27 August 2006

Scandinavian relations

Some of you were interested to know about Scandinavian interrelations. Well, I'm Scandinavian, so if you don't mind my lumping all Norwegians together and calling my humble opinion universal, well then, I'm off..

Firstly, Scandinavia. It's actually only Denmark, Norway and Sweden (listed alphabetically to avoid accusations of bias, ok?). If you add Finland and Iceland it'll turn out as The Nordic Countries. To us, that is. The rest of you still call it Scandinavia.
(It's just the same that happened when a Norwegian I know (of) went travelling around the world, and although he insisted he was called Njål (...) people would say stuff like "that's all right, we'll just call you Bob!".. Digress? I wouldn't dream of it. )

Norwegians, on the whole, possibly spoiled by the ridiculous amount of money the oil's pouring into this country (if not into its inhabitants' pockets), tend to be rather optimistic. I was going to say joyful, but that's an exaggeration. It's more like kiddies' optimism. Only with a poker face. It's not true that Norwegians don't smile. They do. Just look:
It's just that when you wear a woollen hat 9 months a year it doesn't show.

Norwegians are very proud of Norway ("didn't the UN just say that we were the best country to live in, again, this year?"), but we're not proud of things Norwegian. We mostly don't feel very attached to the old Norwegian culture at all, except for the bunad-wearing on the 17th of May and the Christmas
lutefisk. Traditional dancing and music is very much a rural thing, and we'd rather talk about Madrugada, a-ha or Sondre Lerche... Or Sweden, actually - they've got Volvo, IKEA, Sony Ericsson - Abba, Roxette - Bjørn Borg, Tre Kronor ice hockey team, and a national side in football that's not just in various world cups, but doing well at it.

So, the further away from Norway we are, the more "uni-Scandinavian" we are - sure we can take credit for IKEA and Olympic gold winning olympic teams... Closer to home, we make fun of the Swedes, we have jokes about eachother, we claim they're a rather stupid people. But secretly, or not so secretly, they're the big brother we're really proud of, still rather annoyed at, for being so much better than us at everything... And they've got
Astrid Lindgren.

We've got Swedish programmes on television and a lot of Norway has access to Swedish channels as well. Most Norwegians understand any given Swedish dialect on any given day. Swedes won't even try understanding Norwegian, so as soon as the border's crossed (- you can cross into Sweden a million places along the border, only a few are watched) Norwegians change into Norwedish, which is more easily understood, and which gives the Swedes the feeling that they do, after all, understand Norwegians...

Denmark will be dealt with later ;)


Devil Mood said...

I absolutely loved this post! I always wanted to know those things, you know? Especially when it comes to languages, I find it really interesting.
Lutefisk sounds like the thing we eat at Christmas (and every other day) in Portugal - bacalhau, which is cod but it's dried. You must have eaten it when you were in Lisbon.
I really thought Finland was part of Scandinavia. You shouldn't be envious of the swedes. I think you're much more recognized here in Portugal because everbody knows our bacalhau comes from Noruega ;)

Rarity said...

Norsies may be proud about Norway, but optimistic, you really think so?

IMHO i feel there's a lot of complaining going on, nothing is quite good enough and the openly ceerful are often frowned upon.

I'm looking foreward to the part about the danes, because although we love a lot of Swedish stuff (like their pop music and the low cost of meat and alcohol) norsies seem to have a much stronger appreciation for the friendly sibling down south (the jolly danes)

BTW you forgot to mention Munch, Ibsen and The Oslo-Agreement.

And did you forget two proudest inventions?: The Ostehøvel (cheese-slicer) and the Binders (paper clip), and of course, as Devil Mood mentioned, the Klippfisk for that lovely Portugese dish...

Julie said...

"Once upon a time there was a little boy named George, and he was so fat he couldn't smile. One day his mama said: You're so fat you can't even smile! Oh, yes I can, just look... :D

After just one month in America, I've realised that I don't want to be anything else than a norwegian. And I'm so proud to be one ;)

kimananda said...

This was cool...but a mean trick making me wait to hear what's up with the Danes! ;-)

Tiverius said...

Hmmm...some drunk Helsingbor fans I met in Ios once,while on holidays,weren't that friendly with Norwegians.My swedish friend,Maya,told them in a sweet way to shut up!
A-ha rules!I hope to see them live again.