Nowegians have a unique way to endure the cold, dark days of winter. Rather than dread the season like most of us do, they celebrate it. They gather with friends and family in candlelit homes to play games, watch movies, sip hot chocolate, and snuggle up by the fire with soft blankets and thick wool socks. They embrace the season and the opportunity it brings to create an environment of warmth, intimacy, and contentment. In a word, they koselig.
Koselig (pronounced koos-uh-lee) is a Norwegian word that roughly translates to "cozy." It's an all-encompassing philosophy many Norwegians live by to help ward off the winter blues, and studies show it works.
Research shows that Norway has lower rates of seasonal depression than countries like the United States. "Norwegians view winter as something to be enjoyed, not something to be endured," says researcher Kari Leibowitz. While Americans tend to grumble and complain about the dark, the cold, the snow, and anything else we don't like about winter, Norwegians embrace it with koselig.
"Koselig is a very deep feeling of warmth and contentment; a sense of intimacy and comfort," says Vesterheim Museum Exhibitions Manager Zach Row-Heyveld. "Outdoor activities like cross country skiing and hiking create koselig as well."
The Vesterheim Museum is featuring a Koselig exhibit from now until April 22nd. Visitors can experience a series of immersive "living room" environments that uniquely display this Scandinavian way of life, and how it permeates every part of Norwegian culture.
A series of free community events are included in the exhibit: Koselig Cake Breaks (every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.), Nordic Noir Film Nights (2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.), and Board Game Nights (4th Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m.). Row-Heyveld says the events have been extremely well-attended with as many as 47 people at a recent Cake Break.
For more information about the exhibit and upcoming event dates, visit https://vesterheim.org/exhibit/koselig/