Category Archives: Iceland

200 years since the last war

200 years ago today was the last time a Nordic country was at war with another Nordic country. That calls for a celebration!

Foreningen Norden (an organization to promote Nordic cooperation) celebrated this event by posting this picture on their Facebook page:

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

Are you familiar with all the flags?

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Vikings – they are on stamps from all over the world

I must confess to a youth as a stamp collector (yes, I did spend hours in the dark closet, trying to find out if a stamp was florescent or not) and when the Oseberg Viking ship project (I`ve written about them in an earlier blog post) started posting pictures of stamps with the Oseberg ship on them on their Facebook page, I just had to repost those pictures – and add some of my own:

Stamp Oseberg Canada

I`ll start out with Canada – a country that shares some of our Viking history, as I wrote about in my previous blog post. I`m not sure how old this stamp is but it`s beautiful with the Oseberg ship and the old map.

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More than one Viking settlement in Canada?

AiramLebasic (*hugs*) sent me this very interesting article from National Geographic  about how they`ve found a Viking settlement on Baffin Island.

It`s around 50 years since they discovered the first proof that Icelandic sagas about the exploits of Leif Eriksson were correct:

In the 1960s two Norwegian researchers, Helge Ingstad and Anne Stine Ingstad, discovered and excavated the Viking base camp at L’Anse aux Meadows on the northern tip of Newfoundland—the first confirmed Viking outpost in the Americas. Dated to between 989 and 1020, the camp boasted three Viking halls, as well as an assortment of huts for weaving, ironworking, and ship repair.

Now they`ve found a second settlement. And what`s more – they`ve also discovered what they believe to have been contact and possible trade between the Vikings and the people who already lived there. I find that incredibly interesting. I think I`ve already mentioned in an earlier blog post how they`ve found traces of Native-American DNA, dating back to the Viking age, in Icelandic people of today (I even wrote an Eric Northman fanfiction about it 🙂 ), and now we may learn more about this contact. Read a National Geographic article about the Native-American DNA found on Iceland.

I`m incredibly fascinated by this. What was this contact? According to the sagas, which were written a long time after Leif Eriksson crossed the Atlantic, there was hostility between the Vikings and the Native-Americans. Apparently the Vikings found the Native-Americans “ugly” and called them “skrællinger”, which means weak and cowardly. I find that very strange given that the Vikings traded with and married into the local people wherever else they went.

It seems to me that the Vikings can`t have found the Native-Americans that bad looking if they brought at least one woman back with them to Iceland – and had children with her. I may be naive and romantic but I would love it if the archaeologists now find that the Vikings and the Native-Americans actually did trade with one another and that at least one blue-eyed Viking fancied that dark-haired local girl enough to bring her home with him (voluntarily on her part, I hope). Yeah, I am being both naive and romantic…

What did you bring home with you from Vinland, Leif?

10 Creatures in Scandinavian Folklore

FFFbone posted a link to this amazing list of 10 creatures in Scandinavian Folklore at the Random-Fandom . These are all creatures that are ingrained in our culture – especially the Norwegian culture which seems to have taken these creatures much more to heart than, for instance, the modern Danish culture. If my son spends too much time in the bathroom (it happens 😉 ), I ask him if “do-draugen” has taken him. “Do” is the Norwegian word for toilet ( “loo” is a better translation if one is splitting hairs).

10 Creatuers in Scandinavian Folklore by Rebecca Winther-Sørensen

Read the list here
The Scandinavian Folklore consists of a huge variety of creatures, good or evil, which have frightened people for centuries. They were often meant to scare children, but even today they are essential and important to the modern northern society. In the 1890s, something changed in the way common Scandinavians saw themselves and their culture. They looked back in time to rediscover their old myths and legends; folklore which had been forgotten because of the coming of Christianity. It was a time when people feared nature, because we were becoming more industrialized. The forests, the mountains, and the sea – it all seemed strange, dark and magic, and because of that, we are now left with evil spirits and monsters who used to represent our own way of seeing nature.


Huldra (or called Tallemaja in Swedish) is a troll-like woman living in the woods. She is fair and beautiful, but wild and has a long cow-tail which she hides behind her back upon meeting a human. It is said that Adam and Eve had many children, and that one day, when Eve was giving her children a bath, God came to visit. Eve had not finished bathing all of her children, and so hid those who were still dirty. God asked: “Are there not more children?” and when Eve said no, God said: “Then let all that is hidden, remain hidden,” and the hidden children became De Underjordiske (the ones living underground), lost souls who live under the surface of the earth, calling for someone to be with them, usually human passersby. Huldra was one of them, but she somehow remained above the ground. She is a flirtatious, young girl who is neither good nor evil.

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Scandinavia – the area of boredom and suicide?

A little while back Vanity Fair had an article about Scandinavia that left me both laughing and feeling insulted. Those are the best articles, aren`t they, the ones that inspire a multitude of emotions? Apparently A.A.Gill was annoyed with the “Scandinavian wave” sweeping over the world lately (I didn`t know there was one but then I`m supposedly riding the wave) and he had this to say:

Nordic Exposure

We’re having a real Scandinavian moment: Nordic thrillers piling up on the best-seller list and on TV. The Scream, by Norway’s Edvard Munch, fetching $120 million. H&M colonizing Western malls, alongside Ikea. Even global recession hasn’t dented the region’s smugness. So what’s the downside?
By A. A. Gill

An androgynous figure stands on a bridge, mouth agape, hands on its head, eyes piercing with shock. In the background, a blood-red, malevolent sky. If ever there was an image of our time, this is it. It grasps us like the mad fortune-teller gripping a palm. There is a fascination that goes beyond its mere museum merit. It is a glyph, graffiti of angst and dislocation, emblematic of this topsy-turvy, compassless era. In May, The Scream, the mystical 1895 drawing by the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, sold for $120 million at a Sotheby’s auction and instantly became the ghostly face of the Scandinavian invasion blowing out of the North. At least this time they’re not slaughtering monks and taking wenches from behind while wearing the sexually ambiguous combination of beard and braids.

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