Carmen Gebhard, ‘Nordic’ vs. ‘Northern’ in:

Carmen Gebhard

Unravelling the Baltic Sea Conundrum, page 26 - 26

Regionalism and European Integration Revisited

1. Edition 2008, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-4084-3, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1239-5

Series: Nomos Universitätsschriften - Politik, vol. 164

Bibliographic information
26 II. ‘Nordic’ vs. ‘Northern’ The English expression ‘Nordic Countries’ (Swed. nordiska länder) is a neologism that was introduced in the second half of the 20th century. Normally, it is perceived to comprise the Nordic group of five, i.e. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.36 Most of the time, the English terms ‘Nordic’ and ‘Northern’ are used interchangeably, even though ‘Nordic’ has a clearly political connotation whereas ‘northern’ barely indicates the geographical position, and denominates a much wider area. ‘Nordic’, and ‘Nordicness’ respectively, are closely affiliated with the so-called ‘Nordic Cooperation’, a largely informal system of cooperation established between the above-mentioned ‘Nordic Countries’ after the end of the Second World War. Outside Scandinavia, there is normally also no distinction drawn between ‘Nordic’ and ‘Scandinavian’, although in the narrow sense of the term, ‘Scandinavia’ can only be applied collectively to the respective group of states, whereas the notion of a ‘Nordic’ sphere, again, implies some sort of cultural, ideological and political inclusiveness based in the traditional system of ‘Nordic Cooperation’.37 The ‘North’ as a noun is commonly used for the designation of the ‘Nordic Countries’, stemming from the Scandinavian equivalent ‘Norden’ (Finn. Pohjola).38 For Scandinavians themselves, this notion is rather clear, but especially for non-Europeans it is all the more opaque and therefore also less common. After the end of the Cold War, the political and ideological standing of ‘Nordic Cooperation’ gradually changed in respect to both the outside perspective and the self-perception of the Nordic States. The newly gained independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the newly arising tendencies of progressive regionalism in the BSR seemed to shift the focus of Northern European affairs southwards, challenging the traditional system of Nordic exclusiveness. To some extent the ‘Old Nordic North’ and the newly promoted ‘Northernness’ had become competing geopolitical concepts.39 III. The ‘Baltic States’ From the specific perspective of this study, it is important to differentiate the term ‘Baltic Sea States’, meaning the group of Baltic Sea littoral states, from the notion of ‘Baltic States’ (or also: ‘Balticum’), which is what Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are commonly referred to. The latter is a rather recent terminological invention that only emerged in the wake of the First World War. Before 1918, it was only used to 36 In fact, it is a somewhat problematic translation of the Swedish term nordisk, which is often used in other (e.g. cultural) contexts. See HOLT Kristoffer: Rapport. Stockholms andra internationella skandinavistsymposium. Hur Nordiskt är Baltikum? 21-22 augusti 2006. Stockholm 2006, p. 17. The Nordic group includes three autonomous territories: the Faroe Islands, Greenland (both DK) and Åland (FI). 37 The system of Nordic Cooperation will be further elaborated in chapter “Nordic Togetherness – the Changing Role of Nordic Cooperation”, p. 61-. 38 See The Nordic Council: The Swan Symbol and the Logotype Norden. Background information. Official Website of the Nordic Region [5 March 2008]. 39 See JOENNIEMI Pertti/LEHTI Marko: On the encounter between the Nordic and the northern. Torn Apart but Meeting Again? Copenhagen Peace Research Institute (COPRI): Working Paper, 11/2001, p. 5-6. This very central issue of Nordic self-definition in the light of New Baltic Sea Regionalism will be taken up at another point in this study. See chapter “Old North vs. New Regionalism. Visions Competing for the Same Space?”, p. 76-.

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Seit 1989 ist es im Ostseeraum zu einer explosionsartigen Entstehung einer Vielzahl von regionalen Initiativen und Zusammenschlüssen gekommen. Der Ostseeraum weist bis heute eine europaweit einzigartig hohe Konzentration an kooperativen regionalen Strukturen auf. Diese bilden gemeinsam ein enges Netzwerk von Vereinigungen, die unter dem Überbegriff der "Ostseezusammenarbeit’ interagieren.

Diese Studie analysiert die Hintergründe dieses regionalen Phänomens oder so genannten „Ostsee-Rätsels“ auf Basis eines Vergleichs zwischen den Regionalpolitiken zweier staatlicher Schlüsselakteure, Schweden und Finnland, wobei der europäische Integrationsprozess als übergeordneter Bezugsrahmen für die Untersuchung dient.