Baltic & Scandinavia

Estonia

The Republic of Estonia has been an independent state since 1918, shortly interrupted by the half-century-long Soviet occupation following World War II. Estonia restored its independence in 1991, known as The Singing Revolution which was inspired by the more than century-old song festival tradition.

Shortly after the end of Ice Age in Europe, the first Estonian ancestors settled along the Baltic coast in 9000 B.C. By 800 A.D. traditional Estonian villages and village societies had already formed. Many villages established in this era are still inhabited today.

Estonia is a European Parliament constituency for elections in the European Union covering the member state of Estonia. It is currently represented by seven Members of the European Parliament.

Estonia is ranked 4th among 45 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages. Over the past five years, Estonia’s economic growth slowed from 2017 through 2019, contracted in 2020, and rebounded in 2021.

Politics, People & Education

The Rigaku is the representative legislative authority of the Republic of Estonia. It comprises 101 members who are elected at free elections for a four-year term according to the principle of proportional representation. The work of the Parliament is coordinated by the Board of the Riigikogu, which is led by the President of the Riigikogu and is elected for a term of one year. 

Human settlement in Estonia became possible 13,000 to 11,000 years ago when the ice from the last glacial era melted. The oldest known settlement in Estonia is the Pulli settlement, which was on the banks of the river Pärnu, near the town of Sindi, in south-western Estonia. According to radiocarbon dating, it was settled around 11,000 years ago.

Estonia follows a comprehensive school system that is aimed to provide all students with the best education, regardless of their background. Schools in Estonia enjoy quite extended autonomy. The national curriculum leaves space for the school to develop its own curriculum.

The culture of Estonia combines an indigenous heritage, represented by the country’s Finnic national language Estonian, with Nordic and German cultural aspects. The culture of Estonia is considered to be significantly influenced by that of the Germanic-speaking world.

Iceland

Iceland, a Nordic island nation, is defined by its dramatic landscape with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields. Most of the population lives in the capital, Reykjavik, which runs on geothermal power and is home to the National and Saga museums, tracing Iceland’s Viking history.

Early History

Iceland was founded more than 1,000 years ago during the Viking age of exploration and settled by a mixed Norse and Celtic population. The early settlement made up primarily of Norwegian seafarers and adventurers, advanced further excursions to Greenland and the coast of North America (which the Norse called Vinland).

The land was settled quickly, mainly by Norwegians who may have been fleeing conflict or seeking new land to farm. By 930, the chieftains had established a form of governance, the Althing, making it one of the world’s oldest parliaments. Towards the end of the tenth century, Christianity came to Iceland through the influence of the Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason. During this time, Iceland remained independent, a period known as the Old Commonwealth, and Icelandic historians began to document the nation’s history in books referred to as sagas of Icelanders. In the early thirteenth century, the internal conflict known as the age of the Sturlungs weakened Iceland, which eventually was crushed to Norway over the 13th century.

Age of Sturlungs

The Age of the Sturlungs or the Sturlung Era was a 42–44 year period of violent internal strife in mid-13th century Iceland. It is documented in the Sturlunga saga.

This period is marked by the conflicts of local chieftains, who amassed followers and fought wars, and is named for the Sturlungs, the most powerful family clan in Iceland at the time. The era led to the signing of the Old Covenant, which brought Iceland under the Norwegian crown.

The Old Covenant

The agreement was made in 1262–1264 between the major chieftains of Iceland and Haakon IV of Norway, and his son and successor, Magnus the Lawgiver. The signing brought about the union of Iceland with Norway.

Art & Culture

The culture of Iceland is rich and varied as well as being known for its literary heritage which began in the 12th century. Icelandic traditional arts include weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving. The Reykjavík area has several professional theaters, a symphony orchestra, an opera and many art galleries, bookstores, cinemas and museums. There are four active folk dance ensembles in Iceland. Iceland’s literacy rate is among the highest in the world, and a love of literature, art, chess, and other intellectual pursuits is widespread.

Is Iceland a member of EU

Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a grouping of four non-EU European countries, and is also part of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EFTA countries are  Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein

Reasons why Iceland is not in the EU

  • Iceland’s strong ties with the United States, which included significant economic, diplomatic and military assistance, decreased Iceland’s dependence on European countries.
  • The Icelandic electoral system favors rural areas, which are more Eurosceptic.

Eurosceptic means: a person who is opposed to increasing the powers of the European Union.

Politics

The politics of Iceland take place in the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the president is the head of state, while the prime minister of Iceland serves as the head of government in a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament, the Althingi. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Iceland is arguably the world’s oldest assembly democracy and has been rated as a “full democracy” in 2021. The president is elected on a four-year term.

Economy

Iceland has a mixed economy with high levels of free trade and government intervention. However, government consumption is less than in other Nordic countries. Hydro-power is the primary source of home and industrial electrical supply in Iceland. The economy of Iceland is small. In 2011, the gross domestic product was US$12 billion, but by 2018 it had increased to a nominal GDP of US$27 billion.

Lithuania

Lithuania Is 1 Of 3 Baltic Countries In Which The Others Are Latvia And Estonia,

Their National Sport Is Basket Ball And Their National Bird Is The Stork

The Lithuanian Language Is One Of The Oldest Indo-European Languages And Is Very Similar To Sanskrit, Latvian And Lithuanian Are The Only 2 Baltic Languages The Rest Have Become Extinct.

History

The Lithuanians Descend From The Balt Tribes  Migrated Thousands Of Years Ago

The Romans At The Time Didn’t Know About The Baltics And For A While Nothing Much Happened. Later Vikings Started Raiding Lithuania And The Kings Of Denmark Collected Tribute At Times

While The Other Baltic Countries At The Time Where Being Conquered By The Teutonic Knight The Lithuanians Where Beginning To Unite As A Country And In 1253 A Man Called Mindaugas Became King, And The Grand Duke Gediminas Found The Capital Vilnius

While The Other Baltic Countries At The Time Where Being Conquered By The Teutonic Knight (German Crusaders) The Lithuanians Where Beginning To Unite As A Country And In 1253 A Man Called Mindaugas Became King, And The Grand Duke Gediminas Found The Capital Vilnius  After Having A Dream Of A Iron Wolf Howling On A Cliff

The culture of Lithuania combines an indigenous heritage, represented by the unique Lithuanian language, with Nordic cultural aspects and Christian traditions resulting from historical ties with Poland.

Education System

Lithuania’s education system is more decentralized than centralized. National institutions, municipalities and educational institutions all share responsibility for the quality of the education provided.

The Current Population Of Lithuania Is 2.65 Million. The Current Population Density Is 43 per square km.

Politics

The Lithuanian Form a multi-party system And Is A democratic parliamentary republic. On 1 May 2004, It Became A Full-Fledged Member Of The EU.

Sweden

Humans have inhabited the region of Scandinavia since about 12000 bce.. The name Sweden has derived from the Svear or the Suiones people, mentioned as early as 98 ce.Sweden has had a 1000 year long history as a sovereign state, but its territorial expanse changed often until 1809.

Sweden & EU

Sweden became a full member of the European Union in 1995. Sweden’s contribution to the European Union’s budget was 47.2 billion Swedish kronor in 2020. As the result of a referendum Sweden denied to join the Euro zone.

Government

Sweden is a Constitutional Monarchy with a well established Parliamentary Democracy. It is a hereditary Monarchy. The current Prime Minister of Sweden is Magdalena Andersson and the Monarch is Carl XVI Gustaf.

Art & Culture

Sweden is most famous for their Medieval  and Gothic Art. One of the earliest and famous type is the Romanesque style. Sweden is one of the most egalitarian society in the world. One of the most notable aspects of Swedish culture is their respect for the environment and commitment to sustainability.

Cuisine

You might be familiar with the world famous meatballs but there is so much more to the Swedish food. Köttbullar – Meatball – The recipe is simple and goes way back: minced pork or beef, onion, egg, milk, and breadcrumbs. Mixed and fried in a generous amount of butter, it’s traditionally served with mashed potato, lingonberry jam, and brown cream sauce.

Smulpaj – Crumble Smulpaj is a summer favorite, and it’s made with whatever berries or fruits are in season. The fruit or berries are placed on the bottom of the pie dish and are covered with a crumble made from butter, sugar, wheat flour, and oatmeal. That makes a sweet crumble dough, which goes perfectly with the sourness from fruit and berries like rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries.

Ärtsoppa & Pannkakor – Pea Soup & Pancakes The pea soup is made from dried yellow peas and pork broth, seasoned with thyme, and topped with salty pieces of pork and mustard. This is often served with a warm punsch drink. For dessert, Pannkakor (pancakes) with jam are served.

Facts

  • Sweden imports waste from Norway.
  • There is a hotel made up of ice though it melts in summer it is remade with every year.›
  • A Swedish drink known as Julmust outsells Coca – Cola during Christmas.
  • In Sweden workers get two breaks daily this practice is known as the Fika.

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