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Norway’s Slow TV Goes Global

Slow TV in Norway

What is slow TV? Originating in Norway, the concept highlights a specific location or great experience in great detail. Read on to find out why it's so popular!

Fed up of reality TV, endless repeats of old movies and depressing news? So were television producers in Norway. In recent years, this concept has taken the country by storm. Now, it's popularity is spreading overseas.

Read on to learn all about one of the most curious things about watching TV in Norway.

Slow TV explained

The simple concept is the total opposite of the instant gratification style of reality TV. Producers pick a topic and spend hours, days, even weeks digging into it in excruciating detail.

Typically, a live stream is available on TV and online with a highlights show broadcast each evening. Live footage is interspersed with interviews and other features relevant to the theme. These are also included in the highlights show.

The idea isn't to sit and watch the broadcast around the clock, but to enjoy as and when you need to relax.

The slow TV debut: Oslo to Bergen

State broadcaster pioneered the concept in 2009 with the live broadcast of the famous Oslo to Bergen railway journey, filmed from the perspective of the driver at the front of the train.

Bergen railway
The Oslo to Bergen train

The famous 500km railway reaches over 1,200 metres above sea level as it crosses the Hardangervidda plateau in central Norway. When the scenic views were interrupted by the 182 tunnels on the line, the show broadcast interviews with passengers, former workers and historians.

It is estimated that at least 25% of Norwegians watched at least part of the broadcast!

Since then, shows have included the full length of the Hurtigruten coastal ferry journey, a knitting marathon, and an oddly compelling all-night bonfire.

Slow TV is coming to a TV set near you

Those outside of Norway have struggled to access some of the biggest hits of slow TV, even though British Airways recently included the Oslo to Bergen railway journey on their long-haul flights. But now, the full range of Norway's slow TV hits are available on Netflix in the United States, and several other countries.

The full list of available slow TV shows:

  • National Firewood Evening
  • National Firewood Morning
  • National Firewood Night
  • National Knitting Evening
  • National Knitting Morning
  • National Knitting Night
  • Northern Passage
  • Northern Railway
  • Salmon Fishing
  • The Telemark Canal
  • Train Ride Bergen to Oslo
  • Svalbard

The last one on Svalbard is the most recent, having been broadcast on NRK in February 2020. The journey by boat around the perimeter of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the archipelago, took place last August. It profiled the spectacular scenery, the endless light of the summer, and fascinating wildlife.

I do hope you enjoy one of Norway's cultural treasures!

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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.

4 Comments

  1. Dear Dave

    I cannot thank you enough for the website,it is a veritable gold mine of information,it is well laid out,written and produce.
    I am planning to relocate to Bergen next year.I am 46,childless and never married and more over i am a self employed E-mini day trader.This allows me to reside pretty well anywhere in this world as long as i can have access to a broadband internet stream to connect my 6 screens and 2 laptops.I know how expensive Norway is that is why i am endeavoring to raise a tidy sum so i can find something really nice through BNB agency to reside for 6mths in Bergen.AS you advise i plan to arrive in October of next year in order to experience the fall and winter,i am Canadian so weather shouldn’t be a problem.
    One thing for sure David i am getting out of this nightmare called North America(i.e.Canada/USA),regardless of the election outcome in November this place as we speak nothing more than a runaway train heading off a cliff.
    Finally being a bachelor i wonder if it could be possible to have a section in the website where we could have input from other man whom like myself relocated to Norway single only to able to land a Norge Valkyrie after their arrival.I consider Scandinavian women to be the top ladies on this planet because they are the “total package”and the Norge Valkyries to be the top of the Scandinavian clan!
    Take good care Dave and again congratulation for the website
    Graig Sterling
    Toronto,canada

  2. I was introduced to lace making by a Dutch woman in her late 80’s here in the USA a few years ago and was fascinated by the complexity of it. I think it would make a great production for you.

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