Scandinavia--Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland--is blessed with five distinct, yet related, cultures.

Learn about the stories behind the legends, about the countries, and most of all about the people.


"We sailed our ships to any shore that offered the best hope of booty; we feared no fellow on earth..."
Saga of Arrow-Odd

What is Gjetost?
A town in Sweden.
Brown goat cheese.
The word for "hello" in

Roasted fish.
The word for ghost in

Correct answer?
OSLO - Norway

Clustered around the head of the 68-mile-long Oslofjord, Oslo is probably the most spacious city in the world. Its 175-square-mile metropolitan area consists of over 75 percent forests and five percent water. Its fine deep harbor, Pipervika, stretches into the heart of the city and from it leave ferries to Denmark and Germany.

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Feature: Stavanger
Featured City: Oslo
Food: The Great NordicDiet
          Swedish Semla
          Norwegian Cuisine
          Canned Sardines
History: The Round Tower
Arts:   Vigeland Park, Oslo
          Georg Jensen
People: Henrik Ibsen    
News: Happiest Countries          

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Four Scandinavian Countries Named
to Top 10 Happiest Countries List

by Bob Brooke

Recently, four Scandinavian countries–Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden—have been named to the list of the Top Ten Happiest Countries by the Legatum Institute, an independent, non-partisan organization that researches and advocates for an understanding of global prosperity, offering the world’s only global assessment of economic wealth and well being in its 2010 Prosperity Index, which ranks 110 countries.

The company ranked each country on 89 variables sorted into eight categories—economy, education, entrepreneurship, governance, health, personal freedom, safety, and social capital. To be prosperous and happy, and thus achieve a higher ranking, a country needs to achieve high marks in all of these areas.

What's the most prosperous country in the world? Norway. What does it have that the rest of the world doesn't? The world’s highest per capita GDP of $53,000 a year. The Norwegians also have the second-highest level of satisfaction with their standard of living, and most say they’re satisfied with the freedom to choose the direction of their lives. Joining Norway in the top 10 prosperous countries are Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

What do these prosperous four Scandinavian countries have in common? All have generous welfare benefits and lots of redistribution of wealth. Their governments take care of their citizens, who all have abundant civil liberties. And there are few restrictions on the flow of capital or of labor.

Denmark, for instance, has generous unemployment benefits, enabling workers to find just the right job and business owners the opportunity to keep just the right number of workers. All four Scandinavian nations foster entrepreneurship, especially Sweden, which encourages its citizens to strive for business success. This gives each country’s citizens the perception that working hard pays off.

Generally, this sense of well being contributes to high standards of living and a happy, satisfied feeling about life. It’s no wonder that Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden have been chosen as such happy places to live.



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Every year about 95 000 people die in Sweden and, according to the law, everyone must be buried. There must be room for everyone in the cemeteries, therefore the future needs of space have to be predicted. Because of this funerals must be part of the planning process.

Read more about Swedish burials

News from Norway
from Aftenposten
News from Denmark
News from Sweden
from the SR International 
News from Finland
from Finnish News Agency STT
News from Iceland
from The Iceland Review
All news is in English


In the early Middle Ages, driven by famine at home and the promise of wealth to be had in other lands, the Vikings set out from Scandinavia to conquer parts of England, Ireland, France, Russia, and even Turkey. Bolstered by their successes, the Vikings pushed westward, eventually crossing the North Atlantic and founding settlements in Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland in Canada.
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