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Kingdom of Skandinavia
Motto: Gud og Fedrelandet
(God and Fatherland)
Anthem: Kronens Sang
The Song of the Crown
Location of Skandinavia in Europe
|Recognised regional languages||Swedish, Icelandic, Faroese, Kven and Sami|
|Frederik X of Skandinavia|
• Personal Union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
|03 December 1839|
• Formal union of Denmark, Norway and Sweden
|11 March 1925|
3,046,249 km2 (1,176,163 sq mi)|
(excluding Queen Maud Land)
• Water (%)
• 2019 census
|11.38/km2 (29.5/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2017 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Skandinavisk Krone (SK)|
The Kingdom of Skandinavia (Norwegian: Kongeriket Skandinavia), or simply Skandinavia, is a nation that emerged as a result of the union of the former crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1839 as a personal union and later in 1925 as an unified nation. It was established as a parliamentary monarchy ruled by a Monark (Monarch) with constitutional limited powers but still retaining a very important role.
The role of the Monarchy, as well as that of the Aristocracy, form a fundamental part of the political structure and organization of the state. This fundamental role is based on the widely held idea among the population, that "the nation is something more than its subjects, it is the great society of the living, the dead and those who are about to be born". Under this premise, nation has to be equiped with counterpowers that are above fads, short-term solutions and partisan political decisions that seek no more than immediate or particular interest. The fundamental role of the Monarchy, but also that of the Aristocracy and the Church, is to exercise that counterpower.
History[edit | edit source]
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Scandinavism (also called Pan-Scandinavianism) and Nordism are literary and political movements that support various degrees of cooperation among the Scandinavian or Nordic countries. Scandinavism and Nordism are interchangeable terms for the literary, linguistic and cultural movement that focuses on promoting a shared Nordic past, a shared cultural heritage, a common Scandinavian mythology and a common linguistic root in Old Norse, and which led to the formation of joint periodicals and societies in support of Scandinavian literature and languages. However, political Scandinavism and political Nordism are two distinct political movements which emerged at different times. It was created in the beginning of the 20th century but its roots are in the literary "Nordism" of the 1700s and the "Scandinavianism" of the 1800s, which attempted to transform former enemies into allies to defend against external threats.
Voltaire described Karl XII and Peter the Great as Nordic rulers, while we are talking of the war between them as "The Great Northern War." In the early 1700s there was no clearly defined Nordic area. It seemed to have been comprised by Denmark, Sweden and Russia, which included the Norwegian, Finnish and Baltic provinces. In other words, "Norden" (the North) or the Northern countries applied essentially to the maritime region north of Germany and Poland. The area that we currently define as Nordic crystalized much later.
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First Kalmar Union[edit | edit source]
From ancient times the idea of unifying the Scandinavian kingdoms and territories has always been present. Throughout history there have been many attempts that for one reason or another have ended up failing. Despite this, during the last 600 years Scandinavia and the kingdoms that formed it have been longer united than separated. The First Kalmar Union was a personal union that from 1397 to 1523 joined under a single monarch the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (then including Finland), and Norway, together with Norway's overseas dependencies (then including Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Northern Isles). The Union was not quite continuous; there were several short interruptions. Legally the countries remained separate sovereign states, but with their domestic and foreign policies being directed by a common monarch.
One main impetus for its formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region. The main reason for its failure to survive was the perpetual struggle between the monarch, who wanted a strong unified state, and the Swedish and Danish nobility which did not. Diverging interests (especially the Swedish nobility's dissatisfaction with the dominant role played by Denmark and Holstein) gave rise to a conflict that would hamper the union in several intervals from the 1430s until its definitive breakup in 1523 when Gustav Vasa became king of Sweden and Norway continued to remain a part of the realm of Denmark–Norway under the Oldenburg dynasty for nearly three centuries. From then until the early nineteenth century, the nations of Denmark-Norway and Sweden remained seperated. During this period and after successive wars, Denmark-Norway was losing the positions in Denmark-Oriental partly because of the Swedish expansionist impulse and partly because the rest of European powers did not see with good eyes that Denmark-Norway controlled on both sides the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
Napoleonic Wars[edit | edit source]
The long decades of peace came to an abrupt end during the Napoleonic Wars. Britain felt threatened by the Armed Neutrality Treaty of 1794, which originally involved Denmark-Norway and Sweden, and later Prussia and Russia. The British fleet attacked Copenhagen in 1801, destroying much of Denmark-Norway's navy. Denmark nonetheless managed to remain largely uninvolved in the Napoleonic Wars until 1807. The British fleet bombarded Copenhagen again that year, causing considerable destruction to the city. They then captured the entire Dano-Norwegian fleet so that it could not be used by France to invade Britain (as the French had lost their own fleet at Trafalgar in 1805), leading to the Gunboat War (1807–1814). The confiscation of the Danish navy was widely criticised in Britain.
In 1809 Dano-Norwegian forces fighting on the French side participated in defeating the anti-Bonapartist German rebellion led by Ferdinand von Schill, at the Battle of Stralsund. By 1813, Denmark-Norway could no longer bear the war costs, and the state was bankrupt. When in the same year the Sixth Coalition isolated Denmark by clearing Northern Germany of French forces, Frederick VI had to make peace. Accordingly, the unfavourable Treaty of Kiel was concluded in January 1814 with Sweden and Great Britain, and another peace was signed with Russia in February.
The post-Napoleonic Congress of Vienna demanded the dissolution of the Dano-Norwegian union, and this was confirmed by the Treaty of Kiel in 1814. The treaty transferred Heligoland to Great Britain and Norway from the Danish to the Swedish crown, Denmark was to be satisfied with Swedish Pomerania.
Norwegian independence under Christian Frederick[edit | edit source]
The viceroy and heir to the thrones of Denmark and Norway, Prince Christian Frederick, (future King Christian VIII) resolved to disobey the instructions from his King and to take the lead in an insurrection to preserve the integrity of Norway and the union with Denmark. In Norway, the sentiment was that Norway had been "sold out" to Sweden, their sworn arch-enemy, made the prince quickly conceive of popular support as well as the old nobility, while much of the new nobility favored the annexation of Norway by Sweden. On January 30 1814, Christian Frederick decided to claim the throne of Norway as rightful heir and to set up an independent government with himself at the head. The week prior to the claiming, the prince toured parts of Norway and found the same willingness to fight the Swedes if they came.
On February 8, the Swedish king responded by threatening to send an army to occupy Norway and threatening a continued grain embargo against Norway if Sweden's claims under the treaty of Kiel were not met. But for the time being, he was occupied with the concluding battles on the Continent, giving the Norwegians time to develop their plans.
On February 20, the Swedish government sent a mission to Christian Frederick, warning him that Norway's independence movement was a violation of the treaty of Kiel and put Norway at war with the victorious parties in the Napoleonic War. The consequences would be famine and bankruptcy. Christian Frederick sent letters through his personal network to governments throughout Europe, assuring them that he was not leading a Danish conspiracy to reverse the terms of the treaty of Kiel, but rather his efforts reflected the Norwegian will for self-determination. He also sought a secret accommodation with Napoleon I. The mission from the Swedish government arrived in Christiania on February 24 and met with Christian Frederick. Christian Frederick refused to accept a proclamation from the Swedish king but insisted instead on reading his letter to the Norwegian people, proclaiming himself regent. The Swedish delegation characterized his decisions as reckless and illegal, asking for leave to return to Sweden. The day after, church bells in Christiania rang for a full hour, and the city's citizens convened to swear fealty to the new Norwegian King Christian Frederick. The businessman Carsten Anker was sent to London to negotiate recognition by the British government. Swedish authorities were canvassing border areas with pamphlets subverting the independence movement. By early March, Christian Frederick had also organized a cabinet and five government departments, though he retained all decision-making authority himself.
The Count of Wedel-Jarlsberg, the most prominent member of the Norwegian nobility, arrived in Norway on March 3 and confronted the regent, accusing him of playing a dangerous game. Christian Frederick responded by accusing Wedel-Jarlsberg of colluding with the Swedes. Returns from elections for delegates to the constitutional assembly also showed there were widespread misgivings about the independence movement. By the end of March, the opinion was openly expressed that Christian Frederick's ambition was to bring Norway back under Danish sovereignty.
Before Carsten Anker arrived in the UK, the British foreign secretary Robert Stewart, reimposed the naval blockade of Norway and assured the Swedish king that the British would not accept any Norwegian claims of sovereignty. A conciliatory letter sent by Christian Frederick to the Swedish king was returned unopened. On March 9, the Swedish mission to Copenhagen demanded that Christian Frederick be disinherited from succession to the Danish throne and that European powers should go to war with Denmark unless he disassociated himself from the Norwegian independence movement. On March 17, Niels Rosenkrantz, the Danish foreign minister, responded to the Swedish demands by asserting that the Danish government in no way supported Norwegian independence, but that they could not vacate border posts they did not hold. The demand for disinheriting Christian Frederick was not addressed.
In several letters to Count Hans Henrik von Essen, the commander of the Swedish military forces at Norway's borders, Bernadotte referred to Christian Frederick as a rebel who had probably been misled by the Danish nobility. He ordered his forces to treat all Danish officials who did not return home as outlaws, and all users of the "prince dollars" to be considered counterfeiters. Swedish troops amassed along the border to Norway, and there were daily rumours of an invasion.
Swedish invasion and guerrilla war[edit | edit source]
The hostilities opened on 26 July with a swift Swedish naval attack against the Norwegian gunboats at Hvaler. The Norwegian army was evacuated and the vessels managed to escape to the north. This fact was very important in the end and helped to maintain resistance in later years. The main Swedish offensive came across the border at Halden, bypassing and surrounding the fortress of Fredriksten, and then continuing north, while a second force of 6,000 soldiers landed at Kråkerøy outside of Fredrikstad. This town surrendered the next day. This was the start of a pincer movement around the main part of the Norwegian army at Rakkestad.
On the front towards Kongsvinger the forces were more evenly matched, and the Norwegian army eventually stopped the Swedish advance at Lier on 2 August, and won another victory at Matrand on 5 August. On 3 August, King Christian Frederick reached the front at Østfold and was persuaded to change his strategy and use the 6,000 men stationed at Rakkestad in a counterattack against the Swedes. The order to counterattack was given on the 5th of August, but the order was recalled a few hours later. The Norwegian forces therefore withdrew over the Glomma river at Langnes in Askim. The last major battle of the war was fought on 9 August at the bridgehead at Langnes, where the Swedish forces once more were driven back. Sweden then attempted to outflank the Norwegian line, and successfully did so during the battle of Kjølberg Bridge on the 14th of August. The Swedes then had a clear path to Christiania, the Norwegian capital. In addition, the British blockade of Norway gradually worsened the Norwegians' situation, making food shortages common everywhere. The proximity of Swedish armies and the British blockade eventually made the Norwegians' situation unsustainable, so Christian Frederick and the remains of his army moved firstly to Nidaros and later to Namsos allowing the Swedes controlling Christiania and virtually most of Norway.
From the north, with the remains of the army and the Norwegian fleet, the King led a guerrilla war taking advantage of the difficult Norwegian orography. These campaigns carried out over four years made it possible to resist the invasion and gradually undermine the Swedish morale and economy that required the sending of more and more troops to effectively control the Norwegian territory. During all this time, and despite the fact that the European powers prevented Denmark from officially supporting the Norwegians, part of the Old Danish nobility and many businessmen secretly helped and finance the Norwegian resistance.
End of the war and Norwegian independence[edit | edit source]
At the end of 1817, after nearly four years of invasion and a huge amount of resources spent trying to maintain control of the occupied Norwegian territory, opposition to the invasion had grown considerably within Sweden. In addition, after the end of Napoleonic wars with Denmark supporting the "Seventh Coalition", the European Powers were less and less favorable to continue maintaining support for the Swedish invasion. With the Napoleonic threat over, it did not make sense for Britain to continue the pressure on Norway and Denmark with a commercial approach being much more beneficial. On the other hand, Russia was suspicious of the increase in power of Sweden, its traditional enemy, which also motivated an approach to the Norwegian and Danish positions.
This fact allowed Denmark to come to the aid of the Norwegian resistance and disembark an army in Arendal. Attacked by north and south, demoralized and loosing the internal support, the Swedish troops withdrew to their territory and the Swedish king renounced the Norwegian crown allowing Norway to become independent.
Swedish inheritance crisis and Dano-Norwegian invasion[edit | edit source]
Upon Swedish King Charles' death on 5 February 1818, former Napoleon marshal Jean Bernadotte ascend to the Swedish throne as Charles XIV. Denmark and Norway took advantage of the misgivings that a former Marshal of Napoleon caused in the European powers, especially in Russia, to claim rights to the Swedish throne for Christian Frederik, then King of Norway. Dano-Norwegian troops crossed the Swedish border while Russia was preparing to attack Sweden from the east. Given the perspective of beign atacked from two sides and given the opposition to a foreign monarch that existed in part of the Swedish nobility and specially among the people, a coup deposed Bernadotte and the Swedish parliament handed over the crown to Christian Frederick who became King of Norway and Sweden in June 1819.
Birth of the Second Kalmar Union[edit | edit source]
On 3 December 1839, after the dead of Frederick VI, Christian Frederick ascended the Danish throne as Christian VIII again unifying the crowns of the three Scandinavian kingdoms, although the three nations remained independent with their own parliaments and institutions in a new Second Kalmar Union. During the following decades until the 20th century, the three nations developed common elements that would serve to deepen their union, such as the monetary union of 1873.
Second Kalmar Union[edit | edit source]
King Christian VIII reigned over the three kingdoms from 1839 until his death in 1848. During the 11 years of his reign he promoted the integration of the kingdoms. Although Denmark, Norway and Sweden maintained their own legal personality, the King strove to create supranational institutions that would help him in his integrative task. As a reward for his support during the war years, the new King guaranteed his status to the old nobility of Denmark and Norway, but also to the Swedish nobles who supported him in his succession claim. In contrast, many of the nobles who opposed were accused of treason, stripped of their titles, forced into exile and confiscated property.
Although the three parliaments maintained it, the King created a new "upper house" formed by representatives of the nobility and national churches with authority over the three kingdoms: The Landsting. In addition, as head of the three national churches and aware of their importance, he promoted measures for rapprochement and collaboration between the three. His reign served above all to end a troubled time and lay the foundations for the prosperity that would come with his successors. During the reign of Christian VIII the first stage of the Industrial Revolution also reached Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This first take-off was founded on rural forges, textile proto-industries and sawmills. First railroads were constructed in Denmark, Norway and Sweden during the 1840s.
Upon the death of the first king who had once again unified the three Scandinavian crowns, they were inherited by his son Frederick VII. Frederick VII reigned from 1848 to 1873 and his reign was characterized as a time of profound reforms in the three kingdoms that served to modernize productive schemes, improve the quality of life of citizens and allow the flourishing of arts and sciences. This period also counts as "the Golden Age" of Scandinavian intellectual history. A sign of renewed intellectual vigor was the introduction of compulsory schooling in 1849. Literature, painting, sculpture, and philosophy all experienced an unusually vibrant period. The stories of Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875) became popular not only in the Scandinavian countries, but all over Europe and in North America. The literature of Henrik Wergeland (1808–1845), Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832–1910), Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812–1845) and Jørgen Moe (1813–1882). Painting of Hans Gude (1825–1903) and Adolph Tidemand (1814–1876) and the music of Edvard Grieg (1843–1907). The ideas of the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) spread far beyond Scandinavia, influencing not only his own era, but proving instrumental in the development of new philosophical systems after him. The sculptures of Thorvaldsen (1770–1834) grace public buildings all over the three nations and other artists appreciated and copied his style. Moreover, during this time there was a steady decline of death rates that had began about 1810. The improvement in living conditions meant the decline of several diseases during this time created a more favorable environment that increased children's resistance to disease and dramatically lowered child mortality.
Frederick VII died without an heir and that caused a brief succession crisis, however the Landsting fulfilled its function as guarantor of the stability of the union of the three Kingdoms and crowned his uncle Prince Christian of Glücksburg, the paternal descendant of King Christian III, and an 8th cousin of his father Christian VIII. He took the throne as Christian IX.
Christian IX reigned over Denmark, Norway and Sweden from 1863 until his death in 1906. Under his reign over Denmark, Norway and Sweden Sweden, much like Japan at the same time but supported by a huge amount of natural resoruces, the three nations were transformed from a stagnant rural society to a vibrant industrial society. The agricultural economy shifted gradually from communal village to a more efficient private farm-based agriculture. There was less need for manual labor on the farm so many went to the cities, and a million Scandinavians emigrated to the North America and Australia between 1850 and 1890. Many returned and brought word of the higher productivity of American industry, thus stimulating faster modernization of local economies.
The Scandinavian Monetary Union, a monetary union formed by Denmark, Sweden and Norway on 5 May 1873, also took place under the reign of Christian IX. This monetary union fixed the three national currencies against gold (.403 gram) at par to each other. The union provided fixed exchange-rates and stability in monetary terms, but the member-countries continued to issue their own separate currencies. In an outcome not initially foreseen, the perceived security led to a situation where the formally separate currencies circulated on a basis of "as good as" the legal tender virtually throughout the entire area. The monetary union proved to be one of the tangible results of the Second Kalmar Union and until its dissolution during the Second World War it served to strengthen the commerce, industry and economy of the three Scandinavian nations. Social security also took a few steps forward during his reign. Old age pensions were introduced in 1891 and unemployment and family benefits were introduced in 1892.
Education was greatly promoted in this period and access to schools was universalized. The introduction of compulsory gymnastics in the schools of Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1880 rested partly on a long tradition, from Renaissance humanism to the Enlightenment, of the importance of physical as well as intellectual training. More immediately, the promotion of gymnastics as a scientifically sound form of physical discipline coincided with the introduction of conscription to create an Union Army, which gave the state a strong interest in educating children physically as well as mentally for the role of citizen soldiers. Skiing is a major recreation in modern Skandinavia and its ideological, functional, ecological, and social impact has been great on Skandinavian nationalism and consciousness. Skandinavians perceived skiing as virtuous, masculine, heroic, in harmony with nature, and part of the country's culture. A growing awareness of strong national sentiments and an appreciation of natural resources led to the creation of the Scandinavian Ski Association in 1892 in order to combine nature, leisure, and nationalism. The organization focused its efforts on patriotic, militaristic, heroic, and environmental Scandinavian traditions as they relate to ski sports and outdoor life.
Schleswig-Holstein Question and Schleswig Wars[edit | edit source]
The Schleswig-Holstein Question was a complex set of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century from the relations of two duchies, Schleswig (Slesvig) and Holstein (Holsten), to the Danish crown and to the German Confederation. Schleswig was a part of Denmark during the Viking Age, and became a Danish duchy in the 12th century. Denmark repeatedly tried to reintegrate the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom. On March 27, 1848, Frederick VII announced to the people of Schleswig the promulgation of a Royal Decree under which the duchy, while preserving its local autonomy, would become an integral part of Denmark and the Second Kalmar Union. This led to an open uprising by Schleswig-Holstein's German majority in support of independence from Denmark and of close association with the German Confederation. The military intervention of the Kingdom of Prussia supported the uprising: the Prussian army drove Denmark's troops from Schleswig and Holstein, beginning the First Schleswig War (1848–51), which ended in a Danish victory at Idstedt supported by troops of Norway and Sweden under the flag of Kalmar Union. This vitory allowed the Kalmar King Fredeick VII to retain the titles of Duke of Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg.
On the death of Frederik VII the succession problem of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg again resurfaced. After dying without an heir and being appointed Christian IX as new king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, a succession problem arose in Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg. Danish inheritance laws were different from the German ones that were applied in the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg, which gave Bismark a perfect excuse for not recognizing Danish sovereignty and starting a new war. On 18 November 1863, King Christian IX of Denmark signed a decree establishing a shared law of succession and a common parliament for both Schleswig and Denmark. This was seen by the German Confederation as a violation of the 1852 London Protocol. In response, on 24 December 1863, Saxon and Hanoverian troops marched into Holstein on behalf of the Confederation (as part as the federal execution against Holstein). Supported by the German soldiers and by german Holsteiners, the Germans took control of Holstein.
In January the situation remained tense but without fighting; Danish forces controlled the north bank of the Eider River and German forces the south bank. Domestically, Bismarck had been under great pressure since a constitutional crisis in 1862, and he was hoping to gain public support among Prussian liberals by achieving the "liberation" of Schleswig. The decision not to settle for the occupation of the German Duchy of Holstein, but to invade Schleswig, was taken by the Prussian and Austrian governments alone. The other members of the German Confederation did not agree, and it was even discussed to declare war on the two great powers. However, due to the military superiority of the Prussians and Austrians, this did not happen. On 14 January 1864, Austria and Prussia declared to take action against Denmark without regard to decisions of the German Confederation. On 16 January 1864, Bismarck issued an ultimatum to Denmark demanding the resignation of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg within 48 hours, but demand was consequently rejected by the Danish government. Denmark had the support of Norway and Sweden, and although it tried to get help from Britain, the British decided not to intervene.
At the start of the war, the Danish army consisted of about 48,000 men in four divisions: three from Denmark, one from Norway and one from Sweden. About 38,000 men defended the Dannevirke. The Prussian army had approximately 50,000 men and the Austrian army had approximately 28,000 men. The supreme commander for the Prussian-Austrian army was Field Marshal Friedrich Graf von Wrangel. The Austrian troops were led by General Ludwig von Gablenz. Prussian and Austrian troops crossed into Schleswig on 1 February 1864 against the resistance of the Federal Assembly of the German Confederation, and war became inevitable. The Austrians attacked towards the refortified Dannevirke frontally while the Prussian forces struck the Danish fortifications at Mysunde (on the Schlei coast of Schwansen east of Schleswig town), trying to bypass the Danevirke by crossing the frozen Schlei inlet, but in two days could not take the Danish positions, and retreated. The situation of the front stabilized in the following weeks when temperatures of up to 15 degrees below zero were reached. In the month of March the front line has not been moved from the beginning of the war.
The growing opposition within the German Confederation, as well as Russia's increasingly belligerent stance against the war, motivated the Germans to want to end the war as soon as possible, so they sent reinforcement troops. Faced with overwhelmingly superior troops, the Kalmar Union armies were only able to resist for a few weeks, and eventually the King was forced to call for surrender.
The loss of Slesvig and Holstein was a major blow to the morale of the Second Kalmar Union, but the fact that for the first time troops of the three Scandinavian nations had fought together against an aggressor enemy, helped increase Scandinavian sentiment and encouraged the idea of working even more in the union.
Consolidation of the Kalmar Union[edit | edit source]
The final decades of the 19th century served to make the union of the three countries stronger, although all three formally maintained their independent institutions. On the one hand, the monetary union favored internal economic and commercial development, and on the other hand, the constitutions of Denmark and Sweden were remodeled based on what was approved in the modern Norwegian constitution of 1814. This gave way to a development of parliamentarism in the three nations although the King continued to retain key powers in accordance with the constitution.
During the last decades of the 19th century, the Kalmar Union underwent an important modernization process transforming an agrarian economy into a growing industrial nation based above all on the abundance of natural resources (hydraulic, mineral, forestry, etc.) that served as the basis for the rapid industrial implantation.
The three countries forming the union agreed to use a common diplomatic service and laid the foundations for the creation of a joint military force.
Second Kalmar Union 1901-1923[edit | edit source]
The industrialization of Denmark, Norway and Sweden had begun during the second half of the nineteenth century. The industrial breakthrough occurred in the 1870s during the international boom period, and it carried on through the decades in response to the growing demand of the home market. By the end of this period, the first multinational companies based on advanced technology had emerged. During the first decades of the 20th century, Denmark, Norway and Sweden experienced a period of economic prosperity supported by exports of raw materials and industrial products. Decades of economic growth also motivated an exponential increase in population.
King Christian IX died in 1906 after a reign of 43 years. His son, Christian Frederik ascended to the thrones of Denmark, Norway and Sweden as Frederick VIII at the age of 62. He died only six year later on 1912 and his son Christian X became new King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. His character has been described as authoritarian and he strongly stressed the importance of royal dignity and power. During his reign that arrived until 1947 he struggled to strengthen the integration between the three nations by relying on the old nobility and the church but sometimes finding the opposition of politicians who fearful of losing their quotas of power, were more concerned for the re-election than for the future of their countries.
Welfare state[edit | edit source]
The three nations of the Second Kalmar Union created a successful model of social democracy because of the unique way in which the King, the Nobility, the Church, nations's labor leaders, politicians and classes cooperated during the early development period of democracy. Because political leaders guided by the King chose a moderate, reformist political course with broad-based public support in the early stages of industrialization and prior to the full-blown development of interclass politics, Denmark, Norway and Sweden escaped the severe extremist challenges and political and class divisions that plagued many European countries that attempted to develop social democratic systems after 1911. By dealing early, cooperatively, and effectively with the challenges of industrialization and its impact on social, political, and economic structures, the three nations were able to create one of the most successful political systems in the world, including both a welfare state and extensive protections of civil liberties.
Second Kalmar Union from 1923 to 1925[edit | edit source]
At the beginning of the 1920s Skandinavia was already a fully industrialized nation, which meant a strong urban development and the emergence of revolutionary ideas similar to those of other world powers. This was an important fact especially in the more industrialized areas of southern Sweden. When the Russian revolution broke out in 1923, it quickly spread to Finland (Russian dependency) and riots arose in the industrial areas of southern Sweden. The King Christian X demands the Swedish parliament to quickly halt the unrest but political struggles within the parliament prevent swift and effective action. Over the course of several months the protests and riots escalated while the Swedish police were unable to quell them. Therefore, and using his constitutional prerogatives, Christian X decided to suspend the Swedish Parliament and ordered the army to deploy to end the Marxist protests.
With the army deployed in the industrial areas of the south, the protests and riots ended in a few weeks and the Marxist leaders were executed for treason. After the protests, the new parliament enacted laws to strengthen the welfare state and increase workers' rights.
Taking advantage of these events, the King and the supporters of the full integration of the three nations pressured the parliaments of the three nations to carry it out. The role of the old nobility and the national Churches was also key so that finally in 1924 steps were taken to create a unified state.
Meanwhile in Finland the Marxist rebellion was getting strong and with the Tsarist government fighting in large areas of Russia, Union troops crossed the Finnish border to support Tsarist Russia. When the Tsarist government fell in March 1923, Skandinavia agreed with the new Russian Republic to maintain the peacekeeping forces in Finalndia while the new Russian government strove to maintain order in Russia itself. Between 1922 and 1924 numerous units of the Union armies fought to quell the rebellion in Finland. After the Russian revolution Russia decides to grant independence to Finland by taking large areas of the Finnish territory and incorporating them into Russia and handing over the Aland Islands to Skandinavia. From the beginning Skandinavia was involved in the reconstruction of Finland and helped modernize the country's economic and political structures. Thus began an alliance between both nations that is still maintained today.
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In the summer of 1923 during the marxist riots in Sweden a large group of intellectuals, artists and renowned professionals from Denmark, Norway and Sweden published the "Manifesto for the Unification" urging the leaders of the three countries to explore possible ways to unification in a single state.
Given the political impasse of the three parliaments the King appeared in a unprecedented statement to tell society that he was ready to lead the change process. This statement was criticized by the major political parties in the three countries that accused the King and his supporters of exceeding their constitutional mandate, but supporters of unification, with Danish Prime Minister Lars Hedtoft leading the way, used the royal decision to get political support and move forward in the union process. In addition to Lars Hedtoft, once again the families of the Old Nobility of the three countries and the leaders of the national churches became catalysts of the growing popular pro-unification sentiment like they had supported the creation of the Second Kalmar Union in the beginning. This fact led to a significant increase in the leadership of both institutions in society.
In the last days of 1924 was presented to the public the "Act of Union" which would become the the new supreme legal text and gave the new elected Sovereign powers over those who held their predecessors. Monarchy had proved to be an institution worthy of support and affection of citizens being above party interests of political leaders. Social pressure forced the three national parliaments to pass the Act of Union and finally on March 11, 1925 King Christian X of Denmark, Norway and Sweden became Christian X of Skandinavia.
From that moment the King appointed a parliament composed of representative members of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish societies that was responsible for defining the legislative body of the new nation. A government that emerged from that parliament immediately assumed the defense and international representation of Skandinavia and oversaw the policies of the governments of the three countries in order to be agree with the interests of the new nation. Finally, in late January 1926, the Fundamental Laws of Skandinavia were drawn up and were approved by Parliament and the King. The definitive Unionenslov (Act of Union) was approved by the new Parliament and was endorsed in referendum by the people in May 15, 1927. The King dissolved parliament and called elections which were held on November 23, 1927 resulting in the first parliament and later the first government elected by the citizens of Skandinavia.
Since its formation, Skandinavia has had clear its intention to become a leading player in international politics. To get this goal government worked from the beginning to strengthen its diplomatic and military capabilities. The success of the Kingdom and the integration process became an burst for the economy and after the first five years of the Union, GDP increased by 27% over that founding member had separately.
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In the years before the Great War, Skandinavia experienced tremendous growth. The results of the union paid off and during the 1930s the industrialization process was strengthened to place Skandinavia as one of the most industrialized European nations. Relations with the European and North American powers intensified, and trade flows grew greatly. The welfare state responded to the demands of the working classes and the nation was experiencing a time of prosperity and population growth. During these years the alliance with Russia intensified but also very good relations with Great Britain and to a lesser extent with other European and North American nations developed. Even with Germany, decades after the Sleslvig and Holstein war, business and business exchanges were fluid.
Skandinavia joined the arms race of the 1930s, partly because of the need to build a strong army for the new nation, and partly also because of the tension situation in Europe. Commercial and industrial surpluses provided the necessary money. At the beginning of the 1940s Skandinavia had a respectable army and a powerful navy that made Skandinavia an interesting ally for both sides in which Europe seemed to be alienating. Internally, the supporters of one side and the other grew and externally the pressures of Russia on the one hand and Great Britain on the other began to become unsustainable.
In September 1941, when war already seemed inevitable, the King and his government declared their intention to remain neutral in the event of a conflict.
This decision, which a priori seemed not to please anyone, was made after carefully analyzing all the possibilities and was made after receiving and granting some guarantees. On the one hand, the government did not trust Germany to respect neutrality and asked the British, the greatest supporters of Skandinavian neutrality, for assurances that Germany (a British ally) would respect neutrality. On the other hand, to satisfy Russia, which hoped Skandinavia would fight at its side and feared another front in the north, Skandinavia gave Russia assurances that would enter the war if the war reached Finland or Finland decided to go to war against Russia.
It was a very complicated decision and very strong pressures, before and during the war. But despite some incidents during the war, the nation remained safe from the debacle and during the war years maintained and intensified exports to countries in conflict in Europe and also in America keeping the supply routes of the North Atlantic.
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At the end of the Great War Skandinavia emerged intact as a new European Power, with all its industrial and military power and with a tremendous superhabit as result of the years of arms race in which it became a world-class exporter. King Christian X died in 1947 and was succeeded by his son Frederik I of Skandinavia.
As soon as the war ended, however, there was a contraction in the economy as a result of the end of the arms race. Heavy industries, especially, suffered and during the period 1946-1950 there were economic adjustments and growth in unemployment. However, the welfare state worked and the surpluses of previous years served to finance a re-conversion by heavy industry to other more technological sectors. In the mid 1950s, oil exploration began in the North Sea and in a few years a growing oil industry began to be created that would take Skandinavia, at the end of the 1960s, to a new golden age of economic growth. After the first years of moderate recession and stagnation, the Skandinavian economy grew at a sustained rate of between 5 and 7 percent between 1955 and 1966.
At the end of the GWI, Skandinavia maintained good relations with British and Germans, but cooperation with the Netherlands had also been strengthened and there were growing commercial ties with various countries in North America, especially with Brazoria as a result of collaboration in the oil industry. To avoid the excessive dependence on the European economy, especially as regards the importation of food products, important trade agreements were signed during this period with American nations such as Sierra, Superior, Brazoria and Brazil. On the other hand, the American markets also served to increase exports of Skandinavian industrial products.
During this period Skandinavia also focused its foreign policy on the newly created Baltic republics as an opportunity to increase its sphere of influence. In the period 1947-1957 Skandinavia became the first donor of aid to Estonia and Latvia for post-war reconstruction. Also in 1951, Skandinavia and Finland signed an economic and commercial cooperation agreement that would serve as a seed for the creation of the future NEA.
By the mid-1960s Skandinavia had become a European power in economic and political terms, but also in military terms. The policy of "armed neutrality" was maintained during the interwar period, based mainly on the technological quality of military equipment, and on an enormous development of the navy and the air force.
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Main Article: Skandinavia during Great War II
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By the end of the 50s the process of integration of the three nations had been completed. The reorganization of administrative structures and the adoption of the necessary legal measures to favor the equality of all people and territories had been implemented with great success. The economy of Skandinavia grew at a very high rate in the 50s, partly motivated by the Marshall Plan aid and partly because the productive structures had not suffered significant destruction during the war. The governments of Hans Hedtoft worked together with business, agricultural and labor organizations to develop an economic model that agreed to planning elements but integrated into a market economy. In this sense, attempts were made to strengthen the strengths of each territory to encourage the creation of distributed companies that would ensure a proper structuring of the territories. The foundations for the modernization of production processes and traditional industries were established, as well as agriculture saw a significant increase in productivity.
The 60s marked the consolidation of the economic, political and social boom in Skandinavia. The economy grew at an average rate of 5% annually that served to consolidate the welfare state and allow the international projection of Skandinavia that during these years was presented to the world with a leading actor in the political and also military. The defense of self-imposed neutrality in the Cold War went through the development of the necessary military capabilities to guarantee self-defense and also to project the power and influence of the nation. Committed to this new strategy, Skandinavia had a strong and active participation in the United Nations Operation in the Congo (ONUC) operations between 1961 and 1964 where up to 8,000 Skandinavian soldiers participated in the different phases of the operation. During the 60s, the development of the Scandinavian nuclear program was carried out, which allowed the nation to have a double standard: On the one hand it developed its own solid technology for the development of nuclear energy and on the other hand it developed a nuclear weapons program. Strengthening defense capabilities in an environment of neutrality boosted national defense industries to become world leaders in some fields. Saab, Kongsberg, Kockums, Odense Staalskibsværft, BOFORS Hägglunds,... are only some examples.
After the death of the King Frederik IX in 1972, his daughter Margrethe II became Queen with the purpose of leading the nation to the new millennium with the same strength and character that her father had done. Although she was the first Queen to ascend to the throne of Skandinavia (and the second monarch to do so) she decided to reign as Margrethe II to honor the Danish Queen Margrethe I who had reigned centuries ago in the first Kalmar Union.
In the early 1970s, agriculture had undergone a process of reforms based on the concentration of farms and mechanization. This process reduced the number of employees in the field and an exodus of rural population to cities encouraged in turn by the strong demand for industrial employment, but the housing situation posed problems as more and more people moved to the cities. Responding to the housing shortage, the government introduced the Million Programme, a national wave of suburban development with the aim of creating a million homes from 1970 to 1976. This period saw the beginning of large-scale immigration to a country that used to be one of the more ethnically homogeneous in the world. The first phase of immigration consisted of workers from southern Europe, who were actively wooed over by campaigns of advertisement and recruitment in their home countries, for instance Italy & Austria. In the 1970s and early 1980s many refugees with families arrived from e.g. Chile, Kurdistan, Vietnam & Somalia, some of them with refugee status, others on the immigration quota. At the same time, governments implemented mechanisms to encourage births with subsidies and tax advantages for families with two or more children. During the first half of the 70s the economy continued to grow at a good pace, although growth declined in the last years of the decade. At the end of the 70s Skandinavia was a thoroughly industrialized nation with many businesses of cutting-edge innovation, especially in telephonics, energy management, chemicals, pharmaceutics & food industry, metallurgy, shipbuilding and defense while fish farming became a new, profitable industry along the coast. However, the oil industry became the main growth factor during the decade. Prospecting in the North Sea started in 1966 and in 1969 Phillips Petroleum found oil in the Ekofisk field—which proved to be among the ten largest fields in the world. Operations of the fields was split between foreign operators, the state-owned Statoil the partially state-owned Norsk Hydro and Saga Petroleum. The oil industry not only created jobs in production, but a large number of supply and technology companies were established. Stavanger became the center of this industry. High petroleum taxes and dividends from Statoil gave high income from the oil industry to the government.
At the beginning of the decade of the 80 the economy gave clear symptoms of overheating. The high wages in the oil industry made low-skill manufacturing industries uncompetitive and many companies had to close causing an increase in unemployment, which led to social unrest and problems with the large number of low-skilled immigrants who had arrived in the country in the 70s. This motivated the laws for the reception of immigrants to harden, being today one of the most restrictive in the world. A series of economic measures to make the economy more flexible and give more liberalization to some sectors, together with loans guaranteed in future oil income, allowed Skandinavia to avoid a recession during the mid-1980s and to start growing again at the end of the decade. Taxes were cut, local private radio stations were permitted, cable television was established by private companies, regulations on borrowing money were removed and foreigners were permitted to buy securities with certain restrictions. Flexibilizing measures also helped foreign capital to enter not only in the oil industry, but also in other productive sectors.
The 90s returned the nation to the path of constant economic growth, supported by traditional and oil industries, but also by a strong technological development of aeronautics, information technologies and biotechnology. During these years, traditional sectors such as shipbuilding, steel and mining have undergone a restructuring process that has led to the closure of some companies and a concentration of the sector to respond to the challenges of the international economy. The competition in price with the production in Asia has served so that the national industries have bet by the technological development adapting the products and services. For example, in the shipbuilding industry the tonnage of built ships has been reduced by betting on smaller but much more specialized vessels that allow maintaining an important level of employment and benefits. At the same time, the growing demand for minerals due to the need for imports in the Asian market has meant a new golden age for Scandinavian mining with the opening of new mines and the reopening of some old ones that are once again profitable in a high prices environment and new methods of mining and refining. On the other hand, the combination of nuclear, renewable energy and IGCC plants has led to cheaper electricity and the resurgence of the steel and aluminum industry. Finally, the economy has turned to hydrogen and electricity as energy sources for industry and mobility, allowing an improvement in environmental conditions.
At the end of the 90s, Skandinavia was the world's second-largest oil exporter, what together with the benefits of public companies has served to allow the governments large investments in infrastructure without the need to increase public debt. During the 1990s, much of the oil revenues have been invested to guarantee the welfare state in future generations.
The end of the Cold War meant an important approach to Union of Sovereign States in economic and business matters. This process, which had already begun in the 80s with an improvement in relations with the Soviet Union, has meant the establishment of a new era of cooperation between the two nations in fields such as energy, oil, mining and new technologies. On the other hand, during the 90s the participation of Skandinavia in international politics increased significantly, with numerous deployments of troops in missions of the League of Nations and an increase in diplomatic presence abroad.
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Geography[edit | edit source]
Attending to its geography, Skandinavia is divided into four major geographical units and seven minor units (regions):
- Artic Islands
- Scandinavian mainland (including the continental islands)
- Antartic Territories
Area and boundaries[edit | edit source]
(All data excluding Queen Maud Land, Greenland and Faroe Islands)
- Total: 929,030 km² (excluding Quenn Maud Land with 2,700,000 km², Greenland with 2,166,086 km2 and Åland with 1,580 km2)
- Land: 98%
- Water: 2%
- Total: 1,679 km
Coastline: 46,625 km
- Skandinavian continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
- Exclusive economic zone: 200 nmi (370.4 km; 230.2 mi)
- Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi)
- Lowest point: Lammefjord, 7 meters below sea level
- Highest point: Galdhøpiggen, 2,469 m
Physical geography[edit | edit source]
Political geography[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia's complex geography and the wide distribution of the population has led to a number of conventions for it subdivisions. These have changed somewhat over time, and various reforms are still under continuous consideration.
Since the beginning of the formation of the unified nation, there has been a big controversy over the state organization and specially the role of the traditional fylker or counties. On the one hand those who thought they were too small units that should be grouped and another who felt that the success of the administrative organization of a state is in close proximity to citizens. After long debates the winning idea was that the traditional fylker were the essence of participatory democracy in Skandinavia and the construction of the new state should be put on the fylker. Although there are territorial divisions bringing together several fylker (counties), called landsdeler (regions), these divisions do not have any legal entity. The regional division is also used to coordinate the provision of certain services that by their nature are to be shared by several counties. (Some police services, military organization, regional justice courts, electricity or gas grids, etc.)
The political administration of Skandinavia takes place at four levels:
- Kongeriket (kingdom), covering all of metropolitan Skandinavia including Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the autonomous regions of Greenland and Aland and the integral overseas areas of Svalbard, Jan Mayen and Bouvet Island.
- Landsdeler, (region).
- Fylke, (county). These derive in part from divisions that preceded the former nations constitutions but have been reformed several tiemes. Current county division was made in 2005. The fylker also function as constituencies during elections for Parliament.
- Kommune, (municipality).
- Dependencies, Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island on Antarctica which both are subject to the Antarctic Treaty System.
Politics[edit | edit source]
According to the Unionenslov (Act of Union), Skandinavia is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King is the head of state and the Statsminister is the head of government on behalf of the King, who is the one who falls on the executive power according to the Unionenslov. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Unionenslov, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.
Although the 1953 Unionenslov grants important executive, legislative and judicial powers to the King, these are normally exercised by the Statsrådet (Council of State), the Unionsparlamentet (Parliament) or the Kongelige Domstoler (Royal Courts of Justice) in the name of the King. According to parliamentary practice, the King use to accept what is proposed by the Unionsparlamentet. Nevertheless, the reserve powers vested in the King by the Unionenslov are very importants and this become very important the role of the Monarchy.
Executive branch[edit | edit source]
The Statsrådet, (Council of State), is formally convened by the reigning King. It consists of a Statsminister, (Prime Minister), and his council, formally appointed by the King. Parliamentarism entails that the cabinet should not have the parliament against it, and that the King uses to appointment what is proposed by the Unionsparlamentet, (National Parliament). The council must have the confidence of Skandinavia's legislative body. In practice, the King will ask the leader of a parliamentary block that has a majority in the Storting, (Lower House of the Parliament), to form a government. After elections resulting in no clear majority to any party or coalition, the leader of the party most likely to be able to form a government is appointed Statsminister. The Statsminister proposes the rest of the members of the Statsrådet who are then appointed by the King. He directs the activities of the government as a whole. The Statsminister can also designate various Visestatsminister (although it is not mandatory). The work of the Government is leaded and coordinated by the Statsministerens Kontor, (Office of the Prime Minister). According to the constitution, the King can appoint ministers and veto a minister proposed by the Statsminister.
Legislative branch[edit | edit source]
Unionsparlamentet, is the Parliament of Skandinavia. It is the supreme legislative body of Skandinavia and the Crown dependencies. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in Skandinavia and its territories. Its head is the King (currently King Frederik II) and its seat is the Stortingsbygningen (Union Storting Building) in the city of Stockholm. It is a bicameral parliament consisting of an upper house called Landsting and an lower house called Storting. The King forms the third component of the legislature (the King-in-Parliament).
The Landsting includes two different types of members: the Herrer Åndelig (Lords Spiritual), consisting of the 14 most senior bishops of Den Skandinaviske Kirke (Church of Skandinavia), and the Herrer Temporal, (Lords Temporal), consisting of 14 Livets Jævnaldrende. (Life Peers), appointed by the King, the 6 Høj Kongelige Embedsmænd, (High Royal Officials) and of 41 Arvelige Jævnaldrende, (Hereditary Peers), sitting either by hereditary right or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
The Storting is an elected chamber with 349 single member elected in every Fylke (County).
The two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Stortingsbygningen in Sotckholm, but the Landsting uses to meet also in Christiansborg Slot, (Christiansborg Palace), in Copenhagen.
By political convention, all government ministers, including the Statsminister, are members of the Storting and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Almost all public agencies of Skandinavia are subordinate to the government, but two ombudsmen, the Parliamentary Intelligence Committee and the Office of the Auditor General are directly subordinate to parliament.
Unionsparlamentet was formed in 1951 following the ratification of the Unionenslov, (Act of Union), passed by the Parliament of Denmark, the Parliament of Norway and the Parliament of Sweden. The Unionenslov stating, "That Skandinavia is represented by one and the same Parliament to be stiled the Unionsparlamentet".
Judiciary branch and law enforcement[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia uses a civil law system where laws are created and amended in Unionsparlamentet and the system is regulated through the Kongelige Domstoler. It consists of the Royal Supreme Court, appellate courts, county courts and conciliation councils. The judiciary, although traditionally a third branch of government, is independent of executive and legislative branches. While the Statsminister nominates Supreme Court Chief Justice for office, their nomination must be approved by Unionsparlamentet and confirmed by the Monark. Judiciary is exercised by professional judges and magistrates. Judges have security of tenure and may not be promoted (or demoted) without their consent. Seats in the Royal Appellate Courts and Royal Supreme Court members are elected by the judges from among the judges who meet the minimum required by law. There are 16 Appellate Courts through the nation. (14 in Scandinavia, 1 in Greenland and 1 in Iceland.)
The public prosecutors, on the other hand, takes order from the Justis- og Sikkerhetdepartementet (Ministry of Justice and Security) through the Skandinavisk Påtalemyndigheten (Skandinavian Prosecution Authority). The status of public prosecutors and their ties to government are frequently topics of debate but the law guarantees the total independence of the prosecutor's office, which in no case can receive orders from the government.
Law enforcement in Kalmar Union is carried out by the Kongelige Gendarmeri (Royal Gendarmerie) at the national level, and at the county level every county is able to maintain their own County Police. Only certain designated police officers at the national level have the power to conduct criminal investigations, and such investigations are supervised by prosecutors.
Currently Skandinavia has one of the lowest crime rate in the world.
Foreign relations and military[edit | edit source]
Foreign relations[edit | edit source]
The foreign policy of Skandinavia is based on its identity as a sovereign state in Europe and the Arctic. As such its primary foreign policy focus is on its relations with other nations as a sovereign state. As heir of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, Skandinavia has maintained good diplomatic relations with most of the countries from the beginning. However, unlike its predecessor states, Skandinavia has distanced itself from the traditional nordic policy of neutrality and non-intervention to become in recent years a leading player in world politics with a strong "active international policy". This leadership is based on a strong sense of independence and the refusal to cede sovereignty to other supranational organizations, in a broad and active diplomatic network, and in a powerful armed forces well equipped and ready to be used at any time and place.
Skandinavia is a member of:
- League of Nations
- Point Dana Group
- Nordic Economic Area
- World Trade Organization
- International Monetary Fund
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
- Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
- Council of Europe
- World Bank
Military[edit | edit source]
Today's Skandinavian military doctrine is based on the concepts of national independence, nuclear deterrence and military self-sufficiency. Forsvaret (Skandinavian Armed Forces) are the military and paramilitary forces of Skandinavia, under the Monark as supreme commander. They consist of the Kongelige Hæren (Royal Army)), Kongelige Sjøforsvaret (Royal Navy)), the Kongelige Luftforsvaret (Royal Air Force), the Kongelige Heimevernet (Royal Home Guard), the Kongelige Strategiskestyrker (Royal Strategic Forces) and the Kongelige Gendarmeri (Royal Gendarmerie), which acts as an integral police force. Together they are among the largest armed forces in the world.
While the Kongelige Gendarmeri (Royal Gendarmerie) is an integral part of the Forsvaret (gendarmes are career soldiers), and therefore under the purview of the Forsvarsdepartementet (Ministry of Defense) it is operationally attached to the Justis- og Sikkerhetdepartementet (Ministry of Justice and Security) as far as its civil police duties are concerned.
Until the formation of the unified nation, traditionally in the old countries the military base was made up of conscripts. From the outset, the new government realized that the security of the nation needed a fully professionalized armed forces. Skandinavian armed forces are based on a perfect mix of quality and quantity. The technological superiority of Skandinavia guarantees the most advanced levels of equipment and armaments.
Getting the troops needed to maintain the professionalism of the armed forces is no easy task. So the staff is well paid and enjoy many other social benefits both in their working lives and in their integration into civilian life. Currently, the armed forces are composed of almost 400.000 troops allocated between different branches of the armed forces. Of these, 120,000 are foreigners who get their nationality after a period of service. With the current restrictive immigration laws, immigrants can reach the nationality after a service period in the armed forces, so this is a good way to get the necessary troops. In 2007, compulsory military service was reactivated. Since then, all men and women at the age of 18 must complete a 6-month basic military training course, which will be complemented by courses of 1 or 2 months in subsequent years until they reach 12 months. The law provides for the possibility of replacing military training with other types of social services of equal duration for cases of conscientious objection.
Skandinavian nuclear deterrence relies on complete independence and is carried out by the Kongelige Strategiskestyrker (Royal Strategic Forces). Current Skandinavian nuclear force consists of 4 Eirik Raude Class submarines equipped with submarine-launched ICBMs and about 8 ICBM mobile launchers. During the 1980s, several launch silos were built but they have been decommissioned in 2012. In addition to the submarine fleet and the mobile launchers, it is estimated that Skandinavia has about 80 medium-range air-to-ground/sea-to-ground missiles with nuclear warheads.
Skandinavia has major military industries with some of the largest aerospace and defense industries in the world. Skandinavia is a major arms seller, with most of its arsenal's designs available for the export market with the notable exception of nuclear-powered devices and nuclear weapons.
Economy[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia enjoys one of the highest GDP per-capita in the world. The Union maintain the second place in the world UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).
Union's economy is an example of a mixed economy, a prosperous welfare state featuring a combination of free market activity and state ownership in certain key sectors. The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic energy and military ones. Skandinavia is a major shipping nation and has one of the world largest merchant fleet, with 1,924 Union-owned merchant vessels.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, coal, hydropower, fish, forest, and minerals. Skandinavia has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. The Union welfare state makes public health care free, and parents have 12 months paid parental leave. The income that the state receives from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production and the substantial and well-managed income related to this sector. Skandinavia has a very low unemployment rate, currently 2.1% The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in the Union are among the highest in the world. The egalitarian values of the Union society ensure that the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies is much smaller than in comparable western economies. This is also evident in Skandinavia´s low Gini coefficient.
The standard of living in Skandinavia is among the highest in the world. International organizations judge the Union to be one of the the world's most well-functioning and stable country.
Economy in Skandinavia is an export-oriented economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Union's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture and livestock account for 3% of GDP and 2% of employment.
In terms of structure, the Union industry is characterized by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector.
- Statsbudsjettet av Skandinavia (State budget of Skandinavia)
- Skandinavisk Riksbank (Central Bank of Skandinavia)
- Skandinavian Krone
- Skandinavian top companies
- Shipbuilding in Skandinavia
Energy[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia is one of the largest oil exporter (and producer) on Earth, producing around 3 million barrels of oil/day, and one of the largest producer of natural gas, having significant gas reserves in the North Sea. Recnt investigations in the Barents Sea have shown that the Union can get a huge ammount of oil in the region. Skandinavia also possesses some of the world's largest potentially exploitable coal reserves on earth. With this starting point, the energy in the Union has undergone many changes in recent years.
The global economy is increasingly dependent on oil, especially the more powerful nations. However, oil is still important to the millions of people around the world. Oil production of Skandinavia is intended almost entirely for export as fuel. Only a fraction is used for fabricaión petroleum compounds.
Although domestic consumption of natural gas is higher than oil, most production is exported to other countries
In the early 90's, social pressure motivated by environmental awareness led to a race to find better and more ecologic ways to produce needed energy and while energy consumption has increased slightly, CO2 emissions have been reduced by less than half. This "miracle" has been possible using the mix nuclear - renewable - clean coal - hydrogen. Kalmar Union is a global leader in carbon capture and storage technologies, as well as in hydrogen fuel cells. Light vehicles with combustion engines, except those with hydrogen combustion, have almost disappeared and their use will be totally banned from 2020. Union automotive industry based on hydrogen is leading the world.
- Oil and natural gas in Skandinavia
- Coal in Skandinavia
- Electricity in Skandinavia
- Integrated Coal Zero-Emission Plants
- Nuclear Energy in Skandinavia
- Turbine City
- Hydrogen Economy in Skandinavia
- Fuel Cell Technologies in Skandinavia
- Northern Gas Grid
Information and communications technology (ICT)[edit | edit source]
The development of telecommunications in Skandinavia has been for years a first-rate economic engine and an important part of the country's technological development. Supported by strong state investment in the early stages of its development, it has been a liberalized sector since the 1970s that has allowed the development of leading companies (both private and state-owned) in its business areas, which currently account for around 7% of national GDP.
The difficult orography of Skandinavia has been the main reason for the strong technological development, being the first country in the world in which a GSM network was deployed in 1981 with technology from Ericsson. Wireless and satellite communications have undergone a spectacular development during the last 40 years, currently covering the entire territory with broadband services. Fiber optic services have also been developed significantly, currently covering (at least) all populations with more than 15 thousand inhabitants. However, due to geographic and population dispersal characteristics, wireless and satellite communications have a much greater weight in Skandinavia than in most western countries.
The development of a powerful communications infrastructure has been key in the policies followed by the government for decades to establish population in the rural areas and allowed the development of companies and start-ups outside the scope of large cities.
In 2018, a consortium between Ericsson and Nokia was awarded a contract to develop a 5G network across the country. In 2020 the main cities already have 5G coverage and is expected to reach coverage of 50% of the population in 2023 and 90% in 2026.
Transport[edit | edit source]
Due to the extension, low population density, orography, narrow shape and long coastlines, public transport in Skandinavia are less developed than in other high developed countries, especially outside the cities. As such, Skandinavia has old water transport traditions. Sice the formation of the Union in 1991, Ministry of Transport and Communications has in recent years implemented policies to encourage rail, road and air transport. There are numerous state owned subsidiaries in order to develop the country's infrastructure and the government is encouraging private investment with toll highways and railway private licenses.
Internal tasks related to public transport and some roads have been delegated to the counties and municipalities.
Road transport[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia has a road network of 794,310 km of wich 523,245 are paved and 14,704 motorway. There are four tiers of road routes; Motorway, national, county and municipal with only the motorways and national roads numbered en route.
Rail transport[edit | edit source]
Skandinavian main railway network consists of 40,125 kilometres of standard gauge lines, of which 18,214 kilometres is double track and 460 kilometres high-speed rail (>300 km/h) while 57% is electrified at the standard centroeuropean 15 kV 16⅔ Hz AC. There is about 4,000 kilometres of private railways.
Air transport[edit | edit source]
Aviation has become an important passenger transport mode in scandinavia since the 1960s. Aircraft are a common used mode of transport on longer distances, and some regional routes are all among the ten largest in Europe. With the difficult terrain and lack of rail transport, regional airline travel provides quick travel within the region or to the capital. Since the formation of the Union in 2001 and with the new periferic regions added later, a strong airline network becames necessary to vertebrate the new nation.
Water transport[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia is one of the largest beneficial shipowning country, with 8% of the world's fleet; though a portion of these are registered in flags of convenience, Union has nearly 27 million gross tonnes of ships under its flag.
Demographics[edit | edit source]
Religion[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia is a nation with strong religious traditions in which religion plays a fundamental role in all areas of life. It is among the most religious nations in the world according to data from numerous surveys with 93% of the population considered religious and about 50% of the population regularly participating in religious services of different religions. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the Act of Union, although there is a "state religion", The Church of Skandinavia, that is an integral and fundamental part of the social and political life of the nation.
|Religion||Year||Membership||% of population|
|The Church of Skandinavia||968||25,755,730||75.53%|
|The Evangelic Lutheran Free Church of Skandinavia||1961||1,885,730||5.53%|
|The Catholic Church||968||1,769,791||5.19%|
|Ancient Skandinavian Religions||1991 (rebirth)||1,265,110||3.71%|
|Other minoritatian (evangelic, baptist, hindu, muslim,...)||1957||1,040,050||3.05%|
Regarding the construction of temples financed by third countries (such as the cases of Saudi Arabia, Qatar of Iran building mosques in European countries), Skandinavia applies a very strict regulation. First, funding from any country that does not allow the construction of Christian temples will not be authorized, and secondly, specific criteria of population served will be met.
Education[edit | edit source]
Main article: Education in Skandinavia
Most pre-tertiary education is arranged at municipal or county level and the school system is largely financed by taxes. The government treats public and independent schools equally by introducing education vouchers in 1999. School lunch is free for all students in Skandinavia which usually includes one or two different kinds of hot meals, salad bar, fruit, bread, and milk and/or water for drink. Some schools, especially kindergartens and middle schools, even serve breakfast for free to those who want to eat before school starts.
Children aged 1–5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten if desired, nevertheless pre-school education is rare compared with other western countries and formal education is usually started at the age of 6. Primary school takes normally six years and lower secondary school three years.
The flexible curriculum is set by the Ministry of Education and Research. Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. After lower secondary school, graduates may either enter the workforce directly, or apply to trade schools or gymnasiums (upper secondary schools). Trade schools offer a vocational Education: Approximately 40% of an age group choose this path after the lower secondary school. Academically oriented gymnasiums have higher entrance requirements and specifically prepare for tertiary education. Graduation from either formally qualifies for tertiary education.
In tertiary education, two mostly separate and non-interoperating sectors are found: the profession-oriented polytechnics and the research-oriented universities. Education is free and living expenses are to a large extent financed by the government through student benefits. There are 50 universities and 70 polytechnics in the country. Some of the universities in Skandinavia are ranked as top universities in the world. The World Economic Forum ranks Skandinavian tertiary education No. 1 in the world. Around 39% of residents have a tertiary degree. The proportion of foreign students is 5% of all tertiary enrollments while in advanced programs it is 9.3%.
More than 30% of tertiary graduates are in science-related fields. Forest improvement, materials research, energy, petroleum industry, environmental sciences, neural networks, low-temperature physics, fuel cells, brain research, biotechnology, genetic technology and communications showcase fields of study where Union researchers have had a significant impact.
Skandinavia has a long tradition of adult education, and by the 2016 nearly two million inhabitants were receiving some kind of instruction each year. Forty percent of them did so for professional reasons. Adult education appeared in a number of forms, such as secondary evening schools, civic and workers' institutes, study centres, vocational course centres, and folk high schools. Study centres allowed groups to follow study plans of their own making, with educational and financial assistance provided by the state. Folk high schools are a distinctly Skandinavian institution. Originating in Denmark in the nineteenth century, folk high schools became common throughout the region. Adults of all ages could stay at them for several weeks and take courses in subjects that ranged from handicrafts to economics.
Skandinavia is highly productive in scientific research. In 2017, the country had the second most scientific publications per capita of the OECD countries.
Healthcare[edit | edit source]
Since the creation of Skandinavia in 1925 the government of decided to include national health care as one of their main focuses in the development of the welfare state. Government is responsible for providing health care to the country's population, in accordance with the stated goal of equal access to health care regardless of age, race, gender, income, or area of residence. Primary health and social care is the responsibility of the Fylker (Counties), with Skandinavia’s Helse- og Omsorgsdepartementet (Ministry of Health and Care Services) playing an indirect role through legislation and funding mechanisms. In specialist care, the Ministry also plays a direct role through its ownership of hospitals and its provision of directives to the boards of Regional health authorities.
Skandinavians lead longer and healthier lives than most other Europeans. Since 2000, life expectancy has increased steadily, as a result of both effective public health policies that have reduced the prevalence of risk factors and the health care system’s capacity to deliver high-quality care to the population. However, these positive results have come at a price. Skandinavia spends more on health per capita than any european country, with a considerable share dedicated to long-term care. Population ageing is expected to put additional pressure on Skandinavian health budgets, requiring strategies to improve efficiency and strengthen community care for people with chronic conditions.
Science and technology[edit | edit source]
Being an advanced industrial nation, research and development plays a key role for economic growth as well as for society at large. Though a relatively small country in population terms, Skandinavia has long been at the forefront of research and development. For several decades Skandinavian government has prioritized scientific and R&D activities. This strong engagement has helped make the country a leading country in terms of innovation. For many years, the nation has been a leading player among advanced countries in terms of its investments in and use of advanced technology. Altogether, the public and the private sector in Skandinavia allocate nearly four per cent of GDP to research & development (R&D) per year, which makes the Union one of the countries that invest most in R&D in terms of percentage of GDP. The standard of Skandinavia research is high and is a world leader in a number of fields. Skandinavia tops Europe in comparative statistics both in terms of research investments as a percentage of GDP as well as in the number of published scientific works per capita.
In international comparison, high-technology manufacturing is relatively large in all high-technology segments, and particularly in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, military and energy.
- Skandinavian space program: Skandinavian Space Corporation
- Skandinavian Polar Institute: Skandinavisk Polarinstitutt
Culture[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia has a rich intellectual and artistic heritage that has people internationally recognized in the field of arts (literature, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) and sciences (astronomy, physics, botany, zoology, etc.). It has numerous Nobel Prize winners in all fields. Culture of Skandinavia is closely linked to the country's history and geography and is the heritage of those from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. It combines indigenous heritage that has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws, with elements from European culture. From the last 70s and specially after the formation of the Union, authorities have promoted the traditional common Nordic culture and values as a way of strengthening social cohesion of the nation. Anyway, there are still cultural differences between Union's regions. In seeking to strengthen Nordic culture and national identity, traditional Norwegian culture has proved stronger for being less influenced by the mix of cultures, and has slowly been gaining importance in all walks of life to the point that now the Norwegian language is the most used in official circles.
Based in the Nordic heritage of egalitarianism, Skandinavia has been considered a progressibe nation despite of its strong traditional values. People have an egalitarian outlook. They generally express themselves in very modest terms, especially when it comes to compliments and praises. They arescrupulous about honesty in communication, often to the point of pointing out the negatives in their own proposals in greater detail than the positives. The combination of private property values and the old viking culture has produced an atmosphere that encourages hard work and honesty. Skandinavia has one of the lowest levels of corruption in the whole world.
Environmentalism and animal protection are important values in Skandinavia too.
Media[edit | edit source]
Reporters Without Borders ranks Skandinavia 1st in its Worldwide Press Freedom Index. Freedom of the press in the Union dates back to the Norwegian and Sweden constitutions of the 10th century. Skandinavian media is mostly privately owned and self-regulated but still there are an important public participation; however there is a press support. Press support is a Skandinavian state subsidy available for newspapers and online media. The subsidy is twofold; the first part is a direct subsidy to the newspapers by subscribers. The other subsidy is that newspaper are subject to no sales tax (as are books).
Sports[edit | edit source]
Main article: Sports in Skandinavia