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Nordic countries

General information
Local nameNorden  
Pohjoismaat  
Norðurlöndin  
Norðurlond  
Nunat Avannarliit  
NameNordic countries
Administrative centerCapitals
Official languagesDanish; Faroese; Finnish; Greenlandic; Icelandic; Norwegian; Swedish
Government
Geography
Total Area1351664.3 sq mi (3501721 km2)
Demography
Population Est.25382411
Population census24116478 (2000)
Density (pop.)7.24/km2 (18.8/sq mi)
Economy
GDP PPP$1011.705 billion (2008)
GDP (nominal)$1559.736 billion (2008)
Other information
CurrencyEuro; Danish krone; Icelandic króna; Norwegian krone; Swedish krona

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The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories which include the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Svalbard and Åland. Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries in English, but this is not a correct use of Scandinavia, neither by the geological, cultural or lignuistical use of the word. Scandinavians and other Nordic people would definitely differentiate between the two terms.

The region's five nation-states and three autonomous regions share much common history as well as common traits in their respective societies, such as political systems and the Nordic model. Politically, Nordic countries do not form a separate entity, but they co-operate in the Nordic Council. The Nordic countries have a combined population of approximately 25 million spread over a land area of 3.5 million km2 (Greenland accounts for around 60% of the total area).

Although the area is linguistically heterogeneous, with three unrelated language groups, the common linguistic heritage is one of the factors making up the Nordic identity. The continental North Germanic languages Danish, Norwegian and Swedish enjoy a degree of mutual intelligibility. These languages are taught in school throughout the Nordic countries; Swedish, for example, is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools. Besides these and the insular North Germanic languages Faroese and Icelandic, all belonging to the Indo-European language group, there are the Baltic-Finnic and Sami branches of the Uralic languages, spoken in Finland respectively northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, and Greenlandic, an Eskimo-Aleut language, spoken in Greenland.


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