There are a number of myths and misconceptions the rest of the world holds when it comes to Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. While some of these commonly held ideas do ring true for many, there are some which really do need to be debunked. Read on to be enlightened…
Myth #1: All Scandinavians are Blonde! Perhaps the most common misconception is that Nordic peoples all have blonde hair. While many do have blonde hair, blue eyes, and tan skin– in fact, it is said the only natural adult true blondes are Norse – and the percentage that do here is slightly higher than the global average, people from the North have a range of eye, skin, and hair colours. Incidentally, fifteen percent of Swedish citizens were born elsewhere in the world.
Myth #2: The Weather is Cold and Rainy! Outside Lapland, the weather in Scandinavia is temperate continental, like other parts of northern Europe. Summers are generally warm and comfortable and winters can be quite mild.
Myth #3: Scandinavia is Expensive! While prices may appear to be slightly higher than some other countries, prices stated on tags are inclusive of the 25% sales tax – there is no more to pay. Additionally, certain items are cheaper here than elsewhere in the world – fish, for example.
Myth #4: Scandinavia is all about sexual freedom! Thanks to sexually explicit films produced in the 1960s, and a more relaxed view generally towards nudity and sex than elsewhere in the world, the Norse have something of a reputation internationally for relative promiscuity. They are, in fact, no more so than anyone anywhere else in the world. Views in Sweden, for example, are influenced by gender equality and it is frowned upon to present women as sexual objects; many disapprove of pornography as it is deemed demeaning to women.
Myth #5: Scandinavian countries are small! Norway and Sweden are large countries with many unique and varied attractions to entice tourists. Finland is not a Scandinavian country; it is a Nordic Country, with its own unique character.
Myth #6: The Norse people eat Moose! While moose may be on some menus, it’s not a widespread, daily food staple. And Swedish meatballs were introduced to the North from southern Europe – they are not a native Swedish invention.
Myth #7: ABBA is played everywhere! The world has moved on from the 1970s and so has Sweden. There are ABBA museums in places like Stockholm, but there are plenty of contemporary artists producing music and this is what the tourist will hear in the department stores and nightclubs of Scandinavia.
The Nordic Countries are a depressive place! While Seasonal Affective Disorder does exist, and winters can be dark and gloomy here, only that part of Scandinavia above the Arctic Circle is fully exposed to the Polar Night. There is no more documented depression, based on scientific research, amongst Scandinavians than anywhere else in the world. So everything you thought you knew about Scandinavia is possibly the opposite of the truth! This is an amazing, contemporary and cosmopolitan place to visit, with unique wilderness to explore and activities to enjoy. Come and see for yourself!