Talk:Nordic countries

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It is probably true that the Nordic countries are known for the welfare state and liberalism. But I am not sure if this is so important for the traveller that it should be highlighted in the intro, perhaps move to "understand" section. "Liberalism" is a complex concept and may be interpreted in different ways, perhaps belongs in the intro if reworded something like "liberal way of life". I think the intro should highlight aspects that are most important from the traveller's perspective. --Erik den yngre (talk) 07:52, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Suggest we keep a "known for" sentence that includes for instance "natural beatuy", "wide space", etc., perhaps something about culture or way of life? Other points to include? Regards --Erik den yngre (talk) 08:50, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
[edit conflict]
I think many want to see what a region known for a particular trait really looks like, and to learn what the people there are like. Thus it is worth mentioning, but perhaps not highlighted that much (and if so, at least carefully worded), so I reverted my edit.
Anyway I think the lead could tell something about why the region could be interesting to visit (and this was what popped into my mind, perhaps from the Understand section). Now only low population density and location are mentioned, the rest is way down in the Understand section.
As only some people come here to go out in the wilderness, I still think something could be told about the societies.
--LPfi (talk) 08:55, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree that society and culture should be mentioned in the intro. The welfare state and "Nordic model" are of course important traits of the Nordic societies, and is certainly relevant background information - but I think not the most important issues from the travellers' perspective. Perhaps mention something about strong egalitarian norms instead? This quickly touches on political issues so careful wording is needed. Regards --Erik den yngre (talk) 10:16, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I think you're overthinking it a bit. All the stuff you've mentioned should be in there somewhere; I thought LPfi's self-reverted addition was perfectly fine as a starting point, for instance. Powers (talk) 20:59, 4 September 2015 (UTC)
Regardless how one defines the word "liberalism" (economic or personal freedom) it is dissonant with Nordic values and policies. In the Nordic countries themselves, "liberalism" usually means economic freedom; however, these countries have the highest tax rates in the developed world, with highly regulated markets for labour and housing. When it comes to personal freedom (which tend to define liberalism in an Anglo-Saxon context) all countries have zero tolerance against narcotics, and Sweden and Norway criminalize prostitution. Three of the countries are hereditary monarchies, and the Lutheran church has remaining privileges above other religions. There are other words that describe Nordic values better. /Yvwv (talk) 21:20, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

I certainly agree that it should be in there somewhere. The extensive welfare state is important, but in my opinion it is not a key information for the traveller, perhaps more important is for instance that these countries are among the richest in the world. So it is not harmful mentioning the welfare state in the intro, just a matter of what info should have priority. I have strong doubts above the term "liberalism" as this can be perceived as a political view or way of organizing the economy (the Nordic countries are usually regarded as coordinated, not liberal, economies). If "liberalism" means liberal moral or lifestyle, then I agree, but then we should differet words. Regards --Erik den yngre (talk) 21:31, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

Article status[edit]

The guide is quite comprehensive, but only at outline status. The criteria for usable regions (including "continental sections") are:

"Has links to the region's major cities and other destinations (the most important of which must be at usable status or better), and a Get in section describing all of the typical ways to get there. The most prominent attractions are identified with directions."

"The most prominent attractions" are probably quite easy to fix. There are sections on e.g. viking and royal heritage, great outdoors and northern lights. Is full listing format expected? The listings proper are now three, while I think many more (e.g. among Unesco sites) are worth mentioning.

Among the cities Oslo is usable, while the others are guide or above (Copenhagen). The other destinations are less developed:

  • Gotland is outline because of its regions. Including Visby instead is probably unproblematic – that is where first-time visitors go.
  • Jostedalsbreen, a glacier park article is an outline. The Get in is quite sketchy and there are no proper attractions. I think attraction listings is not what is foremost needed in such park articles, but the text describing what the park has to offer could be expanded. Our policy on tours is in conflict with the advice to always use guides; the article should describe typical tours offered (and does). Are there good examples how to handle such parks?
  • Laponia is a national park system. The article is a real outline, missing most information.
  • Mývatn is a usable region article.
  • Nordkapp is a usable "city" article.
  • Nuuksio National Park is guide.
  • Saariselkä is a usable "city" article.
  • Stevns Cliff is a usable "city" article.
  • Sydfynske Øhav is guide.
  • Þingvellir National Park is usable.

So if Visby is substituted for Gotland, then Jostedalsbreen and Laponia are the linked articles holding back the status. Perhaps Erik could improve the former. I think we have no Swedish outdoors enthusiast, so there is little hope for Laponia for the moment. Does that mean we cannot get this up to usable?

--LPfi (talk) 13:57, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

I will try to do some improvements of Jostedalsbreen. Some points are difficult to fix: The main attraction is the glacier itself. Man-made attractions are listed under "See". I will try to improve "Get in", but difficult because the glacier is wide and fragmented. --Erik den yngre (talk) 14:50, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
In March I did some improvements, any ideas for additional info needed about the glacier?`Erik den yngre (talk) 17:35, 31 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for that work. The article has improved a lot since what I wrote above. I am not sure what is needed for upgrading status (especially the "attractions with directions" bit) but I suppose the article is "usable". Price, coordinates, url and description for the cabins mentioned would be good to have. The most difficult part would be adding more prose to describe the landscape and the tours in a suitable manner, cf guide park articles or star park articles such as Isle Royale National Park. --LPfi (talk) 15:33, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Prices are difficult. There are some cabins/lodges within the park, but this are not very relevant for most visitors. Around the perimeter there are lots of accomdation. Jostedalsbreen is wide, perhaps 6-7 hours or more to drive all around, so it is difficult to describe as a place. --Erik den yngre (talk) 22:34, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
Laponia is now usable, mostly thanks to MartinJacobson. Gotland is still at outline, although the change of districts have made it easier to get it to usable. Having Visby instead, as I suggested, is difficult as there already are nine cities in the list. --LPfi (talk) 15:39, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

Not sure why Nordkapp is tagged as city. Nordkapp is not inhabited, although the municipality is. --Erik den yngre (talk) 22:18, 8 November 2017 (UTC)

We call most destinations "city". I am not sure "park" would suit much better. It is anyway in the "Other destinations" section, so is not competing with Visby. As long as we do not want to swap out Aarhus, Bergen or Turku, or one of the capitals, it is Gotland that has to be the destination. But it might not be one of the most important destinations, and in that case the article does not need to be usable until we want this article to be guide (which requires work at least on the national regions). --LPfi (talk) 23:20, 8 November 2017 (UTC)
I'd happily help trying to get Gotland to usable status. I upgraded Fårö, one of four listed destinations on Gotland, to usable status today. Gotska Sandön and Karlsöarna are much smaller and therefore a bit more difficult, but I'll try to improve them as well. However, I am not very experienced in writing region articles (how much can you add to "Eat" in a small region without listing restaurants?) and I am not sure what is needed for them to qualify as usable (how can a traveler "eat, and sleep with just this information" without listing specific venues?), so any help in improving the Gotland article would be much appreciated! MartinJacobson (talk) 16:09, 17 November 2017 (UTC)
Quite frankly, even after a decade or so of existence, we still somewhat struggle with some region articles; developing them and defining what should be in them. The German articles below the Bundesland level are a particular example. Gotland being an island should - at least in theory - be somewhat easier, though. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:15, 17 November 2017 (UTC)

Country descriptions[edit]

Can someone explain to me how is Finland "The most remote and perhaps the most conservative"? That isn't really something that raises your interest in travelling there. Ä Vinnis Persön (talk) 08:05, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Some people are repelled by liberal societies and prefer conservative ones, and some people prefer remote places to those on the beaten path. So my only question would be whether that's a misleading statement or not. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:35, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
I'd call that misleading, at lest what I've seen, Finland is as liberal/conservative as other ones.
There are many other words to describe Finland in short. "Remote" is a relative term, which could be true to British readers, but less meaningful to Americans or Australians. /Yvwv (talk) 14:30, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
If it's either misleading and/or not useful, anyone who would like to edit should go ahead. Ikan Kekek (talk) 10:44, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

Alternative banner[edit]

Made a banner of a photo of the Three Country Cairn. What do you think? The current banner could be used for northern Norway or Troms instead. /Yvwv (talk) 20:57, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Three Country Cairn.jpg
Great work, but I prefer the current banner - nicer, higher-quality pic, and red houses are more "Nordic" to me than random people in raincoats. PrinceGloria (talk) 21:04, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
The point is of course that the picture represents three of the countries. /Yvwv (talk) 22:08, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Very appropriate, thematically, but I'm afraid it's just not a compelling image, especially without that necessary context. Powers (talk) 21:27, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Agree with LtPowers. Appropriate and interesting, but because of colors/light and lack of context I dont think I will recommend a change. --Erik den yngre (talk) 09:28, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

Intercity buses in the Nordic countries[edit]

A propos User talk:Yvwv#Intercity buses in the Nordic Countries

There are many bus operators in the Nordic countries; both public and private. Currently, I however see no purpose of an Intercity buses in the Nordic countries, however. Most routes are within one country, and most operators which cross borders, also serve non-Nordic countries such as Germany. /Yvwv (talk) 18:22, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Are those companies sufficiently mentioned in Intercity buses in Germany and/or Intercity buses in Europe? Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:00, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

[edit conflict] Yes, one reason being that the land borders are in the very sparsely populated far north. Over there Eskelisen Lapin linjat (the dominating operator in the far north of Finland besides Golden line, the former post buses) has connections to Norway, but they are probably best handled in the Get in sections of Troms, Finnmark, Finnish Lapland and the "cities" in question. I suppose there are services over the Haparanda/Tornio border, but they probably go only to a nearby town on the other side of the border (Luleå, Oulu?). Is it difficult to establish such lines?
If there are international companies involved on the Finnish intercity lines, they hide behind old Finnish trademarks (except Onnibus).
--LPfi (talk) 19:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
No I was asking, whether the two mentioned articles currently mention those Nordic bus companies relevant to them. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:17, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for awful threading (I tried to complete Yvwv's answer). For your second question: I do not know how big or important the currently mentioned companies are, neither do I know that about those in Sweden. I think the article needs quite some expansion before I can tell what really belongs there. --LPfi (talk) 20:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)


Is snus use that common? In Finland selling it is illegal and I suppose few people outside the Swedish speaking regions close to Sweden use snus (3 % total). Smoking has gone down radically regardless (10 % of the young smoke daily, 5 % of highly educated adults, 20 % of all adults). Is tobacco use now much more common in Sweden than in Finland? And does Denmark, Iceland and Norway share the Swedish snus culture? I thought Sweden was alone on this. --LPfi (talk) 21:04, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

In Norway it is common. About 25 % of 16-24 years of age use snus daily or now and then, more common than smoking tobacco. 25-44 years snus is also more common than smoking tobacco. --Erik den yngre (talk) 21:25, 23 October 2017 (UTC)


Forbes says that Singapore, Hongkong, Zurich, Tokyo, New York etc are the most expensive. Copenhagen ranks 9th. So "very" expensive depends what you compare to. Some things are actually free or not particularly expensive by international hotel accomodation for instance is not expensive compared to major cities. --Erik den yngre (talk) 21:56, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Comparison is difficult (depends what items are inlcuded), but the comparisons I have found list Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm along with NY City, Zurich, Tokyo etc on top. So it does not seem fair to say that the Nordics are much more expensive than these major cities. --Erik den yngre (talk) 22:28, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

I haven't been to all the Nordic countries, but I am from Singapore, have lived in New York City, and been to Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and Reykjavik. From my experience, the price of food, hotels and consumer prices in general was the highest in Reykjavik among all these cities. The cost of living index that you see in magazines typically includes rent as well, so if you are living there, that would be different, because Singapore, New York City, Tokyo, Hong Kong and London are all very densely populated and have astronomically high real estate prices (for instance, Singapore has about the same population as Denmark, but squeezed into an area smaller than Hong Kong). And not to mention that the cost of buying a car in Singapore is ridiculously high because the government levies very high taxes to control the car population. But if you are just visiting as a tourist, at least from my experience with Iceland, I think it's fair to say that the Nordics are more expensive than a lot of these major cities. And based on accounts from friends who have lived in London, they actually say that food is a lot more expensive in Norway. The dog2 (talk) 23:30, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
I think the expensiveness really depends. The right to access can enable a rather cheap vacation and while alcoholic beverages are expensive, nobody forces anybody to partake. Public transit is a good option for getting around in many places and not outrageously priced, but if you intend to stay in city center hotels and drove you're gonna have an expensive time of it. I think we should not give a blanket statement so much as lining out where the expensive and the cheap parts are. Hobbitschuster (talk) 02:30, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

I tried to look at comparisons as tourist destinations, that is, prices for the things short term visitors typically buy or pay for. There are many webpages that do such comparisons and rankings (not sure how reliable and systematic all of these are so I tried to look at serious newspapers/magazines).

Venice, Amsterdam, London, Paris ranks among the Scandinavian capitals. These rankings also depend on exchange rates. After the finance crash in 2008 Iceland was relatively cheap, but I guess now back near the top. Actual costs also depend on style of vacation: Americans often rent a car also for a city stay, while this is less common in Europe partly because public transport is good (better than self-drive and often faster than taxi). So I think Hobbitschuster's point is important: We should be more specific about what is expensive and not, and what does not matter for the average visitor. For instance a taxi from Oslo airport is very expensive (there are lots of complaints about this, some first time visitors think it is a scam), but there is usually no reason to take a taxi (the train is twice as fast and one tenth price). Erik den yngre (talk) 15:31, 10 February 2018 (UTC)

I agree that it depends on what your travel purpose is. For instance, rent does not matter for the average visitor, so whether a place is cheap or expensive can differ drastically depending on whether you are a tourist or living there. If you live in Singapore as an expatriate, then the price difference between Singapore and Oslo will shrink substantially compared to if you're a tourist because rents in Singapore are a lot higher than in Oslo, so that that would have to be taken into account too. But if you are just there as a tourist, you can eat relatively cheaply (~US$3 for a meal at a local food stall), so you may find Singapore to be a cheap destination as you don't have to worry about paying rent. The dog2 (talk) 04:32, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
True. The list published by Daily Mail emphasises items on the visitor's shopping list (rather than cost of living for inhabitants). While the list may have some flaws, it does focus on the right things. To be fair and informative I think the article should mention what is particularly expensive and what is not. Such comparisons are difficult for instance because quality also differs and the price tag may not include the same. For instance, breakfast is usually included in hotel rates in Scandinavia but for instance not in North America or France (according to my memory). And as mentioned above, I would not include cost of taxi in a comparison (as Daily Mail did): Everybody needs a place to sleep, but there are many alternatives to taxis. To complicate further: Norwegians for instance tend to emphasise alcohol and good weather (sunshine) on vacation because it is expensive/less available at home. --Erik den yngre (talk) 18:27, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
It's my experience too that the Nordic countries are expensive compared to the rest of the world, with Norway and Iceland more expensive than Denmark, Sweden and Finland. I can't remember finding a non-Nordic country as a whole particularly expensive, even Switzerland would be about on par with Finland.
Places like Paris do certainly have tourist traps, but this doesn't mean the country as a whole is particularly hard on your wallet. On the other high taxes and wages are major reasons making the Nordic countries expensive, hence goods and services aren't really cheaper in non-touristy places. Nevertheless, Nordic countries might not be so expensive for locals. --ϒpsilon (talk) 19:42, 11 February 2018 (UTC)
In terms of expensive places, I'd say Australia is rather expensive too, most certainly compared to the US, UK, Canada and Japan, but not on the same level as Iceland. And speaking of alcohol, Singapore is actually more expensive than Australia, but Iceland is even more expensive than Singapore. When it comes to food, if you go to where the locals eat and avoid the tourist traps, you can actually find cheap food in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and something reasonably priced in New York and London, but everything in Reykjavik was expensive even if you avoid the tourist traps. Of course, I acknowledge that the fact that I speak Cantonese and Japanese will probably make some of the real local places in Hong Kong and Tokyo more accessible to me than to most other foreign tourists. And from what I understand, citizens of the Nordic countries get free healthcare and free education all the way up to university, which helps to offset the high cost of services and groceries, but obviously a tourist wouldn't be a beneficiary of these.
But anyway, perhaps we can say that the Nordic countries are very expensive for tourists. I guess that would be a fair statement, as it excludes people who are living there as expatriates, for whom the situation would be a lot more complicated. I can say that in Singapore, even though hotel breakfast is not included by default, you can easily get a cheap breakfast at a local coffee shop or hawker centre for something like $2 (~US$1.50). The dog2 (talk) 05:37, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think we can. For the record, the only thing I found "a little" expensive in Singapore was the Singapore Sling at Raffles, while riding the MRT and eating at hawker centres were almost free ;). Australia was pretty much comparable with Finland (slightly cheaper than other Nordic countries). ϒpsilon (talk) 11:09, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

For the average visitor, yes, Nordics are very expensive, but I am not sure if we need use that phrase if we anyway emphasize: "particularly when it comes to services, lodging, taxis, alcohol and tobacco". This reads: The Nordics are generally expensive and some things are even more expensive. I think it is more informative to be specific, then we can also avoid blanket statements. Visitors should be able to use this for planning ("should I go there?") and for being prepared ("what should I avoid when there?"). Visitors should certainly not avoid the Nordics because taxis are expensive, and hotels are about the same as elsewhere in western Europe.

I removed this claim "making even major world cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York City and London look cheap by comparison" because I think it is an exaggeration. Instead I wrote: "generally comparable to major world cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York City and London". Erik den yngre (talk) 15:37, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

One feature that makes the Nordic countries stand out from other "expensive" destinations, is the absence of really cheap options for dining, drinking, lodging and services. Even if you are far from business and tourist districts, a restaurant lunch (even a hamburger) will likely cost at least 6€, and a hairdresser who charges less than 20€ is likely to get a visit from the tax agency. /Yvwv (talk) 16:06, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
In New York City, you can go to the Halal Guys and get a meal of rice with lettuce, tomato with chicken or lamb, and a coke for US$5. In Tokyo, you can go to a noodle stand and get a a bowl of udon or soba for ¥300 (~US$3-4). In Hong Kong, you can get a bowl of congee in a cheap local place for HK$35 (~US$4.50). London is a bit more expensive, but you can find meals for £5. I never managed to find options anywhere close to those kinds of prices in Reykjavik except for a small hot dog bun (You get a hot dog bun at twice the size for about $2.50 in New York City).
And yes, I will attest to the fact that alcohol is expensive in Singapore. Alcohol was the one thing a tourist would likely spend on that I found to be cheaper in Australia than in Singapore. On the other hand, I most certainly remember considering whether to get a bottle of wine at a restaurant in Iceland, only to be put off by the high price tag. The dog2 (talk) 18:45, 12 February 2018 (UTC)
I'm not surprised. It seems the high price of wine works as a reason to add the double themselves. The bargains here are a student lunch (Finland only; €6.10 for outsiders, +€0.80 for coffee) or self catering (porridge with self-picked bilberries? €0.10?), and an off season cabin (€40?) or a night in the woods. --LPfi (talk) 18:54, 12 February 2018 (UTC)

Economist ranking[edit]

A little follow-up, the Economist lists the most expensive cities (based on a broad sample of 50,000 prices): 1. Singapore, Singapore 2. Paris, Frankrike (up since last year) 3. Zurich, Sveits (up) 4. Hong Kong, Hong Kong (down) 5. Oslo, Norge (up) 6. Geneve, Sveits (up) 6. Seoul, Sør-Korea 8. København, Danmark (up) 9. Tel Aviv, Israel (up) 10. Sydney, Australia (up) 13. New York (down) 14. Los Angeles

Cheapest: 133. Damaskus, Syria (down 14) 132.Caracas, Venezuela (down) 131. Almaty, Kazakstan (up) 130. Lagos, Nigeria (up) 129. Bangalore, India (up) 127. Karachi, Pakistan (up) Erik den yngre (talk) 00:35, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Distant and reserved[edit]

Hobbitschuster: I suppose Nordic people "tend to be distant and reserved towards strangers", and we will seldom bother people keeping their distance, but the rest of the description does not feel right:

While urban dwellers may be a bit more open, part of the reason why people in the countryside live where they live is to get away from other people, and there is a lot "away from other people" in the Nordic countries.

My impression is not that people live in the countryside to avoid others, they just stayed there when the rest left for jobs in the cities. Indeed, many people move to cities to avoid the tight communities, where neighbours actually care about them. Knock at a door in the most sparsely inhabited regions and you will probably be invited to drink coffee!

I think the reservedness has more to do with not caring about small talk. In the countryside it is probably also about them actually caring about what kind of person you are, they are making a commitment when accepting you into the community. If you do approach somebody, most people will be happy to help. When it comes to making friends things are more complex, but the the Guardian article on refugee welcoming in Nagu may be worth reading for one perspective. A similar attitude is found in many countryside communities.

--LPfi (talk) 08:00, 18 February 2018 (UTC)

Maybe you're right. I remember hearing a Canadian express the sentiment that if people bother you there's plenty of countryside top move to where you can do your thing and be left alone. By all means edit accordingly. Hobbitschuster (talk) 09:17, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
That might have been said by somebody who never visited the backwoods. And Canada may be different from the Nordic countries (never been there). I removed it for now, as writing a good description on such matters is hard, and most of it probably belongs in Understand rather than Respect. If somebody finds a good way to characterize the Nordic people in this respect, that would be valuable, as I think it is a commonly known trait (or prejudice). --LPfi (talk) 11:53, 18 February 2018 (UTC)
Difficult to get this right. Perhaps something about "private space". Visitors and imigrants to Norway often complain that Norwegians dont chat with strangers on the bus, one observer then explained that it is sign of respect not to bother others, that in the Nordic area there is more "private space" around the individual. Erik den yngre (talk) 10:39, 20 February 2018 (UTC)
In the Nordic countries, the bar for people to start discussing things with strangers "without a good reason" on the street or the bus is certainly higher than for example in Southern Europe or the US. ϒpsilon (talk) 12:23, 20 February 2018 (UTC)