ScandinavianBooks

Travel to Scandinavia


Scandinavia is an European region north of the Baltic Sea. At almost 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) it is the largest region in Europe, but home to only around 24 million people, accounting for a mere 4% of the population.
The Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) are quite different, but also share common bonds wrought by their Nordic geography, culture and history. The region is known for its natural beauty and more recently its liberalism. Denmark, Finland and Sweden are EU members. Oil and gas rich Norway, and the island nation to the west, Iceland, are not.
The Nordic countries all have quite strong economies. Norway and Iceland have abundant natural resources. According to the IMF, Norway had the second highest GDP per capita in the world in 2009 - all the Scandinavian countries were among the top 20 on the list (US was 9th and UK 22nd). Sweden and Finland also have natural resources but are in the international marketplace mostly famously for strong brands like Volvo, Saab, Ericsson (Sony Ericsson) and Nokia. Denmark has developed sophisticated businesses in a number of industries, and is the leading agricultural country in Scandinavia. It is also world-renown for its excelence in design. However, strong economies also translate into high prices for visitors.
Elaborate welfare states are a common characteristic of the Nordic countries. Most things are generally highly organized and tourists should expect everything to proceed according to plans, rules and timetables. According to Transparency International, the Nordic countries are the least corrupt in the world.
Due to the high latitude, summer nights are very short and in the northern most part there is even midnight sun in the summer. While central parts of Scandinavia (the Oslo-Stockholm-Copenhagen triangle) are more densely populated, vast areas in the north and in the mountains are hardly populated at all. Sweden is in fact one of Europes largest countries in terms of area, and Norway is the size of Germany, despite its modest population of some 4.5 million. Because of this, space, light and nature are among the foremost characteristics of these countries.
Some of the most famous cities in Scandinavia are Copenhagen and Aarhus (Denmark), Stockholm and Gothenburg (Sweden), Oslo and Bergen (Norway), Helsinki and Vaasa (Finland), and Reykjavik (Iceland).
Language: Virtually everyone in the Scandinavian countries, especially among people under 55, speak at least basic English.