One very interesting area for stamp collecting is Scandinavian philately, sometimes referred to as Nordic philately. Scandinavian countries have a history of issuing high-quality postage stamps and, unlike many other areas, the number of stamps issued by Nordic countries is reasonably restrained.
So . . . what countries, exactly, are we talking about? According to most scholarly resources, the Nordic Region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The American Philatelic Society generally agrees with this definition for the area of Scandinavia; no separate mention is made of the Faroe Islands or Åland, probably because the Faroes are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark and Åland is an autonomous region of Finland (whose official language is - surprisingly - Swedish).
One can, of course, collect postage stamps from all of the Scandinavian countries, or focus on a single country.
Let’s start with Sweden. One can learn a great deal about Swedish history through Sweden’s postage stamps, and the more collectible items from this country usually perform quite well at auction.
Danish philately could keep a collector involved and busy for at least one lifetime. The early stamps of Denmark have a number of plate and shade varieties, and there are also early vending booklets and booklet panes to search for.
Norway? Norwegians – just like all the other citizens of Nordic countries – have made significant contributions to the world in areas like science, exploration (think Roald Amundsen), literature, music (Edvard Grieg), and art, and the stamps of Norway reflect that proud history. Another intriguing avenue open to the collector of Norwegian postage stamps would be the stamps issued during Germany’s occupation of Norway in World War II.
Finnish stamps are known for their quality printing and beautiful designs. And yet . . . Frankly, there isn’t as much interest in the stamps of Finland as there seems to be in the stamps of other Scandinavian countries. This might mean that it’s a great area to collect, because there’s less competition, at least for now.
The same can be said for the stamps of Iceland and Greenland – beautifully designed, quality stamps, with less competition except for the most highly-sought items, although of course Iceland and Greenland are much smaller countries than Finland.
Whether you wish to focus on one country and one time period or have a larger, more general collection of Scandinavian postage stamps, you’ll soon find that this area of philately is immensely rewarding.