The Nordic Countries • Five nations in the northernmost part of Europe make up the Nordic Countries. • The 5 countries are: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. • These lands were first settled thousands of years ago.
The Vikings. • The Nordic countries were influenced by the Vikings, seafaring Scandinavians who raided Europe from the 9th to 11th centuries. • The Vikings were some of the world’s best sailors. • They were also fierce warriors and pirates.
Sweden and Norway. Sweden’s History Norway’s History • In the late 1000s, the Vikings converted to Christianity and settled down. • Sweden then became a monarchy. • Finland became part of Sweden in 1323 until 1809. • Sweden was a great power, often battling other countries for more territory. • Norway was also a monarchy after the Vikings stopped raiding Europe. • Norway was under Sweden’s control in 1814. • In 1905, Sweden recognized Norway’s independence. • During the two world wars, both Sweden and Norway remained neutral/
Cultures: Sweden and Norway • Swedes & Norwegians speak different languages (Swedish and Norwegian), but because of the similarities, they can communicate with each other. • In Sweden, Finns make up the largest immigrant population whereas in Norway, immigrants come from all over. • In both countries, there is a large population of Sami, whose traditional way of life includes herding reindeer. • Most people in both countries live in urban areas.
Government: Sweden and Norway • Sweden and Norway are bois a constitutional monarchies. • The Prime Minister and Cabinet hold most of the power in both places. • Both countries also have an ombudsman, who is a person responsible for investigating complaints against the government. • Both places are welfare states. Welfare states provide a wide range of services to their citizens. • For example, families with kids under 16 receive money to care for them. Retired workers receive good retirement and unemployment plans.
Economy: Sweden and Norway • Sweden has a highly industrialized economy and also has a reputation for very modern design. • Companies such as IKEA and H&M are two companies founded in Sweden. • Norway took longer to develop manufacturing because it did not have enough energy resources to power factories. • By 1900, Norway was able to use hydroelectric power from its rivers. • Norway also has access to the North Sea oil.
Travel Guide: Norway • Travel Guide: Sweden
Finland: History and Culture • In 1155, Finland became part of Sweden. • It remained under Swedish control until 1809, when Russia conquered Finland. • Finally, in 1917, Finland gained independence. • Because of the past, Finland's culture is strongly influenced by Sweden. • Finland’s two official languages are Finnish and Swedish. • About 3 out of 5 people live in urban areas. • Snow is on the ground in Finland for about half of the year.
Finland: Government & Economy • Finland is a democratic republic. • The President and the Prime Minister share power. • Voters elect the President, who then appoints the Prime Minister. • In 2000, Finland elected its first female president, TarjaHalonen. • Finland is also a welfare state.
History:Denmark and Iceland • Viking raids on other countries shaped Denmark’s early history. • Denmark’s power expanded during the late 1100s and 1200s. • Denmark ruled over Sweden, Norway and Iceland. • Denmark continued to rule over Norway until 1814. • Iceland gained its independence in 1944
Culture: Iceland and Denmark • Most people in Denmark (called Danes) have Danish ancestry, although some have origins in Germany. • Icelanders are mainly of Norwegian or Celtic descent. • Over 90% of the population in both countries live in urban areas. • The language in Denmark is Danish; Icelandic in Iceland.
Gov’T and Economics • Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. • The Danish monarch has mostly ceremonial duties. • The prime minister serves as the head of the government. • Both countries are welfare states. • Iceland is a republic, in which the people elect the president. • The prime minster and cabinet perform most of the functions in Iceland. • Denmark has a strong economy and is an EU member; Iceland gets most of its goods imported and is not an EU member.
Review Questions • 1. What cultural characteristics do Sweden and Norway share? • 2.How has Finland’s location affected its history? • 3. Why is Iceland’s cost of living so high?