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. 


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…

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.

Kurt Wold, “cubist” stone sculpture (1997), Mefjellet.  Wold’s sculpture frames the view of the Fanaråken glacier and Smørstabb pinnacles.  It was included in the first site to be developed by the NTR. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.22 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Fusion of art and nature along Norway’s scenic routes

A national initiative developed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) from the 1990s onwards creates numerous artistic, architectural, and landscape design experiences located along scenic travel routes in Norway’s striking and dramatic natural settings. Intended to increase access and bolster businesses in the rural countryside, the…

Italian architect Renzo Piano's Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art (2012), Oslo. Located on the waterfront, the museum occupies a significant presence in the Oslo cityscape. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.22 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Norway

An affluent country, Norway boasts remarkable productivity in architecture and infrastructure in recent decades, often drawing on neo-modernism, as well as a profound appreciation of the country's natural landscapes.

Poster from Kvindefestival, held in Fælledparken, Copenhagen in 1980 which had the motto ‘The struggle against women’s oppression is international’. Photo: Courtesy of the Kvindehuset library, Copenhagen.

2019.05.21 | Article, Hannah Yoken, Gender, Reputation, Research

Transnational interaction among feminist activists in the Nordic Countries, 1970s-2000

The Nordic countries are globally renowned as states that embrace gender equality. However, the region also has a rich history of feminist activism at the grassroots level. This history includes activism undertaken during ‘second wave’ feminism, from the late 1960s to the 1990s. During this period of time the women’s movements benefitted from…

Kai Wartiainen, Ruoholahti High Tech centre (2001), Helsinki. The series of crane-like structures on the west harbour houses both IT companies and educational facilities. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.05.08 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Finland

Recent Finnish architecture of note includes civic, cultural and religious works, ranging in style from neo-modernism to the more culturally referenced.

The Finnish writer Pentti Saarikoski in 1967. Photo: Helsinki City Museum (CC BY 4.0)

2019.04.29 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Pentti Saarikoski (1937–1983)

The modernist Finnish writer Pentti Saarikoski became famous for his revolutionary sensibilities and anti-authoritarian Christian faith.

The noted socialist theatre director Kalle Holmberg is seen here directing Friedrich Schiller's 'Rosvot' (The Robbers) at the Helsinki City Theater, a play that strongly criticises class disparity and the economic inequities of German society. Actor Olavi Ahonen is in front. Photo: Helsinki City Museum (CC BY 4.0).

2019.04.29 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, The arts

Kalle Holmberg (1939-2016)

One of Finland’s leading theatre directors, Kalle Holmberg became known for his politically conscious productions.

Logo of the Danish Cultural Institute.

2019.04.25 | The Quick Read, Inken Dose, Culture, The arts

Danish Cultural Institute

Founded in 1940, the Danish Cultural Institute aims to foster intercultural understanding both at home and abroad, and has branches in seven countries with activities and networks in many more. Financed by the Danish Ministry of Culture, private funds and its own revenue, it focuses on diverse themes.

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