Comment This is an opinion written by an editorial staff. Commentary expresses the views of the writer.
And it happened with stories full of reindeer, magic and monsters.
Exciting and exotic events for curious readers in Paris, Rome and Berlin.
This is how the “other” image of us northerners is established; Fascinating natural people shaped by their dramatic and rugged surroundings.
After foreign adventurers, southern Norwegian authorities came to coordinate the film.
But where foreigners wanted to see us as noble savages, Southerners painted a more negative picture of our primitive nature.
This “outside image” of Bodø and Nordland greatly influenced the opening ceremony of Bodø 2024.
A spectacular show thanks to the sophisticated light and sound effects, but based on the content a strange backstory: the most famous story about the shark, the capercaillie and the reindeer.
Symptomatically, everything modern about performance was imported; Sound from Trondheim and light from Germany.
From the 16th century onwards the region itself had to provide us with fascinating stories about ourselves from the outside.
An appearance northerners eventually absorbed and made our own.
In 1496, Russian courtier Grigory Istoma traveled through northern Norway on his way from Moscow to Copenhagen.
He went on to enlist the support of the Danish king in his war with Sweden for control of the Baltic Sea.
Traveling through Norway was considered a safe route and Istoma's voyage provides the first published description of northern Norway.
Istoma's journey opens this year's book by Terje Esvold on “The Pictorial History of Nordkaloten”, a fascinating collection of travelogues from northern Norway.
All of them are characterized by a unique charm in landscapes and forests.
Another constant feature are descriptions of magic and sorcery, cold and ice, and nature inhabited by sea ghosts and monsters.
Olas Magnus' masterpiece “Historia” of 1555 also describes rich fisheries on the Norrbotten and Nordland coasts.
All that is strange and foreign to European readers is intended for the book.
Reindeer, fish, magic and cool. Do we recognize any of these from the opening ceremony?
Yes, these are important parts of Nordland's history. But only a part.
Not least when we talk about Bodo, which got its own fort to protect the city from English warships during the Napoleonic Wars.
These are not meant to bash fish farmers or reindeer herders.
They wanted to reduce Bodo's role as a warehouse and distribution center for imported Russian grain to avoid a British blockade that had caused famine in the country.
In this sense, we get a vivid extract of the history of the Bodo politically edited.
The most important problem is that the entire performance seems completely backwards.
Today's Nordland salmon is driven forward by power and technology. Perhaps creating culture is not so easy, but here they did not try.
Apart from a spectacular light show, it is entirely derived from the outside.
So overall it becomes a clear outlier.
About 25 years ago, the show “Den fordømte nordlending” was a nationwide hit with the public and critics.
With one notable exception, Keir R. Jensen of Nordlandsposten, doesn't think the show is funny.
Instead, he said, it offered a retrospective image of a Northerner that no one under 30 could identify with, at least not those who lived in the city.
So this is not a new debate, unfortunately some parts of the opening program for Bodø 2024 make Ralgadlia seem like a modernist beacon.
Roots and tradition are important to all communities, but this show has stumbled so far from its roots that one has to ask who it is aimed at.
Herein lies part of the key to understanding why it turned out that way.
Because it's not primarily because you can't or don't want to do anything else.
The Sami are decisive to become the first European capital of Bodo culture, and the impetus for cultural and tourism exchange is one of the EU's objectives for the entire City of Culture.
Then we return to the perspective of “others”. As seen from Paris, Rome and Berlin, the show worked well.
For example, there are reports of huge media attention around the show in Germany. Perhaps this will attract some tourists.
Hopefully we'll have enough spots to make up for the disappointment of no reindeer on Bodo's streets.
Regardless of the car, Bodø 2024 will contribute to the fact that the story of Norway for many Europeans will still be the story of the North. With a touch of history.
Then they can hopefully be inspired to learn more about present and future Bodø and Nordland.
Bodo 2024 was thrown anyway, what do you really get for NOK 20 million?
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