Gamla stan, Stockholm (Image: Adobe)

The Nordic countries have long served as a "realistic utopia" for the left.

The high wages, generous welfare states and forward-thinking social policies of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland have long convinced social democrats that significant change is possible without a violent revolution. Indeed, policies that seem like pipedreams elsewhere have become entirely banal in the far north.

Left-wing politicians such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn frequently invoke Scandinavian policies to rebuke accusations their ideas are too radical.