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Posing with the ‘Fathers of the Norwegian Constitution’
Have you ever seen zombies? If not, take a group of people that were dancing all night long and make them go to breakfast at 7 a.m. That would be the perfect definition of what happened today. Somehow we managed to be at the bus station by 8 a.m. to visit Eidsvoll, a historical place you can’t miss studying the Norwegian constitution. After having long talks about our European constitutions it was now time to discover the Norwegian one in practice. Before having the guided tour we couldn’t resist taking pictures with the real-size participants of the assembly in Eidsvoll and we basically transformed ourselves into 1814. To make the pictures more interesting we took them according to our nationalities.
The guided tour started with us having to put funny socks on in order not to ruin the floor. Even the staff of Eidsvoll House had to wear gloves before even touching anything at the mansion. Actually, we have to be precise: even though the owner of the Eidsvoll House was the richest man in Norway the house can still be considered as modest compared to other noble men at that time, something that illustrates again, that Norway was quite a poor country back then. We were really impressed by the symmetry of the construction inside the house. The architect used wood for columns but made it look like marble, something the owner of the house couldn’t afford. After an educational morning we decided to have some fun and went to a beach to have a barbecue. Continue reading
Today we started with an exchange about constitutions. We worked in groups and we discussed the differences and similarities of our countries‘ constitutions. By exchanging and discussing we worked out key elements of our constitutions; elements that we could find in all constitutions, only with different priorities. With the help of Karsten, the Norwegian organiser and a historian, who gave a presentation about Norway we familiarized ourselves with the fascinating Norwegian history. For example it was a surprise to find out that Norway was given to Sweden as a gift after Napoleon wars.
After lunch we went for a short walk in Oslo and got to know the city better. Starting in a part of Oslo which ist mostly populated by inhabitans with Somalian background, passing by a street festival with live music and street theatre, we walked back in history and visited the medieval fortress of Oslo and the City Hall. This really impressive building, red-brick with two towers is even more impressive from the inside. One of the room hosts a painting, that goes all around the wall, picturing the way how the idea of human rights made its way from the French Revolution to Norway and the main hall hosts the Peace Noble Prize ceremony every year. Continue reading
City council of Sleepyville
How hard it can be to come to a consensus when different political interests are involved was the lesson of this afternoon. The participants of our History Campus had to simulate a city council meeting where they had to decide whether a mosque should be built in the fictive town of Sleepyville. One Mayor, 4 parties and 5 civic society institutions debated and voted in the end.
Hard-working journalists Huw, Hannah and Dorin
Luckily for us, three journalist were present and working in real time. You can read their reports here
Today on our second day of our seminar in Oslo we visited the Norwegian parliament. On our way there we walked by the government building that has been under reconstruction since the terrorist attack three years ago. The parliament building itself features a unique architecture. It has eight equal entrances around to show it does not matter where you come from. After making our way through of the doors (and the security check) we met our guide Stefan Heggelund, a 29-year-old member of parliament for the conservative party.
In the ‘Strolling Hall’ with Stefan Heggelund
We were surprised and impressed to hear that he, a conservative atheist, is married to a muslim member of the social democratic party, who is also member of parliament. He showed around stopping at some interesting pieces of art and leading us through the “Strolling Hall”. This hall was nothing but a backyard in former times and still has a transparent ceiling so that it is very bright. On their way out of the chamber members of parliament must walk through that hall, where they have to meet journalists and members of other parties. Continue reading
Gyldendal Norsk Forlag is a publishing house, one part of Gyldendal group. Its history goes back to 1770, when it was founded by Søren Gyldendal, owner of a bookstore in Denmark. Now it’s independent company, which shares only a name with its Danish equivalent. We met Ulv Pedersen, the head of Gyldendal Education, to interview him about role of publishing house in democracy.
“We have to encourage critical thinking and put things to debate,” replied Mr. Pedersen on introductory question, “(…) freedom of speech is important for publisher, he’s like channel for authors and all kinds of thoughts.” On topic of limits in publishing work he said: Continue reading
Mrs. Randi Hagen Eriksrud told us that there are several types of discrimination: it could be based on the gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity or disability.
The organization operates in five different ways: it helps people who have experienced discrimination; it has lawyers that take care of the cases of discrimination; it gives people advice about discrimination; its members take part in debates on equality and discrimination, to inform about them; it also influences the governmental politics, controls what the government does and wants to do according to the International Conventions and the human rights. Continue reading