DAGBLADET
Daily Magazine, one of Norway's largest newspapers
Weird
Carl-Johan Karlsson

Norway's Second Biggest City Bans Naming Streets For Men

With 9 out of 10 current streets in Bergen, Norway honoring men, the city council has decided that every new street name will be a woman's.

The southern Norwegian city of Bergen has approved a ban on naming future streets and public spaces after men.

Norwegian daily Dagbladet reported last week that the decision came after a years-long debate over historical sexism, as 9 out of 10 streets dedicated to figures of the past have male names, including the likes of 19th century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and Olaf Kyrre, or Olaf III, the 11th-century King of Norway credited with founding the port city.

The move has sparked lively political debate in the city, with representatives from center and right-wing parties questioning the ban's relevance and legality.

To Charlotte Spurkeland, city council representative for the the Conservative Party, the ban is a "prohibition policy typical of the identity-political left." Meanwhile, Silje Hjemdal of the right-wing Progress Party suggests the ban could be violating anti-discrimination laws.

Council member Katrine Nødtvedt, who voted for the ban, argued that equal representation around public places in the city is crucial in order for girls to "feel they can achieve the same things."

While the ban is considered temporary, meant to stay in place only until full street-name equality has been achieved, there is much work to be done to begin naming and re-naming streets after notable women who are no longer alive. Time indeed to rethink how we look at history.