At this point you may have read the word hygge in a New Yorker trend piece or on some hip fashion blog, but if you haven’t, hygge is a Danish word that refers to the practice and aesthetic of coziness. At home, curled up with a pet, thick soft socks on, holding a steaming mug of tea by a fireplace? Hygge as hell.
Who knows what runs in Scandinavian blood that makes them have such a natural affinity for calm, because they’re also the pioneers of “slow TV,” a format that is only very slowly gaining traction and attention in other countries. Slow TV is programming that records a single, mundane process from beginning to end. You know the Christmastime “Yule Log” programming that’s just a static shot of a crackling fire? It’s like the natural evolution of that.
The slow TV format kicked off in 2009 with programming from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation—namely, filmed train journeys that crisscross beautiful, quaint Norwegian countryside, often blanketed in snow. Later they moved on to broadcasting other events like marathon knitting, but in my opinion, it’s train trips that make for the most breathtaking slow television. The smooth cadence and the gorgeous, quiet scenery immediately re-adjusts your threshold for excitement, so when the train goes past a cute little town or through a tunnel you might find yourself giving a little cheer.
So here’s our gift to you: the “Train Driver’s View” YouTube channel, which has all the train footage you could ever want. (Note: the channel airs these locomotive journeys like livestreams, but they’re not actually live—it’s pre-recorded footage.)
Despite a number of stories announcing “Slow TV is here,” it really has yet to catch on in the States, probably because we’re too busy having our nerves honed to a ragged point by 24-hour news. Screw that. Put on your most comfortable socks and watch a freakin’ train.