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. 


Faroe stamp with still from Nils Malmros' film Barbara, set in the Faroe Islands. Issued by Postverk Føroya - Philatelic Office (public domain)

2019.03.22 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Nils Malmros (b. 1944)

Danish director Nils Malmros is known for his authentic depictions of the immediate environment of especially children and young adults. His aptitude for capturing the precise tone of language and physical surroundings according to his own recollection is noteworthy.

Carl Th. Dreyer, Danish filmmaker, circa 1915. Photo: Peter Newland (Public domain)

2019.03.22 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Carl Theodor Dreyer (1889-1968)

Danish director Carl Th. Dreyer is world-famous for his films on passion and compassion. Emphatic depictions of religion and especially women’s destiny in societies ruled by men run throughout his work. Meanwhile, a special form of realism, in which minor facial expressions are more important than larger spatial movements, inspires philosophical…

Finnish author Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, here portrayed wearing a flower crown, 1967. Photo by Per Olov Jansson (CC BY 3.0)

2019.03.20 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Tove Jansson (1914-2001)

Writing in Swedish, the Finnish writer-illustrator Tove Jansson is most famous for her creation of the mythical creatures The Moomins.

Jo Nesbø at The Helsinki Book Fair 2005. Photo: Anneli Salo (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.03.18 | Biography, Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Literature

Jo Nesbø (b. 1960)

Norwegian writer Jo Nesbø is well known in- and outside the Nordic region for his many books on crime, some of which have been adapted for film.

Portait of Einojuhani Rautavaara. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).

2019.03.18 | Biography, Kyle Frackman, The arts

Einojuhani Rautavaara (1928–2016)

Einojuhani Rautavaara is one of the best-known Finnish composers of the twentieth century. Perhaps most famous globally for his Seventh Symphony, the Angel of Light, he made use of many different musical styles and techniques in a variety of genres, and was not afraid to go against musical trends in composition.

Myyrmäki Church (1984), Vantaa. Photo: author.

2019.03.15 | Biography, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Juha Leiviksä (b. 1936)

The architecture of Finnish architect Juha Leiviksä synthesises an abstract modernism with a sensory, experiential expressionism that results in stunning light-filled interior spaces, especially in his religious buildings.

Town Hall (1939-42), Aarhus (with Erik Møller). Photo: author.

2019.03.15 | Biography, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971)

Danish architect and designer Arne Emil Jacobsen is internationally renowned for his modern and functional architecture, furniture, and product designs. Employing a philosophy of ‘economy plus function equals style’, his buildings, furniture and tableware became emblematic of the concept “Danish Modern”.

Kristian Gullichsen, Church (1981), Malmi. Photo by author.

2019.03.15 | Biography, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Kristian Gullichsen (b.1932)

The work of architect Kristian Gullichsen, who is among Finland’s most important designers of the late 20th century, synthesises a cool, restrained modernism with the tactile, experiential, and expressive qualities associated with Finnish architecture.

The Svalbard Seed Vault by night. Photo: Mari Tefre/Global Crop Diversity Trust (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 - photo lighter than original).

2019.03.14 | The Quick Read, Ann Legreid, Region-building, Reputation

Arctic region

The Arctic is a circumpolar region centered on the North Pole, home to diverse human populations, landscapes, vegetation, and wildlife. The climate is harsh supporting a fairly restricted range of occupations, including fishing and hunting, service industries and resource development.

Nordic crime fiction is a literary genre and a publishing phenomenon; it rides the wave of popular interest in the Nordic countries, but frequently criticises and undercuts notions of the welfare state.

2019.03.05 | Article, Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Literature, Media, Nordic Noír

Nordic crime fiction

Since 1990s, Nordic crime fiction has been a significant sub-genre within the global genre of crime fiction. Usually characterised by social realism, gloomy locations and morose detectives, crime novels and TV series from across the Nordic region provide puzzling mysteries and thrilling stories that use the crime plot to investigate the state of…

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