Nordic education, culture and media:

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. 


National symbols vary widely and are often contested. Some of them - such as the social concept of Danish 'hygge' often symbolised by a candle - have been marketed successfully abroad in recent years.

2019.07.09 | The Quick Read, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Culture

National symbols in the Nordic countries

National symbols share an ability to fuse diverse people in a shared feeling of identity. They are as diverse as flags to food, scenery to famous people, and they vary depending on whether they are viewed from inside or outside the Nordics or a specific country. A pressing question today is which national symbols are appropriate for globalised,…

Dutch-Swedish songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk portrayed 13 November 1973. Photo: Punt Anefo, Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, (CC0 1.0)

2019.07.08 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Cornelis Vreeswijk (1937-1987)

Cornelis Vreeswijk was a Dutch-Swedish songwriter, singer, poet and actor known for his influential role in modernizing the Swedish ballad and introducing it to a wider audience through merging tradition with more diverse musical styles.

Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf, 1967. Photo: Pressens Bild (Public domain)

2019.07.01 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, Literature

Bengt Gunnar Ekelöf (1907-1968)

Gunnar Ekelöf was considered one of Sweden’s leading and most important twentieth-century poets who produced deeply intellectual and challenging works that weave in many different languages and cultural influences. A lifelong outsider, he is known for introducing surrealism and modernism to Swedish poetry, and for his late-career Byzantine…

Swedish tenor Nicolai Gedda, portrait from 1959. Photo:  Per Angré (Public domain)

2019.06.28 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Nicolai Gedda (1925-2017)

Nicolai Gedda (given name Harry Gustaf Nikolai Gädda) was a Swedish tenor born in Stockholm who performed mainly in operas and is one of the most widely recorded opera singers. He was known for his versatility and an amazingly high register.

1952 performance of the ballet 'Pessi ja Illusia' by the Ballet Company of the Finnish National Opera. The male role of Pessi is performed by Heikki Värtsi and the ballerina in the role of Illusia is Doris Laine. Photographer unknown (Public domain)

2019.06.27 | The Quick Read, Petra Broomans, The arts

Ballet in Finland

The National Ballet was founded in 1921, later than those in Denmark, Norway and Sweden due to Finland only becoming independent in 1917. Its geographical location meant that ballet took on a geopolitical dimension during the Cold War.

Swedish ballad singer and composer Evert Taube, 1953. Photo: K. W. Gullers (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Evert Axel Taube (1890-1976)

Evert Taube, Swedish ballad singer, composer, author and artist, made his greatest impact as a ballad composer and balladeer, enriching his work with painterly skill depicting Swedish nature, particularly Stockholm’s archipelago.

Swedish comedian Povel Ramel in character, 1955. Photo: Jan Dahlander/Sydsvenskan/IBL (Public domain)

2019.06.26 | Biography, Jenny Rood, Juliette Victor, The arts

Povel Ramel (1922-2007)

Povel Karl Henric Ramel was a Swedish singer, pianist, revue creator, author, composer, and comedian famous for his playful style, intelligent lyrics, imitations and parodies, and legendary musical revues. His work was deeply influential for Swedish comedy and entertainment.

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.

"the greatest enemy of children’s culture is that which is authoritarian and uninspiring" (from principles put together in 1969 at a symposium hosted by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1969). Photo: Unsplash.

2019.06.03 | Article, Helle Strandgaard Jensen, Culture, Media, Research

How to raise your parents: Scandinavian children’s television in 1970s

Children’s departments in Scandinavian broadcasting corporations (in Denmark, Norway and Sweden) were clearly influenced by the call for equality and the influence of principles arising from the 1968 movement. Producers of children’s programmes worked extensively to democratise children’s television by, for example, taking children’s wishes and…

Niels Simonsen's 'Tilbagetoget fra Dannevirke' [The Retreat from Dannevirke], 1864.

2019.05.01 | The Quick Read, Rasmus Glenthøj, Culture, Nation building

The meaning of the Second Schleswig War ('1864') in Denmark

Denmark lost a third of its territory and 40% of its population in the Second Schleswig War in 1864 to Prussia and Austria. Seen as both a national trauma and the creation of modern-day Denmark, narratives regarding the war that were created at the time - and since - continue to resonate, exemplified by recent debates over its portrayal in TV…

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