Norwegian National Ballet: The Nutcracker (various dates in December)

For many, it’s the opening notes of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker that mean that Christmas is finally here. The production at the beautiful Oslo opera building is set in Christiania in 1905. Impressive jumps and turns, cute little ballet schoolers, drama and that magical spirit of Christmas are all guaranteed.

Kirsten Flagstads pl. 1, Oslo

Christmas with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra (21 December)

If you’re feeling slightly frazzled by Christmas stress or simply need a break from shopping presents, a Christmas carol or two will surely refresh your spirits. The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra delivers classics from White Christmas to The Christmas Song in a concert in the architecturally stunning Musikkens Hus.

Musikkens Plads 1, Aalborg

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. Photo: Ulla Jensen

The NK Christmas Window Display (until 31 December)

What would Christmas be without the traditional department store window displays? One of the most traditional and beautiful can be found in central Stockholm’s classy NK, where Father Christmas himself will make an appearance for the window opening on 11 December.

Hamngatan 18–20, Stockholm

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

The NK can be trusted to deliver another Christmas window display. Photo: Dan Sjunnesson

Peder Balke:The Spell of the Arctic (until 14 January 2024)

Inspired by his trip to Northern Scandinavia in the 1830s, Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804-1887) set off to capture the dramatic and romantic scenes on canvas. The Sinebrychoff Art Museum presents a great opportunity to see them in this most noteworthy exhibition of his work outside Norway to date.

Bulevardi 40, Helsinki

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

Peder Balke: Nordkapp (1848). Photo: Morten Heden Aamot / The Gundersen Collection

Pentti Sammallahti: The Two of Us (until 25 February 2024)

The public asked for it, and the Finnish Museum of Photography delivers: an exhibition of works by Pentti Sammallahti (b. 1950), one of the first to have an artistic career in photography in Finland. The Two of Us features 200 shots of duos of different kinds, from animals to lovers, from the 1960s to today, all with a touch of gentle humour. The exhibition is set up in the museum’s Kämp Galleria space, called K1, in central Helsinki.

Mikonkatu 1, Helsinki

Strindberg vs. Youssef (until 31 December 2024)

Swedish artist Daniel Youssef (b. 1975) has taken author August Strindberg’s novel Inferno and painting The Wave as starting points for his new work, exhibited in Stockholm’s Nordiska museet. Strindberg was in fact friends with the museum’s founder, Artur Hazelius, which explains its large collection of his paintings and other objects. Youssef has used technology — Google Translate — to explore Strindberg’s language in his striking artworks.

Djurgårdsvägen 6–16, Stockholm

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

Artist Daniel Youssef at Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. Photo: Emil Fagander, Nordiska Museet

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

¡Viva México! at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm. Photo: Frederik Trovatten

¡Viva México! (until 31 January 2025)

When it’s pitch black and slushy outside, what you need is a little trip to the heat and spice of Mexico. This is what the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm can provide, with only the price of an admission and zero carbon emissions. ¡Viva México! explores the colourful past and traditions, touching on both tragedy and resilience, of this Latin American country.

Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 34, Stockholm

Scandinavian Culture Calendar: December 2023

Viva México! at the Museum of Ethnography in Stockholm. Photo: Frederik Trovatten

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