Today is the national day of the Sami people who live in the north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Hurray!
Actually it`s not entirely true to say they only live in the north of these four countries. They used to have large settlements far south, at least in the Nordic countries (not so sure about Russia) and today many Sami people have moved to the large cities in the south.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent and it`s also the 1st of December. Christmas is right around the corner and I`m sure that what`s on everyone`s mind is what Scandinavians eat for Christmas. Right? 😉
To understand the Christmas food in the three Scandinavian countries you have to know a little about the financial and agricultural history here. I can sum it up in two sentences: Denmark was a country with rich farms and an abundance in food and Norway was a poor country with small farms where people had to make do with what they had. Sweden was both.
Did you ever wonder how IKEA finds name for all the furniture they sell? They have Kramfors, Imfors, Håbol, Leksvik, Hemnes, Sandnes, Roskilde, Björkudden, Kaustby, Helmer, Elmrik and many thousand more.
Well, wonder no more – it has been revealed. And Denmark is considering going to war with Sweden over it (not really, of course, but it`s been added to the list Swedish insults to Denmark).
Scandinavia and the World
IKEA`s name rules
These are the rules IKEA uses when the company finds names for new products:
- Places in Sweden: Couches, low tables, storage boxes
- Places in Norway: Beds, wardrobes, hall furniture
- Places in Denmark: Rugs, mats
- Places in Finland: Tables, chairs
- Old male names: Pedestals on wheels
- Urban male names: Office chairs
- Islands, lakes, waters: Shelves, bathroom closets
- Adjectives: Drawer interiors
- Animals (their Swedish names): Products for kids
Denmark = a rug???
The reactions to this have mainly been Danish. Denmark is a rug? Denmark is something you walk on? Denmark is a doormat?
The official reply from IKEA to this is very diplomatic: We felt that Denmark is strong enough to carry us all. Those Swedes … cute as ever 🙂
Is this Denmark?
IKEA has 9,500 different products and I have to add that there are exceptions to these rules, like the bookcase Billy (the name sounds very much like “billig”, which means cheap, and I suspect this is the reason for the name).
Read more about IKEA`s product names. (in Swedish).
I have been contacted by more than one person wanting to date Scandinavian people or even marry one of us. My reply? Tough luck! Because Scandinavians don’t date. We hardly even have a word for it. The Scandinavian word for ‘date’ is really old-fashioned and one my grandmother might have used but probably didn’t because I don’t think she dated either. So the few times we have to use the word ‘date’ (usually to describe something foreigners do) we use the English word for it.
And we very rarely get married.
So how do we figure on top of these lists of “happiest people in the world,” you wonder? And how do we procreate if we don’t date and don’t marry?
From the amazing online cartoon series Scandinavia and the World.
A few years ago I wrote a fanfiction called Highway to Hell about road rage on a European highway. It described how the heroine was stuck behind a truck and had the hero of the story flashing his lights to get past her, much to her annoyance.
But this summer I drove 6400 kilometers in nine different US states and I realized how strange my story must have been to you Americans (at least if the traffic in your state is anything like the traffic I met). The highways we drove on were like a train ride: Everyone was going around the same speed and you were just cruising along. No one breathing down your neck and honking the horn to get past you and no one driving like snails and turtles, stopping all traffic. The traffic was nothing like my story – it was so nice and cozy that 6400 kilometers felt like a … well, vacation 🙂 .
Yesterday I was driving home from Denmark, through Sweden, and let me tell you – the traffic in Sweden is nothing like a train ride. You are allowed to go 110 km/h or 120 km/h on the Swedish highways but people will be going at anything from 70 to 170. With two lanes it means you have to dodge the slow traffic in the inner lane (and sometimes in the outer lane because the bus going 80 *must* go past the bus going 70) and the blinking, honking fast travelers in the outer lane. So if my story Highway to Hell confused you when you read it, it`s unfortunately a correct description of how things are here. And if it scared you, you should probably think twice about driving on Swedish highways.
It`s not just in Sweden people drive like crazy but Swedes have been known to believe they are invincible in their so-very-safe Volvos. And they have a reason to feel safe because less people are killed in road accidents. Unfortunately, the people who are killed are now no longer sitting in their cars (they are safe there). It`s the pedestrians and the two-wheelers who are killed – probably by people driving safe cars, and driving too fast because they feel so safe.
So one could blame Volvo for making their cars too safe but really, that would be silly. Especially when Volvo makes cool adds like this one. I could forgive Volvo anything after I saw the add yesterda. It made me chuckle – but then I truly hate German techno 🙂
(Are you tired of German techno? Try some Swedish metal!)
Yes, I do prefer metal to techno!
I went to my birth town Copenhagen this weekend and the main purpose was to see the Viking exhibition at the National Museum. If you follow this blog, you probably already know that I`m fairly interested *cough* in Vikings and seeing this exhibition was high on my list of things I wanted to do.
And they didn`t forget that Vikings were women too!
Vikings who couldn`t afford swords, carried axes
I love football. Not the American kind – no, I love the kind which is actually played with your feet. There`s a reason why I dedicated a fanfiction to football: Dead on the Football Field.
Wednesday I had a jaw dropping experience: Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimowich scored an incredible goal against England. Lean back and enjoy!