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What is the difference between Nordic and Scandinavian countries? - Answers

What is the difference between Nordic and Scandinavian countries?

Map highlighting Nordic and Scandinavian countries

The terms ‘Nordic’ and ‘Scandinavian’ are often mistakenly used interchangeably. The term ‘Scandinavian countries,’ is usually used to refer to three European countries; Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The reference to ‘Scandinavian,’ is more of a conventional reference to the North European region (beyond these three countries) which shares a North Germanic heritage in terms of the languages spoken and cultures followed. This is more of a convention based reference, and many people include Iceland and Finland as well, but strictly speaking, these are not part of Scandinavia. Greenland, an overseas territory of Denmark, is not part of Scandinavia given the vast difference in cultures. Jan Mayen (North Atlantic Ocean) and Svalbard Islands (Arctic Ocean), though parts of the Kingdom of Norway are also not considered to be Scandinavian.

The term ‘Nordic Countries’ is a more formal term used to refer to the countries that are members of the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council is an inter-parliamentary council for co-operation formed in 1952. It has its headquarters in Copenhagen. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and autonomous provinces such as Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Åland Islands are all referred to as Nordic countries. Scandinavia is thus a subset of the Nordic region.

Here’s a look at the countries and territories that make up the Nordic region –

Country Capital NATO Member EU Member
Scandinavian Countries Denmark Copenhagen Yes Yes
Norway Oslo Yes No
Sweden Stockholm No Yes
Other Nordic Countries Finland Helsinki No Yes
Iceland Reykjavík Yes No
Autonomous Regions Greenland Nuuk As park of Denmark No
Faroe Islands Tórshavn As park of Denmark No
Åland Islands Mariehamn No Yes

It is worth mentioning here that Nordic countries – Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, and Sweden – have routinely ranked high in the ‘World Happiness Index.’ In fact, in the 2017 World Happiness Report, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland were rated the top three happiest countries in the world. Finland ranked at number 5 and Sweden at number 10. Highly evolved healthcare and social security systems, freedom to make life choices, free education and high HDI (Human Development Index) rankings are all reasons why the Nordic countries are among the happiest in the world.

Related Maps:

map of Scandinavian Countries
map of Scandinavian Countries
Regions of Europe
Regions of Europe
Denmark Map
Denmark Map
Norway Map
Norway Map
Sweden Map
Sweden Map
Finland Map
Finland Map
Iceland Map
Iceland Map

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