Thyra Dane

Scandinavia, romance and Vikings

Flowers from my daughter on Mother's Day

Today is Mother’s Day in Norway. Why do Norwegians celebrate Mother’s Day the second Sunday of February?

Flowers from my daughter on Mother's Day

Flowers from my daughter on Mother’s Day

I had a great surprise waiting for me this morning. My daughter, who lives at home, woke me up with eggs and bacon, presents and some very pretty tulips. My son, who is currently in Japan with his school, FaceTimed me with hugs and kisses.

The reason? It’s Mother’s Day in Norway today.

Why does Norway celebrate Mother’s Day in February?

Mother’s Day started in the USA over a hundred years ago. In the USA, and in large parts of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated in May.

But if Norway had chosen the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day it might have collided with another great day in this country: The 17th of May, Norway’s National Day.

So Norway ended up, as the only country in the world, with celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of February.

Do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is celebrated a number of different dates, according to Wikipedia.

Do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

When and how do you celebrate Mother’s Day if you do celebrate it?




I wanted to make a list of the best contemporary Scandinavian music but quickly realized that I hadn’t been paying attention. Luckily, I have a daughter who spends quite a few hours every day listening to music and luckily she doesn’t mind teaching her stone age-based mother a thing or two about what I should be listening to.

Here is her list. Check it out and see if you find something you like!


Mads Langer/ 3AM

Read more about this Danish singer/songwriter


Lukas Graham/ 7 Years

Read more about this Danish soul pop band


Christopher/ Limousine feat. Madcon

Read more about this Danish singer


Brandon Beal/ Golden feat. Lukas Graham

Yes, I know that Brandon Beal is American but this is on the list because of Lukas Graham (check the list two numbers up)


MØ/ Kamikaze

Read more about this Danish singer/songwriter


Zara Larsson/ Lush Life

Read more about this Swedish singer/songwriter


Seinabo Sey/ Younger (Kygo Remix)

Read more about this Swedish singer/songwriter


Tove Lo/ Talking Body

Read more about this Swedish singer/songwriter


Måns Zelmerlöw/ Heroes

Read more about this Swedish singer


Avicii/ Waiting for Love

Read more about this Swedish musician

norsk hjerte

Astrid S/ 2AM (Matoma remix)

Read more about this Norwegian singer/songwriter


Kygo/ Stay feat Maty Noyes

Read more about this Norwegian musician


Julie Bergan/ All Hours

Read more about this Norwegian singer/songwriter


Madcon/ Keep my Cool

Read more about this Norwegian duo


Alan Walker/ Faded

Read more about this Norwegian musician


I hope you enjoyed this list. Let me know which Scandinavian songs you like!

Here is the whole playlist

I am an immigrant. I’ve been an immigrant to several countries and for the last 30 years (as of today, actually) I’ve been an immigrant to Norway. I came to Norway to work for a few months because I was broke after having lived in California for some time, and my own country–Denmark–could offer me nothing. Most of my friends were unemployed and I did not want to go down that road.

So I came to Norway with two empty hands and a desire to work. I did what immigrants often do, I took the jobs the locals didn’t want. I worked in housekeeping and as a dishwasher at a hotel, I worked as a waiter and I had a job making open-faced sandwiches in a cafeteria. Later on I grabbed the offer of free education from the Norwegian state and the rest is history. I’ve been working and paying taxes for 25 years now. I’m fairly sure I’ve been a good investment for the state of Norway, even if she did pay for six years of university education. Less so for my birth country, Denmark, who paid for 12 years of school and only received pennies (well, øre) back in taxes from me.

Open face sandwich

Not exactly what my open face sandwiches looked like…

Me – a parasite

Before I came to Norway, I lived in California. I was probably not a good investment for California. Yes, I did spend money there but I also had a job without paying any taxes. Yes, I was a selfish kid who applied for, and got a job at a cafe, without having a work permit. I would have gladly paid my taxes if it had been possible, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t an illegal immigrant as such–I had a visa to live there–but I definitely worked there illegally. Sorry, California.

Walnut Creek - my home many years ago

Walnut Creek – my home many years ago

The same goes for Greece and Italy, because I’ve lived and worked in both countries for short periods of time. It was perfectly legal for me to live there, but I did not have permission to work (I have to remind you that this was before Schengen and you had to have a work permit even inside the EU). Sorry, Greece and Italy.

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There are plenty of ways to die here in Scandinavia. Most of them are the same ways people die in other countries but the Scandinavian edition of Mother Nature does have something special in store for those of us living in – or visiting – this cold corner of the world.

Warning: Do not read this if any of your loved ones died in Scandinavia or if you’re not comfortable with death as a part of life. I am not going to treat death with any kind of respect in this blog post.

How can you die in Scandinavia?

How can you die in Scandinavia?

Animals that kill

Some countries have sharks, alligators and crocodiles, venomous snakes and spiders (yikes) and even jellyfish that can kill you (yes, I’m looking at you, Australia).

Luckily it’s too cold for any of those animals to live in Scandinavia. Yes, we do have sharks but they’re about the size of a dachshund and not really very scary. Yes, we also have venomous snakes but they can probably, maybe, if you’re really unlucky, kill said dachshund if your vet is more than 24 hours away. Humans are safe.

So what kind of animals kill people here in Scandinavia?

Is it this guy?

Wolves don't kill people.

Wolves don’t kill people.

Nope. Wolves may kill sheep–and may be killed by angry sheep farmers–but they do not kill people. Not even tourists.

Is it this girl?

Bears do not kill people.

Bears do not kill people – at least not very often.

Nope. Bears also like to snack on sheep and they can kill people. But it’s been a long-long time since they killed anyone in Scandinavia. If you’re not between a mother bear and her cubs, you’re probably safe. Polar bears are very dangerous but the only place in Scandinavia where you’ll find polar bears is on Svalbard. On Svalbard it’s mandatory to carry a rifle because of potential polar bear attacks.

Svalbard is pretty far to the north and far from mainland Scandinavia so polar bears are not really a danger to most Scandinavians

Svalbard is pretty far to the north and far from mainland Scandinavia so polar bears are not really a danger to most Scandinavians

So which mammal (apart from homo sapiens) kills most people in Scandinavia? Any guesses?

It’s this guy:

Moose don't kill people. People in cars kills moose ... and themselves

Moose don’t kill people. People in cars kill moose … and themselves

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Swedes and Norwegians are hurt or killed every year because they drive into a moose. Danes are safe because there are no moose in Denmark.

A moose is a very heavy animal with very thin legs. This means that if a car hits the poor moose, its huge body will land on the windshield or on top of the car and the passengers of the car will be crushed by the weight of it.

Other ways to die

Did you think Mother Nature wasn’t cruel enough to Scandinavians and tourists visiting us? A moose and that’s it? Ah, you’re forgetting something. Mother Nature has more than a couple of moose up her sleeve.

  1. Hypothermia. Did you know that more people in Norway die from hypothermia than from being murdered. Yes, part of the answer here is that Norwegians aren’t very blood thirsty–they don’t go around and murder each other to the same degree as people do in most countries–but cold weather does kill quite a few people each year. Most of the people who die from hypothermia in Scandinavia do so in Norway due to a combination of Norway’s colder weather and the fact that Norwegians are the most outdoorsy people in Scandinavia.
    Ice bathing or comiting suicide?

    Ice bathing or commiting suicide?

    Unfortunately quite a few of the people dying from hypothermia are tourists. Bad weather can sneak up on you–be prepared.

  2. Falling off cliffs. It’s not as if Scandinavians don’t fall off cliffs–or need to be rescued after having fallen down part of the cliff–but according to the Norwegian police more and more tourists do this:
    Don't do this!

    Don’t do this!

    or this:

    because they want some cool pictures to bring home with them. Unfortunately, not all of these tourists get to go home because Mother Nature can be mean sometimes. But hey, she wants respect not selfies.

  3. Drowning. People drown everywhere, you say, and you’re quite right. But the Scandinavian version of Mother Nature is a bit sneaky. She’ll make Danish beaches look like this:
    Danish beaches don't kill people. Oh okay, maybe they do.

    Danish beaches don’t kill people. Oh okay, maybe they do.

    And then she will tempt tourists with these:

    Do not use these in Scandinavia!

    Do not use these in Scandinavia!

    Which is a baaaad combination considering the temperature in the water. Quite a few tourists have found themselves half way to Great Britain and that is really not where you want to be on that thing.
    We also have people fall into wild rivers and people drowning in cold lakes. But most of the people who drown in Scandinavia fall from small boats. They are found with their fly open. It’s a sad and ironic fact that Mother Nature kills men when they answer the call of nature.

  4. Avalanches and glaciers. People on skis are often hit by avalanches, especially in the spring when the snow is melting and freezing and melting and freezing.
    people also fall into glaciers. Luckily, this does not happen often since you need to have glacier guides with you when you cross a glacier.
    But did you know that people are also hit by glaciers? Most of the People killed by glaciers falling on them are tourist who do not respect the warning signs.
    After a family was killed by a glacier this summer in Norway there was a huge debate whether or not the warning signs should be bigger since tourists don’t seem to respect the small signs. The general consensus seemed to be that if they don’t respect the signs, they have to pay the price. Harsh, I agree.

    Glaciers kill people!

    Glaciers kill people!


You’re welcome but be careful

If I went to a country with venomous snakes or spiders, I would have absolutely no idea about how to avoid them (apart from running away screaming if I ever saw anything move). The same goes for tourists here in Scandinavia. So many of them don’t know how not to die from hypothermia, how to spot a moose in the forest while driving 100 km/h, how to avoid falling down from cliffs and how to respect warning signs.

So my only advice before you visit Scandinavia is this: Be careful!

Sooooo, can we Scandinavians get a little respect from all of you guys living in areas with dangerous animals? Please? Pretty please?

After 6-10 months of snow, sleet and rain, something strange makes Scandinavians stare at the sky. A big yellow ball not only brightens up the day (and night) – it sends heat to our cold corner of the world.

What is that weird ball in the sky?

What is that weird ball in the sky?

So what do we do when we’re no longer the place where the sun doesn’t shine?

1, We go outside

Scandinavians tend to be at our most creative when the sun shines and we really should be at work or school. We’ll work at home (= sit outside with the laptop and do absolutely nothing work-related), take long lunches (= sit outside with some food and try to chew as slowly as possible to avoid going back inside) and study for our exams at the local park (= fall asleep at the park while hoping we’ll somehow manage to remember everything we read in the cold winter months).

Everyone wants to be outside when the sun shines

Everyone wants to be outside when the sun shines

In July nobody works. Do not call a Scandinavian work place and expect people to actually help you out. They may have one person on duty but he or she can only tell you to call back in August. It’s summer – you expect us to work?!?

Some of us – actually 60-70% of us – are lucky enough to have a cabin in the family. We’ll go to that cabin every weekend when the weather is nice. Which results in the roads out of our cities looking like this on Friday afternoon:

Get in line to get to the cabin

Get in line to get to the cabin

It’s all about getting some fresh air.

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200 years ago today was the last time a Nordic country was at war with another Nordic country. That calls for a celebration!

Foreningen Norden (an organization to promote Nordic cooperation) celebrated this event by posting this picture on their Facebook page:

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

200 years since Nordic countries were at war with one another

Are you familiar with all the flags?

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