Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegians in Chile Posted by on Feb 27, 2010 in Norway and the world

As most of you have probably already heard, a massive jordskjelv (earthquake) has just hit Chile-8.8 magnitude, det femte sterkeste skjelvet (the 5th strongest quake) since jordskjelver were measured på Richters skala (Richter’s scale) in 1900. 

I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about this tragic event because there are many nordmenn in Chile.  Back in 2008, kronprins Haakon traveled to Chile to visit the home of famous poet Pablo Neruda (Norwegian Kjartan Fløgstad has recreated Neruda’s poems  norsk) and to attend a reception for nordmenn living in Chile.  Although I can’t find a more recent population count, there were nearly 300 nordmenn living in Chile at that time.  Many are former refugees who have returned to Chile to live and about one third are Norwegian business people.  There are alo many Chileans of Norwegian descent; more than a century ago many Norwegian sjømenn (sailors), hvalfangere (whalers), ingeniører (engineers), and employees of the skipsfartindustri (shipping industry) emigrated to Chile. 

Additionally, there are many Norwegian tourists in Chile right now-it is summertime there and we know that Norwegians typically love to head south during the winter.  There is a large international music festival in Viña del Mar right now, which has been cancelled. 

On the flip side, there are approximately 7000 Chileans currently living in Norway.  According to an Aftenposten online article, Patricia Barrientos, a Chilean woman in Norway, is trying desperately to organize a samling (gathering) of Chileans in Norway.  Unfortunately, it is proving to be extremely difficult to reach anyone in Chile by phone due to the damage the jordskjelv did to kommunikaskjoner (communications).  Barrientos explains that most Chileans in Norway are alone and have no one to share this grief with.

Chile is the 2nd Latin American country, following Brazil, with the most norske firmaer (Norwegian companies).  According to (The Official Norwegian Trade Portal), Norwegians feel secure in Chile because Chile has good resources and the political arena supports utenriks investeringer (foreign investments).  There are over 50 norske firmaer in Chile right now, aquaculture being the biggest industry, followed by mining, energy, and banking.  In fact, DnB Nor (Norway’s largest financial services group) has opened a branch in Chile to assist in financing business endeavors there.  When a finansinstitusjon (financial institution) has a prescence i utlandet (abroad), this is a sign of a good relationship and healthy development.

I hope that families in both countries can at least communicate with one another soon.  Let’s hope for a quick recovery.

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!