PODCAST; Finland – the future is cooperative

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.

New – The Nordic Horizons Explainer Podcast

It’s twelve years since Dan Wynn and Lesley Riddoch set up a think tank to focus on the policy successes of Scotland’s Nordic neighbours. Since then, Nordic Horizons has organised almost 70 meetings – most of them in person until the pandemic lockdown in 2020. Now Nordic Horizons meets online – less disruption and travel for speakers and more access for Scots living outside Edinburgh. We’re also producing monthly podcasts of recent events and edited versions of some ‘Golden Oldies’ – including a talk about Norway’s education system where children attend kindergarten (often outdoor) until the age of six – a school starting age the SNP conference is set to discuss in October 2022. It seems many lessons learned over the past decade a...Read More

Grateful for the mention

The Scottish Government has released a detailed policy document .  We, at Nordic Horizons, are delighted to see this vision from the Scottish Government of closer practical cooperation and collaboration with our northern neighbours. It is also gratifying to see mention of our efforts in shaping some of the thinking by providing the opportunity for speakers. Without going all Oscar acceptance speech here, it is a team effort and we are grateful for the support of so many ; event audiences, academics, social media followers, civil servants, and everyone else to make the events happen. Thanks again. Here is the full press release.

People Sized Democracy – the digital notes

This was a very special event for Nordic Horizons. It was the first after the sad death of our great friend and Nordic Horizons champion, Paddy Bort. The night was special and we hope you find the recording of this gathering to be informative and educational. It was.   We have a variety of materials from the event, including a short interview with our main speaker , Frode Lindtvedt. There are his slides and a full recording, in both video and audio, of the whole event. We would encourage you to share these items as widely as possible. Thanks. Download People Sized Democracy – Lessons from Norway – the presentation. Here is the short interview with Frode Lindtvedt. Here is the recording, courtesy of Democracy TV of the whole event. And finally there is an audio recording of...Read More


This is a new publication from the Nordic Horizons team of Lesley Riddoch and the late Paddy Bort. It is a an interesting synopsis of a Nordic Horizons symposium from earlier this year. With a stellar cast of contributors, this short volume is both informative and provocative –  download additional details here.

Livestream – Cooperation in Finland

If you are unable to attend the next Nordic Horizon's event; there will be a Live Stream available from the event. The link is here and the event is 'live' from 6.00 pm.

Joining instructions/ticket details – 23 Feb

You can now book tickets for the "Co-operation in Finland" event via Eventbrite here .

First meeting of 2016 announced

"Co-operation in Finland" will be the topic of the next Cross Party Group on Co-operatives in conjunction with Nordic Horizons on Tuesday 23 February at 6pm in the Scottish Parliament, sponsored by Willie Coffey MSP. The speaker is Kari Huhtala, Director of co-operation with Pellervo, the Finnish co-op trade association. Kari will discuss the scale of Finland's 5,000 co-operatives across traditional agriculture, retail and banking sectors as well as the new wave of co-op start-ups as a response to the economic depression of the 90's.' Details of how to apply for tickets will be given here shortly. Tickets will be made available via Eventbrite; so watch this space, our Facebook group and follow us, @nordichorizons on Twitter.

Live streaming announced for ‘Nuturing Nature’ – December 1st

Livestream by @demTVscot for @Nordichorizons Norwegian & Highland land use gig  'Nuturing Nature'. Click here on Dec 1 at 6pm.

A Swedish Model for Scottish private rented sector

A ‘Swedish Model’ for the Scottish private rented sector?  November 4th 2015 6pm Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR  Mariell Juhlin, Head of National Policy and Analysis Unit at the Swedish Union of Tenants The state of the private rented sector in Scotland is a hot topic, largely focused around high rents. The average Scottish tenant spends 25 per cent of their income on housing costs. This compares to 18 per cent of social tenants, and 11 per cent for owner-occupiers with a mortgage.  The Scottish Government is committed to significant reform of the private rented sector this year, and it seems likely better protection against eviction and rent regulation are on the cards.  Tenants and housing charities are generally very supportive...Read More

A Swedish Model for Scottish private rented sector – meeting notes

Here are all the meeting notes for the event; “A Swedish Model for the Scottish private rented sector. We have included an audio recording of the entire meeting divided into sections, a copy of Mariell Juhlin’s presentation ; which you can download here and , finally we have included a short video interview with Mariell about the Swedish Union of Tenants.

Opening Doors

Opening Doors; the urban revolution in Denmark Thursday September 24th 2015, 6pmSpeakers: Jesper Koefoed-Melson and Sara Melson of GivRumChair: Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster & writer Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High Street, Edinburgh   Sponsored by the Scottish Government   An abandoned paint factory in Copenhagen is transformed into a bike shop, wood workshop, gallery, shared office space, circus group space, textile printing studio, ceramics workshop, photography studio, an urban garden and a publishing house. This is only one example of a revolutionary trend to hit Danish cities following the financial crisis; the creative use of empty buildings.  The non-profit organisation GivRum involves Danish civil society, the public sector (i...Read More

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