Nordic culture, with its captivating blend of timeless tradition and modern innovation, is something that has always piqued the interest of people worldwide. It’s not just about the stunning landscapes and picturesque fjords; it’s a way of life. In the heart of the Netherlands, a unique event called Nordic Days brings the spirit of Scandinavia to life, showcasing its diverse facets like travel, living, food & drinks, clothing, and outdoor experiences. This two-day fair offers a glimpse into the enchanting Nordic world, attracting more than 2,900 visitors each year.
A Scandinavian Extravaganza
Nordic Days, held in the charming town of Cuijk, serves as a delightful fusion of all things Scandinavian. The event provides a platform for over 50 exhibitors to showcase and sell their Scandinavian products, from exquisite Nordic design to mouthwatering cuisine. Attendees have the opportunity to explore and purchase authentic Nordic goods, which are renowned for their quality and unique aesthetics.
Workshops and lectures are integral to the Nordic Days experience, as they provide a deeper insight into the various aspects of Scandinavian culture. Participants can engage in interactive sessions, learning about Nordic traditions, food preparation, and even the secrets behind the elegant simplicity of Scandinavian design. These workshops create an immersive experience, allowing visitors to appreciate and understand the Nordic way of life.
The Nordic Talks: A Platform for Knowledge Exchange
Nordic Talks is an annual event closely related to the Nordic Days, but with a different focus. This initiative is a collaboration between the Nordic embassies and the Nordic Chambers of Commerce in the Netherlands, aimed at promoting knowledge sharing and fostering partnerships between Nordic companies and Dutch business partners. Since its inception in 2013, Nordic Talks have addressed a diverse range of topics, including sustainability, circular economy, gender balance, diversity, technology, and artificial intelligence.
The purpose of these talks is to showcase the innovative and progressive aspects of the Nordic region, highlighting its contributions to various fields. By bringing together experts, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders, Nordic Talks facilitate discussions and provide valuable insights into the Nordic way of doing business. In the spirit of international cooperation and partnership, these events offer a valuable platform for companies to learn from each other and create fruitful connections.
Friluftsliv: The Nordic Way of Outdoor Living
In the most recent Nordic Talks event held in Amsterdam on November 1, 2023, experts and researchers from Nordic countries shared valuable insights on “Friluftsliv,” a concept that captures the essence of outdoor living. The term roughly translates to “open-air life” and encompasses the practice of spending time outdoors, engaging with nature, and enjoying various activities in the fresh air. The event emphasized the manifold benefits of incorporating Friluftsliv into daily life.
Scientific studies presented during the event demonstrated the numerous advantages of outdoor recreation, such as increased learning capacity among young people, social inclusion, and personal health improvements. Johan Faskunger from the Swedish Association of Outdoor Organizations highlighted the potential to prevent numerous health issues, stating that “By activating 1,000 adults, we will prevent 10 premature deaths, 20 cases of type 2 diabetes, 50 cases of heart attacks, and 150 cases of high blood pressure.”
Furthermore, the positive impact of outdoor activities on the workplace was underlined. Henrik Olssen from the Danish 80/20 Toolbox coach shared his company’s experience, where introducing a daily half-hour collective outdoor training session led to an 80% increase in profits over recent years. This illustrates how incorporating Friluftsliv practices in the workplace can reduce stress, anxiety, and absenteeism while enhancing team performance.
The Simple Pleasure of Outdoor Activity
One of the key takeaways from the Nordic Talks event was the simplicity of integrating outdoor activities into daily routines. Walking, cycling, or running for at least 30 minutes a day offers substantial health benefits and can be easily achieved in almost any location, including the Netherlands. Even in densely populated areas, green spaces like parks, meadows, and beaches are often just a stone’s throw away, making outdoor activities accessible for all.
A noteworthy piece of advice from Nordic experts is for Dutch municipalities to plan green areas within a 5-kilometer radius of residential and office areas. This approach encourages outdoor activity by ensuring that everyone has easy access to natural spaces. Such planning not only promotes a healthier lifestyle but also contributes to a sustainable future, as individuals who frequently engage in outdoor activities tend to be more environmentally conscious.
Inspiring the Dutch with Friluftsliv
The initiators of the Nordic Talks event, including the Embassies of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as the Chambers of Commerce of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, have a clear mission. They aim to inspire more Dutch people to embrace the Nordic concept of Friluftsliv. The evidence presented during the event supports the idea that incorporating outdoor activities into daily life can lead to a multitude of physical, mental, and even economic benefits.
The rich and diverse Nordic culture, with its unique approach to outdoor living and business innovation, is a source of inspiration and valuable lessons for the Dutch community. By promoting these ideas and experiences, Nordic Talks and Nordic Days continue to serve as bridges between the Netherlands and the Nordic region, fostering cultural exchange, business collaboration, and the adoption of a healthier, more sustainable way of life.