Democracy

In this category, you will find articles on democracy and the Nordics, including parliaments, voting systems, egalitarianism, consensual democracy, social democracy and the welfare state. Categories are interpreted widely.

A drawing of the class division of society, which was published in 'Arbeider-Foreningernes Blad', with Marcus Thrane as editor and publisher, 4 May 1850. Photo: unknown/Arbeiderbevegelsens arkiv og bibliotek.

2021.07.26 | The Quick Read, Jan Eivind Myhre, Democracy

The emergence of Norwegian civil society in the 19th century

Voluntary organisations were a new and important phenomenon in Norway in the nineteenth century and included many different types of associations, unions and clubs. Among other things, they functioned as places to learn about democracy for the wider population.

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir. Photo: In 1985 at Rotterdam airport, on a visit to Queen Beatrix.

2021.07.19 | Biography, Kevin Hogg, Culture, Democracy

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, b. 1930

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is an Icelandic politician. She served as the country’s president for 16 years, using the office to promote Icelandic culture around the world, amongst other things. Since her retirement, she has served on various international organizations, has campaigned for women’s rights, and been recognized for her work in Icelandic…

The Nordic and their various models function in the American political imaginary as blank screens upon which politicians and pundits project justifications for their own versions of the American dream. Photo: CHUTTERSNAP on unsplash (modified).

2020.10.02 | Outlook, Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, Democracy, Governance, The Nordics in the World

Imagining Nordicity in the American political discourse

The Nordic region is frequently presented in the American media as prosperous and business-friendly, as well as allowing for extensive welfare benefits. US media coverage often positions one or more of the Nordic countries between the monolithic and highly politicized understandings of ‘socialism’ and ‘capitalism’ – with the many shades of mixed…

Anna Sandberg is Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen.

2020.06.18 | Film, Anna Lena Sandberg, The Borders of the Nordics, Literature, Democracy

Interview: The relationship between Denmark and Germany: politics and culture since 1800

In this short video, Anna Sandberg, Associate Professor in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at Copenhagen University, gives an historical overview of the political and cultural relationship between Denmark and Germany over the last 200 years. Their relationship is an important one not least because it is the southern-most…

The disease of contemporary democracy can be summarised in the famous words of Gramsci: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear”. Photo: Elvis Bekmanis, Unsplash.

2020.02.12 | Outlook, Monica Quirico, Democracy, Nation building, Södertörn University

Democracy in the shadow of populism - a Nordic way out?

The “Nordic model” is often presented as a solution to the dominance of neoliberalism and the rise of populism. Populist tendencies within the region, including the reclaiming of nationalist identities and anti-immigration and anti-globalisation sentiment, can often be overlooked by outside observers. Whereas elsewhere economic crises encourage …

The modern flag of Iceland, which was adopted in 1918 when Iceland gained independence from Denmark. It was officially recognised in the Law of the National Flag of Icelanders and the State Arms in 1944 when Iceland became a republic. Photo: Public Domain.

2019.09.11 | The Quick Read, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Nation building, Democracy, Aarhus University

History of Iceland, 1840s to the Second World War

Even though Iceland remained under Danish rule, the Icelandic ‘Althing’ was restored in 1845 as a national consultative assembly, and in 1874 the country obtained a constitution giving the Althing its own legislative power. Home rule was introduced in 1904, and in 1918 Iceland became an independent and sovereign state in personal union with…

2019.09.10 | Outlook, Thorsten Borring Olesen, Democracy, Nation building, Research, Aarhus University

Buying Greenland? Trump, Truman and the 'Pearl of the Mediterranean'

In the summer of 2019, the Trump Administration voiced an interest in buying Greenland from Denmark. The historical background for this stretches at least as far back as a case brought by Norway at the International Court in 1933 when it was decided that Denmark had full sovereignty over Greenland. Since then, Danish governments have engaged in…

Map to show the growth of the now-called European Union, from the original six countries of the EEC to 28 members in 2019. Photo: teaching materials, https://europa.eu.

2019.06.14 | Original sources, Democracy, Law

EEC referenda in Denmark and Norway, 1972

Both Denmark and Norway held referenda on whether to join the European Economic Community in 1972. After Danes supported joining and Norwegians did not, this editorial was published in a federalist journal in which the editors try to understand the differing results.

Coalition governments are the norm in the Nordic countries. Meeting room at the Danish Parliament. Photo: Folketinget, Anders Hviid.

2019.06.04 | The Quick Read, Robin Pettitt, Democracy

Political coalitions in the Nordic region

Nordic countries have been labelled ‘consensual democracies’ due to the use of cross-party coalitions in forming governments. As political parties that are in competition with one another end up working together, it arguably reduces aggressive, oppositional electioneering, and fosters collaboration. On the other hand, it is difficult for voters to…

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, Democracy

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…

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