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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Oslo, Norway is 672,061. People describe Oslo as a vibrant, modern city with a rich cultural heritage. Expats love the city's natural beauty, its excellent public transportation system, and its diverse and welcoming population. The weather in Oslo is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from an average high of 59°F (15°C) in the summer to an average low of 28°F (-2°C) in the winter. The average cost of living in Oslo for an expat is estimated to be around $2,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment in Oslo is estimated to be around $1,500 per month, while a two bedroom apartment is estimated to be around $2,000 per month.

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What do I need to know about living in Oslo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Oslo, they said:

"Before retiring in Oslo, it is important to be aware of the cost of living and the healthcare system in Norway. The cost of living in Oslo can be high, particularly for accommodation and groceries. It is advisable to research the various retirement and pension options available, compare taxation levels and consider the benefits and drawbacks of different types of arrangements. Healthcare in Norway is generally of high quality, but comes with extra fees for consultations and prescriptions. All residents over the age of 16 are required to pay a premium for access to public healthcare, regardless of age or source of income. Additionally, a good understanding of the Norwegian language is helpful as some services may be provided primarily in Norwegian. It is also a good idea to familiarise oneself with local laws and regulations to make sure everything is in line with their retirement plans. Finally, note that while foreign citizens are welcome, there are restrictions on work and ownership of property which may be applicable," commented one expat who made the move to Oslo.

"Absolutely take this opportunity... what a beautiful country and great experience. You make what you want out of it... Take advantage of a country that offers incredible outdoor activities/sports. I was never into skiing, hiking, cycling, but I am a convert...at 45 years old and ejoying what the outdoors has to offer here and have yet to see anywhere else like it in the world," remarked another expat living in Oslo, Norway.

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What do I need to know before moving to Oslo?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Oslo, they said:

"Before moving to Oslo it is important to be aware of the cost of living which is generally higher than other places in Norway and can be quite expensive compared to other countries. It is important to secure a job or register your business before moving as it can be difficult to find work without having a working permit. It is also important to research the different neighbourhoods and find an area that best suits your needs. Make sure that you have sufficient health insurance and a valid ID card to be able to access the healthcare system. Since Norway is part of the Schengen area you do need to have a valid visa to stay in Norway for more than 90 days. It is important to take into account the climate in Oslo which often has cold, wet and windy winter days. The weather is changeable so it is important to dress accordingly. Finally, don’t forget to learn some basic Norwegian as this will help you to adapt to the area more quickly and make it easier for you to meet new people and make local friends," added another expat who made the move to Oslo.

"Make sure you choose a reputable company to move your stuff overseas who know how to handle all of the documents- the customs people here hold shipments for crazy amounts of time. Choose a neighborhood close to public transport. It is pricier but well worth not having to walk 20 minutes very 2 in the winter. Be open minded about flats. I have yet to see a place with more than 1 bath and double vanities don't exist. The fridges are small- overall things are smaller and it's important not to let it bother you," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

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How do I find a place to live in Oslo?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"When looking for a place to live in Oslo, it is important to consider your budget, what type of accommodation best suits your needs, and the neighbourhoods or areas of Oslo where you would like to stay. It is recommended to research the different neighbourhoods and what they offer to get an idea of where you would like to live before starting the search. Once you have narrowed down your preferred area and know whether you prefer to rent or purchase, you can start looking at different properties that are available on listing sites such as Finn.no, Toroms and Hybel.no. You can also look into estate agents and real estate companies in Oslo. Additionally, joining Facebook groups such as BoligOSLO – Leiligheter og Hus (Rent, Buy and Sell houses in Oslo) can be a great source of information and can provide access to listings. Keep in mind that finding a place to live in Oslo may require a lot of patience, as the demand is high and locations can be competitive," remarked another expat living in Oslo, Norway.

"We live in the center of Oslo because it is close to the train and bus stations for us to get to work- it also has a great balcony. We also wanted two large bedrooms, and a w/d in the flat which can be tricky to find in older flats," added another expat in Oslo.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Oslo?

"A typical expat home or apartment in Oslo can range from modern apartments in the city center to traditional wooden houses on the outskirts. Most apartments come with high ceilings, hardwood floors and a balcony with a view of the city. Kitchens are generally equipped with appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and stove, while bathrooms may feature separate shower rooms. Many buildings offer shared laundry facilities in common areas and some may even have a sauna. Most buildings come with secure access, such as card access and security guards. Utilities, such as water, electricity and heating, are usually included in the renting cost," commented one expat who made the move to Oslo.

"Most of our expat friends have slightly larger places, but none have as nice a patio or w/d. I think overall they are comparable," remarked another expat living in Oslo, Norway.

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What is the average cost of housing in Oslo?

If you are thinking about moving to Oslo, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Oslo varies depending on location and type, but generally speaking it is more expensive than most other cities in Europe. On average, rental costs are quite high, ranging from around 9,000 to 16,000 NOK (around 900-1600 EUR) per month for a one or two bedroom apartment or house in the city centre. Prices for buying a property in Oslo are also much higher than in most other European cities," wrote a member in Oslo.

"To be honest I don't know what we pay, but I would estimate it to be around 3,500 dollars/month, which is certainly higher than I would expect to pay in the center of Houston," commented one expat who made the move to Oslo.

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How do I meet people in Oslo?

When we asked people living in Oslo about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"One of the best ways to meet people in Oslo is to join local clubs and organizations. There are a wide range of activities to choose from such as sports, music and cultural groups. You can also take advantage of the city's many parks and festivals to mingle with other locals. Additionally, expat groups are popping up all over the city, so finding like-minded people is easy. Finally, getting out to one of the many bars or cafes around town is a great way to make friends and get to know the locals," said another expat in Oslo.

"AWC of Oslo, Petroleum Women's Club, International Forum...there are classes offered in language, culture, arts, yoga, pilates...the list continues," added another expat who made the move to Oslo.

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What should I bring when moving to Oslo?

People living in Oslo were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:

"Clothing suitable for all seasons, comfortable shoes, a coat or jacket, a hat, sunscreen, umbrella, rain gear, toiletries, account and banking information, passport, driver's license, laptop or other electronics with adapters, your favorite books, music, art supplies, kitchen essentials, cleaning supplies, bedding, towels, first-aid supplies, essential documents, camera, locks, home decorations, a few treasured items, and phone chargers," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

"I wish I had brought more clothes, more kitchen stuff like pots and pans(too expensive here) and my skis- they were not cheap to buy! I wish I had left my small kitchen appliances- I brought voltage converters and they are a pain, it would have been easier to just buy Norwegian ones. I would not have brought so many shoes- coming from Houston I have a lot of sandals and heels, both are impractical to wear most of the year," said another expat in Oslo.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Oslo?

We asked expats in Oslo what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"Most banks in Oslo offer personal banking services, including setting up bank accounts. If you would like to open a bank account in Oslo, you should contact local banks in the area to ask about the process and requirements for setting up a bank account. Popular banks in the area are DNB, Nordea, Sparebanken Vest, and KLP," added another expat in Oslo.

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Will I be able to find a job in Oslo?

When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Oslo, they reponded:

"Yes, it is possible to find a job in Oslo. The city of Oslo is the commercial and financial capital of Norway, and it has a vibrant labor market. Its economy is fueled by a large and diverse number of industries such as oil and gas, shipping, manufacturing, and technology, as well as a rapidly growing knowledge-based sector. The city also has a large public sector, which offers many job opportunities for those with the right qualifications. The city is also very well connected to other parts of the world, which further increases the employment options available," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

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What is life like in Oslo?

When we asked people living in Oslo what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Living as an expat in the area can be a great experience. There are many conveniences and amenities available in this cosmopolitan city, with plenty of activities and attractions to explore. Transportation is efficient and reliable, and public transit is inexpensive, making it easy to get around. English is spoken widely in the area, making communication with locals and other expats easy. Local cuisine and culture are diverse and varied, and the climate is conducive to a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle. Safety is widely prioritized, and with a solid infrastructure in place, living in the area is a pleasant experience," added another expat who made the move to Oslo.

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

"Expats in Oslo appreciate the strong sense of community, the vibrant cultural scene, the stunning natural beauty, the excellent public transportation system, the progressive social values, and the easy access to outdoor activities. They also enjoy the affordability of living, the abundance of outdoor markets, the convenient shopping options, the Norwegian hospitality, and the generally high standard of living. Expats find the open and welcoming atmosphere of Oslo highly attractive as well," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

"I love the people and their attitude. Most Norwegians are friendly, and I appreciate how they integrate the society," said another expat in Oslo.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Adjusting to life in a new culture, language barriers, finding employment, building a social network, missing friends and family from home, feeling homesickness, figuring out the local transportation system, finding good affordable housing, understanding local customs and laws, navigating the healthcare system, acclimating to different climates, navigating unfamiliar bureaucracy, and dealing with cultural differences," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

"Learning the language, finding a job, making sure my qualifications are legitimate," said another expat in Oslo.

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Is there a lot of crime in Oslo?

We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:

"No, there is not a lot of crime in Oslo. The crime rate in Oslo is low, and the Norwegian government has taken steps to create a safe and secure environment. The police are visible throughout the city, and there are strict laws which serve to deter crime. Violent crime is rare, and the city is generally safe," added another expat who made the move to Oslo.

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Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Oslo accepting of differences?

"There is a great deal of diversity in Oslo, and generally people are accepting and tolerant of others regardless of cultural, religious, or ethnic background. Oslo is a large and international city, with immigrants and refugees making up over 25% of its population. The Norwegian government and Oslo's citizens alike have made and continue to make great efforts to celebrate and support diversity, and most Norwegians have a welcoming attitude towards people of different backgrounds," remarked another expat who made the move to Oslo.

"After reading the other profile on Norway I was completely surpised. I have yet to experience this here and have enjoyed every minute. Yes, it can be tough here only if you make it difficult," explained one expat living in Oslo, Norway.

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What are the schools in Oslo like?

"The schools in Oslo offer a range of educational options to students from elementary through high school. Oslo’s public schools are some of the best in Norway and offer students a high-quality education, with an emphasis on the development of skills and knowledge in areas such as mathematics, science and technology. In addition, there are numerous private and international schools in the city which offer a range of academic programs in a variety of different languages," remarked another expat living in Oslo with children attending .

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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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