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The Social Guidebook to Norway

Written by Julien S. Bourelle, illustrated by Nicholas Lund. A book that presents particularities of the Norwegian society and challenges faced by foreigners living there in a humorous way. If you have always wondered how the Norwegian society works and how to adapt to it, come to find this out, presented by Nicholas in an amusing and relaxed way.

I chose this situation to share with you: "The Norwegian society is built on egalitarian principles. Everyone is considered of equal value and none should believe to be superior to others. While many nations claim the same, in Norway you feel it in every day interactions. You do not use special formulations to address your boss, or the prime minister. Actually, they would be shocked if you did. The formal form “De” – similar to the German “Sie” or French “Vous” – disappeared in the Norwegian language. While some nations may refer to their head of state in ways that leave little doubt on their higher social status,




… in Norway, things are much simpler, and pragmatic!


As Odd Børretzen puts it “En Nordmanns forhold til Gud er omtrent som hans forhold til Kongen: Han synes Gud – og Kongen – er greit nok, forutsett at han oppfører seg som en skikkelig nordmann og ikke tror at han er noe spesielt!” This stand on equality affects the way people relate to each other at work and generally in society. Norwegian Principle: “You’re not to think you are anything special.” (The Law of Jante – 1st axiom) “Janteloven” or the “Law of Jante” is not a real law but the idea that there is a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate. The Jante Law as a concept was created by the Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his novel A fugitive crosses his tracks (En flyktning krysser sitt spor, 1933). See Wikipedia.

The law can be translated to English as follow:

<pre>You’re not to think you are anything special. You’re not to think you are as good as us. You’re not to think you are smarter than us. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us. You’re not to think you know more than us. You’re not to think you are better than us. You’re not to think you are good at anything. You’re not to laugh at us. You’re not to think anyone cares about you. You’re not to think you can teach us anything." </pre>

Other articles: http://monda.no/blog/ifln/ Hope you enjoyed it! :)

September 22, 2015



I really want that book! I'll order one as soon as I have enough of a stable address to actually receive it....


I was looking for a copy of En flyktning krysser sitt spor when I was in Oslo, but did not find one. The hunt continues :) And the social guidebook is hysterical - not sure if it was meant to be funny, but it cracks me up every time a see a page from it. Kind of one of those "funny because it's true" things :)

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