Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of World’s Most Livable Cities

Clean air and low crime rates are among the most important attractions for European expatriates, according to ECA International. Three Scandinavian cities are on the Top 10 list of World’s most livable cities. Read on to find the complete Top 10 list.

ECA International annually ranks places based on the living conditions for expats in 500 different cities around the world. The consulting agency assesses, among other things, the availability of health services, housing situation, access to social networks and leisure activities, living costs, air pollution, personal safety, as well as social and political tensions.

Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe's Most Livable Cities
Stavanger in Norway is the most livable Scandinavian city . Photo: Stavanger kommune

Stavanger in Norway is the most livable Scandinavian city while former joint number one Copenhagen falls to fifth place globally due to housing availability issues. Gothenburg in Sweden ranks number eight together with Amsterdam and Basel.

Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe's Most Livable Cities
Copenhagen falls to fifth place globally due to housing availability issues. Photo: Jacob Schjrring/Simon Lau/Visit Denmark

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Related: Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
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Bigger cities in other European countries feature further down the rankings owing to some of the negative issues associated with larger urban centers. For example, Berlin ranked 35th this year, while Paris ranked 41st. Moscow ranked no. 189.

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Related: Conquering Challenges as an Expat in Scandinavia
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Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe's Most Livable Cities
Gothenburg in Sweden ranks number eight together with Amsterdam and Basel.. Photo: Visit Sweden
Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe's Most Livable Cities
Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA.

“It is not surprising to see smaller European locations like Stavanger, Copenhagen and Gothenburg on the top ten,” says Neil Ashman, Senior Location Ratings Analyst at ECA. “They tend to have excellent facilities and infrastructure, as larger cities do, but they also benefit from lower crime rates and air pollution levels than big cities,” and adds, “Copenhagen is still a great city for expatriates, it remains very livable but has seen shortages of suitable housing in recent times which has seen it drop in the ranking slightly.”

The 2023 Location Ratings represent the situation in November 2023, with all scoring accurate at the time of publication. The rankings are compared with those from five (2018) and ten (2013) years ago.

Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe's Most Livable Cities

Three Scandinavian Cities on Top 10 List of Europe’s Most Livable Cities, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Old Stavanger. Photo © Visit Norway/FotoKnoff AS/Sven-Erik Knoff

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style

The winter can be a testing time if you’re living alone. The days are short, vitamin D is in limited supply, and chill winds can undercut your motivation to get out and socialize. Read Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style – and learn to embrace the solitude the Scandinavian style.  

However, winter doesn’t have to be a time of seclusion and boredom. In fact, winter can be the perfect time to pursue hobbies and interests that take place in your home.

This is an approach that Scandivains specialize in. Many Danes swear by the concept of Hygge and go to great lengths to create indoor havens when the days grow short. You can replicate this approach at home by embracing winter solitude and creating a space that breaks your boredom and helps you overcome the winter blues.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style. Article continues below image.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style
Start by making room for activities you know you enjoy. Photo: pngtre

Creating a Supportive Space

It’s easy to lament the loss of summer sun when the winter months roll around. However, the winter holds some secret joys of its own. Getting to spend more time inside means that your motivation to redecorate and redesign your space should be at an all-time high.

Start by making room for activities you know you enjoy. This may mean you need to reposition the coffee table to make room for puzzles or pull the chairs closer to the fire. Even symbolic changes, like buying a few extra throws and blankets, can make your space look and feel cozy. This will help you feel safe and secure at home when the winter starts in earnest.

If you’re still struggling to embrace the cozy season, consider investing in some Danish furniture. Danish furniture is built with cold winter days in mind. It may cost a little extra, but can represent an important shift in your priorities. Danish chairs are excellent if you plan to sit for prolonged periods while knitting, watching films, or reading.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style
Hygge is “a feeling of belonging and warmth, a moment of comfort and contentment.”

The Hygge Mindset

If you want to get the most out of winter, you’ll need to shift your mindset to embrace the colder weather and shorter days. You have to slow down, embrace the Hygge mindset, and strive to find joy in the small pleasures that life indoors grants you.

Author Louisa Thomsen Brits explains that Hygge is “a feeling of belonging and warmth, a moment of comfort and contentment.” Making an intentional decision to “dwell and savor” can be transformative if you’re used to raging against the short winter days and cold nights.

Perfecting the Hygge mindset won’t alleviate boredom by itself, but it will put you on the right track to enjoy a happier, cozier winter. Hygge gives you permission to invest in a few personal items that make the winter bearable, too. Candles, thick sweaters, and weighted blankets are perfect investments in your health and happiness. Likewise, stocking up on tea, firewood, and games can break your boredom and help you feel content when the temperatures drop below freezing.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style. Article continues below image.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style
If you really want to get into the Scandinavian spirit, consider playing video games inspired by Nordic mythology.

Games to Break Boredom

Creating a cozy refuge at home doesn’t mean you have to spend your evenings gazing at the fire or watching films. In fact, winter can be the perfect time to discover some games that engage your brain and improve your mental health.

If you really want to get into the Scandinavian spirit, consider playing video games inspired by Nordic mythology.  Titles like God of War and Assasin Creed: Valhalla draw inspiration from Nordic mythology and are largely set in winter. You’ll learn plenty about the Nordic pantheon while adventuring across Scandinavian-inspired landscapes.

You don’t have to buy a next-gen console to enjoy the games, either. Simple games like Solitaire can relieve boredom and improve your mental health. This is important, as the negative health consequences of boredom include:

  • Increased stress;
  • Elevated risk of cardiovascular disease;
  • More likely to develop depression ;
  • Increased risk of substance abuse.

The health risks that boredom poses should be enough to give you pause. Fortunately, you can overcome boredom and embrace winter solitude with mentally stimulating activities like games. Even easy memory-based games like crossword puzzles and sudoku can be enough to break your boredom and protect your mental health.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style
Some of the best winter hobbies include baking.

Hobbies

The winter is the perfect time to invest time and effort into your favorite hobbies. You have plenty of free time once the nights draw in and can spend the cash you save on socializing to kickstart your new interest. Some of the best winter hobbies include:

  • Baking;
  • Writing;
  • Yoga;
  • Learning a language;

These skill-based hobbies are mentally engaging and give you something to work towards. You’ll learn plenty about yourself when writing and can expect to see a meaningful improvement in your health if you take up yoga.

If you think you need a bigger project to make it through the winter, consider brewing beer from home. Brewing your beer is like running a science experiment in your own home and you can customize your brew to suit your own tastes. You will need to invest in some equipment like fermenters and brew pots, but can tweak your use of barley, malt, and hops accordingly. After a few weeks of fermenting, you can pour yourself a pint that any Scandinavian would be proud of.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style – Conclusion

Creating an indoor haven is the perfect way to see out the winter the Scandinavian way. Even simple changes, like repositioning your furniture and buying a new blanket, can help you settle into the Hygge mindset. Consider picking up a new game or starting a new hobby during the winter months, too, as this will occupy your mind and protect your mental health when the night draws in.

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style
Ainsley Lawrence

Indoor Haven for One: Embracing Winter Solitude in the Scandinavian Style, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsely Lawrence. Ainsley is a regular contributor to Daily Scandinavian. She is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. Ainsley is interested in better living. through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.

Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins

Norwegian mountain cabins are no longer what they once were. Now, they should be elegant, bright and open, preferably with an atmosphere of Norwegian folk tales. Learn more about Norwegian «Mountain Modern» cabins.

Cabins have become a chance for owners and designers alike to make a statement piece of modern architecture in a beautiful natural setting. Norway has lots of big mountains and rugged landscapes which makes it a perfect place to search for beautiful and inspiring cabin designs. Here we have made a sample collection based on design, surroundings and overall appeal. Each is different and unique but they all share in common a modern design approach and a respect for nature and its magnificent beauty.

Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins
Cabin on Hardangerviddfa designed by archiects Elisabeth Hoem and Stig Folstad.

The cabin on Hardangervidda, designed by architects Elisabeth Hoem and Stig Folstad, is reminiscent of a giant stone that the ice left here ten thousand years ago. It is inspired by a cairn shed that was erected on the bare mountains in Western Norway to protect hikers from the extreme weather.

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Related: Magnificent Mountain Hotel in Norway
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Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins
A cabin outside Hønefoss designed by Atelier Oslo.

A cabin outside of Hønefoss is situated on a steep hillside and has beautiful views of the fjord below. Because it is relatively exposed to the elements, the architects carefully designed the shape of the house to protect its occupants in the interior and exterior spaces. Designed by Atelier Oslo.

The cabin below is situated at the center of Norway, in the beautiful mountains above Oppdal. Its name translated as The Diamong Cabin is a reference to its angular and unusual geometry. It was designed by studio A38 Arkitekter and completed in 2019 and it’s a small structure with a total surface of 45 square meters.

Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins
“THe Diamond Cabin”.
Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins
This cabin on Kvitfjell, designed by Div. A Arkitekter, is inspired by the barns in Gudbrandsdalen..

This cabin on Kvitfjell (above), designed by Div. A Arkitekter, offers a traditional mountain atmosphere. It was built in 1999 and is 200 square meters. The architects proposed something rooted in the Norwegian character. Despite strict regulations in the area, the cabin was given a modern and almost timeless expression with clear references to tradition: The simple and elongated shape is inspired by the barns in Gudbrandsdalen.

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Related: Spectacular Autum in a Norwegian High Mountain Lodge
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This weathered and secluded Norwegian mountain cabin has a magnificent view. and strict building regulation determined the design of this secluded cabin. The high altitude mountain area of Imingfjell, Norway, is beautiful, but weathered and windblown. Designed by Arkitektværelset.

Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins
The Imingfjell cabin.

Due to the high altitude, harsh weather conditions, and the risk of avalanches, the region has strict building regulations for new properties. Keeping this in mind, the project, also known as ‘Hooded Cabin’, was designed by the architects to look as if protected by a wooden ‘hood’, in order to confront the potential of strong winds and rain. “Norway is beautiful, but weathered and windblown,” state the architects. “Limitations are the mother of all playful creativity, and in this case it became a goal to create within the boundaries,” they explain. The cabin’s angular, wooden forms present an arresting contrast to the black painted structure, which faces outwards with panoramic views of the lake and mountains ahead.

The modern Norwegian mountain municipalities want to retain their authentic character. Local authorities collaborate to create good brands in beautiful nature and well-developed business models. They have mostly succeeded.

Norwegian “Mountain Modern” Cabins, compiled by Tor Kjolberg

Scandinavian Elderberry

Scandinavian elderberries are not the tastiest in the world, but they are so plentiful that they have to be considered, and they do make a nice, cold-fighting cordial.

The epitome of good, old-school Scandinavian housekeeping is having elderberry cordial for colds and flu in your well-stocked pantry.

If you have picked elderflowers in May, you’ll know where to look for these tiny berries in early autumn. The common elder (Sambucus nigra) produces great hanging bunches of juicy, purple-black berries. They are virtually tasteless when raw, but come into their own when cooked.

Scandinavian Elderberry
If you have picked elderflowers in May, you’ll know where to look for these tiny berries in early autumn.

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Read also: Scandinavians and Strawberries
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Culinary uses

Elderberries are generally used to give other, less colorful jams and cordials a nice full color. This means that if you do not take precautions, your kitchen will be a nice uneven mauve after you’ve dealt with the berries. Cover everything with plastic and newspapers, or do the preparations outside.

Scandinavian Elderberry
Sambucus berries. Photo: Wikipedia

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Read also: Scandinavian berries
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Elderberry cordial

The cordial is not too sweet and used as a toddy (with hot water, a little honey and a slice of lemon) against all ills during cold and nasty Nordic winters. Some people even add rum or schnapps, if the victim is a grown-up. I like to call the recipe ‘elderberry catastrophe in your kitchen”!

Fill a 10-liter non-corrosive pan with the elderberries – the long stalks should be stripped off, but the little ones can stay. Cover with water, then heat gently and leave to simmer for half an hour. You can mash the berries to release mor juice, and you will end up with a lovely, everlastingly purple wooden spoon.

Scandinavian Elderberry
Elderberry cordial

For the next, dripping stage you will need an old, clean dishcloth and a large bowl. You can either put the fruit in a very large colander lined with the cloth, tie the corners of the fruit-filled cloth to the legs of an upturned chair, or tie the gathered ends of the cloth to a drawer handle. Leave the fruit to drip into the bowl until the next day.

When it is ready, you may choose to freeze the cordial straight away and sweeten it when you are going to use it. Alternatively, sweeten the cordial to taste, then pour it into jars and sterilize them in the oven. To do this: screw on the lid (but not completely tight as there must be room for steam to escape), then bake in the oven at 110 degrees/gas mark ¼ until you can see the cordial bubbling in the jars. Turn off the oven, screw the lid on tightly and let the jars cool in the oven. Prepared in this way, the cordial will keep for ages. If you use proper sterilizing jars (with rubber rings), you can tighten the lids straight away, before putting them in the oven.

Scandinavian Elderberry, written by Tor Kjolberg

Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants

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“While the fashion giants go all in with AI, smaller players spend more energy on human relationships. It can be a competitive advantage and perhaps even solve online stores’ return problems”, says an expert in e-commerce. Learn more about how a small Danish clothing brand outcompetes the giants.

When several large online fashion stores are experimenting with artificial intelligence to help us find the right garments and avoid us sending too many returns, the Marc Lauge brand is betting on the exact opposite – namely proper people.

Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants
Thomas Lauge Christensen, Retail Manager at Marc Lauge.

“We experience a clear effect of not only being found online or in our physical stores, but in both places, and that the employees themselves manage the show by posting pictures, using the clothes and interacting with the customers. It creates a relationship that also draws customers into the stores,” explains Thomas Lauge Christensen, who is Retail Manager at Marc Lauge, who has sold pants and jeans to a number of stores in Norway.

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Related: The Only Jeans Factory in Norway
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Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants
Marc Lauge washed jeans.

AI can reinforce the need for decent people

Although the online store Zalando has been one of the most used online stores in Norway for a number of years, the retailer struggles with return of almost 50 percent of the orders.

“Measures with artificial intelligence should, among other things, counteract the problem, but the more artificial intelligence we encounter, the greater our need for human contact,” says an expert from Scandinavia’s largest consultancy in commerce.

Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants
Thomas Obelitz Høgsbro-Rode, Managing Director at IMPACT.

“In the fashion industry, the biggest challenge is that clothes fit differently from person to person, and that is one of the reasons for the high return rates. Several of the major players are trying to solve the problem technically with avatars and AI, which can help find the right sizes, options and inspiration, but it is a difficult problem to solve exclusively online,” says Thomas Obelitz Høgsbro-Rode, who is Managing Director at IMPACT.

“Using the company’s own staff makes a difference, because deep down we want to interact with other people and the world around us. I also believe that we need it now more than ever. Beyond that, it is a competitive advantage to have physical stores in interaction with an online store. Being able to return an item from the internet in a physical store, where you can also find the right size, is a win-win for everyone,” Høgsbro-Rode adds.

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Related: Two Swedes’ Revolutionary Move for the Fashion Industry
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Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants
In the fashion industry, the biggest challenge is that clothes fit differently from person to person, and that is one of the reasons for the high return rates.

Being present in both worlds works

Even if the big competitors are going in the complete opposite direction, the effect of using a company’s ‘real people’ is so great that it gives hope to the physical stores, believes Thomas Lauge Christensen.

“It clearly gives more traffic and interaction when it is the store employees who control social media, and it also draws customers into the physical stores. That way we are present in both worlds, and one reinforces the other,” he concludes.

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Marc Lauge is a family-owned Danish fashion house with more than 35 years of experience. With a particularly great expertise in quality denim, Marc Lauge is a recognized brand, especially in jeans in Scandinavia.

Small Danish Clothing Brand Outcompetes the Giants, based on a press release from the company.

Dental Maintenance Solutions in the Viking Age

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A study by Carolina Bertilsson of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, published December 13 in the open-access journal PLOS One, states that Swedish Vikings tried to treat painful dental issues. Read on and learn more about dental maintenance solutions in the Viking Age.

The study describes what scientists discovered when they analyzed human teeth from about 800 to 1,000 years ago. How was everyday oral health and habits in a Swedish Viking community? The researchers describe the sort of bleak dental picture common to medieval Europe—frequent tooth decay, infections, and tooth loss. In the Viking population studied, 49% had one or more cavities, due largely to a high intake of starchy foods combined with a lack of dental care. Adults lost an average of 6% of their teeth, excluding wisdom teeth, over the course of their lifetimes.

Dental Maintenance Solutions in the Viking Age
The Vikings used toothpicks and engaged in surprisingly advanced dental practices not dissimilar from modern practices to relieve toothache.. Photo: ZME Science.

But the Vikings used toothpicks and engaged in surprisingly advanced dental practices not dissimilar from modern practices to relieve toothache. The study provides a rare insight into Viking life and an essential understanding of our ancestors.

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Related: Health and Medicine in the Viking Scandinavia
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Excavations in Varnhem, Sweden in 2005 uncovered the remains of a Christian church, near which was a cemetery containing thousands of Viking graves dating to the 10th to 12th century AD. In this study, Bertilsson and colleagues performed clinical and radiographical examination of the dentition of individuals from this site. In total, the team analyzed more than 2,300 teeth from 171 individuals.

On the surface of the excavated teeth, close to the root, the researchers also spotted signs of abrasion like that caused by toothpicks, an indication Vikings attempted to tend to their pearly whites. And the scientists found molars with holes that stretched from the crown into the pulp, likely dug to relieve pressure and excruciating toothaches caused by infections that would have resulted in pus-filled abscesses.

Dental Maintenance Solutions in the Viking Age
To date, there have only been a handful of published studies about the dental health of Swedish Vikings. Photo: Swedenphys.org

To date, there have only been a handful of published studies about the dental health of Swedish Vikings. So, researchers from the University of Gothenburg’s Institute of Odontology jumped at the opportunity to examine the teeth, working with an osteologist, a bone specialist, from Västergötlands museum, where the bones are now kept, to uncover their secrets.

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You may also like to read: Sensational Archeological Excavation in Denmark
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More than 60% of the examined adults had signs of dental caries (tooth decay), most often on the root surface, while none of the juvenile individuals had caries. Other pathologies were also observed, including tooth infection and indications of teeth having been lost before death. Several individuals had caries severe enough to have caused tooth pain, and the authors noted a few cases of tooth abrasion that were likely intentional modifications intended to lessen tooth pain.

“This is very exciting to see, and not unlike the dental treatments we carry out today when we drill into infected teeth,” researcher, practicing dentist and the study’s lead author Carolina Bertilsson, said in a statement. “It also suggests that dentistry in the Viking Age was probably more sophisticated than previously thought,” she added.

Dental Maintenance Solutions in the Viking Age
More than 60% of the examined adults had signs of dental caries (tooth decay), most often on the root surface, while none of the juvenile individuals had caries. Photo: Yoichi Ishizuka

“In a Swedish Viking population, around half of the individuals suffered from dental caries. The Vikings performed both tooth filing, tooth picking, and other dental treatment, including attempts to treat dental infections,” the authors concluded.

What was of most interest to the researchers, though, was that they observed attempts to look after teeth in various ways.

Dental Maintenance Solutions in the Viking Age, written by Tor Kjolberg

Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really?

Many people subscribe to the idea that in order to make an international trip worth the effort of a long flight, it has to last two or more weeks. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really? Read on and learn more about mine (and some other people’s) experiences.

I am technically talking about trips that take a minimum of eight hours.

A survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of AIG Travel in 2023 , revealed that many find that the implications of preparing long international flights are worth the efforts, with nearly a third saying international trips are more fun than domestic trips (29%).

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Read also: Flying Anxiety Cured
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Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really?
Some people have the flexibility to stay in one place for many months . Photo: Unsplash

According to the research, more than half of Americans who travel internationally require “recovery time” when they first get there (58%). About 2,000 Americans who have traveled abroad within the past five years looked at how they prepare for their excursions and found that coming back home isn’t any easier, as the average person spends four days in “recovery mode” after the trip ends. On average, respondents begin preparing 15 days before an international trip. More than half said they “physically prepare” themselves by practicing their steps or going to the doctor beforehand (58%). Other popular ways people prepare for international travel are by making copies of important documents (37%), arranging to have cell phone service (29%) and purchasing travel insurance (30%).

We are of course all different. Some people have the flexibility to stay in one place for many months at a time while others (most of the working people) may only have the budget and the time off from work for a five-day trip.

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Read also: Travel Light – the Scandinavian Way
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Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really?
In this article, we’re technically talking about trips that take a minimum of eight hours. 

People were asked about long and short trips at reddit.com and here are some of the answers:

“For me it all depends on the price of the flight. I would go pretty much anywhere for a short amount of time if the ticket was really affordable. Every time I have time off I look at the furthest place I can go for $600 or less. I’m in Canada by the way. But realistically for a place that’s an 8-10 hour flight away, I would hope I got three full days in to actually do something”.

“I did a 4 days 3 nights trip to South Korea from Sydney which took almost a day to fly there and that’s still worth every bucks. I did not get to explore everything but it was a relaxing holidays that I would do it again even if it’s the same duration. I’d say any duration will do, unless you rush things and did not enjoy it”.

“For me, heading out from the states, 7 days minimum for Europe and at least 20 days for Asia. The least amount of time I’ve spent in Asia was 3 weeks and it felt pretty short”.

Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really?
“I did a 4 days 3 nights trip to South Korea from Sydney which took almost a day to fly there and that’s still worth every bucks.” Photo: Freepik

In a later article I’ll tell you how I got necessary time off work using weekdays plus a few vacation days to spend just five days in another continent. If you include both weekend you could make it nine days. Once I spent a ‘long weekend’ in China.

Do not be afraid to push past the norms when it comes to traveling. You may find that all you have learned about travel may not always work to the best of your advantage.

Long Flights = Long Holidays. Really? Written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Freepik.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia

Scandinavia has one of the lowest (meaning positive) scores regarding bullying, the prevalence of verbal bullying (or harassment); Sweden 407%, Norway 40.8% and Denmark 40.9%. Even though the Scandinavian labor market, for the most part, is fair and equal, workplace bullying of expats working or studying in Scandinavia exists.

If you don’t get along with your boss or feel unfairly treated, it may well be that you are being bullied by your boss. In 2021, researchers Michael Rosander and Stefan Blomberg presented the results of a study, showing that the risk of being bullied more than doubled for the foreign-born. Coming from a culturally dissimilar country, the risk of becoming a victim of bullying was almost fourfold. The increased risk was only for person-related bullying, indicating a risk of being excluded from the social work environment.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
From a social identity perspective, foreign-born is a salient out-group easy to single out and with a predatory bullying origin they easily become the scapegoat of the group.

Scandinavia has one of the lowest rates of bullying in Europe. But according to Statistics Norway (SSB), 7% of Norwegians were bullied or sexually harassed in 2017, and bullying very often leads to symptoms of stress, insomnia, depression and anxiety.

From a social identity perspective, foreign-born is a salient out-group easy to single out and with a predatory bullying origin they easily become the scapegoat of the group or just an easy target of frustration. There was a greater risk associated with self-labelling as bullied than with the behavioral experience method, according to researchers Rosander & Blomberg.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
Co-researcher Stefan Blomberg. Photo: Psykologitidningen.

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Related: The Co-working Culture in Scandinavian Countries
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Also at schools, bullying of expat children is a problem. A Danish teacher, Louise Ibsen, says they have a program for solving the problem. “We’re always trying to get the kids to work together in different types of groups, across genders and not always with their best friends,” she says. “The pupils also practicing social skills for how to communicate, and also how to compromise on different ideas.”

There are, however, unwritten rules within Scandinavian societies, and even within each company. Being a foreigner and applying all of this to a situation where we are supposed to be our most professional and productive selves is extremely difficult. That’s especially so when coming from a culture that is totally different.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
Being born in another country coming to a new one for different reasons to start a new life, getting a job, and finding one’s way in a society where one is viewed as a minority may involve a number of obstacles. Photo: Timothy Eberly/Unsplash

Workplace bullying is a serious and detrimental problem found all over the world (for an overview see, e.g., Nielsen & Einarsen, Citation2012). The question this article possesses is what happens when the world comes to you.

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Related: The Danish Library in Which You Can Borrow a Person
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In Japan, and other countries, for example, there are strict customs in regards to dealing with people above you in a hierarchy. How do you then know when your boss oversteps the line, and would you speak up?

Being born in another country coming to a new one for different reasons to start a new life, getting a job, and finding one’s way in a society where one is viewed as a minority may involve a number of obstacles. Being viewed as the outsider in a group carries a risk of receiving a differential treatment in the workplace (Levine, Citation2017). This treatment could involve exclusion and other negative behaviors (Wesselmann & Williams, Citation2017).

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
One of the researchers, Michael Rosander. Photo: Sveriges Radio.

Fatemeh Shahmarvand is a parent and part of a Danish school board. This enables parents to take part in decisions regarding school programs, which plays a key role in preventing bullying, says Fatemeh.

According to The Norwegian Working Environment Act (Arbeidsmiljøloven), it is not legal to bully someone. One single episode is usually not considered bullying, unless it is very serious, but should be a consistent pattern over time.

Workplace bullying is defined as a systematic (e.g. weekly) negative treatment at work that continues for an extended period of time (e.g. six months) in situations where the victim has increasingly diminishing resources to defend him or herself (Einarsen et al., Citation2020b). Einarsen (Citation1999) described possible origins of bullying as dispute-related or predatory in nature.

“It’s very important that we dare to go close to them and dare to facilitate their life, not only life in the classroom but also life in their spare time. We work on trust, because trust is a way to get closely related to them, but it’s also to act upon the problems,” says Mette Trangbæk, headmaster at Greve Gymnasium in Denmark.

In the workplace, tt may go without saying, but there may be some examples where you should consider contacting the police, like when being exposed to sexual harassment.

Predatory bulling, on the other hand, refers to situations where the actions of the victim are not the main reason why bullying occurs. It is rather who the victim is, or what the victim represents for the bully, that can explain the exposure to bullying behaviors (Einarsen, Citation1999; Einarsen et al., Citation2020b), for example, belonging to an out-group in terms of scapegoating processes and prejudice (Thylefors, Citation1999), or simply being an easy target as a consequence of frustration and stress (Einarsen, Citation1999).

“We have all age groups calling about bullying, but it seems to be a particular problem for, let’s say 10 to 15-year-olds,” says Børns Vilkår’s CEO, Rasmus Kjeldahl. “And that’s where it’s extremely important for a child to belong to a group. The act of bullying is expulsion from the group.”

However, many people who bully act subtly, and not only through words, but also with disrespectful body language and even tone of voice. All of this is very hard to detect and prove, and even describe.

Bullying behaviors can involve a range of different acts and situations. Different dimensions of bullying behaviors have been suggested, for example work-related bullying, social isolation, personal attacks, verbal attacks, and physical violence (Einarsen, Citation1999; Zapf, Citation1999).

Helle Hansen is a Danish education and school bullying researcher. She’s one of the experts who designed anti-bullying programs introduced in Denmark’s schools 15 years ago.

“It’s harder to be a teenager. We had the lockdown. We had Covid. You’re more alone. In general, well-being is challenged. Young people, or kids who are involved in bullying, they need something. They need to understand the meaning of being here and being part of it,” she says.

Unfortunately, some people are easier targets; like those who may have lower productivity or even rationality, because of mental health illness or problems at home, people who haven’t learned the unwritten rules, or people you don’t expect will speak up.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia
Many people who bully act subtly, and not only through words, but also with disrespectful body language and even tone of voice. Photo: Jason Leung/Unsplash

There are relatively few studies that focuse on ethnicity in connection to workplace bullying, and even fewer that have included country of birth. An early study focusing on bullying and ethnicity in a European context was conducted by Lewis and Gunn (Citation2007). They showed that ethnic minorities are more exposed to workplace bullying—and if bullied by a line manager they are more often exposed to what they called personalized bullying (e.g. being excluded, ignored, or humiliated).

You can learn more about the Discrimination and Anti-discrimination in Denmark with analysis of the legal challenges here.

The Norwegian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal  is a neutral governmental organization, and represents no party. The Tribunal is an alternative to taking legal action in cases of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliations. It is free of charge.

You can read about the individual rights and obligations in Sweden by going to Informationsverige.

Workplace Bullying of Expats Working or Studying in Scandinavia, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): © Morgan Basham/Unsplash

New Lumber Office Building in Southern Norway

Consulting agency Oslotre was commissioned to build a new six-story high lumber office building in Kristiansand in southern Norway.

The recessed first floor is retail space, and the five floors above are devoted to offices. Scalloped sections of green-painted timber clad the facade and demonstrate the capabilities of timber construction.

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Related: The Largest Wooden Building in Northern Europe
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New Lumber Office Building in Southern Norway
The wooden elements in the interior occupy a prominent place.

Lumber 4 is located in an industrial area on the outskirts of the city of Kristiansand. The city is characterized by the very old town, Posebyen, which suffered a terrible fire in 1892. In spite of that, numerous buildings remained intact, being traditional constructions built using half-timbered structures.

New Lumber Office Building in Southern Norway
Scalloped sections of green-painted timber clad the facade.

The construction of the project was built in a record time of twelve months, this is due to Oslotre’s specialization in wooden structures, which has allowed the project to demonstrate that it is possible to build competitive wooden buildings compared to the same structures in standard concrete and steel techniques. Oslotre acted as architect, interior architect and structural engineer for the project, which was constructed using a composite structure of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and concrete.

New Lumber Office Building in Southern Norway
The construction of the project was built in a record time of twelve months, this is due to Oslotre’s specialization in wooden structures,

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Related: Norway Home to the World’s Highest Wooden Building
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The wooden elements in the interior occupy a prominent place, giving the space a feeling of warmth in winter and freshness in summer.

New Lumber Office Building in Southern Norway, written by Tor Kjolberg

The photography is by Kyrre Sundal and Christoffer Imislund.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia

“The mighty fjords and northern lights have and still are major highlights for many tourists, but recently, we are seeing an increase in more active and adventure-based experiences such as ice bathing and sauna, fishing in Lofoten, ocean kayaking or cold-water surfing on the west coast,” said Robert Holan, the General Manager at The Thief Hotel in Oslo, Norway. This article is about planning a winter adventure: Fishing trips in Scandinavia 

While many are heading north during the summer to escape the rising temperatures that are found in popular tourist destinations like Paris, planning a trip to a Scandinavian location during the winter months can offer plenty of adventure as well, particularly in regard to the rich fishing culture. From the diverse options in Norway to taking part in one of Sweden’s many fishing competitions, Scandinavia has much to offer to tourists looking for the ideal winter fishing trip.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia
Winter fishing in Namdalen, Norway. Photo: Visit Norway.

 Exploring variety in Norway

In Norway, the winter months allow visitors to partake in a wide range of activities, from skrei (migrating cod) fishing, to ice fishing beneath the northern lights. It’s also noted that fish tend to get larger in cold water, thus underlining the value in booking a winter getaway. With options that range from fishing in freshwater to those that involve the deep sea, there is a type of fishing to suit anyone’s preferences (though the variety can be the perfect opportunity to try something new as well).

“Inland, you will find some of the finest spots for freshwater fishing, especially fly fishing,” Visit Norway highlights. With thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams boasting a variety of fish (including salmon, grayling, wild trout, and arctic char, to name just a few), fishing on the coastline brings the opportunity to catch cod, haddock, pollack, redfish, and mackerel among many others.

Visit Norway notes that in addition to ensuring that you obtain a fishing card, an authentic outdoors experience can be achieved by planning a fishing holiday in a ‘fiskevær,’ or a fishing village — Reine, Nusfjord, Å or Henningsvær are just a few to choose from. Nusfjord is one of the oldest (and best-preserved) fishing villages, located in Lofoten, with between an impressive 80,000 and 90,000 visitors each year. From the rich history to the unique fisherman cabins and natural scent of cod, there’s no question that a fishing trip here can make for a holiday to remember for years to come.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia
Planning a trip to a Scandinavian location during the winter months can offer plenty of adventure. Photo: Visit Östersund.

 Winter fishing competitions in Sweden

For those who are searching for an adrenaline-filled adventure, taking part in a winter fishing competition serves as a great option — especially if you’re an ice fishing pro or you’re simply looking for something new to try. According to Adventure Sweden, there are a number of great competitions around Jämtland Härjedalen, including ‘Oldpimpeln’ and ‘Hedenappet,’ though these are far from being the only competitions out there. For instance, Fishy highlights the Swedish Ice Pike Open 2023-2024, a nationwide ice fishing competition for pike. The competition is noted to take place in collaboration with BIOS/IFISH, which is the main sponsor, and registration is required.

With several prizes to win, Fishy explains that the competition places “extra high demands on the handling and photo documentation of the fish as most of the fishing takes place in low temperatures,” making it imperative that participants understand and follow the rules. Hobie Fishing Worldwide is another worth mentioning, offering fishing competitions throughout the world. In May of 2022, for example, the Åmål Kayak Fishing Challenge was held in Åmål Västra Götaland County, Sweden, thus highlighting a great option to look forward to should another Scandinavian-located challenge be announced.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia
Winter fishing in Kiruna, Lappland. Photo: Jessica Nilden.

 Planning a safe trip

Planning a Scandinavian fishing adventure can be an exciting endeavor for anyone, though there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Before booking a trip, it’s imperative to research the rules and regulations for the area you’ll be headed to — this includes understanding the rules regarding fishing licenses and permits, as well as gaining insight as to what is off limits when it comes to areas and fish species. For example, Fishtime.eu notes that while there are no national or regional permits in Sweden, you must purchase a local fishing permit that is valid at the time of fishing for each area, with licenses typically serving for one-day, three-day, weekly, or year-round. The same applies to Norway. By doing the research ahead of time, you’ll be able to arrive well-prepared and without any unexpected surprises.

Regardless as to your experience with winter fishing, keeping safety at the forefront of your trip is imperative — especially if it’s your first time or if you’ll be accompanied by inexperienced individuals. Joining a guided fishing trip, hiring a local guide or a professional fisherman are all great options for those looking for a fun and safe Scandinavian fishing adventure, though a basic understanding of fishing safety can go a long way. Maintaining safety in water environments is essential, from wearing the proper apparel to understanding the dangers associated with fishing lures.

In addition to bundling up in warm layers (as well as a life jacket), ensuring that your family is aware of the dangers associated with lures is imperative when avoiding any incidents. Soft plastic fishing lures, for example, can be eye-catching for young fisherfolk, though certain brands carry significant health warnings and shouldn’t be handled by children who may be prone to putting them in their mouths. Lead weights can present as another concern, though considering tungsten alternatives can allow for peace of mind when preparing your tackle box.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia
Winter fishing in Lofoten, Norway. Photo: Hurtigruten.

For tourists planning a trip to Scandinavia during the winter months, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure beyond seeing the northern lights and picturesque surroundings — particularly when it comes to fishing. With a rich fishing culture, abundance of species to catch and the chance to experience a range of fishing types, the winter months bring a variety of options that make Scandinavia the ideal winter holiday location.

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia
Karoline Gore

Planning a Winter Adventure: Fishing Trips in Scandinavia, written dedicatedly for Daily Scandinavian by Karoline Gore. Karoline is a freelance writer from Stoke on Trent in the UK who left the corporate grind when she started a family and has never looked back. She enjoys contributing to a range of online publications on the topics that are important to her.

Feature image (on top): © Hert Niks/Pexels