Living in Norway
Last updated on Feb 10, 2022
Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees discuss what it is like to live in Norway: Cost of living, Finding a home, Meeting People and more.
What do I need to know about living in Norway?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Norway, they said:
"I would tell them that they should have to like a closed off culture of people. When you walk down the street people do NOT smile or say hello. A man will push you out of the way to get through the door first. If you are lazy and don't have a good work ethic, then this place will be perfect for you. There are plenty of expats that love this place, however its not for us," commented one expat who made the move to Tromso.
"Norway is really an expensive country overall, but at the same time, all of the beauty is outdoors which is free to enjoy! If you enjoy hiking, skiing, fishing, biking, etc. then you will really like Trondheim," remarked another expat living in Trondheim, Norway.
How do I meet people in Norway?
When we asked people living in Norway about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"I haven't been able to find an organization, club, etc.There are no expat clubs to welcome you or anything of that sort. My child goes to an International school so I have met parents (from other countries) who have become good friends. Norwegians are not easy to befriend if you don't know them through someone else. and from what I have heard northern Norwegians are not as welcoming as southern, so we have that up hill battle as well. Its been really hard to find anything if you don't speak Norwegian," remarked another expat living in Tromso, Norway.
"Orienteering is big here and I had never heard of it before. There are groups that go out twice a week. There are many, many sports clubs you can join to meet people. I met many people through an adult education course on the Norwegian language which also helped assimilate me into the culture. Swimming at the pool Pirbadet is popular for families and those in the 20-30's at the last hour it is open when the rates drop. Hiking in the mountains and skiing (both alpine and cross country) of course are also popular," added another expat in Trondheim.
What is life like in Norway?
When we asked people living in Norway what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"In general, it seems to me everyone for his own. Family is important because no one steps out of the box they live in. Socializing is for who you know. And work ethic is just different from what I am used to. When clock hits 4:00pm the desk is empty if you are Norwegian. All projects take forever to get done due to this mentality. Sports events are rare and again hard to find if you don't speak or read Norwegian, so you really have to be an extrovert to find out what is happening on the island for the weekend. Tourist center helps if you go by once a week," mentioned another expat in Tromso.
"Lives revolve around the outdoors and family. People work from 8-4 and after 4pm, the office is cleared out. There is a great emphasis to do something fun every day and it seems like they spend most of their time outdoors, at least in the spring, summer and fall. They hang out by the fjord and bbq and play volleyball and sun tan on the weekends. There is a saying here that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, which seems to sum up their attitude towards the outdoors! Family is definitely a priority with the one year maternity leave and love of children here," commented one expat who made the move to Trondheim.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Norway accepting of differences?
"It's very diverse, however very prejudice towards Americans and color of skin. We have a saying amongst expats here "Norwegians are the nicest most rudest prejudice people you will ever meet." I feel lucky to have white skin cause I pass as Norwegian sometimes, but my friends tell me stories that has never happened to me, nor would I want to be treated as they have," said another expat in Tromso.
"In general, central and northern norway are not as religious as southern norway. The town is fairly diverse culturally. The Norwegians learn English in school and are really great speakers so even if you try to speak Norwegian to them and they know you speak English, they will talk to you in English so they can practice! The town is not really economically diverse-from what I can tell, most people seem to make around the same amount of money. With health care free here, it makes a big difference. The town is fairly diverse-there are a lot of foreigners at the university here and working in the technology trades," added another expat who made the move to Trondheim.
What are the schools in Norway like?
"It is a wonderful school with small classes and a true feeling of community. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to the teacher, principals or director. They are very responsive and happy to meet with you," commented one expat when asked about International School of Bergen in Bergen (Sandsli area).
"If you decide to move to Bergen, any other school there would be a better choice for your child," explained one expat in Bergen, Norway with kids at International School of Bergen.
About the Author
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.
- What should I pack when moving to Norway?
- Where should I setup a bank account in Norway?
- Will I be able to find a job in Norway?
- What is life like as an expat in your area?
- What do expats in Norway appreciate most about the local culture?
- What do expats find most challenging?
- Is there a lot of crime in Norway?
- Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Norway accepting of differences?
- What are the schools in Norway like?
- How are healthcare services Norway?
- What are medical services in Norway like?
- Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Norway?
- What are emergency services like in Norway?
- Will I need to travel to see a specialist?
- Are common prescription medications available in Norway?
- How are local medical facilities in Norway?
- As a foreigner living in Norway, will I have access to public healthcare? What is it like?
- What have your experiences during the pandemic with the local healthcare system been like?