Scandinavia: A Surprising Eco-Friendly Destination

Scandinavia: land of reindeer, dog sledding, and the northern lights. But that’s not all (how could it be?) Politically combined as three culturally similar countries – Denmark, Sweden and Norway – Scandinavia is a region of clean living environmentalism, where politicians are helping the eco-survival of the area by implementing policies and initiatives to improve the living conditions of future generations.

No one is left out. Since 2011, all three countries have activated political strategies that encourage economic growth through the development and subsequent export of environmental ‘green’ technologies to the rest of the world. Everyone can win, is the message.

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Photo Credit: Creative Commons

What’s a ‘green’ technology and how can it help?

Technology is defined as the application of knowledge for practical gain. Green refers to the use of this application to improve the environment’s lot, whether by reducing the impact humanity has on the planet, or increasing our sustainability into the unforeseeable future.

What does that mean in English?

One thing it means is sustainable, pesticide-low, urban agriculture, such as Sweden’s Vertical Greenhouses. Instead of the urban sprawl infringing on the green belt, the tables have turned, and agriculture is springing up within city limits. The Swedish company, Plantagon, has created beautiful, spherical greenhouses taking up a relatively small ground area, and if implemented on a large scale, would enable cities to feed themselves indefinitely. No air miles. No reliance on imports. Proper sustainability.

Norway’s specialism in renewable energy also counts as green technology. About 99% of the entire country’s power production is created through hydropower, thanks to its abundance of waterfalls and glaciers, and this has enabled it to stay away from energy production involving nuclear and fossil fuels.

How are these countries successfully implementing this kind of strategy?

Take Denmark for example. Not only is it coming up with technologies like integrated water resource management, which involves the rehabilitation of wastewater treatment plants and improvement of groundwater quality; it’s also created the Innovation Council, which aims to enable the country to export (i.e. sell) its ideas, so that now most of Eastern Europe has cleaner groundwater, not just Denmark.

So is Scandinavia a great place to visit?

It sure is! Visitors to the region who care about the environment will find that they are able to take a vacation that doesn’t weigh heavily on the conscience. From dog sledding on the Arctic tundra, to kayaking along Norwegian waterways, or hiking or pony trekking in impossibly high mountains, there are hundreds of holidays that won’t kill the earth.

Scandinavia also offers its visitors eco-friendly accommodations.  As a bonus there are some cheap hotel deals available if visitors are on a tight budget. There are also hotels which have environmentally friendly certifications, such as the Axel Hotel Guldsmeden on Helgolandsgade in Copenhagen, which is a boutique hotel which offers organic food and organically grown cotton toweling and bed linen; or the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers that packages its bathroom amenities in compostable plastics and offers all its information via the television to eliminate its use of paper.

Visitors can also stay in amazing novelty locations, such as Sweden’s Ice Hotels. One of these is Jukkasjarvi’s Ice Hotel, an annually renewed ice carving of a fully working 3* hotel on the River Torne in Sweden.

There are log cabins for both summer and winter, and of course, there is always the most environmentally friendly accommodation: the tent, for the real die-hard environmentalist vacationers out there.