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Archive for the ‘Art and Culture’ Category

Folk Dance and living history at Norwegian Folk Museum

On Sunday the Norwegian Folk Museum held a rural folk dance this weekend so of course we had to be there. It is a lot of fun to watch Norwegian folk dance, and the traditional costumes called Bunad are very special indeed. Sewn after exact and traditional patterns they are quite expensive and valued for their tradition and connection to the owner’s local roots.

Bunad clad girls at the Folk Museum

Bunad clad girls at the Folk Museum

The Norwegian Folk Museum is a living museum with a collection of 150 buildings representing the different regions of Norway. The buildings are original carefully relocated to this one collection site. My entire family loves this museum. I remember so well how my children loved to join the Sunday activities, pet the horses, eat traditional lefse and most of all to explore the buildings which were open.

Regional costumes in traditional setting

Regional costumes in traditional setting

There were dancers on the main stage, and smaller groups scattered around the areas which represented their home communities. To see a video of the dancing and get a closer look visit RennyBA’s blog and check out his take on the day.

Telemark dance in full swing

Telemark dance in full swing

The children also loved the occasion, and it is good to see the tradition is carried down the line.

Children showing their skills

Children showing their skills

In addition to the dancing there was of course food. Many brought food to grill as all the local dance clubs were invited and admitted free. Some also had samples of local foods for us to try different tastes from different regions of the country.

Trying traditional delicacies

Trying traditional delicacies

If you would like to wander back into time with us, remember you are welcome to join us at the Oslo Blog gathering. The more the merrier, and if there isn’t dance at the Folk Museum when we are there we will happily dance with joy because you were able to join us!

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An Oasis in the City, Oslo Botanical Garden

Soon it is the 200th anniversary of University of Oslo (UiO) which was founded in 1812 by Frederik 6 of Denmark and Norway. Originally the plan was that the University would stand on land given to the community in Tøyen, however this plan was never implemented. Instead, in 1814 it was decided that a botanical garden would be created there.

Peaceful surroundings

Peaceful surroundings

The garden is now an oasis in Oslo, with almost half a million visitors each year. In the period from 1906 to 1916, the museum buildings with botanical, zoological and geological museums were erected, and these days it is 100 years since the Zoological Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Lilly of the Valley

Lilly of the Valley

The period from 1870 to 1920 was an important period for the natural history museums internationally. Charles Darwin’s evolution had given science an important place in the public debate, and the importance of scientific collections were aknowledged. Natural History museums or museums in botany, zoology and geology were built in all major cities. University of Oslo Botanical garden seeks to increase public awareness of the importance of plant diversity through research, education and plant conservation. The plant collections contain approximately 7500 species.

Rhodedendron

Rhodedendron

Not to mention it is a popular tourist attraction as well as lovely meeting place for the local residents of Oslo. This weekend RennyBA and I took a trip to enjoy the spring-early summer season. May and June are very good months to visit the garden as there are lots of plants coming into full bloom.

Spring blooming trees

Spring blooming trees

I am like a butterfly, especially attracted to the lovely colors and fragrances. When I first came to Oslo this was one of the places I was really looking forward to visiting. I love flowers and this one is very meticulously maintained and laid out so that there is always something blooming in every section. The rock garden surrounding the pond is always a favorite of ours as is the smelling garden full of fragrant plants, with all the markings also in brail so that blind visitors can enjoy the garden as well using the other senses. It is also allowed to touch the plants in that section.

The smelling garden

The smelling garden

If you are interested in beauty and nature, and are crazy about flowers like I am add this to your list of things to do when you visit us at the Oslo Blog Gathering. I am considering being the local guide for this part of the trip.

Who will win Eurovision 2010? I was there for semifinal!

Who will win? Who will win? Statisticians at MIT predict Azerbaijan while Cinta large scale newspaper poll predicts it will be Germany. The poll on facebook is currently showing Turkey in the lead. Everyone has an opinion, so as a good blogger I went last night to check out some of the entries myself.

Telenor Arena comes alive

Telenor Arena comes alive

Okay I can’t take full credit, I must thank NRK to donating the tickets to our center. We received 10 free tickets and gathered the girls together for an exciting night out. They donned their makeup and their heels, did their hair and hopped the bus (??!!??) to the Telenor arena. Yes I did say bus, the local transportation arrangements were excellent with busses going every 3 minutes or so at the rush time for the show.

Azerbaijan's performance

Azerbaijan's performance

I had my camera of course. I felt very cheeky sneaking it in, but when I got in I noticed they weren’t too strict about it because there were lots of cameras around. I am afraid our free tickets weren’t exactly first row. Actually I have a suspicion that the front row areas are reserved for guests of each country as they are very neatly divided into the different countries groups…but I did the best I could to capture the atmosphere anyway.

The Netherlands performs their song

The Netherlands performs their song

I found it very hard to decide when it came to voting for my favorite. I noticed that when I watch the show on tv I am a lot more critical to the presentations. When I was actually there they all seemed good in their own way, and I realized that of course it is the ‘best’ each country has to offer. I realized a lot of time and work and planning goes into each act and I was affected by the enthusiasm of each countries supporters. The biggest surprise to me was that Sweden didn’t go on, as I have heard the song before and thought it was a really good performance. The ten finalists who go on the last competition on Saturday were: Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Ireland, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Romania, Armenia and Denmark.

So who did I vote for? As a good democrat I shouldn’t tell, but I will. I liked two performances better than the others. Sweden, which sadly didn’t make it to the final and Georgia which did.

So what do you think? Who will win the Eurovision 2010 Song contest??? To learn more of the history and another point of view on the Eurovision experience check out RennyBA’s Terella!

Semi Final Eurovision 2010 Oslo

The biggest news in Norway for the time being is Eurovision song contest. As the winner of 2009’s event we are the host of Eurovision 2010. The competition has already started with the first of 2 semi finals last night. Although the competition was tough, and not without surprises, only 10 finalists go on to the final. Bosnia & Herzegovina, Moldova, Russia, Greece, Portugal, Belarus, Serbia, Belgium, Albania and Iceland were the lucky countries that qualified for the Final of the 55th Eurovision Song Contest which will take place on Saturday (May 29th).

Norwegians hope of course to win again with our representative 22 year old Opera student, Didrik Solli-Tangen, with  “My heart is yours.”

However since you can’t vote for your own country, it is always interesting to decide who is most impressive of the other competitors. Out of last nights participants I liked Iceland with a strong and lovely ballad, “Je ne sais quoi” (although why she sings in French instead of Islandsk is beyond me).

Milan Stankovic from Serbia performs an upbeat, original and entertaining number which the crowd liked very much,

and of course Georgos Alkaios & Friends from Greece just get better with every performance with a real Grecian flare to the music.

Tonight we took some of the women and children from work down to see an open event just outside Oslo City Hall. Here there was a dance competition with a possibility of performing at the final, and of course being admitted to the final to see the show.

Dance contest

Dance contest

There were also a lot of information and promotional stands around Oslo this evening which of course we had to check out while we were there.

Information stand

Information stand

And happily I will also be attending the second semi-final tomorrow night, again with some of the people from my work. We were given 10 free tickets to take the girls out and have some fun. So stay tuned for more info on Eurovision and the second semi-final.

I must admit its quite fun hosting Eurovision 2010. There is an infectious excitement in the city. It’s a feeling of being a part of something very special. If you love Eurovision stay tuned because there will be two more posts to come!

Welcoming Spring with a color explosion

Every year tulips, daffodils and narcissi welcome spring in Norway with an expolsion of color. After a long white winter we are ready for warm weather lots of natural color. My eyes are hungry for reds, orange, yellow, green and blue and the opportunity to relax outside and enjoy the sun on my face.

Hot Reds, Oranges and Yellow tulips

Hot Reds, Oranges and Yellow tulips

Thankfully the Oslo area has an abundance of attractive plantings in the spring to welcome us into the new season. Each section of the city has a large open park for the people to enjoy outdoor activities all year round. Twice this week I had the opportunity for a picnic or bbq in the open parks of our city and I brought along my camera to capture the colorful awakening of spring.

Masses of white daffodils

Masses of white daffodils

Nothing lifts my mood like lying in the green grass enjoying lovely surroundings with the smell of good earth and flowers around me, and bird song from the trees above. Thursday evening RennyBA and I were out until after 10 pm enjoying some long awaited spring weather and quality time together.

Pinks and reds frame the fountain at Spiker Suppe

Pinks and reds frame the fountain at Spiker Suppe

The plantings in the center of town are also a visual treat for tourists and residents alike. I have been eagerly watching the flowers bloom on my daily commute to my office, and longing for free time to get out with my Nikon camera. So you know RennyBA and I just had to get out and go for a photo hunt, this is way better then picking flowers because now we can enjoy their beauty year after year!

Pansies in fanciful decoration in beside National Theater

Pansies in fanciful decoration in beside National Theater

The gardens are spectacular all summer long, you know. So if you join us at the Oslo Blog Gathering 2010 we will be happy to take you there. I am planning on taking the tour of the Botanical Gardens myself and will be happy to show you around! Enjoy tulips and tulips festivals, check out Zhu’s post here!

Nobel Peace Center in Oslo Norway

Last weekend when we enjoyed being a tourist in our own town we visited the Nobel Peace Center for the first time. The Nobel Peace center is created by a Norwegian Foundation initiated by the Parlament in 2000, and opening in 2005. 

 

Nobel Peace Center, Photo by RennyBA

The Nobel Peace Center is located between the City Hall and Akerbrygge in the refurbished building of the Old Western Train Station. The purpose of the Nobel Peace Center is to provide information about the Peace Prize winners, Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Peace Prize, current conflicts and international peace efforts, exhibitions, lectures, conferences and other activities for children and adults.

Peace Garden 1000 points of Peace

Peace Garden 1000 points of Peace

 Called Norway’s most modern museum, it provides permanent and temporary exhibitions on topics related to war, peace and conflict resolution. Here you see some of the 96 screens which are surrounded by 1000 sparkling LED-stalks of the Peace Garden. Each screen displays information about a different Nobel Peace Prize winner. The screen responds when a person approaches and talls the winner’s history and work.

Hakkens Song oil painting by Gerhard Sekoto 1946-47, shows the white man who stands and watches the black laborers

Hakkens Song oil painting by Gerhard Sekoto 1946-47, shows the white man who stands and watches the black laborers

Currently they have opened a new exhibit called Courage and Resistance which expresses through art the struggles of South Africa. The exhibits  give small glimpses of the daily political struggle in South Africa, as well as great highlights from the lives of four South African leaders, each of which were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, Frederik Willem de Klerk and Nelson Mandela.

The exhibition is on loan from South Africa and was first shown during the Norwegian Royal couple’s visit to South Africa last fall, as an initiative of the Nobel Peace Centre and the Iziko National Gallery in Cape Town. We now have the privilege of enjoying it here in Norway on display until October, 2010. You know what is coming now don’t you…yes that means that you too can experience this exhibit if you like when joining the Oslo Blog Gathering 2010!! So look forward to checking it out!

Liberation day celebrated in Norway

This year it is 65 years since the end of the Second World War in Norway. Each year Norwegians mark this day with music corps, flag and flowers placed on local memorials to those who fell in World War II. The liberation in 1945 was a huge relief and joy throughout the people who were finally free after 5 years of Nazi occupation.

The coolest drummer in Eikeli School Band (My son Kyle 2007)

The coolest drummer in Eikeli School Band (My son Kyle 2007)

Tension had been building since the death of Adolf Hitler April 30, and the people were anxious to find out how the German army would then respond. The evening of the 7th of May General Bøhme got the order to surrender the German forces in Norway, and he complied. The home front’s leadership was finally able to release the famous statement: “Our struggle is crowned with victory, Norway is again free.” As in many other countries the people celebrated in the streets and built bonfires of Nazi propaganda posters and flags. 

Liberation celebration in the on Karl Johans Street in Oslo 1945

Liberation celebration in the on Karl Johans Street in Oslo 1945

Throughout the land exhausted Norwegians poured into streets to celebrate the liberation. Those who had been in hiding or exile because of the war began to come home – from abroad, from concentration camps and prison, or from hiding places in the country.

Now each 8th of May from 15 stations around the country there is a 12 shot salute fired at noon commemorating the liberation day 8 May 1945 and all Norwegians fallen under both the Second World War and all later wars.

Royal Guard at Memorial Site

Royal Guard at Memorial Site

 It is important that awareness of the 8th of May and what it stands for does not gradually fade away in new generations. The fallen gave the maximum sacrifice possible for us survivors to be free. We are overwhelmed mentally every day by news of war and defamation of human rights around the world. It is our job to continue the march for peace and never to forget the atrocities that occurred.

If you would like to learn more about the Norwegian Home Fronts activities in the Second World War, why not take a trip the Home Front Museum at Akeshus Fortress when you join us at Oslo Blog Gathering 2010???