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Now flush, Norway turns tables on Sweden

Touristclick Netherlands Travel News

Now flush, Norway turns tables on Sweden

By Ivar Ekman

Long a poor cousin in Scandinavia, Norway has surpassed Sweden to become one of the richest countries in the world and a magnet for young Swedes ready to work hard to make a quick - and rather big - buck.

"When I was young, Swedes had whiter teeth, clearer skin, ABBA and Bjorn Borg. We had lots fish, and not much more," said Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo.

"Today, Swedes have been cut down to size, and I would say that many Norwegians enjoy the fact that so many Swedes are here doing menial jobs."

In the years following World War II, in which Norway had been occupied by Nazi Germany and Sweden had stayed neutral, leaving its industrial base intact, Sweden's economy grew at a breakneck speed. Workers came from all over Europe, and not least from Norway, to fill the factories, shipyards and constructions sites of the boom years.

But in the 1980s, Sweden's economy started to stumble and the vast welfare state that had been built up in the post-war years began to show cracks

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