mahabis guide // how to embrace the german concept of 'gemütlichkeit'

In previous posts, we have looked to Scandinavia and discussed the untranslatable concepts of fika, hygge, mysa and friluftsliv. But it isn’t just the Nordic countries, however, who have specific phrases that they use to describe a particular sort of downtime. The German gemütlichkeit is very similar to the Danish concept of hygge.


mahabis // gemütlich


There is no direct translation and the term can mean several different things but, overall, gemütlich is all about comfort, cosiness, and being at ease with your surroundings. It can be used to describe a pleasant and comfortable ambience, a relaxing situation, being among familiar company or to nestle up on a cosy piece of furniture. 


mahabis // gemütlich 

The very opposite connotations of gemütlich involve hurrying and discomfort. It describes something slow paced, relaxed and without haste, embodying the sense of slow living and downtime. Perhaps this is why we have no direct translation, because so often our lives can be hectic and rushed, and we struggle to take time out for ourselves on a daily basis. There is certainly something that we can learn from these concepts; taking more time out for ourselves is the simplest way to relax and remove stress from our lives.


 mahabis // gemütlich


So, how can we learn to embrace gemütlich in our everyday lives?

Cosy cafés, comfortable furniture, sharing a bottle of wine with friends, taking time over dinner, running a hot bath.... all these activities are simple ways to bring the german concept of gemütlichkeit into our daily life. The key is investing time in comfort. 


comfortable seating // mahabis journal

photo: via unsplash


The German Christmas markets are the perfect place to enjoy gemütlichkeit, wandering around the stalls, sipping hot drinks and bundling into bustling bars. The notion of making oneself cosy and comfortable certainly lends well to wintertime pursuits and snuggling up indoors sheltering from harsh weather conditions, but it is also an integral part of life throughout the rest of the year. Summertime gemütlichkeit could be taking a pile of blankets and a picnic to a nearby lake with a group of friends, or serving an al fresco meal in your back garden.


Try and insert a little gemütlichkeit into your everyday life, making time to rest in between working and to concentrate on achieving a sense of cosiness whilst making yourself perfectly comfortable and adopting a slower pace.