What pictures do you have in your mind when you think about the Scandinavian countries? Fjords? IKEA furniture? Vikings? This article will prove that we don’t know the Scandinavians that well. They are insane! In a good way, of course.
Bright Side has found a few things that happen only in northern Europe. And at the end of the article, there is a bonus about the things that happen only in Norway.
1. In Denmark, if you are single on your 25th birthday, they throw cinnamon on you.
All around the world, friends care about each other, but in Denmark, there is a very cute tradition: if by the time you are 25 you are still single, then on your birthday, your friends throw cinnamon on you. Cinnamon has a very strong odor, so even long after, you will still smell like it. This smell is supposed to be a signal to other single people that someone is searching for a partner.
This tradition started in the Middle Ages: the people who sold spices were so busy with their job that they got married very late. This is why the smell of cinnamon is a sign that a person is most likely single.
2. In Denmark, you can kiss in airports, but not for more than 3 minutes
Those who are in love often take a long time saying goodbye to each other at the airport, which can be a problem for other people who need to park their cars. In Aalborg, Denmark, they display special signs that put a time limit on goodbye kisses. We wonder if this plan actually works.
3. In Sweden, there are the road signs we deserve
They really like using different signs in Scandinavian countries. In Stockholm, you’ll see a very important sign: “Watch out! There may be weirdos with smartphones ahead!”
And this idea didn’t come from the city administration, it’s a project of the artist Jacob Sempler who is trying to draw the public’s attention to focus on issues with smartphone addiction. He seems to be pretty successful: people love taking photos of the sign and posting them online.
4. In Malmö, you should carefully watch your step
Thanks to some creative people, our life is becoming more and more interesting. A creative group from Sweden has created a mini world for mice on the streets of the city. They built special stores and bakeries at the bottom of different city buildings.
5. There are very unusual traffic lights in Iceland
Everyone knows that Iceland is a beautiful place. This is probably the reason why the people in this country are so nice and positive. They even make heart- and smile-shaped traffic lights.
6. In Iceland, there’s the perfect place for those who love peace and quiet
Do you ever have moments when you want to throw your phone as far away as possible and escape from the noise to some remote deserted island? Well, there’s a place for you: Ellidaey Island on the Atlantic Ocean. We’re sure you’ll love it.
7. The government of Iceland has serious discussions about pizza
A year ago, the president of Iceland Guðni Jóhannesson said that if he could, he would prohibit Hawaiian pizza once and for all. This started a series of debates about whether it’s a good idea to add pineapple to pizza or not. This serious announcement was made by the president at a meeting with students where he asked them what they thought about that kind of pizza, which is so popular in Iceland.
8. In Ísafjörur, Iceland, there is a 3D pedestrian crossing
Why not make these types of crossings all over the world? It looks cool and prompts you to lower your speed.
9. In Finland, they have an annual championship of wife carrying
Every July, in Sonkajärvi, Finland, something extraordinary happens: people from all around the world arrive to find out who will finish an obstacle course first with their wife on their back? This weird sport has rules: women have to be older than 17 and their weight should be at least 108 pounds. What motivates people to take part in this weird competition? The winner gets as much beer as his wife weighs.
10. When you get a PhD in Finland, you also receive a sword
When a person gets a PhD in Finland, they go through a ritual: a hat is put on their heads and they are given a real sword. This symbolizes that the new PhD is ready to protect the truth, the knowledge, and the good. And they’re not free, actually — they buy the hats and swords with their own money and bring them to the ceremony.
11. Giant human statues
Even the most boring things look amazing in Scandinavian countries. In Iceland, in 2008, architects proposed a design that would turn the ordinary electricity pylons into giant human statues. According to the architects, the idea is that these “human” pylons are modern caryatids that serve the people.
12. Sea elephant
There is the Island of Heimaey in Southern Iceland that attracts many visitors every year. This island is volcanic, and somehow years of eruption transformed it into something that looks like an elephant.
Bonus: Things that can only happen in Norway. Are you ready to see this?
Have you ever been to a Scandinavian country? What thing seemed the most unusual to you?