2020 was the year when the coronavirus pandemic laid a blanket over Norway and the world. It was a year of historic lawsuits, record-breaking outdoors activities and fruit-eating, and of scientific breakthroughs.
Though an unparalleled year, the most familiar human experiences still followed us. Even in 2020, we laughed, we cried, we failed, we succeeded.
As 2020 stretches into its final days, we remember the positive news that made us happy in 2020. Join us on a month-by-month journey through this year, as we remember that it wasn’t all bad.
January 1: The new municipal reform enters into force, and Norway now has 11 counties and 356 municipalities.
January 31: The Norwegian Meteorological Institute reports a record warm winter in most Norwegian counties. Many took advantage of the warmer weather to spend time outdoors – and, save ob heating bills.
February 15: Ulrikke Brandstorp (24) wins the 2020 Melodi Grand Prix (MGP), which was characterized by technical and voice problems this year.
February 25: The Cherokee people become the first indigenous Americans to store their heirloom plant species in the Svalbard Seed Vault.
March 2: King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway embark on a three-day state visit to Jordan. This is the royal couple’s first state visit to the Middle East.
March 21: Parliament passes a new crisis measure, based on the power of attorney law. It gives the government broad powers for a limited period to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
March 24: The government cracks down on the virus and measures are tightened. Citizens’ safety is the top priority. People find ways to connect with loved ones, from Facetime video calls with family to Friday night drinks over Zoom with friends.
April 13: Health authorities encourage Norwegians to prepare for a holiday in Norway this summer. Many residents will go on to rediscover the beauty of their own country during the warmer months.
April 14: Among a slew of measures aimed at preserving prisoners’ mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic, Norway begins distributing tablets to inmates so they can keep in touch with loved ones.
April 16: Glacial archeology program Secrets of the Ice publishes a paper detailing Viking treasures uncovered in a lost mountain pass in central Norway.
April 20: Kindergartens reopen after being closed for five weeks. Physiotherapists, psychologists, and dentists will also able to resume operations. The cabin ban is lifted.
April 27: Schools reopen for students from 1st to 4th grade. Vocational schools, colleges, and universities partially open. Hairdressers and other services with one-to-one contact are allowed to reopen.
April 30: The outdoor social distancing rule is lowered from two meters to one meter.
May 6: Alcohol services in Oslo reopen, but only in establishments where food is served.
May 7: Prime Minister Solberg announces that Norway will reopen before the summer, with a number of reliefs. Among other things, the quarantine period is lowered from 14 to 10 days, and recommendations for working from home are lowered. On the same day, Norges Bank lowers the key policy rate to zero, for the first time in history.
May 12: The government presents a historic crisis budget in the revised national budget and proposes to spend NOK 420 billion from the Petroleum Fund – NOK 174.4 billion more than the year before.
May 17: Norway’s National Day is celebrated with coronavirus infection guidelines. Children’s parades have been canceled, but the country sings the national anthem, boat processions are arranged, and the King and Queen drive through the streets of Oslo in an open car.
May 21: The number of coronavirus patients is falling steadily during this time.
May 26: A packed Parliament passes amendments to the Biotechnology Act, which allows assisted reproduction for single women.
May 27: The ban on visits to the country’s nursing homes and hospitals is lifted.
June 1: Amusement parks reopen. Exercise activities for children and young people under the age of 19 are allowed again. Svalbard is open for tourists again.
June 15: Events with up to 200 participants are allowed. Travel to the Nordic countries is allowed, with the exception of Sweden, where only Gotland is opened. Educational institutions are opened, as well as gyms and swimming pools.
June 18: Norway is elected to the UN Security Council.
June 26: Archaeologists start excavating the Gjellestad ship off of Halden. It’s the first Viking ship to be excavated in over 100 years.
July 5: This will be the first week since March 12 without a registered coronavirus-related death.
July 6: This year’s joint holiday begins. During the summer, one in three Norwegians will spend the night in a tent, hammock or in the open air, according to an Ipsos survey.
July 9: Several of the largest cities gradually remove the restrictions on public transport, and people are allowed to sit shoulder to shoulder, again.
July 15: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises travel to most European countries is safe, and Norwegians can travel without quarantine obligation if the infection situation allows it. At the same time, entry restrictions are lifted.
July 22: There are now only three coronavirus patients in the hospital, one of whom is receiving respiratory treatment. This is the lowest figure since March 10.
July 24: Following Iceland, Norway is rated the world’s second-best country to raise a family in according to a study.
August 21: An agreement is reached on this year’s wage settlement with the Ombudsman for overtime pay, and the parties agree on a wage increase of 1.7 percent.
September 3: Actor Tom Cruise and an extensive film crew spend several weeks in Norway, where they film a number of action scenes for Mission: Impossible 7.
September 30: The government announces that coronavirus measures in the future will now be more aimed at local virus outbreaks rather than national measures. Steps taken will ensure that Norway closes out the year with one of the lowest death rates in the world.
October 9: King Harald undergoes heart surgery at Rikshospitalet in Oslo. His operation goes well and he fully recovers.
October 13: Norway introduced a new dual citizenship law in January of 2020. As of now, more than 41,000 applicants already have put in for citizenship.
October 15: Norway’s new passport design takes effect, with many calling the design (by Neue studio) one of the sleekest in the world.
October 24: Svalbard-based TikTok user Cecilia Blomdahl (@sejsejlija) starts posting videos about life on the Arctic archipelago. Her videos will soon receive millions of views from awestruck users worldwide.
October 26: The government tightens its coronavirus measures until Advent in an attempt to save Christmas.
November 1: An out-of-the ordinary situation occurred around Oslo and Kristiansand during the night from November 1 to 2. Norway actually paid Norwegians to use electricity, because electricity prices fell below 0.
November 4: The Supreme Court begins processing the so-called climate lawsuit, in which several environmental organizations sued the state for oil exploration in the Barents Sea.
November 5: Wizz Air launches low-cost domestic flights in Norway.
November 9: The Oslo Stock Exchange makes a strong leap after the news that pharmaceutical company Pfizer found its vaccine to be over 90% effective. Norwegian authorities are preparing to start vaccinations in early 2021.
November 18: Norwegian nurse and TikTok user @libsims posts a video showing what it’s like working in a Norwegian hospital, with emphasis on the modern technology used. The video goes viral, amassing almost 2 million likes.
November 23: Ubisoft Nordic releases footage of the “world’s most beautiful gaming experience”. It includes playing Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the Lofoten Islands, with the northern lights dancing in the background.
November 25: Glacial archeology program Secrets of the Ice releases a study detailing its record-breaking finds of 6000 years of arrows used in reindeer hunting.
December 1: The governing parties and the Progress Party successfully agree on the state budget for next year.
December 2: As train routes fill up, Prime Minister Solberg says that traveling home for Christmas can be considered a necessary journey.
December 4: Health authorities say they are expecting an approved vaccine for Norway around New Year and that vaccinations can begin shortly afterwards. The following week, FHI launches a vaccination guide for the municipalities.
December 10: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded digitally to the World Food Program.
December 10: The Norwegian Directorate of Health’s annual report reveals that Norwegians‘ sugar intake has almost halved, while their fruit and veggie consumption has skyrocketed.
December 11: Språkrådet (the language council) names the “koronaen” as this year’s new word.
December 17: The Nordic technology company Computas, with the help of AI, generated the pattern and design elements to create the world’s ugliest Christmas sweater – and they even knitted it themselves! This is the world’s first project of its kind.
December 20: Fans vote Erling Braut Haaland as Bundesliga’s player of the month in November.
December 22: The Supreme Court rejects environmental organizations‘ climate lawsuit appeal against the Norwegian government – but, the case gains international attention and opens up dialogues worldwide.
Source: Norway Today / NTB