Imagining Norden - branding and Nordic reputation:

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. 


Dutch-Swedish songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk portrayed 13 November 1973. Photo: Punt Anefo, Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, (CC0 1.0)

2019.07.08 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Cornelis Vreeswijk (1937-1987)

Cornelis Vreeswijk was a Dutch-Swedish songwriter, singer, poet and actor known for his influential role in modernizing the Swedish ballad and introducing it to a wider audience through merging tradition with more diverse musical styles.

Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda, portrait from 1959. Photo:  Per Angré (Public domain)

2019.06.28 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Nicolai Gedda (1925-2017)

Nicolai Gedda (given name Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda) was a Swedish tenor born in Stockholm who performed mainly in operas and is one of the most widely recorded opera singers. He was known for his versatility and an amazingly high register.

1952 performance of the ballet 'Pessi ja Illusia' by the Ballet Company of the Finnish National Opera. The male role of Pessi is performed by Heikki Värtsi and the ballerina in the role of Illusia is Doris Laine. Photographer unknown (Public domain)

2019.06.27 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Finland

The National Ballet was founded in 1921, later than those in Denmark, Norway and Sweden due to Finland only becoming independent in 1917. Its geographical location meant that ballet took on a geopolitical dimension during the Cold War.

Swedish ballad singer and composer Evert Taube, 1953. Photo: K. W. Gullers (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Evert Axel Taube (1890-1976)

Evert Taube, Swedish ballad singer, composer, author and artist, made his greatest impact as a ballad composer and balladeer, enriching his work with painterly skill depicting Swedish nature, particularly Stockholm’s archipelago.

Swedish comedian Povel Ramel in character, 1955. Photo: Jan Dahlander/Sydsvenskan/IBL (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Povel Ramel (1922-2007)

Povel Karl Henric Ramel was a Swedish singer, pianist, revue creator, author, composer, and comedian famous for his playful style, intelligent lyrics, imitations and parodies, and legendary musical revues. His work was deeply influential for Swedish comedy and entertainment.

Danish ballet master August Bournonville (1805-1879). Photo: Emil Lange. Source: Royal Library, Copenhagen (Public domain)

2019.06.20 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Denmark

Denmark is home to many contemporary and classical ballet companies, such as the Royal Danish Ballet. The influence of Danish choreographer and ballet dancer August Bournonville can still be seen on a national and international level.

Henning Larsen’s stately Copenhagen Opera House (2005) and Lundgaard & Tranberg’s copper and glass Royal Danish Playhouse (2008) beckon across the harbour to each other. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.06.19 | Article, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Nordic architecture: creative currents in the 21st Century

Twenty-first century Nordic architecture embraces a variety of architectural ideas and directions, presenting fresh approaches with a renewed sense of the importance of architecture as a form of cultural expression and creation. Complementing new forms of urban public space is an explosion of civic architecture; cultural, educational, and communal…

Important export products from Sweden today include iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts and armaments), processed foods and motor vehicles. Photo: SPK ball bearings.

2019.06.13 | Article, Susanna Fellman, Economy

Economic development in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries are today among the richest countries in the world measured by GDP per capita. These countries also come top in more or less every international comparison of competitiveness. This was not the case 150 years ago. In the mid-nineteenth century the Nordic economies lagged behind those of the leading industrialised nations. The…

Henning Larsen and Ólafur Eliasson, Harpa concert hall and conference center (2011), Reykjavik. The elegant faceted, specially glazed volumes provide a lantern-like presence on the city waterfront. Photo: William Warby (CC BY-SA 3.0)

2019.06.05 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Iceland

From infrastructure and housing projects to culture and recreation centres, recent Icelandic architecture includes a range of design directions, among them the neo-modernism characteristic of the Nordics.

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…

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