The Nordic countries are among the most affluent in the world, and represent a stabil and well-functioning part of a changing Europe.

"The Nordic countries" is the historical and geographical name of the area consisting og Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The area has over 26 million inhabitants in total and an area of around 3,5 million square kilometres. Combined, the Nordic economy equals those of Russia and Spain. The Nordic countries have a long history as a cultural community, for example expressed through the establishment of the Nordic Council in 1959 and the Nordic Council of Ministers in 1971. The countries operate as a coordinated political block in many international contexts, and they are affiliated with the Nordic Passport Union, the Council of Europe, the EEA, the UN, and the Schengen Treaty. However, while Norway, Denmark and Iceland are members of NATO, Finland and Sweden are not. And similarly, while Denmark, Sweden and Finland are members of the European Union, Iceland and Norway are not.

Nordic cooperation on foreign and security policy is the core in NUPI's research on Nordic issues. Important questions are how the Nordic countries' different alliance policies affect their ability to cooperate in practice, and what possibilities the Nordic countries have as a block in international politics.