The New Nordic Lexicon (En)

New project to shed light on Nordic society, history and culture: The New Nordic Lexicon will bring experts and students together in a research-based discussion.

Students from across the Nordic countries will be involved in choosing & discussing Nordic terms. Photo: Priscilla Du Preez on unsplash.

What lies behind the words ’flightshame’, ’the people’, ’MeToo’ and ’business vikings’ in a Nordic context? What do ’dugnad’, ’sisu’ and ’mys’ mean? And what relevance do they have in today’s society?

The New Nordic Lexicon – written by researchers from across the Nordic countries and beyond – will answer these and other important questions about Nordic society, history and culture.

’Nordic’ is often dominated by cliché

Clichés often dominate the rhetoric around the Nordic countries, and commercial and political branding can reduce ‘Norden’ to easily understandable messages.

Peter Stadius, Research Director of the Centre for Nordic Studies in Helsinki, explains: ”What it means to be ’nordic’ is actually quite complex. It is easy to assume that we know what it means simply by virtue of living in the Nordics, but our experience is often limited to only one or two countries or regions. Our understanding of nordicity is also greatly influenced by how the surrounding world sees us...

...Research in the social sciences and humanities helps to unpick what 'nordic' means, providing a greater understanding of the Nordic countries and how we can solve societal challenges.”

The New Nordic Lexicon

The New Nordic Lexicon will bring experts and students together in a research-based discussion about society. It will comprise of 50+ Nordic terms and concepts in English & a variety of Nordic languages. Students and researchers from across the Nordic countries will help to choose which terms and concepts will be included and their discussions will be shared via associated films and podcasts. The lexicon will be launched in 2023.

The lexicon has kindly been made possible by the support of the A.P. Moller and Chastine Mc-Kinney Moller Foundation (A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal).

The team behind at Aarhus University’s School of Culture and Society will coordinate the project with the collaboration of:

Get in touch if you are interested!

Please get in touch if:

  • You are a relevant researcher & would like to write for us or get involved in a podcast or film.
  • You are a student with an interest in the Nordics & research dissemination – you may be chosen as a participant for a podcast!

Contact Editor of Nicola Witcombe at if you would like to find out more.

Read this news item in Danish or Finnish, or read more about the New Nordic Lexicon by clicking here.