Are Swedes Nordic or Scandinavian?

This question seems to confuse people in other parts of the world and the description ‘Nordic’ and ‘Scandinavian’ are often mistakenly used interchangeably.

Simply put, Scandinavia consists of Sweden, Denmark and Norway and is largely a geographical description. The Nordic region seems less clear but is a cultural description and consists of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. The political organisation The Nordic Council also includes the autonomous territories of Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Åland Islands. So all Scandinavians are Nordic, but not not all Nordic people are Scandinavian.

Then, to confuse things slightly, there are the FennoScandinavian countries which include Scandinavia, Finland and Karelia, but minus Denmark. Then there are the Baltic States which are Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. So, although Sweden is on the Baltic Sea, it is not a Baltic State.

So, in summary, Swedes are Scandinavians, Nordics and FennoScandinavians but not Baltics.

4 thoughts on “Are Swedes Nordic or Scandinavian?

  1. One can also think of the mountains. The Scandes: also called Scandinavian Mountain Range. Although that confuses even more, since Denmark is not part of the Scandes, but a tiny bit of Finland is…

  2. Geographically, only Sweden and Norway are part of Scandinavia, since they share the Scandinavian peninsula. Linguistically, though, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians and Icelanders (and Faroese) speak Scandinavian languages.

Leave a Reply to Lukus VanDeen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s