The Nordic countries are often praised for their efforts in development assistance and commended for their generosity. Over the last few decades the Nordic countries and the Netherlands have consistently been among the most generous donors. What is it that makes them more generous and seemingly less selfish than most other donor countries? Are they so much more altruistic than most other donors? In all the Nordic countries, the modes and ways of dealing with aid are in the process of undergoing substantial changes, both in terms of how the donors organise their activities and how aid is delivered. This study aims to understand and explain the Nordic countries' aid policies and practices. It elaborates on the main underpinnings of their aid policies, how they are shaped and how they have been transformed into practice at the more general level. The study focuses on recent and current developments, but includes a brief outline of the historical background. A field report from the Nordic countries' operations in Tanzania is also included. The study was commissioned by JBIC Institute JAPAN BANK FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION.