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Women’s lives – then and now

Kvinneprat på Tvers (“Women talking across cultures”)/SESAM is a meeting place for women of all nationalities wishing to learn more about, or share their experiences relating to, life in Norway. This week Her Majesty The Queen attended one of the meetings.


Every Wednesday, the Oslo chapter of the Norwegian Women’s Public Health Association hosts a meeting for members of the group. A new topic is discussed at each meeting, often related to the Norwegian way of life. Examples include waste sorting and recycling, codes of conduct in working life, prosperity and abundance, and childrearing. On 29 October, the topic was “Women’s lives – then and now”.


After she arrived at the meeting hall at Smestad, the Queen was first given a presentation on the Oslo Women’s Public Health Association, the Kvinneprat på Tvers project, and the SESAM concept for focused conversation. Women and girls of all ages are welcome to attend the meetings, which are free-of-charge, and registration is not required.

That evening’s participants introduced themselves before being seated in the lounge. Participants this week came from Portugal, Ukraine, China, Iran, Mongolia, Spain, Slovakia, Russia/Mordovia, Peru, Japan, Eritrea and Norway. 

Women in art

The works of Christian Krogh, Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Edouard Manet and other renowned artists formed the starting point for interesting discussions about the role of women in society and the family in the past and today. Reproductions of selected paintings were handed out, and the women, including Queen Sonja, were divided into groups. The groups then engaged in informal conversation on the motifs of the paintings and shared their reflections on changes in women’s lives. Each group then presented its interpretation of the painting it had been assigned.

Meeting place

The aim is to provide a congenial meeting place for woman of all ages and all nationalities seeking to get to know other women. Those who attend have a chance to practice their Norwegian language skills while learning about Norwegian traditions. Norwegian women participate on a voluntary basis.

After each meeting the participants enjoy a nutritious meal together.


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