I enjoy taking free online courses, not necessarily with any end goal in mind, but just for the sake of learning new things. Over the last couple of years, I’ve taken everything my local public library offers that I’m interested in and now I’ve moved on to Coursera in my search for interesting courses to take. On Coursera, you have to pay if you want a certificate out of it, but if you don’t care about that you can enroll for free (this may vary by course; I’m only going by the ones I’ve enrolled in so far). I’ve been taking an introductory course in Linguistics for a few weeks already. But I was beside myself with joy today when I discovered the course Scandinavian Film and Television from the University of Copenhagen! I enrolled immediately!

If you’re interested in Nordic cuisine, Coursera also offers The New Nordic Diet – from Gastronomy to Health, also from the University of Copenhagen. And for environmentalists, there’s Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia from Lund University.

I have also been learning Norwegian on Duolingo for the past couple of months. A friend told me about the site and I love it! The game-style format makes learning easy. One of the reasons I’m learning Norwegian is so that I can watch Norwegian TV shows online even if they don’t have English subtitles, such as 4-Stjerners Middag and Himmelblå. After I feel I have a good foundation in Norwegian I will start learning Swedish.

As a side note, I took two years of French in school but thought I’d forgotten most of it, so while on Duolingo I took a look at their French lessons to see if any of it would come back to me. It turns out I remember far more than I realized and I’ve been breezing through the lessons. But I find that I don’t really care for the French language. It’s easy for me, but I don’t enjoy it. On the other hand, Norwegian is more difficult for me, and sometimes I feel like my brain is at capacity and I can’t possibly cram in any new vocabulary, but I love the language so much that I look forward to my lessons each day. I am progressing slowly but surely.

If anyone knows of any other sources for online courses (in English, and preferably free!) from or about Scandinavia, please share in the comments.


Ystad and Wallander

I love Wallander, in all his incarnations: Book character, Swedish TV show character, even British TV show character. He has a certain melancholy quality that reminds me of my dad.

I would love to visit Wallander’s hometown Ystad. Some of my ancestors lived in Kristianstad, which isn’t too far away (about an hour and 10 minutes by car, according to Google), so someday when I’m richer, God willing, I will plan a trip that includes both towns.

On the Kurt Wallander trail in Ystad, Sweden – The Independent

Slow TV

I am a fan of Norway’s slow TV, defined on Wikipedia as “a genre of live ‘marathon’ television coverage of an ordinary event in its complete length. Its name is derived both from the long endurance of the broadcast as well as from the natural slow pace of the television program’s progress.”

Hurtigruten - A 134-hour voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes


Click the above photo for “Hurtigruten – A 134-hour voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes” on

This is something I find very appealing. I don’t think it would go over well here in Canada, however. If I may make a sweeping generalization, Canadians seem to have shorter attention spans and require faster-paced, more stimulating content to stay interested. I am not a typical Canadian, in more ways than one. I don’t like hockey, I don’t like maple syrup, and when it comes to stimulation, I find that everyday life provides more than enough for me. I tend to seek things to soothe and calm myself, and slow TV is right up my alley. I sometimes turn the sound down and put on my own music playlist, then tune out my surroundings and get absorbed in the scenery.

A good way to find more of this type of content is to go to YouTube and search “minutt for minutt.”