The only Norwegian feature film to win an Academy Award was Thor
Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki for Best Documentary Feature in 1951.
In 2006 The Danish Poet , which was directed by Norway’s Torill Kove and narrated by Liv Ullmann, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, and became the second Norwegian production to receive an Academy Award.
The Norwegian film industry’s own version of the Hollywood spectacular is the Amanda Awards, which has been running since 1985 and which is held during Haugesund’s Norwegian Film Festival in August.
Of the movies filmed in Norway, Black Eyes, by Russian director Nikita Michalkhov, was set in the spectacular landscapes around Kjerring?y in Nordland, while Caspar Wrede’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was filmed in R?ros.
Architectural Highlights ? Oslo Opera House, Oslo ? Arctic Cathedral, Troms? ? Art nouveau, ?lesund ? Bryggen area, Bergen ? Heddal Stave Church, Notodden ? Miners’ cottages, R?ros ? Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim ? Sami Parliament, Karasjok ? Stave church, Urnes ARCHITECTURE Norway’s architects have clearly been inspired by the country’s dramatic landscapes, while recognising the need to build structures capable of withstanding the harsh dictates of Norway’s climate.
The results are often stunning: from rustic turf-roofed houses, whose design dates back almost two millennia, to Norway’s signature stave churches, soaring religious architecture, and creative adaptations of Sami symbols and some Arctic landforms.
While the rural sense of style revels in its rustic charm, Norway’s urban architecture strives for a more modern aesthetic, with clean lines and minimalism all the rage.
Traditional Architecture Timber and stone are the mainstays of traditional Norwegian architecture; nowhere is this more evident than in the delightful former mining village of R?ros, where many of the colourful timber houses date back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
For an overview of Norwegian architectural styles down through the centuries, it’s worth making a detour to Lillehammer to visit Maihaugen (Click here), or any of the excellent folk museums dotted around the country.
Folk Museums ? Maihaugen, Lillehammer ? Norwegian Folk Museum, Oslo ? Setesdalsmuseet, Setesdalen ? Hardanger Folk Museum, Utne ? Romsdalmuseet, Molde ? Sverresborg Tr?ndelag Folkemuseum, Trondheim Sami Architecture In the far north, where both wood and stone were in short supply, the early nomadic Sami ingeniously built their homes out of turf, which provided excellent insulation against the cold.
The temporary shelter that the Sami used on their travels is popularly known as the lavvo (although it has different names in various Sami dialects).
Less vertical (and hence more stable in the winds of the high Arctic) than the North American teepee , the lavvo was held aloft by a tripod of three notched poles with a cover of reindeer skins (and later canvas).
The lavvo formed at once a centrepiece of Sami life and a refuge from the elements – during and after the devastation wrought by Germany’s WWII occupation of northern Norway, the lavvo became the primary Sami dwelling for a time.
The lavvo also holds considerable modern symbolism for the Sami: in the early 1980s, the Oslo police bulldozed a Sami lavvo that had been set up outside Norway’s parliament building to protest against a proposed dam that would have inundated Sami herding lands.
These events provided a catalyst for a reassessment of Sami rights and which led indirectly to the foundation of the Sami parliament.
These days, the lavvo is occasionally used as a temporary shelter for Sami, but is more often a tourist attraction for those eager to experience Sami culture.
The stunning modern Sami Parliament building in Karasjok was inspired by the traditional lavvo form.
Stave Churches If Norway can be said to have made one stand-out contribution to world architecture, it is undoubtedly the stave church.
Seemingly conceived by a whimsical child-like imagination, the stave church is an ingenious adaptation to Norway’s unique local conditions.
Originally dating from the late Viking era, these ornately worked houses of worship are among the oldest surviving wooden buildings on earth, albeit heavily restored.
Named for their vertical supporting posts, these churches are also distinguished by detailed carved designs, dragon- headed gables resembling the prows of classic Viking ships and by their undeniably beautiful, almost Asian, forms.
Of the 500 to 600 that were originally built, only about 20 of the 28 that remain retain many of their original components.
Contemporary Architecture Due to the need to rebuild quickly after WWII, Norway’s architecture was primarily governed by functionalist necessity (the style is often called funkis in the local vernacular) rather than any coherent sense of style.
Nowhere is this exemplified more than in the 1950, red-brick Oslo R?dhus.
As the style evolved, functionality was wedded to other concerns, such as recognising the importance of aesthetics in urban renewal (for example in Oslo’s Grünerl?kka district), and ensured that architecture once again sat in harmony with the country’s environment and history.
Architecture buffs will find much to enjoy in Made in Norway: Norwegian Architecture Today by Ingerid Helsing Almaas.
It takes a detailed look at 30 projects completed by Norwegian architects since 2007 and has interviews with some of the leading lights.
It is with the latter concept that Norway’s architects have excelled, especially in the Arctic North.
Troms?’s Arctic Cathedral, designed by Jan Inge Hovig in 1964, mimics Norway’s glacial crevasses and auroral curtains.
Another beautiful example is the Sami Parliament in Karasjok, where Arctic building materials (birch, pine and oak) lend the place a sturdy authenticity, while the use of lights to replicate the Arctic night sky and the structure’s resemblance to a Sami lavvo are extraordinary.
The creative interpretation of historical Norwegian shapes also finds expression at the Viking Ship Sports Arena in Hamar, while Oslo’s landmark new opera house powerfully evokes a fjord-side glacier and is easily the most exciting example of contemporary architecture to emerge in Norway during the last decade.
Top of section Norwegian Cuisine Norwegian food can be excellent.
Abundant seafood and local specialities such as reindeer are undoubtedly the highlights, and most medium-sized towns have fine restaurants in which to eat.
The only problem (and it’s a significant one) is that prices are prohibitive, meaning that a full meal in a restaurant may become something of a luxury item for all but those on expense accounts.
What this does is push many visitors into eating fast-food meals in order to save money, at least at lunchtime, with pizzas, hot dogs and hamburgers a recurring theme.
As a result, you may end up leaving Norway pretty uninspired by its food.
It’s not only foreign visitors who feel the pinch – it’s often claimed, backed by authoritative research surveys, that Pizza Grandiosa, a brand of frozen pizza, is in fact Norway’s national dish.
Striking a balance between eating well and staying solvent requires a clever strategy.
For a start, most Norwegian hotels and some hostels offer generous buffet breakfasts ensuring t