I think I can say I’m not the only one who has been fascinated by Scandinavian countries, more than once in their lives. “Wait, what? You pay how much income tax? And what, you’re not upset??” “Wait, what? Education is free up until university? Healthcare is free too? Almost everything other than beer is free? How is that possible?” “Wait, what? How much sunlight do you get in the winter? And you’re not all depressed? How?” “Wait, what? What is this furniture? What is this design? This is incredible. How do you come up with this stuff?” “Politics, the economy, culture, everything is so unique in these countries. What is going on out there??” These are all questions and thoughts that have popped in my head at various points in my life.
Why though? Why have they crossed my conscience so often? It must be because, there is always this notion that the way these Scandinavian countries operate, it’s the closest thing to “the ideal”. All the international rankings conducted by news sources and think-tanks based on education, social welfare, liveability, overall happiness, all place these nations at the top. And while the pundits point at the limited size in population and economy and use it as an excuse, they’re the ones wearing a H&M shirt, sitting in an IKEA sofa, and using NOKIA phones without thinking twice. It’s all very, very interesting.
So it was a difficult choosing one Scandinavian country. MONOCLE listed Copenhagen as the world’s most liveable city in 2013. My childhood friend was of Finnish decent. Iceland’s music scene is intriguing--afterall, it has gifted us with Bjork and Sigur Ross. Norway has two things I love: Salmon and Santa Claus. So why did I choose Stockholm? Because it is the most major city, I've had a sympathy towards Sweden since childhood (I don't know why. Maybe the flag's colors?), I have friends living there, and I thought it would be a good introduction to this fascinating area.
Lastly, I would like to apologize about herding all the nations into one big area in the last few paragraphs. I understand and am aware that each country has its own history, language, and culture. I will definitely visit every Scandinavian country one day.