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Nordic countries

Geographical and cultural region / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Nordic countries (also known as the Nordics or Norden; lit. 'the North')[2] are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. It includes the sovereign states of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway[lower-alpha 2] and Sweden; the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands and Greenland; and the autonomous region of Åland.[4]

Quick facts: Nordic .plainlist ...
Nordic countries
Land controlled by the Nordic countries shown in dark green. Bouvet Island and Antarctic claims not shown.
Land controlled by the Nordic countries shown in dark green. Bouvet Island and Antarctic claims not shown.
Official languages
Recognised regional languages
Composition5 sovereign states

2 autonomous territories

1 autonomous region

2 unincorporated areas

1 dependency

2 Antarctic claims

 Inauguration of the Nordic Council
12 February 1953
23 March 1962
 Inauguration of the Nordic Council of Ministers
July 1971
6,125,804 km2 (2,365,186 sq mi)[lower-alpha 1] (7th)
 2021 estimate
27,562,156 (52nd)
 2000 census
7.62/km2 (19.7/sq mi) (225th)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
$1.6 trillion[1] (19th)
 Per capita
$58,000 (13th)
GDP (nominal)2021 estimate
$1.8 trillion (10th)
 Per capita
$66,900 (15th)
Driving sideright
Calling code

The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion and social structure. They have a long history of political unions and other close relations but do not form a singular entity today. The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century. With the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden (Norwegian independence), the independence of Finland in the early 20th century and the 1944 Icelandic constitutional referendum, this movement expanded into the modern organised Nordic cooperation. Since 1962, this cooperation has been based on the Helsinki Treaty that sets the framework for the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The Nordic countries cluster near the top in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development.[5] Each country has its own economic and social model, sometimes with large differences from its neighbours. Still, they share aspects of the Nordic model of economy and social structure to varying degrees.[6] This includes a mixed market economy combined with strong labour unions and a universalist welfare sector financed by high taxes, enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility. There is a high degree of income redistribution, commitment to private ownership and little social unrest.[7][8]

North Germanic peoples, who comprise over three-quarters of the region's population, are the largest ethnic group, followed by the Baltic Finnic Peoples, who comprise the majority in Finland; other ethnic groups are the Greenlandic Inuit, the Sami people and recent immigrants and their descendants. Historically, the main religion in the region was Norse paganism. This gave way first to Roman Catholicism after the Christianisation of Scandinavia. Then, following the Protestant Reformation, the main religion became Lutheran Christianity, the state religion of several Nordic countries.[9][10]

Although the area is linguistically heterogeneous, with three unrelated language groups, the common linguistic heritage is one factor that makes up the Nordic identity. Most Nordic languages belong to North Germanic languages, Finno-Ugric languages and Eskimo–Aleut languages. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are considered mutually intelligible, and they are the working languages of the region's two political bodies. Swedish is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools and Danish in Faroese and Greenlandic schools. Danish is also taught in schools in Iceland.

The combined area of the Nordic countries is 3,425,804 square kilometres (1,322,710 sq mi). Uninhabitable icecaps and glaciers comprise about half of this area, mainly Greenland. In September 2021, the region had over 27 million people. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries. Still, that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden and the northernmost part of Finland.[11][12][13][14][15]