The Quick Read

This is a list of all 'Quick Reads' in the order they were published. Quick Reads are intended to provide quick, evidence-based information on a particular topic. They are generally short, encyclopaedic entries of about 1000 words on, for example, specific, named companies, brands, organisations, themes within a subject area etc, or entries on particular terms used in Nordic languages which are not necessarily easily to translate without further discussion. To customise your search, use the 'category' buttons, or the search function.

Picture of a globe with Norway highlighted and two arrows going east and west

2020.02.06 | The Quick Read, Helge Ø. Pharo, The Nordics in the World, Globalisation

Norway, the West and the Soviet Union, 1944-48

The term ’bridge-building’ is often used to describe Norwegian foreign policy from the tail end of the Second World War until Norway's turn to the West in early 1948. Even though the term is ambiguous at best, it now occupies an established place in Norwegian historiography, and reflects the perceived position of Norway between East and West in…

A magazine cover from the Swedish disability rights movement’s umbrella organisation for international development work in 1991. Photo: Reproduced with kind permission from My Right.

2020.01.21 | The Quick Read, Anna Derksen, The Nordics in the World, Globalisation

Disability, development and the Nordics, 1960s-2000

Nordic disability organizations have been carrying out development projects in the Global South since the 1960s. Initially a preventive and rehabilitative approach was taken with, for example, a focus on schools for special education, vocational training and medical care. Although important, this type of aid became increasingly seen as…

Religion unfolds in non-traditional spaces at Christmas time. Photo: Annie Spratt, Unsplash.

2019.12.11 | The Quick Read, Kirstine Helboe Johansen, Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen, Belief systems, Research

Celebrating Christmas at the edge of religion in Scandinavia

Christmas is the most important celebration of the year in the Nordic countries, but it is celebrated in a way that goes beyond its original Christian origins. It develops in areas that are not religious per se, such as in shopping centres, schools and in public and private broadcasting. These non-religious spaces become bearers of cultural…

A scene from the 'Veslefrikk' performance in 1950 by the Norwegian ballet ensemble Ny Norsk Ballett (active 1948–1955). Source: Oslo Museum (CC BY-SA 3.0)

2019.11.20 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Norway

After its independence in 1905, Norwegian ballet took on a tradition of its own, lately being characterised by classical ballet and modern dance merging and influencing one another. This is demonstrated not least by postmodern dance innovatively integrating folklore elements.

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.…

Finnish-Swedish modern dancer and choreographer Virpi Pahkinen in an outdoor performance at Parkteatern Stockholm, 2013. Photo: Bergbohm (CC BY-SA 4.0)

2019.11.09 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Sweden

Founded in 1773, the Royal Swedish Ballet remained relatively traditional until the early part of the twentieth century when modern dance and dancers from elsewhere, such as Russia, gained influence. Developments since then have included the 1940s renaissance for the Swedish ballet due to an Anglo-American orientation and collaborative projects…

The former headquarters of the Swedish State Institute for Racial Biology, an institute founded in 1922 that concerned itself with eugenics. It ceased to operate in 1958. Photo: Public Domain.

2019.09.24 | The Quick Read, Byron J. Nordstrom, Policy

Eugenics in the Nordic countries

Between 1923 and 1941, Nordic governments enacted marriage limitation, sterilisation, castration and abortion laws intended to curb reproduction by the mentally ill and disabled, transmitters of inheritable diseases, and (in some cases) social undesirables.

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…

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

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…

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.…

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