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Bergen, Norway

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: People describe Bergen, Norway as a beautiful, picturesque city with a stunning natural landscape. Expats love the city's vibrant culture, friendly locals, and stunning views of the fjords. The weather in Bergen is mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit in the summer and the mid-20s to the mid-30s Fahrenheit in the winter. The average cost of living for an expat is around $2,000 to $3,000 USD per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $1,000 to $1,500 USD per month, while a two bedroom apartment is around $1,500 to $2,000 USD per month. The approximate population of Bergen is around 280,000 people.

What do I need to know about living in Bergen?

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

"Before retiring in Bergen, it is important to consider the cost of living, taxes, and healthcare. The cost of living in Bergen is higher than the average in Norway, however, it is still relatively affordable. There is a progressive taxation system in Norway, so the more you earn, the higher the rate. Healthcare is available and covered by the government. Expats typically will require an annual fee to use the public healthcare system. It is also important to consider the climate, as Bergen is much cooler and wetter than other parts of Norway. Finally, living in Bergen can be a great way to enjoy a cultural, outdoorsy lifestyle," added another expat who made the move to Bergen.

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What do I need to know before moving to Bergen?

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

"Before moving to Bergen, it is important to know that Bergen has four distinct seasons, so it is important to be prepared for wet and cold winters as well as warm summers. The city also has some of the most stunning natural fjordlandscapes and mountainscapes in the world which can be enjoyed throughout the year. Bergen is a very international city with a diverse population, so it is easy to meet people from all over the world. The cost of living in Bergen is relatively high, but the city also offers a variety of activities and attractions such as museums and cultural events so there’s plenty to do in your spare time. Furthermore, Bergen is a great starting point to explore the rest of Norway’s breathtaking scenery," added another expat who made the move to Bergen.

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How do I find a place to live in Bergen?

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

"Bergen is a popular destination for both tourists and people looking for a place to call home. There are many options for accommodation in Bergen, depending on your budget and preferences. Short-term rental apartments and hotels are a great option for those who are just visiting and want to explore the city. Long-term rental apartments are available for those looking for a more permanent residence, or for those who want to stay for a few months before deciding whether to purchase a home. You can look for property listings on websites like finn.no or hybel.no. Additionally, neighborhoods like Nygård, Sandviken, and Fyllingsdalen are great areas to start your search," explained one expat living in Bergen, Norway.

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

"Expat homes and apartments in Bergen vary in size, location and amenities. Most apartments are located in the city centre and offer modern furnishings such as TVs, washing machines, dishwashers and microwaves. Expat apartments tend to have contemporary and minimalistic decor, although many opt for bright colours, furniture, and art to make their new home warm and inviting. Many have access to balconies or terraces that offer stunning views of the fjord and the city. Generally speaking, they are conveniently located close to all the necessary amenities such as restaurants, cafes, shops, and services," remarked another expat living in Bergen, Norway.

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What is the average cost of housing in Bergen?

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

"The cost of housing in Bergen varies depending on location. Generally, the cost is higher in central Bergen, closer to the city center, with rents ranging from about 10,000 - 20,000 NOK per month for a 2-bedroom apartment. Rents are generally lower in the suburbs, closer to the outskirts of the city, ranging from 5,000 - 10,000 NOK per month for a 2-bedroom apartment," commented one expat who made the move to Bergen.

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How do I meet people in Bergen?

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

"There are a few ways to meet people in Bergen. Socializing at local events and festivals is a great way to meet people in the area. Making use of networking platforms such as meetup groups, expat groups, or LinkedIn can also be a good way to get to know people in the city. Joining local sports clubs and fitness classes can also be a great way to meet people in Bergen and make new friends. Finally, exploring the city and visiting popular hangout spots such as cafes, bars, and clubs can be a great way to socialize and meet interesting people," added another expat in Bergen.

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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.

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What should I bring when moving to Bergen?

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

"When moving to Bergen, it is important to pack appropriate clothing for the climate, such as warm layers, winter coat and waterproofs/raincoat. You should also pack personal items and any documents you may need. Lastly, it is recommended to pack tools, a bike and a backpack for travelling around in the beautiful city of Bergen," remarked another expat who made the move to Bergen.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Bergen?

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

"Most major banks in Norway offer accounts in Bergen, including DNB, Nordea, Sparebanken Vest, and Storebrand. To open an account, you can visit one of the bank's branches or online services in the Bergen area. Each bank has its own set of requirements, so be sure to research which one is best suited to your needs," commented one expat who made the move to Bergen.

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Will I be able to find a job in Bergen?

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

"Finding a job in Bergen can be challenging, but with the right research and connections, it is possible. Job seekers should look into the local employment websites and take advantage of social networks to connect with local businesses. Additionally, attending local job fairs and networking events can be beneficial in finding the right job," remarked another expat who made the move to Bergen.

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What is life like in Bergen?

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

"Living as an expat in the area can be a truly rewarding experience. There is a thriving community of people who come from all over the world, giving rise to an incredibly welcoming, diverse and vibrant atmosphere. Many expats move here to take advantage of the excellent economic opportunities, while others come in search of a more relaxed way of life with the stunning nature and outdoor attractions this area has to offer. Public transportation links are excellent, making it easy to explore your new home and its surrounding areas. English language schools, medical care and international cuisine are all readily available, catering to the needs of expats from all walks of life. The cost of living is quite reasonable which means that many expats can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle here. There are plenty of places to make friends and meaningful connections, from special interest clubs and English conversation cafes to volunteer activities and social events. So come and join this unique and exciting expat community and make a new home for yourself in this charming corner of the world," explained one expat living in Bergen, Norway.

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

"Expats in Bergen appreciate the friendly people, beautiful landscapes, a high quality of life, vibrant culture, great food, varied outdoor activities, low cost of living, and strong community spirit. Additionally, the area is renowned for being very safe and offering good career opportunities. The locals are known for being hospitable and open to foreigners, with many taking the time to help visitors find their way around the city. Bergen also offers direct transportation links to other popular cities in Norway, making it a great place to both explore Norway and beyond," remarked another expat who made the move to Bergen.

"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, Norway.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find adjusting to a new language and culture to be the most challenging part of living abroad. Other challenges may include struggling to find employment, adapting to different customs and habits, managing finances in a foreign country, and figuring out how to access the necessary resources and services. Additionally, expats may experience feelings of homesickness and have difficulty developing new relationships or social networks in their host country," commented one expat who made the move to Bergen.

"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 living in Bergen, Norway.

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Is there a lot of crime in Bergen?

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

"Crime in Bergen is low compared to many other cities in Norway. Bergen has a reputation as a safe city but like all cities, there are instances of crime," wrote a member in Bergen.

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

"Bergen is a highly diverse city, with both a wide variety of ethnicities and religions represented in the population. There is a strong sense of acceptance in the area, and people are generally very welcoming of individual differences. This acceptance helps create an atmosphere of inclusivity and understanding, making it a great place for people from all different backgrounds to live, work and play," said another expat in Bergen.

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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.
William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance in Norway

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.
GET A QUOTE

What are the schools in Bergen like?

"Bergen has a number of excellent schools that offer a quality educational experience. Bergen has over 20 public schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Additionally, the city is home to a range of private schools that provide a variety of educational options such as day schools, boarding schools, as well as special educational programs. Most schools in Bergen focus on providing a challenging yet supportive learning atmosphere, tailored to meet the needs of each individual student. Facilities and resources vary, but all schools in the city strive to offer an engaging and stimulating curriculum," said another expat in Bergen with children at .

"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," remarked another parent with kids at International School of Bergen in Bergen (Sandsli area).

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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.

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