Imagining Norden - branding and Nordic reputation

Perceptions of the Nordics abound, from the reputation of the Nordic welfare state to that of interior design. Content on this page seeks to examine the construction and deconstruction of the different 'brands' of the region; why, when, where and how the region, its individual countries, its way of life, what it produces etc are branded. New articles are added regularly. 


Gunnar Björling by his typewriter in 1960. Photo: Holger Eklund. Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

2019.10.22 | Biography, Anne Heith, Literature

Gunnar Björling (1887–1960)

Poet Gunnar Björling flouted conventional grammar and syntax rules and is recognised as a radical, modernist in Sweden.

Studio-Based Learning is not only for the arts, but is also used to teach students to think imaginatively in business for example. Picture: KADK, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design, and Conservation, Denmark. Source: https://kadk.dk/galleri/

2019.10.17 | Article, Sille Julie J. Abildgaard, Education, Business

Studio-Based Learning in the Nordics

Studio-Based Learning (SBL) is an educational tradition with a student-centered approach. The practice originates in Northern Europe, where Nordic arts and design programs have a long tradition of using studio spaces for teaching. The physical space is considered a powerful factor in facilitating learning and accomplishing instructional goals, and…

Portrait of Sonja Åkesson from 1968. Photo: Arne Jönsson/Scanpix. Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

2019.10.03 | Biography, Anne Heith, Literature

Sonja Åkesson (1926–1977)

Swedish poet Sonja Åkesson advocated the use of colloquial language and themes from everyday life, and her style and humour influenced the next generation of particularly women writers and feminists.

This volume was a result of the first seminar on Sámi literature in 1972 where many Sámi authors published their first text. The premise was that one language could not live through another language. Čállagat means 'Written Works'. Photo: Author.

2019.10.01 | Article, Lill Tove Fredriksen, Literature, Minorities, Democracy

A brief history of Sámi literature

Sámi literature's history can be traced from the 1600s and the course of this history can be interpreted in the context of important Sámi, national and international political movements. Sámi literature is literature written by authors who are Sámi, who are members of the Sámi people. In this short article, the Sámi socio-political development…

Portrait of a young Asta Nielsen from The Danish Film Museum (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

2019.08.28 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Asta Nielsen (1881-1972)

The Danish theatre actress Asta Sophie Amalie Nielsen became a silent screen world star overnight after her leading role in the silent movie Afgrunden (The Abyss/The Woman always Pays) in 1910.

The Danish playwright Kjeld Abell made the curtain himself for the first performance in 1935 of his first play, the hugely succesful The Melody That Got Lost. (Public domain)

2019.08.27 | Biography, Tom Lundskær-Nielsen, The arts

Kjeld Abell (1901-1961)

Kjeld Abell is one of the most prominent and innovative Danish playwrights in the 20th century. In his early plays he satirises the narrow, conventional outlook of the bourgeoisie from a socialist viewpoint. Later, he focuses on political commitment and moral dilemmas, inspired by World War II and the German occupation of Denmark, while the…

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer at Writers' and Literary Translators' International Conference in Stockholm, June 30, 2008. Photo: Andrei Romanenko (CC BY-SA 3.0)

2019.08.21 | Biography, Linda Haverty Rugg, Literature

Tomas Tranströmer (1931-2015)

Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature, Tomas Tranströmer was one of those rare poets who is both acclaimed by scholars and critics as well as beloved by a broad readership in Sweden and internationally. Translated into over 60 languages, his poetry is characterized by powerful imagery, and focuses particularly on the human interface with…

Ulf Lundell in concert at Borgholm castle, Öland, Sweden, 26 July 2005. Photo: Betasjufem (CC0 1.0)

2019.08.18 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Ulf Lundell (b. 1949)

Ulf Gerhard Lundell is a Swedish rock singer, composer, author, poet, and artist known as ‘the Swedish Bob Dylan.’

A tribute to Nordic fiction at the French book fair in Paris, 2011. Photo: Silje Bergum Kinsten (CC BY 2.5 DK)

2019.08.07 | Article, Anne-Marie Mai, Literature

An overview of Nordic prose fiction since 1945

Post-war Nordic prose fiction forms a diverse literary landscape, starting with existentialism and a renewal of modernism, and developing with both Nordic and international currents, including realism, postcolonialism, and autofiction. A number of authors from the period are well known both in the Nordic countries and internationally. Among the…

Interest in the Nordic countries blossomed in Japan in early 1900s, re-occuring after the Second World War. Some academics and commentators argue that this early interest remains pervasive today. Photo: Cory Schadt, Unsplash.

2019.08.06 | Article, Kenn Nakata Steffensen, Culture, The arts, Reputation

The Nordics in the modern Japanese political imagination

In the early 1900s, Japanese progressive intellectuals, writers, and feminist activists questioned their country’s quest for power and looked to Scandinavia for an alternative modernity. The Scandinavian modern breakthrough peaked in Japan in the 1910s and 1920s on the back of a burgeoning interest in Nordic literature, philosophy and political…

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