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Migrant Lives

Young Swedes Flock To Norway, A Nordic Immigration Flip

In a reversal of economic fortunes, Sweden's under-25s are leaving the high unemployment of their home country to seek more money and secure jobs in Norway.

Heading east
Heading east
Marie Charrel

OSLO — It's 5 p.m. on a November day, and it's already nightfall at Karl Johans gate, Oslo's main shopping artery. Hanna Jonasson tucks a lock of blond hair under her hat and lights a cigarette. A British tourist stops her to ask directions to the National Gallery because he wants to see Edvard Munch's famous painting "The Scream."

"I believe it's straight on, but I'm not from around here," Jonasson explains before setting off again. In 20 minutes, she starts her shift in a restaurant just a few blocks from here.

"I dropped my CV on the counter, and they gave me a job straight away," says the 19-year-old Swede, who arrived in the Norwegian capital six weeks ago.

She's still amazed at how easy it was. Whereas she was struggling to find a job in Stockholm, she found a serving job here in just two days. On average, she earns 220 Norwegian kroner ($32) an hour, 50% more that she would in her native country. "I still can't believe it," she admits. "In six months, I will have earned enough to go and travel before resuming my studies."

There are thousands of young Swedes like her in Oslo's cafes, bars, shops and museums. All crossed the border to find a better life here, in the country of fjords. According to the Frisch Center, the University of Oslo's economic institute, 20% of Oslo workers aged between 17 and 25 come from Sweden. There were only a handful 20 years ago. In total, Swedes represent 10% of the city's population. "The trend started in the 1990s and developed from 2000," explains Ida Tolgensbakk, a PhD student writing a dissertation on the subject.

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Society

Return To Clay: Why An Ancient Building Material Is Back In Fashion

Concrete and glass are often thought of as the only building materials of modern architecture. But Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African winner of a prestigious Pritzker architecture prize, works with clay, whose sustainability is not the only benefit.

Francis Diébédo Kéré extended the primary school in the village of Gando, Burkina Faso

Clara Le Fort

"Clay is fascinating. It has this unique grain and is both beautiful and soft. It soothes; it contributes to well-being..."

Francis Diébédo Kéré, the first African to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize last March, is paying tribute to clay. It's a material that he adores, which has too often been shunned and attributed to modest constructions and peasant houses. Diébédo Kéré has always wanted to celebrate "earthen architecture”: buildings made out of clay. It's a technique that has been used for at least 10,000 years, which draws on this telluric element, known as dried mud, beaten earth, rammed earth, cob or adobe.

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