The Nordics - and Scandinavia

A recent email from our CEO talked about "plans to sell our businesses in the Nordics". The Nordics?

I'd thought that 'the Nordic countries' and 'Scandinavia' were synonyms (if I'd thought about it at all), but it appears that the former term almost always includes Finland and Iceland, while the latter term often doesn't.

As Wikipedia says (referencing the brilliantly named Kenneth R Olwig):

"Scandinavia" has no official definition and is subject to usage by those who identify with the culture in question, as well as interpretation by outsiders who attempt to give the term their own meaning. The term is, therefore, often defined according to the conventions of the cultures that lay claim to the term in their own usage

The OED Online defines 'Nordic' (adjective) as "of or relating to Scandinavia, the Scandinavian people, or their languages", which doesn't really clarify the matter. I'm sure my Concise OED gives different definition, but I'll have to check when I'm back at work.


The Ridger, FCD said...

Hmmm. Yes. Scandinavia is that peninsula and Denmark. Iceland is Nordic. Finland? Well, it's not Baltic, so I guess it is Nordic... But I'm not sure; I kind of think of Nordic as being a linguistic descriptor, which would rule Finland out.

Things like this are funny, aren't they?

Clutchslip said...

I've been to Finland enough times to know how upset they get if you call them Scandinavian. It's almot as bad as calling a Welshman English!