Debate flies over Norwegian culture

Norwegian culture is more than wearing bunads and parading on the 17th of May, and, as Culture Minister Hadia Tajik suggests, is undergoing constant change. PHOTO:

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norwegians have a long and deeply embedded culture of debate. Now a right-wing politician, an admittedly bored journalist and several major media outlets have managed to stir up new debate over Norwegian culture itself. Some view the debate as manufactured and misconstrued, with undertones of pure provocation. It all started last month, when [...]

‘Christian schools OK, not Muslim schools’

Norway’s conservative Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, Frp) wants to make it easier to establish private schools in the country, but not those that would appeal to Muslim students. “It must be allowed to consider the need for integration when screening applications,” Frp’s spokesman on education issues, Tord Lien, told newspaper Aftenposten this week. Establishment of new [...]

Siblings won right to stay in Norway

A brother and sister who emigrated from Pakistan to Norway with their mother when they were just three and four years old finally won the right to reside permanently in Norway this week, from the International Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The high court agree that deportation of Abbas and Fozia Butt, now young [...]

Palace revokes medal to Linstad

Trond Ali Linstad was initially awarded the King's service medal in silver, but the palace revoked it on Thursday after becoming aware of Linstad's controversial published statements that many view as anti-Semitic. PHOTO:

Norway’s Royal Palace announced Thursday afternoon that it was revoking the king’s service medal that it had awarded to Trond Ali Linstad, a converted Norwegian Muslim who has helped further integration of immigrants in Oslo but also is widely viewed as being anti-Semitic. The palace said that Linstad’s own stated views could not be reconciled [...]

‘Nynorsk’ said to boost creativity

Ivar Aasen was the language researcher who formed the basis for "nynorsk." He's viewed as a national hero by some, but blamed by others for making the Norwegian language too complicated and difficult to learn, not least by foreigners who struggle with its various forms. ILLUSTRATION: Olav Rusti/Wikipedia

Learning to write in both of the Norwegian language’s two official forms (bokmål and nynorsk) boosts creativity and helps when learning other languages, a new survey shows. The two forms are different enough to be like learning two separate languages and confer the same benefits as being bilingual. The survey results, however, were only welcomed by [...]

Norwegian firms called ‘racist’

A looming shortage of workers in Norway's offshore industry isn't helped by attitudes that only Norwegians need apply. One leading recruiter sees routine discrimination against foreigners and seniors, although their presence at the larger firms like Statoil is more common. PHOTO: Statoil/Arne Reidar Mortensen

A leading Norwegian headhunter who recruits engineers and other skilled workers for Norwegian oil and oil-service companies says he’s encountered a “shocking” degree of what he calls blatant “racism” among prospective Norwegian employers. Even those in dire need of engineers and other specialists routinely turn down top foreign job candidates. They want Norwegians instead. Erik [...]

Immigrant employment ‘misleading’

Human Rights Service (HRS), an Oslo-based foundation that studies immigration and integration, is accusing the Norwegian government of presenting a misleading picture of immigrant employment levels in Norway. HRS claims that full-time employment among those from countries outside western Europe and North America is much lower than officially portrayed. Only 57 percent of those described [...]

OSCE scolds Norway for intolerance

The OSSE delegation reacted most to a survey by Norway's Holocaust Center on Bygdøy, which works to build knowledge of genocide and discrimination and was itself funded by the state as part of wartime reparations, when most of Norway's Jews were sent to Nazi concentration camps and never returned. PHOTO: HL-senteret

The UN ad hoc organization OSCE, charged with trying to head off and resolve conflicts in Europe, has criticized Norwegian officials for failing to address alleged intolerance towards Muslims and Jews in Norway. News of the criticism came just as Norway planned to file a formal protest against Israel for arresting four Norwegians as they [...]

Concerns rise over Norwegians fighting in Syria

Norwegian authorities believe at least seven and possibly as many as 100 Norwegian citizens have headed to Syria to take part in its ongoing civil war. They fear, as do many parents of young Muslim men with sympathy for the opposition forces in Syria, that they’ll be more radical when they return. Lt Gen Kjell [...]

Immigrants gain more acceptance

There was a marked increase in ethnic diversity at this year's 17th of May parade in Oslo, and among cheering spectators. Along with Norwegian "bunader" were more Scottish kilts, head scarves, turbans and even Swedish folk costumes. PHOTO: Views and News

There was a marked increase in the numbers of immigrants taking part in last month’s 17th of May celebrations in Oslo, and a new survey helps explain why. Many are feeling more accepted and included, especially since the terrorist attacks of July 22, while the survey shows that more Norwegians are now less critical to [...]