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Nordic countries

1.1 General

The Nordic countries form a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, which include the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Svalbard and Åland. Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries,although within the Nordic countries the terms are considered distinct.

The region's five nation-states and autonomous regions share much common history as well as common traits in their respective societies, such as political systems and the Nordic model. Politically, the Nordic countries do not form a separate entity, but they do cooperate in the Nordic Council. The Nordic countries have a combined population of approximately 25 million, spread over a land area of 3.5 million km² (Greenland accounts for around 60% of the total area).

Although the area is linguistically heterogeneous, with three unrelated language groups, the common linguistic heritage is one of the factors forming the Nordic identity. The continental North Germanic languages –Danish, Norwegian and Swedish – share a degree of mutual intelligibility with each other. These languages are also, to some extent, taught in school throughout the Nordic countries; Swedish, for example, is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools. Besides these languages and the insular North Germanic languages Faroese and Icelandic, all belonging to the Indo-European languages, there are the Baltic-Finnic and Sami branches of Uralic languages, spoken in Finland and northern Norway, Sweden and Finland respectively, and Greenlandic, which is an Eskimo-Aleut language, spoken in Greenland.

Nordic Countries

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1.2  Denmark

Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark[1] (Danish and Swedish: Danmark), is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland (Jylland) and many islands, most notably Zealand (Sjælland), Funen (Fyn), Vendsyssel-Thy (commonly considered a part of Jutland), Lolland, Falster and Bornholm, as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has long controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea: before the digging of the Kiel Canal, water passage to the Baltic Sea was possible only through the three channels known as the "Danish straits".

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Denmark has a state-level government and local governments in 98 municipalities. Denmark has been a member of the European Union since 1973, but has not joined the eurozone. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and the OECD. Denmark is also a member of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Denmark, with a mixed market capitalist economy and a large welfare state, ranks as having the world's highest level of income equality. Denmark has the best business climate in the world, according to the U.S. business magazine Forbes. From 2006 to 2008, surveysranked Denmark as "the happiest place in the world", based on standards of health, welfare and education. The 2009 Global Peace Index survey ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country in the world, after New Zealand. In 2009, Denmark was ranked as one of the least corrupt countries in the world according to the Corruption Perceptions Index, ranking second only to New Zealand.


[1] Includes Greenland and the Faroe Islands


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1.3  Finland

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomi; Swedish: Finland), is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden on the west, Norway on the north and Russia on the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.

Around 5.4 million people reside in Finland, with the majority concentrated in the southern region. It is the eighth largest country in Europe in terms of area and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Finland is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in Helsinki and local governments in 342 municipalities. A total of about one million residents live in the Greater Helsinki area (which includes Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa), and a third of the country's GDP is produced there. Other larger cities include Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Jyväskylä, Lahti, Kuopio and Kouvola.

Finland was historically a part of Sweden and from 1809 on, an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire. The Finnish Declaration of Independence from Russia in 1917 was followed by a civil war, wars against the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, and a period of official neutrality during the Cold War. Finland joined the United Nations in 1955, the OECD in 1969, the European Union in 1995, and has been a member of the eurozone since its inception.


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1.4  Iceland

Iceland (Icelandic: Ísland, Swedish: Island) is a European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2 (39,769 sq mi). The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with the surrounding areas in the south-western region of the country being home to some two-thirds of the national population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior land mainly consists of a plateau characterised by sand fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Iceland is a developed and technologically advanced society. Iceland filed an application to join the European Union in July 2009.


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1.5  Norway

Norwegians enjoy the second highest


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1.6  Sweden

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Sverige), is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden has land borders with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, and water borders with Denmark, Germany, and Poland to the south, and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Russia to the east. Sweden is also connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.

At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.4 million.] Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre (54 /sq mi) but a considerably higher density in the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas, and it is expected that these numbers will gradually rise as a part of the ongoing urbanization. Sweden's capital is Stockholm, which is also the largest city in the country (population of 1.3 million in the urban area and with 2 million in the metropolitan area). Sweden is a member of the European Union since 1995, but is not part of the eurozone.

Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Sweden's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2 percent of GDP and employment.

In terms of structure, the Swedish economy is characterized by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector, an increasing, but comparatively small, business service sector, and a large public service sector by international standards. Large organizations both in manufacturing and services dominate the Swedish economy.


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1.7  And more economic and financial data on:


World Bank and his World Bank’s Open Data: intended to provide all users with access to World Bank Data, a listing of available WB data sources. Updated as additional data resources, including databases, pre-formatted tables and reports. With a direct link to the sources. http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog