A guide to Nordic words and their meanings


On Christmas morning are you going to wake up Morgenfrisk and be Hygee with the family? Or perhaps too much Glogg has left you Bastiv, longing for something other than Gluggavedur…..

No these aren’t the crazy new terms from the kids of today; these are words with fantastic meanings used to describe feelings and experiences that are, well, difficult to put in to words!  In fact, the Swedes, Danes and Norwegians have words to describe almost anything!

This year, we’ve paid homage to M.V.Harmony’s Nordic roots and dedicated our festive parties to the warming, feel-good traditions and delicious food enjoyed at this magical time of year in Scandinavia. So, to get you in the mood, here’s our pick of some great words that our neighbours from across the North Sea use every day…..

Hygee, pronounced hue-gah, is a Danish word that is a feeling or mood that comes taking genuine pleasure in the ordinary, everyday things in life. Appreciating a moment, letting it linger… sharing it with others. This could be the simple act of decorating a Christmas tree, lighting a candle or sipping a delicious cup of “Glogg”.

Glogg comes from an old word meaning burning ember and is a popular hot drink traditionally drunk during winter, for Halloween or Christmas. It’s made from mulling spices including cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg together with red wine, brandy, rum or whatever’s in your drinks cupboard! We should also mention that non-alcoholic alternatives are available.

Morgenfrisk means feeling fresh and rested upon waking up in the morning. Probably not used by parents whose kids wake up at 3am on Christmas morning! 

Bastiv is quite the opposite. Meaning waking up drunk from the night before, Bastiv is a feeling many might experience during the festive period –  perhaps not just the festive period…

Gluggavedur literally means “window weather” – so like many Scandi places, most of their scenery is best enjoyed indoors.

Mangata is a Swedish word meaning “moon road” and describes the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea. 

Lagom is the Swede’s way of describing moderation, perfect balance, not too little and not too much. The balance of life…

Arbejdsglaede is a Danish word describing a workplace that is a great source of joy and happiness. It’s certainly how the team at Bateaux London feel!

And finally, our favourite word…

Forelsket - Norway’s word for describing that unmatched giddy feeling when you start falling in love with someone. Aww!

So now you’re clued up on Scandinavian way of life, doesn’t the winter feel sweeter already? 

We’ve embraced the colder days and know that whether we wake up Bastiv or Morgenfrisk, spend the day indoors because it is Gluggavedur or enjoy a winter escapade in the city for a Lagom evening, Christmas is going to be Hygee. 
And when the night comes early and the moon rises, you’ll find us sipping on Glogg, admiring the Mangata on the river Thames.

Have you booked your Christmas party yet? Check out our festive cruises.


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Note that we will resume all our cruises from Spring 2021, in the meantime please review our sailing dates for 2020. Nothing is more important to Bateaux London than health and safety, find out more about our measures.

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