Scandinavia and the Nordic countries are basically the same region. It is made up of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Finland together with the Faroe Islands, Aland and Greenland. The Nordic territories have been responsible for many great people in history and in this blog post we look at some of them.
Probably the most famous Swedish person that ever lived is Alfred Nobel, and the recipients of the coveted Nobel Prizes are widely held as the most successful in their own particular fields. Nobel was actually responsible for inventing dynamite, and his choice to live in Varmland was because the arms manufacturer Bofors were situated there and Nobel could experiment with gunpowder.
When Nobel died in 1896, he specified in his will that the majority of his fortune should be used to build a fund. The fund would be used to give prizes to people in recognition of their work to issues concerned with humanity. Nobel established the greatest foundation in the world for the recognition of many positive contributions to mankind by others.
Gustav Vigeland is probably the greatest artist to ever hail from Norway, although very few of his works are displayed outside of the Nordic region. This is largely due to an agreement that he made with the city council of Oslo way back in 1921.
Vigeland struck a deal with the council that in return for his work to be donated to the city he could work and live in a prestigious studio and apartment during his lifetime. During the last twenty years of his life the great sculptor lived and worked in this space situated in Frogner. It is now the Vigeland Museum.
Hans Christian Andersen
Born in 1805, Hans Christian Andersen is arguably Denmark’s most famous author. His children’s fairy tales of The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling, and The Little Mermaid are loved by children and adults around the world.
His old family house in Odense is now a museum with many artifacts and exhibits of his life and career. There are great listening stations were recordings of his books can be heard as well as original manuscripts and drawings. Even the great Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen had a great deal to do with Anderson. He was particularly fond of the Chinese-style buildings and adored the gardens. The famous amusement park was said to be responsible for the writing of The Nightingale.
Although the greatest reminder of Andersen is the statue of The Little Mermaid, which sits on a rock at Langelinie which is near Copenhagen’s great port. Many tourists flock to see the amazing bronze statue but are rather underwhelmed by its size.
But however, for the countless numbers of true Andersen fans around the world it is a must-see exhibit. Andersen tragically died of cancer in 1875, his funeral was a national event and was actually attended by the crown prince and also the king. In part two of this blog we look at even more famous Nordic people who have shaken the world.