Scan Magazine, Issue 158, September 2023

Page 30







Editor’s Note

As we are entering the season of crispy red leaves, puddles and windblown hair, it’s time to leave the rainy summer behind and start planning for the months ahead. For some, the end of the holidays and the return to work and school routines may be like walking into a comforting hug after what might have felt like weeks of chasing the sun or trying to create summer memories in the rain. But for others, the autumn might bring on a bit of nostalgia, perhaps even a beginning bout of autumn blues.

As the new editor of Scan Magazine, I belong to the former - happy to be back at my desk and more than excited to be taking over the reins of this beautiful publication. Moreover, I am sincerely looking forward to the delights of autumn: curling up on the sofa with a good book, hiking in the beautiful landscape of Trondheim, and going on weekend getaways. I am pleased to say that in this issue of Scan Magazine, readers can explore ways to do all of that - and more.

In our special feature, 8 Top Nordic Reads You will find the books that can get you through the rainy days; flipping through our theme on Swedish spas, you will travel straight into a wonderful daydream of serene nature and bodily indulgence (and why not let the daydream become reality), and in our theme on Special Experiences in Norway, you can explore new ways to enjoy the magnificent landscape of Norway. All are bound to help you pre-empt any creeping autumn blues and enjoy what this season has to offer to the full. On top of it all, as always, you will find a host of Scandinavian art, design, and architecture.

I hope this magazine will be one of the many joys of autumn.

MAGAZINE 64 September 2023 | Issue 158 | 3 Scan Magazine | Editor’s Note

In this issue



8 top Nordic reads

As autumn has crept up on us, the time has come to curl up on the sofa with a good book, and with the Scandinavian literary scene brimming with must-reads, this is not a bad thing, not at all. In this feature, we present eight of the best reads, spanning 60 years of modern Nordic writing and a slew of themes and genres.


6 L et your life shine a little brighter

Explore how NUAD, a brand of detail-oriented Danish perfectionists, designs simple, timeless, and linear lamps, created to lighten up your home and workspace, in short, to make your life shine a little bit brighter.


16 Is beer good for you, and can eco-anxiety be the beginning of change?

Our sustainability columnist Alejandra Cerda Ojensa advises on how to move on from ecoanxiety and turn worry into action, while our beer expert Malin Norman explores the question of beer, health and summer sun.


32 T he best spas in Sweden

Serene nature, unmatched views and indulgent spa facilities are just some of the hard-to-resist temptations of the spas presented in this theme. As you flip through the pages, be prepared for that urgent desire to want to press the “book” button straight away. 24

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22 Icelandic Architecture and Design

What makes Icelandic design and architecture special? In these interviews with Icelandic architects and designers, we dig into the philosophy behind their thinking, the influence of Iceland’s folklore and its fusion with modern society.

52 Unique Experiences in Norway

The Norwegian nature is breathtaking, that’s a fact, and in this theme, we explore ways to make the most of it, no matter the season: dive below the waves, go fishing, try life on a traditional Norwegian farm and much more.


77 The best new events and music in Scandinavia

Where to go? What to see? It’s all happening here in this month’s Culture Calendar of the best arts events in the Nordics. Meanwhile, our music columnist Karl Batterbee picks out the best new tunes in the region, and illustrator Maria Smedstad has a “riot”.

BEST OF THE MONTH 61 Restaurant 66 Experience 68 Artist 72 Art Profile 74 Gallery 76 Education Profile
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Fashion Diary

As we enter the first month of Autumn, we introduce delicate knits, light coats, and earthy hues to our wardrobes. Live gently and wear soft textures, mirroring nature’s smooth transition into the new season, day by day.

Outfit by Mark Kenly Domino Tan

Oversized tailoring in neutral colours is perfect to slouch around in all season long. This look from Danish designer Mark Kenly Domino Tan ticks all the boxes. Wear the pieces together or separately. Christof Coat, €1015 Pedro Pants, €355 Silvio Shirt, €54

Shirt by Jeanerica Jeans

Denim shirts are great overshirts for mild autumn days be they in the countryside or the city. Tailored to a relaxed fit, inspired by classic Western styles with mother-of-pearl press buttons, the Bertrand shirt from Swedish denim brand Jeanerica comes in light and dark denim.

Bertrand Denim Shirt Vintage 95, €200

Bag by

A mid-sized tote bag is a trusty everyday companion. The leather detailing on the Vigour bag from Danish Mismo pairs with elegant fabric and is the ideal mix between classy and casual – and it looks even better as it ages. This is a natural bag for the office, city breaks, trips to and from the gym, and even as a weekender. The shoulder strap makes it easy to carry all daily necessities.

Vigour, €675

Sneakers by New Movements

Norwegian shoemaker New Movements specializes in sustainable shoes. The Allrounder S is designed in Oslo and made in Portugal with organic, recycled, and renewable materials. These sneakers offer flexibility and breathability and feature New Movements’ signature wave design.

Allrounder S, €197

Scan Magazine | Design | Fashion Diary

Jumper by Kashmina

A short-sleeved yet soft and warming cashmere top from Norwegian cashmere brand Kashmina is another great transition piece. It can be worn alone with bare arms, as a comforting layer under a light jacket, or over a shirt.

Una, €270

Boots by Ganni

If you need new boots this Autumn, a pair of cowboy boots will add edge to your outfits. We love to wear them under jeans, or with a dress and knit. Ganni’s mid-shaft embroidered western boot comes in colour variations of white, brown, red, and black.

Western Boot, €645

Bag by Arket

An everyday tote bag in soft suede brown screams early autumn. It matches the soft mood of the season, is excellent for back-to-work or school use and can be worn daily for a long time.

Suede Tote Bag, €299

Trench coat and jeans by Munthe

A neutral trench should be the most-coveted coat in your wardrobe. This one, from the Danish brand Munthe, is made in organic camel-shade cotton, featuring a regular fit with buttons and a belted waist. The arms can be buttoned up into short sleeves – handy for outings in the autumnal September air while Indian summer days are still on the cards. Encounter Coat in camel, €499 Evalica Pants in indigo, €199

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Scan Magazine | Design | Fashion Diary

The wine gum that connects people, families and cultures

A Wally and Whiz wine gum is not just a wine gum. The Danish brand has reinvented the classic and created tiny taste explosions that your taste buds will love. But not only is Wally and Whiz constantly challenging your wine gum experience with new and exciting flavours; with their wine gums they are also building bridges between cultures and people.

As a child, Kristian Them Hansen used to play in his grandmother’s garden. Here, he had free range to plant whatever his heart desired, and he combined all sorts of flavours. He would take elderflower, gooseberries and whatever else he could find and make compote. Perhaps this is when his fascination with flavours and colours started - right in his grandmother Dina Hansen’s, garden.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and Kristian Them Hansen is now playing with colours and flavours for a living. Having always been fond of wine gums, he started Wally and Whiz.

“I could never really taste what the exact flavours of wine gums were, and then one day the idea came to me - it had to be possible to make a wine gum that

both tastes of and contains real fruit, without countless additives,” says Kristian Them Hansen, CEO and founder of Wally and Whiz.

A bottle of blackcurrant juice, a bag of vegan starch and some citric acid from the local supermarket were among the first ingredients to enter Kristian’s pots. He tested and tossed away ingredients like a wizard mixing his potion in big pots to create the wine gum he was dreaming of. The rest, as they say, is history.

Playful and creative flavours

A Wally and Whiz wine gum always consists of two flavours that complement each other, creating a delicate and exqui-

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site taste experience. One flavour is found in the coating of the wine gum, the other is packed inside. Wally and Whiz approaches taste with curiosity, constantly searching for new and exciting flavours.

“We find inspiration in berries, fruits, roots and flowers from all over the world. The flavour combinations are playful and creative and sometimes not at all what you would expect. The wine gums add colour to your everyday life,” smiles Hansen.

From more classic flavours like strawberry and vanilla, or mango and passion fruit, to more unusual flavours such as quince and apple, guanabana and gooseberry, Wally and Whiz is not afraid to challenge the convention. This is a wine gum of the highest quality, with the taste and colour of the natural ingredients it is made from, and is 100 percent vegan and free of gluten and allergens.

“Everyone can eat the wine gums, regardless of diet. That has been the vision from the very beginning. Flavours from all over the world allow us to taste different cultures,” says Hansen.

Let’s gather

By opening ourselves up to cultures through flavours and colours, we are building connections. For Wally and Whiz, it has never just been about creating an exquisite wine gum, but building bridges between cultures and people.

“Perhaps it’s a bit philosophical, but I want us to talk more, and I believe flavours and colours tell stories. My vision is that we can gather around a wine gum, and actually talk to our children, friends,

colleagues, strangers, and go back to respecting each other,” says Hansen.

That is why Wally and Whiz has made an advent calendar in collaboration with Save the Children. The advent calendar encourages children and parents to put away the phone and talk. Behind each door hides a question that will spark a conversation between children and parents.

But that’s not all. Wally and Whiz has also created a calendar for Ramadan. Here, there are 32 doors instead of 24. The Ramadan calendar has been made in collaboration with imams, and behind each door hides a little wine gum treat.

Rethinking candy

Wally and Whiz have reinvented a beloved piece of candy, so it’s perhaps no wonder that they have attracted collaborations with Michelin chefs from around

the world. The resulting ‘Signature’ series is a limited-edition collection of wine gums developed with some of the best chefs in the world.

Signature editions include wine gums by Thomas Bühner, Sasu Laukkonen and Jeppe Foldager. Perhaps you are tempted by a liquorice wine gum coated with lemon and thyme and lemon verbena powder? Or how about a yuzu wine gum coated with shiso powder, or lime with chervil and blueberry powder?

No matter which flavour combination you choose, one thing is for sure: your taste buds are in for a treat! And you never know what Wally and Whiz have up their sleeve in the future. After all, they are rethinking candy.

Instagram: @wallyandwhiz_official Facebook: Wally and Whiz

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 9 Scan Magazine | Design Profile | Wally and Whiz
Founder and CEO of Wally and Whiz, Kristian Them Hansen. Photo: Ulrik Jantzen. Grapefruit with Apricot. Quince with Apple. Elderflower with Blueberry. Lime with Sour Lemon.

Let your life shine a little brighter

NUAD is a brand of detail-oriented perfectionists with a love of beautiful things. The brand designs simple, timeless, and linear lamps, created to lighten up your home and workspace and make your life shine just a little bit brighter - because what is life without excellent lighting?

Often overlooked when it comes to interior design, lighting is crucial for both home and workspaces. Have you ever tried shaving or putting on makeup in a badly lit bathroom? Or been in an online meeting without proper lighting? Or reading a book in the dark winter evenings without good lighting? If yes, then you know that lighting is vital to almost any task, from cooking to working.

“Many people don’t think enough about lighting and the joy it brings. It affects us much more than most of us realise. Lighting can make your everyday life better or worse. Often, we look more at the lamp itself than the lighting, which is the wrong way to go about it. We choose aesthetics over functionality,” says Rune Krøjgaard, Partner and Founder of NUAD.

Where functionality meets aesthetics

NUAD, however, has found a way to combine design and functionality when it

Radent Pendant Lamp 1350 mm in Brass.

comes to lighting and lamps. They constantly refine their designs until they have lamps that are good enough for you. Their designs are simple, timeless and linear, always keeping functionality at the forefront. There is no fluff; it is simply just great design.

“Our lamps are minimalistic with a focus on functionality. It is important that our products can be used both at home and in workspaces. The lamps should be both for homely cosiness and open office spaces,” explains Krøjgaard.

In line with NUAD’s vow to minimalism and functionality, their products also use as little material as possible. Krøjgaard says: “I believe we have a responsibility when it comes to production. We can’t stop producing, but we are responsible for how much material we use and responsible for minimising waste in the production line. That is why NUAD is dedicated to using as little material as possible.”

The principle about using as little material as possible is also in alignment with the Danish design traditions, in which NUAD is deeply rooted in.

“We are standing on the shoulders of our Danish design heritage. Historically, we have always been known for minimising materials and constantly optimising our furniture and interior design to end up with the best possible products,” says Rune Krøjgaard.

Illuminating both homes and offices

NUAD was born out of Krøjgaard’s own need for proper lighting in his home. He needed a lamp that could illuminate a big space, but which would also be suitable for both cooking and relaxing on the couch. Unable to find exactly that, the architect and designer decided to design the lamp himself, and so NUAD was founded in 2019 - and launched in 2020. With his background, it only seemed natural that Krøjgaard should go on to start his own brand. He has travelled extensively in China where he worked with optimising productions - and with experience from NORR11, Menu, and Malene Birger on her Birger1962 interior brand, he has a broad and plentiful range of experience, from working with the production side of things to sitting at the drawing board.

“I am grateful for my past experience; I have had an opportunity to work with some great companies, designers, and strong profiles. I both worked with start-ups and established companies, and it has allowed me to learn, make mistakes and understand both the design and production craft - and basically the do’s and don’ts within interior design. It gave me the courage to start NUAD,” says Krøjgaard.

From a Celtic king to lamps

“I often get asked about the name NUAD and in all honesty, we wanted to create a great four- letter name which had a softness to the pronunciation, a

strong graphic potential, and was easy to remember. After playing around for a while - testing different names - we ended up with an abbreviation of the very early founding partner of NUADwe stumbled upon a tale of the Celtic King Nuadu, and with a lifelong fascination with mythology, we settled on the name NUAD,“ says Krøjgaard, laughing about his own nerdiness.

From ancient folklore to nature and industry, Krøjgaard draws inspiration from both the ordinary and extraordinary. NUAD’s designs are a meeting between different worlds. Soft, organic shapes in nature melt together with heavy industry. The colours are earthy, soft, and warm, speaking to everyone with a love for natural nuances, and soon a new collection of lamps in warm, reddish hues will be available. About the material for this collection, Krøjgaard explains:

“I have always been fascinated with plastic, despite the negative connotations. Plastic has extraordinary qualities. So, I thought, how can we use plastic in a sustainable, functional and fashionable way? Our new collection is therefore made from partly recycled acrylic and has a bit of a vintage look,” says Krøjgaard.

The new collection will be available from the end of September.

Facebook: Nuad

Instagram: @nuaddesign

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 11 Scan Magazine | Design Profile | NUAD
Avra Table Lamp Brushed Steel/Creme. Arcon Table Lamp in Black/Chrome. Avra Portable Table Lamp in Brushed Steel/Creme.

Ceramic art rooted in Finnish soil

Eva Spoof creates ceramic artefacts from Kultela wild clay at her Udumbara Studio & Showroom in Helsinki. She has been creating with clay since she graduated with a degree in Ceramics from Kuopio Academy of Design in 1990 and believes today’s world calls for unique, carefully crafted and ethically made art.

The quaint studio’s foreign-sounding name isn’t just fun to say – the meaning guides Eva Spoof’s work and workshops she hosts at her atelier: “Udumbara comes from Buddhism; plainly, it means ‘no sorrow’ or ‘an auspicious flower from heaven’ in Sanskrit. I don’t prescribe to any one -ism, although Buddhism has taught me many things, including meditation, which is a practice I share, alongside teaching the ceramic wheel, at mindfulness retreats at the studio.”

Eva Spoof has been an artisan ceramicist since the 1990s but what helped her craft her own style was the discovery of Finnish clay in 1999. She was introduced to the material by the owner of Kultela Brick Factory, Arvo Kankare. At the time, few people used it to create ceramics – no one made flowerpots. She now exclusively works with wild clay, creating flowerpots, lamps, and sculptures.

Spoof’s career and early life have seen her live in the United States, study in Sweden and Denmark and even work in China to manufacture wine coolers, but in her own studio, with her hands on a piece of Finnish clay, turning on a wheel, is where she feels at ease: “I have worked with clay for over 30 years, and I’m still honing my craft. In today’s hectic world, doing something with your hands, literally touching dirt, can be a grounding experience.”

Spoof has, along with using wild clay, made other conscious changes and choices in her art to produce ethical pieces. From gathering recycled materials to package her sculptures in, to opting not to make saucers for her flowerpots: “I made hundreds of plates at the start of my career but I now recognise the world is full of beautiful, carefully crafted plates that you can buy from a charity shop for pennies. Why would I make more?”

Spoof works at her studio and offers workshops and mindfulness retreats in English. You can come to see her pottery at Udumbara by making an appointment, visiting furniture store Artek in Helsinki city centre, or if travelling to Finland proves challenging, House of Sustainable Things in London carries her creations.

Instagram: @udumbara_helsinki

YouTube: UDUMBARA_Helsinki

Facebook: UdumbaraHelsinki

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Scan Magazine | Design Profile | Udumbara Studio & Showroom
Eva Spoof at her studio, showing one of her planters. Photo: Barbara Kaucher Spoof creates elaborate green sculptures. Photo: Huy Trầ n Quang Eva Spoof creates unique lamps. Photo: Katja Hagelstam Eva Spoof’s studio - Udumbara. Photo: Udumbara Studio & Showroom

Elm Organics: Redefining beauty products

The origins of Elm Organics began with an investigation. Years before its launch, Linn Stokke, its co-founder, discovered a database that listed the harmful effects ingredients in everyday cosmetics had on human health and the environment. She and her daughter, Sine Stokke, ended up throwing away almost every product they owned. Slowly, the idea of creating a new generation company was born.

In 2019, Sine completed her engineering degree. After Linn, a respected actress at the National Theatre of Norway, also earned a master’s degree in technology management, the mother and daughter team founded Elm Organics in the autumn of 2021.

Already a success

“It was a shocking experience to discover the level of toxic chemicals that sur-

round us,” says Sine. But the knowledge pushed them to action. Now, though Elm Organics has only existed for a couple of years, the company has already received three awards for their products. In 2022, their Cotton Flower Hand Wash won ‘Best Hand Wash’ at the Nordic Natural Beauty Awards. And in 2023, Elm Organics won ‘Best Body Wash’ and ‘Editor’s Choice’ for their Marvelous Oil Blend at the Beauty Shortlist Awards.

Sine says: “It was a significant achievement for us, demonstrating that organic products made with innovative technology can compete and win. This will hopefully inspire more producers to follow suit.”

Ambitious goals

Elm Organics has ambitious goals that are based on simplicity. “Our vision is to deliver products that look good, feel good, smell good, and are made from the best ingredients,” says Sine. “We want them to carry an organic certification that serves as a guarantee to our customers, making it easy for people to find the products they want and need.” Elm also plans to obtain the status of a climate neutral certified brand in 2023.

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Fundamentally organic

Organic products have been important to both Linn and Sine for a long time. “Many used to believe that they could trust famous brands not to be harmful. The truth is that harmful products often masquerade under a brand name,” reflects Sine. “Organic products provide customers with a guarantee that the product is biodegradable and free from harmful chemicals. It’s not complicated; if you seek true quality, start with products that are organically certified.” The inspiration for many of the products Elm Organics creates comes from nature. “We love nature and spend most of our free time hiking in the Norwegian mountains. Nature’s intelligence is breathtaking and has inspired us to seek innovative production methods and new ways of cultivating active properties in raw materials. When nature’s finest materials are cultivated with innovative technology, high-end cosmetics can be created, without harmful chemicals.”

Proudly Norwegian at its core

Besides its commitment to the environment and its organic status, Elm Organics is proudly a Norwegian company. “Elm is created by two women who are 100 per cent Norwegian! This is part of the framework of our beliefs as nature and a natural lifestyle are very impor-

tant to Norwegians from the time they are very small,” Sine confirms. “But primarily, our main task is to collaborate with the best laboratories around the world to cultivate a new generation of cosmetics. Quality and customer experience are of primary importance.”

Growing popularity in Norway

The popularity of Elm Organics is growing rapidly in Norway and the company has established a dedicated base of customers. Their products are now available in many high-end hotels as well as selected retail stores. They have also been approached by one of the leading global spa resorts and have been approved, meeting all qualifications.

Elm’s future plans

For the future, Elm Organics has a new line of skincare that they plan to launch in autumn 2024. “This skincare is very special to us and it is based on a unique herb that we cultivate on our organic farm,” says Sine. “The herb is packed with vitamin c and healing properties.” Before this, they will introduce a line of bath and massage oils, as well as organic pillow mist and room spray, in the fall of 2023. And, the company is considering their packaging options. “No packaging is perfect yet, but some possibilities are better than others,”

says Sine. “Currently, we have opted for recycled bottles as the best alternative. Elm offers an elegant 290 ml bottle with a refill option. For hotels that prefer to use smaller bottles, Elm has developed a 100 percent recycled variation.”

Most importantly, Elm Organics wants to offer products that don’t disturb humans, animals, or nature. They see themselves as setting a standard for a new form of pure cosmetics, certified to the highest standard, organic, vegan, cruelty-free, but still luxurious.

Instagram: elmorganics

Facebook: Elm Organics

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 15 Scan Magazine | Design Profile | ELM Organics
A Collection of Elm Organics products. Elm Organic’s Marvelous Oil Blend. Linn and Sine, the mother and daughter team behind Elm Organics.

The question of beer and health

Last weekend, I went to the beach with my partner. After a couple of hours in the sun, we went for a stroll along the beach, past touristy restaurants and souvenir shops, and finally reached our goal; a nice beer bar. We both ordered a cold, crisp lager to enjoy whilst watching people passing by on the sidewalk. Aaah that first sip, it was so quenching! What is it with beer after a day on the beach? It feels like nothing else will restore your body and senses.

It reminds me of a chat with brewing scientist Charlie Bamforth on the subject of beer and health some years ago. The professor, also known as “The Pope of Foam”, is the author of numerous articles and books, including Beer: Health and Nutrition. According to his research, there is actually more nutritional value in beer than wine. For instance, beer is a source of slow-release carbohydrates, soluble fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and silicate.

If you’re curious about this topic, check out the BeerSmith podcast (episode 273: Health, Wellness and Beer with Dr Charlie Bamforth), where the professor explains why beer is in fact not empty calories and also emphasises the importance of enjoying beer in moderation, like most things in life.

Regardless of nutritional value and health benefits, for me beer is best enjoyed sensibly in the company of friends, nothing beats chatting about life’s ups and downs over a pint in a pub. Don’t underestimate pubs as social hubs – “where everybody knows your name,” as they sing in the 1980s TV show Cheers – as they can be an important antidote to social isolation.

On that note, I wish you a healthy and happy autumn. This is my last piece for Scan Magazine, after ten years as a contributor, as there are other things to explore and write about. If you want to stay

Can we have children in the midst of climate change?

I love children. I love making chubby babies giggle by making funny faces; I adore listening to a 3-year-old who just discovered how to lie, and I’m amazed whenever I hear pre-teens’ pure yet complex ideas of life. As a 34-year-old woman, married to a man, many say we should get started now if we know we want children because “you never know”. There’s much we don’t know, but as many doubts as I might have, the hardest one to deal with is the state of the planet. In the summer of 2023, we broke a worrying world record: the hottest average temperature globally.

I know my potential children will have the privilege of being born in a rich Scandinavian country with all that comes with it, and that they will have safe lives, but for how long? And is it even fair to make a decision to bring life onto a planet, that has

already exceeded its capacity? It is hard not to feel weighed down by such questions, but there are things we can do to turn the sadness into action.

According to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation one of the things that can help deal with eco-anxiety is to share the worries with someone else. When we discuss our fears and anxieties, the burden gets a little easier, and by doing so, we also help increase climate awareness. Climate action, preferably together with others, is also recommended, and last but not least, despite the alarming news – that are real and should be taken seriously – good things also happen. Personally, I’m still not sure what my future will hold, but feeling less alone in times of despair is soothing. And on a bigger perspective – we need to come together to make a change.

Sustainability columnist Alejandra

Cerda Ojensa is a Swedish sustainability blogger based in Copenhagen. She loves sustainable fashion, plant-based food, natural wines and music.


16 | Issue 158 | September 2023 Scan Magazine | Lifestyle | Columns
Malin Norman is a Certified Cicerone®, a certified beer sommelier, an international beer judge and a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers. in touch, find me on LinkedIn or Instagram (@malinadventures). Cheers!

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Nordic Noir gets all the press, but the Scandinavian literary scene is brimming with classic and contemporary works that hop the crime-fiction fence. Representing Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, the following eight works span 60 years of modern Nordic writing, a slew of themes and genres and, yes, a couple of seminal nods to Noir. Reader, if you’re seeking a literary nail-biter, mind-bender, daydreamer, or soul-lifter, then step into our library.

Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | 8 Top Nordic Reads 18 | Issue 158 | September 2023
Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | 8 Top Nordic Reads September 2023 | Issue 158 | 19

The Woman At 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason Icelandic, 2011

This narrative of this illuminating celebration of the resilience of the human spirit is an intricate tapestry of stories woven in the mind of an eighty-year-old Icelandic woman named Herra Björnsson. Her poignant journey unfolds as she awaits death alone in her garage and considers the 1,000 degree Celsius temperature of the cremation chamber. Within the confines of her memories, readers traverse a lifetime—love, family, global upheavals, and personal triumphs. Helgason’s prose is saturated with the rugged beauty of Iceland, echoing the strength and tenacity that define the nation’s character. The novel captures the essence of a full life, radiating warmth against the backdrop of cold isolation.

Paradise Rot: A Novel by Jenny Hval Norwegian, 2018

Paradise Rot: A Novel is a poetic and introspective musing on female sexuality and personal identity, told through the journey of a young woman studying in Norway. Hval shies from neither the visceral nor the cerebral as she candidly explores complex relationships, queer desire, academic pursuits, and the artistic essence of life, against a vivid background of Norwegian landscapes. This is the debut work by the critically acclaimed artist and musician, and her narrative prowess renders this a distinctive gem in Norwegian literature.

One of Us Is Sleeping by Josefine


Danish, 2012

This haunting and lyrical Danish novel paints a picture of a woman grappling with grief and self-discovery. Klougart delves into the emotional landscape with a poetic and introspective style, weaving together the threads of memory, love, and solitude. Unflinching and elegant, this is a novel for readers who want to go deep into human relationships and wander the intimate corridors of the heart. Klougart is a master of contemporary Danish literature.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas

Jonasson Swedish, 2009

This Swedish gem is a rollicking adventure that chronicles the escapades of Allan Karlsson, who, on his centennial birthday, flees his nursing home, setting off a chain of events involving gangsters, a suitcase of cash, and an elephant. Jonasson’s witty narrative of Karlsson’s extraordinary past showcases an uncommon knack for storytelling and resounds with the energy of a life lived on one’s own terms.

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Photo: Open Letter Books
Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | 8 Top Nordic Reads
Photo: Little, Brown and Company Photo: Verso Books Photo: Oneworld Publications

The Book of Reykjavik: A City in Short Fiction by various authors

Icelandic, 2021

This anthology is a captivating mosaic of short stories that capture the multifaceted soul of Reykjavik, through writings by some of the country’s best new authors. From bustling cafes to hidden corners, each narrative captures a snapshot of Icelandic urban life. These tales traverse genres and emotions, offering readers a kaleidoscopic view of Reykjavik’s essence. With contributions from diverse Icelandic voices, this collection weaves a rich tapestry of human experiences against the backdrop of the city’s unique charm.

Smilla’s Sense of Snow by Peter Høeg Danish, 1992

Swedish, 2009

Stieg Larsson’s iconic Nordic Noir novel follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist and enigmatic hacker Lisbeth Salander, who team up to solve the decades-old disappearance of a wealthy family’s scion. Blending intricate plotting with incisive social commentary, Larsson skillfully interlaces the worlds of corporate intrigue and personal trauma, while Salander emerges as a complex feminist antihero. The international bestseller has spun off into sequels and a film series and remains an indelible mark on modern Swedish literary heritage.

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas

Norwegian, 1963

This mid-century classic crystallizes the essence of isolation and youth. Set in a small Norwegian village and centred on the friendship between two young girls, Siss and Unn, the tale builds powerful emotional depth as Unn’s sudden disappearance leaves Siss grappling with confusion and loss. On the wings of stunningly evocative prose, the Norwegian landscape becomes a mirror for the characters’ internal struggles. This is a gold-standard meditation on human connection and the fragility of young hearts.

This early-nineties Danish masterpiece catapults readers into a world of mystery and intrigue. We follow Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen, a half-Inuit, half-Danish woman, as she investigates a young Greenlandic boy’s mysterious death in Copenhagen. Høeg’s evocative prose unpicks the complexities of identity and belonging against a stark but spellbinding backdrop of people and places. This is a global bestseller, pegged by The New York Times as a “publishing sensation” and “America’s gateway drug to a long-term dependency on Nordic noir.”

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 21 Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | 8 Top Nordic Reads
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson Photo: Comma Press Photo: Picador Photo: Penguin Random House Photo: Penguin Random House


Arctic Plank turns scrap wood into high-quality, bespoke furniture

Högni Stefán Þorgeirsson has repurposed hundreds of thousands of kilos of scrap wood that would have otherwise ended up on a junkyard into bespoke, high-quality furniture.

Högni Stefán Þorgeirsson has been drawn to old wood for as long as he can remember. So, when Þorgeirsson, then still a self-employed hardwood flooring expert, was contracted to lay flooring in the restaurant of a new hostel in Reykjavík, Iceland in 2010, he turned to the owner with a bold suggestion.

“Why don’t we make the floor coverings out of wood from old shipping pallets?”

The hostel owner had come to Þorgeirsson’s with his own decoration ideas and drawings, but he loved the suggestion to repurpose used shipping pallets, so much so that he also hired Þorgeirsson to create a vast yard patio out of recycled wood.

That was the beginning of Arctic Plank, founder and owner Þorgeirsson explains. “It started from there. After that, people started calling me; hotels, restaurants

and private homes who had heard about the hostel project.”

With its focus on turning used wood into bespoke, high-quality furniture, Arctic Plank is unique in Iceland. Þorgeirsson has a steady supply of wood thanks to a deep partnership with Reykjavík’s Port Authority; another resource has been two local fishing companies that recently decided to discard all their shipping vessels. “I now own three 60-ton boats made from solid oak,” he says. “I take them apart piece by piece and make furniture and floor coverings and other items out of the woods from these boats that have served the fishing industry in

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The Arctic Plank founder’s next project is to build entire, durable houses made out of old, scrap wood. Photo: Kari Sverris

Iceland for the last 70, 80 years.” In a sign of how much city authorities value what Þorgeirsson is doing, Reykjavík’s municipal government has also provided him with a space to store all this wood.

Since launching in 2010, Þorgeirsson has done projects not just in Iceland but also in the United States and Europe, and he estimates that he has saved hundreds of thousands of kilos of perfectly usable wood from ending up in a smelter or junkyard. The range of items he’s made from this old wood is wide –from floor coverings and wall panels, to kitchen cabinets, dining tables and sofas. “All my customers have loved the story behind the wood – the aspect of giving wood a second chance, a second life,” he explains, adding that he’s never had to convince a client to give old wood a chance, so to speak.

The Arctic Plank founder’s next project is to build entire, durable houses made out of old, scrap wood. “I’ve been doing my research and testing the project,” he explains, adding that he managed to find a glue producer in Norway who sent him a glue – made specifically to hold recycled wood together. “And all the stress tests are coming back really positive.”

To do this, he’ll make cross-laminated timber out of the scrapwood or, as Þorgeirsson puts it, “a sandwich” of multiple layers of wood that can be used instead of concrete in construction.

The significance and novelty of this new Arctic Plank venture cannot be overstated. “Using this type of wood to build a house – it’s not uncommon; it’s unheard of,” Þorgeirsson says. “Because everyone just buys new wood.” He adds that he hopes to finish the first house in 2024.

But even if the project to create entire houses out of recycled wood currently looms big in Þorgeirsson’s agenda, he emphasises that Artic Plank will not let go of its original focus either. “To use wood from old ships and piers and repurpose it into beautiful flooring and furniture.”

Pointing out that in Iceland alone between 70,000 to 80,000 cubic metres of wood are thrown away every year, he says: “I want to take this material and make something beautiful out of it. It has not served its lifespan by ending up in a smelter or a junkyard.”

Facebook: arctic.plank

Instagram: @arcticplank

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 23 Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Icelandic Architecture and Design
Photo: Kex Photo: Gunnar Freyr Photo: Kex Photo: Kari Sverris

spectrum of Icelandic light.

Liska: Discover Nordic lighting design Experience the magical

From the spectacular neon glow of the Northern lights to the long, luminous twilights of Nordic winters and the summer midnight sunlight in the North has an enchanting, inspiring quality. Liska, an innovative Icelandic lighting design and electrical company, harnesses these singular elements to create remarkable and sustainable lighting designs and solutions, enhancing the interaction between humans and the environments where they feel, experience, connect, and live.

Founded seven years ago by a team of lighting designers and electrical engineers, Liska, which is the Icelandic word for “chromaticity“ – i.e. the color quality of light has been a pioneer in the realm of lighting design in Iceland. Rather than focusing solely on illuminating interior spaces and buildings, the agency’s approach prioritises the specific needs and wellbeing of the individuals, and living organisms, occupying the spaces or environments. Over the years, Liska’s diverse,

dedicated team has received multiple awards, both national and international, and is currently Iceland’s largest lighting design company with ten members. Recently, they were awarded with the highest award of distinction for interior lighting design of Hallgrímskirkja design at the 50th annual IES award ceremony.

“Our projects range from hospitality and wellness projects to landmarks, municipal, residential, outdoor spaces, light art

and installations, museums and more,” says Kateřina Blahutová, architect and lighting designer at Liska. “In Icelandic schools, for example, we’ve been putting the focus on the biological effect light has on kids and members of the staff. Adjusting the colour temperature and intensity at certain times throughout the day can help preserve circadian rhythms, thus affecting the children and helping establish routines beneficial for their development.”

Liska also leads in the LED-ification of streetlights, driving energy savings, reducing operational costs, and improving overall lighting quality in Icelandic cities and municipalities. On larger commercial projects such as The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon in southwestern Iceland, Liska has introduced a more elevated, intimate,

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Warm and cold coloured lighting gradients in the vaults. Photo: Örn Erlendsson

and holistic approach to hospitality. The project has received multiple awards for architecture and lighting. One such award was for the “SoleLuna ‘’ luminaire in the suites, which mimics the moon and sun, a luminaire that can be enjoyed both as an aesthetic piece of art and as a functional feature for, for example, wake-up calls.

“At the Blue Lagoon, we used dark-sky friendly lighting to preserve the enchantment of Iceland’s natural lighting and night sky. Our designs created a relaxing and revitalizing atmosphere by highlighting the relationship between nature, human biology, and architectural design,” says Örn Erlendsson, architectural engineer and lighting designer at Liska. “All the lighting allows for a superior level of comfort, meeting the functional requirements whilst also creating a mood and atmosphere for guests to fully relax and rejuvenate.”

Liska’s philosophy lies in a unified artistic approach to light design, heavily influenced by the unique conditions of Icelandic light, which, with dark winters and long summer days, directly impacts the island’s inhabitants’ state of mind and emotional wellbeing. In one of Liska’s most recent and most awarded projects, the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral, the lighting design was heavily influenced by the Nordic lights sky and rhythms.

“Our human-centric lighting approach is very much based on circadian rhythms

and our design caters to these changes in human energy throughout the day,” says Blahutová. “On the Hallgrímskirkja project, the colour temperature and intensity of light is adjusted throughout the day to give visitors a sense of natural rhythm. Extending the functionality of the light even further, dynamic colourful lighting scenes can be applied on special occasions.”

To accommodate this, Liska employs technology that emulates natural light during the darker months and designs colder lighting for office spaces to boost productivity. In contrast, evening lighting takes inspiration from the relaxing effect of fire and candlelight. This intricate understanding of how lighting influences human mood and behaviour extends even to mealtimes, where lower colour temperature lighting can aid digestion and make food appear more appetising.

“We tend to be very influenced by the Nordic night sky, the twilight especially,” elaborates Erlendsson. “We have a lot of darkness in the winter, and we have long sunsets and sunrises, generally warmer in colour, and that’s kind of where we seek inspiration in the light.”

A common thread weaving through Liska’s work is the emphasis on sustainability and smart programming. Drawing from the minimalist aesthetic of Scandinavian design and the outstanding natural beauty of Iceland, the agency aims to create the maximum im-

pact with minimal resources. This commitment extends to seeking more sustainable and environmentally conscious products for their clients, reducing energy consumption, and utilising smart controls to adjust to the changing Nordic lighting conditions.

With their focus on human-centric lighting, innovative designs, and commitment to sustainability, Liska is determined to keep bringing light to people and places across Iceland and beyond, championing the enlightening effects of human-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and environmentally sustainable light.

“It is our mission to support people´s needs and wellbeing and to evoke emotions that people want to feel at a specific place and time,” says Blahutová. “We want to support people in their activities regardless of the time of day or year.”

Instagram: liska_ligthing_design

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View of the main nave towards organ with festive lighting. Photo: Örn Erlendsson SoleLuna light in the Retreat at Blue Lagoon. Photo: Gunnar Sverrisson Outdoor spa area. Photo: Ragnar Th. Sigurðsson

Icelandic tweed: Sourced and spun at home

Iceland is not the first country that springs to mind when thinking about tweed fashion. Nonetheless, the Nordic country is home to Kormákur & Skjöldur Reyjkavik, a fashion brand which has caught the world’s attention just over a quarter of a century after its launch. Today, it has six stores in Iceland and is making progress on the international stage too.

“The brand is a heritage brand, based on Nordic values. We do everything from high quality suits and formal wear to more washed down relaxed styling with a bohemian flair,” says head designer and CEO Gunni Hilmarsson. “We really make everything a man needs in the collection as we see our stores as a one stop destination for the gentlemen in Iceland. Everything from hats down to socks.”

For comparable brands, he points to Paul Smith, RRL Ralph Lauren and heritage brands including Filson and Barbour. “The collection has depth in terms of styles and different themes, so it caters to a large variety of stores and countries,” he says.

Hilmarsson, who joined the brand 11 years ago after working for several brands in Europe and the US, says what makes K&S Reykjavik stand out is that the brand is the only one in the world that makes Icelandic tweed.

It took the team years to develop the fabric, which is genuinely homegrown, sourced and spun. “The Icelandic sheep has been isolated in Iceland for over 1000 years and it is a special breed,” he says. “We are very proud of how the tweed fabric came out after years of development.”

A sustainable approach and patience are key to the building of the brand. The founders decided early on that they wanted to work with local suppliers and have kept collections small to avoid excess items and wastage. As the company says, “slow fashion is the way forward.”

This year K&S Reyjkavik took international steps, showing its collection in fashion weeks in Denmark and Italy and selling to ten countries so far. However,

slow and steady are the watchwords. “In our wildest dreams we would like to have stores in a few key cities and online retailers selling our line, but we want the same slow organic growth as we have had so far,” concludes Hilmarsson. Instagram: kormakurogskjoldur

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Kormákur & Skjöldur Reykjavik has built a collection based on homegrown tweed and Nordic values.
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Icelandic Architecture and Design
Gunnar Hilmarsson.


Treat yourself to a relaxing stay at a historic hotel where art and design meet gastronomy and world-class service. Enjoy scenic surroundings with a pier, sauna, and relaxation for enhanced well-being. Book a relaxing weekend by the sea.


Vår Gård is a historic conference facility beautifully located in Saltsjöbaden. Already in 1924, Vår Gård was acquired by the Cooperative Federation and became a training center for education of the Cooperative’s store personnel and managers. Today, Vår Gård is a modern, people oriented, Swan-labeled conference and hotel facility.

Tendra Arkitektúr offers a lot more than Icelandic folklore and functional cohousing

At Icelandic architecture firm Tendra Arkitektúr, building is more than simply putting up houses. Its unique approach offers solutions to the growing number of collective challenges we face. “We are not in the business of making monuments; we want to try to solve a problem,” cofounder Jóhann Sigurðsson says.

The name Tendra is a slice of Icelandic folklore meaning ‘to ignite’ – to spark an idea or a solution. The best ideas often begin with a modest thought: a small flame, growing into a fire. Cofounder and general manager Jóhann Sigurðsson elaborates: “we started in our current configuration in 2016 and operate in both Iceland and Norway. At the time, our philosophy didn’t align with the company we were at, so we decided to split and establish Tendra.”

Some of these values include building with a purpose, and to incorporate mul-

tiple functions in one project. “We really strive to solve the problems that are introduced, so the project can make a positive impact,” he explains. “We want to build human spaces in and around buildings where people can feel good, to create a refuge that keeps you safe. This is extremely important in today’s society with its high tempo and high stress levels.”

He highlights a project he is particularly proud of – a cohousing project aimed at resolving rising social issues. “The average age of the population is increasing, and loneliness is growing concurrently. All parties benefit from what we call a ‘house for generations’ in which senior citizens can remain at home until old age. This allows for a flow of wisdom and information, and results in a shared workload at home. It makes a bridge; it’s about building a small community.”

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Jóhann Sigurðsson, cofounder, Tendra Arkitektúr. Cohousing for four generations. Photo: ©Nanne Springer

You can feel the drive to create purpose in the architectural firm’s clear view of the bigger picture. This means being sustainable from the outset, striving to reach the goal as efficiently and swiftly as possible. “Being a small firm in Iceland, you can’t be too specialised,” says Sigurðsson. “We do a lot of residential work, offices, schools and kindergartens, and lately we have been designing shelters for women and for orphaned children.”

In other words, every context requires a different solution. This means taking into account the surroundings, whether it is nature or neighbours. “We take all factors into consideration – the wind, sun, view – while creating spaces for human beings. Those are the things that shape our buildings.”

Inspiration comes from diverse sources, from scrolling Instagram to the felt ef-

fect of everyday environments. “Honest architecture that doesn´t try to pretend to be something it isn’t,” he states, adding, “so, no Potemkin villages. Steampunk inspires me a lot these days, as well as history, landscape, nature and natural light.”

Keeping it lean

One of Tendra’s keywords is lean. This is a defining approach for the Icelandic firm, making sure nothing – or as little as possible – goes to waste. This also means reaching the end goal as quickly as possible without cutting corners, while being lean in the methods and processes needed to achieve the end result.

“We’ve recently created a building almost entirely made from repurposed and recycled materials,” says Sigurðsson. “Now we are working on a BREEAM certified office building and an apartment

complex, certified with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Those will be ready this year. And there are more ‘green buildings’ in the early stages of design.”

The future is all about an increased focus on sustainability. And not just for likes on social media. Sigurðsson points out ways to achieve this. Building materials need to become more eco-friendly and the construction sector needs to improve in repurposing both buildings and materials. “Another thing is what we create with those resources. We need to reduce waste, and we need to create the right number of houses in the right dimensions and in the right areas. And these houses need to solve more problems than they currently do.”

Instagram: @tendra_arkitektur


September 2023 | Issue 158 | 29 Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Icelandic Architecture and Design
Photo: ©Nanne Springer A sliding doors moment in this cohousing home. Photo: ©Nanne Springer 40Femti is an apartment complex in Sola, Norway. This family home is in Mosfellsbær, close to Reykjavik. Photo: ©Nanne Springer

Icelandic bespoke architectural design solutions

Located in a small island nation, the Icelandic architectural firm THG Arkitektar has developed a special expertise for understanding different needs. Founded by Halldór Guðmundsson in 1994, before the first architectural school had even opened on the island, THG Arkitektar has today grown to a team of 38 people, and the firm plans, designs, manages and realises projects all over Iceland.

THG Arkitektar’s design spans from hospitality and the high-end sector to healthcare solutions and the educational sector. Because of the different needs of their clients, the firm is highly skilled at adapting projects to create beautiful and user-friendly solutions. Meanwhile, the site surroundings and nature are a source of inspiration and a starting point in everything they do.

“It’s crucial to look at the environment of a site; what we add to the location must harmonize with what’s already there,

no matter if it’s nature or other buildings,” Frey Frostasson, a partner at THG Arkitektar, explains.

Elegant design with a sense of history

Through the years, THG Arkitektar has worked on a range of different projects. From 2015 to 2018 it completed Reykjavík Konsulat Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton – a boutique hotel and ex-residence of the German consul Ditlev Thomsen. The building is from the 1830s and is situated in the oldest part of Reykjavik and the hotel’s interior design thoughtfully retains aesthetic traces of its history.

Recently, the new Iceland Parliament Hotel by Hilton was completed and has now opened its doors to showcase a sophisticated and detailed design – an impressive project in which the old and the new coexist, and the existing architecture is balanced with new, elegant design. “We left some original details and highlighted them, to showcase the long

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Photo: Paolo Gianfrancesco

history of what now is Konsulat Hotel,” Frostasson says.

Another of the firm’s large projects is Klíník Ármúla – a medical centre whose space previously housed an entertainment venue. THG Arkitektar remodelled it into a modern hospital with surgery rooms, physiotherapy as well as a spa and a nursing centre.

THG Arkitektar has also realised residential buildings, as well as updating the design of Reykjavík’s largest shopping centre Kringlan – including a stunning remodelling of its new food and entertainment floor, according to the latest trends in the industry.

Sustainable island architecture

Iceland is known for its spectacular nature, with volcanos and glaciers topping the list of tourist attractions. But nature also serves as a source for renewable energy, the two main forms of which are hydroelectricity and geothermal. The country is also a big producer of aluminium – a lightweight, easy to maintain, and recyclable material.

“Because we live on an island, a lot of materials are shipped to Iceland – something I’d like to see change. At THG, we always strive to reduce our carbon footprint and use locally produced materials. We’re happy to see the development in the aluminium field,” Frostasson says.

The team at THG Arkitektar has a broad range of skills. They work with city plan-

ning, project management, and interior design, besides architectural solutions. At THG, you’ll find engineers, industrial and construction designers, interior designers, and, of course, architects.

“Iceland is a small country, meaning the market is limited, which has pushed us to cover lots of needs under the same roof. Our clients can feel safe with us managing the whole process, from planning for an urban environment, to creating

great interiors. We have a unique ability to create bespoke designs and solutions for any project,” Frostasson concludes.

Instagram: @thgarkitektar

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THG Arkitektar Faxafen 9 108 Reykjavík Photo: Hotel Konsulat Photo: Gunnar Sverrisson

The smoothest way to tackle re-entry stress? –Treat yourself to a spa retreat

The summer holidays often feel far too short, and, for some of us, the return to work and everyday life can be a rough awakening. Moreover, in the Nordic countries, this year’s summer never really came into being as it was replaced by an amount of rain not seen since the 19th century. This means that many of us now have to face the autumn darkness without having had that much-needed dose of vitamin D from the summer sun, something that can affect anyone’s mood.

Fortunately, there are a number of simple tips to help easily alleviate a little bout of re-entry stress, recommended by professional counsellors. One of them is to create something to look forward to by planning a little getaway in the near future (preferably with someone that brings you joy). If you combine this little escape from everyday life with hot beneficial baths, oxytocin-inducing massages, endorphin-stimulating workouts, a good morning’s sleep, a luxurious break-

fast buffet lovely company and some nice memories for the memory bank, you will probably see that that Monday morning smile will come all by itself.

As a first step, flip the pages and start exploring what is on offer in the beautiful landscape of Sweden. Svenska Spahotell consists of Sweden’s 46 finest spa experiences. Enjoy pure indulgence.

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September 2023 | Issue 158 | 33 Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Spas in Sweden
Varbergs Kusthotel (page 41). Vadstena Klosterhotell (page 34). Orbaden Spa & Resort (page 43).

Find your haven of history, harmony and hospitality

Nestled in the heart of the small town of Vadstena in Sweden, Vadstena Klosterhotell offers experiences that are as rich in Swedish history as they are in luxury and comfort for both the senses and the soul.

Set in a 14th century cloister, Vadstena Klosterhotell embodies a unique blend of historical charm and modern luxury. It’s a one-of-a-kind hotel that offers a window into Sweden’s past, while also fulfilling the promise of a serene and rejuvenating escape from the urban bustle. Founded 38 years ago by the current owners, the Milton family, the hotel has grown from a simple restaurant to a fully-fledged hospitality experience composed of a fine-dining restaurant, wine cellar, castle, and spa.

“We want to manage and preserve the legacy with which we have been entrusted in an authentic and honest way that

echoes history and culture rather than imposing modern trends or commercial fads on it,” says Sofia Lindholm, hotel and spa manager at Vadstena Klosterhotell. “Many of the buildings we manage and invite our guests to experience are unique properties that we are renting from the National Property Board of Sweden, and we go to great pains to take care of them as well as the history behind them.”

Vadstena Klosterhotell’s evolution mirrors the deep-seated commitment of the Milton family to uphold the city and surrounding region’s rich historical legacy. The family’s philosophy is not to follow transient trends but to create an enduring experience firmly rooted in history. From offering luxe champagne tasting

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weekends paired with guided historical tours, to crafting a contemplative, meditation-focused spa experience, every aspect of Vadstena Klosterhotell seeks to connect with its legacy.

“One of our cherished mottos is seeing and appreciating the big in the small,” says Lindholm. “In Vadstena, even the smallest of details have a story to tell, because there is so much history in such a small place here. Almost all of Swedish history is represented in some way.”

A heritage of wellness

Vadstena Klosterhotell reveres its historical roots and seeks to reflect them authentically in its myriad offerings. As such, Vadstena’s rich history as a city of healing, both physical and spiritual, permeates the hotel, creating an environment of calm and rejuvenation.

“Vadstena has always been a destination for pilgrims seeking spiritual healing, and Sweden’s first-ever nursing home was founded here, so we don’t believe in quick fixes, life hacks, self-optimization,” says Lindholm. “We believe in longevity, a sustainable approach to health and wellbeing, and want to help our guests find lasting comfort, clarity, and calmness in their own bodies and souls.”

For those with a thirst for history and culture, Vadstena Klosterhotell serves as the perfect base to explore the likes of the Castle of Vadstena and Vadstena

Abbey, one of Sweden’s oldest church buildings, or to visit an art exhibit or the opera. In step with the changing seasons, the hotel offers a blend of indoor and outdoor experiences, ensuring that it remains a vibrant destination throughout the year.

“In the summer there is a lot of street life, outdoor dining and activities, and we always have fresh flowers in the hotel,” says Lindholm. “In the autumn, there are more indoors activities in town, and guests get cosy in the candlelight and enjoy the spa throughout the winter until spring arrives, when the boat and church life return to full swing.”

Thoughtful high-end dining

Vadstena Klosterhotell takes pride in offering its guests a local, organic and seasonal dining experience. The restaurant’s tradition-inspired international kitchen, led by a head chef who has been with the hotel for over 18 years, mirrors Vadstena Klosterhotell’s overall philosophy of au-

thenticity, while the hotel’s wine cellar, home to an exquisite collection of wines personally selected by the Milton family, elevates the dining experience further.

“From the fine food to the home-brewed beer to personally imported cognac and champagne, we pour thoughtfulness and deep care into our dining experiences,” says Lindholm. “We take extra care in matching our food and with the unique bottles in our cellar, so our sommelier and head chef work in close collaboration on a daily basis.”

A sense of serenity

Guests consistently laud the unique historical and spiritual environment that Vadstena Klosterhotell has curated, alongside the attention to detail and personal touch that defines every aspect of their stay. This blend of authenticity, tradition and the comforts of a top-notch hotel sets Vadstena Klosterhotell apart.

“Many guests return year after year, lured by the uniquely historical and spiritual atmosphere and sense of serenity you can experience here with us,” says Lindholm. “I think that’s our greatest accomplishment and what we are most proud of: that we are able to run a modern fourstar hotel without compromising on authenticity and tradition.”

Instagram: @klosterhotellet

Facebook: klosterhotelle

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Active relaxation at one of Sweden’s largest spa resorts

On the rocky Swedish west coast, in the archipelago around Fjällbacka and Grebbestad, you’ll find TanumStrand, a spa hotel and resort where you don’t have to request an ocean-view room – it is almost guaranteed.

With the ocean on its doorstep and exciting new things to discover every day, TanumStrand is the ultimate venue for both summer holidays, conferences, and weekend getaways. Here is time to both relax and activate yourself during your stay, with a large range of different cottages and rooms to choose from.

“When our guests arrive, many of them are surprised by how big the resort is! And fair enough, not many places can host the number of guests that we can,” says Ewa

Svensson, marketing and sustainability director at TanumStrand Spa and Resort.

Active Relaxation

TanumStrand’s credo is ‘active relaxation’. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the many activities available at and around the resort, but also to take time to wind down, relax, and enjoy some ‘me time’.

The spa consists of two major areas. Firstly, there’s Spa Horisont, a fully equipped spa with saunas, a warm pool,

a range of massages and facial treatments, warming stone beds, a relaxation room with a bar, and a champagne pool – a smaller, outdoor pool with small bubbles resembling the French beverage. This area is only open to guests over 16 years of age.

The other area is called Stora Blå and is open to all ages. It has a larger pool for both swimming and playing, as well as water slides and water jets.

Svensson says, “we are happy to offer a calm space for grown-ups to fully relax. We love to be able to have guests of all ages at our resort, but at the spa, we have decided to stick with 16 and above. And it has worked really well!”

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Explore the archipelago

After some relaxation by the pool, in the sauna, or on the massage table, you can venture out to explore the many activities available at TanumStrand. “We have so much that you can experience and do, including more exotic activities such as lobster trawling and an oyster safari. They are both pretty unique ways to experience the Nordic waters and learn more about the fishing method and history,” smiles Svensson.

The oysters of Grebbestad have been awarded Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), and you will get the opportunity to learn all about them, as well as taste them and buy them on the safari. “Furthermore, you can go hiking, running, cycling, golfing, and of course swimming –in the summertime and throughout the rest of the year,” adds Svensson.

Enjoy seafood when it tastes the absolute best: during winter

At TanumStrand, you can experience the four seasons of the west coast, and the knowledgeable and capable staff will guide you through the best activities, dinner experiences, and events.

Svensson explains, “most people enjoy crayfish and other seafood during summer, but the truth is that crayfish absolute-

ly tastes best during winter. We therefore have a crayfish chef working on one of our piers from the end of August onwards.”

She continues, “you get to pick your crayfish, they’ll prepare and cook it for you, and you get to enjoy it fresh from the water, warm and delicious, on the pier. There, we also have a boat house where we serve innovative and gorgeous pizzas with toppings such as oyster shavings and whitefish roe.”

The resort has another restaurant, Latitude 58°, which is precisely where you’ll be geographically when dining here. “Latitude 58° is open all year round, and here you can enjoy our extensive breakfast menu with our dedicated omelette chef who will cook your eggs just to your liking.

We offer lunch and dinner menus with a focus on seasonal products, local delicacies, and sustainability,” Svensson says.

“We work hard to maintain a sustainable and climate-aware resort. We meet all the requirements for the Green Key and Klimato certifications. Both are sustainability organisations within hospitality, and we satisfy this throughout our menus as well as in our overall operation.”

Encouraging guests to make mindful, sustainable decisions

On the menus at the resort, symbols make it possible for guests to track their carbon dioxide emissions so that they can easily and comfortably make decisions that make a difference.

“They can see the impact they make when choosing from our menus, and it has been greatly appreciated,” finishes Svensson. TanumStrand has just undergone a renovation; overlooking the barren cliffs, salty sea, and stormy skies of the Swedish west coast, the grand venue invites you to combine relaxation with activity, all year round.

Instagram: @tanumstrand

Facebook: @tanumstrandhotell

LinkedIn: TanumStrand

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Pulse and pause at a northern getaway

The island of Frösön in northern Sweden provides what might be one of the most tranquil locations you will ever experience. Located here is Frösö Park Hotel, a complete spa retreat taking inspiration from the historical heritage of Jämtland and the aeronautical background of Frösön.

During the Middle Ages, Frösön was where decisions were made for the future of Jämtland county. Over the past 300 years, it’s been used as a military base and later an airbase for the Jämtland Wing in the Swedish Air Force. The jet fighters decorating the facilities are a creative nod to the location’s rich history.

Inside, Frösö Park Hotel welcomes you to a Jämtland inspired spa experience, amazing food and accommodation for a weekend getaway, a corporate kick-off or an extended stay. “Find relaxation in your own way, through ‘pulse and pause,’” content manager Michaela Scherman says. “It’s important for us to give our guests a place to relax and disconnect, be it through yoga, exercise, inspiration and ways to be active outdoors. We have bicycles, paddle boards, all sorts of ways for you to find relaxation.”

The spa area takes inspiration from the mythical Scandinavian nature of Jämt-

land county emanating the soothing elements of flowing rivers and misty mornings by the lake. “It is important for us that the spa is very calm,” Scherman continues. “It isn’t just a jacuzzi and sauna for you to have a drink. For example, we always recommend that you wash first, ‘tvaga’ in Swedish. This helps the mind wind down before your spa visit; everything has taken inspiration from Jämtland’s surrounding nature.”

An array of treatments is available at the spa; likewise for culinary experiences which can be enjoyed at Frösö Park Hotel’s own restaurant, KAVA. A specific spa menu with hot and cold dishes complements the experience. You’ll also find an à la carte menu, a lunch menu and a bar.

If you need something more energetic to reset and disconnect, a running trail is just around the corner. “And if you walk a little further, you’ll come to Bynäset”, Scherman explains. “This is a headland,

almost like a little island with a beautiful trail. And Östersund Frösö golf club is close, one of Sweden’s most beautifully situated courses.”

If you happen to bring your dog, you’ll be more than welcome too. “Every year we have a firework free new year”, Scherman explains. “This is very appreciated by dog owners. We basically have a new year celebration for dogs!”

Facebook: @frosoparkhotel

Instagram: @frosoparkhotel

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Spas in Sweden
Photo: Studio Karl & Moa Photo: Tim och Ted Forsström Jacobsson Photo: Henrik Ljusberg


HôtelReisenhasstooditsgroundinthe sameplacesince1610,justnexttothe RoyalPalaceinOldTownStockholm.

1classicrestaurant 2bars




HôtelReisenhasstooditsgroundinthe sameplacesince1610,justnexttothe RoyalPalaceinOldTownStockholm. Hereyoucanenjoyagoodnight'ssleep withthekingasyourneighbor.


Sea and soul at Varberg’s Coast Hotel

An enchanting landscape wrapped in a soothing sea breeze. That is the setting for Varberg’s Coast Hotel in Sweden’s south. Known as a haven for relaxation and reflection with the sea at its core, this is a long-standing destination for spa lovers, quality-seekers and city escapers alike.

Varberg’s Coast Hotel was first established as a sanatorium at the start of the last century. Unsurprisingly, its founder (Dr Johan Severin Almer) chose the area for its abundance of sunshine, fresh air and proximity to the sea – all things he considered essential for general wellbeing, and a belief that has been carried through to the establishment today which has been run as a hotel since 1991.

The legacy lives on

A love and appreciation for the sea runs through each part of this hotel, whether it’s the look and feel of the rooms, the award-winning spa, or the menu enjoyed in the accompanying restaurant.

“We’re only 52 steps away from the sea”, tells sales manager Johanna Olesen. “That on its own makes us pretty unique and gives the term ‘coastal hotel’ a run

for its money. Plus, all our staff has a connection to the sea which really comes through in our offering”.

A one-of-a-kind spa

With the sea so close, a thalasso therapy spa was introduced here in 2015 as Sweden’s only one in this genre (thalasso meaning ‘sea’ in Greek). Here, harmony and relaxation take centre stage, with a range of spa experiences availa-

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ble and a fully equipped gym for those looking to sweat.

How about a dip in the heated seawater pool? The water with its high salt levels has antiseptic qualities and contains important minerals which have positive effects on our skin and body.

There’s also a cold-water bath, saunas with different temperatures, a champagne hot tub and various spa treatments. The latter can be customised for personal needs and feature elements of the sea such as vitamin-packed seaweed, used for its ability to improve skin tone, hydrate and retain moisture. Visiting with a partner or friend? Book a duo treatment to share the experience with separate treatments in the same room.

“You can also take part in a sauna ritual within our cold-water bath facilities where a spa therapist will guide you through it, using menthol, salt or ice,” explains Olesen. “And don’t forget to take a plunge in the sea afterwards. The difference in temperatures, going from hot to cold, gives you a rush of dopamine and a sense of invincibility,” she adds.

Energising conferences

Varberg’s Coast Hotel is also an ideal spot to host conferences. With 13 dedicated event halls able to cater for as many as 220 people, the hotel provides not only a space to meet, but also a place to re-

charge. The staff will cater for whatever the business needs, and bookings can be made for anything from one-day meetings to an all-inclusive away day with activities and food experiences weaved in.

Food to feast on

Speaking of food, the hotel’s restaurant is a lovely spot for delicious food. Often fully booked, it has made a name for itself outside of the hotel walls, too. Visitors here can expect carefully curated meals made with the season’s best and local produce, whether that’s an extensive breakfast buffet, lunch with a view or cosy dinner with friends.

Serious about sustainability

As a hotel certified by the Nordic Swan Ecolabel (the Nordics’ official eco badge), it’s also worth highlighting its commitment to being planet-friendly – especially its removal of complimentary slippers.

“As a business, we’re always looking at how we can exceed expectations around

sustainability and take charge to lead with example,” says Olesen. “That’s why we now ask guests to bring their own slippers to their visit, rather than handing them out automatically. It’s a great way for us to waste less as a business, but also to inspire change collectively as we need guests to make it work,” she adds.

Varberg’s Coast Hotel also takes part in the Nordic Coast Saving Day annually. This event is arranged by the foundation Keep Sweden Clean and exists to encourage people everywhere to help rid the coastline of trash. Guests are encouraged to support the cause along with staff from the hotel, making a difference together.

Whatever you’re looking for and however your personal experience may look, Olesen hopes that all guests will leave with bags of memories and a wellbeing boost.

Instagram: @varbergs_kusthotell

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Spas in Sweden
Photo: Natalie Greppi

A reason to travel –visit a unique resort with a great vibe

Located in the beautiful region of Bohuslän, on the west coast of Sweden, is the Strömstad Spa & Resort. This coastal resort offers a great variety of stays and activities and as it is situated right at the edge of the sea, you can choose to arrive here with your own boat and dock at the resort’s private yacht marina. The marina is also a part of what gives the resort a lovely riviera vibe that all guests can enjoy.

On top of the great spa treatments and the delicious drinks and food available at the resort, the Koster Islands are only a short boat ride away. There you will find a myriad of different things to do, including biking, boating, fishing - and bathing, of course. This area is also very well known for its seafood.

Next door to the resort is the nature reserve Nötholmen, which is perfect if you enjoy outdoor activities like jogging, hiking, picnics, bathing, or just relaxation.

“There is a great choice of activities around here, and we love to help our guests get the most out of their stay whether they are here as a spa-guest, for a work conference or as a family enjoying time together,” Annika Fritzén Director of Marketing & Brands explains when Scan

If you are a golf player, you will also be glad to hear that Strömstad Golf Club is next door; it is easy to book your golf

package and hire your own golf car at the hotel, play a beautiful course, then relax by the seafront or enjoy treatments in the spa.

Not too far from the airport in Gothenburg and just a few minutes away from the border of Norway, the resort is also easy to travel to. Nonetheless, all guests are met with an international ambience. “Guests tell us the feeling here is almost Mediterranean,” Fritzén say with a smile.

So, whether you want to unwind, enjoy nature, or build a team –travel here and get the Bohuslän riviera vibe as a bonus – this is certainly a coastal gem.


Instagram: @stromstadspa

At Strömstad Spa & Resort you will find restaurant and bar areas wellsuited for small as well as large groups and conferences. There is also a wide selection of elegant meeting rooms for all kinds of events up to 500 people.

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Spas in Sweden
Magazine speaks to her about the Spa and resort.

A Scandinavian spa experience with a view to infinity

The complete spa experience must involve a few things: a variety of treatments, steam baths and surroundings to match. Orbaden Spa & Resort offers all of this and more, with adventurous outdoor activities and unparalleled views.

For more than 100 years, visitors have come to Orbaden to enjoy the nature and its glorious beaches. In the latter half of the 1920s, a restaurant, a camping site and a dance floor were established for tourists and visitors to be able to enjoy the area for longer periods of time. Through the following decades, the site grew in the hands of various personalities and restaurateurs. In 2002, it was acquired by the current owner, Helene Åkerström Hartman.

Today, it is a resort offering a first-class cuisine, a Scandinavian spa experience, and conference areas as well as outdoor activities such as zip lining, via ferratas and hiking trails in the dense Scandinavian forests, all within walking distance. “And the beach is right here, and fields and cultural landscapes,” Åkerström Hartman says enthusiastically. “During the winter there is cross-country skiing and downhill skiing in Järvsö, 15 minutes away by car.”

With a traditional Scandinavian flair, the spa area boasts both an indoor and outdoor pool, a soothing 37-degree mineral bath and an outdoor jacuzzi. “We want the Scandinavian feel to run throughout the hotel and the spa area,” Åkerström Hartman continues. “Our yoga room has the most amazing view of the flowing river and the mountains.”

Orbaden Spa & Resort also provides conference facilities and experiences, with the possibility of topping events off with team building activities such as yoga, a gym session or one of the adventurous outdoor excursions. “We also have 10 suites at the hotel with various themes,” she explains.

These suites have been decorated and styled by collaborating ambassadors such as Victoria Silvstedt, Peter Stormare and Carolina Klüft. “Our local ambassadors have decorated every little detail,” Åkerström Hartman says. “We also do-

nate some of the income from the suites to different projects close to our hearts. We have two rainbow rooms, where some of the revenue goes to LGBTI projects, for example. And our Africa suite supports our work with the organisation Smart Savannahs and schools in Kenya.”

So, what’s on offer is not just nature experiences, soothing spa treatments and exquisite food, but also the chance to support a good cause - and we aren’t even done yet. There’s a beer brewery in the village too, and, of course, Orbaden Spa & Resort has its own beer. “Peter Stormare is a co-owner of the brewery,” Åkerström Hartman says. “It’s open for beer tasting – why not as a part of your conference experience?”

Facebook: @orbaden

Instagram: @orbaden

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Spas in Sweden
F reshly made skincare

Next generation of high-performing

sunscreen technology is here

Sun Emulsion SPF50 + is the first sunscreen product from Swedish company Skinome, known for its innovative and research-driven skincare. This high-performing sunscreen builds on Skinome’s concept of freshly made, microbiome friendly and unperfumed skincare without preservatives.

Sun Emulsion SPF 50+ give highest possible protection on the European market

•Balanced and photostable protection against both UVA and UVB rays

•Unique combination of UV filters with new, innovative organic filters that are not endocrine disruptors

•Reduces risk of get ting UV-induced signs of aging

•Gentle on the environment & coral reef safe

•Moisturizes and cares for the skin

•Can be used as the only day cream

•Unperfumed and without preservatives

•Suitable for the most sensitive skin and also for children

Premium functional skincare, firmly rooted in science

Verso Skincare is on a mission to provide innovative yet functional skincare – for everyday simplicity and long-term beauty and health – because great skincare should not be complicated and every single ingredient should have a purpose.

With science as a starting point, Verso Skincare creates high-quality skincare products, developed in conjunction with leading specialists, rigorously tested, and made without any nonessential ingredients. Importantly, no shortcuts are allowed.

The high-end brand is a pioneer in Vitamin A-based skincare products. In addition to industry-leading formulas, the minimalist and sleek Scandinavian design is part of the brand’s success. “It’s important that the product is functional, stable and long-lasting,” says Lars Fredriksson, CEO and founder. “It should

live up to all its promises. In addition, it should be an aesthetically pleasing detail in your life.”

Launched in 2013 by Lars Fredriksson, Verso is located in the midst of a significant research hub, close to the University of Stockholm’s campus at Frescati. The proximity to the scientific community and leading experts in the field has been essential to Verso’s research-based product development approach and range of skin essentials. Since its launch, Verso has seen steady organic growth, and the compact range of award-winning serums and creams is now available in more than 25 countries.

Vitamin A as the star ingredient

Fredriksson’s ambition with Verso is to continue to develop effective, functional skincare, and at the core of the brand

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and its mission is Vitamin A-based products. “Vitamin A is the golden standard in skincare,” says Fredriksson. ”Few ingredients are so well documented. We believe that everyone should use at least one Vitamin A product every day in their skincare routine.”

Amongst the many benefits of Vitamin A is its visibly rejuvenating properties; it strengthens, visibly firms and enhances the skin’s natural glow. Verso has developed products with the unique Vitamin A complex Retinol 8, which is kinder to the skin without compromising the result. Retinol 8 was clinically tested under the supervision of doctors from Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. The formulation has proven to be eight times as effective and half as irritative as conventional retinol. The result is an improved look of even skin tone and reduced appearance of fine lines.

Another hero ingredient in skincare is Niacinamide. Recently, Verso has managed to combine Vitamin A and Niacinamide in a patented molecule, NEAR 1 (Niacinamidoethyl Retinoate), described as a third-generation retinoid. The first product with the new molecule NEAR 1 is Super Elixir, launched in September 2022. It targets and helps reduce the appearance of dullness, uneven skin tone, and provides a smoother texture. Super Elixir has won a number of awards, including Best Skin Innovation at Marie Claire Skin

Awards in 2022, one of the most respected awards in the skincare industry, and Serum/Oil of the Year at Swedish Beauty Awards 2023.

”NEAR 1 is the result of eight years of research and harnesses the essence of our philosophy – a science-first mindset –and our core ambition to offer skincare that provides visible results,” says Fredriksson. “It combines the best of two worlds. Niacinamide stabilizes and enhances Vitamin A, creating a high-performance vitamin A with great stability.”

Minimalist approach to skincare

Verso has received numerous other nominations and awards for its innovative products and branding. For instance, in 2021 Verso was awarded Beauty Icon of the Year by Nordiska Kompaniet in

Sweden for establishing “a brand that goes beyond age and gender.”

Today, Verso has a smorgasbord of 23 stand-alone products in its line-up, of which 10 are Vitamin A-based. The idea is to simplify the daily skincare routine for consumers, with a convenient range of products to pick and choose from, depending on which formulation works best for your skin.

Verso´s focus on carefully selected ingredients, pure science-based formulas without shortcuts, and a range of standalone products is ongoing and imprinted in its DNA. Only high-quality ingredients with the proven ability to visibly rejuvenate the skin and maintain its beauty make the cut. “Great skincare shouldn’t be complicated and there shouldn’t be anything in the product that doesn’t have a given function,” concludes Fredriksson and reassures, “Verso’s range is gentle enough for everyday use, even on delicate skin.”


Instagram: @versoskincare

LinkedIn: Verso Skincare

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 47
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Beauty Brands in Sweden
Verso Skincare is available from and globally with premium retailers, spas, and skincare experts. Lars Fredriksson, CEO and founder.

60 years of vision and innovation – and fabulous hair

This year marks the 60th anniversary of Sweden’s leading haircare brand Björn Axén, which is celebrated with a new smashing book release! It tells the story of how its founder, legendary hairdresser of stars and royals, Björn Axén, brought glamour from Paris to Sweden in the 60s, and much more.

Björn Axén was the founder and visionary of Sweden’s leading haircare brand, which carries his name to this day. Björn opened his first hair salon in Stockholm in 1963, and quickly became the preferred hairdresser of stars and royals. Over the years, his innovative business has won numerous awards, including The Global Salon Business Award and Hairdresser of the Year.

In celebration of the 60th anniversary, a new book hits the shelves telling the fascinating story of the iconic hairdresser and his empire. Johan Hellström, hairdresser, CEO and owner of Björn Axén, has been part of the company’s success for more than 30 years and shares his thoughts on the new release. “This book is as much a declaration of love to an art form and a craft as it is the tale of the company that

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is our life’s work,” he says. “It’s an ode to a profession that in essence is about the joy of elevating others and improving wellbeing through beauty.”

In addition to many captivating stories about Björn’s mentors and magnificent couture shows in Paris, the book takes readers on a journey through the company’s winding past and simultaneous history of hairstyles. And, of course, it explores the magic skills and the passion that made Björn one of the world’s most celebrated hairdressers.

From haute couture to Royal hairdresser Björn began dreaming of opening his own hair salon during his humble beginning as a shampoo boy. In 1963, the dream came true when he opened his first salon in Stockholm. “Björn had trained in Paris for the master of hair at the time, Monsieur Alexandre, and had the opportunity to work with the big fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent,” smiles Hellström. “Having gathered heaps of knowledge, creativity and inspiration there, Björn brought glamour and the art of hairdressing to Sweden.”

Known for his innovative craftsmanship, Björn quickly became a favourite amongst Stockholm’s most elegant women. Not before long his name was on everyone’s lips and in 1976, he became the hairdresser for Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden and several other members of the Royal Family. As from 1984

and still to this day, the brand Björn Axén is a purveyor to the Royal Court of Sweden, a long-term relationship that the team is very proud to maintain.

The influential hairstylist was also a great visionary. Already in 1984, he launched a line of exclusive, cruelty-free haircare products. “Delivering superior quality was important to Björn, and through his products, he was able to make professional haircare accessible to everyone –a legacy that is still the core of Björn Axén today,” says Hellström. Today the product portfolio consists of 80+ haircare and styling products.

A new visionary grows the business further

In 1993, Björn sadly passed away. His will stated that the young apprentice Johan Hellström, aged just 27, was to inherit the entire business. “It was a huge shock, and all of a sudden the spotlights were on me,” Hellström remembers. What people didn’t know was that the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. “My advisors told me not to do it because they didn’t think I could make it. But that’s just like putting sweets in front of a kid and saying they’re not allowed to taste. Of course, I had to try!”

Together with fellow hairdresser Peter Hägelstam, he managed to turn things around and during their strong creative and commercial leadership, the company has grown steadily. In keeping with

the innovative spirit of its founder, they continue to deliver award-winning products to the market and with an ongoing quest to provide world-class service in the salons.

After 40 years in product development, Björn Axén has a product portfolio with over 80 products in haircare and styling, with guaranteed salon quality. “In our salons, we perform over 80 000 treatments per year. Our hairdressers meet customers daily and gather experience that is later mirrored in some form in our products,” says the CEO with undeniable passion. “We are still devoted to providing professional haircare from Sweden, known for high quality, strict ingredient policy and guaranteed by hairdressers to the end consumer.”

Key to continuously growing the business is having a clear set of values, believes Hellström, who is indeed a great visionary and entrepreneur himself, and he emphasises the importance of humility, knowledge, ambition, and respect. “Above all, our mission is to create wellbeing,” he concludes. “We want to lead by example and be a role model in the industry when it comes to everything from corporate culture to carefully selecting ingredients for our products.”

Facebook: bjornaxen.sverige Instagram: @bjornaxen

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | The Best Beauty Brands in Sweden
Johan Hellström, hairdresser, CEO and owner of Björn Axén.

Natural scents from the north

Created, owned and run by Eva Henriksson, Scents From Norra Norrland is a true one-woman-band, which is especially impressive when you consider the numerous awards the perfume brand has won over the years. But then again, Henriksson has always had a nose for scents.

“I was born into a family of bakers, so fragrances, spices and nice-smelling things were always around in plenty, and for as long as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by scents,” tells Henriksson. “I’m the kind of person who, when eating out, will pick my bread up to smell all those delicious aromas.”

Practice makes perfect

Although Henriksson started experimenting with extracts and scents in her at-home mini lab many moons ago, she only launched her first perfume ‘Aurora’ in 2015. Indeed, it takes time to get the compositions of a fragrance right, particularly when you’re attempting to cap-

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From Norra Norrland
Nordic scents for all the senses.
Inspired by life in Sweden’s far north, the fragrances by boutique perfume brand Scents From Norra Norrland cleverly encapsulate the beauty of the land, featuring numerous scents that have never been bottled before.

ture something that is far more abstract, such as the northern lights.

Aurora (named after aurora borealis, or the northern lights) is an original blend inspired by the northern, Swedish flora. It has top notes of iris and white tea, heart notes of mango and blackcurrant and base notes of tonka bean and cashmere wood.

Additionally, the perfume contains K24 cosmetic gold, which symbolises the value of northern forests and land and hints towards the old mines of Sweden’s north. Not to mention the small, red glass pearls found at the bottom of the flask. These pearls represent the arctic raspberry which is unique to this part of the world.

Made in France

Although the scents are a showcase of the north, they are developed and brought to life in Grasse, France, which has been widely considered the world’s perfume mecca for the past centuries.

“I wanted to ensure the best quality for my products, so seeking help from experts in Grasse was an obvious choice for me,” explains Henriksson. “I found a small, family-run business who shared my values and who liked my idea of launching the world’s most northerly perfume house. We were a great match,” she adds.

Once Henriksson is happy with a scent developed in her at-home lab (and approved by friends and family, of course), she sends a sample off to the team in Grasse who help develop the scent into small batches of perfume.

Like Henriksson, the small factory works with a local-first mindset, sourcing ingredients from nearby and teaming up with other businesses around to package and label products, a way of working that fits nicely with the brand essence of Scents From Norra Norrland.

Meet the bestseller

Another perfume in the range is ‘The Pearl’. This popular scent takes inspiration from the small village of Älvsbyn,

which lies nestled between grand mountains and a glistening, blue stream. Fresh and light with notes of summery grass, bergamot and tonka bean, the bottle also comes with a pretty glass pearl to represent Älvsbyn as the pearl it is.

The line-up also includes ‘Vidder’, a dedicated men’s perfume with a citrusy and woody scent. Finally, there’s the award-winning ‘Arctic Elegance’. An ode to the city of Piteå, this crisp yet delicate scent will remind you of long summer nights filled with joy and harmony.

Unique perfume extracts

On top of the four perfumes, Henriksson has also created numerous perfume extracts, which work wonderfully as room scents or in conjunction with soaps, body products or fabric softeners.

In the rigorous process of making these extracts, Henriksson has managed to bot-

tle scents that no one has ever done successfully before, such as arctic bird cherry blossom, arctic raspberry and cloudberry.

“Looking at the arctic bird cherry blossom for instance, I quite literally must capture its scent mid-air and during the right season, into a flask. I then send this flask to a lab in England who turn the scent into a specific code which I then send on to another factory in Grasse to transform it into ready-to-use extracts,” explains Henriksson. “It’s a long process, but with wonderful results.”

Indeed, with natural scents of the highest quality, Henriksson and her brand allow people everywhere to have a taste (or rather smell) of what life in Sweden’s far north is really about. So, find your match and inhale it all in.

Instagram: @norranorrland

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Owner and founder of Scents From Norra Norrland, Eva Henriksson.

Hooked on the sea –fishing with traditional roots

Fishing has always been, and still is, an important trade in Norway, but it is also an important part of the tourist industry. One of the many great destinations for experienced open sea fishers, is Titran Rorbuer Havfiskesenter, located only a few minutes by boat from the best fishing spots in Central Norway.

Titran, on the island Frøya, is one of Central Norway’s oldest and biggest fishing villages, with a history dating all the way back to the Viking Age. in 2020, Magnar Johnsson and Nils Ivar Årsund, two friends who shared a love for fishing, boats and the sea, got the opportunity to buy Titran Rorbuer Havfiskesenter and jumped on it.

Boats at your door step

A Norwegian rorbu is a traditional type of seasonal house by the sea.Titran

Rorbuer Havfiskesenter comprises two buildings, with a total of seven apartments. They are built in the traditional timber style, but were built in 2000 and have modern facilities.

Just like the original rorbu, these apartments are also seasonal. Winter can be rough, so they are open for guests from March until the end of October. “There is a lot of great fishing at the beginning of the season, especially for cod and big leng,” Jonhsson says. “But the weather is rougher and the early season is for experienced anglers.”

Another essential quality of the traditional rorbu is its proximity to the water. The buildings were constructed on land with one end on poles in the water, al-

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The archipelago seen from above. Photo: Helge Melhus

lowing easy access to the boats. Bigger than the traditional rorbu, Titran Rorbuer needed a bigger quay, still, the boats are just a few meters from its front door.

The area around Titran has a beautiful archipelago and waters with little underwater reefs, and navigating the boats, which can fit up to six people (but are more comfortable for three to four) is fairly easy.

There is plenty of fish in the sea

Frøya is in a prime location for fishing. It is in the middle of Norway, the sweet spot where the warmer waters from the south meet the colder waters from the north. This means you can find fish species that are usually more common in Northern Norway or Southern Norway.

Halibut is a fish more commonly found further north, but which is living happily in the waters surrounding Frøya. In 2022, halibuts weighing respectively 77 kg and 95 kg where caught, and earlier this summer a guest caught one weighing more than 100 kg. Due to its size, it had to be released back into the sea, as halibuts bigger than 100 kg are protected.

In fact, the sea is teeming with everything from salmon, pollock and mackerel, to haddock, plaice and turbot. There is also lobster, crab, crayfish and prawns. All the ingredients for a seafood feast.

A break from fishing

Fishing is indisputably the most popular activity at Titran Rorbuer Havfiskesenter, but there is much more to do, both on land and below the water. Whales are known to appear around the boats and if you look up, you might spot an eagle. If kayaking in the archipelago is tempting, two

kayaks are available for hire, and divers are welcome too (bring your own gear or rent from diving clubs). And diving is definitely worth it for seafood lovers toothe sea floor is full of scallops ready to be picked. Furthermore, all the apartments are fully equipped, so the distance to the frying pan could not be shorter.

A place worth visiting is Slettringen lighthouse, currently being refurbished. First built in 1899, and then completely rebuilt in 1923 with Norway’s tallest cast iron tower.

Plans for the future

Today, when renting a boat at Titran Rorbuer Havfiskesenter, you are in charge of it. This means that those who want to go out to sea, need to have some experience handling a boat. But this is about to change. “We have bought a new boat,” Johnsson explains. “It is 37 feet long, with space for up to 12 people, and it will

have a captain.” The bigger boat will be ready for the 2024 season, and will be captained by an experienced fisherman who knows the sea and islands well.

This new development also opens up for companies wanting to go on team building activities or big groups of friends and families going on the same boat. And, it will not just be for fishing. The captain can take groups on eagle safaris, diving trips or just exploring the many islands and islets.

Furthermore, with a captained boat, those who have never sailed a boat on open seas will no longer be restricted to fishing from land, with someone else in charge of the boat there is nothing to worry about - the guests can just relax, enjoy fishing and the beauty of the sea.


Instagram: @titranrorbuer

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Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Unique Experiences in Norway
Slettringen lighthouse. The new boat is almost ready to welcome guests. Photo: Helge Melhus

A very special guesthouse –Havkanten Gjestehus welcoming guests all year round

A few years back, Terje Røren Johanssen and his wife Ann Helen were on their way back from a trip around the island of Husvær in Northern Norway. Inspired by the area’s beauty, they drew up plans to turn an old fish factory into what is now Havkanten Gjestehus. Since 2018, the couple has been inviting guests to join them in exploring Helgeland – one of the most beautiful pieces of coastline Norway has to offer.

The rustic yet luxurious lodging of Havkanten Gjestehus is a perfect base to explore the area of Helgeland. With 17 double rooms, meeting facilities and two common rooms, Havkanten Gjestehus is ideal both for individuals and families but also for businesses and groups looking to work, teambuild and bond in amazing surroundings.

“Companies can book the entire guest house, and have all what we can offer at their complete disposal,” Røren Johanssen stresses.

Not only in the summer

Important to notice is also the fact that Havkanten Gjestehus is operative all year round. “This destination always has something to offer, not only in the summer,” Johanssen underlines.

While winter in this northern corner of Norway might seem intimidating to some, others are keen to experience the season – and the treasures that come with it. Fishing enthusiasts will, for example, thrive in the winter – the biggest fish is caught when the water is at its coldest.

Whenever you choose to come, Havkanten Gjestehus can offer a wide range of activities, including kayaking, diving, hiking, and fishing and ocean safaris, including into the nearby UNESCO-

protected Vega-area. Furthermore, Røren Johanssen is a certified kayak and diving instructor, meaning that guests can sign up to obtain a diving license while at Havkanten. “We really try to tailor the experiences to meet the desires and needs of the guests,” he says.

The perfect hosts

To Røren Johanssen and his wife, it is paramount that guests feel welcome. The hosts often pick up guests at the airport and take them to the guesthouse, which is well connected to the airport and to the cities on the mainland.

The special care for the guests also extends to the food offered; most of it comes from the sea. Shellfish, halibut and cod are some of the highlights. “We are self-sufficient when it comes to food. The menu varies from day to day and depends on what nature provides. Sustainability is very important to us,” the host says proudly.

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Instagram: havkantengjestehus

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Havkanten Gjestehus is luxury in the wilderness. Go to Havkanten in the winter and you might experience the northern lights. Havkanten Gjestehus is luxury in the wilderness. Havkanten Gjestehus is great for teambuilding.



Unforgettable experiences among the waves

Based in the idyllic town of Tvedestrand, Kote Null offers a range of fun and educational activities in and around the sea. The small, authentic experiences company is dedicated to fostering an interest in, and love of, the sea and the “skjærgård”, the archipelago of islands and inlets off the coast of Southern Norway.

Come summer or winter, Kote Null offers a fantastic range of outdoor experiences inspired by the small team’s dedication to fostering an appreciation of the natural world. ”Enjoying fun and interesting activities in and by the sea awakens an interest, and we want to inspire a love of the sea and nature – especially in young people,” says Nina Noem Hansen, the company’s founder and manager.

Free diving, paddling, windsurfing, snorkelling, kayak and boat rentals as well as a range of courses and a popular summer camp for teens are just a few of the activities on offer, and almost everything can be done in all seasons. “Our climate and nature are ideal for outdoor activities allyear-round, and we’re really lucky that we don’t have to go far to get to some incredibly beautiful places,” says Nina. “Being at sea in the winter is no problem at all with

the gear we have, and seeing the archipelago in winter when it’s so quiet, is a truly extraordinary experience”.

Kote Null’s varied excursions can be tailor-made to suit the needs and preferences of groups, whether it’s families, friend groups or a company team-building excursion. Different activities can be combined to create a unique and memorable day out, and the safety and security of guests have top priority for the welltrained team facilitating the experiences. “We want people to leave an experience richer, feeling that they’ve managed to do something new, and that they have unforgettable memories to take home with them,” says Nina.

There are numerous benefits to experiencing the beautiful area of Norway’s southern coastline with experienced lo-

cal guides and instructors keen to share their in-depth knowledge of the wildlife and history of the area - and the importance of marine preservation. “There’s a lot of passion in our work,” Nina says. “Kote Null represents a vision of spending time in the sea and archipelago all year round - and taking care of it; for it to remain as beautiful as it is now, we have to start giving back.”

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Instagram: @kotenull

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Kayaking is a fantastic way to explore the archipelago off the coast of Southern Norway. Snorkelling is a popular activity for many of Kote Null’s guests. Photo: Sara Godthelp Vågsmyr Board sailing. Discover the local wildlife with a seal safari.

Immerse in the luxury of nature

Norway is a magical place to visit during any season of the year. In winter, travellers enjoy a frozen landscape and the Northern Lights. In the summer, the days are endless, with numerous places to hike and commune with the environment. Since 2019, WonderInn’s cosy cabins have enabled visitors around Norway to experience the country’s stunning nature in relaxed and comfortable living spaces.

Jeremy Hermans and Erle Bjølgerud created WonderInn after converting a van into a tiny living space and travelling around Australia for six months. They found that they didn’t need much space to have an amazing adventure, and the experience of being so close to nature elevated them. “We decided to bring the experience to the next level and build a cabin. We chose Norway because of the incredible nature experiences the country has to offer. If someone rented the cabin, great. If not, we would live in it. We didn’t anticipate that four years later, we’d have a successful business,” says Bjølgerud.

WonderInn offers guests cabins in four different locations around Norway. All cabins provide luxurious accommodations in beautiful natural settings, but each site offers a singular experience. WonderInn Delta is the most exclusive, a mirrored

glass cabin with stunning views, just 20 minutes from Oslo. Riverside is on a historic farm just north of the city, offering a cosy shepherd’s hut with a copper bathtub and glamping domes with glass saunas, a perfect venue for weddings. Culture Hub in Eidsvoll has an artistic vibe, great for working holidays. The newest site is WonderInn Arctic, opening in September 2023. Situated in the north of the country, near the Lofoton Islands, it’s perfect for Northern Lights and whale watching. “It’s located right in what is considered the most romantic spot in Norway, in Nupen,” says Bjølgerud. “You can see the midnight sun almost sink into the ocean.”

As well as access to fantastic hiking, canoeing and bird watching, WonderInn offers the sophistication found in more cosmopolitan settings. “Most of our cabins are situated close to cities with a wide

variety of food and cultural options,” says Bjølgerud. Their residences are both family and animal friendly, and at their new site, two of their cabins will be wheelchair accessible.

WonderInn is happy to be part of the ‘tiny house movement’, where guests can experience and enjoy the comfort of living in a smaller space. Bjølgerud says: “Smaller housing reduces our carbon footprint. We truly believe that bringing people to nature makes them understand its de-stressing effect on us and encourages them to preserve it.”

Facebook: WonderInn

Instagram: wonderinn_norway


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A cozy WonderInn Cabin. Photo: Pajurama The view from a WonderInn hot tub.

Take a holiday back in time

A 40 minutes’ drive from Bergen, lies Gripen Gard; coming here is like stepping back in time. The farm is run roughly as it would have been in the 1950s, so do not be surprised when the road ends around 100 meters from the farm.

Alongside the cabins, Gripen gard also has a small private island with a lavvo, a sturdy type of tent. When renting a cabin or lavvo, use of a boat and life jackets are included in the price. Sollid is not alone on the farm. “Gripen is a host farm for WWOOF, and has many volunteers from around the world, visiting for learning experiences and cultural exchange,” Sollid says. Also living on the farm are 50 winterfed old Norwegian sheep and 20 breeding rams.

much as possible. Any activity at the farm should not have negative consequences.

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Instagram: @gripen.gard

At Gripen gard everything is centred around sustainability and forgotten crafts. When Helene Olli Sollid bought the farm, there was a 70-year backlog of work. She restored the farmland and the houses and built a new barn on the old foundations. Much of the materials needed, came from her own forest. Two new guest cabins and parts of the barn were built from recycled materials.

The forest on the property is protected, and guests are encouraged to pick berries and mushrooms. Of course, not all mushrooms are edible, but Sollid is happy to share her extensive knowledge.

Sollid is a certified provider of Norwegian ecotourism through the Hanen brand scheme. This means that tourism must benefit both nature and the local population as

Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Unique Experiences in Norway
Instagram: @cosytimesceramics.kerteminde


Helping babies sleep comfortably outdoors

Throughout the Nordic countries, it is traditional for parents to give babies their daily naps outside, even during the winter. Snug in a cosy sleep suit and warm pram bedding, it’s a wonderful way for young children to get plenty of fresh air. Voksi, a Norwegian company that specialises in sleeping bags for babies and small children, has helped keep this custom safe and comfortable since 1985.

Voksi, which means ‘to grow in’ in Norwegian, is a family company that believes in the quality of what they make. Their greatest inspiration is to see products such as their sleeping bags and wool clothing used every day and then passed down to siblings and friends. “We’ve been making great outdoor sleepwear for over four decades,” says Karen Sophie Grung Smedberg, the global marketing manager for Voksi. “We are very Norwegian, and also very Scandinavian. In Norway, our love and care for nature starts with enjoying fresh air from childhood. Our biggest priority is ensuring we make long-lasting products that keep children warm and are responsible in light of the challenges our environment faces. We believe in a future where we buy less, but buy better.”

As well as being a staple item in Scandinavian families, Voksi’s sleeping bags

are used globally and can be purchased in shops throughout the Nordic region and in other parts of Europe and in the US. “Our products are built on a Scandinavian design where every detail has a purpose,” says Grung Smedberg. “Nature is always our inspiration. We have worked with the same suppliers for years, and we ensure that they commit to international conventions for animal and human rights.”

Voksi’s most popular products are their Voksi Urban and Explorer sleeping bags. They also launched a new version, Voksi Adventure, earlier this year. All have the same commitment to safety and quality.

Voksi’s wool clothing works perfectly in conjunction with their sleeping bags. It acts as a middle layer for a baby napping in a pram or for older children playing outdoors. The sizes range from 56 to 128.

All their woollen products are made from 100 percent Australian merino wool. “In Norway, ‘voksipose’ is another word for sleeping bag,” says Grung Smedberg. “Sleeping bags are something most families use every day and are also perfect when going places with your children. Whether you are strolling around a city, hiking in the mountains or just giving your child a nap outside, Voksi sleeping bags will keep your baby warm, dry, and protected.”

Facebook: Voksi

Instagram: voksi_official

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A Voksi sleeping bag will keep your baby warm, dry, and safe in most weather.

Nailing e-commerce

Anyone can start an online shop, but turning it into a successful, full-time job takes a lot of work. And running an online shop that is still growing today, in its 17th year, takes hard work and skill. Siv Storhaug is both hard-working and has a great head for business.

Storhaug has a background in customer service and, while she loved what she was doing, it was very demanding, and she ended up burning out. Something had to change.“I thought, why not start myself and do it at my own pace,” Storhaug says.

Finding a niche

The first step towards a successful business is finding a gap in the market. The other is to find something you enjoy doing.

In 2007 the online market for nail products was quite small. Storhaug liked the idea of doing something that made women feel better about themselves. That was how she found her niche, and Neglemakeriet opened its virtual doors.

Neglemakeriet is a one-stop shop for everything any nail designer could need or want. From individual products to complete kits, and acrylic to gel. It was

important to her that the online store was accessible to everyone, so there is no minimum spend. This means her customers range from hobby nail designers to professional salons.

The customer is always right... Almost always, at least. For Storhaug, a good relationship with her customers is vital. If a customer reaches out asking about a specific product missing from the website, Storhaug will find it for them. And if a product is not up to her high standards, she will remove it immediately. “I would rather take the loss than force a bad product on customers,” Storhaug says.

Though the quality is high, that does not mean the prices are. Storhaug tries to keep the prices as low as possible. Having started her own business, she knows all the hidden expenses and wants to help others get their nail businesses off the ground.

Neglemakeriet has a Trustpilot rating of excellent, the highest rating. This is partly down to the quality of the products, but also the customer service. Whether it is an email or a message on social media, Neglemakeriet will reply as quickly as possible.


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Siv loves seeing customers being creative with her products. Photo: @kmb_ nailstudio on Instagram Siv loves seeing customers being creative with her products. Photo: @kmb_nailstudio on Instagram Neglemakeriet is developing and expanding its own line of products to ensure the highest quality possible. The customers love playing with decor and colours. You can test out something new by practicing on the convenient plastic fingers you can find in the shop. A lot of the decor is tiny, but it can make all the difference in the final design.

Green, cruelty-free skincare and beauty

Based in Norway, PureActs is an online shop promoting guilt-free, clean and holistic lifestyles. They offer everything necessary for a healthy natural beauty routine, without costing the earth.

Even before Elle Woods tackled animalcruelty in the makeup industry in Legally Blonde 2, most people knew that animal-testing and poor environmental practices were ripe in the beauty and wellness industry. Fortunately, the rise of social media and increased scrutiny, have resulted in more brands vowing to make changes. But though an unethical beauty and wellness industry might seem like a thing of the past, the reality is that beauty packaging alone amounts to 120 billion units a year – most of which end up in landfills. In addition, a survey by Crueltyfree Kitty, who promotes ethical beauty shopping, reveals that 44 out of the 50 largest cosmetic brands in the world are still not truly cruelty-free – an unregulated term that anyone can claim.

Lindis Lynge was pursuing an education in skincare when she decided to dip her toes into ingredient research, revealing a world of hidden, toxic substances. When she additionally discovered the horrors

of animal testing in the industry, her view of the world she had immersed herself in switched like a flick.

“My frustration planted a seed, which eventually led to ideas of establishing a platform of clean and safe products, products people could trust and purchase free of guilt,” says Lynge.

After years of feeling burned out and exhausted, she was exposed to a world of self-love, where she was introduced to mindfulness, yoga, selfcare, and of course, holistic skin care products.

“I finally understood the importance of self-care rituals, but also that it could be done without harming the planet. In 2021, I took a leap of faith and PureActs was launched,” she says. “My goal with PureActs is to inspire others to make sustainable choices, not only for the planet and the animals, but also for themselves!”

All of PureAct’s products are carefully chosen based on ingredients, quality, impact on the environment, and whether or not they’re eco-friendly. In addition, they promote no products that are tested on animals and prefer vegan options.

“Our foundation is made up of trust, honesty and realness,” says Lynge, adding that “Transparency is very important to us, and so is giving back to Mother Earth.”

As a company, PureActs collaborates with organizations that fight for animal’s rights and organisations that help give back to the planet, such as Verdn


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Restaurant of the Month, Sweden

An intimate atmosphere and creative vegetarian dishes at restaurant Nektar

Creative, vegetarian-focused dishes made with locally sourced ingredients are the forte of the small Stockholm restaurant Nektar, run by the couple Eric Seger and Embla Brorsson.

The pair met while working at the former Michelin restaurant VOLT in Stockholm and went on to work in Denmark and France before returning to open Nektar on the vibrant street Rörstrandsgatan in Stockholm.

“The menu at Nektar is small and changes with the seasonal availability of ingredients. We pair the dishes with natural wines where the producer shares our values. We only work with farmers and producers that care for the planet and put lots of love and pride into their work. Sustainability is essential to us,” Seger explains.

The atmosphere at Nektar is intimate, further enhanced by the open kitchen; you can see your dish being prepared by the talented chefs while you sip on a glass of intense red French or funky floral or-

ange wine. “We’ve been in the restaurant business for so long that we know what we like: great flavours derived from local ingredients and lots of creativity. We constantly change both the wine list and the menu; we find so much joy in trying out new things,” he continues.

The restaurant serves mostly vegetarian dishes and is inspired by southern European cuisine. “We have collected inspiration from different parts of Europe and from having worked with great colleagues, and to one day open our restaurant where we can focus on great sustainable food in a relaxed setting, has been a dream come true.”

Rörstrandsgatan is well-known as a vibrant, pretty street, and Restaurant Nektar is in good company close to many

small shops and bars. Rörstrandsgatan is made pedestrian-only during the summer, and, unusually, faces both the sunrise and sunset.

Instagram: @nektar.sthlm

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Nektar Food & Wine Rörstrandsgatan 12 Stockholm

Restaurant of the Month, Iceland

Embrace the Viking spirit at Ingólfsskáli

Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant is a one-of-a-kind venue in Iceland, known for its welcoming ambiance and unique dining experience. Here, you can feast like a true warrior in a traditional, cosy longhouse and afterwards unleash your inner Viking with axe throwing and archery.

Tucked below the towering Ingólfsfjall mountain in South Iceland, just off the main ring road around the island, lies Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant. The family-run business takes its name from the legendary Norse settler Ingólfur Arnarson, who is considered the first permanent inhabitant of Iceland.

“My grandfather started the Viking-inspired restaurant more than 40 years

ago,” says Andri Már Gunnarsson, who runs Ingólfsskáli together with his father Gunnar. Originally, the restaurant was dedicated only to private groups, wedding parties and corporate events, but in 2015 it opened as a walk-in restaurant where anyone is welcome to visit and get a glimpse of Viking life.

“Our concept is fine dining, Viking-style,” explains Andri. “It’s a one-of-a-kind establishment, no other place offers a culinary experience like this. And we use really good and fresh local produce for amazing flavours. But it’s not just about enjoying a nice dinner, we want to give everyone a fantastic experience from the very moment they pull into the driveway.”

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Traditional longhouse with turf

Picturesquely nestled in the rugged Icelandic countryside, Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant is a traditional longhouse with a turf roof. These types of dwellings can be found in other places around the world too, but they were particularly prevalent in Iceland where they had a significant role in the architectural heritage.

The Viking longhouses were typically made of wood, simple but functional and with a strong connection to nature and the surroundings. Commonly housing several families, the longhouses were crowded, cosy and often the place for feasts.

At Ingólfsskáli, you will instantly feel the warm and welcoming festive atmosphere, just like back in the day. The authentic interior has been constructed from Norwegian timber, with exposed beams and wooden carvings depicting mythology and everyday life. The furniture is handcrafted, and the walls feature animal hides and furs as well as shields and other Viking-themed décor.

A sagalicious feast for warriors

The restaurant captures the essence of local culture and heritage and offers an unforgettable dining experience inspired by the Vikings. Andri and his father Gunnar hunt and gather what they can from Icelandic nature to ensure the most authentic experience for guests.

The menu includes the signature dish lamb, as well as goose, fish and even

shark, followed by tasty treats such as skyr cheesecake. Guests’ thirst can be clenched by drinking through a horn, and afterwards they can bring home a horn cup and mead. After-dinner activities include axe throwing and archery, quite an experience where you can channel your inner warrior.

Similar to the Vikings, the Ingólfsskáli family has been known for its fabulous sense of hospitality for generations. Dressed in traditional clothing, the family and staff happily share their ancestry with visitors. The restaurant can seat up to 230 guests, making it ideal for private events such as weddings.

One guest says they were “blown away” by the ambiance and another praises it as

“sagalicious” – the perfect description. “You’re bound to experience something special,” concludes Andri. “From the traditional handcrafted décor to the music and the hearty meals, every detail transports you to a bygone era and you will truly appreciate how the Vikings lived and dined back in the day.”


Instagram: @ingolfsskali

Ingólfsskáli Viking Restaurant is located on Efstaland, 816 Ölfusi, at the foot of Ingólfsfjall (Mt. Ingólfur). It takes around 10 minutes (9 km) to drive from Selfoss town and around 40-45 minutes from Reykjavík.

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Restaurant of the Month, Iceland

Funky Bhangra – the unique culinary experience taking Reykjavik by storm

At Funky Bhangra, visitors and residents of Iceland’s capital can experience a mouthwatering menu fusing Indian and Nordic ingredients.

Funky Bhangra is the realisation of a dream of the entrepreneur and former TV chef, Yesmine Olsson, and her husband Arngrinur Fannar. They wanted to develop Indian food with a Scandinavian twist. “I think so many people are looking to surprise their taste buds and are looking for new flavours. Our goal is for people to experience many different flavours in one bite with loads of texture that is crunchy and fresh like Scandinavian herbs and pickles against the smooth, vibrant and pungent Indian aromas,” Yesmine explains.

“We hope our food will taste so good that people want to start dancing. That is the idea behind the name and our slogan ‘Funky Bhangra’. Bhangra is in my opinion the happiest, most energetic and colourful dance in the world. “Funky” means that we break all the rules as we are not traditional but a fusion of cultures and flavours.”


post office and gaol; the Posthus food hall. Here diners can enjoy numerous taste sensations including, for example, Icelandic lamb with traditional Swedish lingonberry jam marinated overnight in Indian spices. For those with a sweet tooth, perhaps the most intriguing dish combines a Nordic favourite of salty white chocolate caramel with traditional Indian chutneys and spices.

Gourmands can also indulge in a range of Funky Bhangra’s signature marriage of Indian and Scandinavian ingredients catering for carnivores, vegetarians, vegans and even purists of Indian cuisine. The two restauranteurs are especially proud of their kitchen’s extensive use of fresh, seasonal and locally sourced

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Combining Indian and Scandinavian ingredients, Funky Bhangra’s cuisine packs a host of different flavours into each one bite. Photo: Andri Jonsson Located in downtown Reykjavik, Funky Bhangra’s stylish home, designed by Yesmine herself, is in a historic former

ingredients and their multicultural contributors and staff.

“I think this exciting new thinking of combinations is what makes us interesting, and when you connect it with the story behind, I think it tastes even better,” says Yesmine adding: “We are lucky to work with a wonderful international team who are always consulted and whose creative contributions are welcome.”

Taste-based experiences

Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Sweden, Yesmine has led a self- confessed nomadic life before settling in Iceland. Her travels have taken her on a learning path to India, London and New York, including a Michelin starred restaurant. Yesmine is an award-winning author, TV presenter and choreographer.

“I was the first foreigner to have my own show on Icelandic TV, introducing how to cook this amazing flavour for my home people. One of the TV shows was shown on the Finnish channel in Sweden. I then did the Bollywood youth show which was a mix of what I considered the best dances out of the Bollywood movies on stage in a mix with my own recipes cooked and served as a fancy dinner event in Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall, “ she says.

All of this resulted in the creatively cross-kitchen cuisine that is Funky Bhangra and the creation of the company’s logo, a Bengal tiger joined with the Icelandic ram.

Yesmine explains: “Our logo has great meaning, being the mix of more than one world. The creature we made is a new animal, a mix between a Bengal tiger and an Icelandic ram. Representing everyone who came from many places, which I think is most people, which then brings us new beautiful creations and flavours to the table.”

Bringing the Bhangra

Funky Bhangra also supplies food services for special events and parties. One exciting recent event was catering for the Gourmet Club four-day mountaineering trip. The hikers were delivered pre-prepared food boxes that only involved warming up.

However, the restauranteurs have high hopes for further future developments and expansions to offer their special kind of fusion cuisine to more foodies and share Yesmine’s love of the holistic dining and entertainment experience. “We are hoping to develop our chocolates and spice blends to put them in beauti-

ful boxes so that they can be shared with the rest of the world. We are also looking at creating a second place with focus on hosting events and serving our new take on party foods for celebrations. That is what we did until we opened the first restaurant, and, with a little bit of showbiz added, that has been very successful,” Yesmine says and rounds off: “Finally, the dream is to maybe expand back home to Sweden but only the future will tell. Bring on the Bhangra!”.

Instagram: @funkybhangra

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Former TV chef, award-winning cookbook author and food entrepreneur Yesmine Olsson has founded Funky Bhangra, with husband Arngrinur Fannar. Photo: Anton Brink Photo: Andri Jonsson Photo: Andri Jonsson “We hope our food will taste so good that people will want to start dancing,” says restauranteur Yesmine Olsson. Photo: Mummi Lu

Experience of the Month, Norway

From goats to kayaking, Hjellup Fjorbo has it all

Norway is known for its beautiful nature, and Indre Fosen in Trøndelag has a little bit of everything Norway has to offer. It has a long coast and high mountains, and the city of Trondheim is only around an hour’s ferry ride away.

Thanks to its coastal location, water activities abound here. The mountains look beautiful from a kayak or a paddle board, but can also be explored on foot with a picnic. There is also a beach at which to sunbathe and take a refreshing dip in the fjord. If the fjord is a bit too cold, the jacuzzi is a warm alternative. For the younger guests, there is a playground with a trampoline, swing and a zipline.

self-sufficient with electricity from solar panels,” says Hjellup. “We also have power charging stations for electric cars.”

After a day filled with exciting activities, a good meal rounds it all off. The farm serves local food, not just because it is sustainable, but because of the high quality. Hjellup Fjordbo’s prime location and superior hospitality keep guests coming back. “They feel so welcome in Fosen,” Hjellup says. “The shoulders relax and one experiences calm via all the senses through the sounds of nature, the proximity to the fjord and the beautiful light that changes with the season, weather conditions and time of day.”

Hjellup Fjordbo has a long history. It is a farm with roots going back to the 1500s. In 1998, Ola Hjellup inherited it, and today he runs it with his wife Marit Hjellup. They love life on the farm, and decided to expand into hospitality.

Experiences and activities

It is still a working farm with cattle and Boer goats, much to the glee of guests. Boer goats are larger than other breeds, but don’t be fooled by their size; they are very friendly and love company of all ages.

Meanwhile, the arctic dome is an experience in itself. Its location gives guests the feeling of being on the edge of the cliff. Under the clear dome, guests can enjoy the long summer nights, lie in bed and gaze up at the stars. There is no need to worry about others looking in, it is very private.

Powered by sustainable energy

Hjellup Fjordbo’s guests come to experience nature, so taking care of the environment is a top priority. As such, the farm is powered via geothermal energy and solar panels. “During the summer we are

Instagram: @hjellupfjordbo

Facebook: hjellupfjordbo

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Marit and Ola Hjellup. The view from inside the arctic dome.

Experience of the Month

SEAVENTURE - a ship that lives up to its name Iceland ProCruises offers just that and more

For those seeking adventure in the lands of ice, fire and myths, but with comfort; Iceland ProCruises is for you.

“Iceland ProCruises offers an authentic cruise experience to Iceland and Greenland. We have local experts and expedition staff who are enthusiastic about showing our guests their home country,” explains Svenja Laukart, Head of Sales and Product Management.

The flagship SEAVENTURE is a relatively small ship, with a maximum capacity of 164 travellers. Hence, there is a very personal feeling on board, and guests can happily get to know each other and the expedition team. “Apart from that, you can leave your tuxedo and evening gown at home since the dress code is casual on the SEAVENTURE,” jokes Svenja.

The cruise line offers fascinating shore excursions. The guests are able to experience Iceland through a wide variety of

shore excursions such as hikes, off-road coach tours, whale watching, horseback riding or day tours to the best-known highlights of Iceland. In Greenland, the nature and culture are mostly experienced on hikes and city walks. For a different perspective and panoramic views, the company offers boat tours and flights.

“At Iceland ProCruises, we are authentic to the region: with us you experience Iceland and Greenland the way it really is. Tours are supported by local expedition teams, and enjoy local food culture and entertainment, as well as informative lectures about our destinations, Iceland and Greenland,” continues Svenja.

As a small company, Iceland ProCruises is proud not to cater on a mass market

scale. Instead, it boasts: “What we do and only we can offer is what we’re good at – showing guests ‘our’ Iceland and Greenland.”

“This is something that you feel instantly on board the ship. Our cruise is for those who really want to experience our destinations and get to know the local way of life, history and culture - accompanied by a beautiful and comfortable way of transportation,” Svenja says and rounds off:

“We have a completely new tour “Adventure West Greenland” in 2024 to remote harbours on the Western coast of Greenland and several combo tours covering both Iceland and Greenland with price discounts. Our brochure for 2024 has just been published and can be ordered free of charge.”


Instagram: @Icelandprocruises

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 67 Scan Magazine | Experience of the Month
Photo: Ruth-Asgeirsdottir Iceland ProCruises offers guests an authentic and comfortable voyage through the stunning landscapes of Greenland and Iceland.

Artist of the Month, Denmark

Where chaos and harmony meet

Mette Rishøj is not your average artist. She purposefully makes her work process a bit tricky, to capture the creative energy. Through her paintings, ceramics and paper works, she tells stories, and she is not afraid to push the boundaries - because that is where art happens.

Mette Rishøj did not grow up in an art family, yet she found herself at a folk high school for art not just once, but twice. The first folk high school left a lasting impression on Mette Rishøj, but the second changed her life.

“My teacher Elmer told me that I was just as talented as the students he taught at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. He told me that I was an artist. So, I just went full speed ahead, and when I came home, I told my family I was going to be

an artist. They laughed a bit, but I was absolutely certain,” says Mette Rishøj. She was right, and her talent earned her a career that, today, encompasses Danish and international galleries as well as museum shows.

“I have a desire to tell my stories, but despite what people think, being an artist is not just having a channel of inspiration from above. It is a lot of hard work every single day,” she stresses.

Leftover coffee, dirt and recycled fabric Mette Rishøj considers herself a contemporary artist as she tells the stories of our time. For a long time, she has been deeply fascinated by the chaos and energy in the interaction between humans and nature. She was fascinated

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by all the things we can build and invent, but also by how the same energies can leave a trail of chaos and destruction.

At first, her paintings were powerful, forceful, and colourful. However, more recently, the artist has been increasingly interested in expressing these energies through the stories of the materials she is using. Perhaps as a consequence of the Anthropocene age, Mette Rishøj finds herself captivated by texture, layers, materials, structure, and surfaces as an evolution of her artistic expression.

“I often use recycled fabric from charity shops as canvas, and even old fishing nets. It creates structure, layers and depth to my paintings,” explains Mette Rishøj. The artist also never washes her brushes in the sink. Instead, she uses the leftovers on her new paintings. She simply drips and wipes the brushes on a white canvas, and lately, she has been experimenting even more in her atelier.

“I use leftover coffee and tea on the paintings, even dirt from the floor. I leave my paintings on the atelier floor overnight to suck up old floor stains, and then I just empty coffee cups, leftover painting and whatnot over the floor and the paintings. This creates depth and allows me to play with layers, and of course randomness and chaos,” explains Mette Rishøj.

Something at stake

It is exactly this sense of randomness and chaos Mette Rishøj loves. “I never look at a white canvas; there is always something there. But because it is random, it challenges me. I need to create harmony in the chaos. There might be a bit of green in the right corner, a bit of purple in the left corner and a bit of coffee somewhere. Something that both works with me and against me. Something that creates structure and depth to the final painting.”

While others might find it daunting, maybe even nerve wracking, to look at a canvas full of paint, coffee, and dirt, Mette

Rishøj finds it exciting. “I don’t want it to be too easy. I want it to be tricky, surprising and challenging. I believe one of my strengths is that I dare to fail. That is how I keep growing as an artist.”

Indeed, Mette Rishøj’s art, whether it be ceramics, paintings, or paper works, is full of energy and expression, just like herself, and she is not afraid to push the boundaries.

“My paintings are not simply decorations for the wall. They have a deeper meaning. I always ask myself and my art students ‘what does the painting or the piece of art mean?’ If you are creating art and only thinking about how it looks on the wall or in the home, that is a big mistake. It has to have meaning and emotion. That is the most important thing,” the artist says and rounds off:

“There has to be something at stake. I want people to look at my art and have an experience. It must be more than just beautiful, although beautiful is great, but there always has to be something at stake. Something that is moving. Disturbing. You need to feel that the artist herself is at stake.”

Facebook: Mette Rishoj

Instagram: @metterishoej

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 69
Scan Magazine | Artist of the Month | Denmark
Mette Rishøj.

Artist of the Month, Norway

Kathrine Lindman Norwegian Jewelry: unique pieces of wearable art

The Norwegian jewellery artist and designer Kathrine Lindman has long been dedicated to artistic expression. Her jewellery brand, established almost 30 years ago, is known for its beautiful, unique designs inspired by Nordic nature.

A versatile designer and jewellery artist, Kathrine has had an interest in many different forms of artistic expression over the years. After graduating from the National Academy of the Arts in Oslo, she went on to found the brand Kathrine Lindman Norwegian Jewelry in 1996. Her distinctive pieces that draw on natural elements have seen great success in Norway and beyond.

“I enjoy experimenting and trying different things with my art and designs. There’s a huge amount of material to draw from and lots of exciting challenges,” Kathrine says. “I’m motivated by creating something

new. It’s exciting to make unique pieces that take a different direction.”

Kathrine Lindman jewellery is known for being tactile, and many perceive the intricate designs as small pieces of wearable art. “I’d say my keen interest in colour shines through in my work, and some of my pieces make sounds, which adds a musical element,” Kathrine says.

Inspired by nature

Kathrine finds a lot of inspiration in the wild and wonderful Norwegian nature and scenery. Born and raised in the idyllic small town of Kristiansund in the West

of Norway, Kathrine has always been surrounded by the ocean. “Being born by the sea, fjords and mountains has certainly had an impact on me as an artist and designer,” she says. “Working with artistic expression, it’s easy to be influenced by what you see around you. I’ve always been interested in details, and I notice little things from the sea shore, trees, flowers, seeds…I repurpose what I see and turn it into jewellery or art.”

Kathrine’s work is heavily inspired by the beautiful materials, colours and colour palettes found in nature. Her signature ‘Seashell’ collection was developed in 2003. As the name suggests, the silver and enamel jewellery designs reference plants and wildlife in the sea. “I work with the materials that speak to me,” Kathrine says. “When I created the Seashell collection, I was spending time walking

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A piece from the Seaweed collection. Photo: Kjell S. Stenmarch

along the beach seeing so many beautiful shells, and I wanted to convey that natural beauty in my designs.”

Kathrine lived and worked in Oslo for several years, where the grand Norwegian nature was still close at hand and provided plenty of inspiration for her work. However, upon moving back to her birthplace of Kristiansund seven years ago, she started to take an interest in seaweed. Since 2016, she has been experimenting with the organic material for art and jewellery, creating a new collection entitled ’Seaweed’.

The inspiration for ‘Seaweed’ came while Kathrine was travelling along the coast of Møre og Romsdal, the most northerly of the famous fjord regions in the west of Norway. “What I find so exciting about seaweed is that it’s a fascinating organic material,” she says. “It’s so versatile. Using something you find in nature and creating a beautiful expression from it is really interesting to me.”

International reach

Kathrine Lindman Norwegian Jewelry has received plenty of recognition both within Norway and internationally. Her signature ‘Seashell’ collection in particular has found great success. In fact, one of her pieces was purchased by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture for a very special pur-

pose: the silver and enamel bracelet was given as an official gift to Michelle Obama when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

“It was a huge honour, and it opened a lot of new doors for me,” Kathrine says. Alongside her signature collections, Kathrine also creates bespoke jewellery pieces upon request and is an artisan creating art jewellery which has been widely displayed. Following the presidential gift, Kathrine worked with a gallerist in New York for 10 years who brought her work to art fairs across the USA. In 2012, Kathrine’s jewellery was displayed at New York Fashion Week. Her pieces have also been featured at Saatchi Gallery in London, SOFA in Chicago and the LA Art Show in Los Angeles among others.

“I’m very happy that the ‘Seashell’ collection has been able to travel the globe,” Kathrine says. “It’s been exhibited, fea-

tured in galleries and represented by dealers almost all over the world – it’s really exciting to me that it’s still alive and well so many years later.”

Kathrine is a member of The Norwegian Association for Arts and Crafts, an organisation focused on supporting and promoting contemporary Norwegian craft artists. Her work has been purchased by two museums: Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum (The National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design) in Trondheim, and Jugendstilsenteret (The Art Nouveau Centre) and KUBE in Ålesund. Kathrine Lindman Norwegian Jewelry can be purchased on the official website or from a range of galleries in Norway.

Instagram: @kathrinelindman

Facebook: KathrineLindmanNorwegianJewelry

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 71
Scan Magazine | Artist of the Month | Norway
A necklace from Kathrine’s Seaweed collection made from dried seaweed and casted in silver which was purchased by the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Trondheim A piece called Ocean collier. Jewellery maker and designer Kathrine Lindman wearing Seashell breeze, a necklace in silver and enamel which was purchased by The Art Nouveau Centre in Ålesund in 2021 Bracelets from Kathrine’s signature Seashell collection.

Art Profile of the Month, Denmark

Unique and innovative craftsmanship inspired by nature

The island of Bornholm has a rich history of arts and crafts, and a vibrant creative community. It is widely known for handmade products inspired by extraordinary nature and diverse landscapes. Two well-regarded local craftsmen and artisan producers, ceramicist Vibe Berland and wood smith Hans-Henning Pedersen, are continuing the long tradition of creating original, handcrafted pieces.

In 2017, the island of Bornholm was awarded the prestigious title World Craft Region, a nod of international respect to its exceptional arts culture and imaginative craftsmanship. The textures, light and colours of the land, and the edges and curves of the cliffs inspire artists and creatives from many different walks of life. The island exudes a sense of creativity, community and inventive spirit, and the exclusive handcrafted artisan products made here are a huge draw for tourists.

Making dreams a reality

“I moved to Bornholm 36 years ago, dreaming about making beautiful ce -

ramics inspired by the nature around me,” says Berland, whose work reflects the island’s natural silhouettes, surfaces, and shades.

“My first workshop was in the rural north, and I made decorative, useful things and one-of-a-kind pieces,” she says. “Over time, I realised that I could not make a living so remotely, so to become more ‘visible’ I decided to move to Svaneke.”

The change in scenery has paid off. Each of Berland’s unique pieces expresses the nature and landscapes of the island, containing in their form a little bit of Bornholm.

A little bit wonky

In his woodworking, Pedersen never aims for uniform perfection. “I like unattractive looking trees, with imperfections and oddities,” he says. “I love wonky things and have always felt driven by a child-like joy.”

His distinctive wooden bowls are made using newly-felled old trees, which have a higher water content. When he has

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Wood and clay pieces. Photo: Vibe Berland Single wood pot. Photo: Hans Henning Pedersen Unika bowl. Photo: Vibe Berland

shaped the wood on his lathe, the bowls are left to dry and truly come into their own, as the tension in the wood creates organic forms and shapes. “Wood is a living material, which doesn’t always do what you expect it to,” he says, describing the joys of the medium. “You must work with the material, not against it, and it is never boring!” A carpenter by trade, he now creates his striking pieces purely as a hobby and is a dedicated craftsman with an infectious passion for his work. Just as the wood “does its own thing”, so too does Pedersen.

Collaborating creative craftsmen

Berland and Pedersen sell their artisan creations in Berland’s shop in Svaneke, among other places. Neither describe themselves as artists, but identify as highly-skilled craftsmen, who take pride in the techniques that their respective crafts require. “Just because you are meant to be useful doesn’t mean that you can’t also be beautiful,” Berland says.

Whilst beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder there is no doubt that they both create remarkable pieces of work. “I am a practical person and I create practical things with my hands,” she explains, defining her role as a creative maker rather than an artist.

Not one of Pedersen’s quirky wooden bowls are identical, nor are any of Ber-

land’s ceramic pieces, whether delicate or robust, the same. Every item is handmade and springs from a genuine and unfettered love of nature and the creative process.

“Wood and clay are beautiful side by side -they almost belong together,” Berland says. The work of both creatives is rooted in the nature of the island and it seems instinctive to exhibit their pieces together. Sharing a shop has been a great experience for both and, whilst their pieces are very different, they complement each other. “We are not partners in the business or in our work, but we work together brilliantly,” says Pedersen.

Re-focus on creativity

“I want to share the joy I feel when working with clay and glazes, and to let go of the more production-focused aspect of my current ceramic work,” Berland says. Her vision now is to focus on experimenting and creating; having fulfilled her ear-

lier dreams of ‘making it’ as a ceramicist, she is ready to continue her journey.

“I want to create more beautiful items for exhibitions, not just for the tourist season,” she says. Her ultimate dream would be to tour an exhibition around Europe, opening her mind to new opportunities.

“It is really exciting and anything could happen!” she adds.

The creative duo’s shared passion for craftsmanship and the abundant natural beauty of Bornholm is powerful. The combination of Berland’s drive, creativity and spirit, and Pedersen’s unique and uncompromising approach is sure to spark great things.

Instagram: @vibeberlandkeramik

Read more about Bornholm as World Craft Region:

Instagram: @makers_island_ bornholm


Bykilden 1, Svaneke Bornholm +45 60331330

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 73
Scan Magazine | Art Profile of the Month | Denmark
Vibe Berland & Træsmeden Large wood pots. Photo: Hans Henning Pedersen Unika filigran bowl. Photo: Anders Beier. Artists’ portrait. Photo: Vibe Berland Hands on. Photo: Hans Henning Pedersen

Gallery of the Month, Iceland

The thread that binds us together

At Þula art gallery they believe art has the power to create dialogue between different people and cultures; that it is the thread that connects us. Þula is a place for both emerging and established artists dedicated to their craftsmanship and art.

Located in the heart of Reykjavík, within the walls of the culture house, The Marshallhouse, you will find Þula (pronounced Thula), an art gallery dedicated to uplifting and celebrating both new and established voices in the art world. Ásdís Þula Þorláksdóttir founded the gallery in 2020, and in 2023 she merged her gallery with the renowned art gallery Hverfisgallerí. Today, the two galleries have become one, and it is a gallery not to be missed if you are visiting Iceland.

“I have always set out to create a welcoming space, no matter who you are. It is important that everyone feels welcome here. We celebrate people that are interested in art and it is vital that the community have access to spaces such as Þula. Seeing art should not be a privilege, I would like it to be something that is for everyone to experience. This knowledge should not be gatekept, and I believe it brings us to a better world,” says Þorláksdóttir, Owner and Founder of Þula.

The invisible connection

After living in Toronto, London, and Los Angeles for seven years, Þorláksdóttir returned to her roots in Iceland. With a background in writing, acting and poetry, she had always been in the creative sphere,

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Kristín Morthens, Installation view. Kristín Morthens, There Is Air Under Water.

but it was not until her return to Iceland that she found her true calling: art.

“My father is a painter. My grandfather is a painter. My sister is a painter. My whole family is involved in the arts. I was working a bit with my father, and I realised how much I enjoy being around art and mediating it,” explains Þorláksdóttir.

Not long after, she opened her art gallery Þula, and since then she has seen a whirlwind of events. She has been invited to several art fairs, worked with inspiring artists, and merged her gallery with Hverfisgallerí. But the vision has never changed: binding people and cultures together through art.

“I think that art has the power to create dialogue. It is this thread that pulls us together. We always seem so torn apart in opinions and politics, but in art we find the core values and the meaning of being human. The realm of arts - be it fine art, music, theatre, or writing - that is what unifies us,” Þorláksdóttir says and continues: “The mycelium of fungi connects all through the underground. That is kind of like our human hive mind. We are connected. Even though it sometimes feels like everything is individual and separated.”

Celebrating new voices and stories

Þula represents both emerging artists and well-established artists. Currently, all artists are Icelandic, but in the fu-

ture, when the time is right, Þorláksdóttir sees her gallery becoming a part of the international art scene, with artists from other countries and cultures as she believes that will strengthen and deepen the dialogue she strives to keep alive.

When visiting Þula Gallery, you will experience many works of female artists. “It wasn’t the focus, but it happened organically. People have asked why there were a lot of female artists. Had it been mostly men I represented, it would have never been questioned. But here more than half are female, so people question it. Hopefully that will soon change and just become normal,” says Þorláksdóttir.

But it is not only female voices you will find when you visit Þula Gallery. You will find new artists with strong voices that need to be heard. “In the art world

we are getting new voices, new stories, new points of views. LGBTIQA+, people of colour, women… We are finally celebrating and uplifting these voices. What a time to be alive, to see and live these new narratives that are being brought to us,” says Þorláksdóttir.

When you visit Þula on your next trip to Iceland, let your heart lead the way as you immerse yourself in the art. Because art is an experience. Art is not meant to be viewed with only our intellect; it is meant to be experienced with our heart centre. As Þorláksdóttir beautifully puts it:

“Art holds a meaning bigger than a concept we can vocalise.”

Facebook: Thula


September 2023 | Issue 158 | 75
Scan Magazine | Gallery of the Month | Iceland
Tolli Cotton Grass by Fjallabak. Photo: Kári Ísleifur Sunneva Ása Weisshappel, Masked. Sunneva Ása Weisshappel, Installation view.

Education Profile of the Month, Norway

BIKS: Providing safe, professional training

Norway is a hub for a variety of industries, many of which involve the use of heavy industrial machinery. In 2003, Bjørn Tore Vindenes founded the Bergen Industrial Competence Centre, or BIKS, originally to meet the need for safety training in crane use and lifting. BIKS now provides courses to those who need certification and documented training within a variety of competencies.

BIKS offers programmes in both Norwegian and English, in person and online, providing documented training, in accordance with the Norwegian Labour Safety Authority. Their central headquarters is found in Bergen, on the west coast of the country. Classes offered range from overseeing cranes to forklift driving, rigging to hydraulics courses. Though following the standards set by a government body, BIKS is a private company and therefore relies on the fees paid by both students and their firms. They have partnered with organisations such as Offshore Norge, Achilles, and CETOP. Students could be on or offshore personnel, freelancers for different com-

panies, or even private individuals who want to increase their skills to strengthen their position in the job market. Though most students work in or go on to obtain jobs in Norway, others work on vessels in places as far afield as Australia and the Gulf of Mexico.

BIKS is a problem solver for the crane and heavy machinery industries, striving to meet the needs individual companies have for employee skill development and raising the levels of personnel safety. Ultimately, one of their main goals is to find solutions for both individual employers and also for employees.

Facebook: BIKs AS

Instagram: biks_as

Linkedin: bik-as

Scan Magazine | Education Profile of the Month | Norway

Best new Scandi music in September

Norwegian pop superstar Sigrid is out with a brand-new single, her first since last year’s How To Let Go album. On The Hype, we get to hear Sigrid ponder; her thoughts directed at the song’s intended – whom she suspects dated her partly because of who she is. The story is set to Sigrid’s trademark flair for melody composition, and so we’re left with a thrilling ride of a pop song, albeit at the expense of Sigrid’s own dating disasters.

School Reunion is the utterly charming new tune from Danish artist eee gee. Bathed in retro hues and featuring touches of disco fabulosity, it’s either a nostalgic trip back to the ’70s or an enjoyable insight into an inspirational genre, depending on where you sit on the age spectrum. I’m sat somewhere in the middle, and very much admiring it from either side. There’s a lot to appreciate here.

Monthly Illustration Riot

It takes a lot to make English people riot. Just occasionally, they will be pushed into it, as I recently found out on a flight back to the UK. Our plane was redirected to France, which people initially took with the usual stoicism. Safety cards were used as makeshift fans. Selfies were sent to relatives back home, with captions like: ‘I’m in Paris, lol!’

As we were escorted off the plane, there were still audible musings on how ‘things could be worse!’ But then followed three hours of abandonment at an empty luggage belt. No information. No food. No bags. The English grew uncharacteristically quiet. How would they get back home? Where would they sleep? Where were their bags? People started looking mildly irked. And then came the turning point.

Close to midnight, our bags were finally spotted – behind a locked and alarmed

Swedish artist Molly Hammar has got a top new tune out. On Fight Like A Girl, she’s got something to say, it’s worth saying and so she’s saying it out loud. It’s a message to claim back all of the negative language surrounding what it is to be a girl, and to use it to your own advantage, since it’s being placed on you regardless. The song itself is a beautifully melodic composition and is accompanied by some equally stunning strings in the mix.And with this being Molly Hammar on vocal duties – you know it’s sounding sensational in that department too.

Icelandic artist VALDIS is back with her first release in over a year. And if this new single of hers is anything to go by, she’s feeling refreshed and replenished! Let’s Get Lost Tonight is a generous serving of dreamy disco decadence, on which she

door! “I’ve got twenty quid’s worth of Greek baklava in there!” a man cried. And that was it. At the thought of snacks, the English went berserk. “Feed the baby the last biscuit!” one mum shouted, as if it was the final message to her family before going into battle, which is exactly what she did, followed by three more mums, then the entire plane. Doors were rattled, alarms were set off. There were screams of “Je voudrais thé” and “avec du lait!”

makes getting ‘lost tonight’ sound like a pretty attractive option. I’m in.

Faced with 200 irate Brits, the French gave in and allocated us all hotels for the night. In the morning, still somewhat riotous, we reconvened on a new plane back to the UK. “I know you’ve had a terrible time,” the captain announced, “but please be kind to my crew.” At this, everyone sat down, fastened their seatbelts and ordered a cup of tea with the utmost civility. They were English, after all.




Sweden in 1994. She received a degree in Illustration in 2001, before settling in the capital as a freelance cartoonist, creating the autobiographical cartoon Em. Maria writes a column on the trials and tribulations of life as a Swede in the UK.

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 77
Smedstad to the from
Scan Magazine | Culture | Columns

Scandinavian Culture Calendar

–Where to go, what to see?

It ’s all happening here!

Scan Magazine | Culture | Calendar
Elmgreen & Dragset, He (Gold), 2012, Astrup Fearnley Collection. Photo: Elmgreen & Dragset_Anders Sune Berg

Helsinki Comics Festival (16 to 17 September)

Helsinki Comics Festival is being organised for the 38th time, this year at Korjaamo Culture Factory in Töölö, which also houses the Tram Museum (free entry!). Expected to gather up to 25,000 fans of visual storytelling, the festival’s themes for 2023 are travel and German language comics. The first day of the event also coincides with International Batman Day — expect speech karaoke and short films, or why not get a Batman tattoo?

Töölönkatu 51 A-B, Helsinki

Josepha Madoki: D.I.S.C.O (28 to 29 September)

Stockholm’s Dansens Hus is one of the region’s hubs for contemporary dance, and one of its highlights this autumn is D.I.S.C.O. (Don’t initiate social contact with others) by choreographer Josépha Madoki, also known as Princess Madoki.

The show promises a 70s-style club experience with eight dancers and a DJ. Wearing disco clothes is voluntary but recommended!

Linnégatan 69, Stockholm

Panoramica 2023: Latin American Film Festival (28 September to 1 October)

September is the time to get into new hobbies. Expand your knowledge of Latin American film at Stockholm’s Panoramica festival, which returns for a 9th edition.

September 2023 | Issue 158 | 79 Scan Magazine | Culture | Calendar
Helsinki Comics Festival. Photo: Joonas Kohonen Helsinki Comics Festival. Photo: Henry Söderlund

Keep your eyes peeled for the full programme!

Cinemas around Stockholm

Before Tomorrow: Astrup Fearnley Museet 30 Years (until 8 October)

The Astrup Fearnley Collection in Oslo is home to one of the most interesting selections of contemporary art not just in Scandinavia, but Europe. The collection traces its beginnings to the 1960s and the Norwegian ship broker and art collector Hans Rasmus Astrup. Before Tomorrow features installations and objects, altogether more than 100 works for this anniversary exhibition. The museum itself is the design of the famed Italian architect Renzo Piano. Strandpromenaden 2, Oslo

Copenhagen Culture Night (13 October)

Copenhagen opens up for all forms of culture just as the cold nights draw in. From churches to museums, galleries to political institutions, the festival provides an opportunity to see the city from new points of view and experience something different. The programme is announced in mid-September, and you can take part in all the activities by purchasing the Culture Pass for DKK 110.

The Seasons in Us: Works from the Collections of the Association of Finnish Fine Art Foundations (until 7 January 2024)

Weather and the seasons are a major element in Scandinavian life, from long summer nights to short winter days. This exhibition of 80 works at the Oulu Art Museum celebrates the seasons in fine art, from the 1870s to today. Catch paintings by Finnish masters such as Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Albert Edelfelt as well as contemporary artists Marika Mäkelä, Petri Hytönen and others.

Kasarmintie 9, Oulu

Studio ThinkingHand: EVOLUTIONS (until 7 January 2023)

Glass is not just for drinking from, it’s also a delicate material for making art. The Danish Queen Margrethe II is the patron of Glas, a museum located near Aarhus and dedicated to this artform. This year’s major exhibition is by the collective Studio ThinkingHand, formed by Mikkel Dahlin Bojesen and Rhoda Ting, and explores evolution: nature, ecosystems, fungi, and more.

Strandvejen 8, Ebeltoft

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Venues around Copenhagen Still from video work HABITATS. Photo: Studio ThinkingHand
September 2023 | Issue 158 | 81 Scan Magazine | Culture | Calendar
Thomas Struth: The Art Institute of Chicago II, 1990. Astrup Fearnley Collection. Photo: Thomas Struth

Scan Magazine Issue 158

September 2023

Published 09.2023

ISSN 1757-9589

Published by Scan Client Publishing Print H2 Print Executive Editor Thomas Winther

Creative Director Mads E. Petersen


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Cover Photo


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82 | Issue 158 | September 2023 Scan Magazine | Culture | Calendar
Anu Tuominen: Lämmintä, kylmä, 2003–2019. Photo: Gösta Serlachiuksen taidesäätiö / Teemu Källi


Just 18 minutes from Arlanda airport.





















Restaurant Tegelbacken is right on the waterfront in the center of Stockholm, a stone's throw from the central station, with views of the iconic Vasabron and the parliament house.

With servings of unpretentious, tasty and innovative medium-sized dishes which enables you to enjoy more of the menu while you soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

Tegelbacken 2, 111 52 Stockholm |

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