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

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Many major cities in Norway are already done with their preparations for the country's Constitution Day. Photo by Marcus Chis on Unsplash

May 17th celebration plans in Norway's biggest cities, decline in cross-border shopping trips to Sweden, and other news from Norway on Monday.

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Norway's big cities brace for May 17th celebrations

Several of the largest cities in Norway are ready to mark the country's Constitution Day.

"The planning is going very well. We have 110 schools that will join the parade. Before that, there will be a concert with several young talents and Emilie Hollow at the fortress," the leader of the May 17th committee in Oslo, Sarah Safavifard, told the newswire NTB.

The head of the May 17th committee in Bergen, Liv Cecilie Lycke, has great faith that this year's celebration of the national day will be in good Bergen tradition.

"You can expect a program that starts at 7am in the morning and lasts until 11:30am in the evening. We have lots of activities that will take place in the centre of Bergen. Here there will be a celebration with several old traditions. Much of what we do on the National Day are traditions that were started 175 years ago," Lycke said.

Ann Sesilie Tekfeldt, leader of the May 17th committee in Stavanger, says that there will be a traditional celebration of the special day in Norway's "Oil Capital".

"Overall, it will be a very traditional celebration," she said, adding that several parades are being organised.

Cross-border shopping trips to Sweden take a hit due to inflation and weak krone

Higher price growth for food in Sweden than in Norway and a weak Norwegian krone is now affecting cross-border shopping trips.

According to Norway's biggest bank, DNB, the number of shopping trips to Sweden decreased by 23 percent compared to April 2019, which was the last normal year before travel restrictions were in place. 

Director for data transformation at DNB, Ine Oftedahl, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that there are several reasons why cross-border shopping has taken a hit.

The Swedish krone is now three percent stronger than the Norwegian krone. In addition, food price inflation in Sweden is over 20 percent, the Norwegian alcohol and tobacco quota has changed, and higher fuel prices all make the trip to Sweden more expensive.

According to Oftedahl, the average amount people spend on Swedish shopping has not changed much, but the number of day trips has decreased.

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Sudden halt in housing construction

Housing construction has come to an abrupt halt in Norway. The construction company Selvaag Bolig initiated the construction of only five homes in the first quarter of this year - compared to 134 last year.

Managing director of Selvaag Bolig Sverre Molvik expects a sharp decline in construction activity throughout the country, the newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reports.

Norway's largest housebuilder Obos, which built next to 1,600 homes last year, will also build far fewer homes this year.

"I would guess less than half of (what we built) last year," OBOS chief Daniel Siraj said.

Higher interest rates and rising inflation have led to potential buyers of new homes delaying purchases.

"We have an extraordinary situation. Because construction costs are so high, very little new material comes into the market. The supply side of new homes will thus be low, despite many people wanting new homes. And many are waiting for interest rates to peak before they buy new homes," Selvaag said.

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Flood and landslide warnings in the north and south

High temperatures and rain have led to several flood and landslide warnings being issued for the next few days.

"Rain showers are expected on Monday and Tuesday, and together with a lot of melting snow, this creates a risk of flooding," Erik Holmquist in the Norwegian Directorate of Water Resources and Energy (NVE) told the warning service varsom.no.

In addition, there is a yellow danger warning in place for landslides, mudslides, and floods for large parts of eastern Norway and Trøndelag until Tuesday morning.

In parts of southern and eastern Norway, there is an increasing risk of landslides, mudslides and floods. Valley areas where there is still a lot of snow on the mountains are most at risk.

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