Lands of the Midnight Sun

By Lawrence Cummins

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    Obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries (D&C 93:53).

    Norway, Sweden, Finland

    Here in words and pictures are some interesting things that you might not know about these northern European lands and people.

    Scandinavia includes the countries of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. If you also include Finland and Iceland, the five countries together are called Norden.

    The word Suomi means Finland in Finnish.

    In 1906 the Gjoa, piloted by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, was the first ship to thread its way through the Northwest Passage.

    The once-busy ropery in Turku is said to be the longest wooden building in Finland.

    This wooden stav church in Oslo, Norway, was built in the 1000s. Some of its architectural features show an Oriental influence.

    In the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” which is north of the Arctic Circle, the sun shines twenty-four hours a day for a number of days every summer. But it doesn’t shine at all there during a part of every winter.

    Lapland is so named because of the Lapp people who have lived in that area since long before the Finns arrived about A.D. 100. It is not a country, however, but a geographical area that extends across the northernmost regions of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia.

    Taking a Finnish sauna bath is a thousand-year-old custom.

    There are more than 60,000 lakes in Finland.

    Gustave E. Pasch, a Swedish chemist, invented the safety match in 1844.

    The Stockholm Temple in Vasterhaninge, Sweden, was built on an ancient Viking burial ground.

    It is believed that the first meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built in Scandinavia is located in Trondheim, Norway.

    It has been estimated that if the jagged coastline of Norway were stretched out into a straight line, it would reach around the equator one and a quarter times.

    Oslo stav church. Roald Amundsen and the Gjoa. Swedish candle holder. Stockholm Temple. Safety matches invented in Sweden. Flower market in Turku. (Photos by Richard Romney and Lawrence Cummins.)