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Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

Trustees concerned about how new hospitals will be financed and Norway facing a vegetable shortage if energy support for farmers isn't increased are among the main headlines from Norway on Monday.

Pictured is a row of shops in Bergen.
Find out what's going on in Norway on Monday with The Local's short roundup of important news. Pictured is a row of shops. Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

Concerns over funding of new hospitals

The plan for how new hospitals in Oslo will be funded haven’t filled trustees with confidence, public broadcaster NRK reports. 

Trustees at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) told the broadcaster that the current plan to pay for the demolition of Ullevål hospital and its replacements wasn’t realistic. 

“We don’t think it can be done,” Anne Marit Wang Førland, trustee for the Medical Association at OUS, told NRK. 

The Medical Association and ten other organisations have spoken out about the “high risk” plans. 

Two hospitals have been mooted to replace Ullevål Hospital by 2031. The hope is that the new hospitals will be cheaper to run, saving around 1.3 billion kroner in operating costs annually. 

Low energy support cap for farmers could lead to a vegetable shortage 

Vegetable producers have said the current cap for energy support in agriculture needs to be raised, otherwise, the country could face a shortage of vegetables towards the end of winter. 

Current support for farmers is capped at 20,000 kWh per month. This is too little, farmers have told agriculture newspaper Nationen. The current cap is affecting those who store vegetables to supply the market throughout winter. 

“The situation is the same for most people who deal with storage vegetables. We have target prices and cannot take the cost increase out into the market. Without changes to the ceiling on electricity support, I think there will be few storage vegetables to be found in the shops in March and April and beyond,” Asbjørn Stokkeland, a vegetable farmer, told the paper. 

New bingo law to hit the pockets of voluntary groups

A new gambling law means that voluntary groups could lose out on the revenues generated from bingo. 

Norway’s government wants to tighten up the regulations with which the bingo industry operates. A cap on losses is among the measures that the government intends to introduce. This could lead to a drop in bingo revenues.

This will have a knock-on effect for local choirs and bands throughout the country as they benefit from some of the profits from bingo games. 

“Before the pandemic, voluntary teams and associations in the music industry received 274 million kroner in income from bingo. In 2019, each profit recipient received an average of around NOK 85,000. It may sound like small change, but it is incredibly important to the recipients,” Bjarne Dæhli, secretary general of the Norwegian Music Council, told the newspaper Klassekampen

Drink-driving incidents on e-scooters fall following the introduction of fines

Police in Stavanger believe strict new laws for e-scooters which see users riding them while over the blood alcohol limit lose their licence and fined, are working. 

Recently a woman being fined 80,000 kroner and a man being fined 88,000 kroner in Stavanger made headlines, but even then, police say the number of incidents is down. 

“Although we still catch people with blood alcohol levels on these scooters, I would probably say that there are noticeably fewer now. The new rules and media coverage have helped,” Aleksander Naley, from the traffic section at Stavanger police station, told local publication Stavanger Aftenposten

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For members


Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Norway’s oil fund could face diminishing returns, Norwegian banks raise interest rates, plus other news from Norway on Tuesday. 

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Banks raise interest rates

Following Norges Bank raising the key policy rate by 0.5 percentage points last week, several commercial banks and lenders followed suit. 

Two of Norway’s biggest banks, DNB and Sparebank 1, have announced rises. Nordea has also announced a rate hike as well. 

The consequence of this is that loan and mortgage repayments will become more expensive for new and existing customers. 

Norges Bank announced the key policy rate would be set to 2.25 percent to try and curb rising inflation in Norway. However, Statistics Norway has previously warned that the increased rate would lead to increased unemployment in the medium term. 

Key vocab: Boliglånsrenten- mortgage interest rate

Norwegian oil fund could face diminishing returns in the coming years

A report on the long-term future of Norway’s Government Pension Fund, or oil fund, has found that it could face challenging times in the coming years. 

“The fund has long reaped the benefits of globalisation and technological development. But Norway cannot base itself on the fact that the international political and economic framework conditions will be the same, and as favourable as they have been,” Ulf Sverdrup, the director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, wrote

“The uncertainty is great, but the return may be lower than we are used to, while a new and complicated risk picture may make management more difficult,” he added. 

READ MORE: What does Norway do with its oil money?

Sharp decrease in e-scooter accidents in Oslo

Electric scooter accidents in Oslo have plummeted over the past year, new figures show. 

Between July 2022 and July 2021, the number of accidents in Oslo’s capital fell by around 80 percent, local newspaper Vårt Oslo reports. 

During this period, the number of scooters has been reduced sharply, and users can’t rent the devices past a certain time. Nationally, a blood alcohol limit has also been introduced. 

“There were a lot of accidents involving blood alcohol levels. Now the situation is completely different,” Ragnhild Kaski, from alcohol awareness group Av-og-til, told Vårt Oslo. 

Key vocab: Elsparkesykkel- Electric scooter

Health of young women has decreased over the past 20 years

National data agency Statistics Norway (SSB) reports that half of women aged between 16 and 24 live in more pain and discomfort than 20 years ago. 

Up to half of young women said they struggle with permanent and recurring headaches.

“Although most people believe that they are in good health, many women say that they are plagued by symptoms such as stomach pain, headaches, sleep difficulties and other pains in the body,” senior adviser at Statistics Norway Elin Skretting Lunde said. 

READ ALSO: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Norway