This year marks 50 years since immigration to Norway from Pakistan began. Last Friday, King Harald of Norway was present in Oslo City Hall to celebrate 50 years since the first labour immigrants came from Pakistan to Norway.
Together with Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen and leader of the City Council Raymond Johansen, the King was present during the celebration in the City Hall. From the stage, the audience was served a rich programme that highlighted the different ways in which labour immigration has contributed to Norwegian society, both culturally, culinary and in society in general.
In his speech, the City Council Raymond Johansen leader chose to quote King Harald from the famous speech the King gave during an afternoon tea in the Palace Park in 2016: “Norwegians believe in God, Allah, the Almighty and Nothing. Norwegians like Grieg and Kygo, Hellbillies and Kari Bremnes. In other words: Norway is you. Norway is us.”
Both Friday and Saturday, Oslo celebrates the 50th anniversary of Pakistani immigration to Oslo. The King was present on Friday for the celebrations. In addition to speeches from various speakers, the award-winning artist Temur, who is from Grünerløkka in Oslo, performed his songs. The gathering in Oslo City Hall was the start of a weekend packed with celebration, which continued on Saturday, where the anniversary committee invited the citizens of Oslo to a folk party at City Hall Square with various cultural elements.
Immigration from Pakistan to Norway began in the mid-1960s and increased in 1971. About 40,000 Norwegian citizens have a Pakistani background. Half of these are immigrants, while the rest are Norwegian-born descendants. They came to Norway with permission to be here for five to ten years to work. The hope was to earn enough money to improve their lives in their home country, and Norway wanted to make up for lost labour in occupations that Norwegians did not want to have. It all ended with the vast majority being allowed to settle permanently in Norway.