Norwegian taboos

Date published: 04 Nov 2016 - Written by Jasmin Martin - Filed under culture

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If you’re looking for a thought provoking read about Norwegian society, why not try Sanna Sarromaa’s book Norske tabuer.

It’s been labelled as provocative, but what has been written is basic common sense, and unfortunately, this seems to be something we have in short supply around the world. Her book explains how far some aspects of Norwegian thinking have drifted away from their original roots, particularly post the oil and gas boom.

Written by a Finn who has dared to constructively (and respectfully) criticise the shortcomings of modern Norway’s idiosyncrasies, the book has no doubt raised some uncomfortable questions. When someone takes it upon themselves to rock the boat, they become a prime target for those who don’t like to hear the truth, especially the PC brigade. But this book is not an outsider’s rant or a critique by someone sitting on their high moral horse. This is a very well researched, thought out and written ‘nudge’ from someone who deeply cares about this country and where it’s headed. Norway should be very happy to have someone like Sanna.

The world needs more people like Sanna, willing to take a stand, say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done. I find many of the arguments and issues she raises also apply to other countries, such as my home country Australia.

Unfortunately the book is not available in English, but maybe Sanna would be interested in getting it translated, because it has a powerful message, the least of which is that we are each responsible for our own lives.

We often hear about the dreamlike Scandinavian social model and the perfect society that exists in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. After arriving in Norway, I have often wondered and still wonder about this model. Perfection is relative and difficult to find in a pure form in any society. But the closest we can come is to never stop questioning, adjusting, adapting, standing up, or openly debating issues that matter, without censorship or threat.

Sanna, you’re not alone in your thoughts or concerns.

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