Thousands of students wait for housing

More than 10,000 students starting at Norwegian universities and colleges this week are stuck on lists waiting for a place to live. Demand is highest, as usual, in Oslo. Even though the government has invested in more subsidized student housing  projects in recent years, there’s still a shortage. Fully 3,528 students are hoping a student […]

Norway to try more flexible school start

Schools are opening all over the country this week, with lots of six-year-olds probably the most excited or anxious as they enter the first grade. Next year there may be more girls than boys, as authorities consider elementary school admission based on skills and maturity instead of strictly age. No one wants to categorize six-year-old […]

Road tolls can cost the state dearly

Finance Minister Siv Jensen’s Progress Party reignited the Norwegian government’s internal battle over bompenger (road tolls) on Sunday. The ongoing battle is still threatening to unravel Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s conservative coalition, as confusion and uncertainty reign just weeks before local elections. It’s the local governments around Norway that actually set road tolls in their own […]

Russia won’t let Hurtigruten sail

Russian authorities have spoiled some exclusive Arctic cruise plans for passengers on board one of the Norwegian shipping line Hurtigruten‘s newest vessels, the MS Spitsbergen. After initially seeming to welcome more cruise traffic in Russian waters, the Russians have suddenly denied the vessel entry. “We’d had a good dialogue with Russian authorities for a long […]

New arrivals face integration demands

Asylum seekers and immigrants arriving in Norway will soon face new demands aimed at ensuring better integration and competence in the Norwegian language. Education Minister Jan Tore Sanner of the Conservative Party claimed a proposed “integration law” marks the “biggest change in integration policy in Norway since 2003.” That’s when Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who […]

Conflict erupts over rain forest funding

Ten years of funding rain forest preservation efforts in the Amazon, as a means of battling climate change, has suddenly left Norwegian officials disappointed and subjected to ridicule by the new president of Brazil. Jair Bolsonaro’s right-wing government has in practice allowed rapid deforestation, prompting Norway to follow Germany this week in withholding more rain […]

Tempers rise over Greens’ ‘socialism’

Morning radio listeners got an earfull on Thursday, when the ever-provocative deputy leader of Norway’s conservative Progress Party, Sylvi Listhaug, accused the Greens Party of furthering socialism and “nanny state” policies aimed at “tearing down” much of what Norway has built up for generations. “Utter nonsense,” retorted her counterpart from the Greens, Arild Hermstad, during […]

Norwegians still confident in their leaders

Confidence in Norway’s Parliament and government has been dented but not seriously damaged after a year of unprecedented scandal and ministerial changes. A new survey shows that Norwegians remain quite confident in their democratic institutions. The survey, conducted by research firm Respons Analyse, was presented at this week’s annual Arendalsuka gathering of top politicians, public […]

Voters reject both Progress, Liberals

Norwegian voters seem to be abandoning two of the parties that make up Norway’s conservative government coalition, less than a month before important local elections. The once-high-flying Progress Party hasn’t had such little support since the early 1980s, while the Liberal Party keeps losing voters at an embarrassing rate. A new public opinion poll conducted […]

Election campaign off to a noisy start

NEWS ANALYSIS: Norway’s normally polite politicians were all but shrieking at one another during state broadcaster NRK’s nationally televised party leader debate Monday night. It got the campaign leading up to next month’s local elections off to an unusually noisy start, with road tolls and property tax still emerging as the most heated issues. Sparks […]