The main focus of Nú Ninja is on producing and showcasing Scandinavian contemporary art as well as selling ultra-Scandi products in Barcelona. For that reason I thought it would be a good start for this blog to talk about what Scandinavia is exactly, what countries are included when we use that term and their cultural commonalities and history.
Scandinavian countries are also known as Nordic countries and are situated in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. Even though the mainland of Sweden, the mainland of Norway and the north-western area of Finland are the only areas that technically are on the Scandinavian peninsula. As time goes by, all the Nordic countries are commonly called Scandinavian countries. That includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland (which is technically in America), the Åland Islands and the Faroe Islands. Every country has its own language and some even have strong dialects within. The total population of all those countries combined is about 27 million people, which is not much compared to the 45 million that live in Spain alone. But we have a much bigger elbow room as the landmass of these countries combined is 6 times the spanish. Well, to be fair a large portion of that landmass is reserved for glaciers, high mountains and other very inhabitable places.
What do Scandinavian countries have in common?
Well…we share history, values and social structure. It began with the Vikings of course. Which lived spread across Scandinavia and shared the passion for head chopping, raiding, trading, ale drinking and worshiping maltempred gods. Mind you, they were not the only indigenous people around. The Sami people lived in Finland and the northern parts of Sweden and Norway and the Inuits in Greenland. Even though the Vikings were well traveled we didn’t really get many visitors in return. Throughout history the geographic area of Scandinavia has not been of much interest to invaders (maybe we should be offended…) As a result of isolation, the Nordic lifestyle did evolve without much interruption, which strengthened a kind of a neighbourly fellowship amongst the Scandinavian countries.
In more recent times, the Nordic region differs from the rest of Europe in its high level of taxation for the purpose of funding a social safety net. In the years after the Second World War the Nordic welfare model was further expanded to include a modern health service and education system. According to the World happiness report 2020 the Nordic welfare model provides its people with such peace of mind that it is the main enabler of their happiness. Year after year the Nordic countries occupy the top of the list of the happiest people in the world.
The cultural bridges that existed between the Nordic countries laid the foundation for the Nordic Council in 1952, a forum to strengthen cooperation between the Nordic countries and to join forces abroad. Art and culture is among the issues of the Nordic Council and there are various foundations and councils focused on the arts.
Although one can always improve, historically Scandinavian politics have worked in the favour of the arts and design and understood the importance of it. Access to public creative studies has been the building block of further development of the creative sector, which has grown into a powerful industry. As a result, it’s a huge part of Scandinavia’s economy. Win win for all.
This has been a very short summary of Scandinavia and only gives a general idea. I am sure you already know a lot. Since you are on this site I assume that you are interested in this part of the world, or at least curious. Nú Ninja’s mission is to give a glimpse into Nordic culture in everything we do. So, that will be the theme of every blog post published on this site, in one shape or another. We will cover all sorts of topics, specifics or broad. From traditions and mythology to modern culture and art.
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