In Dutch there’s a word that I can’t find any good translation for. G is for gezellig. Most dictionaries translate it as “cozy”, as in, “we sat in a cozy pub until the wee hours”. But cozy doesn’t begin to cover it. You could never call this photo “cozy” but it is certainly gezellig:
The photo was taken at LowLands, in the rain. These guys were laughing and having a great time together and really enjoying the event. That’s certainly gezellig.
Gezellig is a feeling, a state of mind, a state of the atmosphere and something in the air. It’s the indefinable thing that makes one party a great time that people remember for years, and another party one where people go home early. It’s feeling like you belong where you are and everyone else belongs there too.
Some people find Dutch birthday parties gezellig:
Some people can’t stand Dutch birthday parties (and believe me, there are a lot of birthday parties you are required to go to here). Some are gezellig and some are not. Tante Mies obviously thought this was a good one!
Gezelligheid can be found in big crowds at special events (Rugby world cup):
Or with a small group of friends just hanging out:
I don’t know of any other country where gezelligheid is so important and is part of everyday language. If someone says “Let’s all meet for a coffee later.” the usual reply is “Gezellig!” in anticipation of a good time. My best advice to find gezelligheid is to come to the Netherlands. Why else do you think I live here? 🙂