Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland

Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland

Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland

Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland

Excerpt

In the minds of many people the countries of Northern Europe seem to be one, yet this volume will enable the reader to appreciate their delightful variety. indeed, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, for those whose knowledge of them is confined to atlases, are a geographical unit, formed originally by ties of language, race and religion. This is a summary view of the area, full of history and talent, known as Scandinavia. If Denmark, Sweden and Norway share a certain common fund of customs and traditions, the differences -- one might even say contrasts -- that separate them are no less marked, as readers of this book will realize.

This tendency, which has led so many of us to overlook a detailed consideration of these countries separately, springs in the first place from climatic and ethnographical reasons. They are Northern sea-faring lands. Because of the harsh climate, yielding neither vineyards nor olive-groves, the people of these coasts Often had a perfectly natural desire to visit some milder region -- were it only Normandy. The ship of the first Vikings, battered by seas and storms, is now in the Oslo Museum; this was the ship that bore those Aryans from whom Gobineau claimed descent, and whom he selected as the archetype of racial purity. The Danes, the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Finns were men of the sea and they have remained so; under their flags the great merchant navies of the world still sail. Setting course to the south, the Scandinavian sailors reached Denmark and its island-studded water-ways. You need to have sailed among these innumerable islands, to have walked like Hamlet on the terrace at Elsinore, to imagine those phantom vessels of the past searching for adventure. This is one of the world's narrow gateways! But what an air one breathes and what a spaciousness there is in this place where the North Sea meets the Baltic! In some ways, Europe ends here, but we must understand how greatly Denmark differs from Sweden and Norway, and recall how it fought and sometimes occupied them. This old rivalry is not entirely dead. It slumbers, still dimly glowing, in people's hearts.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.