20 February 2010

"Don't Think That You Are Special"

We all have varying hobbies, interests and "things we search for on the internet." I'm always looking for relevant information to allow me to expand on my knowledge of all things Norwegian. One way I do this is to follow various blogs, like the Norwegian Blog. To be truthfully honest, I don't know the origin of this blog, or much about the author(s), or the accuracy of the information. BUT I do find the postings interesting, and thus it peaks my curiosity to go on to look for more information

On the Norwegian Blog, Kari writes about the concept of Janteloven, which gives insight into the Norwegian psyche.


"Don’t think you are better than us or that you are special. This statement is the basis of an old Scandinavian concept that has been engrained in Scandinavian societies since before WWII. The author Aksel Sandemose, a Danish/Norwegian novelist created the concept of Janteloven in his book En flygtning krydser sit spor (A Refugee Crosses his Tracks), in which Sandemose portrays a fictional town called Jante, a small town much like his hometown where everyone knows everyone. For those of you that live a small town or perhaps come from a small town, you know how fast gossip spreads. Although hearing gossip can be interesting and spreading it can be all too easy, I think individuals who live in small towns would prefer that there wasn’t so much gossip. Life in a small town is much more comfortable when social stability is intact. Most of Norway up until the last couple of decades consisted of many small towns and villages. Even today most Norwegians live in relatively small communities where it’s difficult to remain anonymous. Aksel Sandemose’s Janteloven have long been believed to assist small communities in remaining stable."

  • Don’t think that you are special.
  • Don’t think that you are of the same standing as us.
  • Don’t think that you are smarter than us.
  • Don’t fancy yourself as being better than us.
  • Don’t think that you know more than us.
  • Don’t think that you are more important than us.
  • Don’t think that you are good at anything.
  • Don’t laugh at us.
  • Don’t think that anyone cares about you.
  • Don’t think that you can teach us anything.

Read what else Kari has to say about Janteloven on her Norwegian Blog entry of February 9, 2009.

Luci Baker Johnson


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