The Nordic countries comprise a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe (Scandinavia) and the North Atlantic. The word Nordic come from the word Norden meaning "north" and includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands, the Aland Islands and the Svalbard and Jan Mayen archipelagos.
Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, but that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.
Scandinavians, who comprise over three quarters of the region's population, are the largest group, followed by Finns, who comprise the majority in Finland; other groups are indigenous minorities such as the Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people, and recent immigrants and their descendants.
The native languages Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese are all North Germanic languages rooted in Old Norse. Native non-Germanic languages are Finnish, Greenlandic and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity.
The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. The Nordic countries have a long history of political unions and other close relations, but do not form a separate entity today.
The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century, with the independence of Finland in the early 20th century, and Iceland in the mid 20th century, this movement expanded into the modern organized Nordic cooperation which includes the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers.
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