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. 


Swedish author Sven Lindqvist interviewed at Akademi-bokhandeln in Stockholm on 10 February 2018. Photo: Frankie Fouganthin (CC BY-SA 4.0)

2019.07.30 | Biography, Linda Haverty Rugg, Literature

Sven Lindqvist (1932-2019)

A wide-ranging and prolific social commentator and provocative essayist, Sven Lindquist focused on questions of environmentalism, colonialism, war, social justice and racism.

Ingmar Berman (1918-2007), Swedish stage and film director; photo taken during the production of Wild Strawberries (1957). Svensk Filmindustri (SF) press photo. Source: Svenska filminstitutet.

2019.07.24 | Biography, Linda Haverty Rugg, The arts

Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007)

Ingmar Bergman was a pre-eminent Swedish film director, theater director, screenwriter, and author. Internationally acclaimed as a cinematic auteur, he was known for his exquisite aesthetics and a focus on intense psychological drama, gender issues, theology, philosophy, and autobiography. He worked with a select group of actors and technicians,…

Scene from the premiere of Karl-Birger Blomdahl's 1959 opera 'Aniara' in Stockholm. Photo: Lennart Olson, Tiofoto (Public domain)

2019.07.19 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Karl-Birger Blomdahl (1916-1968)

Karl-Birger Blomdahl was a Swedish composer and teacher best known for his 1959 prize-winning space opera 'Aniara', his third symphony 'Facetter', his choral work 'I speglarnas sal', as well as other symphonic and chamber pieces.

Swedish opera singer Birgit Nilsson performing on 31 July, 1969. Photo: Svenskt Fotoreportage via IMS Vintage Photos (Public domain)

2019.07.16 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Birgit Nilsson (1918-2005)

Birgit Nilsson was a Swedish soprano who performed in the world’s top opera houses and festivals, noted particularly for her roles in Wagner (especially Isolde in Tristan and Isolde), Puccini (Turandot), and Richard Strauss (Elektra). She is considered perhaps the best Wagnerian soprano of her time.

Swedish conductor Sixten Ehrling, c. 1960. Photographer unknown (Public domain)

2019.07.15 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Evert Sixten Ehrling (1918-2005)

Evert Sixten Ehrling was a Swedish conductor who led opera houses and symphony orchestras in Sweden and the United States. He was particularly noted for his recordings of Nordic composers (especially Berwald, Nielsen and Sibelius), his high standards and his technical precision.

From left: Songwriters Cornelis Vreeswijk, Fred Åkerström and Gösta Cervin at a demonstration against the Vietnam war on Hötorget in Stockholm on 28 August 1965. Photo: Sam Stadener (Public domain)

2019.07.09 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Fred Åkerström (1937-1985)

Fred Åkerström was a Swedish ballad singer best known for his three albums of interpretations of the eighteenth-century poet Carl Michael Bellman.

Dutch-Swedish songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk portrayed 13 November 1973. Photo: Punt Anefo, Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, (CC0 1.0)

2019.07.08 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Cornelis Vreeswijk (1937-1987)

Cornelis Vreeswijk was a Dutch-Swedish songwriter, singer, poet and actor known for his influential role in modernizing the Swedish ballad and introducing it to a wider audience through merging tradition with more diverse musical styles.

Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf, 1967. Photo: Pressens Bild (Public domain)

2019.07.01 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, Literature

Bengt Gunnar Ekelöf (1907-1968)

Gunnar Ekelöf was considered one of Sweden’s leading and most important twentieth-century poets who produced deeply intellectual and challenging works that weave in many different languages and cultural influences. A lifelong outsider, he is known for introducing surrealism and modernism to Swedish poetry, and for his late-career Byzantine…

Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda, portrait from 1959. Photo:  Per Angré (Public domain)

2019.06.28 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Nicolai Gedda (1925-2017)

Nicolai Gedda (given name Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda) was a Swedish tenor born in Stockholm who performed mainly in operas and is one of the most widely recorded opera singers. He was known for his versatility and an amazingly high register.

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.

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