Nordic cooperation and region building

This page provides articles about the formal bodies of the Nordic region, such as the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the many interesting and diverse informal and unofficial networks that are perhaps less easy to identify. While acknowledging the similarities and a common history that binds the region together, it is not intended that internal variation and complexity be overlooked. New articles are added regularly.


Plans for a Nordic common market in 1960s were ultimately abandoned in 1970. Photo: NN norden.org.

2019.11.13 | The Quick Read, Peter Yding Brunbech, Cooperation, Region-building

Nordic Economic Union (NORDEK): a Danish perspective

The NORDEK plan (so called due to the Swedish name for Nordic Economic Union (NORDiskt EKonomiskt samarbete)) grew out of a Danish initiative to create a Nordic common market. The plan attracted much attention in the years 1967-70. It was the last serious attempt to create a comprehensive Nordic political and economic organisation of cooperation.…

Guest workers striking against forced redundancies in front of DA (the Danish Employers' Association), 1978. Photo: Arbejdermuseets Arkiv (The Workers Museum's Archive).

2019.11.07 | Article, Niels Wium Olesen, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Rosanna Farbøl, Labour markets, Minorities, Multiculturalism, Democracy

Danish immigration policy, 1970-1992

In 1973, the Social Democrat government introduced an immediate stop to labour immigration because of growing unemployment. Immigration was, however, not a particularly problematic subject in the political and public debate in the 1970s. From the beginning of the 1980s, more refugees came to Denmark, particularly from the Middle East and the…

Attitudes of welfare professionals are not only shaped by societal or macro processes but also organisational conditions. Photo: colourbox.dk.

2019.10.31 | Article, Carolin Schütze, Labour markets, Research

It's relational: Racial attitudes in Swedish welfare institutions

Racial bias of staff at welfare institutions can result in negative outcomes for minority clients. Staff are not only professionals, but also individuals with personal beliefs and values. While the overriding organisational culture may be to give equal services to all clients, the attitude of staff and other work pressures might influence their…

From the period 1956-1970, the welfare state model that is known today in Denmark was established and public welfare benefits began to reach many different parts of society rather than just the weakest. Photo: Jason Vosper, colourbox.dk.

2019.10.09 | Video, Governance, Nation building, Culture

Mini-lecture on the Danish welfare state

Even though the welfare state in the Nordics is under pressure and its design is continously debated, it has rarely been more strongly supported in Danish history. Today, nearly all Danish political parties support the basic welfare society model, and they compete over who is best to secure it. Watch this mini-lecture and hear how, from a…

From an 18th century manuscript of an Icelandic saga about King Gylfi. Picture: Árni Magnússon Institute, Iceland/Wikimedia. Public Domain.

2019.09.18 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Region-building

History of Iceland, Vikings to early 19th century

Iceland was a largely uninhabited island in the northern Atlantic Ocean where Norsemen settled around 870. It began as a ‘free state’ but became a Norwegian province in the years 1262/64. As a dependency of Norway, Iceland came under the Danish-Norwegian Crown in 1380 and was in reality a Danish dependency from 1660. During the course of the 19th…

Þingvellir, where Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944, is a rich historic site and a popular tourist destination. Photo: Colourbox.

2019.09.04 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Governance

History of Iceland from 1944

After a referendum almost unanimously in favour, Iceland was declared an independent republic on 17th June 1944 at Þingvellir. Denmark did not, however, repeal the law which set out the terms of its personal union with Iceland until 1950. Since then, Iceland has been able to re-claim much of its cultural heritage from Danish institutions.…

Despite previous moves for economic integration in the Nordics, it became especially vigorous once globalisation took hold, particularly from 1990s. Photo: Calvin Hanson, Unsplash.

2019.08.27 | The Quick Read, Susanna Fellman, Economy, Region-building

The Nordic countries and economic integration

As small, open economies, all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Island, Norway and Sweden) have been well integrated in the regional and international economy. There have been moves to further intra-Nordic integration, such as, the NORDEK project in 1960s and the establishment of Nordic companies. Each of the five countries has had differing…

Map of Iceland from 1500s by Gerard Mercator (1512-1594), a cartographer from the Netherlands, which was first published in his extensive 'atlas', completed and published by his son in the year after Mercator's death. Mercator was the first to use the word 'atlas' for a collection of maps. From: The Royal Library, The Picture Collection (CC-BY-NC-ND).

2019.08.26 | Article, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Region-building, Governance

History of Iceland

Iceland was a largely uninhabited island in the northern Atlantic Ocean, where Norsemen settled around 870. It began as a ‘free state’ at first but became a Norwegian province in the years 1262/64. As a dependency of Norway, Iceland came under the Danish-Norwegian Crown in 1380 and became, in reality, a Danish dependency from 1660. During the…

UN Member States were informed about Greenland's change of status from a colony to a county in 1954. Photo: Courtesy of UN publications.

2019.08.19 | Article, Simon Mølholm Olesen, Governance, Nation building

The Danish decolonisation of Greenland, 1945-54

An international discussion on decolonisation followed in the aftermath of the Second World War in the mid-1940s. The newly formed United Nations created some of the most important platforms for these discussions. Consequently, Danish politicians and civil servants feared that Greenland, the last of the Danish colonies, would attract negative…

French article deems Danish public economic realists after 1972 referendum.

2019.07.26 | Original sources, Region-building

Analysis of the ECC referendum in Denmark in 'Le Monde' in 1972

The Danes voted on membership of the EEC on 2nd October 1972, and two days later, the French newspaper Le Monde published an article in which the referendum and the Danes' opinions on the EEC were analysed. In the referendum, 63,7 % of Danes voted yes to membership and Denmark became a member of the EEC on 1st January 1973.

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