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Release Peace: The Magazine

Europe's High North

Across a plethora of subjects, Europe's Nordic countries are admired around the world for their equality, nature, and innovations. We look at what is beneath the surface.

Europe's High North: An exploration of the Nordic countries & societies

Denmark and Germany are friends and allies in EU and NATO today. But it was not always like that. This is the story of a small town and a battle that shaped the map of modern-day Denmark.

The Cultural & Historical Significance of Swedish Food Culture

Swedish cuisine was traditionally shaped by the long, harsh Scandinavian winter. "Gravlax" literally translates to “grave” or “pit salmon” and was traditionally cured by farmers by burying the fish in beach (yes). But what is raggmunk, kroppkaka, or snaps?

Truly Unique: The Arctic Council and Indigenous Rights

The Arctic Council is the world's only intergovernmental body that includes the representation of indigenous peoples. The Council is made up of all countries extending North of the Arctic circle. There are 4 million inhabitants in the Arctic region and approximately 500,000 of them belong to indigenous peoples. Their representation is crucial and the workings of the Council might set an example for the world.

To bring you excellent coverage from the Nordics, we partner with local organisations from the region. The editorial authority over all articles lies solely with Release Peace and, just like us, none of our partners works for profit.​

Naturpark Lillebælt

Visit Blekinge

Haparanda Tornio

To bring you excellent and insightful coverage from the Nordic and Baltic region, we graciously receive support from our local partners. Just like us, none of our partners works for profit. And the editorial authority over all articles lies solely with Release Peace, without any rights of our partners to determine our content. Enjoy our stories!

Naturpark Lillebælt

Visit Blekinge

Haparanda Tornio

The Roots and Cultural Heritage of the Sami

When thinking of the Nordics, most will give little thought to the region's Indigenous population. The Sami are estimated to number 80,000 - 100,000. Their cultural roots tell us more than you think.

The Unknown Side of Danish Art: Ceramics and Clay

When an entire house is shipped from a beach in New Zealand to a town in Denmark, something must be afoot. When a trail of clay leads through a city, something unusual is taking place. While many are familiar with Nordic art, design, and architecture, some lesser known sides of Denmark's creative heritage ought enrich one's understanding of the country.

Painted Dogs and Nosy Neighbours: An Exploration of Finland's History

A walk through the Finnish town of Kokkola is a walk of quiet amazement. This unassuming town, tucked away on the north-east coast of the Baltic Sea, is a time machine. Around every corner, a little gem of history waits to transport the unsuspecting visitor into the lives of those in the past. From mythical origins to life under Swedish and Russian rule, Kokkola has kept souvenirs from all of its ages of occupation.

How Scandinavia Proofs the Health Benefits of Nature

In an era dominated by bustling cities and the relentless march of technology, the healing power of nature has reemerged as a beacon of hope for those seeking respite from the daily grind. Across the globe, large-scale, so-called nature prescription programs have gained prominence. That is nothing new to Scandinavians.

Where Nature Meets Cultural Heritage: The Crown of Denmark's Hiking Trails

Hiking will allow visitors to explore nature and rural culture like few other activities. If a castle or former battleground greets you along the way, it may not just be good for your health but also your education.

When History is - Literally - Unearthed

Recent excavations at Erritsø in the town of Fredericia, Denmark, have revealed a formidable Viking fortress that changes what most historians know about a time long passed.

The Sweden of Griffin Dogs and Dragon Slayers

Few regions of the planet enriched the human imagination with elves, dragons, and other mythical figures like the Nordics did. Throw a rock festival into the mix and you are in the historic Swedish town of Ronneby.

What did the 1850s Crimean War Have to do With a Small Town in Finland?

A town on Finland's eastern coast is a fascinating example of the historical connections spanning far and wide across the European continent. Who would have thought that Britain attacked Finland in 1854? And what did that have do to with the Crimean War happening thousands of miles away at the same time? The remnants of that history are well-preserved, and can be visited and explored to this day.

You Should Know About Aquatic Sustainability - A Case Study

The world's seas and oceans account for an astonishing 71% of the world's land mass. Yet, many are unfamiliar with the concept of aquatic sustainability.

The Moment Sweden Lost a Staggering 20% of its Population

Today one of the most affluent countries in the world and a major destination for migrants Sweden was once on the other side of the migration equation. Few other countries in the world have ever experienced such an exodus. And one town in Sweden's South has played a pivotal role in that history.

The Beauty, Magic and Science of the Northern Lights

For centuries, humans have been enchanted by Aurora; green, blue and even pink colours lighting up the night sky. And for the most part, nobody has been able to explain the phenomenon. The story of the Northern Lights is a story that begins with the origins of human astronomy.

Where do All Those Picturesque Houses in the Nordics Come From?

They are the embodiment of the Nordic stereotype: colourful, wooden houses straddling along shores and forest. Their historical and cultural relevance can hardly be overstated. We take you on a journey to some of the best preserved wooden houses in the Nordic region.

Tired of Mass Tourism? Let's do Sustainable Tourism

The Nordics are amongst the regions in the world at the forefront of pioneering sustainable tourism. We delve into two destinations that exemplify this concept like few others. What does sustainable tourism mean? How can travellers experience it? And are there any objective criteria or to help find sustainable tourist destinations?

The River Torne: 522 km of Astonishing Beauty

The year 1809 marked the year that Sweden lost the areas we now call Finland to Imperial Russia. Prompted by the Treaty of Fredrikshamn, the river Torne was chosen as a border between Sweden and the new Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. The treaty stated that the border should follow the deepest part of the river. For much of its length, the border still follows the longest free-flowing river in Europe. At its mouth, its flows through Haparanda-Tornio, a city which lies in both Sweden and Finland.

Steamy Secrets: The Science & History of Finland's Sauna Traditions

Did you know that the Finnish sauna tradition goes over one millennium back? Did you hear about the experiment a Finnish university did with 2,300 sauna-going men? We will tell you about the science, history, and places to experience a Finnish sauna.

The Magic of Huldufólk

For centuries tales of the huldufólk, the 'hidden folk' or elves, have been told in the low glow of northern hearths. There is a long tradition of tale-telling on these harsh isles, many about magical beings, particularly in Iceland. Some of the richest troves of Norse myth in the world have been penned by its mediaeval poets, who mention elves ('alfar') alongside such Nordic gods as Odin and Thor.

A City of Two Tales, a City in Two Time Zones

Imagine yourself setting off on an amazing 17-hour train journey north from Stockholm through some of the world’s most picturesque countryside. The train winds its way peacefully up through Sweden, following the coast along the Gulf of Bothnia, passing through the isolated landscapes and the vast, verdant expanses of Västerbotten and Västernorrland. And then you reach a destination like no other.

A Sweet Secret to Swedish Success

A concept called "Fika" is deeply embedded in Swedish culture. This story counters the notion that a 24/7 work culture is good for businesses. It goes to show that a pleasant way of life and a successful economy do not only go hand in hand, but must be interlinked.

Another, Simply Wonderful Nordic Concept: Sweden's Allemansrätten

In Sweden you can go anywhere you like. This is not an exaggeration: The old-age Swedish tradition of ‘allemansrätten,’ or ‘right to roam’, enables you to pick mushrooms, fish, climb, kayak or set up a tent almost anywhere you want. This even extends to accessing some private property.

Rivers, Archipelagoes, Coastlines: A Nordic Experience

North of the Arctic Circle, the midnight sun refers to the constant daylight that the summer offers – the sun truly never sets. This never-ending daylight is a particularly special part of Nordic summers. The season of the midnight sun begins in April and lasts all the way through to August. How to take advantage of that is what we will explore in this article.

How to Measure the Shape of the Earth?

For many, the centre of (measuring) the world is Greenwich. For others, it is the equator. But what if it is a place up North? A measuring project that covers an astonishing 2,820km? In the North of Europe might lie one of the most underrated scientific projects in the world.

Art of the North: Sami Art, Global Biennale

High up at the north of the Gulf of Bothnia, straddling the Swedish-Finnish border, is the twin city of HaparandaTornio. It is located near the Arctic circle. But it is also close to the boundaries of communities speaking Sámi languages. These factors and many more have influenced the art showcased in the Aine Art Museum.

The Incredible Bottom-up Efforts to Achieve the SDGs

The world seeks to achieve a more sustainable world by 2030. This is the ambition the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set. Their achievement might be most successful through locally-led, bottom-up efforts. We delved into a few case studies.

The Lost Art of Food Foraging

Edible plants can be found all around the world, but the Nordic countries showcase that autumn is a time of year when food foraging can be especially rewarding, educational, and environmentally sustainable.

A Look at Norway's System of Father's Quotas

Soon-to-be parents in Norway are entitled to 49 weeks of combined paid leave. Mothers can take paid maternity leave of 18 weeks, and the “common period” which is 16 paid weeks for both parent. The country has set up a system to ensure both parents are spending time with their new-born and receive paid leave. Does this encourage fathers to stay home? Can it be a case study for other nations?

A Cultural Treasure: The Wonderful Christmas Traditions of Finland​

In the Middle Ages, ‘the Peace of Christmas’ was declared in Finland, meaning that crimes committed during a three day period around Christmas were given harsher punishments. The tradition began in the 1320s and persists today, intending to incentivise people to behave respectfully and peacefully during the festive period. Today, there are many Finnish Christmas traditions one can explore. And they are a wonderful reflection of Finnish culture.

Hands on: The UN Sustainable Development Goals in Action

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 14 focuses on life below water and calls for member countries to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” Embarking on how the Danish Naturpark Lillebælt offers a great example of SDG 14. Examples like cute-sounding 'fish kindergartens' and the consumption of local crabs show how the UN's ambitions can become alive in practice.

The "King's Crown" and Sweden’s Long Maritime History

Sweden has a strong and proud naval history. In particular the Nordic Viking conquests between 800 and 1066 AD were in no small part the result of the Swedes’ impressive shipbuilding know-how. But it is less well-known that these skills have remained at the forefront of the Swedish repertoire until the present day. Let’s explore Sweden’s long and fruitful maritime history; where its modern era began, how what it has to do with "The King's Crown".

Shining a Spotlight on Finland’s Most Luminous Cultural Treasure

During the 13th century, Tankar Island, which is located in the Kokkola municipality, was formed by being elevated out of the sea as a result of geological uplift. The name ‘Tankar’ comes from the word ‘Tankokari’ which refers to a stone landmark previously found on the island. Over the centuries, a fascinating community evolved around the lighthouse.

Denmark and its fascinating Nature Parks

Being surrounded by the sea, it is perhaps no surprise that Denmark has an impressive 8,740 kilometres of coastline. In fact, you are never more than 67 kilometres away from the coast anywhere in the country. One of Denmark's picturesque coastlines is along the Lillebælt on the western edge of Jutland. It boasts an incredible nature park that the world can learn from.

How did Sweden turn from trying to develop nuclear weapons itself as a method of self-protection to the becoming the White Knight of nuclear disarmament it so prominently is today? Sweden has continually promoted disarmament policies and spoken out against nuclear testing which has resulted in the Scandinavian nation gaining the nickname the ‘White Knight’ by academics and international institutions alike.

Norway's Place in the World: The "Peace Nation"

Many Norwegians take pride in being perceived as a peaceful country. Their advocacy for open international political dialogues and Norway's involvement as a peace mediator has given the country a domestic and international reputation for being a “peace nation”. What are the different historical, social and geopolitical aspects that shaped Norway’s stance in the international arena and made them a “peace nation”?

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