Norway has close historical and cultural links with the rest of Scandinavia. These countries are based on a similar social model (Nordic welfare state), have a similar state-building (centrally organised) and on an international level, often take on similar roles (focussing on, among other things, human rights, gender equality, democratic policy values of open government, the notion of contribution and participation, the environment, etc.).
Although the structural administrative and political bilateral cooperation of Flanders with Scandinavia was previously limited to name only, there is ad hoc communal work based around certain themes (for example recent administrative exchanges and preventing radicalisation). Flanders has deep economic and tourism ties with the Scandinavian countries. Flanders Investment and Trade also has a presence in Norway. The Scandinavian countries are pioneers in the field of education and research. Their public spending is among the highest in the world. Collaboration with Flanders in this area is intense, with Sweden as a clear frontrunner.
The Nordic countries are – along with the Benelux countries – forerunners of regional integration (cooperation in the Nordic Council). On a regional level, Flanders works together with both Danish and Swedish regions within the Vanguard Initiative.