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How Learning These Scandinavian Words Could Improve Your Life

By Arwa Lodhi

We all know that Scandinavia is on the cutting edge when it comes to home design, ethical fashion and organic cosmetics. But those northern European societies have so much more going on in terms of chilled out living.

And by ‘chilled’, I’m not just referring to winter temperatures! The Nordic people use a range of Scandinavian words that exemplify how people in these societies hold dear spending time with friends and family, moderation in all things and the beauty of nature. The emphasis on these values surely contributes to the spiritual, social and economic success in those nations, making them amongst the happiest, wealthiest and most environmentally sustainable countries on the planet.

Just as understanding the Danish term hygge sparked a trend for delving into the comforts of winter, learning these terms below can better help us all embrace more beautiful ways of living, that include more equal relationships, a deeper appreciation for time alone, and of course, the great outdoors.

1. Fika

A Swedish word meaning ‘to meet up for a cup of coffee and something sweet’. You can fika as a
noun or a verb – to fika or go for a fika. It’s casual, but you can fika with your friends, or even have
a fika date. You can fika with colleagues at work or even fika with your family. It’s a social thing, you
can’t fika alone!

2. Mångata

The Swedish word for the glimmering, roadlike reflection that the moon creates on water. A pathway to peace…?

3. Forelsket

A Norwegian and Danish word that means ‘that intoxicatingly euphoric feeling you experience when
you’re first falling in love’. That pre-real-love. More than fancy, less than love, all thrilling!

4. Klämdag

A Swedish word, literally meaning Squeeze Day. If there is a bank holiday then a working day and
then another day off, that working day will become a ‘Squeeze Day’ – and we’ll all be off work. More time off = more happiness, right?

5. Fredagsmys

A Swedish word meaning ‘Friday cozy’. Taking place every Friday, Fredagsmys includes nice food,
sweets and a cozy evening setting. But it can only be on a Friday!

6. Mambo

Got economic hardships? You may want to mambo. It’s not a dance, but rather the Swedish word for an adult who lives with their mum and dad – usually to save money and resources.

7. Lagom

This Swedish word means “not too little, not too much… but just right” pretty much describes Swedish moderation. Some translate this as “adequate”, or “sufficient,” but the idea is more about getting a balance just right. This kind of describes the Scandi diet – a lot of fish and veggies, but a bit of coffee, dairy and sweets, too.

8. Badkruka

Scandinavians love to dive into water, no matter what the temperature. Well, that is – most people love to. Those who refuse to dive in are called badruka in Swedish, for example: “Get in the lake, you badkruka, it’s beautiful!” Nothing quite like some invigorating outdoor exercise, no matter what the weather, right?

9. Mysa

This Swedish word sort of means snuggle. However, the difference you can do it with someone,
alone, or even in a café – maybe ‘to cosy up’ is more apt – think of mysa with a book and a hot cup of tea.

10. Kura Skymning

A kind of spiritual Swedish term meaning ‘sitting quietly and pondering at dusk’. The perfect meditation mindset and place.

11. Livsnjutare

A Swedish word describing the type of person who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme. Sort of like a serious ‘lust for life’.

12. Smultronställe

A Swedish words that translates to ‘wild strawberry place’. A special place discovered, treasured and
returned to for solace and relaxation. A happy place, free from stress and sadness.

13. Friluftsliv

A Swedish word translated to ‘free air life’. It’s where different spots and activities are done
outdoors, all while exploring and appreciating nature. It’s a much-loved connection to nature that’s considered to be a highly uplifting activity in both Norway and Sweden.

14. Marka

Marka is the Norwegian name of any forested areas that surround a city or town. They mostly exist for recreational purposes: people ski, bike, walk, and camp there.

15. Myk Mann

This describes a man who’s more the perfect husband than a mere metrosexual. Sure, he shows his feelings, plays with the kids and does his share of the housework, but he may also love watching sports or gorging on a curry and beer. In short, he’s a manly feminist, if that makes sense?

These words come from LivNordic Spa & Wellness, managed by Raison d’Etre, a Stockholm based company that to date has worked on over 120 spas in 60 countries, winning more than 50 awards. For more info, please see

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