World’s First “Happiness Museum” Opens in Copenhagen

The Museum of Happiness

The Museum of Happiness asks, “Is happiness for sale?” (Photo: The Museum of Happiness)

Welcome to The Happiness Museum, “a small museum about the big things in life.” Located in Copenhagen, Denmark, the eight-room museum is the new public arm of the Happiness Research Institute—a think-tank devoted to the theory and practice of happiness. Denmark is known for being one of the happiest countries in the world; however, the museum approaches themes of happiness, quality of life, and well-being from a global standpoint.

Visitors to the museum will find many interactive exhibits. Each room is devoted to a specific approach to studying happiness. The Politics of Happiness exhibit asks questions about the role of elections and GDP in determining national happiness. In The History of Happiness room, visitors can learn about philosophies of happiness from Aristotle to the Enlightenment. Perusing commercial advertisements promising happiness, one can reflect on the relationships between consumerism, capitalism, and happiness.

Certain museum exhibits involve visitors’ personal perceptions of happiness. Can you determine which half of the Mona Lisa‘s mouth smiles? What would you do if you found a wallet lying around? How do you define happiness? The Happiness Museum asks its visitors to engage on a personal level, and the many Post-it Notes left with happy memories are a testament to this successful mission. The leader of the Happiness Research Institute, Meik Wiking writes about the museum's mission: “Our hope is guests will leave a little wiser, a little happier and a little more motivated to make the world a better place.”

Visitors to the museum will also leave with an enhanced understanding of “Nordic Happiness”—knowledge they can take back to their home country. Beyond the technicalities of taxes and the resulting social services, visitors will have a chance to embrace hygge, a Danish word describing a small, cozy feeling. The Happiness Museum hopes this feeling will bring visitors joy long after they have left the museum.

To learn more about their mission and exhibits, visit The Happiness Museum’s website.

The Happiness Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark is a small museum dedicated to the theory and practice of happiness, well-being, and quality of life.

Trust Experiment Happiness Museum

A trust experiment “somebody lost their wallet” at The Museum of Happiness.

Mona Lisa Smile Happiness Museum

Is Mona Lisa smiling on her left or right side?

Founded by the Happiness Research Institute, museum brings the Danish concept of hygge (feeling cozy) to a wider audience. Other “Nordic Happiness” qualities are explored in exhibits.

The Hygge Corner Happiness Museum

Guests can cozy up in the “hygge corner.”

Real Smiles The Happiness Museum

Can you tell a real smile from a fake smile?

The museum has eight exhibits, including two dedicated to “The Politics of Happiness” and “The History of Happiness.” The museum asks such questions such as, “does GDP affect national happiness?”

The Politics of Happiness The Happiness Museum

“The Politics of Happiness” room at The Happiness Museum.

Elections The Happiness Museum

Trumps election caused the unhappiest day that year in the UK, The Happiness Museum reports.

Did you know Aristotle was one of the earliest philosophers of happiness? Enlightenment writers also often contemplated the meaning of happiness. You can view their books on display at the museum.

Books Happiness Museum

What can century-old books tell us about happiness?

Aristotle The First Happiness Researcher

Aristotle, the first happiness researcher.

Exhibits can be interactive, such as a trust experiment with a lost wallet. Visitors are also asked to contribute their own definitions of happiness.

Science of Happiness The Happiness Museum

Where in the brain do we find happiness?

Guest Define Happiness

Guests write their own definitions of happiness.

What is your definition of happiness? The founders of museum hope it can bring a little more joy to the world.

What Is Happiness The Happiness Museum

Guest answers to the question, “What is happiness?”

The Happiness Museum: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by The Happiness Museum.

Related Articles:

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Searching for Happiness in Old Denmark

You Can Download Thousands of Coloring Book Pages From Museum Collections

Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and reading while cuddling with her cat Georgia.

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