Norwegian in German

Instruction manual for Norway
Forfatter: Ebba Drolshagen
Forlag: Piper Verlag (Tyskland)
60 000 Germans have been entertained by a humorous Norwegian book that no Norwegian publisher will know.


It's a fact: Only the capital of India, New Delhi, has almost four times as many inhabitants as the whole of Norway. A true Norwegian is about as rare as a black swan. The other country is further marked by the fact that “Oslo is on the same latitude as the southern tip of Greenland. From there, Norway stretches 1700 kilometers to the north. Therefore, nation building in Norway is a lot about road construction. A car tourist who ventures out on narrow mountain roads for the first time can find it tough, especially if he meets a truck. Should this millimeter maneuver fail, there is imminent danger of crashing into a west fjord. ”

The author of Instruction manual for Norway ("Instruction for Norway"), Ebba Drolshagen, born 1948, has German father and Norwegian mother. That is why she calls Germany her fatherland and Norwegian (with Elesund dialect) for her mother tongue. Drolshagen's background also gives a clue as to why other self-productions have revolved around serious topics such as war children, German occupation and "German girls" (others have been about body and beauty ideals). But i Instructions she has let go completely and enjoyed herself strongly with us Norwegians. With her, she has gradually been joined by around 60 enthusiastic Germans. Instructions is a boxing series from Piper publishing company, and Drolshagen's new contribution to Norway is constantly being released (the next one is already being published in 2019).

Is there a secret literature police, which censors different books about the different country?

Typical Norwegian. The Norwegian manual is meticulously prepared. It tells of a Protestant emirate along the Gulf Stream; a country that is long and cold, with a summer that is too light and a winter that is too dark; outdoor electric heating cables; Gardermoen, where the journey from plane to suitcase is a preparation for Norwegian tour traditions; it explains the historical phenomenon packed lunch, "Historic" because the wealthy urban Norwegian has gradually resorted to restaurant food in the middle of the bright day. The lunch box, on the other hand, is anyway a Norse institution: “At lunchtime, a crumbling paper is removed which exposes bread slices with a sweet, brown kind of cheese, whereupon the slices are left on the paper; you do not move them on a plate – and then you eat with your hands. 'Of course, drinking habits cannot be ignored. Light beer is described as "virtual reality" – a drug that does not give intoxication – to wit: "In Norway, alcohol is not primarily a drug but a drug." We also get an explanation of what a Norwegian foreplay is, why so many, when it should be properly festive, dress up as farmers from the 18. century (in costume), and on how it is that a prime minister can leave an important meeting to raise children in kindergarten.

For a long time, opinions prevailed that art should educate the people, and that the entertainment aspect had to be prevented from defiling the culture.

A rapture of this kind does not, however, provide a comprehensive description of Drolshagen's existence. On 219's small pages, she casts a warm, humorous look at a country and a people she can see both inside and outside. Rather than trying to teach the Norwegian something he or she already knows, she bestows the native joy on recognition. The foreigner gives her many openings into a reality to become curious about. The fact that the book strikes so well with Germans can be explained by a sparkling style as well as the fact that all tourist clichés they are otherwise infused with are gone. Instead, they get entertaining, kaleidoscopic information on as diverse topics as outdoor life, nobility in a land without aristocracy, the Progress Party, skiing, women's quota and the sound of a fjord.

Blasphemous humor. The fact that not a single Norwegian publisher has shown interest in the book provides a basis for suspicion. Were they deterred by a Dagbladet report in which Drolshagen was criticized for talking badly about Norway? Is there a secret literature police that censors different books about the different country? Don't they own self-critical humor in the publishing industry, or do they just mean that you can't expect something like this from their readers? Is there perhaps a Christian cultural blasphemy paragraph hidden somewhere? Here one can  Instructionsquote: In the wake of strict Norwegian social puritanism, long held beliefs that art should educate the people, and that the entertainment aspect had to be prevented from defiling culture: "When it came to art and culture, the church also stood for a position that was not without self-efficacy. Thus, in the first place became the Monty Python movie Life of Brian banned, using the blasphemy paragraph. The delighted Swedes immediately advertised the comedy with reference to their neighbors. The movie was so funny that it couldn't be shown in Norway. "

By the way, it can be easier to withstand even the mildest criticism when it comes up in its own ranks: Drolshagen refers to Thomas Hylland Eriksen's mocking point about the disparity between Norway's size and the pride of being Norwegian: For every Norwegian there is 200 Indians – but these is not Norwegian! (Since this statement, there have been many more non-Norwegian Indians.) Norway balances its sparse population with an even larger area: the country is larger than Germany, for example.

The idyll that burst. There is one chapter in the book that wonders any smile: "Die Tragödie" - "The tragedy." Most people immediately understand what it is all about, in this country that has to look back to April 9 to find a more charged date than July 22, 2011. A total population refused from day one to succumb to anxiety, hatred and thoughts of revenge – something that attracted international attention and, so to speak, created a school in response to terrorist attacks in Europe. As the leader of the Labor Party's youth organization put it: "Our young people have not lost their lives so that we will hate more." Striking in the beginning was also the absence of three special words: the name of the mass murderer. "It was the intuitive reaction: to deny the man the media attention he longed for, while steering away from what always happens with similar atrocities: While the perpetrator's name goes down in history, the victims are remembered only as numbers."

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