Norway is a country with a quite peculiar population. Not because we are a special race or because we are different from the rest of the world. Sure enough, we have our own peculiarities, but I think all other nations have some of their own. A Finn will tell you that he can’t imagine a life without the sauna, and he is convinced that Santa Clause lives somewhere up north in his country. An American will hail his freedom of speech. He will also tell you that the U.S. is the leading country in almost anything and that everything American is always bigger and better than stuff produced by other countries. An Englishman has always time for tea, at all costs. Soccer is English. Ask anyone and they will agree.
But what is typically Norwegian? Every 17th of May we celebrate our national holiday. The red, white and blue Norwegian flag are taken out into every street, and we are enjoying our independence. The national anthem is sung in every town and village. Some people dresses up in national costumes from their home county, but most don’t care about where the garment origin from, so they buy the most beautiful one. The most popular one is from Gudbrandsdalen. But is this typical just for Norway? Every country celebrates a national holiday, and I don’t think they are any less enthusiastic doing so.
Inn the 90’s, we have hosted the winter Olympics and world championship Nordic events. The spirit of the Norwegian people melted together to form a new sense of togetherness under these games. ”When the going gets tough, the Norwegian gets going!” I think we are used to work hard so that we are able to achieve our goals. Based upon this I mean that Norwegian people when put to the test shows what we are really made of. We are not so interested in showing off, as we are in knowing what other people and countries think about us. After a history of being downtrodden by Sweden and Denmark we have a tendency to have feelings close to nationalism, when we think and talk about our country. I don’t mean nationalism in a bad way. It’s just that our love for our country makes us want to show it to everyone, even if they don’t care. We are a very generous nation. Get to know us and our outer image that seems a little cold cracks up and the true Norwegian shines through. The average Norwegian usually drinks once a week. After finishing work on Friday the goal for the weekend is to praise the vine God ”Bacchus” and get plastered. An excuse for having a party at the weekend is easy to find, in a society were the social part is a bit lacking. The partying is a kind of security valve, used for the sole purpose of winding down. When I say having a party in Norway I mean pouring down as much alcohol as humanly possible. Looking at all the Scandinavian countries, except perhaps Denmark, this isn’t a habit that is just seen in Norway.
Typical Norwegian? Well, to find something that can be identified to be a trademark for the Norwegian culture we have to study the way we interact with other cultures. No culture known today is without any elements taken from others. The world is expanding and the communications between nations are narrowing the gap between cultures, thus results in similarities.
In the 90’s we had a referendum over membership in the European Union. The referendum resulted in an almost 50/50 draw. The side voting against membership won by a small margin, but the result showed that the majority of the Norwegian people are filled with a belief that we ourselves must have exclusive rights to decide why and how things should be done in Norway. Norwegian land is Norwegian.
We are a down-to-earth kind of people, maybe a little naive but still rather sceptic to changes. Another typical thing about Norwegians is the need for likeness. It is incredible important not to differ from the rest. You have to follow the stream. Don’t think you are anything. It is strictly forbidden to show that you are better then anyone. To show wealth and success is not the right thing to do. The only ones that are allowed to do so are the ones who have made it by hard work and big sacrifices.
There are other things that are typical Norwegian. The Norwegian nature. Our little but lengthy land has a lot of different scenic beauty and a vide range of temperatures to offer. It all depends on were you are located. We have equal rights to use the nature by a law called legal right of access to private land.
Like other nations we have symbols that can be associated with Norway. Things like goblins and trolls, the cheese slicer, the chair sledge and many, many more. But for me personally, the most Norwegian characteristic is the love for the sea. The love for the mysterious blue ocean, and the need to be near it. Trough thousand of years the Norwegian ancestors have roomed the oceans and interacted with other cultures, witch in the end has resulted in the society we live in today. For me that is truly a Norwegian singularity.