Wednesday, 24 December 2014 00:00

A Merry Norwegian TV Christmas

Norwegian jumper
Photo: Gunnar Bothner-By (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0

Traditional Norwegian jumpers for the festive season


Continuing our mini-series on festive traditions in Europe, we get the low-down from Katarina Poensgen about how to celebrate Christmas Norwegian style. The key is apparently always watching the same old films on TV, including Czechoslovak fairy tale from the 1970s...

It is a cold and snowy 24 December in Norway, a.k.a. Christmas time. People are gathered inside their cosy homes with their families. The gingerbread, Christmas soda (a brown-hued fizzy drink) and marzipan is laid out on the living room table; everyone is ready and waiting for 11 am.

This is the time when the Norwegians’ beloved Czechoslovak movie Three Wishes for Cinderella from 1973 begins. It is a traditional Cinderella story with a twist: Cinderella has three nuts containing three wishes (or rather outfits, including her pink ballroom gown), instead of a fairy Godmother. The story itself is in fact based on a 19th century fairy tale by Božena Němcová, a great Czech writer. Although technically a joint Czechoslovak and East German production, with actors from both of those countries too, the movie as a whole is viewed as Czechoslovak to us Norwegians. The main reason for this might be because the lead role is played by beautiful Czech actress Libuše Šafránková (who also appeared in many other fairy tale movies such as The Third Prince, The Little Mermaid, and The Prince and the Evening Star in her home country). All the voices are dubbed, however, by Norwegian actor Knut Risan. Risan’s most famous voice impression is that of the royal tutor, who nags the prince and his friends all the time about their studies – but of course his high-pitched girly voices for the women are also a big bonus. This is not only hilarious every single year, but reminds every Norwegian family that it really is Christmas time.

Published in Postcards from Europe
Thursday, 16 February 2012 06:20

Good Reads 16/02/12

Each week, two E&M editors share their favourite European reads. From blog posts to essays, it can be anything that amused them, worried them or got them thinking about Europe.


Carmen, Brain Editor


While the "Occupy" movement is still silently going on without much media attention, maybe it's time we cool our heads and think about how to distribute the world's wealth better (utopian thoughts – I know) without shedding any more blood. The article "How Swedes and Norwegians Broke the Power of the '1 percent'" not only gives an insight into the under-reported historical struggle of the working and the middle class in Sweden and Norway, but also shows the possibility of achieving an "enviable standard of living" with the 99% in charge. Although I'm sceptical about how this historical movement can be applied to the present situation, at least this is something you can use as a conversation starter with a Swede or a Norwegian at the next party.


Ever wonder how humour works differently in different European countries? What a Greek finds funny does not entertain a German; and what the German population has found funny (for decades) seems to puzzle the British. In the article "What's German for funny?", author Philip Oltermann looked into the iconic German Christmas comedy sketch "Dinner for One," which was based on a British production. Ironically, even though the British public failed to understand what's really so funny about it, this same sketch has been played in Germany during Christmas time every year, since 1972! Thought that humour had its own language? Think again!

Published in Good Reads
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