The Quick Read

Quick Reads are intended to provide quick, evidence-based information on a particular topic. They are generally short, encyclopaedic entries of about 500 words on, for example, specific, named companies, brands, organisations, themes within a subject area etc, or entries on particular terms used in Nordic languages which are not necessarily easily to translate without further discussion. 

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.

Logo of the Danish Cultural Institute.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Inken Dose, Culture, Art

Danish Cultural Institute

Founded in 1940, the Danish Cultural Institute aims to foster intercultural understanding both at home and abroad, and has branches in seven countries with activities and networks in many more. Financed by the Danish Ministry of Culture, private funds and its own revenue, it focuses on diverse themes.

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

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…

Housing block in Rinkeby, Sweden, 2009. Photo: Holger Ellgaard (CC BY-SA 3.0)

2019.04.04 | The Quick Read, Dorota Lubińska, Multiculturalism

Rinkebysvenska

Rinkebysvenska or Rinkeby Swedish is a contemporary urban vernacular (CUV) which has developed in multi-ethnic urban areas of Sweden including a suburb of Stockholm called Rinkeby. This speech variety is mainly used by young people in addition to other languages and language varieties depending on context, and its use is reflected in rap and…

While spectacular sites in Iceland and elsewhere draw visitors from around the world (like the remote canyon on the South Coast of Iceland pictured here), being outdoors in an everyday way from kindergarten and outdoor pursuits are generally considered characteristic of Nordic life. Photo: Jonathan Auh, Unsplash.

2019.04.01 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

Outdoors in the Nordics

A comprehensive infrastructure caters to both domestic and foreign demand for outdoor activities in the Nordic countries, a demand resulting from swathes of both developed and undeveloped nature, and a widespread perception that being outdoors is character-building and healthy. In recent times, the younger and immigrant populations have shown that…

The incorruptibility and purity of Norwegian nature was one of the most important elements of nineteenth century Norwegian national romanticism. Here illustrated in Brudeferd i Hardanger / Bridal procession on the Hardangerfjord (1848) by Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

2019.04.01 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

The role of nature in the Nordic countries

With a low population density in all Nordic countries barring Denmark, nature has taken on a central feature of everyday life for many in the region. It has also played a role in the formation of national identity reflected in art and the ideal of being outdoors.

Hunt for pilot whales at Torshavn, Faroe Islands. Photo: Flickr, Bjarne Stoklund (1961), The National Museum of Denmark (CC BY-SA 2.0)

2019.03.27 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

Whaling by Nordic countries

Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands are among the few countries in the world that still permit limited whaling.

Two Norwegian 'hytter' during the summer months. Photo: Colourbox.com/Evannovostro

2019.03.26 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

Second homes in the Nordics

Second homes are used as holiday and weekend getaways in the Nordic countries by many people, not just the elite, probably due to widespread prosperity and an abundance of space.

The SIPRI Year Book is the main publication of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. It is published every year accounting for armaments, military spending and conflicts internationally. Photo: Courtesy of SIPRI.

2019.03.26 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Education

Peace studies in the Nordics

A number of peace research institutes emerged in the Nordics from around 1960. They were initially seen as politically radical and interdisciplinary with a focus on the applied rather than the academic side of peace studies. Since them, they have become more part of the establishment, advising governments and producing staff skilled in peace…

Photo: Unsplash (Public Domain).

2019.03.26 | The Quick Read

Internet in the Nordic countries

The internet facilitates social relations and participation in society in the Nordics which is a thinly populated region excepting Denmark. State involvement in all the Nordic countries has been patchy and left major investment to private actors to date, making the growth of the informational communications infrastructure very different from that…

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