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Slow TV: A Norwegian institution

While Norwegians certainly watch their fair share of television, they've got something we don't: slow TV.

If you're like most Americans, you follow at least a few television shows. Whether your tastes run to high fantasy or detective drama, there's plenty out there to watch - and much of it is heart-poundingly intense, with arguments erupting all over the Internet about spoilers and significant moments. While Norwegians certainly watch their fair share of television, they have something we don't: slow TV. NRK, the Norwegian national broadcaster, popularized this form of television not too long ago, and it's been a hit in the country and abroad ever since. Read on to learn a little bit about authentic Norwegian television culture.

A history of slow TV
Slow TV has been around for a while. It's any uninterrupted broadcast of an everyday happening from start to finish - think of the yule log fires they show on Christmas, or some of Andy Warhol's films. In Norway, this style of television is very popular. The first broadcast of this kind came when NRK broadcast the 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Oslo. Sound boring? Norwegians seem to disagree, as around 20 percent of the population has watched this program at some point.

Other slow TV topics include craftsmanship, such as the relatively famous sweater production broadcast, cultural highlights and leisurely looks at Norway's natural beauty. Currently, NRK officials are attempting to determine whether broadcasting a week of reindeer migration in years to come might be possible, according to the BBC. Aside from being a window into northern Norway, this program would also bring to national TV something very important to the Sami people.

Slow TV and your Norway cruise
As you get ready to embark on cruise travel to Norway with Hurtigruten, consider blocking out some time for a slow TV viewing party of your own. In 2011, 134 hours of a Hurtigruten voyages were broadcast, with a shorter, condensed version available for viewing online. Half of Norway watched the Hurtigruten voyage on TV, with people meeting the ship at certain points to see themselves on TV as extras.

As you prepare to embark on a Hurtigruten voyage, the broadcast from 2011 can help you learn exactly what you will see - and other Norwegian slow TV might be just the thing to get you into a Norwegian mood.