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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Northern Europe as defined by the United Nations (marked blue):      Northern Europe      Western Europe      Eastern Europe      Southern Europe
Location of the Nordic countries and of the Baltic states:      Nordic countries      Baltic states

Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. The United Nations defines Northern Europe as including the following countries and dependent regions:[1][2]

Nordic countries or Nordic region include only a subset of the mentioned countries and territories. Before the 19th century, the term 'Nordic' or 'Northern' was commonly used to mean Northern Europe in a sense that included the Nordic countries, European Russia, the Baltic countries (at that time Estonia, Livonia and Courland). The United Kingdom and Ireland are sometimes included in Western Europe, as are the Nordic and Baltic countries[3].

Contents

History

A Dutch map of Northern Europe, printed in 1601.

Historically, when Europe was dominated by the Mediterranean region (i.e. the Roman Empire), everything not near this sea was termed Northern Europe, including Germany, the Low Countries, and Austria. This meaning is still used today in some contexts, such as in discussions of the Northern Renaissance. In medieval times, the term (Ultima) Thule was used to mean a mythical place in the extreme northern reaches of the continent.

Northern Europe:
Country Area
(km²)
Population
(2009 est.)
Population density
(per km²)
Capital
Åland Islands Åland (Finland) 1,552 26,008 16.7 Mariehamn
Belgium Belgium (Western Europe) 30,528 10,754,528 352.2 Brussels
Denmark Denmark 43,094 5,519,441 128.0 Copenhagen
Faroe Islands Faroe Islands (Denmark) 1,399 49,006 35.0 Tórshavn
Greenland Greenland (Denmark) 2,166,086 57,000 0.026 Nuuk
Estonia Estonia 45,226 1,340,415 29.6 Tallinn
Finland Finland 336,593 5,349,200 15.8 Helsinki
Guernsey Guernseyd[›] 78 61,811 792.4 St Peter Port
Iceland Iceland 103,000 319,246 3.0 Reykjavík
Republic of Ireland Ireland 70,280 4,459,300 63.4 Dublin
Isle of Man Isle of Mand[›] 572 80,000 139.8 Douglas
Jersey Jerseyd[›] 116 89,300 769.8 Saint Helier
Latvia Latvia 64,589 2,254,000 34.8 Riga
Lithuania Lithuania 65,200 3,349,872 51.3 Vilnius
Luxembourg Luxembourg (Western Europe) 2,586 493,500 190.8 Luxembourg
Netherlands Netherlands (Western Europe) 41,526 16,571,800 399.0 Amsterdam
Norway Norway 324,220 4,843,800 14.9 Oslo
Norway Svalbard and Jan
Mayen Islands
(Norway)
62,049 2,140 0.034 Longyearbyen
Sweden Sweden 449,964 9,316,256 20.7 Stockholm
United Kingdom United Kingdom 244,820 61,634,599 251.7 London
Total 4,053,478 126,571,222 31.22

Geography

Northern Europe consists of the Scandinavian peninsula, the peninsula of Jutland, the Baltic plain that lies to the east and the many islands that lie offshore from mainland northern Europe, Greenland and the main European continent. The area is defined by the volcanic islands of the far northwest, notably Iceland and Jan Mayen, the mountainous western seaboard, extending from the mountainous sections of Great Britain & Ireland to the Scandinavian mountains, the central north mountains and hills of Sweden (which are the foothills of the Scandinavian mountains) and the large eastern plain, which contains, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

The region has a south west extreme of just under 50 degrees north and a northern extreme of 81 degrees north. The entire region's climate is affected by the Gulf stream which has a mild influence on the climate. From the west climates vary from maritime and maritime subarctic climates. In the north and central climates are generally subarctic or Arctic and to the east climates are mostly subarctic and temperate/continental. As the climate and relief varies vegetation is also extremely variable, with sparse tundra in the north and high mountains, boreal forest on the north-eastern and central regions temperate coniferous forests (formerly of which a majority was in the Scottish highlands and south west Norway) and temperate broadleaf forests growing in the south, west and temperate east.

See also

Notes

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Scandinavia article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Scandinavia
The Nordic countries
The Nordic countries

Scandinavia [1] or, more broadly, Nordic Europe is a European region north of the Baltic Sea. At almost 1.2 million square kilometres (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.

Map of Scandinavia
Map of Scandinavia
Denmark
The smallest, flattest and most continental of the Scandinavian countries.
Norway
Famous for deep fjords, trolls and wooden churches.
Sweden
Scandinavias largest country.
Finland
Hundreds of thousands of islands and lakes to explore in this bridge to the east.
Iceland
Spectacular scenery of volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, and waterfalls on this North Atlantic island.
  • Faroe Islands — administered by Denmark
  • Svalbard — administered by Norway
  • Åland — administered by Finland
  • Greenland is sometimes associated with Nordic Europe, because of its relationship to Denmark and its membership in the Nordic Council. Technically and culturally it is part of (native) North America.
Urban Scandinavia includes many historic cities by the Baltic sea. Pictured: the Nyhavn canal of Copenhagen, Denmark
Urban Scandinavia includes many historic cities by the Baltic sea. Pictured: the Nyhavn canal of Copenhagen, Denmark

There is a constant and long going rivalry between Copenhagen and Stockholm over which city can claim the title as Scandinavias unofficial capital. Depending on how you count, both cities are the largest, most visited, and the target of most investment. However, after the completion of the Øresund bridge, and subsequent integration of Copenhagen and Malmö - Swedens third largest city, this region is fast emerging as the main urban centre in Scandinavia, while Stockholm arguably grabs the title as the most beautiful.

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), found north of the Arctic circle
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), found north of the Arctic circle

The name Scandinavia comes from the Skandage body of water that lies sandwiched between Norway, Sweden, and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark. Strictly speaking, the term covers only those three countries, but here we use it in its broader sense to cover all of Nordic Europe (Norden).

The Scandinavian nations share many cultural traits including similar flags and many related languages. 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 only island nation to west, Iceland, are not.

The Nordic countries all enjoy a relatively strong economy. Norway and Iceland has in particular profited from an abundance of natural resources. Sweden and Finland also have their share of natural resources but are in the international marketplace mostly famous for strong brands like Volvo, Saab, Ericsson (Sony Ericsson) and Nokia. Alhough Denmark has developed sophisticated business in a number of industries, it is above all the leading agricultural country in Scandinavia. Strong economies and relatively small social differences translates 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 (matched only by a handful of countries including Canada, New Zealand and Singapore).

Geography

Denmark borders on Germany, while Finland and Norway border on Russia, but otherwise the Nordic countries are separated from their neighbors by the Baltic, the North Sea or the Atlantic itself. An abundance of land, water and wilderness is a common characteristic of the Nordic countries (except Denmark where most of the country is farmland or settlements). For example, Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe in area but only has some 9 million inhabitants. The landscapes and nature does however vary across the Nordic countries. Denmark is a flat lowland like the Netherlands and Northern Germany. Iceland is both vulcanic and arctic. Norway and Sweden share the Scandinavian peninsula which is highest on the Atlantic coast and gradually becomes lower until Sweden meets the Baltic sea. The Scandinavian mountains running from Southern Norway and passed Tromsø in Northern Norway are steep and rugged on the Atlantic side, gentle on the Eastern side. Finland is relatively flat, somewhat colder, and characterized by lakes scattered over the entire country. Large parts of Sweden and Finland (as well as parts of Norway) are covered by deep pine tree forests that are essentially the western branch of great Russian taiga. Galdhøpiggen in Norways Jotunheimen national park, is with its 2.469 meters the tallest mountain north of the Alps, while Kebnekaise, 2104 meters tall, is the highest mountain in Sweden.

Climate

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 or 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 key characteristics of the four northern countries, with the exception of Denmark.

Despite the high latitude central parts, the Nordic countries have a mild climate, at least much warmer than would be expected at this latitude. Northern parts have subarctic climate, while southern parts and coastal areas enjoy a temperate climate. Denmark and coastal areas of Southern Norway, Iceland and Western Sweden experience only occasional frost and snow during winter. Summers in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland are pleasantly warm with day temperatures 15 to 30 degrees C. In the mountains and along western coasts, the weather is generally more unstable. Finland has the most stable sunny weather in summer. In general, the further inland, the bigger the difference between summer and winter. The Baltic side is generally colder in winter than the North Sea side. Western Norway and the Atlantic Islands have the smallest difference between summer and winter.

Talk

Communicating in Scandinavia is easy, as virtually everybody under 50 speaks at least basic English, and younger people tend to be near fluent. German might also be understood, and to a lesser degree, spoken in Denmark, less so in Norway and Sweden, and rarely in Iceland and Finland.

Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are closely related and mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Icelandic and Faroese, while also related, have been kept in a linguistic freezer since the 13th century, and are largely unintelligible to other Germanic speakers. The outlier is Finnish, which belongs to the Finno-Ugric family and is entirely unrelated to the other Nordic languages. Finland, however, maintains a roughly 5% Swedish-speaking minority, and all Finns learn Swedish in school. The Saami language also belongs to the Finno-Ugric family and is an official language in some municipalities of Lapland.

Swedens Skärgård runs along much the Bothnia coast and across the bay to Åland and Finland, it consists of thousands of rocky inlets, like this one seen from the Stockholm - Tallinn ferry
Swedens Skärgård runs along much the Bothnia coast and across the bay to Åland and Finland, it consists of thousands of rocky inlets, like this one seen from the Stockholm - Tallinn ferry
Norway is rightly famous for spectacular fjords like Geirangerfjord
Norway is rightly famous for spectacular fjords like Geirangerfjord

By plane

Due to the large distances and the water surrounding most of the Nordic area, airplane is often the most effective way of getting to the Nordic countries. All the main cities have international airports, and even smaller cities like Haugesund and Ålesund serve some international flights. Almost all European airlines service Scandinavian airports.

  • SAS Scandinavian Airlines [2] (Denmark, Norway Sweden) - Scandinavias largest carrier and the flag carrier of all 3 countries, main hubs is Copenhagen and Stockholm Airports.
Chicago, Washington, D.C, New York, Dubai, Delhi, Bangkok, Beijing and Tokyo
  • Finnair [3] (Finland) - Finlands flag carrier, flying out from its main base in Helsinki, with a strong presence on Asian routes.
New York, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka
  • Icelandair [4] (Iceland) - Leverages on its strategic location midway between Europe and North America to maintain a strong presence on North American routes.
Seattle, Minneapolis-St Paul, Orlando, Boston, New York, Toronto, Halifax
  • Atlantic Airways [5] (Faroe Islands) - Flies to many destinations in the North Atlantic, including Britain, Greenland and Iceland.

Besides the regional airlines, there are also serveral major international airlines which offers direct routes to Scandinavia. Singapore Airlines and China Eastern fly to Copenhagen, Air China and Qatar Airways to Stockholm, while US Airways, PIA (Pakistan), Thai, Delta, and Continental Airlines all service several intercontinental routes to Scandinavia. Alternative low cost airlines in the region include Blue1 [6] in Finland, Norwegian [7] in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, Cimber Sterling [8] in Denmark and Iceland Express [9] on Iceland. All of these airlines has routes to one of the London airports, and hence London is a good entry point, if you can find a cheaper flight there, which is often the case. Many of the low cost airlines mainly service routes between the cold Scandinavia and the sunny Mediterranean, hence you can also often find bargain flights from Spain, Italy, etc.

By train

Denmark is well-connected to the German rail network. The direct connection to Copenhagen is, however, by the Puttgarden-Rødby ferry. Sweden is connected to Danish railways via the Øresund bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö or to the German capital by a bi-daily night train during the summer, bypassing Denmark via the Trelleborg - Rostock ferry. Due to the barrier provided by the Baltic sea, the only other connection to the European mainland, is via Moscow or St Petersburg in Russia. For interrail pass holders most of the ferries crossing the Baltic and North seas offers discounts (25-50%), but only the Scandlines ferries are completely included in the pass (see By ferry section).

Copenhagen, (Denmark)
Copenhagen, (Denmark)
Copenhagen, (Denmark)
Copenhagen, (Denmark))
Malmö, (Sweden
Århus, (Denmark)
Helsinki, (Finland)
Helsinki, (Finland)
DB City Night Line [10], 16 hours (night)
DB City Night Line [11], 15 hours (night)
DB City Night Line [12], 15 hours (night)
DB Deutsche Bahn [13], 5 hours (day)
SJ Berlin Night Express [14], 8½ hours (night)
DB Deutsche Bahn [15], 8½ hours (day)
VR Finnish Railways [16], 14½ hours (night)
VR Finnish Railways [17], 7 hours (day)

By ferry

Norway is served by ferries from Denmark and Germany. To Sweden, there are ferries from Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Iceland is connected to Denmark and the Faroe Islands by ferry. To Finland there are ferries from Estonia and Germany.

Oslo (Norway)
Gothenburg (Sweden)
Malmö (Sweden)
Helsinki (Finland)
Gedser (Denmark)
Helsinki (Finland)
Helsinki (Finland)
Stockholm (Sweden)
Stockholm (Sweden)
Stockholm¹ (Sweden)
Stockholm¹ (Sweden)
Karlskrona (Sweden)
Karlshamn (Sweden)
Ystad (Sweden)
Copenhagen (Denmark)
Esbjerg (Denmark)
Color Line[18], 19½ hours
Stena Line[19], 14 hours
TT Line [20], 7½ hours
Finnlines [21], 27 hours
Scandlines [22], 1¾ hours
Tallink Silja line [23], 26 hours
Many operators, 2-4 hours
Tallink Silja line [24], 17 hours
Tallink Silja line [25], 17 hours
Scandlines [26], 10 hours
Polferries [27], 18 hours
Stena Line [28], 11 hours
DFDS Lisco [29], 15 hours
Polferries [30], 6½ hours
Polferries [31], 9 hours
DFDS Seaways [32], 18 hours

¹ Arrives in Nynæshamn, about 1 hour south of Stockholm by suburban train

By car

Denmark is directly connected to the continental road network. From Denmark it is possible to cross to Sweden over the Öresund bridge. There are also many ferry connections from Denmark, most of them takes cars. The only overland alternative to the Öresund bridge is to enter via Russia to Finland or Norway. Save a few short stretches of regular road, you can drive all the way to Stockholm or Oslo on highway from the German ones, but keep in mind that the tolls on the two Danish highway bridges you need to pass to get to Sweden are heavy, and you could easily be saving money taking a more direct route with a ferry. Virtually all Scandinavian roads are toll free, but some larger cities (most notably Stockholm) have introduced congestion charges when driving in the centre, and some of longer bridges and tunnels levy tolls to pay for their construction.

Speed limits are uniform, 50kph in cities and 80kph on rural roads unless otherwise indicated. Motorways range from 100 in Norway, 110 in Sweden, 120 in Finland to 130 in Denmark, again unless other speed limits are signposted. Keep in mind that while Scandinavians routinely disregard speed limits, fines are heavy and if you don't benefit from the high Scandinavian wages, they will feel even more steep, so you will in essence probably be gambling with your holiday budget. Speeding in city zones are considered a severe offence, and there are many unmarked automatic speed traps installed in such zones.

Winter driving skills are essential through much of the year, when roads are treacherously slippery, winter tyres are mandatory and speed limits are reduced.

Silja Serenade, a typical Helsinki-Stockholm ferry
Silja Serenade, a typical Helsinki-Stockholm ferry

Major coastal cities of the Baltic Sea are often connected with ferry lines, e.g. Turku-Stockholm and Helsinki-Tallinn, and ferries are a natural part of many journeys for Scandinavians. The larger long-distance ferries are in effect cruise ships, with behemoths like the Silja Europa featuring 13 decks stacked full of shops, restaurants, spas, saunas etc. Longer routes are nearly always scheduled to sail during the night, so you arrive fresh to continue the often long journeys required in Scandinavia. If you travel by ferry to Norway or pass through Åland, there are Tax Free sales on board, since Norway is not part of the EU and Åland is subject to special regulations. For the same reason some of these lines, especially Stockholm-Helsinki ferry, is known as party boats, since alcohol escapes the normal heavy taxation.

In addition to major lines listed below, the Hurtigruten ferries, running all along Norways amazing jagged coast line, and through spectacular fjords, from Bergen in the south to Kirkenes in the Arctic north, docking in many small hamlets and villages on the way - offers a unique and very Scandinavian experience.

From To Operator
Copenhagen, (Denmark) Oslo (Norway) DFDS Seaways [33], 16½ hours
Grenå, (Denmark) Varberg, (Sweden) Stena Line [34] 4½ hours
Frederikshavn, (Denmark) Göteborg, (Sweden) Stena Line [35] 2-4 hours
Hirtshals, (Denmark) Larvik, (Norway) Colorline [36], 4 hours
Hirtshals, (Denmark) Kristiansand, (Norway) Colorline [37], 4 hours
Hirtshals, (Denmark) Bergen, (Norway) Fjordline [38], 19½ hours (via Stavanger - 11½ hours)
Hanstholm, (Denmark) Seyðisfjörður, (Iceland) Smyril line [39], 69 hours (via the Faroe Islands - 44 hours summer)
Esbjerg, (Denmark) Tórshavn, (Faroe Islands) Smyril line [40], 44 hours (winter)
Strömstad, (Sweden) Sandefjord, (Norway) Colorline [41], 2½ hours
Stockholm, (Sweden) Helsinki, (Finland) Tallink Silja line & Viking line, 16½ hours (via Åland islands - 11 hours)
Umeå, (Sweden) Vaasa, (Finland) RG Line [42], 3½ hours
S220 Pendolino, Finland
S220 Pendolino, Finland
See also: Rail travel in Europe

Trains are an adequate way of traveling around Scandinavia. International connections between Denmark, southern Sweden and southern Norway are good, but up north services are sparse and there is a short gap in the network between northern Sweden and Finland, although most railpasses allow free use of the connecting bus service. Iceland has no trains at all.

The previous night train connection between Copenhagen and Oslo has been retired, and this route now requires a change in Gothenburg, on the other hand day time connections has become much more frequent after the opening of the Øresund bridge (8½ hours). Between Copenhagen and Stockholm up to 7 X2000 express trains runs directly every day (5½ hours), and the daily night train only requires an easy change in Malmö (7½ hours). Further north there is two daily connections between Oslo and Bodø (17 hours, via Trondheim) - the northernmost stop on the Norwegian railway network, and two daily night trains (regular & express) between Stockholm and Umeå/Luleå (16-20 hours) in the northernmost part of Sweden. In the summer Lapplandståget [43]- Scandinavias longest railway journey, will take you directly all the way from Malmö (& Copenhagen) in south to Narvik in the north via Sweden.

The ScanRail pass was retired in 2007, but visitors not resident in Europe can opt for the very similar Eurail Scandinavia Pass [44], which offers 4 to 10 days of travel in a 2-month period for €232-361. For residents of Europe, the all-Europe or single-country Interrail passes are also an option.

Major railway companies in Scandinavian include DSB[45] & Arriva[46] in Denmark, NSB[47] in Norway, SJ[48] and Veolia[49] in Sweden and VR[50] in Finland.

By bus

If you are not using a rail pass, long distance buses will often be a cheaper alternative, especially for longer journeys. But since highways are almost exclusively centred around the southern half of Scandinavia, journey times become increasingly uncompetitive the further north you get, on the other hand, rail services also get increasingly sparse in northern Scandinavia. There is no dominant company like Grayhound is in North America, but a host of local, regional and national bus companies, some of the major companies include; GoByBus [51] and Eurolines [52] and Swebus [53] which all service routes in the Scandinavian triangle between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm. In addition the major national intercity bus companies are Abildskou [54] in Denmark, Nor-Way [55] and Nettbuss [56] in Norway and Matkahuolto [57] in Finland.

By car

Think twice before driving a car in Scandinavia. Rentals are expensive, gasoline is very expensive and distances are long. In Norway, in particular, distances that seem short on a map can be very long and tiring if you need to drive along twisty fjord roads. Collisions with wildlife, particularly deer and reindeer, are common and dangerous.

If planning on driving in Scandinavia outside the summer season, you will need to be familiar with winter driving conditions and equip your car accordingly.

Lapland straddles the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, fantastic nature, caribou and the Sami indigenous people make it worth the effort to go there. Pictured: Stora Sjöfallet, Sweden
Lapland straddles the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, fantastic nature, caribou and the Sami indigenous people make it worth the effort to go there. Pictured: Stora Sjöfallet, Sweden
  • See the Northern Lights (Latin: Aurora Borealis; Scandinavian: Nordlys/-ljus (Swedish: Norrsken))
  • Visit the unusual free city of Christiania in Copenhagen
  • Visit a Viking Ship Museum in Oslo or Roskilde,
  • Visit the famous Tivoli Gardens theme park in Copenhagen
  • See the amazing Vasa Museum in Stockholm, displaying an entire flagship that sunk in the harbor nearly 400 years ago
  • Relax in a hot spring in Iceland
  • Cruise a Norwegian Fjord, Geirangerfjord is a world-famous beauty while Sognefjord is the greatest
  • Enjoy the endless summer days under the midnight sun in the north.
  • Experience the Arctic and the ice bears in the worlds northernmost settlement, Svalbard
  • Go cross country skiing or hiking in the endless forests and national parks.
  • Go skinny dipping from a sauna in the Land of a Thousand Lakes (Finland)
  • Downhill skiing or snowboarding in some of Europes most civilized and family friendly ski resorts.
  • Relive your childhood in Legoland, Denmark.
  • Cruise around the thousands of scenic islands in the Swedish and Finish skärgård.

Festivals

Scandinavia, and in particular Denmark, is known for its many music festivals during the summer months. The largest in each country are:

  • Roskilde Festival [58] (Denmark, July) - One of the worlds most famous rock festivals, with 70,000 tickets for sale and 30,000 volunteers.
  • Ruisrock [59] (Finland, July) - Finlands largest music festival, held on an island near Turku, with around 70,000 spectators.
  • Hultsfred [60] (Sweden, July) - Swedens main rock festival, takes place in southern Sweden and has an attendance of ~30,000.
  • Quart [61] (Norway, June/July) - Norways main rock festival, and in Kristiansand in southern Norway.
  • G Festival [62] (Faroe Islands, July) - The Faroes' main event, with around 10,000 participants and 6,000 tickets sold every year.
  • Iceland Airwaves [63] (Iceland, October) - A progressive music festival that attracts around 2000 visitors.
Smørrebrød, the famous Danish open-faced sandwich
Smørrebrød, the famous Danish open-faced sandwich

The cuisines of all Scandinavian countries are quite similar, although each country does have its signature dishes. Seafood features prominently on restaurant menus, although beef, pork and chicken are more common in many everyday dishes. Potatoes are the main staple, most often simply boiled, but also made into mashed potatoes, potato salad and more. Spices are used sparingly, but fresh herbs are used to accentuate the ingredients.

Famous pan-Scandinavian dishes include:

  • Herring, especially pickled
  • Meatballs, served with potatoes, berries and creamy sauce
  • Salmon, especially smoked or salt-cured (gravlax)
  • Smörgåsbord, a popular lunch option with bread, herring, smoked fish, cold cuts and more

Bread comes in dozens of varieties, with dark, heavy rye bread a specialty, and Scandinavian pastries are so well known that the word "danish" has even been imported into English.

Chilling out at the Arctic Icebar, Helsinki
Chilling out at the Arctic Icebar, Helsinki

Vikings were famously heavy drinkers, and despite continuing government efforts to stamp out the demon drink through heavy taxation, todays Scandinavians continue the tradition. Bring in your full tax-free allowance if you plan to indulge, since in Norway you can expect to pay up to 60 kr (€7) for a pint of beer in a pub, and Sweden and Finland are not far behind. To reduce the pain, it is common to start drinking at home before heading out to party. The drinking age is 18 in all Nordic countries, but many bars and clubs have their own age limits.

The main tipples are beer and vodka-like distilled spirits called brännvin, including herb-flavored akvavit. Spirits are typically drunk as snaps (pron. "shnapps"), or ice-cold from shot glasses.

Sleep

Throughout Scandinavia, with exception of densely populated Denmark, Allemansrätten, or Every Mans Right in English, is an important underpinning of society, and guarantees everyone the right to stay or camp on any uncultivated land for one or two nights, as long as you respect certain norms, stay out of sight of any residents, and leave no traces of your visit when you leave. If you enjoy the great outdoors, this can help make the otherwise expensive Scandinavian countries, become quite affordable.

With so much incredible nature outside the doorstep, it should be no surprise that the Scandinavian countries have a well developed Hostel network, named Vandrerhjem/Vandrarhem in the Scandinavian languages - literally translating into wanderers home. While the rules are often quite strict, it is cheap, and with almost 800 hostels available, you can find one almost anywhere. The respective national organisations are called Danhostel [64] in Denmark, STF [65] or SVIF [66] in Sweden, Norske Vandrerhjem [67] in Norway, SRM [68] in Finland and finally Farfuglar [69] in Iceland.

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

Etymology

northern + Europe

Proper noun

Northern Europe highlighted in shades of purple

Singular
Northern Europe

Plural
-

Northern Europe

  1. A sociopolitical region of Europe including such countries as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


Translations

Derived terms

Related terms


Simple English

File:United Nations geographical
The definition of continental subregions in use by the United Nations.

Northern Europe is the northern part of the European continent. Most people see the following states as part of it:

Before the 19th century, the term 'Nordic' or 'Northern' was commonly used to mean Northern Europe in a sense that included the Nordic countries, European Russia, the Baltic countries (at that time Livonia and Courland) and Greenland.

In earlier eras, when Europe was dominated by the Mediterranean region (i.e. the Roman Empire), everything not near this sea was termed Northern Europe, including Germany, the Low Countries, and Austria. In medieval times, the term (Ultima) Thule was used to mean a semi-mythical place in the extreme northern reaches of the continent.

In a European Union context, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands are often seen as belonging to a Northern group.

koi:Ойвыв Европа



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