4 countries belong to Scandinavia, here you can see them all at a glance:
All the countries of Scandinavia belong to Europe. They are located in the north of the continent. On the following map you can see where exactly the countries of Scandinavia are located.
Sometimes, besides these 4 countries, a 5th country is counted as Scandinavia, namely Iceland. On this page you will learn all the important information about Scandinavia, its countries and its geographical definitions.
Table of contents
The definition of Scandinavia
Originally, Scandinavia refers to the peninsula leading from the European mainland to the southwest, so to speak. On it are Norway and Sweden, as well as the northern part of Finland. However, since there are linguistic and cultural similarities with Denmark and the rest of Finland, the two countries Denmark and Finland are also fully counted as Scandinavia.
The country of Iceland, located on an island in the European Arctic Ocean more than 1,000 kilometers west of Norway’s coast, is sometimes also included in Scandinavia in an expanded definition.
Scandinavia is first and foremost a cultural entity. That is, people living in the countries of Scandinavia have a similar value system, similar customs and traditions, a common history and a similar language (at least in part).
To a large extent, the countries of Scandinavia are surrounded by sea. Between Finland, Sweden and Denmark lies the Baltic Sea. In the north of Norway is the Barents Sea. To the west of Norway lies the European North Sea. And between Denmark and Norway is the North Sea.
Finland, Norway and Denmark share land borders. The connection to Denmark is from Sweden via the Öresund strait or simply the Sound. A road leads over an impressive bridge, the Öresund Bridge. Here Scandinavia also has a superlative: the Öresund Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world for combined rail and road traffic at 7,845 meters.
In the south, Denmark borders on the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Germany is therefore a neighboring country of Scandinavia, so to speak. In the east, the two Scandinavian countries Finland and Norway border on Russia.
Important data about Scandinavia
In total, about 27 million people live in the countries of Scandinavia. This is only about 3 percent of the population of the whole of Europe. The highest mountain in Scandinavia is Galdhøpiggen. It is located in Norway and is 2,469 meters high.
The Arctic Circle runs through the northern half of Scandinavia. Three countries of Scandinavia lie partly north of the Arctic Circle: Finland, Norway and Sweden. About a quarter of the area of the Scandinavian Peninsula lies north of the Arctic Circle.
The north-south extension of Scandinavia is about 2,000 kilometers. The smallest country in Scandinavia in terms of area is Denmark (at least as long as you don’t count the regions administered by Denmark, such as Greenland), while the largest is Sweden. There is no official capital of Scandinavia, but Stockholm likes to call itself The Capital of Scandinavia. Stockholm is the capital of the Scandinavian country Sweden and with about 950,000 inhabitants the largest city of Scandinavia.
The largest lake in Scandinavia is located in the country of Sweden. Its name is Vänern. It is 5,519 square kilometers, more than ten times the size of Lake Constance.
Scandinavia countries in detail
In the following overview you will find detailed information about the countries of Scandinavia.
With an area of about 43,000 square kilometers, Denmark is the smallest country in Scandinavia. Around 5.8 million people live in Denmark. The capital of the country is Copenhagen with about 630,000 inhabitants. The highest elevation in the country is the 171 meter high Møllehøj. Both Greenland and the Faroe Islands belong to Denmark. In the south, Denmark borders on Germany.
Finland is one of the northernmost countries on earth. About one third of its area lies north of the Arctic Circle. The capital of Finland is Helsinki with about 648,000 inhabitants. In total, about 5.5 million inhabitants live in Finland. The highest mountain in the country is Haltitunturi. It is located in the very northwest of the country on the border with Norway and is 1,324 meters high. Finland is one of Russia’s neighboring countries.
The Scandinavian country of Norway is one of the richest countries in the world. A total of about 5.4 million people live in Norway, about 700,000 of them in the Norwegian capital Oslo. Norway is known for its wild mountain landscape and gigantic fjords. Norway also includes the archipelago of Spitsbergen and the island of Jan Mayen. The highest mountain of Norway is Galdhøpiggen, which is 2,469 meters high. Norway is also a neighboring country of Russia.
Sweden is the most populous country in Scandinavia with about 10.3 million inhabitants. Sweden’s capital is Stockholm, which has about 950,000 inhabitants and is therefore also the largest city in Scandinavia. With an area of about 447,000 square kilometers, Sweden is also the largest country in Scandinavia. The highest mountain of Sweden is the 2,097 meter high Kebnekaise.
Iceland is an island nation with about 360,000 inhabitants. About 130,000 of them live in the capital Reykjavík. Iceland is known for its spectacular volcanic landscape. With 3.5 inhabitants per square kilometer, Iceland is not only the most sparsely populated country in Scandinavia, but also the most sparsely populated country in all of Europe. The highest mountain in Iceland is the 2,110 meter high volcano Hvannadalshnúkur.
The Scandinavian languages
The languages of the countries of Scandinavia are partly closely related. Danes, Norwegians and Swedes can understand each other comparatively well. It’s about as if the languages were different dialects of a single language. The language of Iceland is also related to them, but not as closely as the three previously mentioned. Finland’s language is completely different from the other Scandinavian languages. Finnish is related to the language of Hungary.
Scandinavia and the EU
Only three of the countries of Scandinavia are EU members. Namely Denmark, Finland and Sweden. Iceland and Norway are not members of the European Union. Iceland once ran an admission procedure to the EU, but it was withdrawn in 2015 after the democratic consensus went in that direction.
Only the Scandinavian countries Denmark and Finland have the euro as their currency. In Iceland, Norway and Sweden, on the other hand, the currency is called the krona.
Monarchies in Scandinavia
Three of the countries in Scandinavia are still partly in the Middle Ages and have a parliamentary monarchy as their form of government. These are Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Finland and Iceland have a parliamentary republic as their form of government.
Prosperity in Scandinavia
All countries of Scandinavia belong to the countries of the world with the highest standard of living. Three countries in Scandinavia are among the top 10 richest countries in the world, at least according to a ranking by the german Handelsblatt.
You can find the ranking under the following link: Link to Handelsblatt
Flags and forum of the countries of Scandinavia
The flags of the countries of Scandinavia all contain the Nordic Cross. The colors are different. Politically, there is a forum where the countries of Scandinavia exchange ideas. This forum is called the Nordic Council. The countries of Scandinavia are so-called full members in it. In addition, there are three autonomous regions that participate in it: Åland (belonging to Finland), Faroe Islands and Greenland (belonging to Denmark).
A special tradition in the countries of Scandinavia is to celebrate the so-called Midsummer Festival. Especially in Sweden, the festival is big and, apart from Christmas, probably the most important holiday in the country. The longest day or shortest night of the year is celebrated. In many regions of Scandinavia, it hardly gets dark at night at this time, if at all. This is because the countries are so far north. The festival is usually celebrated on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. A particularly well-known element of the Midsummer Festival is the dance around a tree trunk decorated with flowers, the so-called Midsummer pole.
An important symbol for Scandinavia and especially for Sweden is the moose. In the countries of Finland, Norway and Sweden, moose are widespread. Very well known is the yellow-red warning sign, which indicates to traffic that moose could run across the road. And indeed, on Scandinavian roadsides this road sign is common. By the way, unfortunately, moose are also often hunted. Especially in the Scandinavian country of Sweden. The number of moose killed by humans every year in Sweden approaches 100,000. But as terrible as this is, there are so many moose in Scandinavia that they are nevertheless not threatened with extinction.
Another animal symbolic of Scandinavia is the reindeer. Here, however, man has almost succeeded in exterminating it in Scandinavia. Only a small population of them still exists in Norway.
Scandinavia is also particularly well known in Germany for its crime novels. A large number of books, films and TV series come from the countries of Scandinavia. Particularly popular are, for example, Kommissar Beck or the books by Arne Dahl (here the investigator is called Paul Hjelm) and Håkan Nesser. The thriller series about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist by Stieg Larsson is also a typical work from Scandinavia.
Among music lovers, the countries of Scandinavia are known for many good bands and musicians. For example, Refused (Sweden), Motorpsycho (Norway) and Björk (Iceland) come from Scandinavia.
On the following page you can deepen your knowledge about the different countries of Europe: All countries of Europe