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28: Living In Small-Town Norway

Life in Hølen, a small town in Norway

Life in Norway Show Episode 28: Jill Kirchmann from the Norway Times blog tells us all about life in the small Norwegian town Hølen, and why she chose to move away from the capital city.

I've only ever lived in Oslo and Trondheim, and every so often I do wonder what life would be like in a much smaller place. Having grown up in a small village in England, I have fond memories of life in a small community. But what would that be like as an adult, and in Norway?

Jill Kirchmann, a Canadian who writes the Norway Times blog, is just the person to ask! She moved to Hølen, a small town about an hour south of Oslo, and joins the show to talk about the experience.

Jill and her dog out for a walk

Listen to the show

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Hølen, Norway

Jill says she “couldn't be happier” living in Hølen. She describes the town as atypical for a Norwegian town.

“It's filled with people who have seemed to make a very intentional move to be here. It's filled with interesting people who do interring things aside from their regular jobs. People are making honey and brewing beer. There's a friend of ours in town who builds custom bikes.”

The local cafe has been in Hølen for many years but recently got a new lease of life when two musicians bought it. “They have great events there, excellent concerts and a monthly pub quiz.”

Former railway bridge and cafe in Hølen, Norway

Jill also picks out Sånafest, the international dance, performance and culture festival, as another highlight of living in the town.

The small-town lifestyle

Jill says the biggest difference is that she could go a few days without seeing anyone other than her husband.”In a way thats very nice as its very quiet as there's a side of me that likes that. On the other hand, there's some days when I have to get into my car or walk into town and see somebody. In Oslo, you walk out of your door and are surrounded by people.”

She also says a big difference is the ease of meeting people. “He and I had to start again. We were both the newcomers and so we needed to make the effort to meet people. With these being a somewhat atypical Norwegian town, the minute we moved here we were being invited to things.”

Norwegian TV

Given Jill's background as a TV and comedy writer, we take a detour into Norwegian television. Jill thinks that there are similarities between the humour in Norway and in Canada, and that there is a lot of potential for Norwegian shows to become internationally successful.

Read more: Norwegian slow TV

Jill picks out Norwegian comedy show Norsemen as a particular favourite. Every scene of the Viafilm/NRK production that is known in Norway as Vikingane was filmed in both English and Norwegian. She says it's fascinating to watch the same episode in both languages.

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Life in Norway Show Episode 28: Life in Small Town Norway

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About the Author: David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

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