NORWEGIAN investments in Slovakia are not very extensive, but some companies with business links to Norway are among the more important firms and employers in the country.

“The most significant Norwegian investments are directed into Slovalco in Žiar nad Hronom,” Richard Dírer, from the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO), told The Slovak Spectator, adding that the Norwegian metallurgical and crude oil company Norsk Hydro acquired a majority share in Slovalco in 2006.

Slovalco, one of the most significant metallurgical companies in Slovakia, manufactures approximately 160,000 tonnes of aluminium annually. It employs directly 500 people and another 2,500 workers indirectly.

Other important Norwegian companies in Slovakia are car components producer Kongberg Driveline Systems in Vráble, rope producer Timms Slovakia in Trenčín, trucking company Bring Trucking (previously known as Blomquist until June 2013) in Žiar nad Hronom, and manufacturer of aluminium extruded profiles Sapa Profily in Žiar nad Hronom.

Based on the Dun & Bradstreet database there are 30 Norwegian companies operating in Slovakia, said Dírer.

Another special musical experience was the concert by Norwegian singer Susanna Wallumrod within the September Konvergencie (Convergences) festival of chamber music.

November was a busy month for the Norwegian Embassy, as it organised not only its presentation for the annual International Wo- men’s Club in Bratislava (IWCB) Christmas Bazaar (on November 24), but also supported two Norwegian films at the One World documentary festival.

Norwegian cuisine is just one of the attractions of “Norwegian Day” on December 11 in the Town Culture Centre in Žiar nad Hronom.

Norway has been active in supporting Slovakia’s cultural monuments and heritage. Photos by Tomáš Hulík in the Heritage Reborn exhibition show the unique collection of Slovak cultural monuments that were reconstructed with help from the European Economic Area (EEA) / Norway Grants. The exhibition was first shown in Košice’s Bašta Gallery, and can be seen in one of the buildings reconstructed as a result of these grants, Bratislava’s Reduta, until the end of December.

“Norway and Slovakia have many commonalities in the field of culture,” Nor- way’s Ambassador to Slovakia Inga Magistad told The Slovak Spectator. “Folk dancing, national costumes and music is one area where Norwegians and Slovaks easily can communicate and build relations. The same applies to our rural and mountain culture, and building techniques. I also believe we can build further on the cultural ties and interest for Norwegian literature already established at the beginning of the 20th century by our famous Norwegian author and political activist, Bjornstjerne Bjornson.”

She continued to say that, on the other hand, the diversity and different cultural expressions found in the two countries can also be appealing to both Norwegians and Slovaks. “... By experiencing and learning about other countries’ and peoples’ culture and history, we also build understanding and bridges, not only to the past but also to the future,” Magistad concluded.