11:38 GMT +320 October 2019
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    Scandinavian Matchmaking: Reunite Norway with Sweden, Norwegian Tycoon Says

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    Recently, Norway celebrated National Day on May 17, a historical date commemorating the anniversary of the country's first constitution after it became independent from Denmark and Sweden. The Norwegians' love for their country is legendary, but billionaire hotel tycoon Petter Stordalen acknowledged he still dreams of a united Nordic nation.

    The kingdoms of Norway and Sweden may have gone their separate ways in 1905 and currently enjoy a peppy love-hate relationship, but the proud Norwegian owner of the Nordic Choice Hotel Group would nonetheless prefer to see them united again.

    "Think what a great country we were together," he told the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, praising Sweden's capacity for innovation and Norway's sense of adventure.

    "Sweden is a great country in many ways. It is great in innovation in technology, and Swedes have a mindset for industry. In Norway, we are perhaps more adventurous. We are not afraid to go into uncharted waters. Just look at Roald Amundsen," Stordalen told the Swedish daily.

    ​Stordalen thinks Norway should be seen as Sweden's most important partner, because they are close to each other geographically and share a lot, language-, culture- and history-wise.

    "About 10 million people live in Sweden. Norway and Denmark have five million each. Twenty million would have been even better when it comes to selling cars, airplanes, or innovation," he told Göteborgs-Posten.

    Stordalen's hotel business has expanded enormously over the years in Sweden. In Gothenburg alone (the country's second largest metropolitan area), he opened the luxurious Hotel Post and took over the famous Avalon hotel.

    ​The tycoon's somewhat extravagant proposal invoked mixed feelings among fellow Norwegians and neighboring Swedes, reflecting the contradictory feelings the two nations have towards each other.

    Swedish tweeter Eva Hamlin wrote: "Nice idea. Time for a referendum?" whereas tweeter KMaconi ventured that Stordalen's plan would be backed up by three-four Norwegians at best. Another tweeter suggested that Stordalen should start by giving his employees a decent salary first.

    Petter Stordalen has an estimated personal wealth of 1.2 billion dollars, stemming from investments in hotels, shopping centers and other property. Through his company Nordic Choice Hotels, Stordalen owns in excess of 170 hotels and employs more than 9,200 people.


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