Ignacio Vidal-Folch had Lars Bang Larsen and Great Danes drunk, short book about the idiosyncrasies of Denmark and its Nordic neighbors, that Norway had always been considered the poor cousin, something vulgar yokel and Scandinavia. And that image is maintained today, although from the feverish envy which forced the discovery of oil in the North Sea. Norway, its meteoric success, is a before and after the arrival of the oil.

Thus, Norway had grown from a cluster of shepherds and fishermen scattered dark immensity of the Scandinavian mountains to become the role model in the European continent, the model par excellence of social democracy and the welfare state. When Norway was met with huge oil reserves in its territorial domains, the country went from being one of the poorest in Europe the more equal, the least corrupt and that consistently, best score points in every club and rankings progress of the world.

This evolution has also been reflected over the images are taken from the country. Fortunately, the dark past of Norway as a country to the tail of the continent and despised by provincial, for the most cosmopolitan Denmark and Sweden, was immortalized through photography. And it is somewhat exciting way to see how Norway from its tiny villages made of wood, has transformed itself while remaining Norway in all its expression.

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Herdalssetra (1905, 2014), Norwegian peasant commune in Møre og Romsdal, coastal province north of Bergen. (Image: Peder Krohn and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Setesdal Rysstad (1888-2013), another peasant commune, this time located in Aust-Agder province south of the country. As shown, Norway infrastructures were very poor in the nineteenth century. The country is very mountainous, was divided in small nuclei isolated from each population generally. (Picture: Axel Lindahl and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Norway has not been spared such universal phenomena as I riotous urbanism. Flekkerøy, suburb of Kristiansand, Vest-Adger, a small archipelago was once home to local fishermen and sailors. Its geographical location and the beauty of its landscape, and in the XXI century, caused many Norwegians began to build houses for tourism. The area was filled with buildings clinging to the coast, and today it is forbidden to build within 100 meters of the sea (Image: Anders Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann).

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
In many ways, Norway remains a country very much like it was decades ago. This pier near Hellesund in Vest-Adger, also south of the country, test: has barely changed between 1923 and 2005. (Image: Anders Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Lærdalsøyri, again in the county of Sogn og Fjordane. In the image above, we see how the population was in 1884. At the bottom, how it is today. Norway it has been gaining ground in the valleys, the only habitable areas of the country. It shows how well more houses, more trees, as in the rest of Europe, the decline of agriculture has allowed the resurgence of forests. (Picture: Axel Lindahl and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Today, the area devoted to agriculture in Norway, once the subsistence method of much of the country, does not exceed 3%. The soils of the valleys are flooded, and the mountains are full of forests. Therefore, in many cases the farms were built in height, above the forests. In the picture, we see a intalterada exploitation (1920-2004) in Huskeliseter in the province of Oppland. (Image: Anders Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann)

The Atlantic gathered yesterday ‘s photographic archive Tilbakeblikk, project carried out by the Institute of Forests and Landscapes of Norway and Norsk Folkemuseum. Both institutions have collected different images of Norway both in the early twentieth century as today, through some other dating to the middle of last century. They are taken at the same locations, so that allows us to see how the country has changed over time, and how the influence of oil has been instrumental in the modernization and progress of the state.

In Tilbakeblikk website you can explore the entire photographic archive. Here we have only selected few. Overall, they show remarkable changes, but not drastic. Norway, one belonging to Sweden ancient country that regained its independence until the early nineteenth century, is strongly nationalistic. And the Norwegians like to see their identity reflected in their traditions and their landscapes, still immaculate. Hence the urban transformation of the country has been modest, at least compared to other European counterparts.

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Hammerfest, in the province of Finnmark in the far north. The city, traditionally fishing, was razed entirely by German troops during World War II. Like many other European, it was rebuilt along the lines of traditional local architecture. (Picture: Axel Lindahl and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Wooden houses in the interior of the province on Fjordane Sogn (1905-2007), on the Atlantic coast of Norway. The traditionally very poor area (the town we see no outlet to the sea) remains sparsely populated, like most of the country, but it has shaken off the rudimentary huts in favor of more modern, safe and functional. (Image: Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
In the late nineteenth century, thousands of Norwegians emigrated to America in search of new opportunities. Their exodus is less resounding than the Germans or Italians, but the reasons were similar: lack of opportunity and, in the case of the most rural provinces on Fjordane Sogn and chronic backwardness. In the image, we see people i Faleide Turistsenter in Stryn, in 1885 and 2013. (Image: Axel Lindahl and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Nyhusom, near the town of Sel, Oppland, interior province historically dedicated to agriculture. In the above image, taken in 1926, we see a man with his horse plowing the marginal lands of Norway. The passage of time and the shift to a service economy has meant that agriculture no longer the typical employment of the rural population. Now, the above agricultural areas used for all kinds of purposes, such as private or public properties (below, in 2004). (Image: Anders Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
As shown, the Norwegian town planning in coastal and inland villages, has remained more or less unchanged in the last hundred years. The photos above represent Kabelvåg town located in Nordland, provincial long link between the Arctic and the south. Despite obvious improvements in the quality of buildings and infrastructure, the austerity of the buildings and their planning is largely maintained. (Image: Anders Beer and Oskar Wilse Puschmann)

 

Norway before and after oil: the country's transformation model in pictures - tinoshare.com
Seljestadjuvet, in the municipality of Odda, Hordaland province, southwest of the country. Numerous Norwegian landforms caused that in the nineteenth century (the photo above is from 1885) any journey between valley and valley was an absolute ordeal. Cobbled roads and carriages to move through a complex, mountainous country, compared to modern and functional paved roads that underpin today Norway (pictured below, at present). The above, however, was a milestone for its time. (Picture: Axel Lindahl and Oskar Puschmann)

 

Danes and Swedes still observe with pride to Norwegians, cousins (new) rich whose traditional roots are still very present in the daily life of the country, as it reflects Dan Elloway in The Xenophobe’s Guide to the Norwegians. Nevertheless, the images of this defined Norway as a modern and healthy, beautiful and wealthy state. A sort of idyllic arcadia where they shake the best of the past (the rural landscape, folklore) and present (prosperity).

is strongly seasoned and hard-working Graphic Designer with extraordinary creative thinking and project design abilities. With 7 years experience in print and digital, including art direction, web/mobile design and consultation, illustration, packaging and copywriting/editing for clients in fashion, pharmaceutical, furniture, automotive, food & beverage, design, hospitality, financial, broadcast and NGO. I love sharing ideas and writing articles.

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