‘Culture shapes a democracy’

Norway’s government minister in charge of culture, Trine Skei Grande, said she felt like it was her birthday, Christmas and the 17th of May (Norway’s national day) all at once: For the first time in 15 years, she’d be presenting the framework for national cultural policy for the future, and set off debate at the […]

Norwegians think their culture is best

Just two weeks after Norway’s annual display of enthusiastic patriotism comes news that a majority of Norwegians think their own culture is better than that of other countries. Norway was the only country of 15 Western European nations polled where more than half suggested cultural superiority. It was newspaper Vårt Land (Our Country), perhaps not […]

Bergen festival royally underway

Queen Sonja hailed Norway’s west coast capital of Bergen as a city “with deep cultural roots back to the Hanseatic time” when she opened the annual Festspillene (Bergen International Festival) on Wednesday. She claimed the festival “is a good example of how Bergen has formed its identity.” The nearly 80-year-old queen played a role in Bergen’s cultural […]

Crackdown on ‘bathing studies’

Education Minister Torbjørn Roe Isaksen announced on Monday he’d limit the types of courses available to Norwegian students going short-term programs abroad, to put an end to so-called “bathing studies.” Isaksen said students traveling to exotic locales to do courses like “winter sports and free-riding” and “physical activity and health” did little to improve students’ […]

‘Worst culture minister in a long time’

Lauded Norwegian author Torgrim Eggen lashed out against Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey this week, and was highly critical of the Conservative-led government’s cultural policy. Eggen presented his views on the direction of the arts in Norway at the Festival of Literature (Norsk Litteraturfestival) on Wednesday, Scandinavia’s biggest literary event. Eggen’s talk on the Government’s cultural […]

Culture Minister regrets museum call

Norway’s Culture Minister, Thorhild Widvey, may have to answer to a parliamentary committee over accusations of interfering with freedom of speech. On Friday the Conservative Party (Høyre) Minister admitted she regrets having  personally called the Chairman of the Museums in Sør-Trøndelag (MIST), after the Trondheim Museum of Art’s outgoing director described the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet, […]

Debate over Sami ‘national’ day

Sami national day has been celebrated by indigenous people across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia on February 6 since the Sami Conference adopted the date in 1992. The day was chosen to commemorate the first international Sami congress in Trondheim in 1917, but debate remains over what the day should actually be called. Directly translated […]

Confirmation course to be offered in English

The popular Norwegian rite of passage known as konfirmasjon, tied to confirmation of religious or human values, is now about to be offered in English for those opting for the secular ceremony. Newspaper Aftenposten reports that not only is there demand for an English-language confirmation among expatriate families in Oslo, who want to take part […]

Irony surrounds immigration debate

NEWS COMMENTARY: This man, the leader of Oslo’s chapter of the Progress Party and a Member of Parliament, seems to be doing his best to sabotage chances of his own party finally winning government power. Christian Tybring-Gjedde, who has been highly critical of immigration for years, remained on a collision course this week not only […]

Music dies hard at Vestfold festival

For more than 20 years, the large Vestfoldfestspillene music festival has been a much-loved tradition for residents of Vestfold County and their many summer visitors. But as this year’s festival winds down, it’s not expected to return in its present shape, after local politicians decided to shut down its holding company. The festival started back […]