A Saman dance performance at the Indonesia Festival in Spikersuppa Square in Oslo, Norway. (Photo courtesy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry)
A Touch of Indonesia in a Scandinavian Summer
BY : NUR YASMIN
JULY 02, 2019
Jakarta. The Indonesian Embassy in Norway held "Festival Indonesia" in Spikersuppa Square in Oslo, Norway, from Friday to Sunday. It was the biggest Indonesian-themed festival ever held in Nordic countries.
The festival featured Indonesian dances, music, arts and crafts, culinary, fashion shows and also a bazaar. It was opened with a performance of the traditional song "Bolelebo" played on the sasando, a traditional string instrument from East Nusa Tenggara.
The official theme of the festival was "Wonderful Indonesia: A Land of Diversity." One of the most popular attractions during the weekend was the batik workshop, where visitors learned the A to Z of making batik, from patterning to dyeing.
There were tents displaying Indonesian arts and crafts and more tents – these ones were always packed – selling traditional Indonesian delicacies like bakso (meatball soup), satay, pastel (stuffed pastry) and nastar (cookies filled with pineapple jam).
There was also a two-meter-long komodo dragon replica brought all the way from East Nusa Tenggara, which made a popular subject for selfies. The provincial government also sent 14 young dancers to perform traditional dances at the festival.
After the festival, there was "The Potential Role of Palm Oil in Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals" seminar attended by Norway's deputy foreign affairs minister Marianne Hagen and a senior official from Norway's Environment Ministry, Marit Vea, among other diplomats and government officials.
The seminar also featured a business "match-making" session where Indonesian and Norwegian businesses were paired up to create new partnerships and collaborations.
Cultural Diplomacy to Boost Tourism
Indonesia's ambassador to Norway, the former lawyer and activist Todung Mulya Lubis, said a festival like Festival Indonesia will boost tourism, trade and investment between the two countries.
Todung said Indonesia is introducing ten new main tourist destinations called the "10 New Balis."
"Indonesia is not all about Bali, we have other tourist destinations as beautiful as Bali, in fact, we have 10 of them," Todung said.
The festival also launched "Kopi" as the new brand identity for all Indonesian coffee products. "From now on, when people see the word 'Kopi,' they will know it's coffee from Indonesia," Daroe Handojo, the general manager of CRP Group's Kopi Business, said.
Festival coordinator Nina Evayanti said the event was a total success. "We received at least three thousand visitors each day," she said.
Atika Hjorth, an Indonesian living in Oslo, said this was the biggest country-themed festival she had seen in the Norwegian capital.
"I have lived in Oslo for 25 years and I've never seen a festival this huge," she said.
Oslo resident Pia Gammelsaeter also said she was pleasantly surprised. "I've never been to Indonesia, but seeing this festival really makes me want to go," the young woman said.