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. 


Longyearbyen, March 2018. Photo: Dina Brode-Roger.

2019.03.04 | The Quick Read, Dina Brode-Roger, Literature, Media, Region-building, Nordic Noír

The Arctic Imaginary

Few have been there and yet everyone has some image of what the Arctic is. For most people, it conjures up images of an extreme environment, white and cold. Or more recently, one of giant ice floes melting away as the impacts of climate change are felt twice as fast near the poles as anywhere else. Although these images may be grounded in some…

The Scream by Norwegian Edvard Munch portrays the angst of modernism. From Wikimedia Commons, https://foto.munchmuseet.no

2019.03.01 | Article, Unni Langås, Literature, The arts

Modernism in the Nordic countries

As elsewhere, modernism was a movement concerning the profound questioning of traditional values, modes of speaking and interpretations of subjectivity. A mass of Nordic literature was produced that could be said to be modernist, from Norwegian Knut Hamsun’s innovative novels in the 1890s, to the influential high Swedish modernism in poetry led by…

Isak and Even's love story from the third season of Shame when it became popular in Russia. Photo: Courtesy of NRK.

2019.02.28 | Article, Saara Ratilainen, Media, Culture, Gender, Nordic Noír, Research

Russian fans of Norwegian TV series Shame

Fans redefine geopolitical and gender-based boundaries: Shame [Skam], is a hit teen drama series produced by the Public Broadcasting Service in Norway. It ran for four seasons from 2015 to 2017 and became a global phenomenon through an active online fan culture. Remakes abound elsewhere, but Russian teens access Skam largely through social media…

Urban commuter reading an Anders Bodelsen novel, Berlin, March 20, 2009. Photo by Olaf Simons (CC BY 3.0).

2019.02.27 | Biography, Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Literature

Anders Bodelsen (b. 1937)

Writing in a neo-realist style, Danish author Anders Bodelsen often portrays everyday people in contemporary welfare society, such as in his breakthrough crime thriller, Think of a Number.

2019.02.27 | Article, Nete Schmidt, Literature, Culture

Nordic science fiction

Despite it not being the most popular genre within the Nordic countries, science fiction writers have produced a range of literature. These span from satirical predictions about humankind’s degeneration in Sam Lundwall’s Ace-books in Sweden in 1970s, to Aila Johanna Sinisalo’s award-winning portrayal of gender issues in Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi…

2019.02.25 | Article, Kyle Frackman, Reputation

Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize can be seen as a symbol of both the regular cooperation between among Nordic countries and an expression of their neutrality. Like the other four original Nobel Prizes, the Nobel Peace Prize was established by the last will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833–96).

Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson receives the Nobel prize from the hands of king Oscar II in 1904.

2019.02.25 | The Quick Read, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, Culture, Reputation

Nobel Prizes

The idea and funds for the Nobel prizes originated in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel who died in 1901. Recipients can be both individuals and organisation. Categories are Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace and recipients are selected by various committees based at institutions in Sweden and, in the…

Even though the Nordic countries have high levels of gender equality, the caring professions, such as working in daycare or with the elderly, are dominated by female workers.

2019.02.22 | Article, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Gender, Labour markets, Law

Gender segregation in the Nordic labour market

Since the 1960s the Nordic countries have been renowned for their high level of gender equality as they have amongst the world’s highest employment and education rates for women. At the same time the Nordic countries also have greater horizontal segregation by sex than the rest of the EU, that is, most women work in different occupations than most…

2019.02.22 | Video, Saara Ratilainen, Media, Culture, Gender, Nordic Noír, Research

Russian fans interacting with Nordic television series (the case of Shame)

This presentation is from a transdisciplinary research workshop entitled Nordic Noir, Geopolitics and the North held at Aarhus University in October 2018.

An example of an official body: The Language Secretariat of Greenland, Oqaasilesiffik https://oqaasileriffik.gl/en/

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, Michael P. Barnes, Culture, Literature, Nation building

Official bodies overseeing the Nordic languages

There has been much more official involvement with the Nordic languages than with English. That is true even of the well-established Danish, Icelandic and Swedish standards. Each language exists under the watchful eye of a language ‘committee’, ‘board’ or ‘council’, for the most part state-sponsored, semi-autonomous bodies. A wide spectrum of…

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