Goodbye Norway, Hello Denmark

Norway ended for me how it started. Windy, rainy, hilly and just beautiful. I had such a good time, but when I finally arrived in Bergen I was also very tired and ready for something new. On one of the last ferry rides, I came across the largest gas field of Norway. Quite a spectacular sight and something that has transformed Norway into the country it is today.  Until the 1960s Norway was a quite poor country, with fishing the main industry. When the huge oil and gas reserves were discovered, the Norwegian government proclaimed sovereignty over all natural resources and established Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil company. The government still owns 67% of the company and is the largest shareholder.


As with other countries, Norway also faced the dilemma of how to use the enormous amounts money and how to deal with the volatility of the oil price. So, in the 90s the Norwegian government created the Government Pension Fund Global. The purpose is to invest parts of the large surplus from the petroleum industry sustainably. The government is allowed to spend the fund’s inflation-adjusted return up to a maximum of 3%, which it is never doing. But there is still enough money to pay for all these bridges and roads and tunnels, etc.

Funny also that, while Norway is such an oil rich country, nearly all energy used is produced renewably and the per capita use of electric cars is by far the greatest in the world and in 2023 a whopping 80% of new registrations are electric cars. Norway also has universal health coverage, ranks always in the top ten of happiest people has an excellent education system, outstanding infrastructure and the murder rate per capita is 450 times lower than in the United States (450 fucking times!). And I believe a lot of it has to do with the fact that wealth is distributed more equally, and Norway does not sell all their natural resource wealth to the Gina Reinhards of this world for some peanut-royalties.


So, next time, when a Wimmera-Redneck tells me again that our roads are in dismay and our health system sucks, just because “socialist Dan” rules Victoria, have a look at Norway and see how a healthy socialist country looks like.


Ok, let me stop ranting, because coming from Norway to Denmark…. Well one is paradise, the other one is heaven when it comes to social consciousness. So far Denmark has been a total revelation for me. I was not so excited about Denmark; on paper it just does not sound so spectacular, no mountains, frankly a boring coastline and with 60% the highest percentage of land under crops in Europe. And it is true, it is not as spectacular as Norway, where you constantly ride through a Bob Ross painting, but I am having a great time. Perfect bicycle roads (and these ones are roads, not lanes), beautiful buildings, park like gardens, great bakeries, history everywhere and a generally very relaxed vibe. I am loving it, perfect for some relaxed cruising after challenging Norway. By some luck I am currently stuck in Aarhus for three nights, as some super storm stops everything. No ferries, bridges closed…. Really no weather to ride a fully loaden touring bike. And Aarhus is a cool city, great cafes, I am staying in a real hotel, fantastic museums and old, well-kept houses. Well done, Denmark, another country I have fallen in love with.



I hope I can start Wednesday again on my bicycle; I still just love riding my bike through all this beauty 

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Mama (Tuesday, 08 August 2023 02:11)

    Hallo Sohn! Wie schön statt der blöden "AZ" einen begeisterten Bericht und so schöne Fotos am Frühstückstisch zu haben! Freue mich schon auf die mündlichen Erzählungen. Genieße das Bett! Und gute weiterfahrt! Liebe Grüße

  • #2

    Julia (Thursday, 17 August 2023 10:22)

    Wie schön, dass es mit einem Treffen für ein Eis und einen Kaffee geklappt hat! Gute Fahrt und auf bald! Julia