Norway 2006: An appendix on Norwegian road signs
Norway is an interesting country in more than one way. And I have to say, it’s road signs seem to say a lot about it.
That might seem an odd thing to say. However it’s true. I first started to notice them in Sogndal at a street crossing where I was confronted by this:
Yes it’s a road sign… But look at the man pictured in the design. The hat he’s wearing, the stance he’s posed in…
Yes, the Norwegians have clearly used a 1940s spiv as their model! There’s something fantastic about the way he’s sauntering across the road with his fedora on, and a palm outstretched at the back as if to take his backhander for his black market activities!
And that’s not all. Here’s an example of a sign denoting a foot and cycle path…
Not only do they have spivs, but they have 1950s dad with a cute 1950s girl with a bow in her hair.
You can almost hear the child saying “Thank you daddy for keeping me safe!”. And Dad going “Yes, but what is the Norwegian health service going to do about my bandy legs!” It’s a shame the impact is spoilt by the fact that the cycle in the sign is so normal and boring looking.
And here we get to a sign telling us that children are crossing. Yes the cute 1950s child has grown a little here. She’s school age, but she’s still got that bow. Mum however has a short bob-cut on her hair – perhaps we’re now into the 1960s?
All of which makes the British versions look positively staid and boring. Looking at the Norwegian equivalents, you have to say they seem to have more character than ours.
And for the ultimate fun, take the footpath between Øvre Eidjord and Eidfjord. It’s along an old road and for part of it, you end up in an old road tunnel for 0.5km. And slap bang in the middle of the tunnel is a stash of road signs for no apparent reason.