Humans are social, and by spending time together in the right surroundings, a positive sense of community arises that can be completely unique. This feeling can create an enormous positive energy when this is done on a large scale together with thousands of colleagues or people with a common interest. It can create a unity that lasts over time, something that motivates and encourages people to work towards a common goal.
This is what we call the Oslofjord effect.
A space for community
– There are no other arenas in Norway that can accommodate 2,500 athletes, 1,000 coaches/team managers and 2-4,000 parents. Everyone is together from the time we arrive until we finish and have completed a championship weekend. This is our championship city and it’s fantastic’, says Richard Vogt, president of the NAIF – organizers of the Norwegian championship in Cheerleading at the Oslofjord Convention Center.
For many, size can lead to an experience of anonymity and alienation, but we can prevent this at Oslofjord Convention Center (Oslofjord) thanks to the facility’s completely unique design. Architect Niels Torp’s design of Oslofjord is built on the principle of forming a dynamic entity, where you constantly have a sense of the people around you. At the same time, you can find peace and time to yourself.
Torp found inspiration from a typical European village set up when he designed our conference village – with many meeting places, green areas and interaction with nature. The result is an open conference village, where you can see people gathering on the balconies or in the park landscape. The biggest gathering point is our plenary hall, which together with the outdoor event space, forms an inclusive and accessible center on the Oslofjord. Here, large crowds can seamlessly circulate freely both indoors and outdoors.
This open community space creates a community life and a very special atmosphere that leaves its mark on every occasion. Regardless of the occasion that brings you to Oslofjord, you take home the positive feeling of being part of a community.
The value of gathering outside the confines of everyday life
In the aftermath of the pandemic, where the vast majority experienced social isolation, we see an even greater reason to strike a blow for physical community experiences. Meaningful meetings between people are more important than ever.
– We had been waiting for this for three years, and finally we could gather the whole of Atea, from as many as seven nations, in one and the same place. I was sure that the event would go well and that we would be happy to meet. What I wasn’t prepared for was the power of the community experience at the Oslofjord Convention Center – it was enormous’, says Steinar Sønsteby, CEO of Atea, who at the end of August gathered 7,000 of its employees at Oslofjord.
Shared experiences being important is supported by an increasing amount of research. A research team from Yale University has studied people’s experience of community when they are at festivals and other larger events. They have concluded that these types of events, where large crowds gather for one activity, helps to maintain the degree of solidarity, generosity and trust in society. An event is as much about what you are left with afterwards.
The term “liminality” is also a central term in the research tradition linked to the social effects that large events can have. A large event in the right surroundings can create a liminal state, where society is put aside for a while. The participants experience it as a break and a free space – a point of identification outside of everyday life. When you are in this state, where you gather outside the confines of everyday life, you more easily experience the feeling of community and togetherness.
Closer together – and in the same direction
A good event is not only about what is on the program, but also what happens outside the program. At Oslofjord, we have the advantage that absolutely everything is in one place: accommodation, event facilities, leisure opportunities and wonderful food and drink experiences. With everything in one place, you do not have to commute back and forth. This is valuable time that you can spend together and create a stronger bond.
A framework for community is also about being welcomed by committed and service minded people. All employees at Oslofjord – from the cleaning staff to IT developers, and from receptionists to chefs – are passionate about the role of the host. We are inspired by facilitating unforgettable experiences. The role of the host is also about us seeing the needs of the individual even in large gatherings and creating a framework for the guests to concentrate on creating a stronger bond between themselves and forming new friendships.
At Oslofjord, we believe in cultivating community. We want to make it possible for people to come together and work on something they care about, that they can meet physically and that they are together over time. It is in this way that we feel that we belong together. This is how we form friendships and new bonds. This is how we become proud of what we are, do and create together.
A stay at Oslofjord unites people by sharing memorable experiences together. The result is that all the individuals in the group leave as a team – where everyone works towards a common goal, is inspired, and motivated to work as one.
Come and visit us and let us show you what the Oslofjord effect can do for you and your company, association or organization.