Scandinavia, historically Scandia, part of northern Europe, is generally held to consist of the two countries of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Norway and Sweden, with the addition of Denmark. Some authorities argue for the inclusion of Finland on geologic and economic grounds and of Iceland and the Faroe Islands on the grounds that their inhabitants speak North Germanic (or Scandinavian) languages related to those of Norway and Sweden.
The term Norden has also come into use to denote Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, a group of countries having affinities with one another and a distinctness from the rest of continental Europe. Among their distinguishing characteristics are thinly populated northern regions, a relative wealth of fish resources, long life expectancies, and high levels of literacy.
Despite of a large welfare state and high taxes, the Scandinavian countries are considered to have strong economies.
- Main article: Scandinavia and the social state