Entrepreneurs from Oslo and Hackney get together for alternative Christmas light switch-on

Oslo meets Hackney event

Oslo meets Hackney event - Credit: Archant

An alternative festive lights switch-on was held on Friday as a sign of friendship between entrepreneurs in Oslo and London.

The Norwegian capital gifted an ornamental wooden Christmas tree, with lights powered by sound and featuring decorations and technology such as conductive paint designed by tech companies in Oslo and London.

The event, part of an all-day celebration of the technology and music scenes in the two capitals, was held at tech hub BL-NK in East Road, Hoxton, and attended by dozens of entrepreneurs – mainly from Oslo.


Hallstein Bjercke, vice mayor for business and culture in Oslo, switched on the lights.

He said: “This event will really help companies from Oslo understand how they can become global, and market themselves on an international stage. For the city of Oslo it’s important to work with industry to show that this is a serious commitment.

“It’s important to build trust, which is why events like this are necessary.”

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He added: “Hackney is home to one of the most vibrant start-up scenes in the world. Companies here have real ambition to build businesses that will change the world.

“Being able to provide start-ups in Oslo with a link to that vision and drive is really helping them better understand how they can market their technology on the international stage.

“The tree is a celebration of the ongoing prosperous creative and cultural links between our two cities.”

Mr Bjercke is also part of a team bidding for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics to come to Oslo in 2022.

Tor Gonsund, a lecturer at Oslo University, said: “The Oslo tech community is developing a strong scene around music. People there are at the forefront of development.”

Lars Wilmer, co-founder of Instrument Champ in the Norwegian capital, added: “We are providing new digital tools for kids, parents and teachers to interact with music. You can learn basic music skills and you can progress and get better.

“We are here as we are trying to build a global company with Nordic roots. London is a good place to do this.”

Up-and-coming Norwegian companies such as Swipe and Beat attended, as well as established brands such as Skype, airbnb, Musicmetric, and The Great Escape.