Destinations Europe A Brief Overview of Scandinavian History By Terri Mapes Terri Mapes Facebook Twitter Terri Mapes specializes in giving first-time Scandinavia visitors practical tips for their travels. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 06/03/19 Share Pin Email Getty Images/Andrew Stranovsky Photography Traveling to Scandinavia, but you've realized that you really don't know much about this Northern European region? You'd be quite hard pressed to learn all there is to know in one article, but this quick overview hits the important details of each country's rich Nordic history and culture. Denmark's History Denmark was once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power. Now, it has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. Denmark joined NATO in 1949 and the EEC (now the EU) in 1973. However, the country has opted out of certain elements of the European Union's Maastricht Treaty, including the Euro currency, European defense cooperation, and issues concerning certain justice and home affairs. Norway's History Two centuries of Viking raids stopped with King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. Rising nationalism in the 19th century led to Norwegian independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered losses. It proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway joined NATO. Sweden's History A military power in the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Sweden's proven formula of a capitalist system with welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn. Fiscal discipline over several years has improved things. Indecision over Sweden's role in the EU delayed its entry into the EU until '95, and they declined the Euro in '99. Iceland's History Iceland's history shows that the country was settled by Norwegian and Celtic immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D. and as such, the country of Iceland has the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly (which was established in 930.) At points, Iceland was ruled by Norway and Denmark. In later times, about 20% of the island's population emigrated to North America. Denmark granted Iceland limited home rule in 1874 and Iceland finally became completely independent in 1944. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Countries of Scandinavia and the Nordic Region The History of How New Orleans Was Shaped by Different Cultures The Ultimate Itinerary for a European-Inspired Solo Trip Around the U.S. February in Scandinavia: Weather and Event Guide Where to Go This Year: The Best Places to Travel in 2020 Find the Airport in Scandinavia Closest to Your Destination How to Spend Two Weeks Visiting the Best of Scandinavia The Weather and Climate in Scandinavia What Is a Polar Night? Christmas in Scandinavia: Traditions, Events, and Foods Looking for a Christmas Village in Scandinavia? These are The Best December in Scandinavia: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See What You Need to Know About Traveling to Scandinavia in September October in Scandinavia: Good Weather, Fewer Crowds April in Scandinavia: Weather and Event Guide What Are the Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Scandinavia?