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T HE B R I T H P L A CE OF SKI Norway is regarded as the birth place of modern skiing. The word "ski" is Norwegian and simply means "piece of wood".



Although Finland has been named " The Land of a Thousand Lakes", Norway's lakes do in fact far outnumber Finland's. About 450,000 (half million) lakes in Norway are identified!

Norway outlawed aristocracy in the new constitution (in 1814). There are virtually no castles in Norway, except ancient military constructions and the royal palace in Oslo.

H A L F S CA N D I NA V IA , H A L F A ME R ICA There are as many Norwegian descendants living in the United States as there are Norwegians in Norway (about 4.5m in the year 2000).

LONG COAST Norway is the European country (Russia excluded) with the longest coastline - 53,199 km.



We are Friends and Partners Although not an EU member state, Norway fully supports Serbia’s EU integration process, and hopest to see more Norwegian companies coming to the Serbian market



he We spoke with H.E. Arne Sannes Bjørnstad, Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia about the perspective of the Western Balkan in the EU context and the bilateral relations between Norway and Serbia. The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade covers Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro. From that perspective, how do you see security in the Western Balkan? › We live in turbulent times. The West-

ern Balkans belongs to the European family. Indeed, the Western Balkans are at the very heart of Europe, and what happens here effects all Europeans. The fact that the First World War started due a politically motivated murder in Sarajevo proved the point. Nationalism and populism from both sides of the political spectrum are still factors of instability in the region, and all the countries are recent and fragile democracies. The recent refugee/migrant crisis can serve as an example of a common challenges faced through cooperation. The combination of regional cooperation and Euro-Atlantic integration is as far as I can see the best way to stabilise the Western Balkans and create the conditions for economic and social development


that will reduce the potential for tensions and prevent a return of the conflicts of the past. What do you see as major forces that can contribute to the security of the region and how do you see a role of Serbia in that respect? › All countries in the Western Balkans are

either EU members or membership candidates. This is probably the strongest contributor to stability in the region today. At a Sarajevo summit in early April, the prime ministers of the Western Balkan countries put an emphasis on their commitment to the EU accession perspective and expressed their sincere devotion to the process of reconciliation as essential for security and stability in the region. Talking more specifically of Serbia, it has become a pillar of stability in the region. Prime minister (now president elect) Vučić deserves the support of all of Europe in his efforts to improve relations with Serbia’s neighbours and to make the Western Balkans a region of cooperation, not conflict. What do you see as Serbian priorities when it comes to strengthening the rule of law, democracy and economic prosperity?

H.E. ARNE SA N N E S B J Ø R N STA D Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia

Prime minister (now president elect) Vučić deserves the support of all of Europe in his efforts to make the Western Balkans a region of cooperation

› The Government of Serbia has embarked on an important reform process within the EU accession process. Eight chapters have been opened in a short period of time, which confirms the progress made. Continuation of the reforms to bring Serbia up to Western European standards should be the main priority. Further efforts are needed to give Serbia an efficient and impartial judiciary and a transparent, public administration. The same goes for liberalisation of the economy, creating a level playing field for all. Given the legacy of Yugoslavia and then the Milošević years, Serbia has a lot of catching up to do, and but it is work in progress. In which areas do you support the Serbian efforts in these processes? › Although not an EU member state, Nor-

way fully supports Serbia’s EU integration process. We have decided to focus on law and order as well as public administration reform. How do you see the bilateral relations of the two countries? › Our relations go way back in history.

According to Icelandic sagas, a Norwegian king passed through Serbia in 1111 on his way back from the crusades and met “the king og the land”, pobabbly



grad prince Vukan. This historic relationship was later strengthened with Norwegian support to Serbian independence, then with the arrival of Norwegian volunteers to help during the Balkan Wars and the First World War, the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1917 and finally by secretly helping Yugoslav Prisoners of Wars sent to labour camps in occupied Norway during World War 2. Today we are friends and partners. On the business side, Telenor and other companies are investing in Serbia and the trade relationship is developing. Politically, we are facing many challenges together despite different views on certain issues. It seems that there is a growing cooperation between the Scandinavian countries and Serbia. What do you see as the most valuable achievements in that respect in the previous period? › Recently, I headed a group of repre-

sentatives of Nordic companies to the city of Nis and following the meetings with local authorities, the Nordics ex-

pressed interest in investing in that part of Serbia. This is all thanks to the economic reforms Serbia had started implementing in a bid to ensure transparency and predictability as two key issues investors need.

› With Serbia progressing on its EU path, I hope to see more Norwegian companies coming to the Serbian market. There is also a room as well as interest for more culture cooperation, as we had a chance to see when organising NOktobar - a month of Norwegian culture in Serbia, the event we are planning to repeat this October.

In which areas do you see the potential for establishment of better ties between our two countries? PROGRESS

8 CHAPTERS The Government of Serbia has embarked on an important reform process within the EU accession process. Eight chapters have been opened in a short period of time, which confirms the progress made.

How does our two cultures resonate today having in mind that Norwegian artists are very warmly welcomed in Serbia? › We often witness very successful vis-

its of Norwegian artists in Belgrade. In April alone, Norwegians took part at the Resonate Festival, performed at the World Music Festival in Gornji Milanovac, Norwegian black metal icons played at Dom Omladine and there was also our exhibition A Touch of Glass in Novi Sad. On the other side, Serbian musicians and famous theatre plays had a great success in Norway. It seems that March was their NOktobar – a month of Serbian culture in Norway. <




With Customers Wherever They Are Over the past 10 years, Telenor has invested EUR 2 billion, aiming to impact the quality of people’s lives. Today the company is focused on providing the fastest internet experiece to its customers wherever they are



e spoke with Mrs. Ingeborg Øfsthus, the Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Serbia about the company’s business plans.

What is the focus of your current investments in Serbia? › We are fully focused on investing in fur-

ther digitalization of the Serbian society. For that reason we need a strong, seamless network, wherever our customers are. Investing in network has always been and is our top priority. Last year we covered the whole population of Serbia with fast mobile data network. What we see now, as a result, is that more than a half of the total mobile internet traffic is going through our network. It is a clear input on the takeup of digitalization, which is amazing. This year, we are investing heavily in 4G rollout. In about a month, we will complete covering all towns, with the population over 3,000, with 4G, enabling the fastest internet experience to more and more customers. All operators on the Serbian market have invested in the rollout of 4G and that is a fact. But what is unique for Telenor is the synergy between 3G and 4G – fast mobile Internet, wherever our customers are. And we went even one step further. We have just launched 4G+ in seven largest cities, which can offer up to 2.5 times higher internet speeds. We see that the data appetite of our customers is growing, and we want to ensure that they retain supreme customer experience in the future.


I N G E B O RG Ø F ST H US Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Serbia


STEP BY STEP By earning our customers trust, step by step, we continue to develop our premium brand position on the market

How these investments fit into broader perspective of your longer than decade presence on the Serbian market? › They fit perfectly, as investments in

the network have always been our top priority. Over the past 10 years, Telenor has invested EUR 2 billion, aiming to impact the quality of people’s lives. That approach has brought us where we are today – earning our customers trust, step by step and developing premium brand position on the market. Back in 2006, when we came to Serbia, the only available technology was 2G with voice and SMS, as customers’ main means of communication. Almost a year ago, we achieved a mobile internet speed of 1 Gbps on a 5G test – the highest speed ever achieved in Serbia, providing us with an insight into the future of mobile telephony. And it is endless! Where do you see perspective for further growth on the domestic market? › For sure, in further digitalization,

since it is solving the needs of our customers. They want reliable and available service on their mobile phones, wherever they are. That is why having relevant digital services in our portfolio and offering seamless connectivity is the way to go. But it requires constant investments. At the same time, customers are not always willing to pay, making profitability one of the key chal-

lenges of digitalization. The other one is competition, which are not exclusively traditional telcos anymore, but also global companies, such as WhatsApp or Viber. What we see as a possibility for us is to create new ecosystems and partnerships, enabling our customers to have the service they want. Which prerequisites within the institutional framework are missing if we want to use more of e- services? › We always need more institutional

support when it comes to predictability and level playing field. We need to make sure that we have in place the legislation that is enabling us to use the technologies to their full extent. It cannot be outdated. We like and we want to compete. But the game has to be fair. You have recently organised your first hackathon. How did it fare and what were your goals? › Now, after few months, we can proud-

ly say that first Telenor Hackathon was a great success. Our main goal was to support technological creativity and improve our customers’ digital experience. And we did it! Finalists, almost 42 programmers, rallied in 14 teams had the opportunity to develop specific solutions in the field of artificial intelligence. Young people who were 25 years old on average, in 12 hours made a total of 20,000 line codes and 14 functional prototypes of Facebook ChatBot application. <



Low Cooperation Volume The economic cooperation between the Kingdom of Norway and Serbia is insufficiently developed, and it is characterized by sales operations, goods processing, and a small number of companies involved in these activities


he value of the trade between Serbia and Norway ranged from a rather low 11.3 million EUR in 2005 to 54 million EUR in 2016, with a noticeable growth trend. In the first two months of 2017, the total trade between Serbia and Norway stood at 7.6 million EUR, with Serbia exporting 2.1 million EUR worth of goods and services, and importing 5.5 million EUR. In 2016, Serbia mostly exported these products to Norway: fishing boats (2.2 mln), frozen raspberries (1.9 mln), gear shifts for motor vehicles (1.6 mln), natural honey (1.5 mln), components and accessories for motor vehicles (1.3 mln), plastics products (1.2 mln), paper or paperboard products coated in plastic (0.8 mln), men's denim trousers (0.7 mln), kerosene jet fuel (0.5 mln), and other rubber products (0.4 mln). Serbia mostly imported the following products from Norway: organic anionic agents (7.8 mln), chilled fresh salmon (7.0 mln), unclassified goods (4.7 mln), polyethylene of density of less than 0.94 (3.7 mln), suppression piston pumps (1.5 mln), frozen Atlantic salmon (1.3 mln), mechanically produced wood pulp (1.3 mln), frozen mackerel - Scomber Scombrus (0.9 mln), paper (0.7 mln) and chemical wood pulp (0.6 mln). There are around 10 Norwegian companies operating in Serbia including Telenor, RAPP Zastava, Statkraft, Emisoft, Ceragon, Elopak, Fosdalen and Novicom. A non-profit organization called Business Innovation Program is also ac-

tive in Serbia where it implements support programmes in creation of new jobs in less developed areas and transfer of good entrepreneurial practices. Norway occupies the second place in regard to the value of its FDIs in Serbia. According to the data collated in line with the new National Bank of Serbia's methodology, in 2016, Norway made 5.6-million-EUR worth of investments, in 2015 this amount stood at 1 million EUR, and in 2014, it was 11.7 million EUR. According to the data collated in line with the old National Bank of Serbia's methodology, in the period between 2005 and 2013, Norway occupied the second place on the list of the biggest foreign investors in Serbia (after Austria) with the FDI value of 1.31 billion EUR. The biggest Norwegian investment was realized in 2006 when Telenor acquired the Serbian mobile telephony provider Mobi 063 for 1.51 billion EUR. In 2014, Telenor also


Serbia's trading with Norway is often the lowest compared to trading with other Scandinavian countries

started providing mobile banking services and invested a total of 40 million EUR in this segment in Serbia. The RAPP Marine AS Company, with HQ in Oslo, acquired a 72% share in Zastava Mašine from Kragujevac. The company produces cranes and wrenches for ships and oil platforms, and fire doors for ships. In 2014, the company expanded its production capacity by acquiring the premises of the 21. Oktobar Company from Gruža and creating 50 new jobs, an investment worth 6.8 million EUR. RAPP Marine's main production centre is now in Serbia from where they export 95% of products they manufacture. One of the biggest global producers of paper based packaging, Elopak acquired a 100% share of the Serbian company Agrana Pak from Batajnica. Elopak Serbia now produces cardboard packaging for milk and dairy products with 35% of the manufactured products exported. In regard to Serbian companies operating in Norway, the Novi Sad-based construction company VNG will participate in the construction of the second biggest hanging bridge in Norway together with the Chinese company Sichuan Road and Bridge Group. The E-Kuće Company from Čačak is slowly breaking into the Norwegian market with their prefabricated houses. Norway is one of the biggest bilateral donors in Serbia with approximately 216-million-EUR worth of development assistance spent in Serbia over the last 15 years. <





Post-oil Ideas Post-industrial, protestant, silent, diligent ECO NO MY


he economy of the one of the two Nordic countries that isn’t a member of the European Union (the other being Iceland, of course) is based in equal measure on Lutheran spirit and Viking solidarity, fused under the weak Northern sun. Oh, it isn’t all that hardas-hell! Norwegians, as opposed to other Scandinavians, have a lot of oil. However, unlike other countries that have plenty of “black gold”, Norwegians still stick to their aforementioned diligence and Protestant spirit. They have created a social welfare state and a society of peers. And, like every other clever country, they are currently coming up with ways of remaining a society of plenty even after oil reserves have been exhausted. The Norwegian economy is basically based on robust growth, which has lasted since the beginning of the Industrial era. First there were lumberjacks, shipbuilding yards and fishermen - all of which are traditional natural resources – then, when the time came, Norwegians realised that the North Sea was filled (at the bottom, of course) with yet another natural resource: oil. And with the arrival of electricity came another idea for making money: since Norway is very



ROLE MODEL Norway is currently a role model for almost every country in Europe – those that cannot enter the EU and those that are already in, and even those that want out.

hilly, as opposed to its other Scandinavian neighbours, it derived much of its electrical power from there. And, with every new source of potential income, Norway appeared as a good and high-quality player. The most recent instance of this was with the telecommunications industry, with its giant company called Telenor. Telenor did not only prove good in mobile networks and internet provision, but also in providing banking services integrated into the m-way of thinking – an increasingly popular payment and trade method that is currently largely replacing “traditional” e-trade and e-commerce, including e-payments, in some areas. Of course, if your land is so vast and your terrain so inaccessible, this is the right way to think. And the Norwegians did not let their industrial revolution mar the Scandinavian idea of equality, as happened a few centuries ago in the UK and the U.S. Thus Norway is currently a role model for almost every country in Europe: those who cannot enter the EU always say “well, let us make a society and economy like Norway’s, with a welfare state, the rule of law and solidarity, and membership won’t be important”. The Scots, who are in-

clined towards independence, see Norway as their idol, noting that in ancient times Scotland was part of the Nordic world and is therefore more egalitarian than English society, while the abundance of petroleum is a common denominator, guaranteeing a bright independent future for the Scots. Others simply admire the Norwegian capacity to switch from an industrial to a post-industrial economy with typical Scandinavian ease. It is still pretty much all about the State, and Norwegians don’t intend to abandon this concept. The State has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminium production (Norsk Hydro), and with the largest Norwegian bank (DNB) and telecommunications provider (Telenor). The government controls 31.6% of publicly listed companies. When non-listed companies are included, the state has an even higher share in ownership (mainly from direct oil license ownership). Norway decided to stay out of OPEC, maintaining its own energy prices in line with world markets, and spending the revenue – known as the “currency gift” – wisely. <




Joy is Within, Seek it There

North by Northwest


he culture of Norway has everything to do with the substrates that Norwegians have accumulated throughout their history. First there were fierce Vikings who inhabited the faraway islands of Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and even Vinland, in today’s Americas. They believed in war gods and dark mythology. Then came Christianity, after which it turned into a peaceful and hard-working nation kept-silent by Lutheranism – so much more suited to the Germanic peoples and their spirit. Thus, as in the majority of other Protestant countries, it is now all about music and words. And words have a prominent place in Norwegian culture. Scandinavian sagas told by skalds during long nights were the clear predecessors of contemporary Norwegian writers. And the Norwegian connection to nature was also crucial. Norwegian culture is closely connected to the country’s history and geography. The unique Norwegian farming culture, maintained to this day, developed not only as a result of the country’s scarce resources and harsh climate, but also grew out of ancient property laws. In the 14th century it brought about a strong romantic nationalist movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media. In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and is furthered through government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork. But the language is yet another matter. Norway is the only European country that still retains the duality of two national languages, one more “national” (Nynorsk) and other more “liter-


ary” (Boksmal). The former is less popular and is more influenced by people’s colloquial speech, while the latter is strongly influenced by Danish. Imagine the Serbian language in two forms: the Slavic-Serbian of Dositej Obradović and Vuk’s people's language? Well, that’s what happened in Norway. It was also the case in Greece prior to 1975, but somehow Norwegians cling to both traditions of a farm language and a high-class language at the same time. This hasn’t prevented Norwegians from winning several Nobel Prizes in Literature, namely Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1903, Knut Hamsun in 1920 (with his obsession with nature and folk traditions) and Sigrid Undset in 1928 for Kristin Lavransdatter. It is ironic that the only famous Norwegian author not awarded a Nobel Prize, Henrik Ibsen, is arguably the most important of all Norwegian writers. Well, maybe until recently – we mustn’t forget Jostein Gaarder and Åsne Seierstad. Norwegians are also renowned for their woodcraft skills, from house making to church building. Stave churches were constructed throughout Norway during the early Middle Ages, many of

which remain to this day and represent Norway’s most important contribution to architectural history. A fine example is the Stave Church at Urnes, which is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Another notable example of wooden architecture is the Bryggen (wharf) in Bergen, consisting of a row of narrow wooden structures along the quayside. The third important element of Nor-

Norway is the home of silent, angry, joyous, nice, but somehow dark and pensive, people. Such is their culture

wegian culture is its music, just like in the rest of Scandinavia. But unlike other Scandinavian countries, especially flamboyant Sweden or peaceful Denmark, Norwegian music is well known for its dark overtones and metal sounds. It is the homeland and world capital of black metal and dark metal, and even the hugely popular A-Ha from the ‘80s and ‘90s couldn’t stop this trend with their sweet new wave synthpop. This is the home of silent, angry, joyous, nice, but somehow dark and pensive, people. Such is their culture. <





The Dark, Mountainous Scandinavia

Vikings are sometimes gentle, sometimes energetic


n Finland there is a joke: Finns are aggressive Fennoscandians, ready to fight, and their songs are all about depression, like Apocalyptica, Nightwish or HIM; Swedes are flamboyant and sweet, with their ABBA, Ace of Base and Roxette, all the way to The Cardigans; Danes have few things to offer from their flatlands close to Germany, but Norwegians are the darkest. They are still Vikings, with their mountains and fjords. They presumably retained most of their Viking traditions, despite their urbanisation and Lutheranisation. Norwegians could represent the essence of old Scandinavia, sometimes even pre-Christian. Iceland is perhaps the only place where you could find more Old Norse traces. Funnily enough, Norwegians, despite their Viking personalities and connection to nature, drink less alcohol than all of their neighbours. Trip Advisor advises us, as its name suggests, the following: Danes can drink in the morning, but Norwegians don't. Norwegians have a tradition of not drinking on weekdays. Don't expect to be offered wine or other alcohol in private homes – coffee (or tea) is standard. Many Norwegians get exceedingly drunk on Fridays and Saturdays, but average alcohol consumption is modest. Norwegians also tend to be famously egalitarian. Yeah, just like Vikings in ancient times, maintaining one’s calm and not displaying strong emotions in public are common virtues in Norway. However, despite the emphasis on modesty, Norway mostly has a low-context style of communication. Although the feeling of being one nation is strong, there are strong individualist and egalitarian attitudes, being self-reliant and equal is highly regarded. Norwegians are not impressed by titles and formal positions, and are famously direct (getting straight to the




THE ESSENCE Norwegians could represent the essence of old Scandinavia, sometimes even pre-Christian. Iceland is perhaps the only place where you could find more Old Norse traces.

point) and informal. Authoritarian manners are disliked and considered disrespectful. Boasting is disliked. It is worth remembering that the Vikings tended to gather to discuss everything and that they disliked their kings so much that they left to inhabit new colonies all around the world whenever they felt oppressed. Also, one big no-no in Scandinavia, and in Russia for that matter, is keeping your shoes on your feet while in someone’s house. Norwegians usually take off their shoes when entering a private home

(unless instructed otherwise). This is particularly important in winter, when dirt, slush and salt can ruin floors. For formal parties held during the winter season, it is advisable to bring an extra pair of shoes. Last but not least, Norwegians are notorious all around the world for their informal dress code. It’s not that they look strange in a T-shirt, but that they tend to remove their clothes and shoes almost entirely if the weather is hot enough. Norwegians don't hesitate to strip down to a bikini or shorts in warm, sunny weather. Don’t be surprised to see shoppers just in bikinis and shorts. Norwegians are notoriously informal, particularly when it comes to their clothing. Norwegians usually don’t even dress smart for work, remaining rather casual most of the time. Although some may dress up for a restaurant visit, casual dress is fully acceptable virtually everywhere. Norwegians find it perfectly natural to wear sports clothes and carry a rucksack anywhere. Blue jeans are commonplace. If you see somebody wearing a fashionable suit and tie (in the middle of the day), it is probably a real estate agent or stockbroker. So, it is not Italy at all. Welcome to a direct, informal, natural culture.




Northern Pearl Home of the Unspoilt



n times that are increasingly hindered by pollution, crowded cities, terrorism and insincerity, one place shines out: Norway, a place of clean and unspoilt landscapes, polar lights, fjords, and small and peaceful cities filled with nice people and culture. Spectacular is Norway’s middle name. Everything is pretty much spectacular, due to the country being situated on the shores of the Northern Atlantic and having mountains and islands like Scotland, a climate like Iceland, towns like Sweden and fjords like nowhere else. Norway offers visitors an incredible mix of cultural and natural wonders. From

cosmopolitan Oslo, to endless snowcapped mountain peaks and deep fjords, there’s no end of choices for travellers in the land of the midnight sun and stunning northern lights. Getting around the country is easy, and the country's top-notch transport systems offer some of the best sightseeing opportunities too, whether you go by rail or take advantage of the fantastic coastal steamers. When we talk about Norwegian tourism, it seems to be an open-air museum of Viking and Sami history, from seafaring to fishing and farming, from drakkars

to old churches. Add to that some spectacular glaciers and mountains, polar lights and unforgettable views (and photographs in this era of social networks!) and it will be a fairy tale! Among the most important elements are also cities, from Oslo to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromsø. The highlights of Norwegian urban cultural tourism are Bryggen in Bergen and the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo. Bergen is also widely renowned for its funicular railway called Fløibanen. There are red and blue carriages and they have funny names: the cars are individually named and painted, with Blåmann (Blue man) in blue and Rødhette (Little Red Riding Hood) in red. Innovation Norway, a state-owned promotional company that is also in charge of tourism affairs, compiles annual reports on the country’s most visited tourist attractions, both cultural and natural. The 2017 report lists 50 cultural

All in all, Norway is the place to visit if you want to feel like you are both in and out of this world

and 20 natural attractions. Among the most important “must” visits we must include some of the epic scenic train routes, the most important of which is the Bergen Railway, which traverses the Hardangervidda Mountain Plateau. If we had to pick just one fjord, let it be this one: a part of the spectacular Fjord Norway network - and regularly at the top of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list - the Geirangerfjord region north of Ålesund offers some of the finest scenery anywhere in Norway. Representing the eastward continuation of the Sunnylvsfjord, the Geirangerfjord boasts some of the country’s most spectacular views. And don’t forget some of the northern islands and the polar lights that can be regularly observed in the Arctic Circle. If you drive, we would single out a special road for you, and it is a road that’s celebrated in many travelogues and several films. This is The Atlantic Ocean Road. Although it is only just over five miles long, it has gained a reputation as one of the world’s most spectacular stretches of coastal highway, as it weaves its way through an archipelago in Eide and Averøy in More og Rømsdal. In addition to excellent views – which are always spectacular, whatever the weather – by travelling this road you’ll get the chance to visit lovely little fishing villages, quaint wooden churches and the famous Trolls' Church Cave. All in all, Norway is the place to visit if you want to feel like you are both in and out of this world.


Norway 2017