Nordic cooperation and region building

This page provides articles about the formal bodies of the Nordic region, such as the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the many interesting and diverse informal and unofficial networks that are perhaps less easy to identify. While acknowledging the similarities and a common history that binds the region together, it is not intended that internal variation and complexity be overlooked. New articles are added regularly.


Gro Harlem Brundtland in April of 2009. Photo: GAD (CC BY-SA 3.0).

2019.03.13 | Biography, Ann Legreid, Governance

Gro Harlem Brundtland (b. 1939)

Gro Harlem Brundtland is an internationally recognised Norwegian politician and environmentalist known for her advocacy of sustainability, public health and human rights. Among a number of public offices, she served as Prime Minister of Norway for ten years.

Longyearbyen, March 2018. Photo: Dina Brode-Roger.

2019.03.04 | The Quick Read, Dina Brode-Roger, Literature, Region-building

The Arctic Imaginary

Few have been there and yet everyone has some image of what the Arctic is. For most people, it conjures up images of an extreme environment, white and cold. Or more recently, one of giant ice floes melting away as the impacts of climate change are felt twice as fast near the poles as anywhere else. Although these images may be grounded in some…

The Finnish Act on Freedom of the Press from 1766, which included the Principle of Publicity. Photo: © Tryckfrihetsförordningen1766 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

2019.02.27 | Article, Ainur Elmgren, Governance, Democracy

Open government in the Nordics

Open government is intended to ensure transparency, accountability and openness and involves fundamental issues such as press freedom, public disclosure and freedom of information legislation, all key aspects of the administration of Nordic states. These states were amongst the earliest to introduce lauded measures of open government, such as the…

Nordic Council headquarters in Copenhagen. Photo: Yadid Levy/Norden.org (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

2019.02.25 | Article, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, Cooperation, Region-building

Nordic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers

Organisations exist to facilitate the discussion and coordination of policies in areas of joint interest to the Nordic countries. The Nordic Council fosters co-operation among parliamentarians from member nations and the Nordic Council of Ministers promotes cooperation among government officials. Without power to make laws, these bodies are…

Historic government district of Tinganes in Tórshavn.

2019.02.25 | Article, Peter Thaler, Governance

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands (Føroyar) consist of 18 main islands situated halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the North Atlantic. Their combined landmass of 1399 square kilometres is as of 2018 populated by approximately 50,000 inhabitants, of whom more than one-third live in the capital of Tórshavn. While part of the realm of Denmark, the Faroe Islands…

The most common definition of the Nordic region: Greenland, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Ssolbergjderivative work: Citypeek [CC BY-SA 3.0]

2019.02.25 | Article, Mary Hilson, Region-building

The Nordic region

The Nordic region, or Norden, may be defined as consisting of the five sovereign states Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, plus the three autonomous territories connected to these states: the Faroe Islands and Greenland (Denmark) and Åland (Finland). These states are widely considered to form a distinctive region by virtue of their…

Even though the Nordic countries have high levels of gender equality, the caring professions, such as working in daycare or with the elderly, are dominated by female workers.

2019.02.22 | Article, Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, Gender, Labour markets

Gender segregation in the Nordic labour market

Since the 1960s the Nordic countries have been renowned for their high level of gender equality as they have amongst the world’s highest employment and education rates for women. At the same time the Nordic countries also have greater horizontal segregation by sex than the rest of the EU, that is, most women work in different occupations than most…

The Løgting or Faroese parliament is considered the oldest parliment in the world. It is mentioned in the saga ‘Færeyingasaga’ written in Iceland in around the year 1200, but historians estimate that the origin of the Faroese Løgting can be traced as far back as shortly after the first Norse settlement (landnam) of the Faroes in the year 800. The building is from 1856.

2019.02.21 | The Quick Read, Norbert Götz, Governance, Democracy

Parliamentary culture in the Nordic countries

The Nordic countries have a particular parliamentary culture characterised by consensus and working across party lines. Their parliaments remain influential institutions considering the general trend towards greater executive power. The principles of parliamentary government and universal suffrage were introduced comparatively early in Norden. The…

Arctic Council's graphic representation of its constituent parts (CC BY-ND 2.0).

2019.02.19 | Article, Ann Legreid, Cooperation, The Nordics in the World

Arctic Council

The Arctic Council was established in 1996 by the Ottawa Declaration with the intent of fostering “cooperation, coordination, and interaction between the Arctic states.” Member parties work together towards the sustainable development of the Arctic region. Member states, Permanent Participants and others, including observers, meet formally in…

National trade union confederations have played an important role in Nordic society and politics throughout the twentieth century. Today, their role is increasingly challenged.

2019.02.19 | Article, David Redvaldsen, Labour markets

Labour movement in the Nordic countries

The 'labour movement' refers to the network of political, industrial, voluntary, educational and recreational organisations with a socialist or labour ethos. From the late nineteenth century, its aim was to improve living and working conditions for blue-collar workers and their families, and was organised around national trade union…

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