Spain´s obsession with Scandinavia
As Spaniards we can feel very proud of our sun, our traditions and our way of life; but, in all honesty, we really admire everything about Scandinavia (all jokes aside about the fascination Spanish men of past generations held for Swedish women).
Just take a stroll around a shopping center and you’ll observe this interest: books by Scandinavian noir authors such as HeningMankell, Jo Nesbø or Åsa Larsson are some of the most widely read; shops selling Danish trinkets and decorations abound; the stores of a certain Swedish multinational specializing in ready-to-assemble furniture are always full; we will find cafes with minimalist decorations in simple Scandinavian styles and we are bound to come across a couple of friends talking about the latest episode of a famous television series about a Norse hero called Ragnar Lodbrok. “How did it come to this?” we will wonder while preparing our Swedish, frozen meatballs after our trip around the shopping center.
Some people think that we are purely attracted by Scandinavia´s esthetics. In our Mediterranean setting the height and almost snowy features of Scandinavians attract our attention. We must also talk about how attractive we find the Scandinavians´ blonde hair and bright eyes…. an attraction which also extends to Norway´s architectural designs made up of simple, white and ordered lines which contrast sharply with our overelaborate and baroque styles of architecture.
Many opt for a healthy form of social envy. Scandinavia has always been considered as having a society with a high level of well-being: well-paid jobs, reasonable working hours, a healthy diet, sustainable resources….all of this makes us increasingly desire to embrace the Scandinavian way of life which would be welcomed in our society as it would make us feel more “civilized.”
Some people talk about the search for new values in times of crisis. The Scandinavians´ supposed courage and freedom appeal to us in an era when, as a Mediterraneans, we are reassessing part of our history, which has always been marked by subjugation at the hands of one powerful empire after another. One proof of this is the growing popularity acquired by the previously unknown Scandinavian festivals, which have been celebrated in the North of Spain for ages.
Equally we have the idea that Scandinavia´s society is in almost perfect harmony with nature, something which we aspire to nowadays. How different this is from, for example, the Roman Empire, with its obsession with building dams, aqueducts and mines transforming its surroundings!
Will this be a fleeting obsession or is it here to stay? Only Odin* knows.