Norwegian material culture

I just came back from a quick three day trip to Trondheim, Norway. I had never been there before, and had not been in Norway for over 10 years.

What struck me about it immediately was how similar the material culture of Norway is to Iceland. This first occurred to me while I was in the airport at Oslo, which looks like a larger version of the Leifur Eiriksson Terminal in Keflavik. The similarity was uncanny, and at first I thought perhaps they had used the same architect.

But then when I got to my hotel in Trondheim, I saw the similarity was much more pervasive, especially as it turns out in regard to bathroom design. I am now working on a hypothesis that bathrooms are the definitive cultural space.

The city center in Trondheim is also really similar to Reykjavik. Although there are a few older medieval buildings there, most of the existing buildings have been built during the same period as Reykjavik, with a few old wooden buildings from the 19th century, but lots of modern concrete buildings from the more recent period. There is a large working harbor, and a few dedicated shopping streets. It is flatter than Reykjavik, perhaps, but the mountains all around make up for that.

I was in Denmark last summer, and Sweden the year before, and did not have the same feeling of being "home" as I had in Norway.


Jono said…
I'm going there at the end of next month. It always feels like home to me.

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