While Britain struggles with sky-high bills, and private water, electricity and oil companies make record profits, Finland relies on a unique system of economic shock absorbers. Cooperatives deliver everything from water and electricity to luxury hotel breaks. They started in the late 1800s and there are more cooperative memberships today than Finns – or saunas. How does it work? Lesley Riddoch’s been to Finland to find out. NB The picture shows the wooden wash-handbasins and baths that feature in the Solo Sokos Hotel in Lahti. It may be part of the huge S-Group cooperative with more than 3 million members but is still a uniquely local operation. With thanks to Risto Turanen, Kari Huhtala, VisitFinland, Finnair and Sokos Hotels.
At long last, outdoor nurseries and kindergartens are getting some official encouragement in Scotland. Pioneers like the Secret Garden in Fife and about a dozen others have offered an alternative to indoor early life for over a decade. But now Inspiring Scotland’s been funded by the Scottish Government to work with eight councils setting up new outdoor play projects. The need to get kids moving and enjoying outdoor activity is urgent. Five years ago, a study of 38 nations ranked Scotland joint last for physical activity, while childhood obesity levels here continue to rise, with a quarter of five-year-olds deemed to be at risk of becoming seriously overweight. So what does the future look like? Maybe a bit like Norwegian kindergarten today – minus the snow. So here’s a sa...Read More
How would you measure success in the early years of a child’s education? In the Bukkespranget Norwegian kindergarten (where children aged 1-6 play outdoors in all weathers) they ask two simple questions. Does the child ask for more and do the parents tell stories? Note – no tests. All this play contrasts with Scotland’s formal school-based education for 5 year-olds – even though academic research shows children learn sharing, communication, cooperation, creativity and confidence long before they can sit still enough to begin formal education. The urge to stuff the three R’s into 4 and 5 year-old brains may be understandable in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world – but it’s not rational, helpful, productive or kind. Certainly, at seven the ‘force-fed’ kids of Scotland ...Read More
None of Scotland’s Nordic neighbours depends on gas for heating – but 85% of homes in Scotland do. Why the big difference? How did Nordic nations jump the green heating hurdle & should Scotland fix its energy crisis by installing district heating like Sweden and Denmark – or go electric like Norway? These were some of the big climate questions tackled by Nordic Horizons speakers, in our COP26 Verdict event, held straight after COP26 in November 2021. This 50 minute podcast of the COP 26 – Nordic Verdict event tackles all these big questions with contributions from Viktoria Raft, a former energy journalist and co-founder of the gender equality network for women in energy, Kraftkvinnorna; Tore Furevik, Professor in physical oceanography at the Geophysical Institut...Read More
This podcast was produced after a fascinating online Nordic Horizons meeting in March 2022, eight weeks before the Swedish and Finnish premiers announced their intention to join NATO. It explores their fears about Russian intervention during the accession process when both states might be vulnerable to attack, their reasons for not originally joining NATO along with neighbours Denmark and Norway in the 1950s and fears that a change in US President might make NATO a less stable long-term bet than it currently appears. Nordic Horizons · NATO, Nordics and Russian Aggression Our speakers – 3 Nordic experts and one Scot discuss opinion polls suggesting most Swedes and Finns want to join NATO and predict whether that will happen. They consider how well Nordic non-alignment has worked for 7...Read More
So many fabulous Nordic performers are appearing at Celtic Connections in January 2020, it seemed a good idea to list them. Each year, Scotland’s largest traditional music festival presents a “showcase Scotland” partnership with a different nation. This year’s it’s Finland … so there are loads of performances featuring Finnish artists playing with top stars of the Scottish Trad Music scene. Get booking folks. Norway Jan 19th 7.30pm Mitchell Theatre Scots fiddler Sarah-Jane Summers is based in Norway, and is reprising Owerset, her New Voices commission that’s themed around Scots and Gaelic words originating in Old Norse. It features a six-piece ensemble on fiddles, trumpet, accordion, guitars and double bass. Sarah-Jane is playing with the fabulous Scots pianist, flautist and composer Hamis...Read More
Danes 1 – Fox News 0 – Event Details Sponsored by the Scottish Government Chair: Lesley Riddoch, Writer & Broadcaster Speaker: Dan Jorgensen MP, Danish Parliament Wednesday 30 January 18.00- 20.00 50 George Square Lecture Theatre Edinburgh University What do you expect MPs to do when a rightwing US TV station slags off their country? Well, Danish MP Dan Jorgensen decided not to get angry, but more than even. His Youtube video riposte to Fox News last year got almost forty million views online. Now he’s coming to Edinburgh to tell MSPs and a Nordic Horizons audience about Denmark’s success in appearing at the top of the Unicef Child Wellbeing Index, the UN’s World Happiness Index and lots of other international league tables for so long. What is Denmark doing right, why is C...Read More