Ever since Norway’s independence in 1905, the relations between Norway and the United States have created a wealth of economic opportunities for both countries. A report prepared by the Norwegian Embassy shows that trade with and investments from Norway support almost half a million jobs across the United States.
If you were to google “U.S. military and Norway,” the top video result would be footage of very cold and wet U.S. Marines struggling to clamber out of a hole in the ice on a frozen lake. It can be entertaining. But more important, it is an example of the excellent Norwegian–American security relationship and the close partnership between democracies on both sides of the North Atlantic.
This November, millions of families will visit an Arctic fairytale land when Disney’s “Frozen 2” opens in movie theaters across the United States. With its snow-covered mountains, fjords, trolls and reindeer, the movie will surely remind many Norwegian-Americans of their ancestral homeland.
When I was growing up, Norway wasn’t the rich, oil-producing, technologically advanced country that you see today. The last import restrictions on cars weren’t lifted until 1960. Telephone coverage was spotty: If you wanted a phone in your house, you might have to wait up to two years for a technician to come install one.
Every now and then I meet people who ask me about the level of social welfare services available in Norway. Many are impressed by the coverage, which includes health care benefits for everyone, one year of parental leave, unemployment benefits and a minimum retirement payment—even for people who have never worked.
This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the first commercial oil and gas field, Ekofisk, in the Norwegian part of the North Sea. Growing up in Oslo in the 1960s and ’70s, I saw how oil and gas transformed Norway.
Last year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While most people probably have a vague idea of what fundamental human rights are, we live in a part of the world where many—myself included—probably take them more or less for granted.
Every May, Norwegians all over the world celebrate Syttende Mai, Norway’s Constitution Day. Signed 205 years ago, Norway’s is the second-oldest written constitution in the world that is still in use. The oldest, which in many ways served as a model for Norway’s founding fathers, is the American Constitution.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve published a blog on various topics pertaining to international diplomacy, first on HuffingtonPost.com and then on WashingtonDiplomat.com. While I enjoyed the opportunity to get my thoughts out there, I was never sure I was reaching quite the right audience.