Saturday, 29 May 2010


Europe descends on Oslo for the weekend....some sort of Euro-singing-jamboree, I believe. I’m not there myself...too many packing cases from which it is not possible to escape. But the whole event has brought the capital of this country, along with all its wonders, to the forefront of my mind. I may at present be situated on the opposite coast from that fair city, but as our neighbours back home in Scotland are from Oslo, and have taken the time and trouble to introduce us to their favourite metropolis, I do feel I know the place a bit.

However, before one can say anything about Oslo it is important to decide what to call those who reside in that glorious city. It came to my attention that the English language had no word for ‘one who comes from Oslo’. Thus it was up to us to coin a suitable term. So I’m having a think to see if there is any logic to the naming of a city’s inhabitants, and have decided, if there is any logic, it is well beyond the outer extremities of my no doubt illogical brain.

Look at Scotland. If you are from Glasgow, you are a Glasgwegian, which Americans are usually amazed to hear, and makes us sound as though we are distant cousins of the Norwegians (both of us are nick-named ‘Weegies’). Then we have Edinburghers, which sounds like a fast food, Aberdonians and Dundonians, which sound like something related to kebabs, and Invernesians, which I’ve always thought sounds a wee bit posh.

If one crosses the border, any kind of uniform pattern flies out of the window. Londoners are just fine, but what about Mancunians from Manchester, Geordies from Newcastle and Brummies from Birmingham? These may be peculiar labels but they are all worn with pride by the individuals who happen to sport them.

Looking at the rest of Europe, there is still no logic. Athenians and Romans sound extraordinarily old, biblical, classical and very civilized in an Empire-building kind of a way. Florentines sound lovely. Parisians we know are terribly sophisticated. Muscovites sound absolutely thrilling while Berliners have to describe themselves within the correct context for fear of being mistaken for a doughnut.

So we looked at the map of Norway. Stavanger must surely produce Stavangerites; Bergan, Berganians; Trondheim, Trondheimers, and Tromso, Tromsonians. But Oslo was proving more of a challenge....until one night while we were watching ‘Dr Who’ when a flash of inspiration struck.

Now here I have to digress. Some of you will know of ‘Dr Who’ whereas many will still have this delight to come. Quite why this man has been able to travel across time and several galaxies without making it across the Atlantic I cannot fathom. Suffice to say, every American and Canadian TV viewer who has seen ‘Dr Who’ while round at our place is amazed that British TV could ever come up with such a winning formula. We oldsters grew up with it, and are still to be found hiding behind sofas while it is being broadcast. At the moment it has an Invernesian in it, so I’m especially interested.

Anyway, to return to my theme, after an episode of ‘Dr Who’ we suddenly realised what we should be calling those who come from Oslo. It’s a great city, awash with fabulous culture, museums, the coolest of opera houses, and staggering views. It is an important centre for commerce, industry, banking, shipping, scientific endeavour, cultural and sporting activities. It has produced some top-drawer artists, musicians, writers, philosophers, scientists, academics, sportsmen and women, and it goes an absolute bundle on explorers. Oslo is ranked as the world’s most expensive city at the moment, with Tokyo, Copenhagen and Paris as runners up. There are over 1.4 million people in Oslo and they are currently the fastest growing population in Europe. Surely, these people deserve a decent name for themselves in the English language.

So now, in our house at least, we refer to them as ‘Osloids’. Any other suggestions very would be nice to enter the Oxford English Dictionary.


  1. You'd be interested to know that even in Norwegian there is no proper name/noun for a person coming from Oslo. Although he/she might be referred to as an "Oslo borger" (citizen of Oslo), it has by no means the same wonderful sound to it as a Mandalitt (Mandal), Vossing (Voss), Tromsøværing (Tromsø), Siddis (Stavanger), Sandnesgauk (Sandnes), Moldenser (Molde), Hortentott (Horten) or Araber (Haugesund).....

    From today I will refer to myself as an Osloid !

  2. I would argue that a term like "Osloværing" could be used, but mostly the rest of the country label them "Easterners" (østlendinger)in a rather derogatory way and primarily aim at those who are from Oslo. Much the same way as folk from northern Norway can have a tendency to label us all "southerners" whilst shaking their heads a little.


    I've just spent the better part of a day perusing your blog, and I must thank you for not only a very well written blog, but also a very interesting one. As many Weegies I'm slightly obsessed with how everyone else views us and hence this blog fits the bill perfectly.

    Thank you

  3. First--Dr. Who has made it across the Atlantic, though in a limited fashion. Certain of our public broadcasting stations use a lot of British content, and have imported Dr. Who for years. My niece was raised on him, and remains a rabid fan.

    Second--don't you think Osloid bears excessive resemblance to adenoid or hemorrhoid? I propose Oslovians. Or Oslovites. If Moscow yields Muscovites, Oslo giving us Oslovites isn't that far a stretch.

  4. Tor, what wonderful terms. It just proves what scope there is...some of them sound fantastic.

    Anonymous..I thought there had to be some kind of term in Norsk. Thank you for that, and for your kind words!I'm alarmed to have taken up so much of your time!! glad Dr Who has made it over there...maybe it's just the folk we have met here who have been travelling for way too long to have come across The Doctor. I agree that Osloid sounds disconcertingly medical...the addition of a 'v' is rather classy. If we get a call from the OED, I'll let you know.