Gezellig: Translation not found, please try again.

Gezellig is one of the few words that are almost impossible to translate to another language. There is the Danish word hygge which comes close, but does not have as many definitions as the Dutch word gezellig. And the German word gemütlich which covers more meaning, but is still not a satisfying translation of the word. In some ways the Dutch are very proud of the word. Not only because it is a word that cannot be translated (which is pretty awesome), but also because many would say it represents the heart of the Dutch culture. You can try as much as you want, but if a situation isn’t gezellig, the Dutch won’t like it.



Gezellig comes from the word ‘gezel’, which represents a person who used to learn a profession within a guild. This person would live in a house with its fellow ‘gezellen’. This is how the meaning of ‘gezel’ evolved into someone you live with and later into someone you spend time with.
As said before, gezellig, has many definitions ranging from cosy to fun, to sociable to just a nice ambiance, and there are many more English words that could be considered one of the not-so-accurate definitions of gezellig. To the Dutch gezellig can be going to your grandparents for a cup of tea and a game of Scrabble, watching a movie with friends, calling a friend who you haven’t spoken to in a while, making your homework accompanied by some nice music, going to a wellness center with your sister or the occasional office lunch.

Knowing the definition of gezellig, it is now your turn to be gezellig, good luck!


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