Scandinavian countries: common historical and cultural heritage

The term "Scandinavian countries" is used to designate a region in Northern Europe that unites Denmark, Norway, Sweden, as well as associated autonomous territories located in the North Atlantic. These are Greenland, Faroe Islands, Svalbard, Aland Islands. Many experts argue that it should be used as a synonym for all Nordic countries (Nordic countries), including Finland and Iceland. If considered strictly geographically, then on the Scandinavian Peninsula there are only Norway, Sweden and the northwestern part of Finland. There is still such a definition as Fennoscandia. It is characteristic of a physico-geographical country, which includes Denmark, Finland, the Kola Peninsula and Karelia.

Scandinavian countries have a common early history (as, for example, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus), related cultural features and social systems. Danish, Norwegian and Swedish languages form a continuum of dialects, and they are all considered mutually understandable to each other. Speaking of the Faroese and Icelandic (island Scandinavian) languages, they differ significantly from them - maybe only with the exception of some words borrowed throughout the history of each other. Greenland generally belongs to the Eskimo-Aleut group.

The name "Scandinavian countries", according to many historians, is relatively new. It was introduced in the eighteenth century as a term for three kingdoms (Denmark, Sweden, Norway), which had a common historical, cultural and linguistic heritage. But it was actively perceived in the nineteenth century in connection with the development of the movement, known as pan-Scandinavianism, agitating for a unified national idea. It was popularized to a large extent by a well-known song composed by Hans Christian Andersen, which speaks of an integral people. The famous writer, after his visit to Sweden, became an active supporter of the movement. He sent a song to his friend and wrote that he suddenly realized how closely "our peoples" are related to each other.

Presumably etymologically the name "Scandinavian countries" is associated with the historical region of Scania, which is located in southern Sweden. Both terms, "Skåne" and "Skandinavien", derive from the German root "Skaðin-awjō". In the overwhelming majority of Danes, Swedes and Norwegians are descendants of several Germanic tribes inhabiting the southern part of the peninsula and the northern part of Germany. They spoke German, which eventually was modified into Old Norse (in the Middle Ages known as the Northern language).

Nevertheless, even if the Finnish language has no common roots with this ancient language (it belongs to the Finno-Ugric group), one should take into account the fact that Suomi was historically and politically connected with all three countries. Iceland, which was actively inhabited by Norwegians, since the eleventh century, and in 1814 became part of Denmark, can also be safely included in the category "Scandinavian countries".

Interesting facts from the general history: for more than 500 years there has been a close relationship in foreign policy, from the attack of Higelak, the governor of Goethe mentioned in the "Beaufulf", to Gaul, and to the unsuccessful campaign of King Harald III of Surov to Norway in 1066. Another commonality is the rejection of Catholicism (in favor of Lutheranism) at a time when it was a single religion throughout Western Europe. In addition, there were cases when all the kingdoms of the region were united under the same government - for example, Knut the Great, Magnus the Good. The most striking example of coexistence is the Kalmar Union. The yellow-red flag of this union is still used in some cases, thus uniting Scandinavia.

Today all countries of the region actively participate in joint advertising campaigns through a tourist union, cooperating with many agencies (including the Scandinavia-Tour) in many parts of the world.

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