Annual Easter exodus gets underway

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The annual Easter exodus from Norwegian cities started on Friday but it may not be as extensive as in earlier years. Warm weather in recent weeks has resulted in a lack of snow for traditional spring skiing in the mountains, and there was lots on tap for those staying in Oslo.

State railway NSB was maintaining tradition and boosting train capacity during the Easter week, especially on its popular "Bergensbanen" line shown here. PHOTO: NSB / Rune Fossum

The week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday is known as den stille uken (the quiet week), because of Norway’s unusually long string of official Easter holidays. Schools, state and city offices, most businesses, stores and even many restaurants close from Thursday through Monday next week, leaving only Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as “normal” workdays. And many businesses shut down then as well, so most Norwegians have become accustomed to a full week off plus the day after Easter. Many won’t head back to work or school this year until Tuesday April 10.

Some even took a jump start on the Easter holiday period, leaving town earlier this week and taking a long holiday while only having to use a minimum of vacation days. The airports have been busy and state railway NSB was, as usual, adding extra trains throughout the Easter period to boost seating capacity by 15,725.

Most of the extra departures were on the Bergensbanen line over the mountains between Oslo and Bergen, which was boosting capacity by 4,450 seats. The busiest days were expected to be over the Palm Sunday weekend and on Wednesday, April 4, just before the official holidays begin.

Black Metal in the capital
While thousands would be leaving Oslo, thousands more were arriving for the annual Inferno festival, a Black Metal music extravaganza that was due to run from April 4-7 but already had some events underway with the opening of an exhibition at the relatively new Popsenteret in Oslo’s Grünerløkka district.

Black Metal music has emerged as one of Norway’s major exports, with fans arriving from as far away as Singapore and Japan to listen to top Norwegian bands playing at various venues all over town. The Inferno festival also offers guided tours of Black Metal landmarks around town. The exhibit at Popsenteret traces the history of pioneers within Norwegian Black Metal.

In Hamar, thousands of youth were also due to attend the annual “Gathering,” a marathon meeting of computer fans at the former Olympic speed skating arena. Several museums were also planning to stay open through the entire Easter holidays in Oslo as well, including the Technical Museum at Kjelsås, the Munch Museum and the Norwegian Folk Museum on Bygdøy.

While many restaurants were taking a break during the Easter week, most were due to be open at the popular Aker Brygge complex on Oslo’s waterfront. Several cinemas were staying open too.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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