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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

Pros and Cons of Living in Norway

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Pros and Cons of Living in Norway. Expats, Retirees and Digital Nomads talk about the pros and cons of living in Norway

What do expats in Norway appreciate most about the local culture?

If you live in Norway, newcomers to Norway would love to hear your answer to this question.

If your answer relates to a specific city or town in Norway, please include the name of the city/town below:


"It is of course, a very beautiful country, despite the constant rain. Once you get to know them, Norwegians are very nice, and way less superficial than Americans. I love that public transportation and sidewalks are everywhere, it is a joy to not be dependent on a car. I also feel much safer, especially with health care being (mostly) free. Knowing that you won't be turned away from the hospital if you don't have insurance when you are a poor college student is a relief," remarked another in Stavanger.

"Norwegians are kind and will help you if you need. If you eventually are able to make friends with a Norwegian, you probably have a friend for life. They are less superficial, and are less likely to say things that they don't mean, compared to, for example, Americans. People won't try to talk to you on the bus; they'll probably try to avoid even sitting with you! :) Beautiful nature The whole culture of going for hikes on the weekends," explained one expat.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Norwegian people in general can seem to be very rude, and you can often feel as if everyone is looking down their nose at you. They also tend to dress very well, so wearing jeans and a t-shirt when going out is usually frowned upon. Some restaurants or bars/nightclubs even have a dress code and won't let you in if you aren't "acceptable", which can be embarrassing. Almost everything is closed on Sundays, and opening hours on Saturdays are limited. And of course, everything here is ridiculously expensive! It has also been rather difficult for me to get a job outside of school because I do not speak the language well enough yet," said another expat in Stavanger.

"Norwegians don't like to stand out or call too much attention to themselves. If you are different, people will stare, which can be annoying. It can be difficult to make new friends. People have this idea that after they have 3-4 good friends (often ones they've known from elementary school) they have enough. Because Norwegians are less superficial, they also come across as rude sometimes If someone bumps you in the street, don't expect an apoplogy. Also, don't expect anyone to hold doors for you, and expect sneaking in queues for the bus or airplane (if there is a queue at all!) People, particularly government employees, are often inefficient and incompetent, doing "just enough" It is really expensive to eat out in a restaurant, and the service is usually ranging from average/apathetic to terrible. I almost never eat out anymore because of this," remarked another in Western Norway City.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

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