Scandi Style: Your Favorite Thing

Once in Ukraine I bought a bread with the name “Danish bread”. I am sure, there was nothing Danish about it, the producers just wanted to give it a fancy name. I was a student back then, just 20 years old, who had never travelled outside of Ukraine, except to Russia. The name of the bread made me wonder: “What do I know about Denmark? And Scandinavia?” I tried to make a mental list in my head. And was always messing up the capitals (“Oslo is the capital of Finland, and Helsinki – of Sweden?”). Ok, so Denmark is easy. It’s Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid and H. C. Andersen. Sweden is Astrid Lindgren and Pippi Longstocking (I was a literature student and it was easier to name books than IKEA. I had no idea about IKEA then). Norway? Ok, fjords. And Finland – just sauna and that’s it?

I still remember the kind of hunger I felt – hunger to fill in my blanks about that part of the world. I had no idea then that I could end up living in Scandinavia. And those blanks would be filled, with overflow actually ๐Ÿ™‚ Already as a child, I had loved Scandinavian fairytales, Moomin trolls by Tove Jansson, H.C. Andersen – and I wonder if this could be a secret reason why I came to live here in the North, though I have never dreamt about it explicitly. Maybe, it was my subconscious dream ๐Ÿ™‚

Scandi Style: your favorite thing

Is there a thing, an image, that pulls the whole Scandinavia together? What comes to your mind when you think about this part of Europe? An IKEA rug, a hygge book, a hipster backpack? There is one object which has always been a symbol of Scandinavia for me: a bicycle. When I lived in Ukraine, the bikes were just for kids. All the serious folks travelled by car or public transport. We had no bicycle infrastructure then, no special lanes, no parking spots for bikes (I don’t think much has changed since). Yes, in the villages people would bike – but come on, the village was not where you got your lifestyle inspiration then ๐Ÿ˜‰ While the Nordic bike (especially, the Danish one) was the essence of freedom, casual and relaxed lifestyle, the non-obsession by the status symbols like big cars.

Oslovelo, a cafe bar for bicycle lovers

I remember the story about Ukrainian members of parliament visiting Oslo. Rumors said,ย they were shocked by the fact of Norwegian MPs riding their bikes to work. While in Ukraine every ministry office is surrounded by the fleet of huge black jeeps with tinted windows. “How can you bike to work when you are a people’s representative?”, the Ukrainian visitors were asking themselves and each other. The irony of it, haha. This is the people of Norway and this is how they are represented by their elected MPs. And I like it ๐Ÿ™‚

To celebrate this Scandinavian thing, I went through my photos of Oslo for the last three years and compiled my collection of bicycles (ok, the reason was not so pompous. I just wanted to share my collection because they are such a pretty thing, don’t you think?). Feel free to pick your favorite one and take with you home ๐Ÿ˜‰

What is essentially Scandinavian for you? Do you have a relationship with bicycles?

Part 1. Some have the art to park a bike in a way that it looks like part of design. But they are not. These are not the bikes that shops set out to make their fronts more Instagrammable (or what do I know? ๐Ÿ™‚

Part 2. Stories from my backyard

Part 3. What I found exploring the backyards around the town

Instead of saying good-bye – stay on those roads!

Grunerlรธkka
a moving neighborhood

22 thoughts on “Scandi Style: Your Favorite Thing

  1. I only visited Denmark out of Scandinavian countries for a week. I was highly impressed by the information that a member of parliament (who represents interests of Freetown Christiania, among others) proposed that the lines of road canal covers on bicycle lanes be changed from vertical to horizontal to prevent a tyre getting stuck in them. And the parliament said yes.

    For me it’s been lakes, tolerance, gender equality, winter sports, Den vita stenen and Pippi for Sweden, Aki Kaurismรคki for Finland, and the fact that the creator of fjords in Norway got the medal for them, if you believe The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • The bicycles are everything in Copenhagen :)) I’ve read they have stopped car traffic in some parts of the city (or are planning to do so). Bikes are the smartest choice there ๐Ÿ™‚ Not wonder they discuss in in parliament))

      Haha, I didn’t read Hitchhiker’s Guide, though I tried when I was 20, and I tried in English, so it didn’t work for me. I didn’t know about the fjords – but the designer deserves a prize for them, yes ๐Ÿ™‚ They are beautiful!

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      • You can google him ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s a film director. I’ve only seen one of his films actually, it was in Paris and the French were laughing their socks off. They thought it was a parody. I thought it was depressingly realistic. The truth is somewhere in between, I guess… Anyway, they gave the film a round of applause afterwards though it was just a regular screening!

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      • Oh, I need to check him out! I like the fact that the French were able to laugh. Sometimes, when you are close to reality, you just can’t. I find myself there when they show all those documentaries of Russia. Yes, it is depressing, and I just cannot watch some parts. It is easier for the outside observer, I guess. It doesn’t go straight to your nerve.

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  2. Oh, Danish girls on their bikes… I remember seeing them riding to bars on their bikes in high heels, smoking a cigarette in one hand and the other hand holding a light behind their back, an obligatory light that they were I guess too cool to have installed so they just hold it while riding… sooo cool looking!!! Ah and this was before hipsterism. They probably stopped smoking since.
    …Aaaaand…. if I had a cute cafe or store, it would actually be a great idea to park an instagrammable bike just outside it! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Oh, the Danes are killing it! I remember my first time in Copenhagen, and all those pretty girls in dresses, and a captain in a uniform, all riding tall bikes, with pride and elegance. Norwegians are more of a sporty type, and it is not so flat here :)) But now the city bikes are popular too, with baskets. Ahh.
      I wonder how did those Danish girls get home after drinking though. Biking too?:)) They have stopped smoking, maybe, they do snus now ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Ooh, I agree. I would especially do it in some Southern country, give the shop some Scandi hip name and install a bike. It is like saying “I am Scandinavian, I am supposed to do it” :))) And hang my Norwegian flag for total glamor, haha.

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      • Of course! Have you seen a Norwegian who doesn’t plant his flag any place? :)))
        Now it’s difficult to remember how it was before coming here. But for me bikes stood for Holland and Denmark, but from Denmark I projected it onto the rest of Scandinavia, I guess :))

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    • Yes, Scandinavian design is a cool brand of its own ๐Ÿ™‚ and Marimekko is fun. Dried fish? Like up there in the North? I had to stop and think when was the last time I saw the dry fish :)) But a lot of fish, yes. Haha, and cold. Totally!

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