Well, it’s been a fun and memorable last 30 months in Trondheim, but unfortunately its soon time for me to leave the sunny shores of Norway and return to the…equally sunny shores of Scotland. In the past two and a half years I’ve had friends visit from the UK, all of whom were curious about the unique aspects of life here that set Scots apart from our nearest Scandinavian neighbor;
“Why is everyone here so tall and good looking?”
“What’s that weird teabag thing everyone puts in their upper lip?”
“Why are there no Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets?”
Despite these subtle disparities, in my opinion our two countries aren’t that different. In many ways, Scotland and Norway share a number of cultural similarities. Population size is comparable (5.30 vs 5.05 million, respectively); the major industries include fishing, oil and more recently wind power. As for the people, we both love nature and the outdoor life. We’re both crazy about football, despite having national teams that don’t often sparkle on the pitch. And one thing I did notice straight away upon my arrival in Norway; we both like a drink. Nothing wrong with that of course, particularly when the statistics suggest that most of the EU is no different. However despite the high cost and relatively limited access to alcohol, current figures demonstrate a growing trend towards both increased overall alcohol consumption in Norway, as well as a move towards semi-regular binge drinking habits1 more typically associated with the UK. This incurs obvious social consequences, with the associated health risks arguably assuming the majority of that burden.