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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Sweden Basics
by Bob Brooke

Sweden is one of Scandinavia’s most affluent countries. There are plenty of smart properties, large cars, big and numerous motor cruisers, the proliferation of sleek trailers, big–sometimes huge–and well-stocked supermarkets, and in the considerable automation of many of its services.

Sweden's vital statistics alone are enough to fire the imagination of enthusiasts of wide open spaces. About 1,000 miles long by 240 miles wide, with 4,000 miles of coastline, 150,000 islands and 96,000 lakes, Sweden has a population of about 8 million. The impact of its landscapes falls somewhere between the hugeness of Finland's horizons and the ruggedness of Norway's heights, yet it has more streamlined and sophisticated amenities than either of its neighbors.

The country’s fluctuating fortunes have left their stamp on the countryside which vies with Denmark especially in the number of churches, castles and manor houses that punctuate the fertile southern farmlands. These southlands are in great contrast to the fells and forests, wild river valleys and immense lakescapes elsewhere. Like their neighbors, the Swedes escape into the countryside at every opportunity, and they’re well equipped to make the most of it, whatever their taste in outdoor activities. Hotel voucher schemes, well-equipped self-catering accommodation, excellent campsites and transport bargains simplify holiday life at all budget levels.

Perhaps due to a sense of loss felt in the shift away from the simple priorities and culture bred by the wilderness, there’s now a considerable movement to reaffirm traditions and to encourage or revive ancient crafts. Thus, folk culture is still strong in many regions and enterprises devoted to hemslojd or cottage industry proliferate' and range from regional organizations dedicated to maintaining high standards and researching forgotten skills to small workshops in the countryside, often set up by fugitives from city life. 







< Back to Sweden                                                                    Go to Swedish Burials >

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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To read more articles by Bob Brooke, visit his Web site.

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