There was a new song released today by Daniel Kvammen titled ‘Janteloven’. It covers one of the more interesting sides of Norwegian culture and how society works in Norway, that being Janteloven or The Law of Jante.
Even in this modern age and after creating such a successful and prosperous society, Norwegians still struggle with both individual success and what happens after success. In a very egalitarian society, it can be considered inappropriate for any one person to have too much of anything.
If you have Spotify you can hit play below to have a listen for background music on the rest of this post.
The song is inspired by one of the loudest Norwegians to be firmly anti-Janteloven. The one and only Petter Northug. As a former gold medal ski champion Petter never really had to worry about being held back by Janteloven. That’s because in Norway sports and athleticism are some of the few areas where it’s allowed to be very successful. It’s allowed to be better than others. Unlike in business where it’s better to be more modest about your achievements.
When the song was penned some 6 months ago life was a bit different for Northug. He was enjoying the afterglow of his skiing career while also enjoying the strobe light glow of various night clubs around Norway. That’s where the song’s author found him, still seeking the attention of yesterday. The very next morning he wrote this song.
Since then a new debate has emerged about the anti-Janeloven king Northug. After a recent run-in with the police while driving under the influence of drugs the spotlight was once again on the former gold medalist. Although unlike in other societies where a celebrity in trouble might expect a public crucifixion, things work differently in Norway.
Most of the public debate centered more around how to help Northug. And why didn’t society help him sooner? That’s Norway and even Janteloven for ya! When a member of society is down, society should come together to bring them back up.