Sunday, September 29, 2013

Global Career Connections

Looking for a job in Norway? Wondering how to make that dream a reality? This month, Viking Associate Editor Anya Britzius caught up with Bjørn Christian Nørbech, managing director of Global Forum AS. Nørbech is heading up two events in Oslo next month geared at international job seekers: a Global Talent Career Fair, Nov. 11 (held at the Konserthus); and a Global Mobility Forum, Nov 12-13 (held at Ingeniørenes Hus). The an edited version of the interview appears in the October issue of Viking. You can also read the full interview with Nørbech here.

Viking: Tell me how Global Talent week began and its goals. 
Bjørn Christian Nørbech: Norway is getting record numbers of immigrant workers, professionals and students. It’s a big, important topic. Norway is lacking 10,000 engineers and sales people. We are taking a look at Norway’s role in the global labor market. Talented people can work in many places, such as the United States, Shanghai, Dubai and Mumbai. But why would they come to Norway? It’s all about having the global perspective on Norway’s role and the sustainable competitiveness of Norwegian industry. We’re looking at how attractive is it to come here and to what extent are we able to retain the talents and integrate them so they can enjoy themselves and be productive here.

There’s a need for such a meeting place for the stakeholders of global mobility management. This is our third year. The first year we had 150 participants, second year more than 200. It used to be a one-day conference. It’s not enough. We are expanding it to a two-day conference and adding the career fair the first day. The companies looking for the talents can actually meet the talents here in Oslo.

V: What companies and organizations will be represented at the career fair, and what can visitors expect when they attend? 
BCN: Right now we are in the process of approaching the companies. We are getting the co-organizers in place: the University of Oslo, University College of Applied Sciences, City of Oslo, Sons of Norway is probably going to join in as a co-organizer. It will be companies from the private and public sector that are looking for the talents.

V: What kind of global professionals is Norway most interested in attracting? 
BCN: Engineering and IT are the two areas where there’s the biggest need. The business sector in general needs to build relationships across boarders. Understanding the cross-cultural and globalized way of doing business is necessary today. You need not only to have formal competence, but also the global mindset and intercultural competence for success.

V: What are some ways that Norway can attract and embrace talent from around the world?
BCN: Norway’s politicians can decide on laws to promote Norway as an attractive place to come not only as a tourist but to work. We’ve had much more focus on attracting tourists than attracting global talents. It’s increasingly been coming up on the agenda of politicians. Immigrants to Norway traditionally have been thought of as asylum seekers. But this is turning it around to see what Norway needs and seeing people as resources and talents. We want to change the Norwegian perspective on immigrants.

There’s a Norwegian saying that it’s typical for a Norwegian to be good. Yes, but you don’t have to be Norwegian to be good. There are good people in lots of countries. We should open up and be ready to attract them. They are sought-after in many countries. To have sustainable competiveness, that’s what we need. That needs to happen on a political, community and city levels. Lots of stakeholders need to work together with a shared understanding of the current situation and how it will develop in the years to come. That will make a difference. The mobility forum is a meaningful place to discuss this and develop the ideas and solutions in this area.

V: Who comes to speak at the events?
BCN: So far we’ve had participants and speakers from Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, the United States and France. Someone is coming this year from the University of Tennessee. Everything is held in English to be that area where people from everywhere can participate. We’ve already had participants signing up from UK, Denmark and Austria.

V: Tell us about the virtual career fair. 
BCN: We’re also planning a virtual career fair where people from around the world can connect with Norwegian employers. First time this will be hosted in Norway. We’re now approaching the companies. There has been other counties that have done it. It’s been tested and works great to attract global talents from all over the world. We hope we’ll be done early November, early December. It’s like a physical career fair, but it’s on your computer. You can enter a main hall. You choose different rooms that have different companies. Engage in chats, video conferences, pickup info about the company and their job postings. You can find more information at

V: How will your relationship with benefit your cause?
BCN: We want to connect with the global talents out there who are interested in Norway. There are so many Norwegians in the United States and Canada. Perhaps some would like to come work in Norway. It’s an obvious synergy. From our perspective, it’s great to have Sons of Norway and NorwayConnects helping us reach out to Norwegian global talents. It will be a fruitful cooperation.

V: Will there be companies or groups at the events who can help young professionals navigate the visa process or other processes required for a foreigner to work in Norway?
BCN: With the career fair, we offer a service package called Norwegian in a Box. It includes a beginners course in Norwegian, cultural sensitivity training, skiing lessons and paperwork (for a work permit). This will help companies trying to recruit people from around the world. We want to make the accessibility easier for the global talents.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ylvis Begins Season 3 on Norwegian TV

Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker, or Ylvis
If you're a fan of social media, there's a good chance you've already seen "Ylvis-The Fox." The music video, created by the Norwegian parody-pop duo Ylvis, has gone viral, with more than 30 million views since it was released Sept. 3 of this year by brothers Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker.

Bård Ylvisåker is quoted on the Ylvis website regarding the success of the video: "This song is made for a TV show and is supposed to entertain a few Norwegians for three minutes—and that's all."

The video was created to promote the third season of the duo's TV program, "I kveld med Ylvis," which began on Sept. 10 on TVNorge. Here's a clip from of the show from an earlier season.

Check out our Nordic Life profile each month to learn about more movers and shakers in Norwegian pop culture—from this month's interview with musician Eivind Opsvik, to our upcoming profile of actor Ingrid Bolsø Berdal. You'll find it each month in Viking! 

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Norway Elects New Center-Right Government

Viking, August 2013
If you've been following the latest election news, you know that Norwegians will soon have a new government. A center-right coalition, led by Erna Solberg of the Conservative (Høyre) party, is expected to form a government with the Progress (Fremskritt) party, the Liberal (Vestre) party, and the Christian Democrats (Kristelig Folkeparti). While current prime minister Jen's Stoltenberg's Labor party (Arbeiderpartiet) still managed to receive the most votes in today's election, the party failed to hang on to its governing power, due to the weak showing by Labor's coalition partners, the Socialist Left party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti) and the Center party (Senterpartiet).

Want to learn more? You can read more about the election results in English at And Norwegian newspaper has one of the best election infographics I've seen on its homepage. Finally, if you're looking for some background information on the election, including the basic platforms of the major parties, be sure to read our election guide, "Viking Goes to the Polls," in the August issue of Viking.

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Send Us Your Holiday Memories

While it's only Labor Day, the Viking staff is working on our upcoming holiday issues, and we want to hear from you! We want our readers to share a favorite yuletide tradition or memory. Maybe it was singing Norwegian Christmas songs and carols in your home or church. Or maybe your family went julebukking or attended a Lucia pageant. 

My strongest holiday memories are related to food, and I'd be willing to bet this is common for many Norwegian Americans. My father celebrated (and still does!) his Norwegian heritage by making rosetter, fattigmann and rullepølse. And all of us kids got in on the fun of making mounds of fresh lefse for our Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners. Of course no Christmas Eve would have been complete without the lutefisk. My mom usually wanted to serve meatballs along with the fish; my dad agitated for spare ribs. There would always be discussion, but my mom usually ended up winning that debate—I guess it was all part of the tradition.

Now it's your turn. Do you have a favorite holiday tradition or memory rooted in your Norwegian heritage? Share it (in 50 words or less), along with your name and lodge, by emailing We'll select some of our favorites for publication in the November issue of Viking! 

Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585. 

Image courtesy of National Library of Norway