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Part of Scandinavia



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Scandinavian Countries 2023

Scandinavia is a geographical region located in Northern Europe. However, the specific list of nations that make up Scandinavia can vary based on the list's source and whether the context is geographical, cultural, or linguistic. For example, the general term Scandinavian includes multiple countries located near, but not on the Scandinavian peninsula. Moreover, while the related term Nordic/Norden technically denotes a similar-but-different national grouping, it is often used interchangeably with Scandinavian by unaware users.

Scandinavian and Nordic countries are among the most developed countries in the world and consistently rank high in categories such as quality of life, total happiness, green technology and policies, human development index, and gender equality.

Countries of Scandinavia, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and the Nordic Region

Country/TerritoryScandinaviaNordic CountryScandinavian Peninsula
AlandSometimesAlwaysNo (island)
DenmarkAlwaysAlwaysNo (island)
Faroe IslandsSometimesAlwaysNo (island)
FinlandSometimesAlwaysPartial (mostly on mainland)
GreenlandSometimesAlwaysNo (island)
IcelandSometimesAlwaysNo (island)
NorwayAlwaysAlwaysYes (mainland)
SwedenAlwaysAlwaysYes (mainland)

Debate over the countries of Scandinavia

The strictest definitions of Scandinavia include only three countries: Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Many sources include adjacent nations that are culturally and linguistically similar, including the countries Iceland and Finland and the territories of Faroe Islands (Denmark), Greenland (Denmark), and Aland (Finland). However, other sources consider those countries and territories to be Nordic/Norden, but not Scandinavian.

Linguistics of Scandinavia and the Nordic region

Multiple languages are spoken throughout Scandinavia, including Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Icelandic (all part of the North Germanic language family), Finnish, and various Sami languages.

Geography of Scandinavia

The total land area of the three undisputedly Scandinavian nations Denmark, Norway, and Sweden is roughly 811,569 km² (313,348 mi²). Based on estimates from 2022, approximately 21 million inhabitants live in these countries, which gives them a comparatively low population density of roughly 27 people per square kilometer and just under 70 (69.96) per square mile. The largest Scandinavian country by land area is Sweden—unless one includes Greenland, a territory of Denmark that is slightly larger than Sweden. Sweden is also the most populous Scandinavian (and Nordic) country, with a population that exceeds 10 million.

CountryPopulation 2022Land Area (km²)Land Area (mi²)Pop. Density
Denmark5,894,72540,00015,444147 km²/382 mi²
Norway5,451,674364,285140,65115 km²/39 mi²
Sweden10,576,799407,284157,25326 km²/67 mi²

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How many Scandinavian countries are there?

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are typically the countries that are considered to be Scandinavian countries.

Frequently Asked Questions