The Danes don't like the Norwegians

The Norwegians - What you should know about the Norwegians

Most holidaymakers in Norway are attracted by the overwhelming nature experience in the land of the long fjord coast. But it is no less interesting to get to know its residents. What makes the locals tick? A Norwegian and his German wife told us that.

Norwegians are incredibly proud of their country. It goes without saying that the flag of the kingdom is also hoisted by the Landsjöaasen family. Even if different than expected. Because there is no blue and white cross fluttering on a red background in the front yard of your Cologne row house. At Landsjöaasens, the national colors are in the guest toilet: neatly folded and sorted into a three-colored pile of small towels. Why not? “The Norwegians even hang their national flag on the Christmas tree,” say Erik and Barbara Landsjöaasen.

Barbara is not from Norway herself, but has been married to a real Norwegian since 1966. Erik was born and raised in Oslo. Both of them are very familiar with the peculiarities of his compatriots. And how are the Norwegians like? “Very taken with themselves,” they report. “They're a bit busy people and struggle hard to get noticed by the world,” says Erik. “So don't say anything against Norway. I react sensitively ”, he continues and grins. The Norwegians know that they have a great deal of national pride. “Sometimes they make fun of themselves with it. I like that, ”explains Barbara.

Norway scores with a high quality of life

“But it is also remarkable what almost five million men and women have achieved,” says Erik. They have currently made it to number one in the UN ranking, which compares the quality of life in 182 countries. For “lille Norge”, little Norway, the top international ranking and the associated attention is something special. "Norway has often been in the shadows, even within Scandinavia," says Barbara. Over many centuries, ever changing supremacy and forced unions with the Scandinavian neighboring countries have shaped the Norwegian people. "Sometimes Norway was under the knack of the Danes, then again the Swedes." It was not until 1905 that the Norwegians were able to break away from the Swedes and become an independent state.

The tensions between the Norwegians and their Swedish neighbors are still considerable today. "The Swedes are leaders in many areas, play a pioneering role in Scandinavia and act like that," explains Barbara. This behavior is badly received by the reserved Norwegians, who do not like it when someone comes to the fore. Every child in Norway knows jokes about their unloved neighbors. It's logical that Erik also has one ready: “A Norwegian and a Swede meet in the car on a narrow street. Says the Swede: I won't clear the way for an idiot. Says the Norwegian: But I do! "

People love to make fun of their "big brother". Envy plays a crucial role: Sweden has Ericsson, Volvo and H&M. Finland has Nokia and Stora Enso. Denmark, after all, Carlsberg. And Norway? “We had made a name for ourselves as a shipping nation,” says Erik. “And we have oil.” And not too short: The treasure from the North Sea has secured Norway ample state income and great prosperity for decades. The Swedes are jealous of this and every Swedish child knows a few Norwegian jokes.

Norwegians think progressively

The Norwegians are not only rich. You are also progressive and think very modern in socio-political matters. After the Finnish women, Norwegian women were the first in Europe to be granted the right to vote. Today a third of the members of the Norwegian Parliament are women. And for two years now, a quota for women has also been in place for the supervisory boards of Norwegian companies.

Equality is very important in Norway. Just like tolerance. This lived respect for social values ​​fills the Norwegians with the same pride as the heroic deeds of their ancestors: First and foremost, polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, followed by the writer Henrik Ibsen, the composer Edvard Grieg, painter Edvard Munch and not to forget the South Pole researcher Roald Amundsen.

If you know one of these famous names or, better yet, the heroes of the present, you get into conversation with a Norwegian surprisingly quickly. When it comes to skiing, there is not much left of the silent, reserved nature. "We are downright sport-crazy," says Erik, who himself can hardly be stopped when it comes to the successes of the Norwegian ski athletes or the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. “And we are crazy about discussions.” A promising combination to get to know not only the country but also the people on your next holiday in Norway.

Tourists are welcome in Norway

A holiday home in the middle of nature

Norwegians like to travel a lot themselves. Their prosperity enables them to live a lifestyle that was not achievable for a society traditionally based on agriculture and fishing: "The Norwegians appreciate the sun, warmth and a cheap glass of wine just as much as we do and are therefore more and more often traveling by plane on vacation", explains Barbara. Your favorite destination is and remains the holiday home, called "Hytte", whether by the sea or in the mountains of your own country. “Having your own holiday home is at the top of any Norwegian wish list,” says Erik. But if you wanted to get back to nature in the past and get along with the simplest, Norwegians now like to indulge in a bit of comfort and natural romance. “Nobody wants to live more meagerly on vacation than at home and so there are hardly any Hytten without electricity, bathroom and their own sauna.” As the urge for nature diminishes, the willingness to share their mountains and fjords with non-Norwegians increases. There was a time when foreigners weren't very welcome in Norway. In addition to the Swedes, the Germans were particularly unpopular. Five years of German occupation during World War II left their mark on the Norwegians. Today Norway is doing a lot to attract tourists. “You can see that in the many advertisements from the Norwegian Tourist Office and brochures in German newspapers. With great photos and good offers you try to make up for the fact that Norway is expensive as a travel destination and the weather is unsafe, ”says Barbara.

How can tourists make themselves popular with Norwegians? “If you speak a few words in Norwegian, it goes down very well. The Norwegians are not used to that, ”says Erik. “It is also good to have a bottle of wine in your luggage. Alcohol is very expensive in Norway, ”says Barbara. With more than two bottles, vacationers should not be caught entering the country. This is one of the few situations in which the Norwegians' tolerance has a clear limit.