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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Scandinavia's Greatest
Archaeological Treasure

by Bob Brooke

A Viking longship.Covered for a millennium by a ton of stone and turf, the Oseberg ship is one of Scandinavia's greatest archaeological treasures. The ship, excavated at the Oseberg farm near Oslo, Norway, in 1904, had been a royal burial place. The items found found within it have made it a valuable source of information about the arts, crafts and culture of the early Viking Age.

Historians believe the Oseberg ship may have been the tomb of Queen Asa, who Gudrod the Magnificent, a Norwegian ruler, had abducted and forced to marry him. According to legend, she hated Gudrod and had him murdered as he lay in a drunken stupor. She assumed his throne until her death in about 850, when her subjects placed her body in a ship brought ashore from Oslo fjord.

The Oseberg ship was clearly the burial place of an important personage. Archaeologists found two female skeletons, one of them possibly a maid servant who had been sacrificed as part of the funeral ritual. Personal possessions–beds, looms, and kitchen utensils–which might comfort or serve a queen in the afterlife, surrounded the remains. Should her ghost wish to travel, the burial ship had sailing gear, including a mast and a full set of 30 oars, as well as four sleighs and an ornately decorated cart.

Decorations on the wooden cart found in the ship suggest that the vehicle, some five meters long, belonged to a wealthy or royal Viking rather than a humble farmer. Carvings on the front depict a man fighting with snakes, possibly a scene from the life of Gunnar, a hero of Norse mythology.

Fully restored, the Oseberg burial ship stands in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway. Made of oak planking held together with iron rivets, the ship is 21.5 meters long, with an elaborately covered prow and a stern soaring 5 meters above the deck.






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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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