Have you lived in Norway for a while and wonder why people refer to Janteloven while carrying out their daily activities. Janteloven, also referred to as the Law of Jante, describes the way Norwegians, as well as other Scandinavians behave. They put the community ahead of individuals, are not jealous of other people, and do not boast concerning individual accomplishments.

Although one may think that the law of Jante is something, which is applied consciously, there are no Jante enforcement officers who hang in the street corners to catch people. The reality is subtle; it sits in each family, person, workplace, and school. It ensures that people do not feel bad about certain things.  

Origins of Janteloven

Janteloven is traced to Aksel Sandemose, who was a Danish turned Norwegian author. His works of fiction entailed references to the laws in relation to a small town in Denmark. The law emphasizes collective wellbeing and accomplishments, and it discourages focusing on individual achievements.

The Jante’s Ten Rules

  1. You’re not to think you are anything special.
  2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You’re not to laugh at us.
  9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

As compared to the other nations, Janteloven are unique cultural codes as they enhance a sort of peace, and the common ground is also upheld. In understanding the way, they are strongly applied in Scandinavia, and one is supposed to look at their general culture. They love being equal in almost everything from the workplace to home.

How Janteloven is applied

The law is pervasive, and it is evident in almost all daily life aspects of the Norwegians and the Danes. However, there is no “Copenhagen Police: Special Jante’s Law Unit” in which the disappointed Scandinavian police run tut-tutting individuals in reeling their ego. Besides, even though, while young, a mother may scold a child for bragging concerning his accomplishments, in the adult world, the law does come out in subtle ways.

In other countries, bosses talk to their workers; however, in Scandinavia, bosses talk with the employees. The employees are given the chance of commenting, providing ideas, bringing their opinion, and no individual is considered to be above the other.

The law also set people’s sights on decent life, and also the income inequality rankings for most of the Scandinavian nations are usually the lowest in the organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations list.

Janteloven as a symbol of structural censorship and power

The law of Jante is regarded as a unifying principle that the nation is better than the individual. For instance, a high-profile Norwegian athlete has to tread carefully when speaking about Norway. If not, he might say something negative, and it will be regarded as an illegitimate act by the Norwegians. The elite athletes should also show their confidence in the equality ideology.

Janteloven also reverberates as a classification principle as it draws lines between the collective and the individual. The reason is that it does not define the elements of a group but instead defines individual punishable traits.

In Norway, the law of Jante is appropriate as it helps in strengthening the hegemonic ideology that gave the Norwegian nation site primacy. CEOs do not have the authority to stand up and claiming superiority. Instead, the focus should be sifted in ensuring that the product is accepted by the Norwegians.

 Law of Jante in Advertising

Janteloven discourages the issue of bad-mouthing the competitors in private meetings or even when advertising. In respecting the law of Jante in business, one has to let other people say why your product is better as compared to the competitors.

What Can International Travelers Learn from Janteloven

The ten rules narrate the daily lives of Jante citizens, and deviating from them is considered a punishable act. In Scandinavian nations, any sign of individual aspiration, humor, critical thinking, self-esteem, and creativity is normally brought to light; then, they are narrowed in fitting a tiny box to ensure that the ego of other people is not boosted in jeopardizing society. Doesn’t everyone across the globe have his or her personal goals and objectives? Thus, the issue of considering everything communal is discouraging because for people to exist, there must be some ‘me.’

In the current world, which is dominated by social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, traveling is thought of as a way of standing out from the rest. Capturing photos from different angles, famous tourist attraction sites, and showing off travel lifestyles make people believe that other individuals’ lives are perfect. Even with all these, one cannot go to a Buddhist temple and start taking snaps.

Before taking any action, one has to think through it for his or her sake and that of others. It is through that one learns concerning Janteloven. The rules have to be kept in mind even when traveling, especially in cases where they benefit an individual’s safety and enrich the economy, environment, and culture of the host country.

Is it the Right Time for Change?

Although some people consider Scandinavia as a sort of utopia, currently, in Norway, there is a rise in the anti-Janteloven movement. Some Norwegians believe that the concept of anti-bragging is holding the nation from achieving higher success.

In one interview, Anita Krohn Traaseth, a businessperson, said, “One of the biggest things preventing Norway from having a startup culture is the lack of self-esteem. Saul Singer was in Oslo two weeks ago, and he told us the first word he was introduced to by Norwegians was Janteloven.

What kind of a message is Janteloven for the next generation of entrepreneurs?” Therefore, in some way, the social norms seem to hold back the entrepreneurs from putting everything into their projects.