- Scandinavia is made up of the countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden
You’ll often hear Finland and Iceland lumped into this region, but technically that’s not true. Denmark, Norway and Sweden all share portions of the Scandinavian Peninsula, while this isn’t the case for Finland or Iceland. All of these countries, however are considered to be Nordic countries, which is why you often find them grouped together.
- The term Scandinavia has only been around since the 18th century
Scandinavia was coined by Swedish and Danish universities in the 18th century, as they delved into the shared arts, mythology and history of Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
- Forget Disneyland, Scandinavia is the happiest place on earth!
Year after year, the Scandinavian (and Nordic) countries consistently make the top 10 spots in the United Nation’s World Happiness report. While there’s no black and white answer as to why this is the case, it’s thought to be due to factors such as extensive welfare benefits, low corruption, a well-functioning democracy, generally higher levels of autonomy and social trust towards each other.
The world’s longest road tunnel is in Norway
Connecting the small towns of Lærdal and Aurland is the 24.5km long Lærdal Tunnel. With unique features to help manage the mental drain on drivers, the design has been admired throughout the world. Every 6 kilometres you’ll come across caves that break up the monotony of the tunnel, and the lighting also changes throughout to try and keep the drive interesting.
Norway is home to the Midnight Sun phenomenon
The Midnight Sun is a phenomenon that occurs in summer around both the Arctic and Antarctic circles, and is a period of time where the sun never sets. Due to it's northern location, you can also experience this phenomenon in Svalbard in Norway’s north. Here, the sun doesn’t set at all between 20 April and 22 August each year!
Norway dominates in the Winter Olympics
Since the Winter Olympics first began back in 1924, Norway has won a total of 368 medals, including 132 gold, which is far more than any other country. Cross-country skiing and speed skating are the country’s specialties, with more than half of the medals coming from these two sports.
Stockholm is known as the ‘Venice of the North’
Sweden’s elegant capital is located on the south-east coast, on the Baltic Sea. Spread across 14 islands of distinctly different character, and connected by 57 bridges, it’s easy to see why it is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’.
Europe’s oldest national parks are in Sweden
With so much incredible natural beauty across the country, we can understand why in 1909 Sweden was the first country to establish national parks. In that year, nine national parks were created, but today there are 29 that cover a combined area of 731,589 hectares.
Sweden has an excellent recycling program
In fact, Sweden’s waste handling and recycling systems are so efficient that they often import garbage from foreign nations to keep their plants in operation. In addition to this, almost half of the electricity in the country is generated by renewable sources.
The Danish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world
The Danish Monarchy began way back in the year 935, and is still in place today. Beginning as an elective monarchy, it changed to a hereditary monarchy in the 17th century, before becoming the constitutional monarchy it remains as today in 1849.
Lego was invented by a Dane
Arguably one of the most popular toys in the world, Lego was invented in the small town of Billund by Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932. As a carpenter, Ole initially made the products from wood, before they were transformed into the iconic plastic bricks in 1947.
The Danish flag is the oldest in the world
Denmark’s iconic red flag with a white cross is thought to have first appeared back in 1219, inspiring the Dane’s to victory against Latvia in the Battle of Lyndanisse.