Expat Exchange
Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway
Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway
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

AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers
AGS Worldwide Movers

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

Live in Norway? Answer this Question

"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," said another expat 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," added another person living in Western Norway City.

"The beautiful nature and the lush green surroundings. Although, I have to admit that it can get tedious sometimes, as I am used to the extravagant city life with skyscrapers at every corner and streets bustling with people. I love the seafood here. I like how people are very independent," explained one expat living in Bergen.

"I appreciate the Norwegian's love of and respect for nature. I like the roundabouts as opposed to USA stoplights all over the place. I bike/walk, so I really enjoy that the sidewalks are separate from the roads and often wind off in completely different directions. I appreciate that Norwegians aren't easily offended. They have great food here as well. I also appreciate their lower crime rates. You can tell people really aren't expecting anything but the best in people they encounter," said another in Stavanger.

"So many things. The nature, the peace and tranquility, the community-mindedness, the pride Norwegians have in their home, their families, their communities, their nation; the fantastic quality of life here, the hospitality, the civility most people have, and lots of incredibly handsome, rugged men. :)," explained one expat who made the move to Gjøvik.

"Clean air and environment, they get things done in society here better than in the UK. There is a real lack of general aggression in people which is nice. Living in the London area there is always a base stress that is just part of life, that is not evident here. The lack of crime is a breath of fresh air to me," added an expat living in Kongsvinger.

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What do expats find most challenging?

Live in Norway? Answer this Question

"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," explained one expat.

"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," said another person in Western Norway City.

"Norwegians are very good at avoiding responsibility and passing the buck. Bureaucracy here is really bad. It can take months for a simple form to be processed, especially if you do not fall into a specific category. At NAV when looking for a job because NOKUT had recognised my qualification (after a year!) I could only be put in education jobs, despite the fact that I am also an office administrator too (worked in management for a while). Couldn't have both. Very frustrating place to be after the open-mindedness of Denmark and UK," remarked another expat in Bergen.

"Not knowing how to speak the language. It's not easy learning a new language from scratch. I tried speaking Norwegian when I first started taking the course but my spouse was very critical of my pronunciation to the point that I became fixated on making sure the words sounded correctly instead of actually speaking the language itself. Living with a husband and adjusting with life in his country isn't easy either. And the prices here are extortionately expensive. It's difficult for me because back home, I have gotten accustomed to the fact that having fun always involves spending money," explained one expat living in Bergen.

"Some of their driving rules are backwards from those in the US, such as "yield to people on your right, except in roundabouts". People have stopped and waited on me multiple times when I was pulling out of the street my house is on. I wish people were more friendly and more chatty like Americans. I always say "excuse me" if I bump into someone. I have the impulse to smile at people I pass while walking, or to make a comment to a random person, such as "cute dog"," said another expat in Stavanger.

"The hours of operation of shops and other public places; the lack of understanding Norwegian at times when people speak to me (I feel like an idiot); the "can't be bothered" or "pass the buck" mentality people working in the service sector often have here -- whether it is Telenor, UDI, NAV, or the local municipality offices, etc. Experience has shown me that these type of workers are incapable of admitting a mistake, apologising for mistakes, or actually doing their job effectively. Lastly, the staring. I came here from a big US city where people rarely look at you in passing (unless there is really something to look at) each other on the streets or in cars, etc. Here, it is more common. It has angered me so much when I saw people staring or looking at me. I was told it's just local curiosity because they don't know me or haven't seen me before (one person even said it's because I'm handsome), but it's hard not to think it rude and unacceptable behaviour. This is not so much the case in cities like Oslo, Trondheim or Bergen," added another person living in Gjøvik.

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.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Norway GuideNorway Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Norway.

Norway Forum Norway Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Norway on our Norway forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Norway Index Norway Index
An index of all of our site's Norway information.

Contribute to Norway Network Contribute
Help others in Norway by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Norway.

Expat Healthcare Advice in NorwayHealthcare & Health Insurance in Norway

Expats in Norway offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Norway.

Real Estate in NorwayReal Estate in Norway

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Norway.

Guide to Real Estate in NorwayGuide to Real Estate in Norway

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Norway.

Pros Cons of Living in NorwayPros & Cons of Living in Norway

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Norway.

Cost of Living in NorwayCost of Living in Norway

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Norway.

Digital-Nomad-Visa-for-NorwayDigital Nomad Visa for Norway

Find essential information about the digital nomad visa for working in Norway.

Moving-to-NorwayMoving to Norway

Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships can be quite rewarding.

Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Norway GuideNorway Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Norway.

Norway Forum Norway Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Norway on our Norway forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Norway Index Norway Index
An index of all of our site's Norway information.

Contribute to Norway Network Contribute
Help others in Norway by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Norway.

Expat Healthcare Advice in NorwayHealthcare & Health Insurance in Norway

Expats in Norway offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Norway.

Real Estate in NorwayReal Estate in Norway

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Norway.

Guide to Real Estate in NorwayGuide to Real Estate in Norway

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Norway.

Pros Cons of Living in NorwayPros & Cons of Living in Norway

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Norway.

Cost of Living in NorwayCost of Living in Norway

Digital Nomads & Expats offer insight into the cost of living in Norway.

Moving-to-NorwayMoving to Norway

Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships can be quite rewarding.

Copyright 1997-2022 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal