During these difficult times it’s important to stay positive. The UK and most of the world is in full lockdown, and we are all advised to self-isolate to slow the spread of Coronavirus. It’s therefore important that our home provides a place of peace and that we seek out activities that will not only offer a source of distraction and entertainment but also therapy. For some of us this means adapting our habits and looking for new sources of inspiration to bring comfort to our lives. In this post we’ve put together a few things that we think can offer that, in some small way, by looking at a few Scandinavian traditions and pastimes. Here they are:

Begin your day with Norwegian waffles

Norwegian heart waffles

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, so let’s feed our bellies and kick off the day with traditional Norwegian waffles. Compared to Belgium waffles they’re much fluffier, thinner and floppier (you can fold them in half like a crepe), and they’re softer than classic American pancakes too. However, the thing that really makes them different is their shape, which is always a heart. So cute! To make them you’ll need to purchase a Norwegian waffle maker online first, and once you’ve got that sorted the rest is easy (see recipe).

Norwegian heart waffles can be served with various toppings. Most commonly you might see:

  • a touch of butter and jam
  • a dollop of sour cream and jam
  • a slice of brown cheese
  • a sprinkling of sugar

Master the art of Danish open sandwiches

Open Sandwich, Denmark

Polls have shown that cheese and ham is the UK’s most popular sandwich which isn’t half as exciting as the kind of toppings you’ll find on an open sandwich known as a smørrebrød in Danish. While open sandwiches are also common place in Norway and Sweden, it is most famously associated with Denmark where it’s considered one of their national dishes.

The smørrebrød is a piece of thin and dark rye bread, buttered and garnished with an amazing array of delicious ingredients that’s perfect for lunch. The bread used to make smørrebrød is the Danish rye bread – rugbrød, but any type of rye bread will work for replicating it at home. It’s also a very healthy bread packed with nutrients and it will keep you satisfied for a much longer period of time than regular bread.

For a topping we suggest a Danish classic like prawns with boiled egg, mayonnaise, dill and a twist of lemon. However, it’s also fun to be creative and use what you can find in your fridge! When it comes to eating a smørrebrød you don’t eat it with your hands, you serve it on a plate with a knife and fork.

Become a knitting pro

Knitting - Scandinavian hobbies

Knitting is hugely popular in Scandinavia due to its meditative, creative, and eco-minded qualities, not to mention it delivers the thrill of creating a special, one-of-a-kind item with your own two hands.

If you’re a beginner, start with something easy and small in size such as a headband or scarf in a simple stitch. As you progress in skill, you can add signature touches to your knit items like unique knitting stitches, cabled embellishments, or finished trims. In terms of patterns, Scandinavia has some beautiful ones, like selburose in Norway, famed for its rose pattern which is often interpreted as a snowflake or star.

And if you get really, really passionate – and once we can travel again – you could take things to the next level by heading to one of the annual knitting festivals held across Scandinavia including in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Reykjavik – now that’s dedication for you!

Discover your inner bookworm the Icelandic way

Girl reading | Scandinavian pastimes

Iceland is a deeply literary country, its national identity founded in the sagas, which recount the first centuries of settlement beginning a thousand years ago. Icelanders read more books than anyone else, and writing and storytelling are highly valued. In addition, the BBC reported that one in ten Icelanders will write a book which is a title they must be extremely proud to claim.

So whether you decide to finally finish those half-read books or begin writing that novel you’ve had on the back-burner, now is the time to start.

Indulge in a Scandinavian TV series

The Bridge Nordic Noir TV Series

Nordic noir, also known as Scandinavian noir or Scandinavian crime series, is a genre of crime fiction often written from a police point of view and set in one of the Nordic Countries. The slow-building pace and cliff-hangers make such series insanely addictive after only the first episode.

Nordic noir has a unique feel, with dark settings, slow-building plots, and shocking conclusions. The cold of the austere landscapes seeps into your bones as deeply held secrets come to light.

Our favourite is The Bridge (2011-2018) which begins when a body is found on the iconic bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. Danish inspector Martin Rohde and Swedish Saga Norén are called to the crime scene and viewers watch as they work together to find the killer. Another series we recommend is Kurt Wallander (2005 – 2013) which is also set in South Sweden.

So grab a blanket, turn off the lights, and follow the brave footsteps of these detectives as they tear away the veneer of normalcy and bring unsettling truths to light…