The Deutsch, who are German, are neither Danish, Dutch, Scandinavian nor Nordic. The Dutch, who hail from the Netherlands, also commonly called Holland, are neither Danish, nor do they speak Danish. This is despite a number of similarities including elements of the language, culture, and social behavior which are very close to those found across the Nordic and Scandinavian peoples. Not only are the Dutch not Danish, they also fall outside of both the Scandinavian and Nordic categories. Also, while less common, it is important to recall that the Swiss are not the Swedes as they hail from Switzerland, which is not remotely near Sweden and also falls well outside the Nordic and Scandinavian regions.
So. Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way let’s tackle one of the most common questions I’ve heard and discussed. That is the difference between Scandinavia and the Nordics. For many, and perhaps with good reason, Scandinavia is thought of as a country and comes as part of the assumption that the Scandinavian people and by extension the Nordics are essentially all more or less one and the same. Before I re-located to Scandinavia, the distinct character of the various Scandinavian countries and the sharp contrasts between their Nordic siblings was something I found deeply confusing. Luckily, I’ve had a chance to learn a bit more about them. I’d like to share those thoughts with you.
Scandinavia vs. the Nordics
The term Scandinavia effectively encompasses the three countries which rest on the Scandinavian peninsula excluding Finland which sits at the base of the peninsula. These three countries are Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Finland also tends to be excluded because, while they do share many behavioral traits, the Finnish language and much of the Finnish cultural heritage differs widely from those of the relatively homogeneous Scandinavian countries.…