The Happiness Museum

Located on a quiet side street near Christiansborg palace you’ll find a little yellow sign in front of an otherwise unremarkable building. This sign is for The Happiness Museum, or, as the staff likes to call it, the small museum about the big things in life.

Denmark has consistently ranked among the happiest countries in the world and in July 2020 the Happiness Research Institute opened the first museum dedicated to the feeling. At the Happiness Museum you’ll learn how something as subjective as happiness is measured, what factors influence your happiness, and what Danish hygge has to do with it all. 

The museum recommends that you visit with someone you love, so I went this past weekend with one of my good friends from home who was visiting me in Copenhagen. We both thought it was phenomenal. Despite the museum only being one floor, we spent over an hour and a half walking through the exhibition. The information presented is very accessible and easy to understand and there were also several interactive activities which I’m always a fan of. 

My favorite room by far was what I call “The Post-It Room” (I don’t know if it has an actual name). Essentially, it is a room covered in yellow post-it notes on which guests have written what makes them happy and/or what happiness means to them. There was everything from spending time with family to pretty sunsets to BTS. My friend and I by far spent the most time in this room and added a few post-its of our own. But even better than the post-its were the permanent plaques scattered around the room. Before the museum opened, the Happiness Research Institute asked people to send in an item that reminded them of one of their happiest memories and write a short blurb describing the story behind it. There was a wedding cake topper, a marathon medal, knitted ear-warmers, a tomato seed packet, an espresso maker, and more. More than once, reading about the significance of these items moved me to tears. My friend poked fun that I was crying in The Happiness Museum, and I admit it does seem rather ironic, but I maintain that it was all part of the experience.

I have been to several museums in Copenhagen, but The Happiness Museum is easily one of my favorites if not my actual favorite. The museum thinks, and I agree, that happiness is something everyone could do with a little more of—especially given the current circumstance of the world. And I think the museum succeeds in its mission as I personally found the exhibition to be a splash of color on an otherwise grey day.

*Featured Image: The Happiness Museum. Credit: Smithsonian Magazine.

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