29 Jun Wise Ways of Scandinavia
I went to Norway because my mother was born there, and I wanted to learn about my heritage. I did learn about my heritage, but I learned so much more from the wisdom of Scandinavia.
Here are samples from this smorgasbord of wisdom.
1. Keep the Environment Clean – The first thing that struck me about Norway was that I saw no trash. I continued to see clean streets throughout Scandinavia.
2. Go Green – All of Scandinavia was focused on going green. In Denmark, 42% of their energy comes from alternative sources, such as windmills. They’re working to get that number up to the 80th percentile range.
The Scandinavian countries also promote biking to save gas and the environment. In Copenhagen, seven out of ten people ride bikes to work. The bikes are integrated into their traffic system. Trondheim, Norway even has a bike lift to help bikers ascend one of its steepest hills.
Norway is also the world’s leader in electric cars. Nearly a third of all new cars sold this year will be fully electric or a hybrid. They sell oil instead of using it!
3. Create Safety – Scandinavians keep their countries safe. According to the 2018 gallop poll on the safest countries in the world, Norway, Finland, and Iceland tied for second place. Denmark placed tenth. The Swedish are fascinated with murder and crime shows because they don’t have much of those behaviors in their country.
In Stavanger, Norway, a city of about 130,000, they built a prison in 1902 to hold 18 people. They’re never needed to expand its capacity.
In Copenhagen, no fences surround the queen’s winter palace—only two guards. People can walk within about 10 feet of the guards. Each guard carries a rifle and walks back-and-forth in front of the palace. They don’t need any more security. Coming from the United States with huge fences and security around our White House, and even our schools, I was in awe.
4. Share the Wealth – In Norway, the government shares the wealth of their North Sea oil profits with their citizens instead of putting it into the hands of a few elite. As of 2017, they had $1 trillion in profits, and they have set aside $188,000 for each of their 5.32 million Norwegians.
Our Stavanger guide told us that the Norwegians have little stress because they have more financial peace and security.
5. Plan for the Future – Norway knows that their oil may not last forever, so they are building a new source of wealth to meet their future needs. They’re adding more windmills to make electricity from wind and water to sell it to Europe.
6. Stay Active and Eat Healthily – All of Scandinavia is very outdoors and fit-oriented. They bike, hike, snow ski, and stay active. I rarely saw anyone who was overweight. In Norway, the kindergarteners must go out to play regardless of the weather. This teaches them to be active from a young age and helps them build resilience to the cold Scandinavian weather.
Their typical diet of fatty fish, and simple, natural home-cooked food also keeps them fit and healthy.
7. Practice Natural Healthcare – In order to build up resistance in young children, some mothers in Norway and Denmark put their babies out in the cold weather on occasion for an hour or two to help them adjust to the weather and build up the strength to deal with it.
I always wondered how my Norwegian grandmother could sleep with the window open year-round, even in below-zero weather. Now I know! She adapted to it at a young age!
8. Promote Group Harmony – In Denmark, the students’ grades and work are based on group work until high school. This teaches the kids to work together in groups, to get along with all types of people, and to bring out the best in each other. This can later help them be successful in dealing with others in group situations, such as work and family.
9. Promote Positive Relations with the Elderly – In Denmark, university students get free housing and food if they live in a retirement home and work with the elderly one hour a day. This program has been a huge success in fostering positive relations between the youth and elderly.
10. Take a Sauna – Saunas are highly popular in Scandinavia. There are public saunas, and many people have them in their home. They take regular saunas to detox their bodies, soothe their muscles, and relax.
11. Help Immigrants Integrate – In Denmark, they have compassionate immigration policies. They don’t allow large numbers of immigrant groups to stay together in one area. This helps them better integrate into the new country, adapt to the society, and avoid the stigma of being an immigrant.
All these practices create happy countries. The World Happiness Report, released by the United Nations, on March 10, 2018, ranked Finland as the world’s happiest country followed by Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. Norway ranked number one in 2017.
Now that I am back in the U.S., I feel blessed to have spent time in countries where goodness and humane practices prevail instead of so much negativity. It’s refreshing to know that places like that still exist on earth!
Whenever I travel, I believe that countries and their people have lessons and wisdom to teach me. I’m grateful to have experienced the wisdom of Scandinavia, and I hope it blesses your life as well.
Jennifer K. Jordan
For more inspiration, please visit the Inspiring Wisdom Today Blog at www.InspiringWisdomToday.com/blog/.
Photo Credit – Jennifer K. Jordan in Flum, Norway