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. 


Finland's position on arms exports since the Cold War has been influenced by, amongst other things, its national economy, human rights issues and its own security position, particularly given its geographical position. Photo: Colourbox.dk

2020.02.21 | Article, Tuuli Veikkanen, The Nordics in the World, Reputation

An introduction to Nordic arms exports since 1990, with a focus on Finland

All Nordic countries, excluding Iceland, have exported weapons to countries involved in armed conflicts or violating human rights during the post-Cold War period. As Nordic countries often speak for peace and humanitarian work in the international arena, their arms exports have repeatedly drawn criticism. However, Nordic countries have also been…

The cover of the official handbook to Sweden's feminist foreign policy, published by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019.

2020.01.28 | Article, Sigrun Marie Moss, The Nordics in the World, Gender

An introduction to Swedish feminist foreign policy

Swedish foreign policy has long been engaged in issues relating to gender. This was cemented in 2014 by the launch of its Feminist Foreign Policy which has been heralded as ground-breaking and the most comprehensive of its kind. It allows for a systematic mainstreaming of gender throughout the whole Foreign Ministry and in all aspects of foreign…

2019.12.19 | Video, Lill Tove Fredriksen, Literature, Minorities

Interview: "we won't be silenced" - Sámi language and literature

In this short video, Lill Tove Fredriksen, Associate Professor in Sámi Literature at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, discusses the Sámi language pre-, during and after Norwegianisation, taking four generations of her family’s women as a starting point.

2019.12.17 | Video, Nicola Witcombe, Branding, Culture, Region-building

Film: Why talk about the Nordics as a region?

Are the Nordic countries really that similar to one another? - Or different from the rest of the world? Is discussion of 'the Nordics' simply a branding exercise, or can it be a useful analytical lens? Join Nicola Witcombe, the editor of nordics.info, in a brief exploration of the some of the ways people talk about the Nordics. This is the first…

In the 1960s, commentators suggested the behavior of Scandinavian mothers, such as dominating child-rearing and going out to work, influenced their offspring's mental health and led to higher suicide rates. Photo: Les Anderson, Unsplash.

2019.11.28 | Outlook, Byron Zachary Rom-Jensen, Reputation, Culture, Research

‘Socialist’ suicide in Scandinavia: a historical view of a common myth

High rates of suicide are often connected with the Nordic countries and their apparently ‘socialist’ policies. Highlighting high suicide rates in Scandinavia can be traced back to at least the 1960s when foreign observers attempted to either undermine or legitimize the welfare states in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. These characterizations forced…

Swedish ballet dancer Johan Renvall in rehearsal at The Royal Swedish Opera, c. 1985. Photo: Enar Merkel Rydberg (CC BY-SA 4.0)

2019.11.27 | Article, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in the Nordics

Classical ballet in the Nordic countries has its roots in Nordic folk dance and has been influenced by the Italian, French and Russian traditions, the latter assisted by Finland’s and Sweden’s proximity to the cultural hub of St Petersburg. Nordic ballet has conversely inspired ballet in Europe and America. As elsewhere, classical ballet and…

The novel Blodförmörkelse (1951) was inspired by Rut Hillarps love affair with the Rumanian poet Mihail Gandhi Livada. Photo: Saskia Vogel, http://www.musicandliterature.org/.

2019.11.27 | Biography, Anne Heith, Literature

Rut Hillarp (1914–2003)

The work of the Swedish poet and novelist Rut Hillarp is best known for its honest portrayal of female sexuality and desire.

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.

Karl Vennberg in 1960, Photo: Unkown, Albert Bonniers förlag. Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

2019.11.20 | Biography, Anne Heith, Literature

Karl Vennberg (1910–1995)

The Swedish poet Karl Vennberg, who was awarded the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 1972, published collections that contained various messages, including criticism towards Western culture and romanticism, and the lauding of everyday life as central.

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…

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