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. 


Drawing of a girl walking on the tip of her toes by artist Adolf von Becker. Photo: finna.fi

2020.11.16 | Original sources, Sally Salminen, Paul Larkin, The arts, Literature

Is Daddy coming home for Christmas? By Sally Salminen

Introduction: In 1944, 'Juleroser' ('Christmas Roses') magazine published  the renowned Finland-Swedish novelist Sally Salminen's short story 'Kommer far hjem til jul?' (’Is Daddy coming home for Christmas?’). Salminen had shot to fame after winning a Finnish-Swedish literary prize in 1936 for her novel Katrina. Her celebrity status…

Biden needed to distance himself from Bernie Sanders's references to Scandinavian democratic socialism. Photo: Markus Spiske on unsplash.

2020.11.09 | Outlook, Byron Zachary Rom-Jensen, Carl Marklund, Reputation

Vanishing Scandinavian "socialism" in the 2020 US election

Scandinavian “socialism” has been oddly absent from the final stages of the recent US election. It is possible to trace the arguments for and against ‘Scandinavian’ policies of different kinds in the American left and right from the 2016 election campaign until recently. However, the “socialism” that both the American right and left previously…

Christian II, king of Denmark and Norway 1513-1523 and Sweden 1520-1521. Painting by Michel Sittow, 1514-1515. Public Domain (CCO 1.0)

2020.11.03 | The Quick Read, Martin Alm, Nation building, Reputation

Christian II's legacy in Sweden and Denmark

Christian II (1481-1559) ruled Denmark and Norway from 1513 to 1523 as well as Sweden for some of that time, from 1520 to 1521. In Sweden he has been remembered as the instigator of a bloody massacre, whereas in Denmark he has been lauded as a supporter of the poor against the aristocracy.

Even companies that are dependent on fossil fuels are beginning to consider alternative ways of working. While national and international regulation helps, some are doing it voluntarily. Photo: Windmills, Lapland, Sweden. NN-norden.org, Johannes Jansson. CC BY-SA 4.0.

2020.06.23 | Article, Cornelia Fast, Julia Grimm, Naghmeh Nasiritousi, Business, Research

Addressing climate change the Nordic way: Motives of Swedish companies for taking action

It is Sweden’s goal to become one of the world’s first fossil fuel free welfare states, and many Swedish companies are voluntarily working to reduce their climate impact. The reasons for this are manifold; they primarily involve risk management, a sense of responsibility, management of reputation, and addressing the demands of various…

Car manufacturing in a Valmet Automotive body shop in Finland. Photo: Media, Valmet Automotive.

2020.06.11 | Article, Zhen Im, Business, Public policy, Research

Nordic workers vulnerable due to automation: an introduction

Widespread economic transformations, such as increasing automation, tend to negatively affect some groups more than others in the Nordic countries, as elsewhere. Workers who risk losing their jobs to machines or other means are a societal concern; it is, after all, not their fault that society is changing. Importantly, not only are these workers…

Will the welfare services of Denmark, Finland, Norway & Sweden weather the economic crisis resulting from covid-19? Photo: distinctive Norwegian coin, Børge Sandnes, colourbox.dk.

2020.05.11 | Outlook, Ilkka Kärrylä, Public policy, Economy

Nordic public debt: the dangers of restricting public spending due to the covid-19 crisis

The prevailing economic doctrine in the Nordics and Europe has it that, the lower the public debt, the more room there is for economic stimulation in downturns, such as the current covid-19 crisis. Denmark, Norway and Sweden with their comparatively low levels of public debt were able to announce relatively large economic crisis packages fairly…

At its completion in 2000, the bridge was advertised by a massive half-marathon, and on 1 July the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustav and the Queen of Denmark Margrethe inaugurated it in a widely-broadcast event that was central to showcasing the tangible success of the transnational cooperation. Photo: The first Broloppet/Broløbet half-marathon where around 80,000 people took part. Courtesy of Øresundsbro Konsortiet.

2020.04.21 | Article, Francesco Zavatti, The Borders of the Nordics, Cooperation, Architecture & design

A short history of the Oresund Bridge

A globally renowned icon, the bridge is in fact part rail/road bridge and part tunnel spanning the Oresund (or ‘The Sound’) between Denmark and Sweden. It was completed in 2000, but it has a rather long and convoluted history. It is a symbol of many and sometimes opposing things: Nordic cooperation in the economy and engineering, as well as the…

Ship and habour workers in Kaskö harbour in the 1920s. Photo: finna.fi, CC BY 4.0.

2020.04.16 | Outlook, Sami M Outinen, Public policy, Economy

The Nordic response to the Great Depression – an economic approach to the Corona crisis?

A look back at how Sweden and Finland dealt with two key crises in the twentieth century may be enlightening during the current Corona crisis. Firstly, the depression in 1930s, which led to Keynesian interventionalism - with some key differences - brought with it a series of steps throughout the following decades in both countries. Secondly, the…

J. R. R. Tolkien drew on Nordic folklore in his work, having a profound impact on how people imagine dwarves, elves and so on, the visual and vocal representations of which have been supplemented by  Hollywood productions. Photo: Perrie Nicholas Smith (Gimli Son of Gloin, CC BY-SA 4.0).

2020.03.24 | Article, Frog, Culture, Reputation

Folklore in the Nordic countries

Folklore is a phenomenon found in all cultures. Falling under the umbrella of what is now called ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by UNESCO, it encompasses everything from Finnish improvisational rap and medieval eddic poetry to internet memes or wearing a crown of candles on St Lucia’s day. Nordic folklore research has played a significant role in…

Stefan Jarl in 2013. Photo: Mikael Ringlander. Wikimedia Commons CC BY, Public Domain.

2020.03.11 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Stefan Jarl (b. 1941)

Stefan Jarl is one of the most important and influential documentarists in contemporary Swedish cinema. Stefan Jarl was born in 1941 in Skara. From a left-wing perspective, he has highlighted social and environmental problems. Jarl has promoted the documentary as an art form, and from 1995 to 2005 he was curator of the ‘Little film festival’ in…

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