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Lucky Næroset

LUCKY NÆROSET – the Norwegian village that turned stone into gold!

It all started in a little Norwegian village a few miles southeast of Lillehammer whose existence was threatened by a decision to close down the local primary school. Village people reacted in the most normal way – they were furious – wrote angry articles in the newspaper, and showed up at the local town hall to protest against the local politicians. The end of this story could have been a school closure, people moving away and – in the end – a dead area where no one would want to live. Instead the opposite happened! One afternoon in 1999, on his way back to Næroset by train, Hans Christian Medlien was twisting his brain to find a way to turn the situation into something positive. He thought: We must come up with a very radical idea…. We have to create our own "national" state!!

The very clear goal of creating an autonomous region at Næroset – was the success factor that changed a miserable place, where no one longer wanted to live, into LUCKY NÆROSET, which is now a place of growth and happiness.

A new state needs a name. The name choice was not obvious. It is unusual to mix an English word with a Norwegian town name – especially since this is a tiny little village in Norway. But one of the main reasons for the great success is – according to Medlien – the ability to follow the intuition and inner wisdom – and not necessarily the opinion of everybody else. One of the success factors was actually not to ask everybody if they liked the name LUCKY NÆROSET. He has been faithful to his vision and his goals and has split the goals into concrete activities. “There is a wisdom knowing that you need to get things done before others get the chance to tell you that it will not work and what will fail” – from the book "Prikken", written by Medlien.

LUCKY NÆROSET has a vision which includes the inhabitants, the visitors and the publicly elected people of the village: The sum of what you see, experience and hear shall inspire you to feel faith, hope and desire! Faith in the fact that everything is possible with the assets and skills you already have, no matter how little it seems to be. Faith in the people around you and faith in the future. Faith in and hope for a better world – a desire to participate in making the world a better place for everybody.

LUCKY NÆROSET has created drink mixtures named humor, fantasy, craziness and courage. Drinking from those bottles empower human beings to open doors, to tear down fences and to climb mountains. According to lifemastering, the rest of the world needs these drink mixture, in order to unleash their potential and make the world a better place.

The government of LUCKY NÆROSET consists of 13 ministers and a lot of secretaries. Medlien is titled minister of FANTASY and he has the overall responsibility for innovation and creativity. There is a KNOW KNOW minister, who is responsible for tracking the village people’s expertise and knowledge in order to get the best out of everybody. Trond Ivar knows web-design, Anne knows how to administrate, Hans knows how to write and Kristian knows how to photograph. Hence they created the web-site www.lucky-naeroset.net. The primary school which was threatened by closure is today very much alive with a staff of 10 full time employees, a direct result of the idea of LUCKY NÆROSET. As you probably have understood; LUCKY NÆROSET is a creative and well managed town council. These clever leaders have created a place inhabited by proud people, and a place where new ideas constantly are developed for the best of inhabitants and visitors. The children, as well as the adults, are participating in the development of LUCKY NÆROSET. In 2000, the 11 and 12 years old youngsters were given the task of describing what LUCKY NÆROSET would be like in 2005. Dan Cato (11 years old) wrote that an underground (!) airport would be part of LUCKY NÆROSET. Dan Cato knew that one of the goals creating LUCKY NÆROSET would be to increase its number of inhabitants. As a consequence he felt that they needed to adapt the place for small space-creatures. If they decided to come to the earth, they would have the possibility to land in a safe place, instead of being overrun by a car the first day. There is a guest book in the tunnel where the airport is built, so that LUCKY NÆROSET can control the traffic. Nobody passes Næroset any longer without visiting this place!

The amazing airport plan was carried out during the spring of 2002. The 11th of June the same year the director of communication of Oslo Gardermoen International Airport opened the unique underground airport. During the opening ceremonies there were music and speeches, and national TV and radio stations covered the event. In 2004 Le Figaro wrote to its millions of readers that they should go to LUCKY NÆROSET and experience the only underground airport on earth.

Later that year the Prime Minister of Norway, Kjell Magne Bondevik, talked about Lucky Næroset for 47 seconds in his New Year's speech to the Norwegian people - as an example of creativity and positive thinking.

Norway is one of the best countries to live in, says UN (United Nations). Every child in Norway has the opportunity to go to school. In other parts of the world it is not like that. In several African countries many children have to work instead of going to school. In 2004 Medlien initiated Lucky School in the small village Mabayo together with Plan Norway/Plan International and Lise Marie Mørkved. In Sierra Leone most of the adult people can not read or write. Lucky Næroset decided to build a school for the children in Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone, Lucky Næroset and Plan Norway give hope for the future for the 200 children that will use the school.

The village, or the state, has instituted many fine and highly esteemed rituals. One of these is the yearly Næroset-day called “Komframsen”, which is filled with curious attractions. One of these attractions is a bath tub filled with coins, - in order to allow the inhabitants to “money bath” at least once this special day.

Medlien expresses that all the fun, the madness and crazy ideas proved to be the door opener to a new future, and a way to tell everybody the story about a little village that has the vitality to build a joyous future. Worth describing, worth visiting and worth living in!

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