Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

The red heart above is hanging on the door leading into our bathroom/toilet. In Norway I would think that every second family has a red heart on this door. Also you will find a heart as a standard sign for bathroom/toilet on hiking maps, info boards and in public places. This is a typical Scandinavian tradition, which actually is a bit strange.

In the olden days there were wooden toilets outside, and all of them had a carved heart on the door which probably served for lightening and ventilation. But why a heart?

– It is some sort of euphemism, explains the author Arngeir Berg who has written about the phenomenon. In other words an attempt to make something pretty out of something rather unpleasant.

Well, the heart is what is beating inside our chest, keeping us alive, and the heart is maybe one of the most popular symbols we have concerning love and relationships. So no wonder that the heart serves as a pretty decoration to make the place look more inviting. Another funny explanation though is that the heart is an upside-down rear end <3

However if if you ever visit a Scandinavian home, it is always easy to locate the right door!

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