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Northern vistas

The Scandinavian nations of Denmark, Sweden and Norway are liberal democracies in which taxes are high but the welfare state is generous. They are also countries with a reputation for being, no matter what their crime fiction may suggest, a bit boring – to the extent of outsiders finding them difficult to tell apart.

Not true, say Misha Glenny and Miles Warde, as they chart the region’s history for a new three-part series exploring why the countries are the way they are – and which also tries to explain the Swedish exceptionalism evident in its approach to Covid-19.

As if to shake off any lingering idea that Scandinavia’s history may be beige, he begins with the Stockholm Bloodbath of 1520, in which

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