The Nordic Peoples are a bunch of travelers. From the Vikings to today’s exploring tourists to the many temporary and/or permanent residents abroad. The wish to follow the gold at the end of the rainbow or see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence has prompted a surge of people from the north to scatter all over the world.
Sometimes I think there are more people influenced by nordic culture and programmed by nordic genes outside the nordic countries than inside. How many times do you run into names like Anderson, Peterson, Jensen and Nelson? Yes, often. Sons of Anders, Peter, Jens and Niels. People from the north.
In the 1800’s a massive immigration from the Nordic countries took place to the new world. From Norway, every tenth person made the leap across the Atlantic hoping to find a better life. Communities of especially Swedes and Norwegians sprung up along the Northern belt of the United States, in states such as Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the coastal state of Washington.
Now, the Nordic Council of Ministers has launched the following campaign: Rethinking Place Branding: Call for Nordic Trace Explorers to track traces of Nordic people in the world. As they are pointing out: “The Nordic countries are uniting to create a unique place branding enterprise, that turns the concept of place branding up-side down. Instead of presenting the world with images of the happy Nordics and beautiful landscapes, the challenge is to find places, people and ideas worldwide where a Nordic mind-set and shared values have had an impact: Traces of North.”
Personally, I have lived longer in America than in Denmark where I grew up. I often wonder whether my Nordic sensibilities leave any kind of trace with the people and the places I encounter and interact with. It is difficult to gauge any kind of long term effect, except with my children. They are marked by their Nordic heritage and heredity and traces of that may continue with their children.
However, as the world becomes more globalized and blended the question is whether we can separate and categorize certain traces like that. And does it matter? In theory perhaps, but in practice?