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Scandinavian Cultural History
will change the fate of the music listening market. 6. Hygge and other lifestyle trends Fancy some ‘hygge’ with that cup of tea, or some ‘lagom’ with your daily bike ride to work? Why not top up on ‘sisu’ during a particularly challenging hike, or soak up on easy-going ‘friluftsliv’ with some mushroom foraging? Some of last decade’s Nordic lifestyle trends were more successful than others, but together, they helped to cement the reputation of Scandinavia as a cosy, balanced, healthy haven of nature and equality. 7. SKAM and teen culture from Norway Less ridiculous than 90210, a million times more real than Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and years ahead of Sex Education, Norway’s SKAM (which means ‘Shame’) became an overnight hit, depicting in raw and honest and sometimes uncomfortable ways the challenges and thrills of teenage life. Covering everything from sex and eating disorders to religion, homophobia and, naturally, love, it simultaneously manages to showcase some of Scandinavia’s greatest strengths, but in subtle ways that truly pull on the heartstrings. 8. Trolling Trump When Sweden’s then climate minister Isabella Lövin tweeted a photo of herself Frozen. Photo: Shutterstock
Hygge. Photo: Shutterstock
signing a climate bill surrounded by only female colleagues, including one heavily pregnant, which very clearly mimicked that of then US President Trump signing the abortion global gag rule surrounded by suited men only, there was little doubt that she knew what she was doing. And sure, that’s politics, not culture, but in the context of a Swedish government that promoted itself as explicitly feminist, in the very same year that the #metoo movement was eventually reborn, we’d like to insist that the move was not just political but also very much cultural indeed.
9. Disney goes Nordic Did you know that Arendelle, the home village of princesses Elsa and Anna from Frozen, was based on a number of different Norwegian locations? It may have been subtle at first, but with the roping in of Norwegian Aurora on unmistakably Nordic backing vocals for the Frozen 2 theme tune, Into the Unknown, Disney made it clear beyond doubt that the magical universe that’s home to Olaf and Sven (as if the names didn’t give it away) is Scandinavian and nothing else. 10. Iceland, Eurovision, and woke culture We’ve had Scandinavian wildcards in the Eurovision Song Contest before, but Daði and Gagnamagnið are in a league of their own. Not only was their 2020 contribution to the competition that never happened a true banger that went viral on TikTok, but with adorable, nerd-chic outfits and the pansexual flag taking pride of place during their video performance for last year’s semi-finals, they immediately won over every queer and woke music fan out there and continue to be a much-loved phenomenon to this day. Credit also to Iceland’s industrial techno band Hatari, who made no secret of their love of queer kink when representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest the year before Daði and Gagnamagnið took the rein. Perhaps Iceland has found its Eurovision niche? March 2022