Democracy

In this category, you will find articles on democracy and the Nordics, including parliaments, voting systems, egalitarianism, consensual democracy, social democracy and the welfare state. Categories are interpreted widely.

Map to show the growth of the now-called European Union, from the original six countries of the EEC to 28 members in 2019. Photo: teaching materials, https://europa.eu.

2019.06.14 | Democracy, Primary sources, Law

EEC referenda in Denmark and Norway, 1972

Both Denmark and Norway held referenda on whether to join the European Economic Community in 1972. After Danes supported joining and Norwegians did not, this editorial was published in a federalist journal in which the editors try to understand the differing results.

Coalition governments are the norm in the Nordic countries. Meeting room at the Danish Parliament. Photo: Folketinget, Anders Hviid.

2019.06.04 | The Quick Read, Robin Pettitt, Democracy

Political coalitions in the Nordic region

Nordic countries have been labelled ‘consensual democracies’ due to the use of cross-party coalitions in forming governments. As political parties that are in competition with one another end up working together, it arguably reduces aggressive, oppositional electioneering, and fosters collaboration. On the other hand, it is difficult for voters to…

The official flag of Åland since the 1950s. Åland is semi-automonous in that it has its own legislature, but it is a part of Finland despite over 90% of the population speaking Swedish. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Jason Lavery, Minorities, Democracy, Governance

The Åland Islands

The Åland Islands lie at the south-western tip of the Finnish peninsula between Finland and Sweden. This archipelago of 6,500 islands and skerries is demilitarised, an autonomous region and a Swedish-speaking part of Finland.

Offices of the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman in Stockholm. The first Swedish Ombudsman was appointed in 1810. Photo: Riksdagens Ombudsman.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Inken Dose, Governance, Democracy

Ombudsman

Originating in Sweden in 1809, an ombudsman is generally regarded as an official body of complaint which protects individuals against abuses of power and maladministration. Finland and Denmark were the second and third countries to establish an ombudsman, and the idea later spread to the other Nordic countries and further afield. The idea of a…

Sundbyberg's folk high school in Sweden. Photo: Wikimedia, CC0.

2019.03.01 | The Quick Read, Kyle Frackman, Education, Democracy

Nordic folk high schools

Folk high schools are institutions which provide general and vocational education for young people and adults. Based on the philosophy of Danish educator, pastor, and religious revivalist N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783-1872), the first school was founded in Denmark in 1844, but the concept spread to other Nordic countries in the following decades. There…

The Finnish Act on Freedom of the Press from 1766, which included the Principle of Publicity. Photo: © Tryckfrihetsförordningen1766 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

2019.02.27 | Article, Ainur Elmgren, Governance, Nation building, Democracy

Open government in the Nordics

Open government is intended to ensure transparency, accountability and openness and involves fundamental issues such as press freedom, public disclosure and freedom of information legislation, all key aspects of the administration of Nordic states. These states were amongst the earliest to introduce lauded measures of open government, such as the…

'Carl Eldhs Brantings' monument, Bellevueparken, Stockholm, Sweden (see below).

2019.02.27 | Article, Mary Hilson, Policy, Nation building, Democracy

Nordic social democratic parties during the twentieth century

Social democratic parties have had a significant influence on the Nordic countries during the twentieth century, especially in Sweden. As centre-left parties closely associated with the trade union movement, social democratic policy aims have included full employment and the promotion of social justice and equality. The political influence of…

The Himlastegen - or Heaven Steps - in Katrineholm, Sweden which allowed people to safely cross the railway tracks. Photo: Taken in 1950. From a leaflet in Swedish on folkhem by www.sormlandsmuseum.se.

2019.02.25 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Democracy, Governance, Nation building

Folkhem

Folkhem, literally meaning ‘people’s home’, is a Swedish term for what is otherwise designated as the Swedish welfare state or the Swedish model. It is even used and discussed in the context of the Nordic welfare state or the Nordic political model, and related ideas are prominent throughout the region (e.g. folkelighed, i.e. popular culture, in…

Rudolf Meidner (1914-2005), the Swedish economist. Photo: The Internet archive taken from his 1978 book Employee Investment Funds An Approach To Collective Capital Formation.

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, John Logue, Economy, Democracy

Wage earner funds

The term wage earner fund refers to different models of redistributing profit amongst workers of individual employers or sectors. It is often characterised by the 1975 Meidner’s model which set out that new stocks issued could be paid to funds, which would be administered by a group of directors with advice from trade unions.

The Løgting or Faroese parliament is considered the oldest parliment in the world. It is mentioned in the saga ‘Færeyingasaga’ written in Iceland in around the year 1200, but historians estimate that the origin of the Faroese Løgting can be traced as far back as shortly after the first Norse settlement (landnam) of the Faroes in the year 800. The building is from 1856.

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Governance, Nation building, Democracy

Parliamentary culture in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries have a particular parliamentary culture characterised by consensus and working across party lines. Their parliaments remain influential institutions considering the general trend towards greater executive power. The principles of parliamentary government and universal suffrage were introduced comparatively early in Norden. The…

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