My ancestors emigrated from Sweden, close enough to the Norwegian border as to have my mother speculate that we might be part Norwegian. She never explained the difference and so I grew up thinking the two nationalities were more or less peas in a pod, though in fact there are pronounced differences.
This was pointed out to me a while back by someone who frequents this site. I had written about the Norwegian mini-series Occupied, remarking that there was a martial aspect to the show that I did not associate with the placid land of my ancestors. He pointed to the different historical circumstances of the two countries, including their conflicts with one another.
You can see some of those changes playing out today, in the different ways the two countries (the people more than the elites) consider the question of mass migration. I also watch a lot of Scandinavian mini-series and films and you can pick up some of the differences there, too.
Consider the film In Order of Disappearance. It is a Norwegian film, directed by Hans Petter Moland. The film concerns the troubles that fall upon Nils–a Norwegian in the film but played by the well-known Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgård.
Nils is an honorable and self-effacing man who dutifully plows the snow and keeps the roads clear in the mountains of Norway. His son is killed after getting caught up in drug trafficking by Serbians and Nils is pitched into a new, harder way of being. The plot, then, deals with the potential downsides of immigration, something that tends to be avoided in Nordic Noir, especially from Sweden.
Here is Moland discussing the film in the special features section of the DVD. Note he is quite straightforward about the problem of Serbian crime and culture in Norway. The Norwegian speaks:
What does a society do that is benign, innocent, that is completely unprepared for dealing with organized crime, and the cynicism and the harshness of someone who is so used to destroying other human beings?
And now on to Skarsgård, the Swede.
It’s a big mistake when you divide the world into good guys and bad guys because we are all capable of the worst . . .
Glasses can be half empty or half full.