Scandinavia – a frosty landscape that fascinates many people all over the world. It’s home to reindeer, coffee, traditional knitwear – you name it. It traditionally makes up the landscape of at least three ‘Nordic’ countries, but the term is used a little more loosely in the main. It’s a fascinating part of the world, with history based around the Viking conquests, and temperatures you really won’t be prepared for the first time you visit!
In this file, we will be taking a look at some of the most fascinating facts about Scandinavia and what it has to offer. Think you know your fjords? What about your traditional Norwegian coffee? Take a look through our complete guide to the region and make sure to keep these facts in mind the next time you plan a trip away!
Scandinavia is situated to the north east of Scotland. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are all technically part of the Kingdom.
However, the term is often used to include Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands!
Scandinavia was home to the Vikings who explored and invaded some other countries including Scotland, Iceland, Canada, Greenland, the Hebrides, and the Faroe Islands.
The name Scandinavia is thought to come from the German word ‘Scania’.
Of all the countries in the world, Denmark sets the record for lighting the most candles!
Proud to fly the national flag, people in Denmark hang it outside their homes when personal celebrations are taking place inside, for example on anniversaries and birthdays.
The flags of the three different countries of Scandinavia have different colours but share the same simple design of a prominent cross.
The people of Scandinavia all speak a language based on ‘Old Norse’.
However, variances of dialect mean that the countries tend to speak English when communicating with one another. It can get confusing otherwise!
Pasta is very popular in Scandinavia and the region consumes more than any other country in the world!
‘Hygge’ is the word used by Danish people to describe their conscious ‘pursuit and acknowledgement of daily happiness, socially, alone, inside or outside the home ‘.
‘Hygge’ is considered important for a feeling of wellbeing and ‘cosiness’. It’s said to follow the feeling of a ‘physical hug without touching’.
In 2020, Forbes recorded that for the third year running, Finland ranked number one as the ‘happiest country in the world’, with Denmark in second place. Sweden and Norway have ranked high on the list in the past, too!
Scandinavia is known to have the best beaches in Northern Europe! They are extremely popular with kite fanatics as well as surfers.
Sweden’s beaches are referred to as the ‘Swedish Riviera’.
From Southern Sweden via the Oresund Bridge, visitors can make a crossing to Denmark.
Road sign warnings depicting moose crossing the road are the most frequently stolen from Sweden!
Lego was invented in Denmark in 1932. Its name derives from the words ‘Leg Gott’ which in Danish mean ‘Play Well’!
Lego’s manufacturers weren’t originally in the toy trade – they used to design ladders!
In 1951, Erik Wallenberg developed the Scandinavian method of packaging and storage now known as ‘Tetra Pak’. It’s now commonplace all over the world!
The famous beer Carlsberg is connected to Dr Emil Christian Hansen of Denmark, when in 1887, he found a way to make ‘pure yeast’ to combat a disease in beer! This revolutionised the industry.
A Swedish man called Alfred Nobel invented dynamite in 1866. Dynamite is used all over the world today for demolition, mining, and quarrying.
Nobel patented dynamite in 1867 and also developed the detonator used to ignite the product!
The Nobel Prize is named after Alfred Nobel – and funds from his estate saw the first prize awarded in 1901.
In 1927, Erik Rotheim patented a can to hold liquids. Containing a valve to ‘propel’ its contents, it was the first prototype for what would become aerosol can technology.
Celsius thermometers were designed by a Swedish professor, Anders Celsius. Celsius was an astronomer and explorer.
His expeditions led him to establish that planet earth is not perfectly round but with flattened surfaces at the Poles, is an ‘Ellipsoid’. He also catalogued 300 stars.
In 1855 a Swedish man called Jovan Edvard Lundstrom invented safety matches. Unlike previous matches, these could only be lit by striking the chemical laden tip of the match against the rough strip of paper he stuck on the outside of match boxes, as used today!
A Norwegian man called Johann Vaaler invented the paper clip! Invented between 1889 and 1890, Vaaler’s creation was first patented in Germany, and then in the US in 1901.
The biggest urban area in Scandinavia is Stockholm, the capital of Sweden with a population of 975,904 as recorded in 2019.
Scandinavia has an odd tradition when it comes to Easter. While many kids go trick or treating at Halloween, Scandinavian children do this during March and April!
In 2020, Sweden had a population of 10.1 million. Norway only has around half of this, at around 5 million! The population of Denmark, too, totalled 5.8 million in 2019.
In 2020, Norway was fifth on the list of the world’s wealthiest countries per capita at 79.6k!
Source: Swedish EPA. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se
Norway has an impressive population of reindeer, but it’s also known for having the biggest population of known Arctic reindeer herders in the world.
Scandinavia is absolutely nuts about coffee. Norway, in particular, is a nation of coffee drinkers, with an average of 9.9kg of coffee drank per person, per year, on average. It’s also thought that of the top six coffee drinking nations on the planet, five of them are Scandinavian!
Recycling is also a huge deal in Scandinavia. Sweden, in particular, has a program so efficient that it actually burns more waste than it produces! They’ve actually had to ‘borrow’ waste from Norway.
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Scandinavia that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!