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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by Bob Brooke

Miina Sillanpaa became the first woman appointed to a national post.Finnish women were the first in the world to receive both the right to vote and to have the chance to run for parliamentary office.

Miina Sillanpaa, a former maid and factory worker, became the first woman to be appointed to a national postóthe Minister of Social Affairsóin 1926, not long after women in America won the right to vote.

Equality of opportunity is key to the history of women's achievements in Finland, in politics as in commerce. In 1906, the year of women's suffrage, Finland was still one of Europe's most agrarian countries. Ironically, the simplicity of this traditional lifestyle made it easier for Sillanpaa to attain her position in the government than in more advanced industrialized countries of the time. Perhaps it was because on the farm, men and women shared the labor equally.

In fact, Finland wasnít fertile ground for the concept of the non-working woman. The wealthy population was small and couldn't sustain many females who didnít work. In the first years of this century, three quarters of the women who worked, worked the land. Then women joined the work force as forestry, textile and tobacco factories came into being. By 1910, they accounted for almost one third of those in industry and handicrafts.

Finnish women who donít work are rare today. By 1980, of those who were married, 70 percent worked outside the home. Women hold full time employment and donít generally leave jobs to have children. Nationally mandated maternity and daycare benefits enable women to have job security and contribute as equal partners in society. In Finland, everyone is entitled to nine months paid parental leave which may be shared as maternity and paternity leave. Working parents can also take advantage of municipal daycare for their pre-school children. While creating the social and political conditions for combining motherhood and employment hasnít completely eliminated discrimination from working life, it has made support for women's rights and family values tangible realities in contemporary Finland.








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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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