The Great Norwegian Adventure

Alt for Norge

The must-watch reality TV show for anyone considering a move to Norway.

As I write this, I'm sitting on the sofa watching the latest episode in the 5th series of Alt for Norge, an award-winning reality TV show on TV Norge. This is something I've been meaning to write about for three years now. Finally, I've put pen to paper! (well, fingers to keyboard…)

Named The Great Norwegian Adventure in the USA, Alt for Norge features a bunch of Norwegian-Americans competing for the chance to meet their Norwegian relatives. It may seem a strange concept to many, and indeed it did to me at first. But after spending a week discovering Minnesota's Norwegian-American community last year, all is clear! Americans with Norwegian heritage (and there are allegedly over 5 million of them, more than the population of Norway itself) really do seem to love the “idea” of Norway, so to see a select few get to experience what Norway is really like makes for great entertainment.

Great entertainment for me at least – and I suspect all foreigners living in Norway – as the tasks they have to go through mirror my time in Norway so far. Being rubbish at cross-country skiing, attempting to navigate forest trails, learning Norwegian, trying brown cheese, fiskeboller and akevitt, and a whole lot more.

However, unlike the Norwegian-Americans, I've never had to sing a Norwegian song on stage at Rockheim or dress up as Kaptein Sabeltann at Kristiansand Zoo!

This is the fifth series and I haven't warmed to the contestants as much as the last times. Still, it's an enjoyable watch and the highlight of a Sunday evening (especially after watching England labour to victory over Estonia…)

Despite not enjoying this series as much, it has provided one of the most entertaining moments so far. The contestants had to dash around a town in northern Norway asking the natives how to swear in Norwegian. Anyone who's ever been to northern Norway will know they can swear, boy can they swear! So some real classic lines were delivered, which of course, I'm not going to repeat here!

Each contestant had to memorise the swear words, and deliver them at the Norwegian swearing champions while downing a beer. Brilliant.

One of the nicer elements of the show is when each contestant is presented with a letter from their relatives, typically while they are visiting the area. This normally results in tears as the contestant understands the tough conditions that drove their forefathers to America in search of a better life.

Alt for Norge is one of the few original shows on Norwegian TV with international appeal, making a pleasant change from endless reruns of Friends, The Simpsons et al. But even so, it's not an entirely original concept. It's modelled on another TV Norge hit, 71 grader nord (71 Degrees North), which sees Norwegians attempt challenges a hundred times harder than on Alt for Norge. The show has run on Norwegian TV every year since 1999 and been sold to countries around the world including the UK, Sweden, Poland, and the USA and Canada, where the concept was called No Boundaries.

All reality shows tend to get better as they progress and you get to know the participants a bit better, so I hold out hope for a great finish to series 5! All together now… Alt for Norge!

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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.

10 Comments

  1. I’m not Norwegian-American, but I have an interest in Norway because I have friends there. Still, as an American, with ancestors who came from elsewhere in Europe, I think the concept of this show is kind of fascinating. I’m going to have to figure out how to watch it!

  2. I looove to watch Alt for Norge! It would be great for a drinking game too – everytime, someone cries, you have to drink a shot. Oh boy, you will get drunk 😀

  3. My concern with the program is that they manage to find the worst subjects to participate from America. I believe many of them could not even find Norway on a map. It seems like it is only for comedic relief for the Norwegian audience to watch some dumb Americans.

    1. No. Honestly, that is not true. We are Norwegian and American and live in Norway. We watch it every year and love it. Norwegians love the enthusiasm and fully understand the reactions to smalahove and lutefisk and other weird things, but more than anything, they are proud of their traditions and sharing them.

    1. Easy. Just go to https://www.dplay.no/ and search for “Alt for Norge”. The latest episodes are free. And so are severeal other programs on that channel.
      You probably need a VPN-service to watch, though. Try Nord VPN. I use it all the time for watching American TV 😉

  4. I am in Norway with my 79 year old mother. She so desperately wants to find her relatives. We were booked in Hotel and I asked for a water view. I was a little disappointed until I found our room looks straight up to my mothers great grandfathers house. How amazing We could have stayed anywhere in Alesund but here we are staring at #10 Øwregata
    Alesund Norway. Her grandfathers name was O. O. Roald. Her grandfather Olaf Roald traveled to America with his sister Marta and younger brother Ole. They ended up in Montana. We wish we knew what happened to their brothers and sisters that stayed in Norway. Hopefully we will be able to get some news

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