Learning America Smarter: Northern European Geography 101

I was quite troubled to realize today that I couldn’t list ten major differences between Sweden and Norway. All my best Livejournal pals lent a hand and we came up with this not-entirely-comprehensive list:

sweden vs. norway
(click for bigger version)

Finland is so awesome it did not need to be differentiated, but I thank Suomi for helping to make an excellent indie rock joke.

Comments

82 Comments so far. Comments are closed.
  1. Itsumishi,

    Sweden also produced a girl called Victoria Wolff. She’s the worst.

  2. Ingelin,

    Awesome illustration, but the original sauna is Finnish, and Santa isn’t Norwegian. Good work anyway.

  3. ossy,

    Sweden doesn’t have lutefisk as far as I know – that’s all norwegian, together with smlahove (smoked sheeps head). the Swedes have surströmming instead. And Santa Claus is American, but Norway does have ‘nisser’ which have Santa Claus-like headwear. They also get angry and cause mischief unless you give them porridge around christmas. And Sweden hass fjords? Ha! I laugh at your puny swedish fjords! Finally Sweden was never a part of Denmark as such, but parts of it were. Parts of it were also part of Norway once. But they were on the winning side in the Napoleonic wars and grabbed Norway from the Danes after that.

  4. ossy,

    Kudos for the interest in Scandinavia btw – makes me all warm and fuzzy inside…

  5. Ossy, We have lutfisk, I just don’t think we eat it as often. But for some goddamn reason it’s always on the julbord. Blää! Oh well rather that than sur-jävla-strömming, which is probably the world’s most disgusting food ever concocted.

    My province was once Norwegian (Jämtland) and you can hear it in certain dialects like in Härjedalen.

    I am also warm and fuzzy from this attention to Scandinavia even though it’s caused quite a debate!

  6. Man, it makes me happy to see people talking about this!

  7. R Stevens, you don’t know what you got yourself into here.

  8. Kyosti,

    I vote for the uncorrected version of the shirt. 99.99% of the people you run into won’t know or care about the differences… and anyways we need more infighting among the scandinavians. :)

    Here is my contribution to the bonfire: mySQL is Finnish!

  9. Miika,

    Um… Did someone already mention the swedish blondes? :D

  10. Miika,

    reply to Rene Engström: sur-jävla-strömming cannot be the most disgusting food, because finnish “mämmi” has taken that spot from warm monkey brains long time a go.

  11. Miika have you ever eaten (or rather smelled) surströmming? It is slimy, fishy diarhea in a tin. I just looked up mämmi and that is chocolate pudding in comparison.

  12. Apparently surströmming is considered lethal according to some major airlines. Ha! Take that memma!

  13. Randy,

    Three more cool things about Finland:

    Värttinä

    Laika and the Cosmonauts

    Helsinki Complaints Choir (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATXV3DzKv68)

  14. AED,

    my friend’s sister’s boyfriend studied architecture in Helsinki one year. no joke.

  15. Marty,

    Finland has death and black metal too!
    err well had it, up till about ’93, pretty sure Norway never had a huge Death metal scene but otherwise lol,

  16. Nous,

    Santa Claus is so not Norwegian, and neither Swedish either!
    He was originally a Greek Bishop living in modernday Turkey. This was untill we Dutch decided that he should come from Spain.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas

  17. Brant D,

    Among the normal awesome music that comes from finland (Children of Bodom, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica etc…) Finland also has the notable award of on the first time they won the Eurovision Song Contest (2006) it was by a hard rock group (first time a hard rock group has ever won) and also scored the highest score in the contest ever of 292 points. This group, of course, is the EXTREMELY addicting hard rock quintet Lordi. That is all that i know about Finland…for the most part.

  18. Xupa,

    Geez, R. You got tore up on this one. Why weren’t these frigid folks policing your LJ?
    Looks like it calls for a DSB diagram ver 2.

  19. Hugh,

    What about the Swedish Bikini Team? They were rather more fundamental in my upbringing as a child of the 80s than I would like them to have been…

  20. Kevin,

    so, this would make a pretty awesome design for a shirt.. I mean, I’d buy one.

  21. Fredrik,

    If we’re trying to differentiate Sweden and Norway (I think Finland should be added), then you HAVE to give Norway oil (and dead whales and clubbed seal cubs). While Swedes love sauna, that really belongs to the Finns. The core word to describe Swedes is, as has been said, Lagom. The story about the word it that it means “the whole team” and comes from viking times when one stoop/horn of mead was passed around the table. How much should each person drink? enough so that it would last around the table or “laget om” in Swedish.

  22. Fredrik. That whole “laget om” has no basis in fact whatsoever and is mere speculation. Most experts dismiss that theory. That doesn’t subtract from the fact that Swedes are obsessed with fairness and everyone getting the “just right” amount. Yes. Please. ADD LAGOM.

  23. Satu,

    To the poster above: Skype is Estonian, not Swedish!

  24. According to all references I can find, skype was founded by a Swede and a Dane… maybe the company is based out of Estonia?

  25. Brendan McKeon,

    ABBA is technically 1/4 Noregian, since Frida (Anni-Frid, one of the A’s, the one without the nightmare inducing blue eyeshadow) was born there (though moved to Sweden as a kid). That would be interesting to represent graphically…

  26. Sweden had Per Wahlöö and Maj Sjöwall who did a swell 10 book Mystery/Police Procedural series featuring Martin Beck who reminds me of Indy Rock Pete in an odd way …

  27. Lars Skovlund,

    @Rene Engström: The development itself was outsourced, afaik. See for instance Wikipedia.

  28. will,

    Santa Claus is Turkish. Look up Saint Nicholas of Myra .

  29. nickalex,

    I disagree with Death Metal in the middle. Stereotypes are indeed that Norway is black metal (Burzum, Mayhem, Emperor, etc) while Sweden is swedish melodic death metal (Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Edge of Sanity, etc). I wouldn’t honestly remember any prominent norwegian death or swedish black band without looking into wikipedia.

  30. Andrew Jackson,

    So Iceland IS Bjork. There is nothing more to this island than her. Nothing at all. Bjork is all there is to it. And she lives in Notting Hill (London)!

  31. You should have included “Häagen-Dazs”, floating far away from the Venn diaagrams – it would help breaking a common misconception: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%A4agen-Dazs#Name

  32. Liann in Manitoba,

    This was very interesting and enlightening. I’m from Canada (right in the middle) and we have very different views of the world, depending on whether you’re on the west coast, east coast, or on the prairies, like I am. I have university to finish, then I hope to move to Sweden. The culture here is very independent and the rich get richer, while the poor suffer and have very little access to education or resources. I like the mindset of helping others and giving a hand-up, not a hand-out. We already have insanely high taxes, so it won’t be much different in Sweden. At least the money will go towards the good of the people, rather than lining politicians pockets and keeping the “upper crust” society away from the poor. I like the idea that poor people don’t have to be pushed aside and marginalized. It was educating to read everyone’s take on the Scandinavian countries.