Globalisation Europe Version

The train adventure of my previous post was nothing too special in the end so I won’t dwell on that topic short from posting a few happy snaps from my journey. Basically I took my slow train down to Oslo, a sleeper to Sandnes, and returned on the same train to Oslo after Christmas before taking the faster train back up to Trondheim.

Trondheim – Hamar via Røros. The slow diesel train. Not that environmentally friendly.


Hamar to Oslo Regional Train. Pretty slick and modern, these trains get up to 150kph before being limited by the infrastructure quality (probably).


Night sleeper from Oslo to Sandnes. Quite cosy in the compartments but comfortable enough. You don’t need much space to sleep. I did the same route in reverse a week later.
The electric train from Oslo to Trondheim (well there’s a few different models apparently but they’re all faster than the diesel train that I took on the way down from Trondheim).

And of course the nice thing about travelling by train in Norway (if you take a day train) is the scenery.



But before this becomes a train enthusiast’s blog, I had an interesting question that I posed to my housemates over dinner a while ago: how many European countries are represented by the goods we have in our house? I thought about this after having seen where all the different IKEA stuff in our house comes from (this constituting a great proportion of our furniture and kitchenware). Our drinking glasses for example come from Russia, France and Bulgaria. So after a quick walk around the house I tallied up the European made items to come up with the following countries (see map below):




Oddest of the lot: I think a tie between a metal file made in Portugal and my beanie (winter hat) made in Estonia.

The beanie comes from Peak Performance, a Swedish company. But when you consider the vast range of clothing items made in Asia it was suprising to find that my pretty inexpensive beanie was European made. As for the file, well it came from Clas Ohlson, again a Swedish company but selling stuff that tends to be cheap DIY gear. So I thought most of it’s goods such as cheap tools would have been made in China.

I do intend to upgrade this map with annotations because I made notes of which products came from particular countries. Ideally I guess it’d be an interactive map revealing items as you hover over them. However I’m a bit of a technoob so that probably won’t happen.

A pretty pretentious item on my list was a wooden spoon (although this is just the packaging since I bought it yesterday). Not terribly special, but I prefer it to the teflon products that fill the rest of the utensils jar. I gave Denmark benefit of the doubt by counting this as Danish.


I’m going to keep my eyes open for products from Greece, Austria and Ireland which are missing presently from my list because I feel as though they ought to be large enough that something in the house could have been made there (I haven’t been through everything).

I haven’t been through my food items in Norway, but that would likely reveal a very strong bent towards Spain, Italy and the Netherlands in fresh produce. Increasingly fresh food from South America and Eastern Africa too. I found my cherry tomatoes were produced in Egypt the other day. For processed foods I’m not very sure where these will come from. Likely quite a lot from Sweden.

I made a food origins map in physical form at the end of 2013 when I was living in the England. I was relatively happy with the outcome actually, since I had been trying to buy local produce from the market and looking in the supermarket also for local produce.

It could be interesting to repeat the exercise in Norway to see how Norwegian our pantry is. Likely not very. Nothing grows here in winter. Except maybe lettuce under artificially warm and light conditions. Making most of the perishable produce in the supermarket quite carbon intensive I suppose…


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