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 former headquarters of the Swedish State Institute for Racial Biology, an institute founded in 1922 that concerned itself with eugenics. It ceased to operate in 1958. Photo: Public Domain.

2019.09.24 | The Quick Read, Byron J. Nordstrom, Policy

Eugenics in the Nordic countries

Between 1923 and 1941, Nordic governments enacted marriage limitation, sterilisation, castration and abortion laws intended to curb reproduction by the mentally ill and disabled, transmitters of inheritable diseases, and (in some cases) social undesirables.

From an 18th century manuscript of an Icelandic saga about King Gylfi. Picture: Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland/Wikimedia. Public Domain.

2019.09.18 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Region-building

History of Iceland, Vikings to early 19th century

Iceland was a largely uninhabited island in the northern Atlantic Ocean where Norsemen settled around 870. It began as a ‘free state’ but became a Norwegian province in the years 1262/64. As a dependency of Norway, Iceland came under the Danish-Norwegian Crown in 1380 and was in reality a Danish dependency from 1660. During the course of the 19th…

The modern flag of Iceland, which was adopted in 1918 when Iceland gained independence from Denmark. It was officially recognised in the Law of the National Flag of Icelanders and the State Arms in 1944 when Iceland became a republic. Photo: Public Domain.

2019.09.11 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Democracy

History of Iceland, 1840s to the Second World War

Even though Iceland remained under Danish rule, the Icelandic ‘Althing’ was restored in 1845 as a national consultative assembly, and in 1874 the country obtained a constitution giving the Althing its own legislative power. Home rule was introduced in 1904, and in 1918 Iceland became an independent and sovereign state in personal union with…

Þingvellir, where Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944, is a rich historic site and a popular tourist destination. Photo: Colourbox.

2019.09.04 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Governance

History of Iceland from 1944

After a referendum almost unanimously in favour, Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944 at Þingvellir. Denmark did not, however, repeal the law which set out the terms of its personal union with Iceland until 1950. Since then, Iceland has been able to re-claim much of its cultural heritage from Danish institutions.…

Despite previous moves for economic integration in the Nordics, it became especially vigorous once globalisation took hold, particularly from 1990s. Photo: Calvin Hanson, Unsplash.

2019.08.27 | The Quick Read, Susanna Fellman, Economy, Region-building

The Nordic countries and economic integration

As small, open economies, all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway and Sweden) have been well integrated in the regional and international economy. There have been moves to further intra-Nordic integration, such as, the NORDEK project in 1960s and the establishment of Nordic companies. Each of the five countries has had differing…

Employers' federations in the Nordics have since early 1900s taken part in collective bargaining over workers' conditions.

2019.07.10 | The Quick Read, Byron J. Nordstrom, Labour markets

Employer federations in the Nordics

Along with their trade union counterparts, employer federations have been key players in the negotiation of nationwide agreements on wages and working conditions, as well as contributors to governmental policy formulation. In addition, this collaboration has served at times to obscure the focus of employers’ federations on economic growth and…

National symbols vary widely and are often contested. Some of them - such as the social concept of Danish 'hygge' often symbolised by a candle - have been marketed successfully abroad in recent years.

2019.07.09 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

National symbols in the Nordic countries

National symbols share an ability to fuse diverse people in a shared feeling of identity. They are as diverse as flags to food, scenery to famous people, and they vary depending on whether they are viewed from inside or outside the Nordics or a specific country. A pressing question today is which national symbols are appropriate for globalised,…

1952 performance of the ballet 'Pessi ja Illusia' by the Ballet Company of the Finnish National Opera. The male role of Pessi is performed by Heikki Värtsi and the ballerina in the role of Illusia is Doris Laine. Photographer unknown (Public domain)

2019.06.27 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Finland

The National Ballet was founded in 1921, later than those in Denmark, Norway and Sweden due to Finland only becoming independent in 1917. Its geographical location meant that ballet took on a geopolitical dimension during the Cold War.

Henning Larsen and Ólafur Eliasson, Harpa concert hall and conference center (2011), Reykjavik. The elegant faceted, specially glazed volumes provide a lantern-like presence on the city waterfront. Photo: William Warby (CC BY-SA 3.0)

2019.06.05 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Iceland

From infrastructure and housing projects to culture and recreation centres, recent Icelandic architecture includes a range of design directions, among them the neo-modernism characteristic of the Nordics.

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…

Showing results 1 to 10 of 55

1 2 3 4 5 6 Next