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Free State Lucky Næroset

Ringsaker municipality, Norway

In Næroset municipality, the residents proclaimed a Free State Lucky Næroset in 1999 with the main aim of saving the school that was under a threat of closure. Humour, fantasy, craziness and courage have been the main tools used to mobilize the local population and encourage joint action. The main goal was achieved in 2008 and the organization ceased its activities.

School the heart and soul of the rural community?

In Ringsaker Municipality, Norway, the local school was threatened by closure in 1999, which was not taken positively by the local residents. The local school has been crucial for the viability and wellbeing of the local community. The residents have chosen an unconventional approach to protest against the municipal decision to close down the school.

Humour, fantasy, craziness and courage

The local residents have proclaimed a Free State, Lucky Næroset, and formed their own government, including ministerial representatives such as a Prime Minister, Minister of Health, Fantasy Minister and Adolescence Minister. The overarching mission was to keep the local school operational, to encourage positive thinking and to create better living conditions for the local community. The key principles and motto behind all activities implemented are humour, fantasy, craziness and courage. The association stopped its activities in 2008 when the main goal, saving the school, was achieved.


The following outcomes are evident as a result of the initiative:

  • Cultivation of optimism and positive thinking among the local residents.
  • Population growth.
  • Growth in tourism due to media attention which drew attention to places of interests (e.g. Norwegian Christmas Tree Museum, Underground Airport).
  • Establishment of 11 new workplaces in the municipality.

Long-term commitment from innovators

The engaged and committed individuals who drove the organisation for nearly 10 years have been crucial to its success. The media has played an important supporting role too. Through the media the story of Lucky Næroset has spread across Norway and beyond. The key challenges that needed to be overcome were the limited support and cooperation with the local politicians and the long-term commitment needed for starting up and grounding the initiative in the local community.

Fantasy and humour – the world’s best development tools

Fantasy and creativity of the association members has been one of the central resources driving the development of Lucky Næroset. The association relied to a large extent on volunteers, making human capital the key resource needed. The initial start-up capital came from contributions from local residents and from selling services and products developed by the association (e.g. CDs with sounds of nature). The largest share of the funding came from the initiator’s private company which contributed funds raised by giving speeches and lectures about Lucky Næroset.

Key learnings for municipalities

Humour and fantasy are tools that can be used in pursuing innovation and a positive rural development. These can be enabling elements for strengthening cooperation among the community members, enhancing creativity and creating positive conditions for sparking innovation and new ways of thinking in the rural context. The approach and thinking applied to the rural development in Lucky Næroset can also be adopted in different sectors and other areas of life, as well as provide inspiration at the individual level.

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Page last updated September 2016.