It has been 60 years since Norway’s first youth club was opened at Hammersborg in Oslo. Today there are over 60 different clubs and cafes for children and adolescents all over the city.
– The youth concept emerged in the 1950’s. Before that, you went from being a kid directly into adulthood. There was a need to activate this “new” group, says Pål Isdahl Solberg, Secretary General of Ungdom og Fritid to newspaper Aftenposten.
This summer, the anniversary was marked by several concerts in Oslo from both new and old users – a range from swing to street dance, from rock n ‘roll to dubstep.
In a press release, the association Ungdom og Fritid wrote that the celebration would also contain a political statement. The Official Norwegian Report on cultural policy 2014 notes that youth clubs play an important role in the local environments, and that it is “a forgotten cultural arena”.
Despite big words and political promises, the smallest communities are experiencing that youth clubs are shut down. Youth ThorNews spoke with expressed their disappointment, and say that they lack a place to ‘hang out’. Many point out that they experience a greater alcohol and drug pressure because their social arena is moved out on the streets and at the homes of older adolescents.
In larger cities where youth clubs are still open, both youth and adults are committed to their ‘house’. It is common that the youth clubs arrange major concerts and shows.
ThorNews think that it is important that youth clubs are open. It has a positive effect on the whole society, and both kids and adults may learn a lot from each other’s cultural backgrounds.
Although the hairstyles, clothes and music have changed radically since the 1950s, youth clubs are still an exciting arena for the Norwegian children and adolescence.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Source and photos: Aftenposten