The Past and Future of Nordic Politics

Photo by Valdemaras D. on Unsplash

The purpose of this piece of writing is to drive my understanding of the Nordic culture and history. Having found an interest in history while living abroad, and never payed much attention to history class in my Swedish education, I became aware of the gap in my understanding. I have spent a lot of time consdering the future of the Nordics, but I hope to solidify my thinking by making connections to the historical factors that set our part of Europe out on this trajectory. If you have any resources or materials that can aid in my learning, please get in touch with me.

Warning! This piece is a work in progess.

However, I have put the working process here because I am open to learning from/together with others.

The Poor North (1800-)

Sowing The Seeds (1860-)

The Nordic Secret, Tomas and Lena

Reaping The Fruits (1950-)

The Nordic Model, Mary Hilson

suggesting that the Nordic Model is based on the “successful reconciliation of the apparently oppositional Enlightenment traditions of equality and liberty. National Romanticism had a relatively limited impact on the Nordic countries, allowing the liberal respect for individual liberty to flourish alongside peasant traditions of collectivism and community.”

In other words, the Nordic Model found a third way, roughly equidistant from capitalism and communism. Within the Nordic countries, this was highly variable, with Finland quite different to Sweden, which was in turn quite different to Denmark, Norway and Iceland. - Dan Hill

For instance, it is a lazy critique but the Finnish education system topping the world rankings has been put down to its relative homogeneity. Put at its bluntest, the critique suggests that it’s easy to make the same system work for everyone when everyone is the same. As noted above, the urban realm is of consistently good quality but also can be generally said to be lacking inspiration. Food and drink culture can be equally bland and uninspiring, despite some significant improvements in recent years. Accusations can be, and are, levelled in terms of the “conformity” of the culture. Similarly, there is the perception of an overly technocratic or engineering culture reaching outside of its traditional areas of concern. Perhaps the same mentality that keeps Helsinki-Vantaa airport open and operational 24/7, year after year, even when under metres of snow at -25C, is not necessarily the same mentality one wants running street food licensing or urban planning? Hill, Dan. Dark matter and trojan horses. A strategic design vocabulary. (p. 61). Strelka Press. Kindle Edition.

The Philosophical Power House (2010-)

An Industrial Power House -> Philosophical Power House

Hanzi, metamodernism Alternativet Nya Groene Initiativet

“Finland’s foreign-born citizens make up just 5% of its population, compared to about 11.5% in the UK. But, over the last 15 years, Finland has diversified at a faster rate than any other European country. By 2020, a fifth of Helsinki’s pupils are expected to have been born elsewhere.” (The Guardian, 21 November 2011) Hill, Dan. Dark matter and trojan horses. A strategic design vocabulary. (p. 61). Strelka Press. Kindle Edition.

Tomas Björkman and his Human Development Empire Ekskäret Camp for kids Klustret 29K Emerge

Martin Hägglund, transition

Social Democrats to Democratic Socialists (2040-)

Martin Hägglund


Jonathan Nylander © 2020