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The Norwegians and the Finns: A Comparative Analysis of the Characters (A. V. Pavlovskaya)

The paper presents an analysis of some special features of Finnish and Norwegian national mentalities. The findings are based on extensive historical material. Scandinavia includes Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland; Finland holds a peculiar place among the Nordic countries. However, several aspects provide some suggestions for comparative analysis of the Finns and the Norwegians. They represent both contrasts and similarities of ‘Nordic’ characters. The proximity of geographical location and climate conditions, similar surface area, homogeneous population give reason to reveal many similarities of the two characters. Both, the Finns and the Norwegians are discreet, silent, stern (northerners rarely smile), and very honest. The most distinctive feature of the Finns is peace loving, sometimes shyness and oppression. The Norwegians were considered warlike people (thanks to the rich historical and cultural heritage of the Vikings). Nevertheless, modern Norwegians are peaceful and friendly. Their belligerence manifests in common sense, pragmatism, rational approach to life, serenity, composure, determination and sometimes indifference.

The close co-existence with nature has influenced a special relationship between the Finns and the Norwegians and nature. Another feature that unites these two northern peoples is independent status of women during the centuries and now women often hold government and business leading posts.

Apart from all these similarities of the two characters, there are some important differences. One of them is the attitude towards Europe, the world and themselves. For the Norwegians their world is their country. A Norwegian cherishes his past, he or she is proud of the glorious conquest history, respects the king, keeps national currency and is reluctantly involved in European global political and economic projects. The Norwegians are self-sufficient, they coexist harmoniously with all the old.

Finland, on the contrary, always looks ahead. It does not concentrate on its past (it is not so rich in history and culture). Finland with great zeal takes European values, actively cooperates with Europe in political and economic spheres. The Finns are hardworking. They spend their energy to create everything new, fashionable and modern.

Keywords: the Norwegians, the Finns, Nordic character, national mentalities.

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