Norway is full of it. If you say you are going to do something, no one follows up on it because you said you would do it and your word is good enough. When a pedestrian approaches a crosswalk, they don't stop and look both ways before stepping out into traffic. The law says that cars stop for pedestrians at crosswalks and so it's generally just trusted that they will do just that. When I went to the optician's office to pick up contact solution the clerk asked if I was a client there because that would entitle me to a discount. I told her, 'Yes,' but she didn't ask for my name or any sort of assurance; I was awarded the discount because she trusted what I said. Rules are rules and people will follow them and that is how things run here.
It works here because Norwegians are generally pretty trustworthy. If they weren't, I'm sure society wouldn't put so much faith in the value. But, unfortunately, there will always be those who prey on this inherent sense of trust.
On a quiet Sunday morning in the late summer of 2004, two masked men walked into Oslo's Munch Museum where they lifted one of the prized Screams off the wall (in addition to another work titled Madonna) and ran out to an escape car waiting on the street. Museum goers watched in shock as the famous work of art disappeared.
Interestingly enough, this wasn't the first time a 'Scream' was stolen. In 1994, two men climbed a ladder, broke a window and entered Norway's National Gallery in Oslo snatching another version Munch's prized art works. Norway faced a lot of criticism about their lack of security yet despite the previous robberies, not many changes were made. It was argued that the famous paintings were practically impossible to sell due to their international fame and thus, the expense of providing tight security was decided to be unnecessary.
After the 2004 robbery, the biggest surveillance operation in Norwegian history was underway and 2 years later, the stolen works of art were finally remanded albeit slightly damaged. The repairs spanned 2 years and although some of the damage was irreversible, 'The Scream' reclaimed it's spot in the Munch museum.
These days, metal detectors, elaborate surveillance systems are in place and 'The Scream' sits within a heavy glass box. While Norway remains a pretty trustworthy country, it appears they've learned that precautions must be taken when it comes to Edvard Munch and his world renowned works of art.
[If you're interested, you can read the full story in Norwegian's Online Magazine.]