakfast, museum ticket and 5 course menu costs 1,350 Danish kroner, or 160 pounds
Eat: For those who want to test Danish classics, restaurant Europa, address: Havnegade 28 in Aarhus, is among the city's best food houses that attract both old and young guests. Here, classic dishes such as Wienerschnitzel and plaice fish are interpreted strictly after the book. The philosophy is that the main courses are so rich that you do not need starter. Prices are below 200 DDK, the local currency.
Play: Aarhus has many students and lively nightlife. Try to visit the festival Aarhus Festuge in start of September every year. It´s ten days of party and last festival delivered more than 1000 events
Mini Guide: Moesgaard Museum has engaging exhibitions and is a typical experience for the whole family. Rent a bike in Aarhus, this is the city to explore by bicycles. Viborg is a historic city providing force of guides that makes us wiser. The nature around Viborg is also unique with lakes, hills and lots of forests.