Cultural Diversity in Norway

Speaking of quality time my wife and I had a great experience in Oslo on Sunday. With nothing on the agenda – I love Sundays like those – we went downtown and coincidentally took part in Oslo’s biggest late summer party. Not only where there a lot of people, but they where representing many wonderful countries, cultures and traditions. I had my mobile phone ready of course and went crazy trying to capture the atmosphere of it all. As always I’ll gladly share it with you. Let’s start on the stage:

As you can see it was Mela 2006, a multi cultural festival arranged by Horisont Foundation: a self-governing foundation whose strategies aim at achieving a greater participation by minorities in Norwegian cultural life – both as performers, producers, administrators and last but not least as a participating audience in everyday cultural life.

In addition to various collaborating venues like theatres and art galleries, the main festival arena was Rådhusplassen, the ample City Hall Square facing the harbour. Thousands of people visited the different venues during the weekend, and took part in activities like concerts, theatre, poetry, literature, puppet theatre, kite flying shows, fashion catwalk, exhibitions of contemporary arts, miniature paintings, textile design, traditional handicrafts etc. Let me give you a few more examples:

Lots of lovely food from Far East

I know my regular readers like some background and history about Norway and this time I’ll give some about our population and immigrants. There are all together 4 700 000 people living in Norway and 500 000 in Oslo, the capital. Some more facts and figures:

2005 – The second highest net immigration ever:
In 2005 there were registered 40 100 immigrations and 21 700 emigrations. Only one year before, in 1999, we have seen a higher net immigration to Norway. Citizens from Western Europe made up the major part of immigrations in (23 per cent). At the same time almost 1/3 of all emigrations were made by Western Europeans with 31 per cent. Citizens from Eastern Europe made up the highest portion of the net immigration in, followed by Asians (Turks included). In comparison, the net immigration for citizens from the Nordic countries was 600 and for other Western Europeans 1 900. Poles had the highest immigration to Norway, followed by Swedish and German citizens. Swedish citizens made up most of the emigrations, followed by Danish and British citizens.

More positive attitudes towards immigrants:
From Statistics Norway – Norwegians find immigrants enriching the society. Seven out of ten hold that most immigrants make an important contribution in the Norwegian work life. At the same time half the populations do NOT believe that immigrants abuse the system of social benefits.

From this post and my pictures you could probably tell that I do agree with most of the Norwegian people and I’m proud of it. We are a rich country and can certainly afford to share it with others and by that get an even richer community influenced by others. Of course it is a challenge to integrate them within the society, to teach them our language, our culture and habits and we have a good governmental program for that. You have to learn to ‘howl with the wolves you are with’, but that does not mean you have to give up your identity and personality. If we show them respect, we are entitle to demand it returned and have to do it in mutual trust for equal opportunities. Besides I have a lot of blog friends all over the world who I love to visit, read and learn about culturally the same way. Two of them, all the way from Philippines, I have met in person Charles and Mark. They as well as AL are even living in Norway now. I’ll say the blogger world is a great place for bridging the cultural and religion gap, that’s why I appreciate all your post and are visiting so many of you. So my motto will be: Make blogs, not wars!

But let’s get back to Oslo and its beauty in the late summer time. Walking around in the city I could not resist taking some more pics to share from Oslo in the late summer with you:

A fontaina and the Parliment
You’ll find Hard Rock Café and even Swiss Ice Cream in Oslo!

The last one is dedicated to one of my first blog friend: Expat Traveler from Switzerland living in Canada. I want her to know she can have Swiss ice cream when she finds the opportunity to pay Norway a visit:-)