Scandinavia

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Scandinavia is a historical and geographical region centred on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe which includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The other Nordic countries, Finland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, are also often included because of their close historic and cultural relations to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

In linguistics and cultural studies, the definition of Scandinavia is expanded to include the areas where Old Norse was spoken and where the North Germanic languages are now dominant. As a linguistic and cultural concept, Scandinavia thus also includes Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

As a cultural and historical concept, Scandinavia can include Finland as well (of the larger region Fenno-Scandinavia), often with reference to the nation's long history as a part of Sweden. Although Finland is culturally closely related to the other Scandinavian countries, the majority of Finns form a distinct linguistic and ethnic group, with a Finno-Ugric population that has incorporated features from both Eastern and Western Europe.

Since the Fennoman movement of the 1830s and political Scandinavism of the 1830s- 1850s, the inclusion of Finland and Iceland has divided opinions in the respective states. Although it depends on context which countries are considered Scandinavian, the term the Nordic countries is used unambiguously for Norway, Sweden, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Finland (including Åland) and Iceland.

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.
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