Norway vs GermanyPosta: 12/04/2015
I am a Norwegian living in Germany. To get an accurate assessment of the relative qualities of these two proud nations I really ought to write this in tandem with a German living in Norway, but I’ll save that for the future. I don’t know if I know any Germans living in Norway well enough to initiate unserious writing projects with them.
Free wi-fi commonplace in public places. 1-0
Cars stopping for pedestrians. 2-1
Strong anti-racism culture, even when the parties in government are right-wing. 2-2
Trains that run when you want them to run, where you want to go, most of the time. 2-3
Near-universal availability of pale ales and red ales. German beer culture is very self-centered and smug, assuming its own superiority without having made comparisons with other beer cultures. 3-3
In Germany, beer is commonly served with coasters. This is marginally more hygienic than leaving them directly on the table, and aestethically far superior. 3-4
Going to parties without having to bring drinks. 3-5
Cashier tills with separated bagging areas for separate customers, permitting each customer to bag at his or her preferred pace. 4-5.
I speak Norwegian effortlessly and German with some difficulty. Less than when I moved there, but constantly making mistakes and not finding the right words can be very frustrating. 5-5
No working class poverty. When people in Norway are poor, it is usually because they can’t work or can’t get jobs. In Germany, on the other hand, large parts of the working population get paid too low salaries to be able to survive without receiving social benefits from the State, working more than full-time, getting support from spouses or family members, gaining money via criminal activity, or the like. Not something that belongs in a civilized society. The minimum wage in Germany was recently raised to €8.5, but it needs to be raised more. In Norway, there has traditionally been very strong labour unions who have collaborated and negotiated successfully with the employer-organizations and with the state, and thus people with full-time jobs make a living, almost by default (except if the employer is one of those that routinely breaks labour laws). 6-5
A solid effort from both countries, and the outcome is much more even than I had expected. Luckily for my patriotism it was a home victory.