The Nordic Perspective

The Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the autonomous regions Faroe Islands and Greenland and the self-governing state Åland) have a long tradition of co-operation; they share the same history, have similar social welfare policy and legislation, the inhabitants can move freely across the borders. Each country has it´s specific language but many people understand each other no matter what country they come from. The idea of ​​equal opportunities for all citizens is universal in the Nordic countries. In practice, this has resulted in major efforts to reduce economic inequality. In spite of similar welfare systems in the Nordic countries, some differences have been observed (Fosse E. Different welfare states – different policies? An analysis of the substance of national health promotion policies in three European countries. Int J Health Serv 2011;41:255–272; Vallgårda S. Addressing individual behaviours and living conditions. Four Nordic health policies. Scand J Public Health 2011;39:6–10).

The Nordic Council was formed in 1952 (, The Nordic Council of Ministers (NMR) in 1971 ( and the Nordic School of Public Health in 1953. NMR works for joint Nordic solutions in areas where the Nordic countries can achieve greater results by cooperating than by solving the tasks individually. The vision of the Nordic prime ministers is that the Nordic region will be the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030.

The Nordic Health Promotion Research Network (NHPRN), established at NHV 2007, shares NMR’s vision and view of the Nordic perspective namely to take advantage of the unique opportunity for five countries to work together. The participants in the NHPRN network, who come from all five Nordic countries, all have a high competence and are educated in public health science and health promotion. The participants in the network are interested in research examining similarities and differences between the Nordic countries from a health promotion perspective. This can be done by collaborating in comparative Nordic studies. This can contribute to create the so-called Nordic added value (“Nordisk mervärde”), namely each country has a small population, but collaboration could form a larger unit and knowedge. An example of such a study is the NordChild study. The regular Nordic research conferences on health promotion work are another way of shedding light on the Nordic perspective in research. Here you can find NHPRN publications.

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