Norway Expat Forum - moving to Norway

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Donnarob
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4/21/2008 07:17    
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Hi there

Looking for all sorts of advice as husband starting new job in Drammen. Currently looking for somewhere to live quite near the International School. Tax issues are another worry.

How have people managed relocating pets to rental properties?

aussie1
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4/24/2008 17:16    
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Hi i we moved to drammen with our dog and 2 boys from Australia... Hubby is a local lad, happy to share info with you u can send me a line on my email address if u like.. goodluck.... elaine.

Tat
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4/26/2008 06:51    
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Don't do it. Change your plans, unpack your suitcase. I am a Norwegian who also lived in Drammen many years ago. I moved from Sandvika a year ago. The people are difficult and rude and the prices of everything are sky high. The tax man is always out to get you. It is a socialist country and everything goes to the government. Tax varies from 28% (low income) to 55 %( high income), everyone ends up with the same amount. I have waited in the emergency room of the hospital for 4 hours whilst being pregnant and that happened several times, and when I complained everyone else thought I was the strange one as this is normal practice. When I moved to Drammen from Singapore as a kid and when I got there I did not speak Norwegian. The Norwegian children were relentless in beating me up as I was different and also used ride over me with their bikes. There is no detention in schools and parents do nothing to help. So if you have children who are not local I suggest you keep an eye on them. Schools start at 6 years old and are not very good. The Norwegians seem to think Norway is the best country on earth and keep telling you health care is free. Well it's not free when they tax you 55%. You also pay about 20$ for each DR visit unless you're pregnant. Food is outrageously expensive (25%VAT on supermarket items) and the immigrant shops are the cheaper ones to shop in (they have quite a good one in Drammen I was there recently). Sorry but they are very very racist and the good jobs are left for Norwegians and foreigners get cleaning jobs (unless highly educated and headhunted). I started working in a very well reputed company (multinational): two months later I got fired for being pregnant and they told me to my face that was the reason. Yes it is not legal but it happens all the time. Just do not go with any expectations. My husband always thought it would be a nice place to live, but now he will not go back even if it was the last country on earth!. He was shocked and disappointed with the country and the people. My best wishes to you but I don't envy you. I'm currently residing in Lebanon and it's fantastic

yellow
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From: Norway
4/28/2008 12:16    
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Where the bitterness comes from? It is not about where you live, but how you live, the attitude and perhaps with whom you live.
I was in Oslo for just 2 months and spoiled as I was from North America, I returned back. Well, I shall try again this summer. I do believe I have a good chance to be happy in Oslo with my husband, whom is Norwegian.

Tat
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5/13/2008 03:20    
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Hi yellow,

Sorry Just telling it like it is. I have lived in South Africa, Singapore, Spain, England, Dubai, Lebanon and in the process of moving to Bahrain. Norway is the only country I would not return to live and I am Norwegian. Maybe a holiday here or there then you get the best of any country. Even with the political problems in Lebanon the Lebanese hospitals do not make you wait as long in emergency rooms. The roads are better in Lebanon, and schools start at the age of 3. The kids learn 3 languages straight away. In Norway they go to kindergarden and play until the age of 6. Then start learning the alphabet. I'm glad you had a good 2 months in Oslo but that is a holiday not living day to day. It is very different living in a country than visiting. The taxes are not bitterness or made up unfortunately the tax man will try and get his claws into everything you have. Eating out or doing anything out of the house is so exepnsive you find you will stay in and entertain. I wish you all the best but still do not envy you. All the best to you. Who knows maybe you will enjoy it. It's definatley not for me.

heathside
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6/1/2008 11:25    
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Sorry to say but I also agree....
I moved to Stavanger from London UK a year ago and it has been a bit of a shock to the system....
The Norwegian government appears to have little respect for its citizens with 'nanny-state' rules and regulations. For a country which claims to be one of the richest in Europe (oil and gas), little seems to find its way into building a cultured society. Everything is extortionately expensive, poor quality and limited in choice.
I've lived in both Denmark and Sweden and they are a different world.
Having said all this... IT IS a stunningly beautiful country.....

Tat
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6/14/2008 07:53    
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Yes Heathside, Glad you agree. Having said all this it is a stunning country. That's why I bought a calender ; )

angelisle
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6/16/2008 06:34    
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do not know if you have moved yet but most norwegians like pets so moving them to a rental property should be no problem,we did

angelisle
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6/16/2008 06:41    
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ok tats,thanks for the tip on this site!nice to see that apart from us there are others not so keen on living here,as you know i am up in the pole circle,definatly not a great place to be,but my husband is Norwegian and we need to come here for many reasons,am not staying in Nordland a minute longer than need be.May consider west Norway,but still i have never had such a lonely life as here,people just are not the same,i lived in Holland,Germany,England,Spain and it was easier to communicate with people there,and its not that i find languages a problem,i already speak some Norwegian,i find many very stiff and a sense of humour???i reckon that got frozen somewhere in the viking times.

Tat
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6/21/2008 01:13    
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Maybe you can make some friends on this site. Anybody out there who want to make friends with my friend? Maybe if you call the Spanish or Dutch embassy they may have some lists of other people who live near you and want to sosialize. There may even be a club or gathering with the embassies on certain days of the year. Give them a call and see. Sorry I can't get the numbers from here. Anyway will send you an email soon. Moving to Bahrain in a few days so getting busy. Come and visit me if you need some sun.

Damo
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6/26/2008 13:49    
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I have to say that I agree with Tat I'm afraid. I've been here in Bergen for several years and I'm about to relocate to Scotland. In my years here I've made very few Norwegian friends, but lots of 'foreign' friends, and I'm not a Little Englander. I have friends from all over the world but have to say that Norwegians are generally the most difficult to get to know. Having said that, I do have a few good Norwegian friends, but strangely enough they have lived abroad and so perhaps aren't so narrow minded.

Everything's so expensive, and the higher wages don't compensate for this. The health service should be world class considering you have to pay 20 pounds every time you visit the doctor, but I've experienced better in our 'terrible' British health service. And no one moans about anything! That's maybe why services are not good here.

A nice thing about Norway though is that it's a very safe place, you rarely see any trouble. In all my years here I've maybe only seen 2 or 3 drunken fights at 3am. That's a normal night where I'm from.

I hope that wasn't too anti-Norway. I'm glad I moved here, but I'm also glad I'm leaving.

Ha det!

dreamc
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9/8/2008 12:18    
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Hi
I have to agree with tat.
I'm from the UK, and have lived in Abu Dhabi. I have to say, Norwegians are the most ignorant, rude horrible people!!!
No conversation, no smiles, no 'thank you', shutting doors on you, pushing the older person out of the way, walking in to u, no respect for anyone - look after no.1 I absolutely hate them at the moment.
Have been here since Feb 08, I would love to move to a country where the locals are friendly.
Taxes are stupidly expensive esp for the docs - everyone says how great the health care system is, what crap!!!
Sorry, am so frustrated with this country!!

Jonty
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11/14/2008 21:18    
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You may already be in Norway in which case this advice is too late. I work in a self employed capacity in Norway and have 15% of my gross income deducted at source. I just got a demand (October '08) for 90000NOK (about £9,000) for tax for 2007 on top of the 15% deducted. Put simply, if 45% of my gross income is going to be deducted, you need a hell of a turnover to be able to live here. Also, Norway seems to be following the UK in that state bodies can spew out letters but you can't get through to them on the phone and you get no reply to written communications. I'm finding working in Norway increasingly chaotic. Just as someone working for the government works out how to process you (because you're not Norwegian), they go off sick, leave the job, get promoted, go on a course ... I still can't get a residence permit even though I have a 9 year old son in Norway but have pension points and they take £2,000 a year from me in social security contributions. I see I have no option but to go back to the UK with my Norwegian son who I'm registering in the UK.

Jonty
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11/14/2008 21:33    
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I came to Norway in 1989 and loved it. I still do BUT, I feel I had the best of the country. It's caught between needing to attract foreigners to work whilst not letting them put down roots here. The tax authorities try and establish LIVE in Norway so you pay taxes here whilst UDI prove you're really a foreigner who just WORKS in Norway.

I've met a few people who have got so sick of this they left Norway. With so many Norwegians refusing to work or feigning being ill so they just get paid to be Norwegians, I can't see where the country can go from here. Where do the next generations get their work ethic from and from whom do they learn their skills if all the migrant workers returned to their native lands with the proceeds of their work in Norway? As word gets out about the Norwegian tax rates (in my case 45% of my gross income), many people will work out that the £50,000 a year job they've been offered in Bergen will see them lowering their living standards. eg. 1995 Subaru Justy in the UK £450. In Norway 45000NOK (£4500) .... check ebay and finn.no if you don't believe me!

Joana
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12/8/2008 10:23    
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Hi everybody,

This is all very negative comments (which I am sure are well-sounded and have many stories behind) , but are quite the contrary of what I heard so far from friends and friends of friends. Anybody out there who actually enjoys living in Norway? I am about to move to Trondheim from The Netherlands (which I am actually not too happy about living in) and you are scaring me a little just now.

I 'd be happy to hear some more "both side of the story" comments, if any are out there! Cheers

Latulipenoire
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12/15/2008 10:53    
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Heathside,

It's been a few months since your last post saying that Stavanger was a shock for you. Are you Faring any better? My husband and I are moving there from the U.S. this June and I want to be as prepared as possible.

Ckhall
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1/6/2009 13:32    
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Hello,

I am a norwegian citizen and have been living in the US for a long time. I am planning to move back to Norway in August of this year and am looking forward to it. I would have moved back sooner if it wasn't for my husbands work. I know Norway has it's problems; taxes, healthcare, etc. But living here in the US not having healthcare is one of the reasons we are moving home. We couldn't afford health insurance and after giving birth to my youngest daughter in 2007 it financially ruined us becuase of the bill we got for over $50000 after she had to spend 20 days in intencive care. My husband had to be hospitaized ealy last year for two days, another $15000. So now we are packing up the whole lot and moving back. We do have free dental though till you are 18, at least one positive thing*smile* As for friendliness by the norwegians, we have our neighbors over for dinners and family gathering and we chat over the fence all the time. I have been camping in places all over the country and have never had problems finding friends for life. Maybe it is the attitude. I also had some problems in school when I was little, my mother is Philippine so I was teased a lot too but I don't think that is a norwegain thing. I remember moving to a new school and had never had so many students greet me wanting to talk and be friends.

I think Norway is a great place to live, it might also depend on were you live. Drammen and Oslo are not places I would want to live though. But Hamar, Bergen or any cities south of Drammen are beautiful and have lots of friendly and nice people!

Happy to be norwegain!

minerva
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1/14/2009 00:35    
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Hi,

I don't think you need to be worried about moving from the Netherlands to Trondheim, Norway. I'm a Norwegian living in the US, and I miss Norway a lot. This fall I will move back to Norway, thank God, after "negotiations" with my husband:-)

I do not recognize the bad things other posters have written about life in Norway here, so you can relax.

I lived in Trondheim for two years, and that is the city my husband and I will move to with our son later this year. It's a great city, not that big, but not too small either. It is beautiful.

That Norway is expensive is a fact, but the salaries are higher than in the US for instance, so it about makes up for it. And nobody likes paying taxes, and yes, taxes in Norway are pretty high. But then again, my American husband pays almost as much in taxes here in the US, but he does not get free healthcare for instance. In Norway we do.

I was shocked after the first doctor's visit with our son here in the US. It cost about 400 dollars to get a regular vaccine shot for a baby! Very immoral and shocking. In Norway you don't have to worry about paying health insurance, it is paid through taxes. I would rather pay a little bit more in taxes so I don't have to worry about health insurance and and doctors and nurses that care about profit, money, first and foremost and not their patients.

patricksmum
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1/21/2009 06:14    
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I so agree with you, I moved to Norway 4years ago when blinded by love, it has been the biggest regret that I have ever made.
Learning the language has been so difficult, I have so miserable and depressed, norwegians are rude, miserable and arrogant. They are two faced, very nice to your face but will stab you in the back once you do something that they don't like.
My unborn baby died last year just before I was due to have her because I had gestational diabetes and wasn't monitored at all I only had one blood test and eventually the placenta gave up at the end and she died four days before she was born. I had seen two midwifes and a doctor and not one of them noted that I needed extra monitoring even though there is a clear system for this, we are complaining but nothing will be done I know this.
The advantages of Norway are that it is safer, and cleaner and has beautiful nature but thats it!!!! But getting back to the UK is going to be so difficult but I will keep trying...... So good luck to anyone who moves here:)
Regards Maria

johnkebab
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5/17/2009 04:08    
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I'm sorry to say that I think you are going to find it difficult here, if you're not white forget about finding a job, if you are white forget about finding a job until you speak norwegian and even then you'd have to be lucky, whatever image you have of Norway now, be prepared for a shock, I'd worked here in 2004 for 2 weeks and I'd visited Oslo several times, I thought the country was beautiful (which it is) and it was an open minded easy going place- I moved here at the end of last year and I can now say that what I thought about Norway was completely wrong. My fiancee speaks 7 languages and can't find work, food is a luxury item so is taxed at 25%, don't even think about importing or buying a car here, honestly, the best thing you could do would be not move, it's really sad to say. I've lived in 6 different countries so far, and travelled to 55 in total, so I'd like to think that I know what I'm talking about. If you're going to come, find some foreign friends as soon as you can, the best way is the norwegian language course at folkeuniversitet in Oslo. I know many many couples, even those with Norwegian husbands, who are struggling terribly here. Sorry to have to tell you.

TAJOHNS
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5/26/2009 07:00    
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Hey, hopefully you would fit in better in Norway than some of the other bitter people. Just reading the replies from some of the people here was kinda disturbing. Atleast one of these mentals have left the countries. If you dont like it here then you are more than welcome to leave. If you plan on living on welfare then get out of the country. If you plan on complaining about the rights of the Religion of Peace, then stay in your peaceful country.
On the other hand if you follow the law, ethics and moral of the country then you are a welcome. People will be friendly and you will make a lot of friends. Buying power of Norwegian households are one of the highest in the world.
I strongly recommend living outside Oslo.

lunaluna
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6/24/2009 03:03    
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I'm sorry to have to agree with the negative input. My husband's job takes us all over the world and I have lived in many countries. Norway is the first place where I have found myself counting the days till we leave. We have been here 1 year with our children and dog. Importing your pet to Norway has many rules and restrictions, contact your embassy for details. We didn't have a problem finding rental accomodation with our dog. I find people to be cold and unfriendly for the most part (there are exceptions though). Rudeness is the norm!I'm convinced storekeepers and employees go out of their way to be UNhelpful, I'm sure they took a course in 'How To Ensure Your Client Buys Nothing And Never Comes Back' . Winters are hellishly depressing and unending, Norway is culturally impaired... I could go on but you get the picture

katp
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10/7/2009 05:17    
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Not sure if anyone is still active on this thread, but I am from the US and I would say my overall feelings of Norway are neutral. I personally have a slew of medical problems and have had nothing but problems trying to get a doctor to listen to me and not just tell me to go home and rest. I have had to pay out of pocket for private specialists here, and I do not think that is OK given how high my taxes are (40%) for this 'free' healthcare. It is not free, don't kid yourself into thinking so. It is around $30 to see the doctor and further costs to get any blood work etc. done. Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem right considering 7% of my income is going towards healthcare. Even with the worst healtcare option in the US, I never paid more than $25 for a visit. Not to go ramble, but I did the calcuations for how much it costs in total for a year of healthcare here (7% of my income + co-pays etc) and what it cost me in the states (monthly premiums + co-pays), and it is cheaper in Texas by $1,000/year. I digress.

Pros of Norway:
-Beautiful country
- Much, much safer then the US in general- I have no issues walking around Oslo all times of the day. I would not be so carefree in most US cities at all.
-It's a different culture and that is always great!
-skiing- it's great, I happen to love the winter here since I have never lived in a state in the US with snow.

Cons:
-Expensive, duh that should be no surprise to anyone, and the whole 'you get paid more so it's ok' is just being silly--even being paid more, my out of pocket expenses for food and clothing is 4 times what it was in Texas. My trick is to just not look at the price because I will just get outraged. I mean you have to buy the basics anyway, so don't let it stress you out...
-Very rude people in general. My solution is to just be rude back, which is difficult being from the South and having a very friendly mentality. Don't let it bother you.
-Healtcare- already touched on it above, but it is a joke. I shouldn't have to pay out of pocket to see a private doctor because the ones in the National Healthcare system are so inefficient and/or spend my vacation time in the US going to doctors. I could let this bother me, but there's no point- just be aware if you require any specialized medical care, you will not be taken care of here. I would never in a million years trust my pregnancy to one of the public doctors. Someone in one of the previous posts on this thred had a story about how she lost her baby here in Norway due to lack of prenatal care and that is absolutly unacceptable and unfortunatly seems to be the norm- very sad.

So to recap, if I had a choice, I would not have moved to Norway, nor will I stay here any longer than required. I would advise anyone to think twice before moving here and really understand what they are getting into. I am in a very fortunate situation where we are both making a good living as oil and gas expats, so perhaps that allows me a more carefree attitude, but I will not be sad to leave.
The most important thing I have learned is to not let all of the cons get to me and chalk it up to being part of the experience!

ArtVandelay
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11/1/2009 13:32    
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This topic is probably dead, but I would just like to shed light on some of the "accusations" here in case anyone still drops by.

"Norwegians are rude".

Some Norwegians are certainly rude. But I would not say we generally are more rude than Brits, Germans or Americans. We just don't follow the same rules of social conduct. In Norway the cashiers will not call you "sir, mrs, mister, lady" or something like that. They will not routinely ask you how you are. But not following the norms of another country is not the equivalent of being rude.

- The health care system is a joke.

When it comes to life expectancy, Norway scores better than both the EU average and the US. The Norwegian medical system generally performes well on most indicators. That's why most Norwegians don't "moan", although they recognize the system is far from perfect.

- The taxes will make you poor.

Not so much. When it comes to purchasing power per capita, Norway consistently scores in the top three, right behind countries such as Luxembourg and Qatar. Most Norwegian families will travel abroad every year, many of them to get some sun during the cold winter.

I do not live in Norway myself, and enjoy life here in the UK. But the impression given in this topic - that Norway is basically hell on earth - is not correct. For balance I provide this years UN human development report:
http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/country_fact_sheets/cty_fs_NOR.html

SteveNorway
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3/7/2011 10:05    
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If you judge people by how polite they appear, then the Brits are indeed polite. But when you live in the UK and work with Brits you see a very different side to them. Despite 100 "thank you's and pleases" per hour they are unbelievably smug and ungrateful. Even when they have lived abroad they don't bother to learn the language, and only mention anything negative about their adopted country. Norwegians on the other hand are not polite to strangers in the street or public transport. But as your friend, they overwhelm you with kindness and hospitality, something the Brits have never done. Also, before calling anyone arrogant, especcially coming from a Brit, you should not forget Norwegians call you by your proper name, whereas Brits deliberately mis-pronounce it regardless how often you correct them. No one is as arrogant as the "polite" Brits, and I've lived in both countries, and am a mixture of Norwegian and English, but for me the Norwegians win hands down,at least compared to the Brits.

heathside
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3/7/2011 10:45    
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Not sure if that is the case but nevertheless.

Having read my last post I wasn't quite sure were that negativity came from.
Then I remembered I'd just been issued with a £650 speeding ticket......
So sorry to my little Norwegian friends. Love Norway and do miss the place since I moved back to Blightly last year.
Toodle pip !

crbl11
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3/19/2011 16:08    
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Hi all,

Interesting to see people's reactions and stories in terms of how tough it is to live here. It really just all depends on where in the country you end up and how much of yourself you're willing to surrender and how much you're willing to hold on to.

I am from New York and my husband is Norwegian. I pretty much moved here for him and after living in many different places within the US I was happy to make the jump to a new country. In some respects living here is refreshing albeit a bit weird -- people seem to "always" be on vacation, which makes it hard to network with people when looking for work. But this also means the society isn't very work-obsessed as is the case in other countries. It's a very family and nature-obsessed culture, which, as a city kid, has been very hard to get used to. As with anywhere else, you adapt you adapt your lifestyle to your income. The expense really is insane but after a while you're going to drive yourself nuts comparing it to what you're used to in your home country or other places you have lived.

I have been here just over 9 months. It seems that Norwegians are quite happy in that their government takes care of them with the health system, pensions, sick leaves and so forth, but in my experience it doesn't seem to be a country based in having much "fun", apart from really loving the house-party scene. Scandinavians are known for being pretty insular. I wouldn't go so far as calling them ignorant (there's ignorant people anywhere) but they're definitely in a bit of a bubble. The "nanny-state" as someone called it is a great way to describe it. I call it Grandma Norway hehe. Most of the things one does for recreation/fun/self-flagellation (drinking, fast food, etc.) is taxed so damned high you don't even want to go to the bar because you're spending the equivalent of $15 USD for a beer. Yes, a single beer. Going out to eat or party bites into your wallet and hard, regardless of being employed full-time or if you've just moved here and have your savings from home and what not.

Unless you're lucky and an employer doesn't think fluency gets in the way of doing your job, you have to be at a certain level with the language before anyone will even acknowledge you for work. It took me forever to enroll in classes here, because due to the obscene price for them if you take them at one of the language schools, I had to wait until after we were married here and I received my new visa to enroll in the free government courses. It's a luck-of-the-draw situation with those classes. Sometimes they're well organized and the group is eager to learn, other times it's a big disorganized mess. Being the only American in a class that's mostly African and Middle Eastern can get a bit weird at times too.

Socially I've actually managed to make some friends, Norwegian and foreign. I haven't found people to be particularly mean or ice-cold, but then again I'm really good at talking to just about anyone so it may just be my demeanor that helps the situation. I am sorry to hear about the health services experience someone else here had on the board. The couple of times I've had to go to the hospital for a condition I have I've been well taken care of and promptly, and the language barrier wasn't a major deterrent.

Finding work and keeping my mind occupied has been a battle and a half. But my background is in the arts and advertising. Not very easy areas to find work in anywhere.

So that's been my experience -- not nearly as shiny happy people as I thought it would be, but not an all-out regrettable decision either. I also know I'm still in the culture-shock, hate-everything phase. Things may change. I give it another year. My husband doesn't really care if we stay or move somewhere else, so we'll see how we fare in the near future.

I live about 10 minutes outside Oslo, and it's like being on the MOON. If you're going to move here at least move to Oslo. Not the most happening place on Earth but holy sh*t is it better than living in the wooded burbs.

And as always I'm more than happy to meet with people and hang out, explore, complain or just sit somewhere and brainstorm about how to make this place fun, so please by all means shoot me an email if you would like to hang out :) mymirrorsilver at gmail.

Good luck to you and all the rest of you who're fightin' the good fight.

Love,
Celeste

Carver
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3/21/2011 21:32    
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It's interesting to read through the rather polarized list of experiences here, with one or two moderated views.

In fact, I can easily see the basis for all of the observations on both sides of the column, and I will be happy to add my own synthesis.

Setting the universal caveat that generalities are what they are, by and large Norwegians are a reserved people. If one is looking for hugs, open discussion of emotions, or enthusiastic expressions of approval, encouragement, or affection, you will most likely be disappointed, and if you take it personally you will most certainly be hurt.

On the other hand, the culture rather dictates a norm of courtesy, which is manifested in the general initial perception that many people have of how friendly Norwegians are.

Of course, cultural norms of courtesy only go so deep, and the backside of not being overly expressive of positive feelings is that unexpressed negative feelings tend to fester. Naturally, conversation about strong feelings tend to occur among long-time acquaintances, which is to say "behind the backs" of outsiders. So those who have experienced the overt friendliness followed by "backstabbing" and "judgmental" behaviors are riding out a predictable dynamic.

I have seen the same dynamic in the American South, with the caveat that American Southerners tend to have a "warmer" emotional exterior, and in the rural Northeast, with the caveat that "bluenose" New Englanders tend to be less "friendly" to outsiders from the get-go.

In short, from this standpoint Norwegians are not hostile, nor are they warm and fuzzy. Norwegian culture is just a different animal altogether from what most people in the UK and the US are used to.

This having been said, and keeping in mind that the country has high-held ideals of individual worth and hard work over class-consciousness, I have seen many examples of blatant classism and racism. I have seen these in every country I have been in...I think they stood out more to me in Norway for the dual reasons that was so little intrinsic diversity and that I, too, was initially caught up in the rather idealized perception of the country and it's culture that so many visitors tend to come in with.

I have heard a number of Norwegians complain about how overregulated the country is, and in fact I was unsuccessful in obtaining a work permit to continue on with the cultural preservation project in which I had been successfully involved by invitation for months. Again, it is a different beast. Crime is lower, salaries are higher, taxes and prices are astronomical, and medical care is a mixed bag...but, despite the frustrations of those who experience it, it does not leave a citizen in danger of becoming destitute within weeks if a family member has a chronic illness, as is the case in the States.

Of course, every country has a range of subcultures. Northern Norway is very, very different from Southern Norway, for example. Some of the rural Northern areas are far from socially restrained regarding speaking back to law enforcement officials, for example. I refer to the fact that it is legal to swear in anger at a law enforcement officer up north, but not down south.

I had the unusual experience of working closely with a group of traditional boatbuilders creating a Viking ship, and I must say that they are the best men I have ever known in my life.

With these men and with a handful of other mixed friends and acquaintances, in sharp contrast to the highly constrained albeit (usually, but not always) polite intercourse which was the norm in the broader society, I spent quite a few hours in deep personal sharing and uproarious laughter.

By the same token, after all that we had shared, when it came time to leave the country, I could not expect and did not receive more than a terse handshake.

So do not expect Norway to be "comfortable" in the same way that your home has been if you are from a different culture. The odds of your success in finding happiness there will, in my experience and opinion, range widely depending on your own personal temperament and the segment of the rather mixed society into which you attempt to integrate.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 04:37    
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Hello. I feel as if though I`ve connected with a soul mate. I agree with you 100 % on your views on Norway. I was born abroad but grew up in Norway because my Norwegian mother wanted to moved there when I was very young. I regret that move more than I can ever express. I feel as if my entire life has been stolen from me and utterly wasted. I will never be able to express in full what a sad, depressing, unfriendly and xenophobic place I grew up in. But now, finally, I`ve moved back to the country of my birth, and I shall never return to Norway again. I`ve learned an important lesson, happiness can definitely not be measured in oil riches. As a foreigner in Norway, you will never truly fit or integrate. Unless you are an ethnic Norwegian you will never feel that your`re a part of society.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 04:45    
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My wife reacted to the same thing, she is from Kazakhstan. Kids in Norway spend 6 years in kindergarten and never learn anything pedagogic. All they do is play and sing and go walks. And it is expensive having your kids in kindergarten in Norway. Where we live now, our daughter goes to a grade A kindergarten for free, great location, free meals and transportation etc. And the kids learn, they learn every day. Norway is the number one overrated place on earth in my opinion and soon I`ll write an extensive message on this board backing that very claim. I owe it to Norway to share with the world my terrible experiences living there.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 04:50    
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I`ve lived and worked in Norway for 38 years. I have strong opinions about Norway, a lot of it is negative. The Norwegian "superiority" phenomenon is a sickness deeply rooted in a strong sense of "inferiority". Read about the 100 % Norwegian invention "janteloven" and you`ll understand why Norway is NOT a good place to live despite excessive oill riches. I`ll write more later.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 07:15    
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That`s strange, we moved to the US and now we have a great healthcare plan, visio plan, dental plan, pension plan etc through our jobs. We have our daughter going to a grade A kindergarten for free with free meals and free transportation.She had a number of vaccines for free as well in the US, unlike in Norway. Prices are far below that of Norway and taxes are well below. I`m a nurse, I make more money in the US than I did in Norway, far better. We have great friends (something we did not have in Norway) and a stimulating environment. USA is as far as we`re concerned, better then Norway in every possible way.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 07:32    
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I`m a nurse and half Norwegian. We moved away from Norway last year. I have worked in Norway for a long time. I wouldn't trust the healthcare system in Norway, it varies a lot in quality. Many people I know feel they do not get proper medical attention, they feel like they`re brushed aside and not taken seriously. They almost feel bothersome and are virtually forced to leave the doctor`s office after a short consultation. Norway has one og the highest incidents of cancer in the world. Universal healthcare might sound good on paper, but I would never trust the Norwegian healthcare system with my life. In the US, you get thorough examinations involving scrutinizing tests to make sure of your health status. There are many hospitals and clinics in the US who will see patients without insurance for free. Medicaid cover a lot of low income groups, and for those over 65 we`ve got the equivalent to universal healthcare through medicare. I know many doctors who will do a consultation for 45 dollars. All you need is to be more attentive, it helps. Many people have health coverage through their jobs. In Norway the system works on a much lower professional level in my opinion. I have an infinite list of blunders a mile long committed by the Norwegian healthcare system. Anyway, this is my personal subjective view. I know many many foreigners living in Norway who hate their lives there. I was one of them. No more Norway. never again.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 07:37    
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Wow, you think Oslo is safe? No way, it is one of the most dangerous cities in Europe. It has 4 times higher crime than New York. And many people are scared to death at walking around Oslo alone. We live in Altamonte Springs and have never felt unsafe here. Oslo was far worse.

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article2299327.ece

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 07:47    
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Life expectancy is high because Norwegians in general work less than most, are lazy and have low work ethics. I`ve worked with so many hopelessly lazy Norwegians that I shutter at the thought.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 08:14    
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You only paid 20 dollars for a doctor visit? I pay 35 dollars for 10 minutes, excluding blood and urine tests etc.

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 08:15    
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35 dollars excluding tests in Norway I mean.

Jonty
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4/13/2011 09:30    
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Norway's beautiful. Come for a holiday. Don't move here. There are many places with far better potential for growth who will welcome you. Even the Norwegians are leaving Norway. The ex-pats not tied to Norway by kids started leaving about 5 years ago when they saw the way the place was going.

It's actually easy to work out why you shouldn't come. Calculate your income, take off 38%, work out how much you'll spend on food, heating ... the basics and then work out how much you'll have left for "fun" and trips to see family wherever they are.

I reckon it should take you 30 minutes to see Norway is best left to the Norwegians who increasingly, seem to be work shy. Maybe that's why they try and get foreigners to come here (or maybe they realise foreigners are often too dumb to work out what their disposable income will be before it's too late and they're actually here)

edit 13/4/11. Thank you Mr. Honest. Another strategy is to work out how much you will need to earn nett in Norway to improve the quality of life you have now. If you put a value on your time, charge for time spent translating Norwegian documents and replying in Norwegian, applying for work permits, residence permits, driving license, house insurance on top of dealing with all the paperwork you continue to receive from your old tax collectors, car registration departments, electoral roll etc..
I waited an hour for the tax collector switchboard in Norway to answer the phone. That's £50 worth of my time wasted before I even try and achieve anything.
In the UK, when the inland revenue screw up the tax codes of millions of people and no-one can get through to them on the phone since it's up to YOU to contact the inland revenue to fix it, it's an issue in the media. Are you going to listen to and understand the Norwegian equivalent of "You and Yours"? The World at One? PM? Today? No. You'll be watching the BBC World Service telly or CNN probably! If you're watching Norwegian telly, you'll get content in Samisk, Bokmal and Nynorsk, the three languages recognised as Norwegian.

You'd better get busy with your Berlitz, learning how OCR works and getting a bullet-proof, legal-standard translation software.

If the language you need to translate is too technical for your software, you'll have to find a lawyer, many of whom, work as little as the rest of the Norwegians.

I went to see a lawyer when I was unpaid about £11,000 for some work in Norway. He said he'd be in touch when he'd done a bit of digging. never heard a thing from him.

The alternative is hiring a translation bureau.

Now then, how much extra do you need to earn to make all this worth while?

mrhonest
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4/13/2011 14:27    
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You nailed the Norway experience very well with your accurate description. Well done.

Scandinaviannew
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4/17/2011 06:17    
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I'm glad to have found this site. I moved to Norway to be with my boyfriend in Jan 2011. We are expecting a baby. Coming from America, anyone should warned to cut back on expectations, whether its in the social realm or healthcare or just the ways things are done here in general.

I am sure not all we have seen is true of every Norwegian but in my encounters i find them to be a bit cold, yes no smiles, no sense of humor, no regard for anyone else, the word "excuse me" escapes them, I have been bumped into in supermarkets, in hallways, and streets and no one says excuse me or I'm sorry. You will even seem strange if you use those words, no one seem to care when their personal space is invaded, unlike in the US where we have that unspoken personal perimeter that nobody dares to enter.Oh another thing, they don't queue here, its strange, you get to the hotel and you are standing there waiting for your turn, suddenly someone who knows the system better dashes to the counter.
When it comes to healthcare, it is rationed, you will get an appointment of their choice by mail and if you are pregnant you can see a local physician, in my case the local physician did not speak Engelsk, did not know what quinines were, could not calculate my due date, was dressed like a teenage receptionist, in fact I thought she was an intake medical assistant or so until my boyfriend told me that that was the doctor. This illustration is not represent all docs in norway, but being my first time to a doc here, I got really scared and wanted to go back home.

I've travelled to many places in the world, in fact I was born in Africa, I am yet to find something to keep in Norway, our dream is to settle in the US, No matter what, I love America!

mrhonest
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4/18/2011 07:27    
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Thank you for writing, I understand 100% what you are talking about. I spent 38 years in Norway, 1 month would have been enough for me. Good luck to you. And yes, the USA is the best no matter what.

TAJOHNS
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4/19/2011 10:07    
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Hello all positive people ;) I see that many of you have a lot of frustration, something that is not uncommon when you enter a new culture with another language. I have lived in the US for 4 years and it was a nice experience. Didnt meet to many of your kind of American, the bitter ;). I had many friends in the US and I still keep in contact. Still I must tell that American work ethics is overrated. You are all taught that you work so hard so you think its true. Its a lot of talks and less work. As my friends say, they are master in talking up what they do. If they move a pencil they can make it sound like a huge achievement. People dont leave the office before the boss, they rather sit and do close to nothing to pretend they are busy. Also without any supervision people will not preform to good. Well now I balanced things out a little bite ;). That been said, not all people here work hard, but in general less talk and more work. US is a nice country and there are a lot to see, and I will go back to visit for sure in the future. Just had to write here because of all the negative comments. As for media of course it is a lot of propaganda in the US, but it is also a lot of propaganda here too. As for work possibilities, they are very slim in the US for now, and for most people the wage wil be better in Norway even if adjusted according to prices. For some the US can be favorable, self- employed with success and office work. For most other things it is a fight for the dollar. Wage is very low for manual labor etc.
Ok I think this is enough for now. I am looking forward to get som bitter comments ;).

Jonty
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4/20/2011 09:44    
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Hurling insults at people isn't going to encourage anything but flame wars and discourage contributions to the debate.

Many Norwegian civil servants have no alternative but to implement laws passed by the Norwegian parliament and the politicians.

I have met many great Norwegians who have tried to bend every rule to help me but their work is usually wrecked by another government department.

Basically, it's UDI's job to keep you out of Norway and Skatteetaten's job to make sure you pay tax there and it's is perfectly normal for someone to come toNorway, work for many years paying hundreds of thousands in tax to Norway and for the Norwegian state to interpret its laws in way you are owed nothing by it.

Even worse though is by trying to come to Norway, you blight your record. If you say you have been living in Norway in an application to, for example, work on a contract in the oil sector in Azerbaijan, the Norwegians will say "XXX has worked in Norway but is not a Norwegian resident and ...."

Having years of your life you cannot account for where you apparently haven't existed much anyway is the kind of thing that might have you flagged up a terrorist or being "dodgy" in some other.

Yes. You can be classed as "living in Norway for tax purposes" yet be refused a residency permit even after working there for 20 odd years, having a house there, having kids there.

If you want to SETTLE somewhere, don't choose Norway.

TAJOHNS
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4/20/2011 10:00    
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Well I am not a sheep farmer ;) Your comment tells me that I hit a weak point.
I have business education and living very good in Norway. I own 3 apartments and just turned 30. I have currently looked for my 4th. Btw I know that if you dont have a good education in the US your wage will be under our minimum wage. There are many jobs that pay around 10 dollars an hour.

mrhonest
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4/24/2011 09:34    
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Norway is a bizarre place. It`s people are overflowing to capacity with insecurity, self worship, lack of common social skills, unrealistic discernment of all things Norwegian, blind egocentric faith, suppressed emotions (depressions etc). A Norwegian will often show a facade of personal "perfection" outwardly, regardless of how much he/she is suffering inwardly. The most important thing is to seem ok and to not promote yourself as an individual too much even though you may have good reason to. It is comparable to sheep, everyone acts similar to their neighbors(like skiing at Easter and buying a cabin in the mountains). There`s an overabundance of hidden tragedy in Norway, lots of depression, lots of suicides. Pseudo perfection is everywhere, lurking quiescently. 4 million citizens, yet more crime in Oslo than they’re able to handle. Rapes, prostitutes, drugs, assaults in the capital of a 4 million citizen stong nation.

A German, a Swede and an Australian I spoke with felt very unsafe roaming the streets of Oslo compared to much larger cities in their own homelands. Geriatrics in Norway is often atrocious, reports of unacceptable conditions are a daily happening in the Norwegian media. My nursing degree from Norway was of inferior quality to that of my new country of residence. People don’t care about eacother’s well being, they leave it all to the government. No human kindless or neigborly humaneness is apparent. We used to live in a neighborhood in Norway for 8 years and never spoke to our neighbors once. We tried inviting them to our house etc but they declined. All of them!

I ve concluded after many years in Norway that Norwegians should indeed confine themselves to their own people and reside in their own land. Yet they travel and live all over the world, but apparently their motivation is to depreciate other countries they`re visiting and downgrade and ridicule other cultures in order to elevate their own mediocrity to altitudinous levels. Funny though, there are more Norwegian citizens living in the USA than US citizens living in Norway. Bizarre!

They swoon over their wealth, their healthcare etc, but yet I know hundreds of Norwegians who were let down by their healthcare system, receiving inefficient care, wrongful diagnosis and dilatory treatment. People with cancer wait for months and maybe years with no treatment.

Norway is in a state of moral decay, religion is becoming obolete and people have become increasingly materialistic and greedy. Material things are essential to Norwegians, they compete for the newest and most expensive cars etc. But it s incredible to me that an avergae home in Oslo goes for 12 million kroner. My aunt in Norway has tooth decay because she can’t afford dentistry. I had 2 fillings done when I lived in Norway, it cost me 7000 kroner.

I know many Norwegians who can’t afford dinner more than once a week because of their monthly fees and total the amount to 30 000 kroner. Many I know can’t afford a telephone either or internet. My parents paid a 12 000 kroner gas bill last month for an average sized house in western Norway.

My list of complaints go on and on and on and on, but my time is limited. I’m an expat so I have grounds for comparison. I would never ever move back to Norway, not even if you paid me.

Life in Norway is so deceptively glorified, so fallaciously delineated that I find it incredible that they’re able to withstand this fictitious perpetuity.

When ranking nations, the UN should take a closer look at the quality of the welfare they praise. It does little good if inferior healthcare is universal, I`d rather pay out of my own pocket to obtain supreme medical attention.

Best wishes,
Expat nurse.

mrhonest
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4/24/2011 09:35    
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The institutions who are responsible for Norway`s human development rankings should take a closer look at their patterns for evaluation. They should conduct a closer look at the low quality of healthcare that`s actually provided, the low quality schools (worst in Europe), the high prices, the moral decay, the pathetic standard of roads, the 100 000 children who live in poverty in a filthy rich country of 4 million citizens etc etc. Norway is not that impressive when you take a closer look......

A new rapport shows that 2 million Norwegians will suffer from tooth decay in the years ahead because they can`t afford the extreme prices for dental care in Norway.

http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/norge/1.7427502

ArtVandelay
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4/24/2011 10:42    
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Wow, the level of Norway-hate on here is quite hilarious.

If you're a normal, easy-going person, you should be able to live a good life in Norway - like in most other countries! Sure, Norwegians have their ways...but put in some effort, and you'll make friends. I guess it's quite human, when you lack sufficient social skills, to blame your situation on the country you live in and its people. This would explain the level of hatred displayed by some of the above posters; social and intellectual ineptitude more than anything else.

Sure, Norway has many flaws - like any other country. Living now in a city (Houston) where it's practically impossible to do anything without a car, I could find plenty of reasons to despair. But looking on the bright side of things, making the most of the opportunities avaliable, always made good things come my way. I suggest some of the above haters try the same. You'll be surprised to find it's possible to live a good life - even in Norway of all places.

ArtVandelay
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4/25/2011 12:46    
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Hahaha. You sir, are a legend!

mrhonest
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5/23/2011 09:13    
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I admire you, thank you for sharing your story. I also had a terrible life in Norway, I`m so thrilled that I`m finally moving out in a couple weeks. Good luck to you!

olav2cv
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5/27/2011 17:39    
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On an exceptionally light note; thanks for leaving Norway. You will not be missed. Honestly.

mrhonest
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5/28/2011 05:55    
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But that`s where you`re wrong Olav, I was a very popular nurse among my patients, and I did a very good job overall during my years in Norway. So probably, I will be missed. Actually, a few times my coworkers went so far as to actually compliment me on the job I did (hard to believe I know, but true nevertheless).

Jonty
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5/28/2011 08:06    
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You're not addressing any of the issues of Norwegians stealing taxes from foreign workers, foreign workers Norwegian pension contributions "disappearing", the Norwegian state not thinking any Norwegian that steals a foreigner's tax contributions should be prosecuted.

Do you think I have had a reply from Toll og Avgifts Direktoratet on what happened to the 350,000NOK worth of tax deducted at source from my work in Norway from 1990 to 1995? No. They can't be bothered.

It took me 6 months to get the papers from UDI I needed to show I had had my residence permit renewal refused and by the time it had come through, Skatteetaten said the time limit to appeal against paying tax TWICE (because the first lot of tax had been stolen by Norwegians) had expired.

Foreigners MUST be made aware they can quite innocently think they are living in Norway when they are only "living in Norway for tax purposes". It's only when things go wrong and they need help they are told "you are just visiting Norway"

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 08:21    
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good for you yellow, I spent 3 different 3month vacations here with my Norwegian husband before moving here permanently last July. And I have been spoiled as well and more welcome than ever by these people as well as immigrants from all over the world. Racism is most definitely something I have not seen at all in 4 years as people are treated as equals for the most part here in Kongsvinger. Good to hear some positive feedback for a change. I think the ones doing nothing but bad mouthing and complaining just expect perfectionism their way or no way if you know what I mean ;)

I love it here and plan on happily living here indefinitely...hugs

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 08:53    
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Hi Joanna, most in here are blowing things all out of proportion, I guess it really depends on where in Norway you live, your own outlook, your attitude and your willingness to want to fit in. I personally have been very welcomed in this community (Kongsvinger) as well as Skien, Fyresdal and Larvik where my husbands family and friends reside. I go to norskkurs to learn the language as most norwegians appreciate effort more than anything, but they do understand english for the most part.

Thing is that most are not outgoing like most of us elsewhere, but if you make an effort to make friends with them, they will respond at least where I am. I can honestly say that I have more friends than I can keep up with, but I always try to balance things out between them all and still have some time to ourselves :P

Yes taxes are high but when you balance out the cost of living to payrate and takehome pay, the healthcare and such, I can say that you make out far better here than anywhere stateside for sure! There is no way in hell I could ever afford to own a new Audi A6 living in the states on what I made for a living, let alone keep up with all my other bills.
So don't let others scare you, it's all in the way you yourself choose to live and what you make of your life here. No one can live for you, try to make the best of things and don't let negativity take over your life here ;) I can say that my neices and nephews are all top of the class smart ranging in age of 4 to 16 and can fluently speak both english and norwegian. And for the record my 5 yr old neice can not only count to a million, knows her abc's but can also read some, so don't listen to the jerk saying kids play and not learn here! feel free to email me in pm's and I will send you my email addy...hugs

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 09:02    
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THANK YOU Minerva ;) well said :)

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 10:21    
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UGH

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 10:24    
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Uh I think you need to get off your high horse dkiller as I am a 6 generation born and raised american! The American work sytem is damn near the worst in the world and most states are now a right to work state which enables employers to fire at will without any valid reason what so ever! The pay rate is by far the worst ever unless you are a professional (doctor, highend lawyer, or such)!
And as for insurance, ha! If by chance you can get insurance through ones employer, then you pay through the nose for it and then pay again at the doctors and double for specialists and many tests aren't covered. And if you have no insurance, you might as well lay down in the streets and die stateside! Elderly staeside have to decide whether to eat or buy perscription meds or pay the rent and lights because they can't live on what little they get from social security. As for welfare? there are far more people on the system in the states than anywhere else in the world and they keep having babies just to get even more cash and foodstamps (most of which are drug addicts). Drug addicts and alcoholics get far better treatment medically. We won't even go there when it comes to illegal immigrants flooding the borders and getting all the free handouts.

So before you continue to bash Norway, you need to pull your head out the dark side and see things for what they truly are. The states are far from a bed of roses and are definitely NOT the best place in the world to live. Norway did not hit the number one place to live for 7 years running for no reason, they got there because it was facts that put them there!

I loved growing up in the states so don't get me wrong, but it's not all it's cracked up to be anymore and Norway isn't anywhere near as bad as you make it out to be. It's your overall attitude that sucks, not where you live. I honestly don't ever see you totally satisfied with where you live because nothing will ever be good enough for people such as yourself sadly.

My husband works a middle of the road job and we live perfectly well on one income here, and stateside I made total crap pay being a CNA and working 12 hour shifts and still never had enough to cover all the bills. Once I know enough of the language I already have a job lined up and will be making 5 times the money doing the same for far less hours and we will live like royalty in comparrison. So stop trying to drag everyone down with you, in my eyes Norway will be thrilled to see you gone. And I think for the most part, your throwing insults to people here shows just how IGNORANT & ARROGANT you are. good day.

olav2cv
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5/28/2011 11:05    
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Now that was a different message altogether ;-)
I am very happy for you, having been (very) popular among your patients - and doing a good job. That's exactly how it should be. So you should really be missed. Even by your coworkers who gave you praise for your work.
What I cannot understand, is the difference in how you describe yourself an how you describe people around you and the systems that you clearly haven't managed to understand.
Well, I understand your self-praisal, which must come from your heart, but where does all the negativism and slander come from?
Being able to say nice things about yourself, I would have thought you might also be able to do the same towards your host country Norway - and its people.

mrhonest
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5/28/2011 11:38    
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It`s very comforting to know that your standpoint is as close as it gets to being an isolated opinion. You need to get enlightened. One of the worst things about Norwegians and their attitudes regarding foreigners, is the stuff they say behind your back (and never to your face). I`m sure many who know you (or know of you) are speaking derogatorily of you. Sure you may laugh, roll your eyes, shake your head, but I`m the one who has lived 42 years in Norway. So I have a strong advantage over you. But happily, now my life has changed, and is vastly improved. We`re now living in the USA. In Coral Springs, FL.

Tazzbaby
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5/28/2011 14:02    
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Bravo Art, you said it all in a nutshell ;)

mrhonest
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5/29/2011 13:36    
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I appreciate your feedback, and thanks for the articles. I have of course already discovered all of them. I`ll get back to you very soon with a full reply. I just wanted to say something briefly. It takes some years of living in Norway to realize what it`s really like to reside there. I`m a nurse and I meet many Norwegian pensioners every week who struggle terribly with their economy from month to month. They have nothing left to live on by the end of the month and need to borrow money from family, even myself. Several ethnic Norwegians I know say themselves that Norway is steps away from becoming a communist state. Take into consideration all the fees, taxes and personal ties and restrictions individuals face and I`d say the term "communism" is a pretty fair assessment. Too bad Norway has abandoned Christian values in favor of their passionate crush on Islam. Almost 80% of Norwegians consider themselves to be atheists you know. I have a reliable article stating this fact. I added another interesting article below that you might be interested in:

http://www.jpost.com/JerusalemReport/TheRegion/Article.aspx?id=221553

ArtVandelay
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5/29/2011 22:44    
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I can't help but feeling terribly sorry for someone who wasted 42 years of his life living in a country he hates. Sorry buddy, you will never get those years back. They are gone forever!

I'm sure it's even more painful to know that I, one of those "nazi loving aryans" you so despise currently have a GREAT time enjoying life in the U.S. of A. Yeah, I know I don't deserve it, but at least take comfort in the fact that I'll one day move back to that hellish nightmare of a country consistently ranked as the best country in the world to live in.

Now, a little disclaimer - to anyone who is relocating to Norway and is discouraged by some of the posts here.

Internet forums generally appeal to haters. All the americans who happily relocated to Norway do not feel an urge to go online to share their experience. The haters do. This is the general rule of internet forums, and it applies to this topic as well.

But no country is perfect. And it is perfectly true that Norwegians sometimes tend to be arrogant. We are wealthy, well educated, well traveled, in good health, and we know it. We are often unable to realize that our society, like all societies, has many shortcomings.

For instance, I know for a fact that many middle class Norwegians who get a taste of U.S. middle class life, struggle when they move back to Norway. If you make decent money, life here in the U.S. is simply extremely comfortable. There's no getting around that.

But there's always gives and takes. No country is perfect. Here in Texas we are able to live like kings on normal Norwegian salaries because a segment of the population is willing to do all our work for next to nothing. It sometimes feels like being part of the rich minority in a third world country.

Which is, of course, extremely comfortable, and I love it. But do I want Norway to be that way? I'm not so sure.

Tazzbaby
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5/31/2011 03:39    
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Thank you Art, and please be sure to reitterate that unless you make big money stateside, or live on Norwegian payrates, then living stateside isn't all it is cracked up to be ;)
My husband and I live very comfortably on one middle income (his) as I am in school at the moment. I know for a fact that there is no way possible to live on a single income stateside, without having a highend proffessional position in a lucrative job. But once I begin work hopefully before the holidays and only working 37 & a half hours per week for 4 times the income, we will live like royalty compared to what I was used to stateside, killing myself working 60 hours per week. I love my home here in Norway as well as the people and am very glad to have moved here and anyone wishing to move here, please don't listen to these hate mongers as that is all they are. They have nothing better to do with their lives than to bring others down with them as their miserable existence won't be happy unless they try to make others miserable with them ;) I call them DRAMA QUEENS! So consider the source friends ;) there is no perfect place on earth but I assure you, life here is wonderful.

olav2cv
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5/31/2011 03:49    
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Hear, hear!

"Drama Queens" was a good one.

After my first disbelief when reading some of the hate letters, I now laugh of what they write - all the way to the library :-)

Jonty
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5/31/2011 04:52    
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Of course you're happy. You don't work and consequently haven't had you to pay tax in Norway.

Let's see how you feel when your residence permit renewal is refused 2 months after your first child is born in Norway and you discover in 20 years 400,000NOK worth of tax has disappeared creating a hole in your Norwegian pension so you decide you want to sell up and leave Norway .... how much money are you allowed to take out of the country?

How long have you been here? I thought Norway was great until I found out my tax deductions were not reaching Skatteetaten

Polish ambassador in Norway goes public regarding abuse of Polish workers http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2003/07/28/374559.html

Child labour in Norway. I've seen it. Lithuanian kids unloading furniture into apartments newly built by a Lithuanian contractor. I reported it. Nothing changed. http://www.gardsdrift.no/id/9852.0

http://www.absentia.no/article.aspx?articleID=1500 Polish men get 24nok per hour, polish women 14,- in Norway

The Norwegians need the foreign workers but they don't need any obligations to them so that will explain why when your tax deductions are stolen in Norway YOU are responsible to pay them again. It's not Skatteetaten's fault if your tax was stolen by your employer. You must pay the tax again. That is the law.

Tazzbaby
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5/31/2011 05:03    
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Uhm for your information I will recieve my permanent residency soon as I complete my school hours and won't need to renew for 4 years when I will have the opportunity to get Norwegian citizenship if I so choose or continue every 5 years for permanent residency. I am married to a Norwegian with a good income, so I had no problems getting straight through the process in weeks rather than months or years most have to deal with. I was also approved for work immediately because we followed the requirements to a "T" and supplied them with all info needed and more. So it all depends on the individual circumstances and how well one complies to the rules to begin with ;)
Oh and for the record my husband paid taxes for both of us this year as I have been here for almost a year now permanently.

Jonty
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5/31/2011 05:13    
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Tazz, if your married to a Norwegian, all well and good. You're lucky you're a girl. The men I know who have been married in Norway are mainly divorced and out of Norway now. I know a British couple who made sure their kid was born in Norway so hed was Norwegian. They divorced, Mum doesn't work, lives comfortably in Oslo on welfare. Dad is in UK now.

Jonty
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5/31/2011 05:21    
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Art, this thread is about about moving to Norway. You're Norwegian and moved AWAY from Norway. What do you know about being a foreigner moving to Norway?

I don't post on the "moving to the US" thread because I've never done it. You've never moved to Norway. What are you contributing apart from saying you moved away from the greatest country in the world?

Tazzbaby
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5/31/2011 05:38    
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Well for one thing he no doubt left to try escaping the child support he'd be required to pay here as he wouldn't get away with it like many do stateside. I raised both my boys as a divorced single Mom in the states and never recieved a dime from my ex (their father) except for about 6 months which he quit his job and worked under the table from then on until he ended up on disability many years later. The US has more welfare recipients than anywhere else in the world and a good portion of them are drug addicts, alcoholics or babies having babies after babies with no end in sight sadly.

It has become commonplace stateside and they even have private clubs in high schools planning these pregnancies, how sick is that? So the US has no room to talk when it comes to welfare, employment and many other issues including taxes! TN. taxes everything including groceries as do many other states. Many states have state taxes as well as federal and medicare taxes. property taxes are paid twice if you live within the city limits in many states as you pay for city and county taxes both.

Employees have no rights in many states as they have become right to work states giving all control to employers who can fire at will with no reason what so ever. Here that would never ever happen thankfully. And the largest percentage of jobs in the US pay minimum wages in which is way below the cost of living standards and hadn't even been raised significantly in well over a decade before this last raise a few years ago. Before that most workers in TN. and many other states lived on a lousy $5.15 an hour killing themselves to only go in debt or starve. There are more homeless people in the US than anywhere else in the world as well, I've yet to see anyone homeless here. The unemployment rate in the states far exceeds the rate here as well...I could go on and on with pros and cons here, but I haven't allday to spend on a forum which thrives on hating and trashing Norway and it's people. My final statement is this; people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones ;)

mrhonest
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5/31/2011 05:46    
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I agree, lets keep this thread reserved for people who want to share their experiences of moving to Norway. In my case, this happened when I was 4. I regard it the worst thing that ever happened to me, and for good reason. As far as Tazzbaby and Art (or is it mr Costanza?) is concerned, I have reached a point in my life where I have no interest in discussing anymore whether or not I should enjoy living in Norway. I`m way passed that now. I`ve been having that discussion with people for decades. Now I`m content just sharing my frustrations and regrets with other foreigners (and they are many) who despise Norway. Sorry, I will not even take the effort to even read Tazzbaby and Art`s responses at all. I`ll leave that to Dkiller who is lucky enough to have not wasted as many years as I have in Norway. And to those who still are in doubt about it, I lived in Norway for many years and always hated it. My father hated it also, he is also a foreign resident.That`s why I was always 100% sure, even as a teenager, that I would rather die than change to Norwegian citizenship, or spend my life in Norway. And for the record, my life (and my wife and kid`s lives) have changed from terrible to very good since we moved to the USA. There `s not even any comparison, USA is better for us in every way. Art, Norway is waiting for you, you should come home now. Although there are more of your kind in USA than in Norway(-:

Jonty
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5/31/2011 06:03    
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Thank you Tazz. You have brought up a topic that will set alarm bells ringing for many single men who have a met a cute Norwegian girl who wants them to move to Norway.

Norway's a great place to be a Norwegian girl!

Jonty
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5/31/2011 06:30    
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I suppose the best advice I can give, especially to men, who tend to be regarded as expendable by society, is stay in your native country. You are at least not having to justify being somewhere you don't "belong" all the time.

OK. Here are my facts. I came to Norway in 1989. Worked in Norway 1/2 of every year (couldn't work more due to immigration restrictions) until 1995 and paid 350000NOK tax between 1990 and 1995. That was supposed to go towards my Norwegian pension. It didn't. Where's the money? I don't know. Tollogavgiftsdirektoratet ignore my emails.

Bought a house with my Norwegian ex in Norway 1997/988, got a residence permit. Son born in 1999, two months afterwards my residence permit renewal was refused on the basis I didn't need one since my work took me out of Norway so I had been returned to being someone who didn't live in Norway.

2007, my employer (2 Norwegian women) goes "bust" having lost 1.5 million kroner (61,000NOK of it due to me) and it is discovered they have been financing their lavish lifestyle by keeping some of the money they had been deducting from my taxes.

I am liable to pay this tax again with interest.

The women have not been prosecuted.

UDI I say I must register in Norway at the police who tell me I don't need to. I have no idea where home is.

I have a house and a son in Norway, pay taxes there but don't live there and my Norwegian pension has mostly been stolen and no-one is interested in fixing this.

If this sounds like your kind of place, come.

mrhonest
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5/31/2011 06:46    
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I really appreciate the many nice people from England that I`ve had the pleasure of exchanging views with over the years. They are not afraid of sharing their thoughts and being honest about it at all times. I find there are too many expat Americans who are Norwegian ass kissers, that annoys me.

Jonty
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5/31/2011 07:45    
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Some of the greatest people I have met have been Norwegians in Norway and it has lots of good aspects to it BUT, the Norwegians are not that much different to anyone else. They don't want foreigners in Norway anymore than the Americans want Mexicans, the British want immigrants, the French want Algerians, The Poles want Ukrainians or Belarussians or Norwegians even want Swedes. The Swedes coming to work in Norway is proving quite a controversy.

In the UK, you'll find some workshy yob saying the foreigners are taking all the jobs when the fact is the UK, like Norway and other places, would collapse without foreign labour.

The difference in Norway is that I know how the migrant workers in the UK feel. I'm a British migrant worker in Norway and, as I have said repeatedly, 350000NOK in taxes I have had deducted which I thought were going towards a Norwegian pension and I would only be able to collect that by leaving Norway since almost ANYONE can come to Norway and "live" there as long as they are working.

When people ask me where I live, I answer "in which respect? "For tax purposes", the Norwegians class me as living in Norway but in other ways, I'm just visiting Norway"

Loads of nations abuse migrant workers and singling out the Norwegians for doing that is hardly fair.

Tazzbaby
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5/31/2011 11:09    
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Sadly I agree, too many men especially from the US will do anything to escape paying proper child support, you can find this to be fact simply by going to the state department sites of any state in the US unfortunately. It seems to be a growing trend internationally as well, but Norway makes sure their men pay and in my eyes that is a good thing. If only the US would learn a valuable lesson from this!

Jonty
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6/1/2011 03:17    
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So, Taz, Norway forces men to pay their child support by refusing to renew their residence permits so they have to go somewhere they ARE allowed to live continuously?

What job are you going to do after school?

Tazzbaby
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6/1/2011 11:48    
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Norway will hunt them down to get what is owed to mothers unlike the US giving up unless you are loaded and can afford an attorney to push them into looking harder. I have a sister-in-law whose youngest childs father tried hiding in Turkey to keep from paying, but they found him and he has to pay now.

I have worked as a CNA for 17 years in the state and am also firstaid certified as well as had special training for skilled units in both nursinghomes as well as short-termlong-term care centers and rehab units. So I have an opportunity for 2 jobs at the moment but am leaning towards working for the state as the benefits are really too good to pass up on.

Jonty
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6/6/2011 07:53    
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I don't think the insults and flame wars on here help anyone.

This isn't necessarily a chat room.

Whilst some people MAY have married a Norwegian and may believe they are safely a part of the Norwegian system, others will be thinking of moving here to study, because they've been offered a contract or because they've met a Norwegian they're having a relationship. That relationship may not progress to marriage and may never yield children. Even if children are born out of a relationship and are Norwegian citizens because they are born here, that is far from being any passport to being allowed to live in Norway.

Anyone thinking of coming to Norway must be brutally honest with themselves about what they will earn and the cost of living. A litre of milk in the UK is about 75p. In Norway it's about £1.60. Polish women are working for an average of £1.50 an hour in Norway, Polish men an average of £2.60 an hour.

Wages here can SEEM attractive if you think you can life as cheaply in Norway as you do elsewhere but with the stealing of foreign workers tax deductions rife in Norway and the uncertainties around rights to reside in Norway getting ever murkier, I would need to be convinced it made sense for most WORKERS (I discount from this women who have married Norwegian men and have a right to stay in Norway even if they don't work because they have become housewives in Norway). I don't think there are many options for men to come to Norway, marry a Norwegian women and live as "house husbands" indefinitely.

If you're thinking of coming to Norway, you will need to spend hundreds of hours learning how UDI and skatteetaten will treat you and, something I have to worry about at the moment, how £100,000 worth of inheritence is to be administered since I haven't earned any money in the UK where the funds are, have paid tax in Norway for years but am classed as british merely working in Norway, having a son and a house in Norway and paying tax in Norway. A huge lump of the one inheritance I will ever receive is liable to be taken by a country that says I don't live there.

If this is what you want, come and get some of it!

Journalist
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6/16/2011 04:06    
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Hello. Can you please contact me?
I am a journalist at Bergens Tidende, and want to hear your story.

Anyone else with an opinion about NORDMENN, NORWAY or/and Bergen?

Send me a tip from your mobile SMS to 2211 or 2211@bt.no

Katy67
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7/2/2011 08:04    
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Hello.

I'm a Norwegian born citizen, and my mother is German.

I know a lot about Norway looked through foreigner's view, both through my mother's experience with the country (she moved here in 1960), but also through several contacts we have had through my childhood. I look upon my family as beeing quite "international", since we have had friends from many different countries.

Coming here in 1960 for my mother was beyond easy. She was pregnant and didn't speak the language, and also the Norwegians hadn't forgotten World War 2. She was used to the very social life in Germany, all the restaurants, all her friends and family, and came to a kind of "closed" country feeling very isolated and alone. I have heard her story many times from her. Being a child of a German mother wasn't always easy either, as she learned raised her in kind of a German way, which many times collided with the Norwegian standards that most Norwegian kids, whose parents were both Norwegian, were raised. And sometimes I heard that I was a "nazi child"... That has changed of course, and it IS much different today.

We also used to have American neighbours who were based here through NATO. They got all their services they needed through NATO and the American school, but I spent alot of time together with those kids, and learned American English in a jiffy. I got to come with them to the American school and the American shops and arrangements, and had one of the best times of my life whilst they were our neighbours!

I remember everytime my German family came to Norway, they thought that Norway was too regulated, too expensive, the roads were terrible, and they complained alot about the Norwegian system. For US to go to Germany was almost like coming to heaven... Just to listen to the radio which actually had pop MUSIC, several TV channels (YES - WITH advertisement - but I can't remember that it HARMED us...), the German freeway, all the restaurants we visited without being ripped off, the cheap shopping, etc... FREEDOM! The car was usually loaded every time we returned to Norway...

Now I have never tried to LIVE in Germany myself, and my mother never returned. Many things HAVE become better in Norway, but I DO recognise much of the critizism given above here. My mother has lots of friends here now though, both Norwegian, German and from other countries. She likes it here now, but it took a long time to really get settled...

The work ethics here: Well, nothing's "black or white". I know many who work really hard, but I also know that many abuses the Norwegian system. Many Norwegians who live in the country have difficulties finding jobs. Then it's easier to get benefit and pretend that you're sick...

Near the cities people usually work hard, as it's more expensive to LIVE near the cities also. If you don't have a cheap place to live, you have to work quite hard, or get a well paid job. The prices of a house or apartment near the cities where the jobs are, are getting insane, and it's still rising.

Norwegians are also hard to get befriended with I think. Even though I have lived here all my life, I find it difficult to get to know new people. I stick to my old friends who I have known a long time, but I actually find foreigners easier to get in contact with...

Although most of the posts above here are quite negative, I understand why. It's not all negative here in Norway though, but it depends what you work with, where you come from, etc... I can't really imagine HOW difficult it can be for some immigrants, but I DO understand that it's very difficult for many.

To get in contact with UDI or Skatteetaten IS actually very difficult, even for us Norwegians. You can't expect to get proper help in the local offices, and are just being told to call another office in another city, after having spent up to 1 hour trying to get through on the various switchboards. I have tried several times myself.

I am now a local politician who wants to contribute to change this. But I'm just afraid that I'll bang my head against a brick wall. It's NOT easy to change anything. But maybe getting help from the media (like Bergens Tidende) could help? But the scandal of the Norwegian state should be written in national newspapers, and not only in the local press. I have tried to contact several national newspapers, but the answer has been that it's probably too much work to find out of all this, as the newspapers don't have the resources to get journalists on to these digging jobs. Only when there are scandals, and the stories can be really good, then the newspapers invest in using time on digging.

One day I'd like to move out of Norway myself. When my kids get older, as THEY are quite happy here. I just have to figure out WHICH country to move to. Some place with stable, nice weather I think ;-)

Freya76
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7/5/2011 15:23    
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Wow, alot of weegie bashing here. I am British and my husband is Norwegian. I lived in Norway for 6 years, and we moved to the UK in 2008 and have been here since. We could consider a move back to Norway in the future. By no means is life any easier in the UK, infact life in Norway is alot easier. I have 3 children. When I lived in Norway I had full support from the government to take 1 years maternity leave, gave birth in a lovely hospital, was supported with breastfeeding and did not have to put up with anti-breastfeeding attitudes in public, was able to go back to work with ease due to a great childcare system, and was able to work more flexi hours to work around my family. My husband too. I fionsihed work early Fridays, and spent more time with my family than the UK. Since moving to the UK I have had 2 births, and one was all that is bad about a UK hospital, overcrowded and a lack of midwives. My maternity leave was cut short due to money, although finding childcare that was affordable was a nightmare. In the end, i decided to stay home, and struggle along. My husband does not get home until 7 due to a commute to London for his job, and I hated breastfeeding in piblic due to prudish attitudes of the British public. I was given little support from midwives too.
Norway supports the family, the UK does minimally, and childcare in Norway is scoieties issue, in the UK it's a womans. Uk is very conservative comapred to Uk with regards to these things.
Yes, Norwegians on apperance do not come across always as open, but I have gotten to know many Norwegians, and they are the kindest and lovliest people. Going to a aprty people meet each other with a hand shake, and great friends with a hug and kiss. In Uk, it's always a bit uncomfortablea as noone knows whether to kiss or hand shake, and so usually just stand there and nod their heads with a 'hello'. Once you know Norwegians, they will do anything for you,a nd look out for you. They are loyal and can be trusted.
My 2 eldest children go to school in the UK. Yes, they started earlier than in Norway and my daughter is now 6, but my boy of 4 is struggling. He finds school very draining, long days, being forced to read and write when he is clearly not ready and very little play outside. The kids in British school are often stressed and if yur child is more on the hyper side, this behaviour is often labelled as 'naughty' in British schools. The teachers even admit that thye wish they could go down the scandinavian route and have more learn through play, and less classroom based activties, fewer tests, and more focus on outdoor learning. Many British parents hate sending their kids off to school (or shoudl I say babies) when they are only 4, when they are clearly not ready for it. The Norwegians start later, but they catch up. My husband has done well with his career, and he started to learn to read at age 7.
British children spent aloty time in organised activties. they don't play outside anymore, and there iusn't that much access to lovely countryside if you live in the cities - it's a drive out. Norwegian kids appear more balanced and agile, whereas British kids often are molly coddled, because of fears of child molesters and traffic.
Norwegians do have a strong work ethic, they are productive, and i have seen more time wasting in a British office. Norwegian attention to detail is excellent, and product knowledge of shop assistants is far better than a British persons. often people in British shops do not know their product.
I don't unbderstand why people judge Norwegians as being 'shallow' because they don't strike up a philisophical conversation from the start. Firstly, people are different and all people like to talk about different things. I have met logical Brits like I have met logical Norgies who don't talk like this, but I have also met emotional types of both nationalities who do....But generally, with both nationalities, we talk about life in general, kids, work, whats happening in the news, plans etc,,,,I don't recall breaking out into big deep discussions about the meaning of life with every Brit I have met. Maybe when i was a student there was a lot of thta going on, but as woman in my 30's, people discuss life as it is......
No, Norwegians are not as demonstrative when they speak, but for me Spanish people can be quite exhausting because they are the extreme to Brits. You learn the codes of behaviour, and go along with it. The people who are critical of Norgies are the same people who would not like Czechs because they too come across as rude and customer services isn't like the US for example. Or would find the Spanish direct and not easy to trust (I have lived in all this countries by the way). You can find negatives in all nationalities, but at the same time you can find the positives. It is easier to focus on the negatives when you are strugglin living in the country, just because you yourelf are feeling home sick, or unsure of yourself, or just fed up of not being with 'your own kind'. I understand all this, I went through it too. But living inUK, my bitterness that I have felt in countries has gone, because now I feel OK, and can identify fully with the Brits. I now just moan about the system, and the rubbish public services :-D
The main point is that living abroad is never smooth running. You have good and bad days. Good days you get along with the people, see all the positives in them, and lvoe the country. Bad days you hate all of it and long for home. Since being inUK, I have the classic reversed culture shock. I have Brits annoying too now, they too can be reserved and distant, and rude, although the pleases and thankyoushave been refreshing. BUT, I honestly believe there are not many countries as overly polite as us. the spanish and Czechs and Finns (lived in finland too) were certainly direct and not too many pleases etc.....Brits will alwats physically react to this, because we are extreme with them. we also love to queue, and I have ot met another nationality who does this either.
Fact is, Norway is Norway, it's abeautiful country and the infrastructure is excellent. Yes, it does not have the shabbiness of Brit streets, but to honest, with 3 kids who I fear for every day, it's not important. i just want a good [place for them to grow up. What with university fees and pensions and jobs for the young dissapearing in the UK, I am not quite so sure what kind of future the UK has for them.
Try Norway, get into the heads of the people and just learn how thei opinions are shaped by just their environment. They are not arrogant, they are just proud of their country....I would be too. brits put the UK down all the time.....but that's also just part of our humour, but good god, don't Brits moan!!!!!!
Positives of UK - diversity, great pub culture, concerts, good education if you want it,
Positives of Norway - baeutiful country for the outdoors types, good education if you want it.
As for Norway having an air of superiority about them,,,,,all nationalities have that to some extent....it's just called being proud of who you are, and what';s wrong with that? Oh, and kids are not a nusiance in Norway, as often treated so in UK.

Jonty
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7/5/2011 22:33    
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I'm working on a ship right now and Internet access isn't great but I'll tidy this link up when I get a chance. This not a forum for "bashing" Norwegians. I'm just trying to bring together other expats who have had their tax stolen by their Norwegian employers so a UK MP can bring all the cases together at a higher level than I have managed to reach. There are threads and places to follow other agendas if you have them.

Freya76
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7/6/2011 03:26    
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Well said!
I have no idea about the tax thing. The only experience I have had is the Norwegian government chasing me for taxes for 2 years after I had LEFT the country.

kabjen13
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7/10/2011 18:04    
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Wow. Just wow. I have been reading this forum for over 30 minutes, since its first post over three years ago. It has been both depressing and encouraging all at once. I am American and have only visited Norway, but I absolutely fell in love with it when I was there, especially Bergen. I previously lived in Sweden and am proficient in Swedish. I am grateful that Norwegian is so similar because when I start my Norwegian classes, I think I'll do pretty well. Yes, I am moving to Norway. I have an M.S. in marketing communication and have already made a few job contacts there. But the main reason I am moving to Norway is because I have fallen in love with a Norwegian man. He's a talented artist and musician and he is, by no means, a "typical Norwegian" in his behaviour and actions. Then again, I am not a "typical American", either. The fact that I can fully marry someone of the same gender as me, without any "civil union" this or that or only being available in certain areas speaks volumes to me about Norway. His family have embraced me as one of their own, as well as his friends. Hardly cold or distant, is it? But then again, I am not one who needs to be noticed or complimented all the time (unlike so many Americans); although his mother told him in front of me once how lucky he is to have me. And I am lucky to have him. He and his family are also going out of their way to make sure my transition there will go as smoothly as possible. They are wonderful people.

I am nervous about moving, as anyone would be when embarking on a new life in only slightly familiar territory. My initial worries are money, job security and getting by without Norwegian language fluency for a while. But that's normal, right? I know no place is perfect but I feel a very strong connection to Norway, like it is finally the "home" I belong in. In all honesty, despite the woes of money, high taxes and changing my life around, I welcome the chance to leave the U.S. (and Chicago, after 12 years here). And so what if Norway isn't as "multicultural" or "diverse" as other places. I don't give a damn. In fact, I welcome less diversity now. I've had it up to my ears with all of this propaganda pushed down our throats by politics and self-righteous people here. As one co-worker of mine put it when discussing this with him, "It's better to only deal with one or two types of a**holes, than fifty".

I look forward to my new life in Norway with my fiancé. I know there will be obstacles and issues, but knowing that you are where you're supposed to be helps you overcome a lot of problems and fears. Tusen takk.

Tazzbaby
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7/11/2011 05:08    
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Bravo Kabjen13! I love my life here in Norway, and I agree about propaganda bing shoved down ones throat stateside. Norway and most of EU is so far ahead of the US in many things, it isn't funny. They also have a better respect for life in general as well as family structures here. They speak of this so called nanny crap, which i myself know nothing about nor have I seen any real examples of it where I live. I see very hard working people for the most part, I mean sure there are some on the system here where I am, but not many I can tell you. My husband is very outgoing far from typical Norwegian man, so he knows most everyone here in the city by working in retail most his life as well as union leader for the district. We live very well on one paycheck now, so when I do finish norskkurs and begin working, we will live like royalty as in comparison to the US.
I killed myself working up to 3 jobs at a time to support my boys after my divorce many years ago stateside, and still never had enough to pay everything needed to be paid. The US has become a cut-throat dog eat dog atmosphere and I for one am happy I moved here. Anything I can help you with, please feel free to pm me with your email, and I will do whatever I can to make your transition a pleasant one. I have many links for norsk help as well.

mrhonest
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7/11/2011 05:51    
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How long have you been residing in Norway? I lived there from 1973 until 2010. That`s many years. I`m really glad I moved out, I would never return to Norway, not for any reason or any prize.

mrhonest
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7/11/2011 06:07    
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It`s funny, all the expat`s from the US on here who are so much in love with Norway, they all have one thing in common: They are involved with Norwegians. Seems to me there`s little doubt about who`s been brainwashed here... You`ll learn the hard way, it`s just a shame that you`ll waste so much precious time nursing your misconceptions in the process.

kabjen13
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7/11/2011 06:32    
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Thank you for your reply and offer of assistance. It will certainly help. :)

kabjen13
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7/11/2011 15:45    
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Nobody has 'brainwashed' me about Norway or any other country, "MrHonest". I saw with my own eyes how people are there, I have friends and acquaintances (both Norwegian and other nationalities) who live there. I knew them long before I met my fiancé and heard all that they had to say, as both natives and as expats. And I have read A LOT of info, including info on this forum. My fiancé has told me both positive things and negative things. It all boils down to who you are as a person and how you want to live that will determine your happiness in another country.

Yeah, I'll "learn the hard way" as I witness first-hand how much more peaceful and civilised life can be after moving from a U.S. mega-city with all of its corruption, crime and bs to a smaller, safer, cleaner city with friendlier people and a less hectic way of life. I'm so sure all of that is just "brainwashing" when you see it with your own eyes and educate yourself extensively about what to expect.

Tazzbaby
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7/12/2011 04:24    
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Thank you Kabjen13, you said it bud! Some people have to live in their own worlds of drama trying to bring down the rest of the world with them is all! ;)
Consider the source is what I always say bud. It's all in who you are inside and your outlook on life and your surroudings. If you project negativity such as they do, then by all means no matter where you live you will never ever be happy period. And more so will never have REAL friends you can count on.

I know that I have many friends here, both
Norwegians and expats from all over the globe. It's called making the best of things and being postive, life is too short to fall into the traps of drama queens my friend. No Norway isn't perfect, nor is anywhere else in the world, but here is where I now call home and I love it, and I will make the best of things and keep a positive attitude as always.

Katy67
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7/12/2011 05:11    
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Dkiller, yes I know! I have been in the news sometimes since I run a commuters union outside Oslo, but every time I have said something negative about our prime minister, it has been cut... At least when NRK (or ARK as we say here - "A" for Arbeiderpartiet, which is the Labour party - red socialistic YES!)

BUT - I think you are very "black or white" here! There ARE many things that are good in Norway, and I think that your attitude towards Norway and Norwegians are pretty much coloured by your experiences.

I can see that it's much easier for someone to move here, if they have a nice family you get along with, or friends who will support you when you move here. And it's of course a big help to learn the language, but at least near the bigger cities you will be quite fine with English to begin with at least.

But if you move here without knowing anyone (perhaps just your spouse), then it's NOT that easy I guess. The first issues you meet is the state. You would have to go to UDI and the police to get your resicdence permit. Then you will have to go to NAV to register yourself as a job seeker. THEN it all depends on how much help you'll get. You can be lucky to get good help from the start, but you may be very unlucky also... If you meet employers at the authorities who know their job well, know the complicated rules or at least WANT TO help you, then you'll be fine!

I was a teacher for a couple of years ago, and got a new German pupil in my class. Her father got a job with his company in Norway, and he took his wife and daughter with him. They thought at first that Norway was GREAT - until they got problems with the authorities... He and his daughter got a residence permit at once - no problem. But his wife got serious problems, even though they were married and both EU citizens! She was warned that she probably would have to move out of Norway - which of course was a mistake! I don't know the details, but she was very stressed and unhappy with that. Their daughter was supposed to be followed up at school with learning both Norwegian and German, but she didn't get followed up as she should. And because of that she didn't speak proper Norwegian very quickly, the other pupils started to bully her. I had a HUGE job with this class (7th grade).

With my background, my insight in Norwegian politics and my own experiences, I can see what works OK here and what NOT work very well. I try to see the whole scale of colours though, and not just black and white. Norway isn't JUST good OR bad. Many things are great here, but getting help from the authorities gets worse and worse I'm afraid... Both the tax authorities (Skatteetaten) and the Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) has had huge reforms the latest years, which means that not even their own employees know the rules properly, and many times you won't even get proper answers to your questions.

Those are FACTS!

kabjen13
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7/12/2011 09:58    
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DKiller, I have been to Norway and I have had open discussions with people from there or who live there from other countries, as I stated previously. I asked them straightforward questions and I got many different answers and angles. Also, I had the experience of living in Sweden, and Swedes themselves tell me now how many of them are leaving Sweden to come to Norway for better job opportunities or just simply to earn a living, no matter what it is, because of unemployment and bureaucracy in Sweden regarding employment, benefits, etc. Some of them (like other expats, immigrants) want better opportunities and maybe a little better quality of life. Nobody has 'lied' to me. Maybe you were lied to, though. I'm old enough to know bs when I hear it, thank you.

Are you living in some little isolated fishing village with neo-Nazis, criminals and uneducated country folk still applying Janteloven to their lives? It sure sounds that way. And it also sounds like you have only seen the worst of things and NOTHING good, whatsoever. Norway isn't trying to score any "pro-gay" brownie points. It's called EQUALITY, pure and simple. Is that some sort of abstract concept to you? I don't regard any Scandinavian countries as paradise, nor do I regard them as hell because they're not the USA.

I live in a fairly diverse (economically and otherwise) area of Chicago, where there are all sorts of people from many cultures and races. It's mostly a safe area, but I have heard gunshots before and there have been problems here with certain types of crime. Just recently, in a very non-black/Hispanic neighbourhood not far from mine, a man got beaten with a baseball bat by five guys. He's in critical condition. Another was stabbed in that same area a few weeks before. This area is regarded as one of the SAFER areas of Chicago. And never would I dare go into some areas on Chicago's southside--- notoriously dangerous for decades. My point is, I know this won't be the case when I move to Norway. There is no comparison to the crimes here in the US. And it's not Oslo I'm moving to, it's Bergen. Oslo's crimes are mostly being committed by NON-natives, lest we forget that important factor.

14-year-olds on birth control? Good! I would rather a 14-year-old girl be on birth control than having baby after baby to get more welfare and be a burden on society (as is the case here in the US) any day! At least parents know that sex is going to happen no matter what and that birth control pills are a way to stop unwanted pregnancies. Same goes for condoms, even more so, because they stop the spread of STDs as well as pregnancies. Your judgment of this is so typically conservative American--- all about the "morals" and not about reality and practicality.

And the drunk men you mentioned? That is in every city where alcohol is served, DKiller. You've obviously never seen Wrigley Field after a Cubs game. I have and it ain't pretty! I know I won't appreciate seeing that when I'm in Norway, but I'll have to take the bad with the good in this respect. Drunkards will always be staggering around and/or being nuisances or possible threats to others as long as alcohol is abused.

From reading all of your posts, you really seem like one bitter, egocentric, self-righteous American. It's no wonder you haven't had a good experience living there. Nothing about Norway is good enough for you. Please, DKiller, you need to do yourself and all Norwegians a favour and just leave. It is obviously not the place for you to be. Maybe you should consider a move to Kansas.

Tazzbaby
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7/12/2011 13:57    
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Now that is what I call a very tactful, factful, realistic, humanistic, intelligent and respectful comeback Kabjen13, BRAVO...and love that last line bud lol XD

Freya76
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7/12/2011 14:19    
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Oh my god. What EXTREME views you have. I lived in Norway, but am now in the UK and 'daycare' is not unusual in the UK and the US like it is in Norway. You are living in cuckoo land! Working women in the UK and US have to work too and give their children to child minders and daycare facilities. At least in Norway you can spend the 1st year with your baby, and breastfeeding. In the US you are not even guaranteed maternity leave, and as for breastfeeding, like the UK the statistics for breastfeeding are appauling! And your notion about families in Norway are absolute rubbish! My husband is a hands on family man, like all his friends, who really chip in with the work at home. I have no idea who these people you know are, but 'going to bars'? good god, that's far to expensive to bother with and most Norwegian men I know take to the home once kids come. Have you seen Lonbdon after work? Its FULL of fathers who maybe should be home with kids. And what rubbish about the sport....the Norwegian parents I know do loads of sports with their kids and skiiing and spend all weekends with their kids doing activties. I have NO IDEA, who these people you know are! Drunkeness happens in both the UK and the USA, if anything , cheap booze can only be found in the US and the UK. My US friends get 2 weeks holiday to spend with family. she went back to work after 6 weeks maternity, so NO breastfeeding. Like the UK, it's only those with money who have a good life in the US. It's riddled with class, and those who have money have the good lives. At least in Norway there is a chance for everyone to have a good life, a concept that Americans find very difficult to get their heads round. IN the UK, we have a welfare system. Granted, it is abused, but I would rather know that my citizens are being taken care of, rather than creating misery for those who fall out the system. At least I know I will be trated if I fall ill, and not only because I have a good insurance policy. You are the sink of swim society, and yes, Europeans do not understand this, but I for one, like the idea of a society that looks after its people, instead of people climbing on top of each other to get to the top. What a cruel society that is! Socialism is not brainwashing, in anyway I could argue your governments brainwash your people to profit a minority.....Norway has loads to offer family and kids, and most Norwegians are lovely people. They are just that, people. All these extremes you speak in I do not recognise in my husband or my Norsk friends. Of course I notice cultural differences in behaviour and mentality, but if they were like me, then they would be Britsh wouldn't they! Come on!

Tazzbaby
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7/12/2011 14:40    
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Dkiller your posts speak for themselves sadly, you are nothing but a sad man with the intelligence of a child who can't have his way every step of the way apparently. To set the record straight for the fifth time seeing as you seem to have a one track mind, I live off no system period! My husband fully supports me while I am in norskkurs and once finished I have employment already lined up! The reason I have so many opportunities is because I have a positive outlook and it shines through when meeting people here and have made many friends in the process.
My husband works his ass off for your information as does all his family and friends. And I wouldn't trade their family values for anything in the US, family doesn't even count anymore stateside and I am talking SOUTHERN US BUD! I am originally from New England but lived in Florida for 8 years and TN. for the last 14 years before coming here.
So please don't placate people into thinking you know anything about the family unit in the states. Most families are spread out all over the US and maybe see each other once a year if they are lucky. All my husbands family are in a 5 hour travel radius (by car) and we get together all the time. Christmas is actually Christmas here instead of the typical american materialistic ones stateside. They actually still handmake many of the gifts as well as tree decorations. But the most important part is time spent together, children and all without any interuptions/distarctions such as computers/TV's/DVD players or whatever else. We still play board games together with the kids and watch cartoon with them. Most americans shove their kids in daycare as well and then when home send them to watch tv or play in their rooms or outside! So don't give me that better than art thou crap about the US as I lived there all my life and know better!

You sadly will never be happy wherever you live because you thrive on drama and trying to pull others down with you. I think Norwegians will thank their lucky stars the day you leave Norway, so good riddance ;)

Freya76
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7/12/2011 14:59    
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You cannot say in one breath that Tazzbaby is a 'housewife' sponging off socialism and then in the next breath condemn women for going back to work and NOT being housewives. I was a housewife in Norway because my husband could support it, most of my friends, UK and Norway cannot afford to stay at home with kids. maybe this is a sad reflection of society, but that is the reality of things! I think to myself which system would christ like best, if we are going to bring a moral conclusion to it all as there has been alot of talks about morals thorughout this. The societies that push a mans face in the dirt when he is down, and use him as a stepping stone for someone to climb onto the next rung of the corporate ladder. Or the society that takes from the rich, to help the poor, so that people can live together equal and in harmony. Catch my drift?

kabjen13
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7/13/2011 01:59    
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Comments to follow later.

Freya76
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7/13/2011 03:39    
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Yes, but DJkiller I am from societywhich is riddled with class. 7% of children have the opportunity to go to private school and they occupy 70% of the top jobs in the UK. It is a statistic I am very ashamed of. We also have the postcode lottery whereby you are guaranteed a ggod school if you can pay the premiums for an expensive house, meaning that middleclass ghettos have been created and move to certain areas for the good schools, pushing the prices up in the area and making ther good schools only affordable to those with money. We still have a grammar school system, whereby if you are bright you can escape your working class area and get a good education but why can't you just get a good education anyway? We have a system whereby where you were born in the country has an affect on your future opportunties and what schools and universities you will go to, if it all. We also have a big north, south divide. Class is what controls the UK and for those it works out for it's great, for those kids not so lucky to be born in the right area, with parents with the right income, it doesn't always turn out well. Of course there are exceptions to this, but there are alot of kids who don't escape their class. YTou could complain that Norway makes everything mediocre, but at least all kids have the same opportunties and Norsk kids have a self confidence which I don't always see in Brit kids. I have not made a conclusion on which system I like best, but I don't treat socialism as something that's a dirty word. you refer to socialism in a negative way, but socialism if just 1 beilief system and despite it's negatives, I do see it's ;positives too, in the way I can see our more conservative society has positives for some, and negatives for other. And yes, I do know what you mean with Norwegians. They can come across as arrogant and are not as self depricating as the Brits, but you know, I have made alot of Americans who are staunch supporters of the USA and can not believe anyone would want to leave!

Tazzbaby
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7/13/2011 04:34    
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Firstly thank you Freya76. And now to DKiller: You have one hell of a nerve judging me mister, I totally raised my kids on my own and they are both hard working respectful adults today unlike yourself! I don't take handouts from anyone, my husband actually wants me to succeed properly with this language, so no I DO NOT sit home on my flipping ass living off anyone! I have worked hard my whole life since the age of 14 and am now 52 with a job already lined up for when I am through with norskkurs, as if that is any of your business! You sir wouldn't know what hard work is, now I know why it is you so badly want out! You simply don't want to share your wealth and the greed shines through! That is what is so flipping wrong with the US today, it's all about who can walk on who and live like a king thinking you are better than those lesser than you!

Well I have news for your pompous ASS, your mother spit you out from between her legs just like any of us on this earth. You came into this world with nothing and you will go out the same way mister! So I don't give a flying crap about your higher than art thou attitude, because when all is said and done, I will know I lived my life the best I could with values and morals which is something you will never have! So take your pompous ass out of Norway, they don't need nor want you here!

kabjen13
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7/13/2011 05:44    
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Well said,Tazzbaby! What's interesting is how DKiller keeps harping on and on about Janteloven and yet, doesn't even realise the suffocating puritanical, Victorian mindset he has — which is something still so ingrained in many Americans; especially those who like to judge others on "morals".

Perhaps he can turn to his millionaire relatives to provide him asylum since he feels so persecuted by Janteloven (which most Norwegians I know disregard as old-fashioned or irrelevant to modern life now). I mean, when you have such an overachieving, high moralist view of yourself (yet you accomplish nothing) and it goes unappreciated by so many "underachieving losers" who enjoy high standards of living, peace and prosperity, asylum is always an option.

I think the D in DKiller should stand for "deportation". Farvel, DKiller, farvel! Ha det bra!

olav2cv
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7/13/2011 06:09    
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Mr. DKiller with such a childish name online (wannabe tough killer guy?), at last you got the name "Janteloven" right. You see "Jenteloven" is something quite different. Anybody with an interest in Norwegian culture ought to know (for good or bad). So why don't you read up a little at Wikipedia and learn something? Get it right this time. And please stop pestering people with your nonsense.

Tazzbaby
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7/13/2011 07:12    
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AMEN Kabjen13! ;)

mrhonest
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7/14/2011 02:35    
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Katy67, I agree that people should always consider a more nuanced approach when evaluating. And I do agree that it`s a natural thing that people`s subjective opinions are colored by their personal experiences. This applies to me as well, I have always disliked living in Norway, chiefly due to the manners and ways of Norwegians (and I`m even half Norwegian myself). I wasn`t born in Norway and I never considered Norwegian citizenship. We moved out of Norway 2 years ago and are much happier now. And I do not agree that the US is a place where people don`t care about people who are down. In fact, I cannot imagine a bigger contrast worldwide than the contrast between Norwegians and Americans. Norwegians being categorically unwelcoming, rude, arrogant and promiscuous (considering nuances of course). As far as the US is concerned, I added an article below that speaks for itself. The US consistently ranks among the friendliest countries in the world, many Americans will go out of their way to help you if you`re in need of help, and they`ll do it from the heart. You don`t get much of that in Norway, I promise you that.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/malawi/travel-tips-and-articles/39876

yellow
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7/14/2011 07:02    
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Well, I am not really a big reader of these constant complaining notes. All I can say....you do not like Norway, glad you moved back, for we do not need people like you, whom come, complain and not love this land. I am not Norwegian, I came from Canada and love this part of the world. If you do not love Norway, go to where you came from.
yellow007

Kahlilah
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4/11/2012 04:11    
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Hi Celeste

Hope you are still in Norway and have settled in better. My name is Kahlilah and we have moved here about a year ago, I think we are slowly moving out of the culture shock transgression and have accepted the way things are here and make it home for us. We live about 50 min outside of Oslo in a town called askim it is weird but we like it in a hate to love it kind of way. we are glad to exchange experiences and make friends. My husband is also in the arts industry. Hope to hear from you soon. my email is kahlilah@realurbanart.com

Feia
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4/13/2012 10:59    
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I agree completely with your opinions on Norwegian health system, Mrhonest.
Why Norwegians think that they have a good health system? It is because they don't know what is health system with a real performance. And they are not interested in what other cultures have created in this field. In 14 years of my life in Norway I have never seen one article about how other European health systems are functioning. Sometimes one can read about drawbacks and social injustice of the US system, only to underline how perfect is Norwegian system. In reality, one does not have a choice to go to another specialist, if a family doctor evaluate one's condition incorrectly. I have heard many times from mine doctor that I should go home and just be patient. Once I almost died following his advice, then coming to emergency with a high temperature because of the tooth abcess. I got an infection spread everywhere, and was saved only by the participation of my friend doctor (she was also not Norwegian). She had actually to use high tones with the Norwegian doctor who was on duty at the hospital.
I and my family lived in 4 European countries, but we have not met such an attitude of doctors and health system anywhere. However, many newcomers understand the real state of things only when emergency comes. And then sometimes it is too late. So, just be aware!
best wishes,
Feia.

favon
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7/9/2012 17:44    
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I agree with all the negatives&positives:). I've lived long-term in 4 countries in Europe, I'm fluent in 5 languages (besides norwegian, which I've been learning 12hours/week for 2 years during my PhD scholarship here) which made it easy for me to connect with the locals everywhere. Here's my experience from Norway.
Yes, the nature is beautiful&clean, the fjords are wonderful....for about a month or two. After that, they're just a piece of cold rock, albeit still a nice one. High taxes? Well, I do see the point here, but I'd never bitch about the issue - I pay 10% more, but my 'income' has doubled since I moved. So did the price levels(depends), but still, no worries, my disposable income (and I'm a frugal SOB) is the same as before. Socialist welfare state? It's not my cup of tea, not at all since I was always smart&able myself, but if they have the means to pay for it (and they sure have. Hint: natural resources), why not.
Why not??? Hahaha, well I thought so until I found out that the toilet stinks the same after being used by a norwegian. I know, unbelievable. But sadly true nonetheless. What I mean is that, apart from a few differences in behaviour (lack of social skills&communication, girls being very direct&open to ONS etc), they are still people as usual. Some are extremely nice&happy&full of smiles(I'd certainly say they are the minority though:), others were cold&rude&impolite. Some were normal, some ceased to be normal (no smiles&communication ever) after they found out I'm actually not a nordmann, some thought as a guy born in a 'poor' country I'd be an easy catch. My friend found love here, i.e. the last one of his regular ONS realized she's old enough&way out of his league so he'd be a good catch, while he's happy he's not alone&can practice the language with her&eventually settle in an environment where his perpetual laziness is not a hindrance to his profesional development. I mean from what I've seen so far, the word 'work' is an oxymoron here. Or a complete joke in any case... But as I said, they're just regular people living in a welfare state, so no surprises.
I don't know about morals, they strike me as a bunch of isolated modern ex-farmers&fishermen (the older ones) with a bunch of (often) spoiled&clueless kids(the younger ones) who care about this issue to the extent that it makes them feel good about themselves in a good old Maslow's pyramid sense. They like ONS, seem to have an undertone of self-delusional sense of grandiose in their public conduct (but in my experience that's common in rich people who haven't had to work for it), whilst when they get drunk...
My own advisor (a professor, not a bright one btw) is seemingly very nice, but after hacking into his computer I know that he has no problem being in a sexual relation with his student(he's married also) in exchange of his assistance, abusing his power over me&other foreign students, publishing my work under her name and threatening to 'get rid of me' when I started to ask a few questions not to his liking... Btw his body language is so restricted I'm still not quite sure if he's that delusional about himself or just a general piece of xxxx - I just ignore him&concentrate on investment banking.
As for getting a job here, well, a headhunter told me(på norsk selvfølgelig) he could get me one, but given the expenses and my preferences I'm more than happy to listen to all the very nice&smart norwegians who for some reason are keen to advise me to go the Fxxx back where I came from(as I said, I'm happy to oblige, I strongly dislike laziness). So overall I'd say they are very nice&bit shy, but still human.

salamjanab
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7/9/2012 18:45    
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@ Feia
thanks for sharing your experience. where are you from?
i have been here for a year, and the only place and people i have been introduced to is my work place and colleagues!!! yet to explore the beautiful places and people..
so far, based on my experience of meeting with colleagues - norwegians are very frirendly and social soles

salamjanab
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7/9/2012 18:45    
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@ Feia
thanks for sharing your experience. where are you from?
i have been here for a year, and the only place and people i have been introduced to is my work place and colleagues!!! yet to explore the beautiful places and people..
so far, based on my experience of meeting with colleagues - norwegians are very frirendly and social soles

Jonty
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7/10/2012 00:59    
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"Iceland and Norway have argued that the rules are intended to fight social fraud. But according to EEA law, fraud must be tackled on a case by case basis. A general rule that deprives many migrants from justified benefits is disproportionate.

Moreover, the Norwegian legislation requires that the work has to be commenced within 12 weeks after the arrival in Norway in order to take into account periods of insurance or work from other EEA States. However, no such rules apply in cases on Norwegian national level when work is interrupted, which is therefore discriminating other EEA nationals."

Norway has no intention of giving migrant workers anything in return for their national insurance contributions and uses UDI to stop you being a resident keeping you as a migrant worker.

Norway can be dangerously cold. Don't come here because if you aren't paid (quite typical) you will be destitute in potentially lethal temperatures with no friends or family to feed and shelter you.

olav2cv
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7/10/2012 10:05    
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Whoa!
There he is again - the white knight riding his three-legged half-ass. Spewing out his sour innards and unqualified opinions . . . .
And I totally agree, of course, that people like him has nothing to do in Norway (or outside whatever sorry place he came from in America) -and his likes, from wherever.
Otherwise, Norwegians are quite welcoming to most people, from all walks of life and from all cultures. We enjoy very much people coming to Norway who make an effort to learn, to understand and to take part in the society they come to through work and play and joining organizations of all kinds - and in time be as efficient as is normal in Norway, being in top score in the world, and enjoying long holidays for all and longevity as senior citizens.
Although there are some obvious faults to the Norwegian society, noticeably not mentioned by DKiller who like to purport his own personal drivel, there is a continuous work to make the society better for all and not only for the few. The socialist parties and the green movement has done a great job over many years, and so has the center parties and the moderate right to some extent. Party differences in Norway are not great. There may be something to be learned.

All times are ET.  


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