Television in Denmark is rubbish, Finnish men like a drink – and Sweden is not exactly a model of democracy. Why, asks one expert, does everybody think the Nordic region is a utopia?
Read more here.
Well, that was harsh. I hope this guy is half-joking. Sure, much of this is true, but I'd say much is taken out of context or simply spinned to sound worse than things really are. I'd be the first to admit that there are problems up here. In fact, I'm getting increasingly frustrated living here with all the changes that have come up in the past year (yes, it's been that fast, in fact, it's probably more like six months).
Despite that, in all fairness, I have to say that depending on what you value in life, the Nordic countries are still quite good places to be or to be from. I'd say the Nordic countries (and I'd count Estonia among them as well, and possibly Latvia as well) are among the most honest countries in the world. That's nothing to sneer at.
Equality too, as the writer of this article admits, is important. Apparently, equal relationships thrive. Do men feel 'emasculated' by this equality? I can't really say, but I'd seriously doubt that the majority of Nordic men feel that way. Yes, some probably do. The angry internet trolls certainly seem to. But all in all, I'd say that both men and women are quite happy to be equal. I've read that the kids who went to so called 'gender daycare' when they were growing up (those born in the 1980's) were very happy with them and yes, that goes for the boys too.
There's less pollution up here too, though I suppose these days no one can 'escape their cruel fate' as we sometimes put it (old saying).
Personally, I appreciate the lower population density as well. Crowds make me uncomfortable. Though I realize that not everyone agrees. An Indian friend who had changed planes in Stockholm asked me incredulously - where are all the people? I think there are plenty of people in Stockholm, sometimes uncomfortably many to my taste.
I won't go into the negatives much, because I feel that would be disloyal, but yes, of course, like all countries, Scandinavia has its problems.
Ok, the envy and the grudging mentality and the 'Jantelag' (in Swedish) is a bit hard to take. The truth is, in the past, the King depended on a sort of system of informants to keep up law and order in Sweden. People would spy on their neighbours and report it to their vicar who would then send this information along to the capital and the authorities there. It's probably led to the mentality that involves people keeping a sharp eye on their neighbours, then reporting them for real and imagined wrongdoings. That's not nice. Espcecially since when an elderly person isn't seen or heard from for a long time, many neighbours prefer to ignore the fact they suspect the old person is lying dead in his/her apartment.
I can't help but feel that the man behind the above article is a bit envious of the Nordic countries. Maybe he has a bit of an inferiority complex? I remember reading about a Norwegian guy who won the Eurovision Song Contest. The woman reporting for an English newspaper admitted that she was hoping he'd poke himself in the eye with his bow. Please. If that's not envy, I don't know what is.
And though I've said this before in other blog posts, let's get this straight: It's not 'grim up north', not in the southern half of Sweden anyway, no more grim than in many other countries in the Northern hemisphere. Many parts of the south of Sweden is actually quite cheerful and jolly. Where I live, the scenery is beautiful and the people are mostly quite nice (except in the town I used to live in until quite recently, which is famous for being one of the most unpleasant towns in the country).
Come and see for yourselves. In the summer, it gets quite warm and sunny here most of the time. Contrary to what many people believe, the suicide rate isn't all that high either and even if it was, the tourists would hardly notice that.