Gezellig: Fostering Deep Human Connection

In the late 1940’s, following WWII, my grandparents immigrated to Canada with their parents from the Netherlands. With them they brought much of their culture that has since passed along to the next generations. I grew up with strange names for household items, potatoes with every meal, how to conserve and preserve, and above all, how to love deeply.

When asked, any one of my grandparents would say that the word "gezellig" is untranslatable. It describes much more of a feeling or an experience than an actual thing. Adjectives like peaceful, cozy, intimate come close, but don’t really do the word the justice that it deserves.

As I have grown and developed my understanding of hospitality it has ended up laying deep roots in the word “gezellig” True hospitality, the act of inviting one into your home, unannounced visits with family or friends, unexpected moments of quiet shared with loved ones.

In designing and planning events with clients I hope to provide them with touchstones, timeless events that make them feel that, although there is so much unrest in our aching world, that there is still much beauty in the spaces they are surrounded by and with the people they love. Moments that foster deep human connection. What is gezellig to one may be very different to how another might come to experience it. The aim is to come to find out what moments are most important. 

These moments and experiences don’t need to cost you all the worlds money, but it does mean taking time to think about the people you will be celebrating with, who you are and how you want to remember your special day or event.