Norwegian Language Blog

Thor Steinar Posted by on Apr 3, 2009 in Norway and the world

I do not know who the Thor Steinar is that is behind the clothing line ‘Thor Steinar,’ but wouldn’t want to be him.  Thor Steinar is a German clothing brand which is represented by logos that have caused much controversy.  They appeared strikingly similar to the swastika until the company changed their logos.  Many more people would likely dress in Thor Steinar if the logos hadn’t resembled such a controversial symbol.  Neo-nazi/skinhead garb has traditionally been characterized by big black lace-up boots, bomber jackets, and shaved heads.  Naturally, it can be easy to spot an individual going for this look.  Thor Steinar apparel makes it more difficult to identify who might be part of the neo-nazi movement.  Nevertheless, I think it is interesting that the Norwegian flag is on some Thor Steinar clothing.

Why would the Norwegian flag make an appearance on what seemed to be anti-Semitic clothing from a German company?  Unfortunately, I do not know the story behind it, nor am I sure I want to, but either way, it is controversial, as you might expect.  Not only is the Norwegian flagg used as a symbol on some of the clothing items, but some of the designs are named after Norwegian cities (i.e. Trondheim, Nordfjord, or Bergen) and the official stores are named after Tønsberg, the oldest Norwegian city.

According to Wikipedia, the Norwegian government initiated a lawsuit in early 2008 against the use of their flag.  So far nothing has come of it.  If I were Norwegian or a member of the Norwegian government, I would certainly do my part to try to put a halt to such a disgraceful representation of the national symbol of my country.  Whether the company had any ill-hearted intentions when they used a logo that resembled the swastika or not, the Holocaust is such a sensitive topic, I think it would be hard for a company to recover from something like that.  But who knows.

Norway has very little anti-Semitism, despite the fact that Norwegians haven’t always been the most tolerable of outsiders.  However, Hitler was very interested in Norwegians as a people because he thought that Norwegians, like Germans, were the perfect Aryans.  Perhaps this is why a previously owned German company brought Norway into it’s design and advertisement, if their old logo had anything to do with their beliefs.

You know, the strangest part about this whole issue is that an Arabic (based in Dubai) company, “International Brands General Trading” acquired ownership of Thor Steinar.  A United Arab Emirates owned company, previously owned by a German company, that used to produce anti-Semitic appearing clothing with Norwegian flags named after Norwegian geography.  So strange.  Anyone ever seen it or heard about it?  I hadn’t until I saw an article in the Norwegian newspaper.  Kinda strange.

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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!


  1. miro:

    Dear Kari,

    it’s even more complicated, since there is a wide politcal range within the skinhead scene. There are s.h.a.r.p. skins (skinheads against racial prejudice), red skins and skinheads who consider themselfes apolitical. And there are nazis wearing skinhead-style, whom are sometimes called boneheads by non-faschist skinheads. (see: I think it’s important to be aware of these differences, when talking about nazis and their styles.
    Nevertheless the association of skinheads with fashism is quite common. I think that is one reason for parts of the neo-nazi movement to look for styles which are not so obvious for anyone who isn’t well versed in the fine details of scene-styles. Other reasons are simply taste. The take over of non-faschist styles is accompanied by the take over of forms of organisation originaly associated with the radical left. Some faschists even dress like members of the autonomous left except for little details. There are militant faschists who call themselfes “autonomous nationalists”.
    Thor Steinar provides clothing for all those nazis who are looking for a more sporty style but wan’t to make clear that they are part of the radical right wing.
    One problem of this new developments is that the far right is able to integrate or hold people who would otherwise be repeled by or at least of old school nazi-style and contents.
    Like you i don’t understand why the use of the norwegan flag and norwegan names.

    By the way: Thor Steinar didn’t use a swastika as their logo but the wolfsangel (see:
    ) a symbol which was used by nazi
    organisations and today is often be used by neo-nazis (see:

  2. Badger:

    The problem is that the Germans are driven by the “culture of collective guilt”, which is forced on the people by the left-wing fascists in the country.

    The left wing in Germany is intolerant and hates everything German. They see “nazis” everywhere, while the actual threat for democracy, liberty and freedom in Germany comes, in fact, from the left wing.

    2008, in September, in the lovely German city of Cologne, left-wing rioters beat up Jews. And the German police, under orders from the “rulers”, watched.

    Funny detail: Hitler was NOT right-wing. The Nazis never saw themselves as “right” wing, but rather left wing. Joseph Göbbels, propaganda boss, said that the NSDAP is the German “left wing”. Interestingly the resistance against Hitler inside the military also came from the political right wing. They saw Hitler as left. Adolf Eichmann testified in his memories that his political feelings were left wing.

    The neo-nazis are just another bunch of socilalists. And the socialists have a rather perverse love for dictators and totalitarian regimes, as history proves without a doubt.

    The opposite of dictatorships is freedom and democracy, thus freedom and democracy are “right” wing.

    I’m very tempted to buy Thor Steinar products, simply to provoke. And if someone gets into my face, I’ll get into his… with actual facts.

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