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 ballad singer and composer Evert Taube, 1953. Photo: K. W. Gullers (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Evert Axel Taube (1890-1976)

Evert Taube, Swedish ballad singer, composer, author and artist, made his greatest impact as a ballad composer and balladeer, enriching his work with painterly skill depicting Swedish nature, particularly Stockholm’s archipelago.

Swedish comedian Povel Ramel in character, 1955. Photo: Jan Dahlander/Sydsvenskan/IBL (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Povel Ramel (1922-2007)

Povel Karl Henric Ramel was a Swedish singer, pianist, revue creator, author, composer, and comedian famous for his playful style, intelligent lyrics, imitations and parodies, and legendary musical revues. His work was deeply influential for Swedish comedy and entertainment.

Henning Larsen’s stately Copenhagen Opera House (2005) and Lundgaard & Tranberg’s copper and glass Royal Danish Playhouse (2008) beckon across the harbour to each other. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.06.19 | Article, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Nordic architecture: creative currents in the 21st Century

Twenty-first century Nordic architecture embraces a variety of architectural ideas and directions, presenting fresh approaches with a renewed sense of the importance of architecture as a form of cultural expression and creation. Complementing new forms of urban public space is an explosion of civic architecture; cultural, educational, and communal…

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.

"the greatest enemy of children’s culture is that which is authoritarian and uninspiring" (from principles put together in 1969 at a symposium hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1969). Photo: Unsplash.

2019.06.03 | Article, Helle Strandgaard Jensen, Culture, The arts, Media

How to raise your parents: Scandinavian children’s television in 1970s

Children’s departments in Scandinavian broadcasting corporations (in Denmark, Norway and Sweden) were clearly influenced by the call for equality and the influence of principles arising from the 1968 movement. Producers of children’s programmes worked extensively to democratise children’s television by, for example, taking children’s wishes and…

Kurt Wold, “cubist” stone sculpture (1997), Mefjellet.  Wold’s sculpture frames the view of the Fanaråken glacier and Smørstabb pinnacles.  It was included in the first site to be developed by the NTR. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.22 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Fusion of art and nature along Norway’s scenic routes

A national initiative developed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) from the 1990s onwards creates numerous artistic, architectural, and landscape design experiences located along scenic travel routes in Norway’s striking and dramatic natural settings. Intended to increase access and bolster businesses in the rural countryside, the…

Italian architect Renzo Piano's Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (2012), Oslo. Located on the waterfront, the museum occupies a significant presence in the Oslo cityscape. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.22 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Norway

An affluent country, Norway boasts remarkable productivity in architecture and infrastructure in recent decades, often drawing on neo-modernism, as well as a profound appreciation of the country's natural landscapes.

Poster from Kvindefestival, held in Fælledparken, Copenhagen in 1980 which had the motto ‘The struggle against women’s oppression is international’. Photo: Courtesy of the Kvindehuset library, Copenhagen.

2019.05.21 | Article, Hannah Yoken, Gender, Reputation

Transnational interaction among feminist activists in the Nordic Countries, 1970s-2000

The Nordic countries are globally renowned as states that embrace gender equality. However, the region also has a rich history of feminist activism at the grassroots level. This history includes activism undertaken during ‘second wave’ feminism, from the late 1960s to the 1990s. During this period of time the women’s movements benefitted from…

Kai Wartiainen, Ruoholahti High Tech centre (2001), Helsinki. The series of crane-like structures on the west harbour houses both IT companies and educational facilities. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.08 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Finland

Recent Finnish architecture of note includes civic, cultural and religious works, ranging in style from neo-modernism to the more culturally referenced.

Niels Simonsen's 'Tilbagetoget fra Dannevirke' [The Retreat from Dannevirke], 1864.

2019.05.01 | The Quick Read, Rasmus Glenthøj, Culture, The arts, Nation building

The meaning of the Second Schleswig War in Denmark

Denmark lost a third of its territory and 40% of its population in the Second Schleswig War in 1864 to Prussia and Austria. Seen as both a national trauma and the creation of modern-day Denmark, narratives regarding the war that were created at the time - and since - continue to resonate, exemplified by recent debates over its portrayal in TV…

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