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21 Things You Realize When You Visit Scandinavia

Prepare for seafood, hot people, and drinking.

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1. Finland and Iceland are NOT part of Scandinavia.

They're both great countries, but Finland and Iceland aren't technically Scandinavian. Yeah, they're considered Nordic, but not Scandinavian. That's reserved for the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
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They're both great countries, but Finland and Iceland aren't technically Scandinavian. Yeah, they're considered Nordic, but not Scandinavian. That's reserved for the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

2. Seafood is such a thing.

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Seriously. Mackerel for breakfast. Salmon for lunch. Lutefisk for dinner. They even have caviar in a tube. IN A TUBE.

3. And bread? ALL THE TIME.

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Hope you like open-faced sandwiches because they are EVERYWHERE. Expect a meal of bread with some cheese (and if you're lucky, brown cheese), a protein like ham or salmon, maybe some of their tube caviar and extras like veggies and eggs. And if you're in Denmark, make sure you check out some rugbrød.

4. Or just sandwich cakes.

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In Sweden, feel free to dig into a smorgastorta aka a cake that's literally layers of sandwiches.

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5. Skiing is super duper important.

Especially in Norway, where skiing was invented. There's regular skiing, cross country skiing, ski jumping, and the biathlon, in which competitors cross country ski and casually stop to shoot rifles at targets because that is a normal sport.
Flickr: trysil / Creative Commons

Especially in Norway, where skiing was invented. There's regular skiing, cross country skiing, ski jumping, and the biathlon, in which competitors cross country ski and casually stop to shoot rifles at targets because that is a normal sport.

6. Ditto for sailing.

Scandinavians LOVE to sail. They will sail across oceans, across lakes. They will sail until they cannot sail anymore.
Flickr: mariano-mantel / Creative Commons

Scandinavians LOVE to sail. They will sail across oceans, across lakes. They will sail until they cannot sail anymore.

7. Drinking is a favorite hobby. Drugs? Not so much.

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Every holiday is basically a chance to drink. Is it because it's cold? And dark? And quiet? Who cares? In Norway, they even have a word for getting absolutely hammered on the weekends, helgefylla. But drugs don't have the same kind of acceptance that alcohol does — expect some head shakes if you mention marijuana.

8. Scandinavians know how to vacation.

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25 days? Is this a JOKE? That's the fucking MINIMUM. Oh and in Sweden, men MUST take two months of paid paternity leave. No wonder these are the happiest countries in the world.

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9. People are hot.

Sure there are hot people everywhere but honestly, most of them live in Scandinavia. Also, people are really fucking tall.
Kevin Winter / Via Getty

Sure there are hot people everywhere but honestly, most of them live in Scandinavia. Also, people are really fucking tall.

10. There's lots of snow, but even more rain.

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And people just carry along as if rain doesn't affect anything at all.

11. Scandinavians take their incredibly delicious chocolate very seriously.

Do yourself a favor and at least try some Daim.
Flickr: nayrb7 / Creative Commons

Do yourself a favor and at least try some Daim.

12. In the winter, the sun goes bye bye. In the summer, there is daylight forever.

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Your clock is 'bout to be so messed up, bro.

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13. Don't be surprised if your waiter has three degrees.

Education is free. FREE. What does that mean? A literacy rate of 99-100%. You even get healthcare (thanks, Obama) and gender equality is actually kind of a thing! Though thanks to high taxes (even though minimum wage is upwards of $20 per hour), Scandinavian countries still top lists of most expensive places to live and visit.
Flickr: jonassmith / Creative Commons

Education is free. FREE. What does that mean? A literacy rate of 99-100%. You even get healthcare (thanks, Obama) and gender equality is actually kind of a thing! Though thanks to high taxes (even though minimum wage is upwards of $20 per hour), Scandinavian countries still top lists of most expensive places to live and visit.

14. Minimalism is still all the rage.

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You know why everything looks so clean in Scandinavia? Because they are so over the clutter. Keep it white, keep it clean, keep it fresh.

15. People like to eat at home.

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Families actually eat meals together. At a table. Talking to each other. And if they do go out, expect it to be for a decent meal. Copenhagen basically has all of the Michelin-rated restaurants ever.

16. Graduating is way more fun.

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In Norway, they wear red pants and travel around getting wasted. In Sweden, they wear sailor caps and travel around getting wasted. In Denmark, they wear whatever they want and travel around getting wasted. I sense a recurring theme here...

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17. Public transportation is way more awesome.

In Copenhagen, the metro comes about every 5 minutes and everything is completely computerized.
Flickr: jacobchristensen / Creative Commons

In Copenhagen, the metro comes about every 5 minutes and everything is completely computerized.

18. Festivals are weird and fantastic.

Sweden's midsummer festival includes dancing around a maypole and singing children's songs. Girls wear flower crowns and apparently pick seven different kinds of flowers to put under their pillow at night. That night, they'll dream about their future husbands.It's also a great excuse for Swedes to drink heavily in nice weather.
Flickr: ulfbodin / Creative Commons

Sweden's midsummer festival includes dancing around a maypole and singing children's songs. Girls wear flower crowns and apparently pick seven different kinds of flowers to put under their pillow at night. That night, they'll dream about their future husbands.

It's also a great excuse for Swedes to drink heavily in nice weather.

19. Everything is super clean.

Sweden even ran out of trash.
Flickr: alex-photos / Creative Commons

Sweden even ran out of trash.

20. The royal families are way more fun.

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway says she can talk to angels. What can you do, Kate Middleton?
Torsten Laursen / Via Getty

Princess Märtha Louise of Norway says she can talk to angels. What can you do, Kate Middleton?

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21. And most importantly...

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It's.

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Fucking.

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Beautiful.

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