In Norway, the majority population has little or no knowledge of the language, culture and history of indigenous peoples and national minorities, according to the report by the Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. © Olivier Morin / AFP

At midday on June 1, Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) chairman Dagfinn Høybråten handed over the final report to Norwegian parliament president Masud Gharahkhani at an official ceremony in Stortinget, Oslo. An hour later, only a few 100 metres away, leader of Kvääniteatteri (the Kven Theatre) Frank Jørstad took stage at the National Theatre to give the first reading aloud of the full TRC report, nearly 700-pages long. This reading took more than 35 hours and could be followed live on the national broadcaster NRK and listening posts around the country.

But other than these two events, the Norwegian TRC has rarely made national headlines in the nearly five years it has been working.…  Seguir leyendo »

The president of the Sámi parliament speaks on March 2, 2022 in Oslo to demonstrators from this indigenous Norwegian people who came to protest against the non-application of a Supreme Court decision concerning a wind farm built on traditional reindeer herding land. © Olivier Morin / AFP

On March 6th, the Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) conducted a larger hearing in the Norwegian Parliament with representatives of various parts of Indigenous peoples and national minorities, the Sami, Kven, Forest Finns and Norwegian Finns. The hearing coincides with intense protests that took place in Oslo last week, when Sami activists protested against outspoken inertia in the Norwegian state administration to act upon the verdict reached by the Norwegian Supreme Court in a case about a windfarms project in a Sami reindeer herding area. Sami activists called it a crisis of trust. A crisis which was also among the key concerns voiced in the TRC hearing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los recientes acontecimientos en Noruega podrían tener implicaciones trascendentales para los compromisos relacionados con el clima en la conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el cambio climático (COP26) que se celebrará en Glasgow el próximo mes de noviembre.

En agosto, un comité designado por el gobierno recomendó que Noruega dirigiera su fondo soberano de riqueza (SWF) en camino al logro de cero emisiones netas de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) hasta el año 2050, y que las actividades del fondo se tornaran consistentes con los compromisos de Noruega en virtud de los acuerdos internacionales sobre el clima. Poco después, el candidato del Partido Laborista noruego a primer ministro, Jonas Gahr Støre, confirmó que, de ser elegido, introduciría un objetivo de cero emisiones netas para el fondo.…  Seguir leyendo »

A memorial in Sundvollen overlooking Utøya island near Oslo, Norway, a few days after the 22 July 2011 assault. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Any visitor to the island of Utøya, some 38 kilometres from Oslo, is immediately struck by the smallness of it. It measures no more than 26 acres. It was here that, 10 years ago this month, Anders Behring Breivik massacred 69 people attending a Norwegian Labour party youth camp. As one walks along the island’s tiny, winding paths, it is not difficult to imagine the sheer horror of it all, as teenagers, full of life, joy and laughter, suddenly realised that the shots being fired in the distance were not firecrackers, that the visitor dressed in a fake police uniform was a murderer, and that the island had all too few places in which to hide.…  Seguir leyendo »

La respuesta a la emergencia climática es difícil para todos, pero en particular para los países cuyas economías dependen de la extracción o producción de petróleo. La descarbonización es una oportunidad de iniciar una revolución industrial verde, pero conforme más y más naciones se sumen a este camino hacia la prosperidad futura, los activos, las tecnologías y las capacidades que dependen de los combustibles fósiles irán perdiendo valor, y eso pondrá en riesgo el empleo, las exportaciones y la innovación industrial en las economías dominadas por el petróleo.

Una de estas economías, Noruega (tercer mayor exportador de gas natural del mundo) hoy enfrenta un desafío singular.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Norway’s Conservative party prime minister Erna Solberg has cultivated a calculated ambiguity when confronted with the anti-Muslim rhetoric of her Progress party allies.’ Photograph: Marit Hommedal/EPA

“Never again,” Norwegian politicians pledged, after the terrorist attacks perpetrated by rightwing extremist Anders Breivik on July 22 2011, the worst in the nation’s history. Yet just last month, an armed 21-year-old Norwegian, Philip Manshaus, stormed into a mosque in Bærum outside Oslo and opened fire, his actions inspired apparently by Breivik as well as recent terror incidents in New Zealand and El Paso.

Norway is generally portrayed in the international media as a haven of peace, prosperity, happiness and equality. So why has it produced so much violent rightwing extremism in the past decade?

In order to understand the phenomenon, we need to return to the many unacknowledged faultlines in the political and popular response to the terror of July 2011.…  Seguir leyendo »

Women shopping at a market in Herat, Afghanistan. Photograph: Jalil Rezayee/EPA

My life story might be summed up like this: I’ve travelled from one of the worst countries in the world for women to one of the best countries. I am an Afghan refugee in Norway. Adaptation is a process, and comparing these two countries would be totally unfair but I would like to share my insights into what it feels like to be an independent woman in both countries.

As I write, I find myself on the shores of the Skagerrak strait in southern Norway. I’m on a typical cabin holiday, sitting by the water and feeling the fresh breeze playing with my curly, crazy hair at six in the morning.…  Seguir leyendo »

A hiker on Besseggen ridge. Koimages/iStock, via Getty Images Plus

The Besseggen ridge juts from the earth as a curved spine of sharp, dark-gray stone and carves its way between two blue lakes in Jotunheimen, one of Norway’s many spectacular, wild national parks. “Jotunheimen” translates as “home of the giants”, and everything here is oversize, including the lakes. They are separated only by a narrow slice of the ridge yet have very distinct colors: Gjende is a long sweep of aquamarine; Bessvatnet is a dark royal blue.

Besseggen, a worthy destination for its otherworldly beauty alone, is also immortalized in national lore. Norway’s tourism board claims that Thor, the ill-tempered Norse warrior king, forged it by slamming his hammer into the earth.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mon départ en Norvège n’avait pas seulement pour objectif de contribuer, comme chercheur, à une grande aventure scientifique. Je voulais aussi comprendre comment une nation a délibérément su orienter ses choix pour devenir un modèle environnemental. En chargeant la voiture, dans la chaleur (anormalement) écrasante du mois d’août, j’étais obsédé par cette question qui me hante et mobilise mes journées. Comme beaucoup de scientifiques, je vis dans cette urgence : s’arc-bouter pour limiter l’emballement de la machine climatique. Ne pas semer l’enfer dans lequel nos petits-enfants devront grandir.

Une jeunesse au creux des montagnes ardéchoises a probablement tissé cette fibre et cette sensibilité.…  Seguir leyendo »

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, left, listens as Jonas Gahr Store, leader of Norway’s Labor Party, speaks during a televised political debate Sept. 6. Norwegians head to the polls Sept. 11 to elect a new government. (Kyrre Lien/Bloomberg)

Norway’s parliamentary election on Sept. 11 looks tight, with neither the Labor nor Conservative parties capable of winning an outright majority. The Center Party, a potential coalition kingmaker, has pulled ahead of the pack of smaller parties with a curious, anti-Oslo populist approach focusing on Norway’s center-periphery divide.

After the 2013 election, the center-right Conservatives and the anti-immigration Progress Party formed a minority government, with support from the Liberals and Christian Democrats. This government has survived the full parliamentary cycle, but polling since 2013 has shown considerable fluctuation in voter support (see Figure 1).

Here are four things to know:

1) The Center Party is on the rise, by being anti-center. …  Seguir leyendo »

People prepare for a swim in the Oslo fjord. Photograph: Aas, Erlend/AFP/Getty Images

It’s always strange to live in a country that is listed as being one of the very best. When you have everything outwardly, it can make you look inwards. That’s when you sit down and think: “I wonder what Ryan Gosling is doing right now.” People in Syria do not worry about that stuff, for them happiness is something as simple as peace. But if you’re from safe little Norway, you’ve got loads of time to imagine what Ryan is up to. He’s probably eating lunch with Eminem and Benicio Del Toro. You know, just catching up with two old friends.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sweden’s message to migrants in Europe is clear: Don’t come here. “Even we have our limits, and now they have been reached,” a defeated-sounding migration minister, Morgan Johansson, explained during a press conference on Nov. 5. “Those who come to our borders may be told that we cannot guarantee them housing.”

That message, nailed down this week when the government announced that Sweden was reintroducing border controls, was a sudden shift from an administration that had claimed there were “no limits” to the number of refugees it could accept. The reversal testifies not only to intensifying challenges Sweden faces abroad, but also to the dysfunctional nature of its immigration debate at home.…  Seguir leyendo »

According to the worldview of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, the town of Kirkenes, Norway, is an illusion. To Mr. Putin, there is only east and west, two separate spheres split by a straight north-south line through Europe. But the place does actually exist: in Finnmark, Norway’s northernmost county, just a few miles away from the Russian border and farther east than Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries.

In geopolitical terms, one can see incredible things here. Huge fishing vessels with Cyrillic nameplates unload tons of king crab and cod at Kirkenes harbor, destined for the European market. Farther down the road, at the shopping mall — labeled in Cyrillic — Russian families from across the border come to purchase yogurt, cheese, winter coats and perfumes.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sedki Alimam fled Syria in 2011 and came to Sweden in January 2014. A graphic designer, he lives in a small apartment in Uppsala, and is looking for work. Martin Edstrom for The New York Times

The narrow victory of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party in Sweden’s elections last Sunday marked a broad shift in its politics. But a new coalition government is unlikely to reconsider one of the country’s most challenging policies: its response to the Syrian civil war. Sweden has taken an open-door approach to people fleeing the conflict, accepting more Syrians than any other European country.

Never mind that Sweden has double-digit youth unemployment. That there have been riots in immigrant neighborhoods in Stockholm. That there is a severe housing shortage for new arrivals. Or that the Swedish Migration Board, which handles asylum seekers, needs a drastic budget increase — almost $7 billion — to cover soaring costs over the next few years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Some 50 years ago, Njord, the mythological Norsk god of wealth, smiled on the hardworking fishermen and lumberjacks, and presented Norway with the gift of oil. In financial terms, this was a handsome gift indeed, currently translated into a natural bounty worth $740 billion.

Successive Norwegian governments pledged to save this wealth for the welfare of future generations. Yet, half a century after this windfall began, questions increasingly arise of whether Norway’s handling of its oil wealth has even withstood the test of the past, much less the future.

The country’s 2013 election campaign spawned a debate about the government’s management of the massive Norwegian Oil Fund.…  Seguir leyendo »

Much too often, diplomacy is behind the curve in struggling with developments unfolding in ways not foreseen.

But when the Arctic Council meets in Kiruna in northern Sweden in the next few days, it is a rare example of a framework set up to deal with events well before they really start to happen, thus making it possible to shape events rather than reacting to things that have already gone wrong.

The Arctic Council was set up between the eight Arctic states, with representatives of the indigenous peoples as permanent participants, in Ottawa in 1996. But in its first years it hardly registered on the international scene.…  Seguir leyendo »

With global warming rapidly melting Arctic sea ice and glaciers making valuable stores of energy and minerals more accessible, voices of doom are warning of inevitable competition and potential conflict — a new “Great Game” among the five Arctic coastal nations.

In fact, the Arctic states of North America, Europe and Russia, working with indigenous peoples and a number of non-Arctic states, already have taken steps to ensure just the opposite: that the Arctic remains a zone of cooperation, peace and stable, sustainable development.

The Arctic Council — the intergovernmental organization for the eight Arctic states: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States — has created a forum for cooperation and momentum toward a responsible approach to the region’s issues.…  Seguir leyendo »

A debate about aid to Palestinians has erupted in Norway, a country that has long been one of the strongest supporters of Palestinian causes in Europe. Suddenly, an urgent level of scrutiny is bringing into question whether Oslo’s aid might be making peace less likely, rather than more.

Norway has opened its wallet to the Palestinian Authority, contributing more than $50 million a year since 2008. The money has gone into the PA’s budget, with some funds helping to pay for Palestinian Television. Norwegians recently got a taste of PA-TV programming and its impact and the experience was shocking. This has sparked a political battle and a wave of soul-searching with potentially major ramifications.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Friday, a Norwegian court ruled that Anders Behring Breivik, who mowed down 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in Oslo in July 2011, was sane. It was a verdict that many had waited for, one ensuring that the cold and loveless man who carried out the country's worst bloodbath since World War II would be held responsible for his actions and not dismissed as a helpless victim of his sick mind.

It was also the verdict that Breivik himself wanted. He loathed the idea of incarceration in a mental facility, a fate he called "worse than death," and insisted during the 10-week trial that his fertilizer bomb and machine gun were necessary instruments to stop what he viewed as a creeping Muslim takeover of Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

There are many reasons to welcome the verdict in the trial of Anders Behring Breivik: that he is sane and legally responsible for the murder of 77 people – mostly members of the Norwegian Labour party – on 22 July last year.

The guilty verdict recognises the monstrosity of Breivik's acts, carried out in pursuit of his political beliefs. It also delivers the outcome wanted by the majority of Norwegians, in particular because it means he will spend no fewer than 21 years – and most likely life – in jail. Justice has been done to the fullest extent possible under Norwegian law.…  Seguir leyendo »