Norway Weekly 164: Norway's top stories from the last seven days
Hey everyone. I had great feedback on the new format of Norway Weekly over the past few days. I'm glad you're enjoying it!
On with this week's edition:
Top Story: DNB to close half its branches & offshore controversy
Leading Norwegian bank DNB announces plans to close half of its branches across Norway as their online business continues to grow, according to Computer Weekly. Meanwhile, bank bosses have been forced to apologise after leaked documents show they helped customers to set up offshore companies in the Seychelles. The Norwegian government owns 34 per cent of the bank.
Expat tips for the 2015 Tax Return
It’s that time of the year again when we get out the calculators to discover just how much we owe the Norwegian government for the pleasure of living here. This year, 3.6 million provisional tax returns were issued by the Government. 167,000 people are receiving one for the first time. Make sure you're receiving all the deductions to which you're entitled with our handy list of top tips for the tax return.
Changes to the Oslo T-Bane
Public transport users in Oslo are adjusting to major changes in the T-Bane network following the opening of a station at Løren. Some trains are following different routes, some lines have been renumbered and of course, timetables will change. The changes also affect bus users, as many timetables coincide with T-Bane departure times. Read about the changes here.
Integration minister: We can't be like Sweden
The Local reports: A tight immigration policy and tougher requirements for those who come to Norway are important tools for avoiding radicalisation and parallel societies, Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug said on Wednesday.
National Oilwell Varco signals further mass layoffs
The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reports that National Oilwell Varco will continue slashing jobs in Norway, after laying off 2,400 workers – half of its local staff – last year, as sinking oil-sector investment continues to hammer major industry subcontractors.
Norway’s whaling program just got even more controversial
National Geographic reports that so few people in Norway want to eat whale meat that it’s ending up in the feed manufactured for animals on fur farms. The findings are part of a new document released by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based nonprofit, and the U.S.-based Animal Welfare Institute.
Royal family twice as costly as thought
The Local reports on a report published by Dagbladet, which alleges the state keeps large expenditure items hidden from the public. The annual cost of the Norwegian monarchy is 460 million kroner, according to the report.
Check out our brand new Facebook page Norway Traveller, where we share inspiring travel photographs from across Norway.
Norway in the offseason: Overcast and under appreciated
From the Washington Post: Norway in March with its gray skies, snow-covered countryside, icy streets and misty rains is perhaps not everyone’s idea of paradise, but it has its upside. In a word, you have the place more or less to yourself, or at least you don’t have to share it with the raging hordes of selfie-snapping backpackers who descend on Scandinavia in the summer.
Vigeland Sculpture Park
From the New Zealand Listener: They’re among the most lumpen public statues in the world. They’re also among the most popular. Vigeland sculpture park in Central Oslo is just a couple of kilometres from the Royal Palace.
Nordic countries to bid for Euro 2024/2028?
According to Mail Online, Norway together with Finland, Sweden and Denmark will bid to host the European Championships of football in 2024 or 2028. Citing the many shared values in the region, the statement said the joint bid would focus on ‘sustainability, volunteerism and well-being' while promising an economically and environmentally responsible approach to staging the tournament.
Bjørgen’s comeback spoiled by injury
News in English (paywall) reports that Norwegian ski queen Marit Bjørgen had to drop out of her expected comeback this weekend due to injury. She has been out of competitive action since giving birth three months ago.
Norway tries for sledge hockey turnaround
The upcoming European Championships offer Norway a chance to regain their regular spot on the podium. Sochi 2014 marked the first Paralympic Winter Games at which Norway missed out on the podium in sledge hockey, while at the 2015 World Championships, Norway was handed a crushing 2-1 overtime defeat by Russia in the bronze-medal game.
Easter in Norway
Nick in Norway blogs from his first Easter cabin trip: “One thing I learned about myself at the cabin is that I am not very good at relaxing or taking it easy. There are so many things that I want to do, study, learn, watch, and experience that taking five days to sit in a cabin and read seems like an unproductive waste of time” (includes slightly raunchy photo!)
Is there a typical Norwegian humour?
On a Frog in the Fjord: “If you think about it, to survive in a country where it is night time half of the year and raining the rest, you need minimum two things: alcohol and humour.”
Film review: Welcome to Norway
From Variety: “Depending on your sense of humor, the ironically titled “Welcome to Norway” will seem like either a pleasantly pointed wheeze or a comedy in cringingly poor taste. The third feature from Norwegian helmer Rune Denstad Langlo (“North”) brings levity to a serious, highly topical subject as it spins a tale about a lovable loser who tries to convert his family’s failing mountaintop hotel into a state-supported refugee reception center.”
So, when does Norway become home?
From Norway Times: “So we have love. We have papers declaring us to be “residents”. We are learning the language (slowly but surely). But how do we actually make this place home? Norway is now where I live, but I don’t know if it will ever quite feel like home.”
Paint it black: Norway's metal scene matures
From the Norwegian American Weekly: “Once notorious for church burnings, suicide, and even murder, black metal is growing up.”