Young Norwegians Don’t Want To Go Whaling


Tim Zimmermann

For once I am grateful for all the distractions of modern life, because they are diverting the next generation of Norwegian whalers from the industry:

It isn’t a scarcity of whales that is bringing down the curtain, or even the complicated politics of whaling. It’s something far more prosaic and inexorable: Norwegian kids, even those who grow up in the seafaring stronghold of Lofoten, simply don’t want to become whalers anymore. Nor do they want to brave storm-tossed winter seas to net fortunes in cod, as their forebears have done for centuries. Instead, they aspire to land safer, salaried jobs in distant cities or with the offshore oil industry, and they have been leaving their island communities in droves.

There is irony in this turn of events. For most of its history, Lofoten exerted a gravitational pull on the young and ambitious. In his 1921 coming-of-age classic The Last…

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