Douwe Osinga's Blog: What's with Scandinavia?

Friday, July 25, 2003

If you're like me and you like statistics of all kinds, then you probably have noticed that when it comes to the well being of countries, it is usually the Scandinavians that win. Whether it is the richest country (Norway), or the least corrupt (Finland) or the most women friendly (Sweden) etc. They have been peaceful (after the stopped doing the Viking thing), pro-environment, pro-third world and generally nice to the world. They live long, are tall and handsome and speak good English. And of course they're awfully wired.

A month or two ago, there was a tape allegedly from Al Qaeda, calling the faithful to attack Norway. Nobody understood why. This in itself says something, usually you can come up with reason. But Norway is clean, except for the whale killing. Iceland is another example. Discovered by the Vikings, it was pretty much left alone for a thousand years. They were poor and cold and nobody paid much attention until suddenly their statisticians declared that Iceland is actually very rich. Fish and woollen sweaters did the trick. The sweaters are of course very expensive, but still.

The Scandinavian model is something that needs more study. Too bad about the weather, it would be perfect.