50 Awesome Facts about Nordic Countries

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26Icelandic language

Iceland is extremely protective of their language. Instead of loaning words from other languages, they repurpose old ones. Telephone is 'simi', meaning thread, jet plane is 'thota', meaning to zoom and the word for computer, 'tölva' translates to number priestess or numbers witch.


27. Homosexuality was still classified as an illness in Sweden in 1979. Swedes protested by calling in sick to work, claiming they "felt gay".


28. Sweden was the first country to find out about the censored Chernobyl accident when one of the workers at the Forsmark power plant in Sweden set off evacuation alarms when radiation detectors went off after he had walked through grass that had been contaminated from radioactive rain picked up from Chernobyl over 800 miles away.


29. People who wanted to commit suicide in 18th-century Denmark were afraid to take their own lives because they believed it would send them to hell. Instead, they resorted to killing other people to receive the death penalty and repented before execution, believing that doing so would send them to heaven.


30. In Finland, they have 'National Sleepy Head day', where the last person in a family to wake up is thrown into a lake or the sea by the rest of the family.


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31Icelandic phonebook

In Iceland, the phonebook is sorted by first names because everyone's surname is basically their father's first name followed by -son or -dottir.


32. Linje Akvavit is a flavored liquor from Norway. It is shipped from Norway to Australia and back before being bottled. The sloshing and temperature change the liquor. Experiences on the ship impart certain flavors to the beverage. Akvavit is traditionally served as a holiday drink.


33. Helsinki cunningly survived World War 2. In 1944, USSR began a massive air attack on the city to force Finland to leave the war. Finns used fires and searchlights to trick Soviet bombers into dropping bombs outside the city. Russian diplomats were surprised to find an intact Helsinki after the war.


34. The parliament (Althing) of Iceland, established in 930 A.D., is the oldest active parliament in the world.


35. When Underdog Iceland reached the quarter-final of the 2016 Euro Cup, 10% of Iceland's population traveled to France for the game. The team coach was also a dentist.


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36Trans fats foods

In March 2003, Denmark became the first country to regulate trans fats in foods (2% limit on ingredients) and has since seen a 50% decrease in ischemic heart disease.


37. Stockholm, capital of Sweden, is built on 14 islands, and that the city center is "virtually situated on the water".


38. The United States has more people of Norwegian descent than Norway.


39. In the 1982 Swedish Hot Line Riot, the teens in Sweden hacked the landline system to create a massive party line unbeknownst to adults or HTE phone company. Over 1,000 14-18 year olds then decided to meet at one location with no plans. A riot ensued.


40. Earlier in 2016, Sweden released a telephone number that would put you in touch with a random Swede. More than 32,000 Swedes agreed to take the calls by downloading an app, answering upwards of 180,000 calls from all over the world.


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41King Carl Gustaf

In 2001, a teenager in Sweden was arrested on suspicion of treason after throwing a strawberry tart at King Carl Gustaf.


42. Norway, Sweden, and Finland together are not Scandinavia, but are Fennoscandia. Scandinavia actually comprises Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, not Finland.


43. In 2008, Doritos beamed a 30-second advertisement into a planetary system 42 light years away, in collaboration with EISCAT Space Center in Norway.


44. Norway owns an uninhabited frozen island (Bouvet Island) located halfway between Africa and Antarctica.


45. In Iceland, the belief in Elves is so pervasive that it can determine government action. From roads avoiding large rocks (where the Elves "live") to construction permits sometimes requiring the aide of a mystic who can ask the elves to move.


46Icelandic criminals

In Iceland, criminals are put on a waiting list to serve their time in prison because there aren't enough available jail cells. Many people who are on this list pay fines or do community service as an alternative to prison.


47. In 1954, archaeologists excavating an 8th-century Viking settlement in Sweden (Helgö) found a Buddha statuette from India.


48. Norway has very strict rules on advertising cars as "green" saying, "cars can do nothing good for the environment except less damage than others".


49. Finland's president (Sauli Niinisto) was in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. He survived by climbing up a utility pole with his son.


50. There are more bicycles in Copenhagen, Denmark, than people, 5 times as many bicycles as cars, and 400km of cycle lanes not shared with cars or pedestrians for a city of about 600,000 people.

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