City of Oslov: Norway’s capital gets a second name

Oslo can be given a second name - OsLove - with a capital L.

Oslo can be given a second name – OsLove – with a capital L.

A picture: Shutterstock

The proposal of the City Council of Oslo is as follows: Oslo, as the capital of a multilingual country, should have two names similar to the capital of Belgium, Brussels: for French speakers – Brussels, and for Dutch speakers – Brussels. Oslo so can get a second name – OsLove – with a capital L. This spelling of the Norwegian capital became widespread on social networks after Anders Breivik shot more than 70 people in a youth camp in 2011. With such a hashtag, users wanted to show that people should unite and love each other, regardless of religion and race.

The initiative comes from the Sami (they are also Laplanders), who number about 50 thousand people in Norway, they make up less than 1% of the country’s population. This nationality lives in several countries – Norway, Finland and Russia. And as the author of the American Spectator points out, the Sami are not the original inhabitants of the area near Oslo, their own capital, Karasjok, is more than a thousand kilometers to the north. In addition, there are about 12 different Sámi languages, which vary considerably in terms of vocabulary and grammar. Well, “love” – ​​none of them would be translated as “love” in the same way.

The author suggests that such initiatives come exclusively from politicians who experience a fashionable sense of guilt towards small nations. Only in this story there is one “but”: unlike the Americans, Australians or Canadians, who came to the countries where the natives already lived, the Norwegians initially lived on their territory, but the same Sami came to Norway much later.

A similar double name has long been used in the Finnish city of Turku, in the Swedish way it is called Abo. By the way, until 1917, while Finland was part of the Russian Empire, the Swedish version was used in Russian. The city is now officially bilingual with 87% of the inhabitants speaking Finnish and almost 5.5% using Swedish.

A much greater situation is observed in New Zealand. There, almost all islands have a double name – official and unofficial, for example Te Waipounamu or the South Island or Te Ika-a-Maui or the North Island.

In Wales, most place names are spelled the same in English and Welsh. However, there are some names that differ in spelling and pronunciation – Caerfili/Caerphilly, Rhaglan/Raglan, Treorci/Treorchy. Therefore, quite often all names are duplicated in two languages.

By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at