History Camp Oslo 2014

Day 4: Exploring Norwegian history

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 flo...[Read More]


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 l...[Read More]

Simulating politics: City council meeting in 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. Luckily for us, three journalist were present and working in real time. You can read their reports here      

Trust works! Day 2 in Oslo

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. 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...[Read More]

Where books are born

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:

Labor Union Archive

Today, we visited the Norwegian Labour Movement Archives and Library, where we were received by the director Frank Meyer. After getting stickers with our name on it, which is a point to remark, he showed to us many interesting pictures displayed in the main corridor about male and female workers situation or some of the first labour demonstrations in Norway. Then he led us to arcades and library, where all documents and books about labour movement are gathered, sorted and pretty well preserved, as they will be there forever. These books and archives tell about labour movements in history and they can be consulted by researchers, students and members of the LO, it is open to anyone though. This institution was created in 1899, when several local labour movements, that had sprung up because ...[Read More]

Visiting Ombudsman for equality (Likestillings og diskrimineringsombudet)

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.

Juss-Buss: Road trip for democracy

Juss-Buss is a pro-bono law organisation that provides legal aid for free. The organisation was founded by law students in 1971 when they decided to do a research about the need for legal aid and drove around Norway with a bus – this is also where the name “Juss-Buss“ comes from. Even though they do not have the bus anymore and have settled in Oslo it is still law students who run the organisation. Around 30 students do research on law issues and inform clients mostly on a voluntary basis alongside their studies. Our interview partner Hedda Larsen Borgan is the managing director and the only one working there as a full-time job. She took one and a half years off stu-dying to try to make a difference for the people. Primarily the students support people who are less fortunate and do n...[Read More]

Really the 4th power? The role of media in Norway

Today we went and met Havlar Tjønn who has been a journalist for 30 years. He is an interesting character and very knowledgeable about the the history os Oslo and the surrounding areas. Halvar was keen to show us around the national library and explain the history behind the building and took us on a little tour. The tour ended in the new area of the library where we sat and began our interview. We started with the ice breaker questions we had prepared back at the hotel, hearing the answers was really interesting about how each day of a writer varies as he has to meet different people everyday, how far he would go to get a good story and what was his most interesting d´so far. As one of the members of the group i found the question “what is your biggest story you wrote” the mos...[Read More]

Knowledge is Power or What does climate change have to do with democracy?

What does climate change have to do with democracy? This question was the first that came to our minds when we were given our institution, CICERO (Centre for international climate and environmental research). After, first group brain storming and researching we managed to discover links between climate change within democracy. Having prepared a set of questions to ask our interviewee we made our way to the metro. After numerous false tries we succeeded in finding the correct entrance for the metro station where we caught our train to the university. Here we were friendlily greeted by Solveig Aamodt and Lan Marie Nguyen Berg. After we were offered refreshments we began questioning them. We found out that CICERO is financed by the fuel industries income of the Norwegian state but they try to...[Read More]

Day 1: Exploring the dimensions of institutional work in Norway

This whole day was dedicated to interviewing different kinds of people. We started off by interviewing each other aka getting to know each other a little better. After the whole group had been properly introduced including the midnight peers, we got our first assignment! We needed to visit 7 different institutions and ask about their role in the Norwegian democracy – which was not always an easy task! Some went to Gyldendal (publishing house), some to Cicero (climate research) and others to LO (the labor union). The person we were going to interview should also tell us 3 words that he/she associated with democracy – this was harder than expected, some had to think really hard. After some hours of research the groups could go to their destination on their own. We were all able to follow the...[Read More]

Big arrival! History Camp in Oslo about to start

Wednesday – Arrival day All excited to go to Norway, we finally arrived. At dinner we were almost all represented, apart from 4 people, who had a very late flight. We all looked at each other with curiosity and we talked on and on and on… We found out that even though German participants had the biggest sub-group, there were also a lot of other interesting nationalities. After dinner we got to know each other better, while playing some FUN games. From this point on we were not only 23 young people from Europe, we were Lady Gaga, Queen Elisabeth and Mr. Bean, just to name a few. After laughing a lot and not feeling as shy anymore, we finally went to bed after a long day with travelling and meeting new people! The (unlucky) last ones arrived around midnight and shortly said ‘hey’ to their sl...[Read More]