There is this thing in Norway called Norgesvenner – literally: Norway Friends.
What this means is basically, someone famous who isn’t actually Norwegian, but who really loves Norway. Okay, they don’t have to proclaim their love of brown cheese and woolly national costumes, but they have to – in some way – declare a bit of extra love, only reserved for Norway.
In order to become a Friend of Norway and end up on the list of Norgesvenner you must first visit the country several times. Like, on a music tour or too many holidays in order for them to just be ‘normal holidays’. The fact that Bruce Springsteen has now done 76 world tours means he’s been quite a few times, so he’s in the Hall of Friends. It’s also likely that you will have given some sort of indication that you’d even like to live in Norway one day once you’ve finished being a Worldwide superstar. A slight indication of this is fine, such as: “I could really live here one day” sort of thing. We’ll interpret this as a desire to up sticks and move to a nice house in Bergen, if only things would work out that way.
This unofficial, but very prestigious title, is often bestowed upon to foreign politicians, artists, writers, singers, actors and other famous people who visit often or who may have a personal connection to the country. Once the title has been given to you, it is very hard to shake it – and Norway will forever be the place to welcome you as the star you are, even when Hollywood has long forgotten about you.
Examples of lifelong Norgesvenner include – but are not limited to – Lynda Evans from Dynasty, Leroy from Fame, Roald Dahl (he was Norwegian, you know), Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Tyler and the pop group A1. The Queen of Denmark is now also a Norgesvenn, as is 50Cent and Steven van Zandt (after he filmed Lillehammer). Even The Prodigy became Norgesvenner at one point and who would not want to be in the same club as Johnny Logan?
There is not actual rule book about how one can become a Friend of Norway, but it does start with a deep love for Norway as a country. All people from abroad who love Norway are sort of Norgesvenner, too, but this in their own sort of way.
Ps is it just us but does that guy second from the left on the Smokie picture look like a young Justin Trudeau?