NORWEGIANS WORK ONE HUNDRED days less per year than Australians. The whole country savours its precious few months of summer, with long days, long holidays and widespread retreat from city apartments to cabins in the mountains. Norwegians open their summer selves to different sorts of creative opportunities nurtured by the rhythms of a simpler life in a place apart from the industrial working week. A seasonal adjustment of behaviours is one of the reasons for Norway’s success. It scores well on economics, equity and happiness indices. Not all Norwegians have the privilege of access to a family summer cabin, of course, and the idea of this seasonal ‘simple’ life is becoming more complex with power and Wi-Fi connections ever more readily available. But the summer cabin retreat remains a norm, respected and supported across society, through its regular five weeks minimum annual leave (plus additional paid leave for some holidays). Annual leave can be up to eight weeks in some professions.

Australia, by contrast, squeezes all of its Christmas and New Year festivities, summer activities (which may include wider reading and reflections on life), and even the national day, into the space between 24 December and 26 January. We ‘do’ summer in thirty-three days, just half the time allowed in Scandinavia and most of Western Europe.

Read the rest at Griffith Review


Imagining the Future at National Library of Australia, Canberra

Thursday 9 June, 6.00 pm

Join Julianne Schultz, Brendan Gleeson, Paul Daley and Libby Robin as they discuss a broad range of topics from the current edition of Griffith Review.

Free event, no bookings required.