The Nordic countries are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic. It consists of five countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, as well as their autonomous regions: the Åland Islands, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, language and social structure. The Nordic countries are top performers in numerous metrics of national performance.
At 3 426 000 square kilometers, the Nordic countries form the seventh largest area in the world. More than fifty percent of this area is uninhabitable and formed by icecaps and glaciers, mostly in Greenland. Combined population is around 26 million people.
The North Germanic languages Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are considered mutually understandable. Faroese and Icelandic belong to the North Germanic branch of the Indo-European language group. Finnic and Sami belong to the Uralic languages, spoken in Finland and in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland. Greenlandic, an Eskimo–Aleut language, is spoken in Greenland.
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. Scandinavian Peninsula on the other hand covers mainland Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.