Posted April 20, 2022 by dugnadseksperten

Dugnadseksperten assists sporting teams and schools all over Norway with organizing fundraising activities. This concept is called Dugnad. We have written an extensive article with all you need to know.

The Norwegian Dugnad-- What is this vital communal event?

Spend time exploring and reading about any type of culture, and there will constantly be oddities that turn up from time to time. Every nation has its own culture and history, and this will involve many moments where things, frankly, seem a little strange. To an outsider, these cultural events can seem out of place or ill-fitting due to not fitting in with their own national structure.

If you wish to discover an example of a nationwide communal event that really helps to describe the national spirit, though, you should look no further than the Dugnad. For Norwegians, this community event is an incredible example of their spirit and their community.

What is Dugnad?

Dugnad is a term used in Norway to describe a period of voluntary job that is carried out alongside others. It is a vital form of community work and togetherness, bringing people together to help make things better in their own constituency. For many Norwegians, this is a core part of their identity; the Dugnad is something to be celebrated, to be excited for.

Without a doubt, it was voted the Norwegian word of the year as far back as 2004 by popular Norwegian television platform Typisk Norsk. Those who take part in Dugnad are helping to make their own community, and by extension the wider nation, a better place. Basically, it is the bringing together of the community to work together for the betterment of all.

At the end of Dugnad, it is common for those that take part to enjoy a meal together. The meal is often made-up of dishes that are brought to the event by the numerous Dugnad participants. As such, the meal itself fits the communal message and theme of the event itself.

How did Dugnad come to be?

The event itself can be traced back all the way back to the era of the Vikings. Being a seafaring group, the Vikings would return home in embattled ships and communities would work together to correct issues. The communities knew that without the ships they could not enjoy the plenty that they had. Therefore, everyone worked together to ensure that ships were strong and capable of withstanding the elements further.

The exact same effort was taken into building homes for every Viking, building the Great Halls of the era, and for building other parts of the community. The tradition, after that, grew from that right into the centuries to come. The tough winters and harsh weather of Norway likewise play a part, with communities having to work together to ensure that all can survive the harsh weather conditions.

Today, the event still holds the very same spirit and ethics of its past. Community-led activities and working together for the betterment of the whole community have actually stayed a key part of Norwegian life since.

When does Dugnad take place?

Most of the time, Dugnad will be something that happens during the changing of the season. This is most common as we move from autumn to prepare for winter, and as we prepare to move from spring to summer. Winter is a time when Norwegians need to ensure their homes and communities are ready to face off against the winter. By contrast, though, the summer is a time when people spend missed time outdoors and thus intend to spend time in vibrant, fresh, and clean communities.

The most common time for Dugnad to take place would certainly be Might 17th, which is the National Day of Norway itself. This is the anniversary of the signing of the Norwegian constitution, which took place in 1814. Other days in the autumn, though, do tend to pop up though there is most likely a less uniform arrangement as to when it should take place.

As we move from one key season to the following, it makes sense to take pride in our community and get ready for the months ahead. The reality that Dugnad is a communal event means that it can take place on a smaller scale throughout the year, though; if something requires to be done, that community spirit will often see that it is taken care of as soon as is possible.

Many times, a Dugnad event will take place twice per year. This can help to maintain the place fresh, and there will often be a planning board that looks to try and prepare a list of priorities for every community. For instance, it could be something as simple as getting the bushes trimmed and the leaves removed after a busy autumn. Or it could be painting the winter-impacted properties and community areas in fresh, summer-suitable color schemes.

Does everyone take part in Dugnad?

More or less! If you are a Norwegian or a resident of Norway, you will be expected to chip in and do your part. This is a time of year when everyone lifts a little of the load to make sure that a community can make huge changes. It really has to do with making sure that you can learn more about those around you, and that you can do your bit to make the nation a more appealing place.

People who live in Norway take immense pride in the quality of the nation. Therefore, everyone that is present will take part in this event. Also the rich and the famous will, when in Norway, take part in these events. This is an event where everyone enjoys to oblige and assist, from star soccer players to the average individual on the street. It is a humbling experience, and given everyone's benefits, it would certainly be hard to refuse time and effort to take part in the Dugnad.

There is one method to sum up Dugnad that makes sense: duty. Norway is a nation that has seen considerable immigration in recent years. This is a net positive for the nation, bringing new concepts and cultures to the nation. That being said, there become part of Norwegian social living that everyone, despite nationality, is expected to take part in. For many, the symbol of a true Norwegian-- ethnic or otherwise-- is their commitment to taking part in Dugnad.

There is a "community contract" within Norway which the Dugnad epitomizes in the very best means.

Are you paid for Dugnad?

No, there is no monetary benefit to taking part in Dugnad. However, there is something much more useful than money in your pocket: pride. Pride in where you live, and pride in the people whom you live there alongside. Pride in the wish and the ability to help out where you can. Pride in making sure that the community you reside in is taken care of, and remains in a good enough condition for future generations.

By working together, we can get rid of the demand to spend for everything. In many various other countries, there is a culture of merely buying what we need. This creates a much more individualistic approach, though, which is often a negative for communities in the long term. Though only a bi-annual event most years, the Dugnad does a great job of making sure that people offset 'losing' time without being paid by acquiring a community.

You will fulfill people, you will improve where you live, and you will see first-hand the truly immense power of a community collaborating as one. In the long-term, that is far more useful than any sum of money that you could be given.

Earning money is one point, but the whole concept of Dugnad is about making greater than yourself. You are making for the community, for the right to live in a refuge where there is treatment and consideration for all. Many nations have actually lost the importance of knowing each other and being part of a wider community, such is the rapid pace and the transitional nature of modern living. For many, though, the Dugnad is the perfect antidote to this.

In many nations, the activities and events carried out during Dugnad are delegated council workers and state-sponsored programs. Instead of awaiting someone else to do the job, though, Dugnad just asks: why can't we solve the issue as a community instead?

Do you need to be an expert to take part in Dugnad?

Given that most of the tasks that take part in Dugnad are manual work jobs, some worry they may not be cut out for the task. Physical fitness, disabilities, and so forth make it hard for everyone to feel like they can contribute. Yet, all you need to do is pick up a paintbrush, tidy up some litter, do away with some graffiti, trim some bushes, and so on-- there is nothing that you will be doing that would certainly be expected to be of a professional standard.

Really, Dugnad is built around the type of tasks that we would certainly have no qualms about carrying out in our own homes. We do not always expect a professional painter to help us paint our homes. Neither do we hire a landscape garden enthusiast every time we require to trim some bushes or manage a bush. Because of that, lots of people see Dugnad as an opportunity to just do their best. If you try your hardest and you put in an effort as high as you can, nobody expects perfection!

The charm of Dugnad is also that if you do make a mistake, a person will be along to help. You all work together to handle each task as a wider whole; you are not expected to hit a job-level contentment with every task you carry out. You are, though, expected to do as long as you can to make your community a better place.

Does Dugnad differ in city areas?

You might not be amazed to learn that the manner in which Dugnad operates in rural and metropolitan areas can differ somewhat. In the a lot more city parts of Norway, Dugnad often includes people working together in a bit of spring cleaning. This can consist of things like handling the local area, helping to beautify the local area, and removing things like debris, graffiti, and various other eye sores.

It is common for upkeep and painting to take place throughout this period also, cheering up everything from community areas and facilities to people's homes and gardens. In more rural areas, though, the Dugnad tends to be built around the concept of working together on their homes. Many will assist with things like structure or improving homes and garages.

Typically, schools also have a common annual dugnader event whereby they work to make the school and its surrounding areas also nicer. This is common, and many Dugnad events are in fact arranged and organized by a school or local community.

So, while there are some differences in what will be done depending upon geography, the spirit of Dugnad lives on no matter whether you live in a major city or a rural small town.

Dugnad in the era of COVID

Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 (and beyond) had a huge influence on communities. Many people brought themselves together to better comprehend the importance of looking out for those around us in all times. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that the Dugnad became a lot more important throughout the COVID pandemic.

It was actually made use of differently, though; Dugnad was made use of to help unite people and maintain morale and spirits from afar. However, it was actually primarily made use of to shut down activities and to stop events taking place that can potentially cause a spike in COVID infections. While many associate Dugnad with productivity and community-led improvement, this was one more example of a community watching out for itself. It may not have included the exact same togetherness of productivity, however there was a clear spirit of watching out for one another and maintaining infection rates as low as could be.

The Dugnad spirit played a huge role in helping communities to come together and keep an eye out for every other without needing to be straight existing. For that reason, Dugnad was vital to Norwegians seeing out the pandemic.

So, throughout the centuries, Norway has actually maintained the idea of making sure that everyone works together for the betterment of society. There is no 'I' during Dugnad; there is only 'we.' Whether you are from Norway, you get on holiday there, or you have moved there as a naturalized citizen, you will take part in Dugnad. And while it might sound like busywork, the experience is something that, once you take part, you will be unlikely to forget anytime soon!
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Tags dugnad , fundraising , voluntary work , volunteering
Last Updated April 20, 2022