Do you remember Kari’s text about Stavanger [staVANGer], Norway’s 4th largest city? (After Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim – sorry about the niggling, Kari!) Being the one Norwegian city I’ve visited the most, and the place where I’m currently writing, I thought I might have something to add…
As Kari wrote, Stavanger is the capital of the SW fylke of Rogaland. It is also known as the ”Petroleum Capital”, due to its function as a hub for the Norwegian oil industry. Most Norwegian boreplattformer (drilling platforms) are found in the Southern part of Nordsjøen (the North Sea), a few hours of helikopter flight to the west of Stavanger.
As a result of oljå [OLyaw], as ”the oil (industry)” is called in the local dialect, the Stavanger area is one of the richest regions of Norway. There is a booming handelsliv (commercial life) in the centre, with fashionable clothes and accessories flashing alluringly at tourists as they walk past the large ground-floor show windows of the charming white wooden houses with paving stones in-between. Many of the small alleys lead to the top of the ”city hill” known as Sølvberget (the silver mound), where there is a cultural centre with cafés, cinemas, a library etc. Another landmark is the Stavanger Domkirke, the 12th century cathedral, close to the svaner (swans) and ender (ducks) at the city pond of Breiavatnet (”the broad water”).
The 120,000 inhabitants are known as siddiser, or, in the local dialect, siddisar. (Does any of the readers know where this strange word comes from?) In the Stavanger dialect, a single p, t or k may become transformed to b, d or g after a vowel: Instead of tap (loss), the siddiser say tab, båt (boat) becomes båd, spøk (joke) becomes spøg, and so on. People from other parts of Norway sometimes find this quite funny. This is perhaps also due to the famous Norwegian comedian Per-Inge Torkelsen, who helped popularize the Stavanger dialect in his shows.
All the wealth has drawn people from all over the world to Stavanger, and I’ve heard it is the Norwegian city with most ethnicities compared to its size. I’d bet it is also the Norwegian city with the highest number of unusual museums: There is an oil museum, a telephone museum, a canned food museum, and even a leketøysmuseum (toy museum).