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. 


The official flag of Åland since the 1950s. Åland is semi-automonous in that it has its own legislature, but it is a part of Finland despite over 90% of the population speaking Swedish. Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Jason Lavery, Minorities, Democracy, Governance

The Åland Islands

The Åland Islands lie at the south-western tip of the Finnish peninsula between Finland and Sweden. This archipelago of 6,500 islands and skerries is demilitarised, an autonomous region and a Swedish-speaking part of Finland.

Offices of the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman in Stockholm. The first Swedish Ombudsman was appointed in 1810. Photo: Riksdagens Ombudsman.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Inken Dose, Governance

Ombudsman

Originating in Sweden in 1809, an ombudsman is generally regarded as an official body of complaint which protects individuals against abuses of power and maladministration. Finland and Denmark were the second and third countries to establish an ombudsman, and the idea later spread to the other Nordic countries and further afield. The idea of a…

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.

Gro Harlem Brundtland in April of 2009. Photo: GAD (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.03.13 | Biography, Ann Legreid, Governance

Gro Harlem Brundtland (b. 1939)

Gro Harlem Brundtland is an internationally recognised Norwegian politician and environmentalist known for her advocacy of sustainability, public health and human rights. Among a number of public offices, she served as Prime Minister of Norway for ten years.

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 Finnish Act on Freedom of the Press from 1766, which included the Principle of Publicity. Photo: © Tryckfrihetsförordningen1766 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

2019.02.27 | Article, Ainur Elmgren, Governance, Nation building

Open government in the Nordics

Open government is intended to ensure transparency, accountability and openness and involves fundamental issues such as press freedom, public disclosure and freedom of information legislation, all key aspects of the administration of Nordic states. These states were amongst the earliest to introduce lauded measures of open government, such as the…

The Himlastegen - or Heaven Steps - in Katrineholm, Sweden which allowed people to safely cross the railway tracks. Photo: Taken in 1950. From a leaflet in Swedish on folkhem by www.sormlandsmuseum.se.

2019.02.25 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Democracy, Governance, Nation building

Folkhem

Folkhem, literally meaning ‘people’s home’, is a Swedish term for what is otherwise designated as the Swedish welfare state or the Swedish model. It is even used and discussed in the context of the Nordic welfare state or the Nordic political model, and related ideas are prominent throughout the region (e.g. folkelighed, i.e. popular culture, in…

Nordic Council headquarters in Copenhagen. Photo: Yadid Levy/Norden.org (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

2019.02.25 | Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, Article, Governance, Region-building, Cooperation

Nordic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers

Organisations exist to facilitate the discussion and coordination of policies in areas of joint interest to the Nordic countries. The Nordic Council fosters co-operation among parliamentarians from member nations and the Nordic Council of Ministers promotes cooperation among government officials. Without power to make laws, these bodies are…

Historic government district of Tinganes in Tórshavn.

2019.02.25 | Article, Peter Thaler, Governance

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands (Føroyar) consist of 18 main islands situated halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. Their combined landmass of 1399 square kilometres is as of 2018 populated by approximately 50,000 inhabitants, of whom more than one-third live in the capital of Tórshavn. While part of the realm of Denmark, the Faroe Islands…

The most common definition of the Nordic region: Greenland, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Ssolbergjderivative work: Citypeek [CC BY-SA 3.0]

2019.02.25 | Article, Mary Hilson, Region-building

The Nordic region

The Nordic region, or Norden, may be defined as consisting of the five sovereign states Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, plus the three autonomous territories connected to these states: the Faroe Islands and Greenland (Denmark) and Åland (Finland). These states are widely considered to form a distinctive region by virtue of their…

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