Scandinavia

Scandinavia
2 records
Although deeply influential, the Arts and Crafts movement had a different emphasis in the Scandinavian countries. Uneasiness about the effects of modernity was pervasive at the turn of the last century, but the ambivalence (and often repugnance) felt by British reformers toward their highly industrialized society was not fully experienced in places like Scandinavia, where traditional farming society continued. Here, the issue of national identity was most important. In its service, Romantic Nationalists in Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Sweden adopted the movement’s moral aesthetics, adherence to regionalism, and glorification of “the simple life” and the handmade.

Norway had been in the shadow of Denmark until 1814, when the country became a subordinate partner in a union with Sweden. Finland had also been tied to Sweden but was ceded to Russia in 1809. Its relative autonomy under the Czar was curtailed at the end of the century, adding another spur to an already burgeoning nationalism. Losses of territory triggered periods of self-examination in Denmark and Sweden, but the search for national identity was always greater in the countries engaged in freeing themselves from the political control of another. National consciousness was a real issue in Denmark and Sweden too, but they were more concerned with improving industrial production and competing in international markets.

- Wendy Kaplan (2005)