Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia

Is the Netherlands part of Scandinavia? Similar, but not the same

Is the Netherlands part of Scandinavia? For several reasons, people easily think that the Dutch are part of the Nordic region. Similar physical features, bad weather, and a largely open mindset are just three similarities.

Of course, Scandinavia isn’t the only thing the Dutch get closely grouped with. It’s also common for people to think that Deutsch, the German language, is Dutch (they’re not, but admittedly, there are a lot of similarities).

So, is Holland Scandinavian? Let’s find out. We’ll also talk more about the similarities between the Dutch and the Scandinavians.

A useful side-note before we start: When we talk about Scandinavia here, we are also grouping in Iceland, Finland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland. In many definitions, Iceland is not considered a part of Scandinavia — nor is Finland.

Is the Netherlands a Scandinavian country?

While it’s easy to group all of Northern Europe together, the Netherlands is not a part of Scandinavia. For the most part, Scandinavia refers to Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. And as already mentioned, some would class the Finns as Scandinavian — ditto for Icelanders.

The Netherlands also doesn’t share a land border with any Scandinavian countries. Denmark’s only land border is with Northern Germany in the south, and although the Netherlands is not far away by plane, it is not part of Southern Scandinavia.

Sometimes, people might group the Netherlands as a part of Northern Europe. You could argue that this is true; the capital city Amsterdam’s latitude is only three degrees further south than Copenhagen. On top of that, the Netherlands has short days in the winter and long ones during the summer.

However, no official definition of Northern Europe includes the Netherlands. The UN considers the Nordic region Northern Europe, along with the Baltic states, Ireland, and the UK. Meanwhile, EuroVoc considers the Nordic and Baltic regions to be Northern Europe.

On the other hand, the CIA World Factbook only considers the Nordics to be a part of Northern Europe.

By and large, the Netherlands is a part of Western Europe. It’s also considered part of the Low Countries, also known as Benelux. These European countries consist of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia

Is Holland part of Scandinavia?

It might seem like we’re answering the same question as above, but we’re not. A common confusion that people make is to group the Netherlands and Holland as one. However, that is not the case — and neither are a part of Scandinavia.

In the Netherlands, you will find two regions titled Holland: North and South Holland. Amsterdam is part of North Holland, while Rotterdam and The Hague are included in the South Holland region.

North and South Holland have a combined population of over 6.5 million, which is higher than all of the Nordic countries on their own — minus Sweden. However, much of the Netherlands’ population lives outside of these two areas.

While many people outside of the Netherlands will refer to the country as Holland, most Dutch people you speak to will say that they’re from the Netherlands.

Are the Dutch considered Scandinavian?

While Dutch people have several similar character traits to Scandinavians, they are not considered Scandinavian. Instead, they are their own ethnic group.

Although the Dutch are not considered Scandinavian, both are included when discussing Germanic ethnicities. Many Dutch people live in the Netherlands, but you will also find them throughout the world.

Besides the Netherlands, you will find large Dutch populations in the United States and South Africa. And you will also find a significant number of people of Dutch descent in Scandinavia; around 30,000 exist in Denmark alone.

Meanwhile, you will find roughly 15,000 people of Dutch descent in Norway — and around 10,000 in Sweden.

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia

Can Dutch people live in Scandinavia?

The Netherlands is, today, part of the European Union (EU). Two of the three Scandinavian countries — Sweden and Denmark — are part of the same union. Meanwhile, Finland is also an EU member state — and unlike the other two, it also uses the Euro (as does the Netherlands).

While Iceland and Norway are not members of the EU, they are part of the European Economic Area (EEA). As such, both countries are part of the region where freedom of movement is permitted.

All of this makes it significantly easier for Dutch people to move to Scandinavia. If a Dutch citizen would like to move to one of the Nordic countries, they do not need to apply for a visa. Instead, they simply need to show proof of citizenship and that they have a reason to reside in their preferred Nordic country.

It’s not impossible for a Dutch person to move to the Faroe Islands, but it is much trickier than if they were to move to one of the other parts of the Nordic region. While the Faroes are part of the Kingdom of Denmark, they are not in the EU.

So, with the exception of other Nordic nationals, everyone else would need a residence permit to live in the Faroes.

Can Scandinavians live in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands has a fruitful working environment and high living standards, and it’s a popular destination for expats. If Scandinavians want to move to the Netherlands, they will have an easier time than — say — American or British citizens.

Since the Netherlands is in the EU, Scandinavians can move to the country without needing a residence permit. However, they will need to register with the local authorities if they plan to stay for the long run.

One could argue that it’s easier for a Scandinavian to move to the Netherlands than vice versa. Although Scandinavians speak excellent English (more on that later), it’s common to need to speak the local language if you wish to find a job.

That’s the case in the Netherlands, too, but not to the same extent. It’s very common for people to live and work in Amsterdam, for example, without knowing a word of Dutch.

Is it easy to get from the Netherlands to Scandinavia?

At this point, we’ve established that the Netherlands is not in Scandinavia. However, we have not spoken much about how to get from the Netherlands to Scandinavia (and vice versa).

Getting from the Netherlands to Scandinavia is incredibly simple. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is one of the world’s busiest airports, with flights to Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen — as well as Helsinki and Reykjavík.

The journey from Amsterdam to Copenhagen is around an hour and a half. To Oslo, it’s roughly one hour and 45 minutes — and to Stockholm, the journey takes two hours. Flying to Helsinki takes two hours and 20 minutes, and the journey to Iceland takes just over three hours.

The Netherlands and the Nordics are in the Schengen Area. As a result, you will not need to go through passport checks when traveling between them — unless there is an extraordinary circumstance.

Is The Netherlands Part Of Scandinavia

Are there any similarities between the Netherlands and Scandinavia?

Okay, so we’ve established the differences between the Netherlands and Scandinavia. There is, however, a reason that the Dutch are sometimes grouped with the Scandinavians; they have a lot of similarities.

Now that we’ve talked about their differences, let’s look at how the Dutch and Scandinavians are similar.

English proficiency

When talking about English as a foreign language, you will frequently see the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries rank highly.

The Netherlands finished top of the English Proficiency Index (EPI) in 2021. Meanwhile, Denmark finished third; Austria was sandwiched between them.

The other Nordic countries’ English proficiency ranked as follows:

  • Norway: 5th
  • Sweden: 8th
  • Finland: 9th

Iceland was not included in the report, but you will have no issues getting around with English if you visit the country.

Political membership

As we’ve already mentioned, the Netherlands is — like Denmark, Sweden, and Finland — in the EU. Similarly, Iceland and Norway adopt similar immigration laws to EEA citizens as what you will see in the EU.

One difference to notice, however, is that the Netherlands is not part of the Nordic Passport Union. But since it allows Nordic citizens to live in each other’s countries, and Dutch citizens get that privilege anyway, it doesn’t matter so much.

Language (sort of)

Dutch is not mutually intelligible with any of the other Scandinavian languages. But like Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, and Norwegian, the Dutch language is part of the Germanic languages group.

However, Dutch has very little in common with Finnish. Finnish is part of the Uralic language group, though many Finns also speak Swedish as a second language.

Approach to work

People in many western countries struggle to achieve a good work-life balance, despite living in relatively wealthy societies. However, the Dutch and Scandinavians have done a pretty good job of achieving that.

The Dutch, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and Finns work some of the fewest hours in Europe per week. Iceland is the outlier, with working hours much longer on average here than in the other countries mentioned.

Weather and climate

None of the Scandinavian countries or the Netherlands are blessed with sunny weather for much of the year. You will experience cold winters, which are also dark and windy; the Dutch climate is very similar to Denmark, with a lot of rain but not much snow.

Unlike Sweden, Norway, and Finland, temperatures in the Netherlands rarely drop below freezing. The Netherlands, like the Scandinavian countries, has relatively mild summers.

So, is the Netherlands part of Scandinavia?

To put things simply, the answer is no. Although the Netherlands is perhaps the closest non-Nordic country you’ll find.

The Dutch have a different culture from Scandinavia, though you will find a lot of similarities. Moreover, they are a part of their own ethnic group — and the country is a little further south geographically.

However, the Netherlands and Scandinavia have plenty in common. Moving between each country is easy for citizens of these nations, and the living standards are high in all of them.

Similarly, approaches to work, life, and politics are not too different. You can also see many similarities between Dutch cities and Danish cities.

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