Nordic culture, education and media

As well as content on culture, education and media, you will also find articles on art, literature, belief systems and public policy. Phenomena as diverse as Nordic noir, new Nordic cuisine and Nordic design have achieved global recognition more recently, as Nordic literature and architecture have done historically. Culture is taken in its broadest sense, including for example political culture and that of belief systems, such as the Lutheran church. Content about all these issues and more will be found on this page. 


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.

2019.12.18 | Video, Elisabeth Tveito Johnsen, Belief systems, Education

Interview: The border between religion and culture at Christmas time in Scandinavia

Schools and TV programmes are important in shaping children and communities. In the Nordic countries, schools and broadcasters are frequently tasked with presenting cultural heritage to the public – particularly at Christmas time. Is cultural heritage exclusively Lutheran in Denmark and Norway? How do headteachers and broadcasters decide what is…

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…

Portrait of Ulla Isaksson from 1952. Photo: Jan Ehnemark. (CC-BY).

2019.11.08 | Biography, Anne Heith, Literature

Ulla Isaksson (1916-2000)

Much of the work of writer Ulla Isaksson focuses on the lives of women and their relationships, but also includes screenplays and autobiograhpical and biographical literature.

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