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The culture of Norway is closely linked to the country’s history and geography. The unique Norwegian farm culture, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws. In the 14th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media.
In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork. Lefse is a common Norwegian wheat or potato flatbread, eaten around Christmas.
Several Norwegian authors have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, namely Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1903, Knut Hamsun in 1920 and Sigrid Undset in 1928 for Kristin Lavransdatter. Though he was not awarded a Nobel Prize for his plays, as the first of these were awarded after he published his last play in 1899, playwright Henrik Ibsen is probably the most famous figure in Norwegian literature. Ibsen wrote plays such as Peer Gynt, A Doll’s House, Hedda Gabler, and The Lady from the Sea.
Other famous Norwegian writers from the realistic era include Jonas Lie and Alexander Kielland, who are along with Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Henrik Ibsen regarded as the “four greats” of Norwegian literature. Also of importance to the Norwegian literary culture is the Norse literature, and in particular the works of Snorri Sturluson, as well as the more recent folk tales, collected by Peter Asbjjørnsen and Jorygen Moe in the 19th century.
Seierstad whose controversial work, The Bookseller of Kabul, was particularly successful in 2003. Norway has always had a tradition of building in wood. Indeed, many of today’s most interesting new buildings are made of wood, reflecting the strong appeal that this material continues to hold for Norwegian designers and builders.