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Scandinavia - Expo Osaka 1970

Scandinavia at the Exhibition Expo Osaka 1970
© Expo'70

Two views of man's industrialised world, the one that could be and the one that can be, are given in their common pavilion by the five Northern European countries, commonly known as Scandinavia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

"Environmental protection in an industrialised society" was the theme. Man's use and misuse of his world was the topic. A challenge to become aware of our problems on the future of life on our planet was the message.

The exhibition hall of the pavilion was divided in two. One half was positive, a visualisation of what our environment could be like in a well-industrialised society. The other shows presented what is and could become our life with unbridled industry leading to increased air, water and soil pollution, as well as noise and urban concentration, and culminating in the extreme: the total destruction of life.

More than a hundred projectors were projecting pictures (about 5000) with random sequences. The visitors were actually part of the exhibition: the images projected by the ceiling projectors were not on the floor but on the heads and clothes of those walking through the room. The hosts had small square fans to catch these vertical messages. Special sound effects emerged from the floor to surround the viewer. At the exit, a giant screen summarised the great potential of our world.

The realisation of an adequate environment in the modern world will require regional and global cooperation that transcends nationalistic boundaries and desires. In short, harmony, which was the theme of the Expo.

The Scandinavian countries showed that this was possible. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden had been co-operating for many years in many areas where it was obvious that no national borders should exist. The pavilion was such a project. No part of the exhibition refers to any particular country in Scandinavia. All administrative, technical and artistic work had been freely shared by all five.

You could, however, get data at an information desk about any of the five countries. And for Scandinavian food in all its variety, there was the Royal Viking Restaurant.


Denmark is a country with an extremely high level of education and culture, and the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the fairy tale writer, philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and composer Carl Nielsen.

Due to a well-developed welfare system, in which one third of the annual budget is set aside for social security expenditure, education is highly developed.

Denmark is also world-renowned for theoretical physics and for its unique method of physical education.

Denmark occupies most of the Jutland peninsula, and adjacent islands in the Baltic and North Seas. Including Greenland and the Faroe Islands, it has 2277,000 square kilometres with a population of nearly 5 million.

Denmark's climate is mild for the country's latitude.
The Kingdom of Denmark is well known for its considerable production and export of many different types of foodstuffs.

However, in the last decade, Denmark's economic focus has shifted from agriculture to industry, and Danish industrial products and technical know-how now enjoy a high reputation worldwide.
Denmark is also famous for its uniquely designed furniture and handicrafts.


With an area of 337032 km2, one third of which is in the Arctic area, FINLAND is larger than Great Britain, yet contains only 4 million people. Most of them live in the southern and central parts, the area covered by the huge pine, spruce and birch forest and dotted with thousands of lakes. The northernmost part, Lapland, is a land of the midnight sun.

Finland is a sovereign republic with an Old Norse heritage of democracy and culture. The separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers is strictly respected.
Finland is a member of the United Nations and is present in the Security Council. It has good relations with all its neighbours. Its foreign policy is one of strict neutrality and staying out of all international conflicts.

Foreign trade is important for Finland and wood processing accounts for 60% of industry exports, the remainder being mainly metal manufacturing. Finnish paper machines, glass and textiles have made a name for themselves in the world.

The Finns live in warm houses, and many have summer cottages or saunas. They are enthusiastic about sport, some of them being world famous. The Finns have gained fame perhaps even more in music, for example, the composers Jean Sibelius and Oskari Merikanto.


Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic, half the size of mainland Japan, with less than 200,000 people. Yet it is the cradle of modern democracy.

A republic, Iceland has operated a democratic parliament since the year 930, over 1000 years, and Icelanders are proud of their political system.

Iceland is located in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Greenland and Norway.

It is covered in lava with plateaus of nearly 100 volcanoes. Mt Hekla last erupted in 1947. But the volcanoes bring their advantages: hot springs are used for heating whole cities. The average in January is -1°C, thanks to the moderating effect of the Gulf Stream.

Harsh natural conditions seriously hamper the Icelanders' agriculture and manufacturing, so they rely primarily on fishing. During the cod season, trawlers from all over Europe patrol Icelandic waters. Iceland caught 1238400 tons in 1966 and much of it was exported, mainly to countries in the southern part of Europe.

No Icelanders are illiterate, due to the school system since primary school. There are many libraries and an inordinate number of newspapers and magazines are published. Despite participation in NATO, Iceland is completely demilitarised, but with patrol boats to protect fishermen.


Norway, with a third of its 386,000 square kilometres in the Arctic, is a land of midnight sun in summer. But winter nights become long and dark.

Only 3.3% of the land is arable, yet agriculture is so developed that many of its products are exported, including 6,000 tonnes of cheese to Japan each year. Pulp and other forest products account for 20% of exports. Iron and pyrite are mineral resources.
Norway's 38 million people consume by far more electricity per capita than anyone else; hydroelectric power is the basis for the large aluminium, ferro-alloy, magnesium and fertilizer industries.

Norway is a country of the sea. Whaling originates from towns at the mouth of the Oslo Fjord. Norway's annual catches of cod, herring and sardines are the highest in Europe. And shipping is Norway's main industry, making it one of the world's leading maritime nations.

With an extensive welfare system, up to a quarter of Norway's annual budget is used for social security, strengthening enterprising Norwegians and energetic minds. Examples of this? Henrik Ibsen, the poet and playwright; composer Edvard Grieg; Edvard Munch, the painter; Bjørnson, the patriotic poet; polar explorers Nansen and Amundsen, and Thor Heyerdahl of Kon-Tiki fame.


Sweden, with a population of 8 million and an area of almost 450,000 square kilometres, is the largest country in Northern Europe.

The country is rich in forests. Its iron resources alone are numerous and renowned for their high quality. The forestry industry boasts the world's highest volume of trees felled each year, 56 million cubic metres. Sweden also has a large number of hydroelectric power stations.
Machinery, including heavy electrical equipment, is today the largest industrial sector in the country.

The mechanical and electrical industries contribute more than one third of the total value added in all Swedish manufacturing industries.
These industries also account for more than 40% of Swedish exports.

Sweden is known for its consistent foreign policy of non-alignment and was neutral in two world wars. The standard of living in the country is high, with the national income per capita being the second highest in the world after the USA, providing Sweden with "cradle to grave" security.

Sweden has produced famous scientists, such as Carl von Linnaeus, the "father of modern systematic botany", and Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the prize that bears his name.