Here’s Looking at You, Norway…and Norden

Is Oscar Wilde’s phrase about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery true? Was he referring to individuals, or can we stretch it to talk about countries?

A year ago I wanted to find a new topic for my course takers to discuss during class that would involve talking about working in Norway. But we’d already talked quite a bit about their own take on living here; yet I wondered if they knew about how people in other countries looked at life up here at the top of Europe?

So I sat down in front of my laptop and typed in the search words ‘other European countries inspired by Norway’ and found my way to a website of a group called Nordic Horizons (

Definition of NH appearing on Twitter(@Nordichorizons) : A think tank exploring Nordic models for Scotland

Sounds very political, which the group is to a degree: In order to implement Nordic models, it is argued, Scotland would have to first become an independent country. You might remember that by the slightest of margins, Scots voted down this referendum in 2014, choosing to remain a part of the UK. It was close, though, and there is an active movement (#indyref2) working for putting up a new referendum in the foreseeable future.

In the meantime any of you ‘working in Norway’ will find what this group posts on its Facebook, Twitter  and webpage interesting. Positive. Encouraging. About things going right in all of the five Nordic countries, both politically and culturally speaking.

This last point is important – those of us living and working in Norway don’t always know enough about what is happening in our own Nordic backyard. Funny about that, maybe as they say here, we ‘have enough with our own’? But I’d like to think otherwise. So have a look at NH and be flattered by some sincere study of all (good) things taking place not only in Norway but also ‘i Norden’. Just admit it – we do all want to know more about our neighbors, don’t we?

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