Mainly nationality i think, probably - paradoxically enough - enhanced by the fact that I went to international school for the last two years of high school.
Before that, I wasn’t all that interested in Scandinavia and thought all the Norwegians were too focused on Norwegian stuff and should be more focused on the big and important international things instead. I mean why should half of what we learned about WWII be about Nazi-occupied Norway when people all over the world were actually fighting?
Being a not very nationalistic person who also wanted more academical challenges, I took the IB Diploma Programme, including the subject History HL. It was also around this time I joined tumblr and spendt a lot of time on “international” social media in general.
In school, we also had to research and write this 4000 word essay in a subject and topic of our choosing. I chose to do it in history but had an awful lot of trouble finding a topic. At last i ended up on the wikipedia article about scandinavism, and being the kind of girl who would say things like “i think Norway and Sweden should go back into that union” when discussing politics, I understood that this was the topic for me. and so I spendt the whole summer of 2013 writing an essay. I ended up getting a B on it i think.
We also had to write a shorter essay in history. I had by then become rather interested in scandinavian history, and wanted especially to learn more about Sweden. Having gone to school in Norway, I already had a general outline of Norwegian history, while Sweden I knew very little about. Considering I was planning to move to this country, I fealt i really should know a bit about the history. And so I wrote a really shitty essay about the Great Northern War that somehow still got a 6.
So i would say that the very international perspective I found myself in made me more interested in learning about “my own” history, which I suddenly saw very little of. It was also around this time i realised that it is indeed possible to read history on your own apart from school, and I actually started googling a lot of stuff in order to make Hetalia fanart.
I guess I like sweden in particular because it has a history that variates a lot, and unlike norway it has actually played a role in some of the bigger events as well. There’s the country breaking away from the kalmar union in 1523 and then slowly working its way up, the swedish empire in the 17th century, then the age of liberty with more parliamentarism, until Gustav III’s coup d’etat and the return to absolutism etc.
I’m actually not sure why or when I started liking Charles XII, though in early summer of 2013 I was googling reference images for this hetalia fancomic panel
and thought the Carolean uniforms were pretty much the coolest thing ever (“I want one”). I knew who Charles XII was way before that though. Maybe I always thought he was cool, or maybe I just decided to like him because he had a cool army, I don’t know.