Not long ago, Americans' knowledge of Denmark more or less started with Hamlet and ended with an unpopular cheese-filled pastry.
That has changed since Denmark became a global trend-setter with the food phenomenon Noma, its binge-worthy crime dramas "The Killing" and "Borgen," and a design sense that has everyone coveting blond wood and sheepskins.
So it was only a matter of time before Americans started wondering about another Danish wonder: One of the happiest populations in the world, according to annual surveys by the United Nations, among others.
Enter hygge (pronounced "hoo-ga"). It's a Danish word without a precise analog, but loosely translated as cozy contentment. It's an important part of the Danish world view — people talk about how hyggeligt it will be to get together, and how hyggelig that get-together was. And it's the subject of a lifestyle publishing boom.
More than 20 books on hygge have been published in the last year, with more to come. "The Little Book of Hygge" was published in the U.S. last month after a successful run in the U.K. It's been compared to Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and the feng shui movement. It was such a hit in Britain that the Oxford dictionaries named hygge one of its top 10 words of 2016, and Pinterest called it one of its top trends for 2017.