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. 


Henning Larsen, concert and congress hall (2011), Uppsala.  The split cubic form with a sculptural reflective metallic and glass façade is referred to locally as the 'Crystal'. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.04.24 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Sweden

21st century cultural and civic buildings in Sweden offer both place-based and neo-modernist styles.

The education centre 'Glasir' is located on the undulating fjords of the Faroe Islands, with views to the capital Tórshavn, the sea and verdant fells. Photo: Rasmus Hjortshøj. Courtesy of: BIG

2019.04.10 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Greenland and the Faroe Islands

Many civic works in Greenland and the Faroe Islands draw upon the respective countries' dramatic, rugged landscapes and sometimes harsh climate for inspiration.

The interior of Jørn Utzon’s Bagsværd church (1976), Copenhagen. The curving white flowing ceiling captures Utzon’s intention of creating a cloud-like sky within the space. Photo: seier+seier (CC BY 2.0)

2019.04.10 | Article, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Nordic architecture: a continuing modernism, post-war to 2000

Since the Second World War, Nordic architecture has been informed by a dialogue between modernity and tradition and a sustained respect for local environmental and social conditions. This has provided a creative and expressive foundation for architecture throughout the second half of the twentieth century which has proven to be contextually…

Finnish writer Paavo Haavikko portrayed in 1960. Photographer unknown. Source: Universitat de València (Public domain)

2019.04.08 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008)

The versatile Finnish author Paavo Haavikko is highly regarded for his modernist poetry and his work in many other genres.

The work of Finnish-Swedish writer Monica Fagerholm, seen here at the Gothenburg book fair in 2009, penetratingly questions key aspects of society. Photo: Rotsee (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.04.08 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, Literature

Monika Fagerholm (b. 1961)

Works such as 'Wonderful Women by the Water' established Finnish Monica Fagerholm as a feminist writer.

Lars Von Trier promoting 'Melancholia', one of the films in his 'Depression Trilogy' which each portrayed  mental conditions in abnormal situations, at the Cannes film festival, 2011. Photo: Georges Biard (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.04.01 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Lars von Trier (b. 1956)

Danish director Lars von Trier is world-famous for his renewal of film media. Through his work on the ‘Golden hearts trilogy', the ‘Depression triology' and ‘Dogme 95’, he has challenged film genres and narrative conventions. His work with video and digital pre- and post-production and various transmedia forms always carries his signature as an…

Erik Blomberg, one of the few internationally famous Finnish film directors of the twentieth century, ca. 1960. Source: Kari Uusitalo, picture gallery of Finnish film makers (Public domain).

2019.03.31 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, The arts

Erik Blomberg (1913-1996)

Finnish cinematographer and film director Erik Blomberg is best known for 'The White Reindeer' (1952).

Finnish theater director Vivica Bandler pictured in Huvilakatu, Helsinki, Finland, July 1997. Photo: MM (CC BY-SA 4.0).

2019.03.31 | Biography, Joachim Mickwitz, Pietari Kaapa, The arts

Vivica Bandler (1917-2004)

Finnish theatre director Vivica Bandler’s work reflects her innovative and candid directorial style.

3XN, AC Hotel Bella Sky (2011), Ørestad in Copenhagen, Denmark. A powerful expressive work with two inclined and faceted towers connected by a sky bridge. Photo: Krysta Mae Dimick

2019.03.27 | The Quick Read, William C Miller, Architecture & design

Prominent 21st century architecture in Denmark

Booming Danish 21st century architecture includes harbour swimming pools, housing, civic buildings and event houses, with neo-modernist design playing a significant role.

Opel bus from the 1984 children's show Ude på noget (Up to something), directed by Anette Tony Hansen and Ulla Rabel, from a script by Søren-Kragh Jacobsen and Niels Lund. Photo: Christian Giersing [CC BY-SA 4.0]

2019.03.23 | Biography, Bodil Marie Stavning Thomsen, The arts

Søren Kragh-Jacobsen (b. 1947)

Danish director Søren Kragh-Jacobsen’s films often take children’s point of view in depictions of authentic, historical drama. He has contributed to many successful Danish TV series.

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