BBC History Magazine



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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