Sharing the sea view

The Viking approach to exploration

Published: Aug 15 2016, 01:01:am

Sunday, July 27, 1986.

FOR 1,000 YEARS, THEY'VE answered the call of the sea. Man’s reach for space notwithstanding, they see no reason to change direction now.
    Norwegians march to the beat of their own traditional drummer. A maritime nation, their Expo pavilion's 15-minute show, A Ticket to Norway, highlights the achievements of a modern sea-faring people.
     Though the presentation portrays the North Atlantic nation as an  attractive tourist destination— comments by an  airline pilot and a tourist guide are featured — the emphasis is on the challenge and rewards of oceanic enterprises.
    The descendants of the Vikings are practical folk. There's more to be gained at home, and so the Norwegians are building bigger and better fixed and floating platforms to exploit their own offshore resources.
    “Some countries develop space stations,” a research engineer tells us. Norway chooses to concentrate its efforts on “the conquest of inner space.” To that end, it is planning a network of “offshore submarine stations.”
    Making the prospect seem both attractive and exciting is this top-flight  audio-visual show produced for the pavilion by the New York-based Burson-Marsteller public relations multinational. Using an effective combination of slides and motion picture footage, the presentation is one of the best of its kind at the fair, and an apt introduction to the pavilion's selection of exhibits

The above is a restored version of a Province review by Michael Walsh originally published in 1986. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: They must be doing something right. Norway, a constitutional monarchy with a 2016 population of 5.2 million, rivals Disneyland for the title “Happiest Place on Earth.” In the five years that the United Nations has been publishing its World Happiness Report, the North Atlantic nation has always placed in the top four (jockeying for position with the likes of Switzerland, Finland and Iceland, all behind perennial first place Denmark). Pick an international measure, and Norway is either at the top (The 2016 Democracy Index, compiled by the Economist magazine’s Intelligence Unit), or at the bottom (The 2016 Fragile States Index, compiled by the U.S. Fund for Peace think tank), whichever ranking reflects most favourably on life beneath the midnight sun.
    In a 1972 referendum, Norwegians rejected European Union membership, and did so again in a vote held in 1992. In the early 1960s, the Oslo government made the decision to maintain control over its offshore resources. Instead of deeding the wealth over to multinational corporations, it established its own Statoil company. A contrarian notion to be sure, but one that seems to have resulted in little Norway’s 2016 claim to being the second-wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation. Along with its neighbour Denmark, it also tops the list of countries with the least income inequality and the best health care.

See also: The eight articles included in this, the third of four Expo 86 special reports, explore the pavilions of:

23: Expo 86 EEC/Germany
24: Expo 86 EuroSpace
25: Expo 86 EuroRail
26: Expo 86 Czechoslovakia