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:-)

43 Comments

  1. REnny – thanks so much! When we finally get the chance, I think I will have to at least stop into the hard rock cafe to get a shirt that says oslo on it!!! I haven’t been to a hard rock since Hawaii in 2000? or so…

    Yes you do have great culture and I love that we both express ourselves in photos. :)

  2. ps – blogging is definitely a great way to bridge the world for sure!!! I can only hope to meet more people this way also.

  3. We have something similar here in DE at least once a year.I always find it interesting when culture(of this & that) clashes in positive & healthy setting:)

    Ohh, I love those lumpia(spring rolls)btw

    Lovely shots as usual…

  4. very nice pictures. You have an eye for beauty!
    I leave with knowing a little more about Norway today.
    And we had a simialr festivity a couple of days ago…you saw the pictures at my site…it was also Cultural Night, where different cultures and people and traditions get presented. It is always fascinating!

  5. That is quite true that blogging bridges boundaries and culture. The pictures are quite nice. Bergen doesnt have that kind of thing but it could have been nice if they have. Well probably since Oslo has the highest immigrant population or let’s say minority than in Bergen.

  6. I just love this post, Renny, because I can actually picture what you’re talking about or showing via photos. The City Hall square was basically where our ship was docked, and you know I took many pics of the City Hall’s clock. Donica went to Hard Rock Cafe and bought several things, among which is one of my favorite summer shirts–not the typical t-shirt. So I love being reminded of your fair city. You can indeed be proud of it and your country!

  7. Very interesting & informative entry as always. Only 4.7 million people. I have the impression more than 4.7 M people are living in my part of town! ;-)

    You are right about the different blogs. Quite an eye opener.

  8. I happened by your site from Dustyclodfelter’s site (from 25peeps). Anyway, it excited me to see that you are from Norway. My grandfather was from Norway and I have always wanted to learn more about it and, someday, visit. So nice to meet you…I’ll be back.

  9. Loved your pictures Renny. With such beautiful places, Norway is sure to have many more people moving there in the future…:)

  10. honestly, with your photos and your posts about your country, if ever i’ll migrate to another country it would be norway :)

  11. hi renny,
    happy friday!!!

    i can say that since travel is my passion. and since i am a world culture hound, i love to read about cultural diversity and immigration issues in other countries. i did a lot of research on iceland regarding these matters.

    i just think it is an amazing gauge of the quality of life in a country. please keep us posted. we have all kinds of festivals like this here (Unity Day, Puerto Rican Day Parade, Caribbean Festival, etc.)

  12. Happy Friday from Canada! I’m dropping in from Michele’s, and how glad I am to do so, as your pictures are wonderful.

    They’re made even more wonderful by the rich stories you tell around them. I’ve so enjoyed today’s visit…

  13. Wow! Norway is such a great country to visit…or maybe to be considered as home in the future. Looks like your country is very welcoming to immigrants.

    Hope to have the dough to visit there someday.

  14. Mother of Invention

    Norway has a very fine reputation world wide and especially in Canada. You have helped to foster this image with your upbeat blog. No wonder so many people would love to move there!
    Having not the money to do so much traveling as some other people, I can go there through you! Thanks!
    (P.S. Posted some pics of a nice catch of Bass from our holiday!)

  15. @ExpatTraveler: You’re welcome. After all you where one of my first blog friends and have done a lot of favours to me. I’ve bee to HRC in Kuala Lumpur, New York, London, Copenhagen and Sidney, but never in Oslo before. Let’s go there together! So about your PS: Let’s meet there!

    @CheH: I’m glad you can experience the same and yea, the food is great!

    @Minka: Thanks for the compliments my new blog friend from Iceland. Yes, I’ve noticed the similar festivity on your blog and that is very interesting as I learn a lot from yours – how lovely to be able to share these things through blogging!

    @CharlesRavndal: Thanks for the compliment. Maybe you and I could arrange a Mela in Bergen gathering our blog friend all round the world! I crazy, but also a great idea, don’t you think?

    @Ginnie: I’m glad you recognize Oslo from your visit and that I could bring back some of your great memories! T-shirts fells best on when you have bought them at the place you know. Thanks for the compliments too.

    @Sidney: Thanks for the compliments. Yes, Norway is not that over crowded yes, you know. Talking bout eye opener I do recommend others to visit your blog then!

    @LoveMom: So glad to have another with Norwegian roots visiting! I do hope you’ll come visit one day and in the mean time, you can always visit and get to know us better:-)

    @Grish: Thanks for the compliments. So are you moving here too?

    @Tin-tin: Your welcome any time my blogger friend!

    @April: I’m glad I could tempt you travel passion then and you know you are welcome any time! Glad you have the same kind of arrangement, so I’ll keep you posted and you do the same, okay?

    @Carmi: Glad you dropped by and that you enjoyed your stay, Welcome back for more stories about Norway and the Nordic countries!

    @jef: Your welcome any time and I gladly guide you.

    @MotherOfInvention: That’s quite a compliment and I’m proud our reputation precedes us. Yes, visiting my blog is totally free of charge and you are welcome any time dear!
    I’ll visit you tomorrow. Right now it’s 1AM, so I’m off to bed as I will have another quality time with my wife at the golf course early tomorrow morning:-)

  16. i sure hope blogger cooperates this time….i’ve tried 3 other times to comment…

    wonderful post. i love the perspective youshare on immigration. it’s such a touchy subject in the US, which is sad.

    i love the idiom too….learn to howl with the wolves yo uare with…..such an interesting nordic twist on when in rome do as the romans. perhaps sometime you’d do another post on just norwegian idioms? i find them so illuminating of a culture.

  17. also letting you know that the pic you requested is now available for you to see. i change the flickr setting on it:)

  18. Three cheers for multiculturalism! Glad to hear that it works in Norway like it works here in Vancouver.

  19. Blogger is ugly tonight! Vi kommer direkt från utforalder och blogger funker inte….Let me see more camera photos! I am so jealous of you!
    R

  20. It is true, our country has many problems with the immigration laws and standards. Many here dont realize that we actually need to allow even more people to immigrate. We have always been called “the melting pot”. Ethnic, racial and religious diversity, though the media sensationalizes the extremists, making the world believe we are full of zealots and biggots. Beautiful pics by the way and thanks for the wonderful comments on my Blog.

  21. 4.7M for the whole population of Norway?

    The Philippines is at 70M! just imagine :D

    I also noticed that there are quite a number of Turks migrating to the Nordic countries- most of them blended in easily.

    have a great weekend!

  22. I had a penpal in Norway for many years (she lived in Sandnes) until she passed away 6 years ago…throughout the years that we were writing to each other, she told me many things about Norway, it’s cultures, beautiful buildings, etc, and it made me want to visit there so badly…maybe one day:-) I loved this post and I love the way blogging bring the whole world together!! Have a great weekend Renny:-)

  23. WOW Renny!
    culture and traditions, thats really cool i love that show. It happened also here in Luxembourg at least once year :)
    And those yummy foods makes me hungry! lols.
    You mobile, gash! soo awesome.
    Happy weekend!

  24. Yesterdays_ashes

    Hey Renny,

    Was away for a while….such a busy time around here….trying to catch up with old friends. Hope you are well.

    Tina

  25. Lovely photos you have here Renny. Oslo is a beautiful place!

  26. What a lovely post, both in topic and in pictures. Your blog always put a smile on my face.

  27. Hi Renny!

    Oslo is indeed a beauty.thanx for sharing th pics.

    summer is awesome;the sexiness,inward and outward,haha!

    thanx for checkin me always,renny!!

  28. First of all, thank you for your comments. :)

    I’m glad that you had fun with your wife. Party. :D Programs like that are well worth everyone’s time. I wish something like that – a cultural program – would be held here in the Philippines. The minorities are always oppressed. ^_^

    Yes, indeed. Norway seems to be a really rich country. It’s similar to the Philippines, in more ways than I’d ever imagine.

    Beautiful pictures, by the way. :D

  29. @Lime: Glad you liked the post and the subject. The idiom: well maybe I’ll make a post of more Norwegians – great idea!
    Thanks for letting me see the pics on Flickr:)

    @Nome: Good to hear it works in Vancouver too then!

    @JerseyTjej: Glad you didn’t give up commenting then! Yes, there will be more pics and tomorrow even a movee, so stay tuned!

    @TheDoctor: Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experience from your part of the world – that’s how we learn from each other you know!

    @Duke: Yes, quite few in Norway compare to your country. That’s why it’s important but also easier to integrate immigrants you know.

    @Ethel: How wonderful to hear it’s done in the Netherlands too then! Have a great week ahead!
    @YesterdaysAshes: Great to see you back Tina – was missing you!

    @Lisa: Yes, Oslo is great. Would you pay us a visit? I’ll gladly guide you around:-)

    @Hexe: Glad you liked it and how lovely to be able to give you a good smile!

    @Ghee: Yes Oslo and the people are wonderful, so if you have your camera ready, you can always find some candy for your eyes:-)

    @Shari: Hope you can have that kind of parties too some day then:-) Glad you find some similarity from your country too – thanks for sharing your thoughts about it!

  30. i love your pictures. that seems like such a fun atmosphere to be surrounded by.

    so Norway loves the immigrants, huh? “Make blogs, not wars!” i like that =)

    hope you have a great week ahead!

  31. Hi there! wow~ what a big and interesting event.

    I love the pics,thanks for sharing!

    wonderful post*wink*

    have a great week ahead!

  32. My husband traveled a few times to Oslo, I hope to join him next time he has to go on a business trip. Oslo/NOrway looks so beautiful.

  33. I love multiculturalism. I find interacting with different people and customs very exciting and refreshing.

    When in university, I used to hang out with the international students (which is where I met Sofia).

    The only thing I dislike about ethnic groups is the tendency they have to form small communities and essentially isolate themselves from the larger community. It is something I am aware of because my parents were immigrants to Canada and deliberately chose not to stick with the “Polish” community.

    The sad thing is when people have been in a country 30 or 40 years and barely speak the language. I have number of friends whose parents speak little English or French and have spent their whole lives within their cultural community.

    Not to be to negative though, in Canada, multiculturalism seems to work pretty well on the whole and we have lots of multicultiral festivals.

  34. In Canada we have 5x as many immigrants proportionally. A section loves the wealth of cultures of course. Perhaps the proportion is why the people on the street are less fond of multiculturalism.

    Love the phrase learn to howl with the wolves you are with.

  35. “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”

    How refreshing!

    I wish things were the same over here…Although the UK is multi-racial, it is a far cry from being multi-cultural. The problem is getting members from different ethnic groups to interact with one another.

  36. nice pictures :)
    you have met charles? that’s cool. i used to chat with him in blogexplosion. you should visit the Philippines someday :)

  37. @Laureen: Thanks for the compliments and glad you liked my slogan.

    @yorokobee: Glad you liked it and it means a lot since you’re a great photographer too!

    @Tine: Please do as I would love to meet both of you – tell me in advance so I’m sure I am in Oslo at the time!

    @Richard: Thanks for a great comment – it’s always good to read your thoughts and opinion. To speak the language is very important for the integration of course. I’m so proud of my wife speaking fluently after only 7 years.

    @Pearl: Interesting thoughts about the differences. Glad you liked the phrase too – maybe I should post more about Norwegian phrases?

    @Charme: I do understand your point of view and of course everything is not perfect in Norway either.

    @AnneKristine: Thanks and yes, I’ve met Charles – my blog designer – in person, and twice!

  38. Man, those vendor stands looked awesome. Wish I could have been there to sample their delicious wares; nothing like good food from the Far East to satisfy my palate..yum!

  39. Hey… I think one of my favorite bands/groups is from Oslo. Kings of Convenience… sound familiar?

  40. @Mrs.Loquacious: It’s a yearly event, so please come and joine us next year!

    @Mark: Not sure, but do you mean this band: http://www.kingsofconvenience.com/ ?

  41. Yup Renny, that’s the band!

    Loooooove them.

  42. Hello friend,
    Very Nice blog Pictures are crystal clear. Your blog is having lot of informatives
    Keep it up.
    Thanks
    A.SAMPATH KUMAR
    INDIA

  43. So refreshing to see multiculturalism celebrated and working will in Norway! [huge round of applause]

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