Nordic culture, education and media

As well as content on culture, education and media, you will also find articles on art, literature, belief systems and public policy. Phenomena as diverse as Nordic noir, new Nordic cuisine and Nordic design have achieved global recognition more recently, as Nordic literature and architecture have done historically. Culture is taken in its broadest sense, including for example political culture and that of belief systems, such as the Lutheran church. Content about all these issues and more will be found on this page. 


"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 | The arts, Helle Strandgaard Jensen, Article

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…

The Oslo Stock Exchange, or 'Oslo Børs'. The financial and other markets were highly regulated in all the Nordic countries post-war, but this changed radically in the 1980s and 1990s. Photo: Colourbox.

2019.05.28 | The Quick Read, Susanna Fellman, Economy, Public policy

The 'Nordic model' of capitalism

The five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) are often characterised as being welfare capitalist, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. However, the institutional frameworks and economic policy models have changed over time, and the ‘model’ used has varied between countries and…

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…

The Finnish writer Pentti Saarikoski in 1967. Photo: Helsinki City Museum (CC BY 4.0)

2019.04.29 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Pentti Saarikoski (1937–1983)

The modernist Finnish writer Pentti Saarikoski became famous for his revolutionary sensibilities and anti-authoritarian Christian faith.

For decades, Abus Salam Madsen's 1967-translation of The Quran was the only Danish version of the book. Pictured above is the front cover to Ellen Wulff's translation which was originally published in 2006. Picture: Vandkunsten.

2019.04.29 | Article, Jørgen Bæk Simonsen, Multiculturalism, Culture

Islam in Denmark – an historical overview

Despite the public debate since 1980s presenting Islam in Denmark as a new phenomenon, it has for centuries played a central role as ‘the other’ when Danes have sought to explain their collective identity. It is true that many Danish Muslims arrived as a ‘guest workers’ in the boom years of the 1960s and stayed on. They were followed by their…

The noted socialist theatre director Kalle Holmberg is seen here directing Friedrich Schiller's 'Rosvot' (The Robbers) at the Helsinki City Theater, a play that strongly criticises class disparity and the economic inequities of German society. Actor Olavi Ahonen is in front. Photo: Helsinki City Museum (CC BY 4.0).

2019.04.29 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, The arts

Kalle Holmberg (1939-2016)

One of Finland’s leading theatre directors, Kalle Holmberg became known for his politically conscious productions.

Logo of the Danish Cultural Institute.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Inken Dose, Culture, The arts

Danish Cultural Institute

Founded in 1940, the Danish Cultural Institute aims to foster intercultural understanding both at home and abroad, and has branches in seven countries with activities and networks in many more. Financed by the Danish Ministry of Culture, private funds and its own revenue, it focuses on diverse themes.

Finnish writer Paavo Haavikko portrayed in 1960. Photographer unknown. Source: Universitat de València (Public domain)

2019.04.08 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008)

The versatile Finnish author Paavo Haavikko is highly regarded for his modernist poetry and his work in many other genres.

The work of Finnish-Swedish writer Monica Fagerholm, seen here at the Gothenburg book fair in 2009, penetratingly questions key aspects of society. Photo: Rotsee (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.04.08 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Monika Fagerholm (b. 1961)

Works such as 'Wonderful Women by the Water' established Finnish Monica Fagerholm as a feminist writer.

Lars Von Trier promoting 'Melancholia', one of the films in his 'Depression Trilogy' which each portrayed  mental conditions in abnormal situations, at the Cannes film festival, 2011. Photo: Georges Biard (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.04.01 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Lars von Trier (b. 1956)

Danish director Lars von Trier is world-famous for his renewal of film media. Through his work on the ‘Golden hearts trilogy', the ‘Depression triology' and ‘Dogme 95’, he has challenged film genres and narrative conventions. His work with video and digital pre- and post-production and various transmedia forms always carries his signature as an…

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