Northern Europe
 Background
– Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland
– close relationships with each other historically
 Regional
– only highly developed, populated region so far north
(latitude of Alaska)
– westerly winds warmed by North Atlantic Drift
– ocean cools in summer
– above freezing in January; 50-60 degrees in July
– peaceful cooperation of countries since early 19th C
– languages mutually intelligible except for Finnish
– Evangelical Lutheran Church 90% of population
– small size, resource limitation have made for highly
specialized economies
– very high standards of education, physical safety,
creative achievement
– most governments attracted to moderate socialism and
substantial welfare systems
 Denmark
– Copenhagen (1.7 mil) largest city in North Europe
 lies
on island of Sjaelland (Zealand) at eastern margin of
 Sweden only 12 across the Sound
Northern Europe
Physical Map
 transit
and entrepot business
 industries include imported/exported foods, chemicals,
engineering services
– Factors in Denmark’s Agricultural Success
 agriculture
very important in overall economy
 3/5’s of total land cultivated, largest of any European
 agriculture so efficient that it only employed 5% of
 1/3 of exports are agricultural products
 highly specialized with animal husbandry, dairy farming,
sale of animals for meat
 important role of cooperative societies in production,
processing, standards, and marketing
 very high level of education
 Norway
– Physical Characteristics
 long
western coast stretched 1000 miles
 extremely rugged, no soil, scraped bare by glaciation
 70% of mountainous wasteland;25% forest;5% arable
 terrain hinders agriculture and transportation
– Fjords
 much
of population scattered in small isolated clusters
 hydroelectricity produces 99% of all power
– Urban Areas
 Three
main cities on West coast are Bergen, Trondheim, and
 Oslo capital, largest city, industrial, commercial and cultural
 half
of population lives in southeast core near Oslo
– Economy
 extensive
agricultural land and large forests
 saw mills, pulp and paper, metallurgy, electrochemical
industries and consumer goods
 rich in natural resources, spectacular scenery, water power,
fish, minerals
 discovery of oil and gas in North Sea have made Norway one
of the most affluent countries in Europe
 Sweden
– Background
 largest
country in area and population (8.7 million)
 shares mountains of Scandinavian Peninsula with Norway;
fertile farm lands in south; ice-scoured forests in north
– Economy and Resources
 high
development of engineering and metallurgical industries
 mining and smelting in Bergslagen region
 handicapped by lack of coal originally, now use of
hydroelectric power to produce highest quality steel
 new sources of iron ore from Kiruna and Gallivare above
Arctic circle
 fabricating industries, exports of autos (Volvo and Saab)
industrial machinery, ball bearings, cutlery, tools, surgical
instruments, glassware, and furniture
 Swedish manufacturing in Central Lowland
 much of land naturally forested with coniferous softwoods
 saw milling, pulp and paper making, wood chemicals,
synthetic fabrics, plywood
 less
specialized export-orientated agriculture than Denmark
 some good agricultural land in Skane on southern tip
 high GNP per capita
 most markets for Swedish products in Norway, UK,
Denmark, Netherlands
– Stockholm and Goteberg
 Stockholm
(1.5 mil) second largest city in North Europe
 administrative, financial, and cultural center
 increasing importance of Goteberg as trading port
 Goteborg harbor ice-free year round, closer to European
– Swedish policy of neutrality and preparedness
 in
17th C Sweden was powerful, imperialistic country
 rising power checked by Russian and Prussia in 18th C
 no
experience with warfare since 1814
 successful policy of neutrality and cooperative diplomacy
 heavily armed but not a NATO country
 1994 referendum on joining the EU favorable
 construction of tunnel between Sweden and Denmark;
building major road links to all Nordic countries
 Finland
– Background
 conquered
and Christianized by Swedes in 12th C
 ceded by Sweden to Russia in 1809
 developed own culture and nationalistic feelings under
Russian control
 opportunity for independence after collapse of Tsarist system
in 1917
– Economy
 most
of Finland is sparsely populated, glacially scoured,
subartic wilderness
 land of a thousand lakes and marshes
 agricultural land in fertile and warmer south
 hay, oats, barley, livestock production and dairying
 dependent on exports of forest products (spruce and pine)
 hydroelectric, thermal, and nuclear power
– Helsinki
 population
of 1 million
 located on Gulf of Finland
 largest city, main seaport, main commercial and cultural
– Problems of a Buffer State
 buffer
between Russia, Scandinavia and Germany
 “winter war” with Soviet Union in 1939-1940
 fought with Nazi Germany in 1941 to regain lost territory
but was defeated
 economy heavily burdened by outcome of war with Russia
 rapid recovery due to metalworking industries
 metal industries now as important as forest industries
 Iceland
– Background
 large,
mountainous island in Atlantic Ocean
 very rugged surface from glaciation and vulcanism
 tundra vegetation with few trees
 strong
 cool summers averaging 50 degrees F
– Economy
 no
mineral resources
 good hydro and geothermal resources
 most population lives in coastal settlements
 Reykjavik, capital with 150,000 population, warmed by
North Atlantic Drift
 Reykjavik has same average January temperatures as New
York city
 fishing, farming, cattle, sheep
 production of hardy vegetables like potatoes
 manufacturing mainly consists of food processing
– Politics
 Iceland
a colony of Denmark for centuries
 independence since 1918 under Kind of Denmark until 1944
when Iceland became a republic
 occupied by US and UK in WW II
 member of NATO alliance
 no military forces of its own
 Greenland,
Faeroes, and Svalbard
– Denmark holds Greenland, largest island off North
America and Faeroes islands between Norway and
 Greenland
about 1/4 size of US with 85% of land covered by
ice; about 60K population
 fishing,
hunting, trapping, sheep grazing, mining of zinc and
lead important to Greenland
 radar installation at Thule in remote NW
– Faeroes are group of treeless islands
 approximately
50K people
 people of Norwegian descent
 make living by fishing and grazing sheep
– Svalbard
 group
of island in Arctic Ocean
 covered with ices
 deposits of high-grade coal mined by Norwegian and
Russian companies

Northern Europe - Saint Martin's University