While doing some much needed research for my upcoming voyage, I discovered some interesting facts about Scandinavia and the Nordic region- they are different entities! I’ll admit I was a little confused as I’m sure most people would be, on what the difference between Scandinavia and Nordic countries are?
Scandinavia is comprised of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Norway and Sweden are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, and Denmark is just south, located on the Danish islands and Jutland. The Scandinavian languages are pretty similar, just different dialects of Old Norse, a Germanic language spoken by Scandinavians during the time of the Vikings. Norwegian however, is closest to Danish but with little effort they are able to understand each other.
The Nordic countries however, are part of an official Nordic council, which include the three Scandinavian countries plus Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Aland Island. Even though Finland is located quite close to the Scandinavian countries, it is not actually considered a Scandinavian country! While the Fins do share many traits, their language, heritage and most of their culture differs immensely from its neighbouring countries. All the Nordic countries speak a language derived from Old Norse, except the Finnish. Iceland speaks a dialect so close to the original, that they are still able to read old texts. The Icelandic people along with the Faroese are able to read each other’s texts but only partially understand the spoken language. How crazy is that!
Interesting fact: Nordic countries continue to make it to the top 10 list of places to live in the world! (And as an extra little shout out, Canada ranks #7, woo hoo!!) Nordic countries are best known for their social welfare systems, high education and literacy rankings, low crime rates and overall excellent quality of life.
I can’t wait to explore and try to see first hand the difference between Scandinavian and Nordic countries. In the meantime, as I prepare for my trip below are a fun quiz and that Top 10 List.
I would love to hear what your results are and what your thoughts on that Top 10 list are!!