Friday, November 12, 2010
Yes, it snows in Norway. My room at the Grand Hotel is to the left. I only have one full day in Oslo, where I today had my Blue Revolution lunch with Lars Golmen, who hosted the second gathering where the Bergen Declaration for Next Generation Fisheries was adopted almost exactly five years ago.
Early settlements in Norway can be traced back to 10,000 BC, with the Vikings active beginning in the eighth century. Norway was ceded to Sweden around 200 years ago, but peacefully separated 105 years ago. Interestingly enough, Alfred Nobel of Sweden, inventor of dynamite, had already created the Nobel Prizes, but Norway took with them the Nobel Peace Prize (Center on left). Sweden awards all the others. Thus, Barack Obama last year came to Oslo to receive his award, and, according to Lars, stayed at the hotel where I am now housed. It is not known who will accept Liu Xiaobo's prize on December 10. But Norway was informed by China that they will reduce trade with Norway if the country proceeds. My solution to this issue is presented in my message to President Hu Jintao.
The government is sort of like that of the United Kingdom, a monarchy for show and democracy to rule. The current Prime Minister is Jen Stoltenberg (right). The country this year is ranked #1 on the UNDP Human Development Index, is among the safest of countries, with New Zealand #1, and is right up there with Qatar on GDP/capita. Hey, I just noticed that the USA jumped from #13 to #4 in the 2010 Index. President Obama?? Anyway, Norway is what you want your society to be.
This is the country of Thor Heyerdahl (Kon-Tiki), Edvard Grieg (Peer Gynt), Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt, the book) and Edvard Munch (his The Scream, left, symbolizing the anxiety of man, keeps getting stolen, but there are various versions of this painting).
The population of Norway is around 5 million, close to a million living in the capitol city of Oslo. If only it was not so cold and expensive. The cost of living here is 30% higher than the USA. Twilight begins around 8AM and it begins to get dark at 4PM...and it is not yet mid-November.
About 80% belongs to the Church of Norway, and this happens at birth, but church attendance has now dropped to below 2%. Islam is the next largest religion, about 3%, most from Pakistan. I would imagine that more Muslims go to their mosque than Norwegians to their church. Scandinavians are not too religious, although not as secular as France and Germany.