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. 


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…

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…

Varying histories and democratic traditions are perhaps some of the reasons why Denmark, Finland and Norway have reacted differently to covid-19 - and why Sweden has had a completely distinctive approach. (Note that this map only shows the Nordic countries referred to in the article.) Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.04.06 | Outlook, Johan Strang, Public policy, Nation building

Why do the Nordic countries react differently to the covid-19 crisis?

Given the striking similarity of the Nordic societies, it is interesting to note how differently some of them have reacted to the current covid-19 crisis. For example, Denmark and Norway were quick to implement a work and school lockdown and close their borders. In contrast, Sweden has raised international interest with a comparatively lax…

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…

Non-standard employment such as part‐time or temporary work and low‐skilled service jobs have grown over the last couple of decades, and, they have become more uncertain, unpredictable and risky in terms of job and income security in recent decades. Photo:colourbox.dk.

2020.03.19 | Article, Young-Kyu Shin, Petri Böckerman, Research, Public policy, The Nordic Model

Trade union-administered unemployment benefit and precarious workers in Finland

The Nordic countries have some of the highest trade union rates of membership in the world. This has by some been attributed to unemployment insurance being largely administered by trade unions. Since around 1910, unemployment insurance in the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland and Sweden has been based on a voluntary system (‘Ghent’), rather than…

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…

Were correspondence courses in Tanzania in 1960s and 1970s essentially 'Swedish' or 'African' or a mixture of both? Photo: colourbox.dk.

2020.03.02 | Article, Nikolas Glover, The Nordics in the World, Education, Research

Nordic adult educators encounter Tanzanian development in the 1960s and 1970s

In 1962 Sweden was said to be the country with the most extensive correspondence education enrolment per capita in the world. This was explained with reference to its sparse and widespread population with a high level of literacy, an efficient publishing industry and reliable postal services. None of these conditions existed in Tanganyika (renamed…

Jarl Kulle getting ready for the stage, 1960. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

2020.03.01 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Jarl Kulle 1927-1997

The Swedish actor Jarl Kulle was a distinguished and popular actor working in a wide range of genres from children’s film to the cinema of Ingmar Bergman. He was born in Rebbelberga, Skåne, in 1927.

The painting Hip Hip Hurrah by Peder Severin Krøyer was the inspiration for Kjell Grede's film of the same name. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

2020.02.21 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Kjell Grede 1936 -­ 2017

The Swedish film director Kjell Grede made a significant contribution to film and television from 1967 to 1990s, heading the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm for nearly a decade.

Colin Nutley at Svenska filmhösten, 2014. Photo: Frankie Fouganthin. Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-4.0.

2020.02.21 | Biography, Lars Gustaf Andersson, The arts

Colin Nutley b. 1944

The filmmaker Colin Nutley has made a great impact on Swedish film culture with a series of popular films. He was born in 1944 in Gosport, England, but has been working mainly in Sweden since the early 1980s.

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