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Kristiansand, Norway

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By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: The approximate population of Kristiansand, Norway is 88,000. People describe Kristiansand as a vibrant city with a beautiful coastline, a rich cultural heritage, and a great quality of life. Expats love the city's laid-back atmosphere, its proximity to nature, and its friendly locals. The weather in Kristiansand is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from the mid-30s to the mid-50s Fahrenheit (1-12 Celsius) in the summer and the mid-20s to the mid-30s Fahrenheit (-5 to 2 Celsius) in the winter. The average cost of living in Kristiansand for an expat is around $2,000 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is around $1,000 per month, and the cost of a two bedroom apartment is around $1,400 per month.

What do I need to know about living in Kristiansand?

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

"Before retiring in Kristiansand, it is important to research the area and be aware of the local culture, cost of living, healthcare, taxes, and housing. It is also important to consider any potential language barriers and be aware that the Norwegian language is widely spoken in the city. It is also important to consider activities and amenities available in the city, and determine whether and how to obtain a residence permit. Additionally, it is important to research the various available retirement options and determine whether living in Kristiansand is the best option for you," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

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What do I need to know before moving to Kristiansand?

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

"Before moving to Kristiansand, it is important to understand the local culture, climate and cost of living. Kristiansand has a mild and relatively dry climate, making it a popular destination for outdoor activities in the warmer months. Kristiansand offers both urban centre and rural areas, and it is important to research the area where you may want to live. The cost of living in Kristiansand is slightly higher than the national average, and housing is competitive, so it is important to plan ahead and consider budget and housing availability. Additionally, consider language and healthcare services, important paperwork and registration requirements, and job opportunities when planning relocation," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

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How do I find a place to live in Kristiansand?

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

"When looking for a place to live in Kristiansand, you can start by searching online for rental listings. You may also want to visit individual apartment buildings and talk to landlords or property managers. Additionally, consider looking into classifieds and use word of mouth to gain more information. Lastly, make sure to consider the many affordable housing options the city offers to residents," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

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

"Expat homes and apartments in Kristiansand are typically modern and have a good range of amenities. Most have open plan living areas and new, clean bathrooms. Rooms usually come with views of the countryside or the city. Many apartments also have balconies and terraces, perfect for those who want to enjoy the Norwegian summer outdoors. Many expat homes are located close to local attractions, schools, shops and other services," added another person living in Kristiansand.

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What is the average cost of housing in Kristiansand?

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

"The cost of housing in Kristiansand is generally considered to be moderate. Prices for apartments vary depending on the location and size, but the average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment is approximately 7,000 NOK per month. Prices for buying a property range from around 2,000,000 NOK up to 10,000,000 NOK," explained one expat.

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How do I meet people in Kristiansand?

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

"Kristiansand is a great place to meet people and socialise with the local community. There are plenty of options available, such as local bars, café's and restaurants, as well as events and activities taking place in the city. These could be anything from concerts, festivals, sports events or even something like a quiz night. You could also look for community groups or societies that gather for shared interests or activities, such as art classes, music groups, dancing classes and more. Additionally, if you have access to a university or college campus, you could take the opportunity to join a student society. Lastly, if you have friends or family in the area, you could use that as an opportunity to socialise with them or arrange a meet-up," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

"American Women's Club is available, but not really functioning. After trying several churches we have found a Church with an American core to be the friendliest place in town! In southern Norway, (we lived in Oslo for 10 years my husband is Norwegian), the culture is tough to break into. It is almost stereotypical small town closed," said another expat in Kristiansand.

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What should I bring when moving to Kristiansand?

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

"Clothing appropriate for warm, rainy weather, sturdy shoes, umbrella, water-resistant outerwear, sun hat, sunscreen, first aid supplies, spare eyeglasses, any prescription medications, a small tool set, LED or battery powered lights, a backpack, travel adapters, insect repellent, binoculars, camping gear, camera and memory cards, Norwegian language material, maps, laptop or tablet, and travel documents," replied an expat in Kristiansand.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Kristiansand?

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

"In order to set up a bank account in Kristiansand, Norway, one should look into local banks such as Sparebank 1 SR-Bank and Nordea Bank. It is also possible to visit a local branch of foreign banks, such as Danske Bank, Handelsbanken, Jyske Bank, and others. It is recommended to check with each bank about its requirements for setting up an account, as well as their fees and services. Many banks provide online services, making it easy for customers to stay connected even when outside of Kristiansand," explained one expat.

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Will I be able to find a job in Kristiansand?

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

"Finding a job in Kristiansand is certainly possible. There are many industries in the city that provide employment opportunities, including the energy sector, tourism, logistics, finance, IT, and retail. Additionally, the unemployment rate of the area is below the national average, so unemployment is not a major concern. Furthermore, Kristiansand is an important hub for the entire southwest region, meaning there are many job openings available in nearby towns and villages as well. So while there is no guarantee that a job will be found, the prospects of finding meaningful work are good in Kristiansand," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

"I have worked all over Norway from Tromso to Sarpsborg to Kristiansand. Most career opportunities for foreigners are doing the jobs the Norwegians don't want to do, much the same as the UK and many other places. This can make learning the language difficult since a) The Norwegians generally speak good English and b) You are mainly speaking English with non-Norwegians," said another expat in Kristiansand.

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What is life like in Kristiansand?

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

"Living as an expat in this area can be rewarding and adventurous. There is a lot of cultural richness as the area is very diverse in terms of its people and cultures. Different nationalities are well integrated, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn different languages, explore new cuisines and enjoy life without too much pressure. The infrastructure in the area is generally good, meaning that most basic amenities and services can be easily accessed. Cost of living can vary heavily depending on lifestyle, however generally speaking it is somewhat cheaper which makes life more affordable. The climate is mainly warm and sunny throughout the year with occasional rain showers which makes it a great place to live outdoors," replied an expat in Kristiansand.

"The people's priorities are money, status and beautiful houses. Daily lives revolve around sports, socializing and family activities. They spend their money on big boats, big houses and keeping up with each other and taking the boat or drive to neighboring countries to buy cheap meat and alcohol. Public drunkness and disordliness is socially acceptable. Where ever you travel in the nordic countries, if there is a drunk staggering the odds are he/she is Norwegian," remarked another in Kristiansand.

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

"Expatriates in Kristiansand appreciate the peaceful lifestyle, friendly locals, and the vibrant art scene. The city is also known for its scenic location along the coast, with plenty of outdoor activities for visitors and locals alike. Additionally, the city is home to many cultural sites and attractions, including historical churches, museums, festivals, and cultural centers. Expats also appreciate the low cost of living, lively local nightlife, and the excellent selection of restaurants, bars, and cafes," remarked another in Kristiansand.

"I moved here to be with my Norwegian husband. I cannot say I appreciate much about Norway," explained one expat.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats may find it difficult to adjust to a new culture and language, to make new friends, and to understand the local customs and regulations. They may also face practical issues such as finding suitable housing, negotiating rent, getting a residence permit, opening a bank account, and setting up utilities. Cultural differences in the workplace may also require navigating, including different work styles, expectations, and communication patterns. Finally, expats may also struggle with missing friends and family back home, feeling alienated and/or homesick, and experiencing bouts of loneliness," said another expat in Kristiansand.

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Is there a lot of crime in Kristiansand?

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

"Kristiansand is generally considered to be a safe city with a low crime rate. Generally speaking, violent crime and theft are rare in the city," explained one expat.

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

"Kristiansand is a diverse city located in southeast Norway, close to the Swedish border. It is a multicultural city welcoming people from all over the world, and its diverse population reflects this. The people of Kristiansand are open-minded, welcoming, and accepting of diversity. The city has several vibrant neighborhoods, from the traditional living areas of Vågsbygd and Talgø to the modern Moflat and Lund. No matter what part of the city you visit, you will find people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles living peacefully side by side. Kristiansand residents are open-minded, tolerant, and supportive of diversity," remarked another expat in Kristiansand.

"Southern Norway is the bible belt of the country. But don't look for this to be evident in daily life. Breaking into this culture if you are Norwegian, as my husband is, is TOUGH. If you have a different color skin forget it - they openly exercise racial and age discrimination in the job and housing markets. The UN may have voted Norway the nicest place to live and it may be one of the richest countries in the world, but in our opinion, that is a farce. The health care is so far below standard that it is dangerous to be ill. You have to ask the doc to take your blood pressure! The schools are destitute of funds, the hospitals are closing for lack of funds, it is a prime example of mismanagement, greed and arrogance. It went from 3rd world poor to first world rich in less than 3 decades. The economy grew but the culture did not. This is the land of Jante Loven, (Jante's Law)which is don't think you are anybody and certainly not any better than me, because if you stand out or excel they will take you down! That is the national curse and it is lived out on every level and area of society. Only the greedy and the arrogant rise to the top where they judge and criticize the rest of the world - especially democratic countries, socialism is the reigning philosophy. Their hatred for Israel and America is fightening. It is openly shown in politics and journalism. Norway is no friend of the USA or Israel," explained one expat living in Kristiansand.

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What are the schools in Kristiansand like?

"Kristiansand is home to a wide range of educational institutions. These include elementary schools, secondary schools, high schools, universities and specialized vocational schools. Elementary and secondary schools offer regular education in a range of subjects. Higher education institutions in Kristiansand include Kristiansand University College, Kristiansand Cathedral School, Kristiansand Business School, and Agder University College. Specialized vocational schools in Kristiansand include the Academy of Graphic Design and Communication, the College of Performing Arts and Production, Agder Maritime Training Center, and the Astronautical Department at Agder," said another parent with children at in Kristiansand.

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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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