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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Trøndelag merger strikes a chord

SEE THE VIDEO: At a time when tempers are flaring and conflicts abound over state-ordered county and municipal mergers, at least one has proceeded with a fair degree of harmony. So much harmony, in fact, that county officials in the newly merged Trøndelag invested in a new song and video aimed at stirring up a new sense of regional pride and patriotism.

The video was catching lots of attention all over the country, and some rave reviews from otherwise jaded journalists who cover both culture and politics. It was released just as drama over a controversial forced merger between the counties of Finnmark and Trom reached fever pitch, and suggests that it can be possible to get along and create a new joint identity:

Trønder from Trøndelag fylkeskommune on Vimeo.

The video, the title of which translates to “We create history,” was commissioned by the newly merged fylker (counties) of North- and South Trøndelag into one bigger county simply called “Trøndelag.” Its main city of Trondheim remains at the center of the new county and residents are urged to sing along that “We are Trønder (citizens of Trøndelag).”

The video features several local and national celebrities who hail from the region, including businessman Idar Vollvik, skiing star Petter Northug and musicians Bjarne Brøndbo of the band DDE and Ulf Risnes from another popular Trønder band, Tre Små Kinesere. Also featured are author Anne B Ragde and former Miss Universe Mona Grudt, but also lots of ordinary residents, all of them singing along in Trønder dialect about the virtues of their home district. Their earlier roots from either Nor- (North) or Sør- (South) Trøndelag are cross out, to read simply “Trønder.”

Vollvik, meanwhile, sings how being a Trønder has given him strength, while Northug has picked himself up after some crushing defeats. The DDE rock stars sing that folks are “even stronger” when they stand together, and that it takes courage to move borders. The message is that everyone has a voice “in a unified Trøndelag.”

It would be easy to write it off as local propaganda or a bit too sweet, but it’s clearly struck a chord with the public and the video has been branded as “charming” and a ray of light in an other tough political debate. Politicians, by the way, are largely absent from the video. State broadcaster NRK reported that the video cost around NOK 500,000 but a panel of media critics unanimously agreed it was taxpayer money well spent. staff



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