By Lauren Hollman
Of all the Scandinavian countries, Denmark is the one that holds a very special place in my heart. This country is filled with bikes, scarves, and hygge. But that isn’t to say the other Scandinavian countries aren’t wonderful in their own way too. While visiting Scandinavia this summer, I realized that there are numerous quirks to each Scandinavian country, and these quirks make each country distinguishable from the other. Here are just a few of the more memorable quirks from these northern countries.
1) Denmark: “Fashion blogs.” You’d better step up your fashion game if you’re going to Denmark. This one might be subjective, but I really think Danes take the cake for Scandinavian trendiness. Almost all of my female friends in Denmark have their own fashion blogs, and many of them get paid for it too. Blogging about clothing is seen as a normal hobby that Danish girls start doing it around 15-18 years old. Plus, when their online audience becomes large enough, they can start collecting revenue from website ads—not bad for teenage income!
2) Sweden: “What stereotype?” It is true that when you first meet a Scandinavian, they may seem more introverted than extroverted (however, once trust is established, Danes are extremely sincere and dedicated to their friends). For me, this stereotype held true with both the Danes and Norwegians. However, once I went to Sweden, I found this stereotype not to uphold with the locals. The Swedes were friendly, open, and very eager to have a lengthy conversation with a complete stranger. Ever since then, I’ve stopped grouping the Swedes in with the “introverted Scandinavian” stereotype.
3) Denmark: “Retro sneakers.” Retro sneakers isn’t just a trend to Danes; it is a way of life. And I’m talking about your dad’s all-white tennis sneakers from the 90’s that are about four inches thick. If you are ever having dinner with a couple of Danes—make sure you stop by their closet and take a look at how many retro pairs of sneakers they have. Yes, Danes are trendy, but tennis sneakers from the 90’s are a must, no matter what day of the week.
4) Norway: “Trolls. Everywhere.” From Christmas decorations to local gardens, trolls are in style all the time. Trolls have been a focal point in Norse mythology for years, but it appears they never made an exit from day-to-day Norwegian life. Sadly, few Norwegians actually believe in trolls or elves, unlike their Icelandic neighbours across the water. Nevertheless, trolls continue to be relevant in Norwegian life through regularly used household items and garden decorations.
5) Denmark: “Danish sounds like Norwegian…But if everyone had a potato in their mouth.” Two years ago, I learned Danish and, ever since then, I’ve had an appreciation for how much heat the Danes take in regards to how their language sounds. Norwegian and Swedish both have a smooth musical sound to them. To say the least, this is not the case for the Danish language. If you talk to enough Scandinavians about Denmark, you’ll learn about this regional joke pretty quick. And I have to say, it’s hilariously true.