Monday, October 01, 2007

Scandinavia Countries vs. Nordic Countries

Random fact for the day. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are the only Scandinavian countries. Seriously. Finland doesn’t count. Neither does Iceland. It just doesn’t work that way. All are considered Nordic countries though. It’s important to keep this separate.

Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish are all very similar languages. Finnish isn’t. For example, in my Viking history class, my professor offered to accept papers in any Scandinavian language. That means he doesn’t want it in Finnish. If someone turned in a paper in Finnish it would go unread. It is a completely different language group. Mostly there are just a lot of vowels in Finnish. I don’t have the slightest clue what they are saying. At least I can understand Norwegians and even the Danes sometimes. Although they do talk like they have marbles in their mouths. Silly Danes. They are also upset that Stockholm claims to be the capital of Scandinavia. The Danes think it's Copenhagen. A lively debate is sure to ensue. I of course am voting for Sweden, the most livable city in the world.

I know people get confused with all of this. That’s why I felt the need to educate. It’s important to be educated. Of course I also know that some people don’t think Sweden is part of Europe, but those people are clearly not people we want to associate with. I can at least forgive the Scandinavian vs. Nordic mistake. It happens. But come on, Sweden is even a part of the European Union. Europe is in the name, one might even call it a root word for European. Others might make a pee joke. Not me though.

Enjoy your newfound knowledge. Go out and impress someone with it. Maybe you’ll get a raise, or a girlfriend. Most likely someone will just look at you funny but that’s ok. They are just jealous of your amazing knowledge of Northern European countries.


  1. I must disagree with you on this!
    There are five countries in Scandinavia, Finland and Iceland included. Don't stare at the language differencies that much. Sweden is the second official language in Finland, and as a historian you should know that Finland has been a part of Sweden for centuries in its early days. I was planning to mention about that in my blog, but from a different ancle. Let's see. All is well, though. Keep educating us :)

  2. Actually you are both wrong! Scandinavia consists of only Norway and Sweden, who are roughly geographically separated by the Scandinavian mountains (skanderna in Swedish).


  3. Well, if we can trust Wikipedia, which usually we can, then I’m right. As long as we refer to Finland as being an independent country and avoid the historical implications that may have. The article even hits the topic of Scandinavia vs. Nordic right off the bat so check it out!

    Honestly, I've heard that Finland often gets thrown in the mix but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I have ever heard Denmark get left out. You can go down to Helsingborg and almost throw a rock to Denmark they are so close.

  4. I know that Finland is often left out of Scandinavia and it bugs me. There is also a term 'fennoscandia' which is a kind of apology to Finland for being left out of Scandinavia.

    Forget the wiki, trust the trustworthy: in Miss Scandinavia competition there are 5 countries, i.e. ones I mentioned :)

  5. Ahh, when in doubt always turn to the Miss Scandinavia competition. I love it!

  6. Scandinavia- Denmark, Norway, Sweden

    Nordica- Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland

    What is interesting to note that Finnish is an Urak-Estonian language while the three Scand languages are derivatives of Icelandic (I believe there's old western scandinavian and eastern...but not quite sure). So, poor Iceland which is the historic linguistic creator got shafted out from Scandinavia.'re wrong.

  7. Oh also, if you notice the the Scandinavian countries are still kingdoms, while the extended nordic countries are not.

    I don't know why anyone would put Finland in Scandinavia and exclude Denmark. Scandinavia is a geographic region (hence poor Iceland's problem).

  8. @sapphire - good work on the research.

  9. As a Norwegian, I have been told in school that Scandinavia consist of three countries. Norway, Sweden and Denmark. So... Booh Yah!

  10. Im with you on this one Tom. Well done.

  11. Some random facts about Scandinavia and the Nordic countries...

    Scandinavia = Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

    Nordic Countries = Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland.

    Also Estonia, Latia and Lithuania can be seen as Nordic countries.

    Both Estonia and Latvia was once under Swedish rule.

    Greenland belongs to Denmark.
    Färöarna also belongs to Denmark.
    Both "colonies" are self-governing regions.

    The islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen belongs to Norway.
    Both "colonies" are self-governing regions.
    Norway also have an island in the atlantic ocean and another one in the pacific ocean which are subordinate to Norway but not a part of the kingdom.

    The islands of Öland and Gotland belongs to Sweden.

    And Finland was under Swedish rule for over 600 years until it was taken by Russia in the 19th century, that's why Finland has such a strong connection to Sweden.

    The Swedish legacy still lives on in some parts of Finland.
    The Swedish language is used, altough they speak an older version of the Swedish language.

    Åland had been a part of the Swedish kingdom since it was founded, until the 19th century when it was taken by Russia along with Finland.

    Åland is a self-governing region and they have the right to enact their own laws and taking policy decisions in some areas.

    Altough they have been a part of Finland for over 200 years, they still speak Swedish and their culture is the same as in Sweden.

    The Finnish language was the only language that was used in the northern parts of Sweden, until about a 120 years ago when the Swedish King decided that the schools should learn the children Swedish.

    Today the nordic parts of Sweden have their own language called Meänkieli (not spoken by all).
    Meänkieli is very similar to the Finnish language even though there are some differences.

    Norway was founded in the 9th century. Norway had a few good centuries when they were strong and rich, but they have never been a "superpower" such as Denmark or Sweden.
    During the centuries Norway has most of the time been either a part of Denmark or of Sweden.

    After the Napoleon war had ended in the beginning of the 17th century, Norway was given to Sweden. In 1905 Norway declared independence from the Swedish Crown and Sweden reluctantly accepted.

    But there was a fear in Norway that Sweden may attack the country too once again take the control. So the Norwegian crown was offered to the Swedish prince, but he declined.
    So instead Norway offered the crown to the prince of Denmark who accepted and became King of Norway.

    Iceland is considered to be the worlds oldest democracy.
    The roots of their parlament goes back all the way to year 930 AD.

    The first settlers who managed to survive on Iceland came from Norway. At the end of the 12th century Iceland became a part of the Danish kingdom, and was under Danish rule until 1918 when they got their independence. They were though still in union with Denmark. 1944 in fear of the Germans the Icelandic people declared Iceland as a republic, which was seen as treachery by many Danes.

    The Icelandic language is the most ancient language of the Nordic countries. It's called fornnorska (ancient norse).
    During the time of the Vikings the people of the three Scaninavian countries spoke the same language (there was tough some minor differences in dialect).

    So if you listen to an icelander when he/she speaks, it's almost as listen to a "real" viking.


  12. The difference between Scandinavia and the Nordic countries...

    Scandinavia is the name for the three "viking countries" (Sweden, Denmark and Norway). The vikings shared the same ancestors and so does the current population of Scandinavia.
    The ancestors came from the south (Germany) and settled first in Denmark then later in Sweden and Norway.

    Iceland is a old Norwegian colony and can't therefore be counted as a part of Scandinavia

    The ancestors to the Finnish population came from northern Russia and can't neither be counted as a Scandinavian country.
    So although Finland share a long history with Scandinavia (especially with Sweden), Finland is still not part of Scandinavia.

    "Nordic countries/The North" only stand for the northern countries of Europe, nothing else.

    Scandinavia is the name of a people and where they are located geographically.


  13. Before anyone say that "Scandinavians" is not the name of a people, I would like to say the following...

    I know very well that the name "Scandinavia" comes from the mountain ridge Skanderna which runs along the Swedish/Norwegian border, all the way from southern Norway up to northern Finland.

    But if Scandinavia only means Sweden and Norway, why do we count Denmark as a Scandinavian country?

    The reason to why we use this word as a "name" for Swedes, Norwegians and Danes" is because what else could we call ourselves?

    Vikings? (that would be cool tough).

    Well anyway, Scandinavians = Danes, Swedes, Norwegians.

    But we still love our Finnish and Icelandic brother and sisters :)


  14. just a glorious explanation all around. I love it.

  15. Thanks Hairy.
    I'm glad you liked it. I'm quite proud over my little "essay", even though this clearly shows that I have way too long "fika breaks" on work :)


  16. I think it means you have a glorious job. and an interest in a glorious subject.