A Few Parisian Months

In the middle of exams and finals, it suddenly struck me. Very soon, I am leaving this huge, friendly, busy, weird and beautiful city behind. And it got me thinking…

Les Bisous

The day we moved in to our Parisian apartment, my roommate and I were meeting our landlord for the first time. By that time, we had already stayed in Paris for a few days, starting to get used to the French way of saying hello. As cold hearted Northerners, we are used to a simple handshake, preferably at arm`s length.. Basically, we don`t kiss strangers on the face, especially not twice. It didn`t take long before I got used to it, though, so I was well prepared when the landlord knocked on the door. I smiled to him and leaned forward to say hi the proper, French way: One kiss on the left cheek, one kiss on the right cheek, then pulling back, satisfied with my politeness. That was before I noticed he was still leaning forward. A third kiss was on its way! I quickly threw my head towards his again, aiming for the right side of his face, which in my confused mind would be the next one up. It was not, so in a small second, I managed to picture another stressful round of looking for a place to stay. Luckily, I didn`t hit his mouth after all, and the result was nothing more than two astonished faces, and of course, a Norwegian red one.

It`s About Living

If you ask me, the most important part of living in a new city is not shopping, historical buildings and museums. It is about experiencing and exploring different kinds of living, and it is about creating memories.

Friends.

Friends.

Studying at AUP has been a lot of work, but luckily; hard work does not immediately eliminate good times. I have enjoyed my classes and the work related to them, but I have also done my best at experiencing the City of Lights.

Of all the things I`ve seen and done in these few months, I will not be listing up the stuff you can find in books bought last minute at airports. The different parts of the city, the small cafes, the amazing food, the everlasting wine; the culture in its entirety, and the people – it has been great, and it will all stick to me. But what I really remember are the details. The small things; good, sad and funny things, and most often, they include people. To tell the truth, it is not about Paris. It is about living.

Memories

Of the things I want to mention are the Norwegian, English and French birthday songs being sung to me at my birthday party. Also, the French guy asking me, with a worried look on his face, if it is true that Scandinavian girls actually take the initiative to talk with guys in bars. The taxi driver, proud as a father when I did my very best in having a conversation with him in French. The bartender at a cozy bar without a toilet, hurrying over the street to open up his home for me and my friend – and leaving us there while he returned to the bar, trusting us to be honest. The noise from the “water trucks”, cleaning the streets in the morning. Then there was this couple, disturbing my homework, but not without making me smile.

The smell of croissants and espresso on my way to Uni. The musicians at the metro, most of the time with empty cups, but always smiling. The firefighters, never giving up on trying to charm the female students walking by the station close to AUP. The consierge`s husband, whom I never have talked to, because he doesn`t understand a word of English, nor my very limited French. Still, always cheerful, wishing me bonne journée. The woman at my local boulangerie, teaching me how to ask for different types of bread, while letting me teach her the English terms. The festivals and concerts; experiencing Rock en Seine and Pitchfork, Vampire Weekend, Kakkmaddafakka, and not least, my one and only Frightened Rabbit.

Frightened Rabbit at Point Ephémère

Frightened Rabbit at Point Ephémère

A Hole in the Wall

You always discover the most fascinating places, just before you`re leaving. After some fine food and wine at Memere au Piano last weekend, we stumbled upon this amazing little bar, which consisted of an almost 90 year old bartender, a cat and a canary. The place was all dark and silent, not a whisper was heard, and all eyes were fixed on this fascinating old lady as she hobbled back and forth with five beers in hand and constantly watching her seven glasses, which were regularly filled with Cointreau and Calvados – the only two drinks she served, aside from beer. When one of the guests asked for music, she did put some on; she had a cassette player. While speaking to the other guests, we discovered that the bar was one of the oldest in the area, and one of the smallest in Paris. It felt more like a secret hole in the wall than an actual bar.
These are the things to remember.

The hole in the wall

The hole in the wall

As my friend said: “Honestly, you could write a book on that bar”. I could probably write a book on Paris, too. And maybe I will someday, but for now, I`ll stick to the memories.

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Santa is definitely not French

The fast food consumption in France is greater than I pictured. Big Macs and “Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccinos” are found everywhere. Still, did you know that Burger King is non-existent in Paris? At least for a couple more days. Parisians are getting an edible “present” for Christmas this year, as Santa is bringing “Le Whopper” back.. 

Norwegians consume their share of fast food, too, but not all of the large fast food chains are present in Norway today. Starbucks, for instance, was not present in Norway until last year, when the first Starbucks Coffeehouse opened at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Teenagers from Oslo actually paid for two way tickets on the Airport Express Train to get to Starbucks. Instagram vs. Coffee: 1-0.. Something similar happened when Burger King opened in Marseille Airport last year. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but going to airports – for burgers and café mocha?

France is well-known for its gastronomy, with thousands of delightful little cafés and restaurants, serving traditional and tasty French food. However, for the first time in the history of France, the sales of fast food have overtaken the sales of traditional French food. I cheer for traditional French cuisine, and so are some of my fellow students. What could then be better than using the opportunity given by a school project to call attention to the issue?

French lunch at my local café

French lunch at my local café

Mission Eat Local, Paris!

For our final Tactical Media project at AUP, we decided to focus on the issue of foreign chain restaurants and cafés infiltrating the heart of the country renowned for its culinary arts. Since this (for now) is a school project, our goal is first and foremost to draw public attention to this subject in an attempt to protect and support local restaurants and cafés in Paris.

Snails in garlic and parsley

Snails in garlic and parsley

If you like the idea of preserving French tradition and heritage, we would very much appreciate it if you would like to take a look at our project (still in progress!) by visiting our blog.

Merci, et bon appetite!

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Poverty, Welfare and Oil

In the streets of Oslo, I have never seen whole families; children, sleeping on the sidewalks. In Paris, I do. Compared to other countries, the prevalence of poverty is very low in Norway. Why is that?


The reasons for poverty vary from country to country, in which explanations must be anchored in historical and cultural conditions. Still, some general reasons are found in weak institutions and governance, social injustice, war and political unrest as well as the lack of national capital. Culturally contingent obstacles such as lack of gender equality can also help to maintain a country`s poverty.

 
France – hidden poverty?
With a rate of 13.5% (2012), France has among the lowest poverty rates in Europe. Still, inequalitywatch.eu (2012) claims, the poverty threshold most often used – equivalent to 60% of the median standard of living – gives a broad view of the phenomenon. If using this measure, there were 8.6 million poor people in France in 2010, including the poor and low-income families. According to Inequality Watch, this definition hides a persistent deep poverty, where “tens of thousands of people live in poverty, in conditions comparable to developing countries”.

“Kampen for tilværelsen”, Christian Krohg 1889 (“The struggle for existence”)

With over 2.2 million people living in Paris and 12 million in the Ile de France region (Norway in its entirety holds 5 million in comparison), the fates are numerous. Homelessness does exist in Norway, but to another extent. You might be surprised but the truth is, after 6 years in Oslo, I have never seen a child sleeping on the streets at night.

A couple of blocks from my apartment in Paris, I recognize the families I`ve seen before – I cannot help noticing them. Often, it is late, maybe on a Saturday night. It is dark, and cold, too these days, and the streets are filled with happy, loud and drunk people. I especially notice three persons lying closely together, sharing one mattress. There is a boy, maybe 12 years old, and an even younger girl. Then I see a pacifier, and a tiny foot. By putting her in the middle, they are trying to keep their baby sister warm.

Of course, the phenomenon of poverty and homelessness is complex in terms of definitions, numbers and interpretations. Not the least; the reasons are complex.

 

 

The Nordic Model
To give an answer to why poverty is low in Norway demands a complex explanation. However, much of the reasons lie in The Nordic Model (this model should not be confused with the Norwegian Model. The latter is a term used to describe the special aspects of how working life is organized in Norway. In short, the term is used to illustrate the relationship between employers and employees, trade unions and employee organizations and their relationship to the state). The Nordic Model (also referred to as the Scandinavian Model, the social-democratic welfare model etc.) is a political-economic system, characterized by a mixed economy, high employment and a strong welfare state. The main idea of and reason for the welfare state is combating social inequality and poverty. Important aspects of this model are the largely tax-funded pensions and social security, a stable economy with stabile inflation and exchange rate and cooperation between trade unions and employer organizations. In comparison to other countries, income disparities are very low. Other aspects of this model are a high degree of gender equality, free education and a high labor participation of women.

Norway is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, where democracy is highly valued (in 2012, Norway was ranked as the most democratic nation in the world). We enjoy strong governance in a peaceful country where war and unrest have been non-existent since WW2. In the 1970s, a new women`s movement emerged, resulting in great political attention. Much thanks to these women`s struggles, equality between sexes are also strong. In addition, there is of course the national capital.

imagesCAMUXY2RWealth
Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per capita, and fourth-highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world. The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world, and earlier this fall, according to Columbia University`s Earth Institute, Norway was even ranked as the second happiest country in the world.
The country is rich in natural resources such as natural gas, hydropower, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, coal and minerals. And last but not least– oil. Petroleum activities have contributed significantly to economic growth in Norway, and to the financing of the Norwegian welfare state. An important aspect of the Norwegian wealth is the fact that the Norwegian government is either sole owner or co-owner of the country`s largest companies, such as Statoil. With the Ekofisk discovery in 1969, the Norwegian oil adventure truly began. Through over 40 years of operations, the industry has created values in excess of NOK 12 000 billion in current terms. In 2012, the petroleum sector accounted for 23 percent of value creation in the country. A film who touches upon the Norwegian “Oil Adventure” is Pioneer, a 2013 Norwegian conspiracy thriller. Petter (Aksel Hennie) has the main role as a commercial offshore diver in the North Sea during the 1970s. Norway is at the beginning of the Norwegian Oil Boom, and Norwegians and Americans are cooperating about diving deeper than anyone previously has done, in order to prepare for installation of a gas pipe. For Petter, a sudden, tragic accident changes everything, and he realizes that his life is at stake.

 

Measuring Poverty
Measuring “happiness” is not unproblematic, especially when measuring across nations. Poverty is possibly easier to measure, but different scales are being used, giving different outcomes. Hence, the number of poor people in Norway varies depending on how the phenomenon is measured, as in France. The main poverty line used in the European Union is a relative poverty measure based on “economic distance”, a level of income set at 60% of the median household income. OECD`s poverty line is set at 50% of the median household income. According to EU`s scale, the percentage of poor people in Norway have decreased from 8.9% in 1998 to 7.7% in 2011. Using OECD`s scale however, the development has gone in the opposite direction; from 2.0% in 1998 to 3.3% in 2011.

Nevertheless, the bottom line is that poverty in Norway is low, and that the reasons are complex. What is certain, however, is that the Norwegian circumstances would be a whole lot different if it had not been for a remarkably strong state combined with the Nordic Model and an almost embarrassing amount of black gold.

Oil2

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A Brit Working Abroad – In Norway

Compared to other countries, what is it like to work in Norway? I asked my Northern Irish friend and former DNV colleague, Gary. Here is his story.

By Gary Couser, University of Strathclyde

Oslo by night

Oslo by night

Before the summer of 2012, I had never really considered ever going too, let alone work in Norway. However, that particular summer I met a Norwegian who subconsciously persuaded me to apply for a place in DNV, the Norwegian Classification Society. As I am a student of Naval Architecture, it made a lot of sense.

Fast forward one year later, and there I was, standing outside Oslo Central Station, with my backpack, suitcase and a hangover from a mental weekend in London. Initially I had a week or so to find my bearings, get settled into my accommodation and plan my route to work. Luckily I had a few university friends living in Oslo, so things went smoothly and I cannot deny that I felt at home within 1 week!

As the weeks went on, I gradually started to realize what a pleasure it was to work and live in Norway.

A swim after work at the Veritas beach, Høvik

A swim after work at the Veritas beach, Høvik

Working
Compared to working environments I had experienced before, everyone seemed relaxed, confident in their abilities, and extremely happy to help each other. The open office arrangement, whereby heads of sections where sitting at a normal desk like anyone else, was something that I initially found strange. However gradually I noticed that this idea does not instill any form of hierarchy within the office, and almost treats everyone equal, thus maximizing the camaraderie and relationships between staff to get the best results.
As a summer student, I was immediately treated with the respect and belief from senior staff. Unlike previous work placements where the common idea of the “intern” was apparent, i.e. print copies and make coffee. In Norway I only printed and made coffee for my own needs, which turned out to be quite a lot.

ANHR`s annual "shrimp lunch" at DNV Høvik

ANHR`s annual “shrimp lunch” at DNV Høvik

The location of work was for a better word, amazing, lying just outside Oslo in a small town called Høvik. Everything that you could possibly need was a 5-minute walk away, including the beach (yes, DNV has its own beach!) Travelling to and from work was also extremely easy, and free! Between the hours of 7.00 -9.00 and 15.00-17.00 regular coaches arrived and stopped off at a number of locations, both too and from work. This is something that would never be seen in the UK! However, this service would not be possible if it were not for Norway’s tax system. Taxes in Norway are high compared to most places, however this does mean that services such as the free bus to work are catered for. On the subject of taxing, this was probably the only downside to working in Norway, by getting taxed the highest amount, 37%, it actually made a major dent in my finances.

But overall, I would highly recommend working in Norway.

Living in Oslo
I will begin by saying that during the summer I stayed in Oslo, it was the best weather on record in 7 years or so. So this most likely added to one of the best times I have ever had.

Summer at DNV Høvik

One major benefit of Norwegian people is their excellent English; this made life a whole lot easier in terms of going to the store, meeting new people and just general everyday things. I must admit that a lot of them put me to shame, as my English is something that needs a lot of attention. With regards to learning Norwegian, all I will say is I tried……..and failed. But you quickly realize that the locals didn’t care, and almost got annoyed if you tried to speak Norwegian to them.

Oslo surprised me so much with the ease of life and variety of things to do. Not far from where I stayed were the Holmenkollen ski jump and museum, Bygdøy beach and plenty of parks to go and run, play sport or just chill with a BBQ. The transport system was fluent and could get you anywhere in the city.

DNV Høvik

DNV Høvik

I managed to meet a lot of new people, mainly through work, and through them discovered Oslo’s bars and clubs. If I can give any advice, it would be to bring your wallet, at the equivalent of £9 for a pint of beer; I can safely say I never drank enough to get drunk…. Coming from Glasgow where the price of beer is around £2.50 in most places, this was most certainly a shock. In fact, basically everything is a lot more expensive, food, clothes and even McDonalds! But when spending money in Norway, you always have to remember that your salary from work is relevant to the cost of living.

Overall, Oslo was a great city with beautiful looking people and beautiful scenery, with plenty to do. As I said previously, I was there during one of the best summers (weather-wise), so this probably enabled me to do a lot more things than I would normally have considered.

If you are looking for a place to work where you can excel, and constantly be at your best, whilst having the time of your life: Go to Norway!

The Oslo fjord

The Oslo fjord

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“Really? You play football?”

Right now, Norwegian news sites and social platforms are all about Magnus Carlsen, as this young Norwegian won the World Chess Championship today. Congratulations! However, chess is not really my cup of tea (actually, to be honest, I have never tried it). There is another sport I fancy more, although Norway is not doing quite as well here as in chess these days. Let`s talk about football!

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Internationally, Norway does not do very well in football. The last time we participated in the World Cup was in 1998, France, where we beat Brazil 2-1.
Still, this particular sport is very popular in Norway, and not only for men and boys. Women love it, too! The Norwegian women`s national football team are actually even better than the men`s.

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Football is by far the biggest sport among Norwegian children (even surpassing skiing, fancy that), and quite a few start playing at the age of 6. I was one of them, joining my local football team at the age of 7. It turned out the combination of ballet and football wasn`t ideal, and I wasn`t the most gifted player either (although I did quite well in distracting our opponents with various high kicks and splits), so I quit the team at the age of 15, making it a hobby instead. At UiO for instance, we used to rent one of the indoor courts or find a green area outside, playing just for fun.

Finding a spot for doing the same in Paris turned out to be slightly more difficult, but not impossible. Near Montmartre for instance, my Norwegian friend, our two French friends and I found a gravel court good enough. What is interesting though is the fact that the boys were surprised when two girls suggested to go play football. Even when explaining that we both used to play, they didn`t quite believe us. When French girls said that they could play, the guys said, they usually exaggerated. In general, our French friends were not used to girls being interested in football at all. So an easy match, the two of them assumed. But they were wrong.

Girls in Norway are used to do the same sports as the boys do, and vice versa. We are also used to playing ball with boys, as Norwegian children at early age play on mixed teams. I will not lie – these guys were better than us. But they were impressed, even admitting that we were better than some of their French mates. It was fun. That is; football is fun!

fotball

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UiO versus AUP

One thing I`ve learnt going from a Norwegian University to an American University is that the myth is true: They really are different!

Blindern

First of all, studying at The American University of Paris (AUP) simply requires more work than studying at the University of Oslo (UiO). At UiO, I could overall choose my own strategies, having full responsibility for my own learning, as “homework” is a word Norwegian universities are not very well familiar with. At AUP, I have to deliver every day. Also, being present and on time is more important here than back home. To put it simply; if I happened to miss the tram, I waited for the next one and showed up a couple minutes late – I never took a taxi to Uni in Oslo, but in Paris I have. Actually, I did not even know I had the ability of being as punctual as I am these days.

Be there or be Square
First of all, most lectures at UiO are not mandatory. If not having a good reason to not go, I went (because I wanted to), but the professors would not actually check who was there and who was not. Lectures at UiO (at least at my faculty) does not so much mean interaction, participation, discussion and group presentations as it means paying attention to what the professor is saying. Given the fact that group presentations are close to non-existent, one student missing out on a lecture would therefore only affect this individual student. Also, most professors usually publish detailed power points from their lectures online. Although believing in the benefit of attending lectures, I would say that the positive aspect of this is being able to prioritize otherwise when in need of doing so. For instance, having the flu back home, I would take a day off. Here, I don`t, because it would affect my grade, I would miss out on important information, and I would probably mess up a group presentation (or two).

Grades
Teamwork is also common at AUP. In two of my classes, our “homework” is to study, prepare for and perform presentations as teams, every week. This leads to the aspect of grades. While being graded solely based on the results of final exams at UiO, classes made up by teams are graded together at AUP. In general, AUP grades are based on more than final exams; all the work you do throughout the semester counts for your final grade. This certain aspect of “the American way” is something I highly appreciate. This way, you are actually able of making an effort, and earn your grade if that effort is good. If you work hard throughout the semester at UiO, you might still have a bad day on the actual day of your final, and not being able to prove your overall skills in any other way. At home, I get one chance only per course; a (usually) 6 hour exam, writing my brains out, high on caffeine and getting cramps in every fingertip there is. Obviously, this is an aspect of the Norwegian educational system in which I do not appreciate, and this is also one of the reasons for why I chose an American University for my semester abroad.

IMG_20131118_132100

Participation and Interaction
Students working more closely with the professors is another aspect of AUP in which I like. Professors invite us to participate and share our general and our academic knowledge, as well as inviting us to contact them, at any point. Interacting with professors at UiO, I would say, are more seldom. Not to say that the professors there rejects us in any way; these are merely cultural differences, habits and “the way it`s being done”. When contacting professors back home, they do meet me with gratitude and a positive attitude, no doubt about that. I do however recognize that most students at UiO do not take advantage of this opportunity.

However, there are days when I miss the Norwegian system. For instance, I prefer classes during the day, not late in the evening. Also, I enjoy the simple fact that classrooms, study rooms, the library, the canteen and the gym is all in one place at UiO, but those are just details, and I do not regret going to AUP. Increased practical knowledge and language skills are only two of many reasons why I am glad I went here. Actually, I do not think I am exaggerating when saying that I have never learnt as much anywhere before as I have at the American University of Paris. If you should have the chance to go for yourself, I would highly recommend it!

2013-09-24 15.47.32

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Norge. And Noreg.

NoregVG

Entering Norway by car, you will see signs saying “Norge”. You will also see signs saying “Noreg”. Norway having two official written languages is not exactly intuitively; no wonder tourists keep reporting to the Public Roads Administration about mortifying misspellings on Norwegian highways.

Updating my LinkedIn profile the other day, I actually had difficulties translating the names of the official Norwegian languages into English. Checking with the Norwegian Language Council however, I found that they recommend the terms “Norwegian Bokmål” and “Norwegian Nynorsk”.

For the majority of Norwegians, Norwegian Bokmål is the main language. Norwegian Nynorsk on the other hand can easily be categorized as a minority, with only 10-15 percent of the Norwegian population using this as their main language. However, public institutions are required by law to use both written languages and a minimum of 25 percent nynorsk (although they don’t always follow the law).

A common misunderstanding however is that Norwegians speak nynorsk. In actual fact no one really does, as it is a written language, created by linguist and poet Ivar Aasen. In the 1840s, Aasen travelled around the country, listening and taking notes on all the different dialects he heard. In 1848, based on all these dialects, he published the book “Det norske Folkesprogs grammatikk” (“Grammar of the Norwegian folk language”). And thus, Nynorsk was born.

images

Many Norwegians with Norwegian Nynorsk as their secondary language find it difficult to master, as it really is written in a completely different way than the language of the majority. Born in Sunnmøre, nynorsk is automatically my main language. Hence, I got the benefit of learning both; nynorsk since elementary school, and bokmål through television, books and media in general, and later at school as my secondary Norwegian language.

I`ve also been asked if Norwegians can understand the other Scandinavian languages. The answer is yes- usually we can. Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are, mostly, very much alike, although all three languages hold many dialects, some of them less easily understood than others (such as my own, I keep hearing). Most Norwegians also find Swedish more comprehensible than Danish, although written Danish is often perceived as easier to understand than written Swedish. This has got to do with the fact that Norway was under Danish rule up until 1814. Danish was therefore the official written language in Norway for a long time, greatly influencing the Norwegian language of today.

Finally, a small illustrative example: The sentence “actually, there is controversy regarding the written languages” would in Norwegian Bokmål be: “Det er egentlig uenighet angående de skriftlige språkformene”. In Norwegian Nynorsk, the same sentence could be written as follows: “I røynda rår det usemje kring dei skriftlege målformene”. Of course tourists get confused. Norwegians do, too!

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Season Of Skiing

In Norwegian media these days, the message is clear: The season of skiing has started! Staying in rainy Paris until December, I do get a bit jealous.

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Going cross country skiing, all surrounded by white woods on a cold and sunny day – little compares to that. What is also very much fun is Telemark skiing, also known as “free heel skiing”, a form of downhill skiing. The technique is named after Telemark, the Norwegian county where “the father of Telemark skiing”, Sondre Norheim, was born. Videos of extreme Telemark skiing are flourishing on YouTube, but there are also older videos of how they did it before having the professional Equipment of today. Take a look! And- it`s worth trying as well.

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“Let The Sunshine In”

Paris is quite sunny, even in the fall. In Norway, on the other hand, mirrors have to be put up for the inhabitants to gain access to the sun. At least in Rjukan.

Photo: nrk.no

Photo: nrk.no

In the county of Telemark, the small town Rjukan lies in shadow from September to March. The high mountains surrounding the town are preventing the sun from reaching down into the valley. The solution of this problem was found in an idea first proposed 100 years ago. On October 30th, the people of Rjukan were celebrating the installation of giant mirrors reflecting the sun.

Three mirrors of 17sq m each, BBC explains, were brought in by helicopter and placed on a mountain, about 450m above the centre of the town. The tilted mirrors, controlled by a computer, are following the path of the sun, reflecting the sunshine to Rjukan`s main square below.

Quite fascinating!

 

See also:

 

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Norwegian Police: Unarmed

politi_flickr.comphotosjustisdepartementet[1]

On Monday, three people were stabbed and killed on a bus in Norway. When the police showed up, they were unarmed.

When arriving at a crime scene, the Norwegian police are not usually unarmed. Monday’s incident was obviously a mistake, something that should not have happened. The first police patrol to arrive at the crime scene were unarmed, a spokesman from Politiets fellesforbund said, amongst others due to the fact that they were called out to what was, apparently, a traffic accident.

Not coming from the Police Academy, I am not familiar with the detailed rules, but the point is that the Norwegian police, in general, do not carry weapons. Mainly in addition to Ireland and New Zealand, Norway is one of the few countries in the world with an unarmed police force.

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When moving to Paris, I cannot say that I was surprised when seeing armed police (in addition to eating fish and watching burning wood, we do read newspapers), but the fact is that I am not used to it. I guess I haven`t really thought much about this aspect of the Norwegian society before living in another country.

However, the armed versus non-armed aspect of the Norwegian police is highly debated. Personal safety for the police officers is, of course, one of the main arguments for why the police should carry weapons. Another argument relates to public security.

I asked a friend of mine in the Oslo police force, whether she thinks the current Norwegian situation is right. Immediately, she said “yes”. If we were to carry guns, she said, I do not think that the people we talk to every day on the streets would look at us in the same manner as they currently do. She explained that when talking to all these different people, many of them already in highly problematic and desperate situations, they feel that they can talk back and converse with the police without feeling intimidated by weapons. If the police were carrying guns on the other hand, she would assume that people would most likely see her and her colleagues as more of a threat, “and no good would come out of that”. She believes, without doubt, that words reach further than weapons.

Related content

Norwegian articles:

http://www.nrk.no/norge/_tar-de-flest-i-land-i-verden-feil_-1.11299356

http://www.nrk.no/norge/ikke-retningslinjer-for-bevaepning-1.11341472

In English:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/world/europe/26police.html?_r=0

http://www.newsinenglish.no/2011/10/13/police-dont-want-to-bear-arms/

http://robertnielsen21.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/unarmed-police/

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