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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Iceland's Hearty Fare
by Bob Brooke

Icelanders eat a lot of fish and lamb. Fishermen catch fresh haddock, cod, plaice, halibut, herring, and shrimp all year round while sheep roam the grass-covered hillsides. In addition, many farmers raise chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Traditionally, an Icelander’s diet consisted of variations of the two previous staples, plus potatoes, canned or frozen vegetables, but over the years has expanded to include many other Scandinavian and European dishes.

Today, Icelandic owes much to traditional Scandinavian and European cuisines. One of the delicacies of Icelanic cuisine is salmon, served in many forms, one of the most popular being gravlax, a form of marination. Besides many varieties of fish, Icelanders eat potatoes and vegetables grown in greenhouses heated by the natural steam from geysers. Specialities include hangikjot (smoked lamb eaten in sandwiches), skyr (a delicious high-protein yogurt-like substance), and hardfiskur (protein-filled dried fish strips).

But Icelandic food isn’t all protein filled. Icelanders also like their sweets---chocolate and licorice or the popular combination of both, as well as opal candies and snudur, frosted pastries. During the holiday season, they also enjoy jolaol (orange soda mixed with malt) and some laufabraud, homemade fried flat bread.

Iceland offers wide varieties of traditional cuisine. Žorramatur, meaning food of the žorri, is the Icelandic national food. Today, Icelanders eat žorramatur mostly during the ancient Nordic month of žorri, in January and February, as a tribute to old culture. Žorramatur consists of many different types of food, such as rotten shark, sour ram's testicles, blood pudding, burned sheep heads, sheep's head jam, dried cod or haddock with butter and many other courses considered delicious among many Icelanders.





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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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