It’s long been a mystery for me and most of the world the difference between the Nordic and Scandinavian. As I learned, Scandinavian is an anglophone term that includes Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. Occasionally, in loose English definitions, it includes Finland and Iceland.
The Nordic countries is composed of an official group called the Nordic Council. The Nordic Council includes the three Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway and Denmark), Iceland, Finland, and three autonomous regions (Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland Islands.
Below is a table of the Nordic region nations:
|Official Scandinavian countries|
|The additional Nordic nations|
|Nordic autonomous regions|
|Faroe Islands||Self-governance 1948||Tórshavn||49,006|
|Åland Islands||Autonomous province 1920*||Mariehamn||27,456|
Together, the Nordic region is 25 million people with some member states in the European Union, NATO, Eurozone, and Schengan.
To make the definitions more complicated, in terms of geography, the Scandinavian Peninsula includes mainland Sweden and mainland Norway, and also a part of Finland. The Jutland Peninsula includes mainland Denmark and a small part of Germany. But Denmark proper has not had any territory on the Scandinavian Peninsula since 1658. Alas, Scandinavia is still Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Forget Germany.
So you can call a Swede a Scandinavian or Nordic person but a Finn is a Nordic person not Scandinavian. Stick to Nordic region for anything relating to those cold, Norse god loving, vodka infused nations of the north. Well, minus Russia.