Scandinavia is located in Northern Europe and it consists of three countries, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Countries such as Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Finland are not part of Scandinavia, these countries are part of the Nordic countries.
The landscape of Scandinavia is very diversified, in the south is Denmark which is flat like a pancake with many great areas for agriculture, and to the north is Norway and Sweden which are filled with mountains, lakes, and dense forests.
The term Scandinavia originates from the Latin word Scania, which derives from the Old Norse word Skáney (Modern: Skåne). Skåne is an area that is located in southern Sweden but was formerly a part of Denmark until 1658.
Facts about Denmark
Denmark is the smallest and most densely populated country in Scandinavia. Denmark was founded in the middle of the 10th century by Harald Bluetooth who unified the Danes into one country and raised the Jelling stone as a symbol of its creation. This runestone can be seen in the town of Jelling in Jutland.
Facts about Norway
Norway is the second-largest country in Scandinavia with a population slightly below Denmark. Norway was founded in 872 by Harald Hårfagre who unified the Norwegians into one country. Norway has lost its independence several times during and after the Viking Age, but the Norwegians finally obtained their independence in 1905 when the union between Sweden and Norway disintegrated. The Norwegians are a very proud folk and they treasure their independence day each year with a big party.
Facts about Sweden
Sweden is the largest country with the highest population in Scandinavia. Sweden was founded around the 11th century, however, the missionary Ansgar mentions a Swedish king in his records after his visit to Birka in 830 CE. Therefore, it is possible that Sweden was founded during the Viking Age.
There have been many wars in the past between the three countries, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and even today there are still a lot of rivalries. But this rivalry only plays out in making fun of each other or during sports events.
The Scandinavian countries are very close with each other and many have friends and family across the borders. The friendship between the three nations can be hard to explain, and outsiders have a hard time understanding the cultural differences.