30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Norway

Before reading this, please read these three key points first:

a)  This post has nothing to do with things I do or don’t like about living in Norway.  If you’re curious about what those are (which, I love living in Norway, so they are basically all positives), you can find those articles here.

b)  This post is not meant for Norwegians, hence the title ‘BEFORE MOVING TO NORWAY’.  It is geared for foreigners looking to move here, or people simply looking to travel here.

This was originally written in 2013.

As I approach my two-year anniversary in Norway, I have realized that there are many things I wish I had known, whether it be in a general or specific manner, about Norway prior to moving here.  Of course, it would not have changed my plan to move here…it would have just made me more aware.

But fear no more!  I, along with Andrea from Inspiring Travellers, are here to share our list of 30 things you should know before moving to Norway.  Please feel free to add any others at the end if you’re an expat in Norway or have traveled there for any length of time!

me in a helly hansen parka in henningsvær norway in the lofoten islands

1.  ‘Allemannsrett’:  This law means that you can pitch your tent or hike anywhere in Norway.  Granted, you can’t pitch a tent in the middle of Frognerparken, but anywhere out in nature or mountains that are not private property is an absolute go.  I can’t tell you how much I love this right!  Hotels and hostels aren’t cheap in Norway, so this gives travelers and locals another way to be out in nature at an affordable cost.  I have future plans to road trip up the Atlantic highway in Norway all the way to Lofoten and you can bet that this will be the route I go for the majority of the trip.

Trollstigen in Norway

<Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash>

2.  Salaries:  I constantly hear from Norwegians, even when irrelevant to a conversation, “We are so lucky to get paid so well here…that is why everything is more expensive.”  This is not always true.  Granted, a housekeeper or retail shop worker gets paid drastically more than in the US.  But skilled workers with education generally do not (I have found that teachers are one of the exceptions).  I will most likely never make the same salary here that I would make in the US.  And that doesn’t even account for the taxes or high cost of living here.  If you look at the OECD Better Life Index, you will notice that based on disposable income, the average American makes astoundingly more than the average Norwegian per year.  This takes into account a lot of the wealth gaps (to my surprise, there wasn’t as large of a difference between the countries as I anticipated).  And with the cost of living being so much lower in the US, your money will go much further than it would in Norway.  This is hard for people to see…especially since many jobs (engineers are an example) are in a much higher demand in Norway than they are in the US or other countries.  So while you may get paid very well to be an engineer in Norway, that does not mean that you won’t get paid equivalent or higher in another country… they just have the demand for it in Norway at the moment.

3.  Everyone is given a new tax card each year:  They are supposed to come automatically, but sometimes you have to order them if you don’t receive them on time.  What happens if you don’t turn yours in or are in between the processing of visas and can’t receive one until the visa processing is done?  You are taxed at 50%.  I am experiencing this right now and trust me, it is BRUTAL.  I’m told I’ll receive a lot of it back when tax time comes.  Fingers crossed.

4.  Food quality is poor:  Since they are not part of the EU, they don’t have the same amount of imports as grocery stores in Sweden, for example.  And what you do get in the grocery stores is usually very, very poor quality.  I can’t tell you how badly I miss a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.  Luckily, if you’re in Oslo, the Grønland markets can provide you with your foreign needs, at a lower price, and often, with better quality.  My favorite grocery store here for quality is Centra…which I still find rotten food in, but less often than other ones.  Don’t let Kiwi’s produce guarantee trick you into believing their quality is superior to any other store’s.  I will mention that I have seen drastic improvements regarding food quality since I have moved here.  Perhaps the TV2 programs about the poor quality have helped? (Again, this was written in 2013 and has likely changed a bit- I no longer live in Norway, so I have no idea!)

5.  Norwegians don’t complain:  And if they do, it is very rarely.  So, when you do have a legitimate complaint with a company or its services, you will shock the lower level employees because they don’t experience this often.  I purchased a sofa from Bohus here in Norway and had some delivery issues with it (it was going to be months late).  I was upset, naturally, and called to complain.  The employee who received my phone call was so confused about what to do or who to escalate the call to that I think I frazzled her for days.  Luckily, the problem was resolved in a professional and timely manner and I ended up having a superb customer service interaction with Bohus.

6.  If you can’t find it here, it could be banned:  The Norwegian government is notorious for banning things.  One of my favorite Yogi teas is banned here.  I didn’t discover this until my friend who works for customs and tolls here informed me that that is why I am unable to find it, but can find every single other Yogi tea here.  Red Bull was banned here in recent years, in fact, due to caffeine levels.  A 12oz Red Bull has less caffeine than a cup of coffee.  I think it was probably banned for other reasons but the government just told the people it was caffeine-levels related.  But on a general note, if you can’t find it…before you go to extreme measures of trying to have a grocery store import it (which I have done), find out if it is even allowed in the country at all.  There may be a reason you can’t get it here.

7.  Shipping products into Norway is no easy feat:  Since Norway is not part of the EU, many places abroad won’t ship here.  I have found that you can often get an exception made by speaking with managers, but there have been times I was unable to get that permission granted.  In addition, you have to pay tolls and customs on products shipped to Norway that are over about a $40 (give or take depending on currency exchange at the moment).  These taxes can often amount to more than what you paid for the product in the first place, depending on what it is.  So I have given up shopping online from abroad.

8.  Speaking of taxes…:  Tax returns are mostly automated.  Take that H&R Block.

9.  Healthcare:  I haven’t had an opportunity to experience any healthcare here in Norway yet.  This is obviously a good thing.  I only know what I watch on the news or have experienced with others.  Vision and dental are not covered.  The healthcare itself is very basic and does not include holistic approaches or natural forms of medicine (chiropractors included).  Many of the hospitals look like they were built in 1903.  On the contrary, everyone is entitled to coverage here.  I have found that the healthcare here is more expensive for me at this point in my life than what I got in the US because I’m healthy.  But, if you’re chronically ill, this is the country for you.  Every time you go to the doctor, you must pay around $40, in addition to the medicine you’re prescribed.  But, once you hit your cap (I want to say it’s around $500ish), everything is covered for the remainder of the year.  One thing I do notice a lot due to my watching and reading the news here is that a lot of the equipment and practices are extremely out of date.  I just saw a situation with a boy having to travel to Germany out of pocket because the heart procedures he was having done were from the 1970s and doing more damage than good.  A lot of what is done here is out-of-date, and not just in the field of medicine.  Here are two unbiased and informative blogs on the subject (one from an American’s POV and one from a Canadian’s POV):

http://www.fromtheretoheretheblog.com/2013/02/the-ins-and-outs-of-healthcare-in-norway.html

http://ohtheplacessolvorwillgo.blogspot.no/2012/11/norway-vs-us-in-health-care.html

10.  Banking in Norway is awesome:  I love the banking system here in Norway.  Everything is done easily online, which is the same as the States, but transferring money amongst people is way easier here in Norway.  Of course, I’m not sitting in a country of 325 million people… but rather 5 million … but still.  I can just type in someone’s bank account number and the money sends, regardless of the bank.  Bank account numbers aren’t a private thing here.  If you owe your friend $20, you can just transfer them 100kr over the internet.  It’s so efficient it makes me sick.

11.  Feriepenger:  Everyone in the world thinks that Norway gets a month of vacation during the summer and paid to not work.  Well, this is very wrong.  I, believe it or not, got more vacation time with pay in the United States than I do here in Norway.  You see, the month Norwegians are mandated to take off in July, is unpaid.  Many jobs and offices close down so you’re forced to not work.  While this is conceptually a nice idea, it sucks for those who need the money and want to work through July.  The way people are able to afford a month off without pay is because their company withholds money from the worker’s paychecks every month the year prior and gives them a nice, lump sum of money in June of the following year, aptly called feriepenger.  There are reasons I both like and dislike this method.  I like it because you get a month of vacation off.  I’m a traveler at heart and will happily take off a month unpaid if given the chance.  I dislike it because depending on the job, you are forced to take off even if you need the cash and want to work extra.  I also dislike it because it is in July.  Who really wants to leave Norway and travel abroad in the height of Norway’s most beautiful and tolerable season??  Give me a month off in December or January and I’d have a more positive response.   Also, if it is your first year at a job, you don’t receive feriepenger.  So basically, you get to take a month off unpaid.  You better be good at saving and budgeting!  When Norwegians tell you they get a month off and tons of money to do so… don’t be fooled.  This was money they earned the year prior; it is not ‘free’ money as they will be so inclined to tell you.

12.  Conformity Rules:  I haven’t talked too much about this in previous posts but really should have.  This is the absolute most conformed place I’ve ever been in the world.  The girls all dress the same.  And if someone claims they have their own style or is an original, this simply means they just have a different color of Converse sneakers than their friends, who will undoubtedly all own the same white high-top ones.  If a trend catches on here…watch out.  The summers are filled with girls in unflattering mom-like jean shorts, solid color t-shirt, long, straight box dyed blonde hair, and Converse white high-top sneakers.  In the winter, it is all about the Canadian Goose parka (whether it be real or a knockoff) with a fur-trimmed hood.  The guys are not much different when it comes to conformity, but it is easier for me to notice on the females than the males since I’m a female myself.  Aside from style, you will also notice conformity in other manners.  Skiing is another example.  I understand this country is made for skiing and quite frankly, there is not much else to do here, but I swear, everyone does it.  There is not a lot of variety when it comes to sports.  Sure, you have gyms and some indoor soccer centers, but pretty much just everyone skis.  Hey, at least they are active!

Norway

<Photo by Philipp Lublasser on Unsplash>

13.  Everything costs money:  Wanna play tennis?  Good luck finding a court that you don’t have to pay for!  Own a TV?  You must pay yearly taxes on it.  Fortunately, recycling is free.  So is hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

14.  Norwegians are masterminds when it comes to saving:  Americans could use some tips on this.  While I think many Norwegians buy and build homes way too young without much money in the bank, the majority seem super good at saving.  It boggles my mind and I really need to start learning from them.

30 things you should know before moving to Norway #expat #relocation Click To Tweet

15.  Getting places is easy, kind of expensive, and will take you often a lot longer than it should:  Public transportation in Norway deserves a huge thumbs up.  It is incredible.  But you know those beautiful fjords?  They make getting places kind of a nightmare.  Places that should really only take two hours to get to often take five hours to get to because one has to take the long way around the fjord or wait on a ferry to get across.  Don’t let maps fool you into thinking places are closer than they are.  These kinds of situations tend to happen more in western Norway than the east side.

Transportation here is expensive.  Even when I think I am getting a hell of a deal…I’m kind of getting screwed over.  To go round trip from Oslo to Bergen (7 hours) via train with the absolute cheapest ticket possible is still over $100.  For a 2 minute ride on Oslo’s public transportation system…you will pay around $5.  The ‘Flytoget’, or airport train, from Oslo’s international airport to the city center will run a person 170kr, or $30.  EACH WAY.  There are ways to avoid this, but the average traveler or person new to Oslo doesn’t think about it when they step off of an airplane here.

Norway

<Photo by Atle Mo on Unsplash>

I have only covered 15 of the 30 on the list! To check out the rest…head over to Inspiring Travellers and see what Norway tips Andrea has shared with you!

Is there anything you think is important for people moving to Norway, or even traveling here, to know prior to their trip/move?  Please feel free to share below.

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Norway is a complicated, beautiful, and a sought after country these days. This post describes thirty things you should know before moving to Norway.
Norway is a complicated, beautiful, and a sought after country these days. This post describes thirty things you should know before moving to Norway.
Norway is a complicated, beautiful, and a sought after country these days. This post describes thirty things you should know before moving to Norway.

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Norway is a complicated, beautiful, and a sought after country these days. This post describes thirty things you should know before moving to Norway.
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638 Comments
  • Alex @ ifs ands & butts
    Posted at 13:50h, 14 March Reply

    The banking in Germany sounds really similar, I love how easy it is to transfer without having to go through companies like Paypal! And Norweigians don’t complain?? That’s pretty amazing. And they’d probably hate me ;) And PLEASE find out their saving tips and share them!

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:06h, 20 March

      its so funny because norwegians think norwegians complain. but being american i have to laugh it off LOL :) and they arent picky. if something is on the menu, generally they order it as is. whereas an american will come up and be like ‘oh im a vegan…can you remove the cheese and mayo for me and leave out red onions because i dont like them and green bell peppers because im allergic?’

    • Bikram
      Posted at 02:22h, 25 June

      Dear Megan,
      I am student from Nepal and i have recently completed my Bachelor Degree in business Administration.So, i am planning to complete my MBA in Norway.

      So, can you suggest me, how good is norway for international student like me having Moderate economic background? beside this, what are the possible chances of part time job over there? last question, can you say approximate living cost for student living a normal life style over there?
      I will be eagerly waiting to hear some fruitful suggestion from you.

      Your regards,
      Bikram

    • Domaldel
      Posted at 18:27h, 23 November

      “Bikram June 25, 2014 at 2:22 am

      Dear Megan,
      I am student from Nepal and i have recently completed my Bachelor Degree in business Administration.So, i am planning to complete my MBA in Norway.

      So, can you suggest me, how good is norway for international student like me having Moderate economic background? beside this, what are the possible chances of part time job over there? last question, can you say approximate living cost for student living a normal life style over there?
      I will be eagerly waiting to hear some fruitful suggestion from you.

      Your regards,
      Bikram”

      Hello Bikram.
      I’m someone who have lived his whole life in this country and who live in acity with a large portion of the inhabitants being made up of students. (Trondheim)

      Regarding the conditions for foreign exchange students it’s supposed to be good (at least for students from universities cooperating with the norwegian ones.
      To get a visa to norway as a student you need to document that you have a way to finance your stay here while studying.
      And while the education itself is free, the educational material like the books and the living expenses are not and can unfortunately end up netting you almost as much in expenses as the educaton itself in an american university if you’re not careful.
      A part time job might be easy to get for someone local with a finished education.
      It’s not all that easy without norwegian skills and no education though as unskilled jobs are relatively few and far between in Norway, especially in places where you find the big educational establishments.
      You can try to look up possible grants that you can get that might help you finance your studying time here.
      There’s been various people up through the ages who wrote in their will that they wanted to give a portion of their wealth to people needing an education, sometimes it’s for widows, sometimes for exchange students, sometimes for someone poor, or young girls or all sort of things.
      Sometimes it’s for gifted students.
      Native students rarely make use of these grants as we can loan money cheaply from the government for things like living expenses during our studying.
      So I can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to get one if you find one that you qualifies for.

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    • K
      Posted at 04:53h, 11 November

      Megan, being vegan is not being picky. Neither being allergic. I am vegan and I do not believe I am being picky when ordering something without meat or dairy products. If you do not like something is a different story but please do not label everyone with the same label.

    • Megan
      Posted at 06:22h, 11 November

      im a gluten free pescetarian so im unsure of what you are speaking of. this referenced americans as picky- not vegans. we change every order as we see it to suit us. norwegians just cope. not entirely sure if you read that correctly before commenting.

    • JANE
      Posted at 11:21h, 22 December

      PLEASE READ!!
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    • Christine
      Posted at 11:52h, 19 December

      I am American and yes I am picky with my food so I totally get what you are saying. Thank you for this interesting article. My husband’s family is Norwegian and we always talk about what it would be like to live there. The first thing I feel like you need to be prepared for, is it is not for the host country to adapt to you; you need to adapt to your host country. So blogs like this are very helpful to get you in the mindset of the Norwegian culture. I expect Norwegians to have pride in their culture and it’s not for me to criticize the way they live. It’s not suppose to be my culture. Good luck with the rest of your Norwegian adventure and stay away from the lutefisk. Sorry Norway….I just can’t get past that one!

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:23h, 22 December

      YES- you said it perfectly that the expat can’t expect the country to adapt to them but rather for them to adapt to the country. While I never enjoyed skiing or winter sports (aside from sitting inside by the fireplace haha), I still found it such a cool part of their culture and heritage. As for lutefisk, I actually enjoy it haha! I am probably in that 1% of people :P Maybe I just had a mild version of it though…

      Thanks for your comments! I no longer live in Norway so I rarely respond to comments on this post but I enjoyed what you said about assimilation so much that I thought I would reply! Happy holidays to you!

    • Matty
      Posted at 14:31h, 12 January

      Megan,
      I was really happy to find this…very helpful. I was disappointed however, when you decided to single out vegans as being difficult or picky. While many people who adopt a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle for health or environmental reasons (both reasonable), for ethical vegans/vegetarians, the choice is not unlike a religious one. I will agree they do require a certain amount of consideration, but I (and I believe many Norwegians) will gladly accommodate them as I would anyone else. Had you, in your response said “oh I’m Jewish …can you remove the cheese for me” you’d obviously be guilty of the same crimes you ask your commenter not to commit. How is this any different? I am not trolling you…I just see how many people with lifestyles that are different from the mainstream are belittled and ostracized…it’s not right.

    • Chris
      Posted at 15:18h, 18 July

      Isn’t banking like that everywhere? I have been using internet banking for more than 10 years now.

    • Megan
      Posted at 15:33h, 18 July

      it wasnt that efficient when i lived in the US. in norway, you can do an immediate transfer to anyone in the country with just their bank acct number, regardless of their bank. it is sooo simple. i think the US lags behind because there are so many people living there…in norway we have only 5 million residents. makes things like banking easier i think.

    • Mo
      Posted at 14:21h, 26 June

      It is the same here too in Nigeria where I live. Internet banking is very convenient here.

    • Megan
      Posted at 10:57h, 20 July

      that is so great to know!

  • Kristi
    Posted at 10:55h, 14 March Reply

    Awesome! I will show my boyfriend prior to moving to Oslo, although things aren’t much different in Canada compared to the difference between US & Norway so it might be an easier adjustment. Everyone’s skiing here too, transportation is the same price or higher (while wages are way lower unless you’re a CEO), and feriepenger works the same way in Canada, although you get 4% instead of the 10.2% in Norway of your previous year’s salary, and they might be more likely to pay it out instead of accumulating it to when you take vacation. It is however in addition to your pay (both in Canada and Norway) and not deducted as it might seem, but at least you don’t get taxed on it, so it is a big sum you get for summer :-)

    • Megan
      Posted at 03:50h, 20 March

      i didnt realize that canada received a feriepenger! i learn something new everyday! while i think the idea is kind of lousy because it forces people to not work for a month…i love the idea of being able to actually take a month off (i just know there are some people who need money and would rather work).

      thanks so much for your comment! if yall have any other questions, please dont hesitate to email me and ask them…after living here for two years i feel i have a pretty decent grasp on most things! :) good luck!

    • Steve
      Posted at 07:08h, 24 November

      Dear Megan,

      i like to move to Norway to live and work and become a citizen. how can you help me in the fast and legel way to be there. any Idea !!!

      what is the best city to live and what is the most demanding job wanted. i like to communicate with you and to hear your opinion if you had experience.

    • Megan
      Posted at 14:15h, 24 November

      steve where are you from??

    • Johirul
      Posted at 19:42h, 25 December

      Hi Megan

      We would like to move to norway to work live and become citizen.how can you hehp us in the fast and legal way to be there.apreciate your valubale advice.which is the best city to live and availanle jobs for computrer engineers and BBA holder. We are from Bangladesh.we have two children.

      Regards
      Johir

    • Megan
      Posted at 10:43h, 13 January

      Hi Johir! You can find jobs almost in any of the big cities in Norway (Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger), so I would start there! Check out http://www.finn.no for job offerings (it is in Norwegian but just use a browser translator). Good luck!

    • Meg
      Posted at 12:20h, 31 January

      I’m Canadian as well, and I think there’s a misunderstanding.
      We get 4% of our pay as vacation pay (Legally, maybe some jobs offer more). You can take your vacation whenever you want. Some jobs just give you your 4% as a lump sum once a year, some offer it as paid time off and some give it to you when you actually go on vacation and some just tack on 4% to every one of your paychecks. And it basically amounts to two weeks, not a month.

    • Megan
      Posted at 12:26h, 31 January

      thanks for clearing that up Meg (cool name btw!).

      im not sure what goes on in canada, so i just take whoevers word for it when written on here :):) still doesnt seem like a bad offer though! have a great weekend!

    • santosh
      Posted at 13:01h, 05 April

      Hii megan i want to work in norway can you guide me?

    • martin
      Posted at 14:40h, 05 March

      how are electricians paid there ,i’m in uganda.

    • Megan
      Posted at 06:17h, 04 April

      surely paid better in norway than uganda due to cost of living here.

    • Roger
      Posted at 18:34h, 23 June

      Electricians get arround 500.000,- kroner a year.

    • Norse
      Posted at 00:09h, 10 August

      stay in uganda

    • Domaldel
      Posted at 18:38h, 23 November

      That was helpful… ><

    • viviana
      Posted at 16:54h, 01 September

      why? is better uganda than norway?

    • viviana
      Posted at 17:05h, 01 September

      Hi i am a medical doctor in Puerto Rico USA. Im trying to migrate to some quiet country, like Norway or New Zeland.
      Did you have any information, or people in the forum, about medical doctors arriving in Norway, it is easy to work has a doctor?
      Where i can get that information?
      Thank you

    • Ashley
      Posted at 15:43h, 10 September

      We actually do not have a month where businesses are closed, and I’m actually very confused as to what Kristi is referring to. As a canadian myself, living in the capital city of Ottawa, this is something I have never heard of before. If your job is based on hourly wages and not salary-based, you will receive a 4% addition to your paycheck which is considered “vacation pay” because it is meant to cover you for holidays which you do not get paid for, holidays like Canada day or Christmas, that are mandatory to take off. It is your choice to collect it in one payment, once a year, or receive the bonus on every paycheck (which adds up to about 10-20$).

    • Chris
      Posted at 21:07h, 13 April

      I’m disabled, and second generation Norwegian. How does is work with disability there?

    • Lisa
      Posted at 03:02h, 10 August

      I’d love to know the same thing. My husband is 1/2 Norwegian. His mother is 100 percent but moved to the US as a child. I’m on disability here in Nashville TN but was thinking about moving to Norway. My husband is a Generator Technician so he would be looking for work so I wonder if that would be a good job and or easy to find? And does it make any difference that he’s actually Norwegian even though he was born in MA and a US citizen.

    • Megan
      Posted at 10:27h, 11 August

      Sadly, if he doesn’t have a Norwegian passport (and as an adult it is hard to qualify for one through descent), he will be treated like any other foreign citizen :(

    • Duke Of Oil
      Posted at 19:02h, 21 August

      Dear Megan,
      Regarding Feriepenger, in my opinion here in the US it is my money that is paid to me for vacation, and not my employers money, or in other words its paid from the payroll kitty…. just like the money my pays for my health insurance, it could have been on my paycheck instead of meted out to me as a “benefit”. So my end her is to point out that at least in Norway you get a good length of time off to refresh. I understand that some, especially Americans, would rather slave that time away for more money. But what about the flip side that I am living in the US. e.g. I work as a truck driver, its a sweat shop if ever there was one!! I am demeaned and even retaliated against if I would rather have the time off instead of staying working and pocketing the extra pay. The retaliation is real, and usually takes the form of assignment to an older lessor truck and dispatched on undesirable loads. I am the bad guy if I prefer to have the 1 week off instead of just cashing the check. And one more argument possibly… in Norway if you quit mid-year do you get the accrued Feriepenger in your final pay? Because in the US, as you know, if you quit mid-year all vacation pay is lost (is why I typically do my job change as soon as I collect m vacation pay, which fulfills the employers goal to keep the employee on longer). I would wager that when a Norwegians life is over, they probably have a lot of great memories of the experiences and family visits while on vacation, but could they say the same about all the hours on the job? Anyway, that’s my perspective.

      I am reminded of a saying, “Europeans work to live, Americans live to work.”

      Thanks for your great blog. Great information here, and I enjoy your chipper posts. You seem such a warm and positive person and I love that tone about this blog.

    • Megan
      Posted at 22:00h, 30 August

      Thanks so much for your comment! I haven’t lived in Norway for two years so things are not at the forefront of my mind anymore so it is so nice to hear people discuss on here to keep those memories coming back. And I do agree with you on the Europeans work to live and Americans live to work. Although it depends on the country (because here in Germany the hours are pretty dang long too!)

      It is a shame your industry treats its workers and employees as they do. I think Americans really need to get a grip on vacation and holidays. Most of us don’t even take the ones we are entitled to! Grrr :( I hope you find a balance with it all.

      Thanks so much for the kind words you left :) It really made my night and reminds me of why I love writing on here and interacting with people through my blog! Have an awesome week!

    • Izzy
      Posted at 01:04h, 09 January

      “I think Americans really need to get a grip on vacation and holidays.” This kind of hurt to read, because it’s not that Americans think money is more important than family, it’s that a lot of families here in America HAVE to work. For example, my family has never taken a vacation, ever. We can’t afford it, because we don’t make enough money. I just wanted to tell you that the “Europeans work to live, Americans live to work.” quote really kind of hurt. My family tried, we just can’t afford it. We celebrate Christmas and we can’t afford to get even remotely expensive gifts. I got a soccer ball and some slippers for Christmas from my parents. There was some headphones that they got me but they returned it so we could afford food. It’s pretty hard in our situation.

    • Megan
      Posted at 10:36h, 13 January

      i am really sorry if this offended you in any way- i certainly didnt mean it that way <3 i think i was referring more to the fact that over 60% of americans dont use the holiday allotted to them each year and let it go to waste (it is paid holiday). that is something i dont understand. hope you have a lovely 2017 <3

    • Arun
      Posted at 19:19h, 15 December

      Hi megan m 4m india nd plumber what chances for permanent residence with my wife in norway or salary packages plz rply on my wt s app 00919813024636

    • Izzy
      Posted at 00:53h, 09 January

      It’s Norway, not Canada.

    • Saleh Ahmed
      Posted at 17:24h, 15 February

      Hi Megan,
      This is Saleh Ahmed from Bangladesh.I wanted to visit your country for my post-gradutations in Mass Communications.So give me sugessions that how I can apply and which city is best for me as a per-time job holder.Thanks.

    • Taiwo Emmanuel
      Posted at 10:30h, 13 May

      Hello Megan
      Pls I will like you to advise me on migrating to Norway this will be adream come through I’m a from Africa Nigeria to be precise am a graduate of computer science and I wish to leave and work in Norway and even to study more there and I also repair computer system pls what’s the best way to get a visa and move over there should I apply for or direct visa pls I will GE glad if u can help me out
      Taiwo Emmanuel
      Lagos Nigeria

    • Anthony
      Posted at 21:42h, 13 July

      The month off, is that in addition to other entitled paid holiday throughout the year? Or is the month off your only holiday entitlement ?

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:41h, 26 July

      (Sorry I haven’t replied to this as I no longer live there and have no idea what the rules are regarding this- I hope someone comes through!) :)

    • Shraddha
      Posted at 09:09h, 29 November

      Regarding feriepenger …It is not something that is deducted from ones paycheck the year before by the government…but is a 12% earning of everything you’ve earned last year. (a substantial difference)

    • ME
      Posted at 22:49h, 11 March

      Can you please send this out to all the Americans that want to be like Norway??? America is great and why change it????

    • Christian
      Posted at 17:22h, 22 March

      Norway is a backward country thus not a place to live,everything there is a facade or false and that’s because of the norwegians who are: uncivilized-uneducated-low class-arrogant-liars that’s part of their character-greedy-unfriendly-rascals-lazy-racist-unprofessional-and psychopaths,most of the norwegians have the Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
      The educational system is ridiculous,health service is unprofessional,public service a total disaster,justice system a chaotic, the police force and unit are ridiculous,construction system is a scandal, industry is a happy go lucky,etc. All that norwegians have is the pride of foolishness!
      One more info.: norwegian society is not Christian as it’s falsely claimed; the society there is antagonist toward Christianity while the most shocking thing is that thugs-liars-ignorant-and psychopaths have become church leaders and “pastors” there. Norway is a ridiculous country that’s because of its ppl who have the symptoms of psychopath.

    • Megan
      Posted at 18:04h, 22 March

      Cheers to you in Finland. I appreciate your comments, but I hardly think that what you’re saying is credible and is just a personal opinion. Generalizing an entire society of people is immature, ignorant, and just downright wrong. This post is to be used as a discussion forum for those looking to move to Norway. As you are from Finland and have such strong opinions about your fellow Nordic country, I hardly doubt you’re looking to move there, so I am completely shocked to see that you have stopped by to write such heinous stuff.

    • Christian
      Posted at 13:42h, 23 March

      Hi,
      you’re saying that: “generalizing an entire society of ppl is immature……..,”and so on; sorry but, since when it has become ignorant or wrong telling the truth? In that case shall we say the same of you when you say that: “Norwegians have a reputation for trolling the internet hiding behind fake email address and identities and writing nastygrams to bloggers.” ??? You also are generalizing an entire society as well,is that immature,ignorant,wrong??? And I agree with you that norwegians have that reputation using fake email address as I have experienced it myself while I was living in Norway,and I knew who that rascal norwegian was as he was sending offending & threatening messages to me for exposing him of trying benefit through fraud; but also other cases as well of them using fake addresses or false names. Also I agree with you about the food quality (as it is a disaster as I’ve experienced it myself with all kinds of foods from their fish which is full of poisons to their bread that it always gave me headache),shall we say that you’re generalizing…
      I have lived there from 2014-15 so what I have written in the above comment,which you call as ignorant,immature.., is of my experience and also observations! Also, my above comment is not only my experience but of hundreds of foreigners like USA, UK, France,Holland,Italy,Australia,Germany who have shared with me the same experience about Norway and its ppl.
      You’re saying that my post is a discussion for those looking to move to Norway and that you’re shocked of me to have stopped by…; well,isn’t the title of your subject: 30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Norway. ???

      Fellow Nordic country,hmmmmm,Finns are very different from norwegians,alot different; one reason they have the best educational system in the world. However,if you’ve never been to Finland,I’d encourage you to visit it – now that the spring and summer are approaching, I assure you’ll like the politeness of these people to the quality of the food and the nature as well.

    • Megan
      Posted at 15:27h, 23 March

      i do appreciate your candor and sharing experiences of your living in norway. but i hardly think me stating im watching out for trolls who have no purpose of commenting and you generalizing the society as a bunch of psychopaths is the same. you came here spewing stuff about norwegians being psychotic without offering any explanation or any insight as to why people should not move there.

      i no longer live there, fyi. i dont really respond to many of these comments these days and if they include excessive profanity, i delete them. yours didnt, so naturally i left it as it is your opinion and im sure you have reasoning behind it.

    • ComputerEngineer
      Posted at 04:37h, 26 April

      Christian,

      I must say, your strong rhetoric feigns narcissism or one of tortured genius (not a compliment, look up this disorder). Megan, who has kept all of her posts positive, and very genuine based her views and opinions on experience. You came along, and with zero history or citation made claims I can only summarize as drunken, over-hyphenated cultural attacks. You then state how great Finland is over Norway. Might I remind you NPD, is a great and destructive love of ones self. This sounds more to me like a Finnish nationalism form of political hate speech.
      I sincerely hope not all Germans and Finns have the same attitudes of the ones I have encountered and you Christian. I would hate to classify an entire set of two cultures based on those few as I believe you have.
      I came to this site, as I am considering taking some time from my current work as a computer engineer, and working abroad for a few years. Unfortunately, given the discussion about healthcare, Norway is not good for me. One too many parachuting accidents have left me broken in many ways. The US can barely help me medically, even with the many advances. Norway wouldn’t be able to even to scratch the proverbial surface of my injuries from a treatment perspective.
      Megan I sincerely appreciate all the time you have placed in creating and managing this most informative blog. Maybe, one day, engineers such as myself will be able to allow the communication in digital written form, to convey the same emotion and feeling as face to face speaking. Then again, I am kind of old-school, and that may just be the worst thing that could ever happen to the human condition.

      Sincerely

      Phil

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 17:57h, 27 April

      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Phil! I appreciate you taking the time to comment (I don’t currently live in Norway so I can’t offer much new to people these days but I love that people still comment on this post!)

      Please take care of yourself and no more parachuting accidents :P

    • Whyareyousohateful
      Posted at 07:49h, 05 August

      I think she said Norway was secular, meaning “not Christian” which based on your loving Christian tone may be a good thing.

    • Megan
      Posted at 10:29h, 11 August

      :P

    • Phil Stewart
      Posted at 01:04h, 20 May

      I agree with you. I have worked in IT for around 20 years. I am always amazed at how so many people use the Internet for such things as bashing other people, especially when many of those being bashed are just trying to adhere to the original intent, i.e. a tool to aide the human species in becoming better. Sometimes, I am ashamed that I helped to build the Internet.

      Megan, it’s quite alright about not being able to give advice about current states of Norwegian living. Your blog helped me in making the decision. Without your dedication to sharing your experiences and allowing others to benefit from your life there (and sharing your experiences and views) I would still be trying to figure that out. So, hats off to you for being brave enough to put yourself out there, and kind enough to take the time to respond to all of the questions. Also, kudos for being thick skinned enough to not let these folks whom feel bashing someone with good intent is okay, because you have helped quite a few people on this forum/blog, and at the end of the day you should sleep well knowing you have done a good thing. It is people like you that help me feel proud of all the late nights and weekend work myself and the many engineers, admins, and techs I have worked with over the years in building and the many upgrades, family time we all missed to make the Internet a wonderful way for people to share with one another! Thank You so much!!!!

    • Megan Starr
      Posted at 11:10h, 28 May

      Thanks so much for your kind comment! I hate writing negative things about places (or things that people deem negative), but I just wanted to share my experience with moving to the place. I loved Norway (I’ve been gone since 2014) and it will always have a special place in my heart! Hope you have had a wonderful weekend!

    • Michael
      Posted at 22:34h, 27 August

      awesome

    • David
      Posted at 13:16h, 21 November

      ‘Provincial’ is the word you’re looking for. But why the hatred? Some Finns seem awfully mad at the Norwegians, but is Putin what you really want?

    • Majka
      Posted at 15:01h, 23 November

      Hi

      I moved to Norway a little over a year ago. I have to say I agree with you. This country in simple English simply SUCKS!
      I moved here with family of 4 including 2 small children. They got sick about 7-8 times last winter. We took them to a dr and got sent away empty handed. And our kids one ended up on ER screaming from ear pain he did not got antibiotic for because drs dont treat it here! Really!? While my infant ended up in hospital because she stopped eating and drinking and you know what the dr gave her? ?? Painkiller!!! Didnt care to check if she might have a sore/strep throat. Why? Because they dont treat it here!!!! It’s insane to even say it to the patient or parents but drs do with no shame.

      At PPT we applied for speech therapist on 10/15 and now its 11/16 and nothing has happen. Its been over a year! Come on! That beyond lazy!!! Speed of a sloth!! Yep Norwegians are sloths! I think this is best comparison. I could go on and on …,

    • MADA
      Posted at 15:51h, 07 January

      I can’t speak to any of the rest of your comment, but a lot of Drs in the US will also not “treat” ear infections. Often they are due to a cold virus and we all know antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses. This is the same with bronchitis; many Drs are not treating with antibiotics because many cases are viral. This is easily researched. Your body will fight viruses, such as those with ear infections, on its own. Just FYI.

    • Camilla Løvlie Blesvik
      Posted at 22:31h, 31 July

      Christian: jeez…. What’s your problem?!? I have spent my life moving between the US and Norway, as all of my family is American, but my mom is Norwegian. I have to say; alot of the info given in this blog is soooo wrong. Please get your facts right, before you publish false or severely biased facts!

    • Ian
      Posted at 19:22h, 30 September

      Hi, before you move you might want to do some research into the child protection service here in Norway. As a British father I moved to Norway to give my kids a safer place to grow up. From what I hear first hand parents live in fear of the state. You can be reported to the CPS (Barnevernet) by school nursery teachers or even complete strangers without your knowledge. CPS can then interview your kids, doctor, teachers etc without your permission. They are particularly intolerant of immigrant parents assuming that there is only 1 way to raise children- the Norwegian way. And believe me, if you want your kids grow up to be respectful, courteous and socially adept it’s not the way. Also I found out today that if I open an account for my daughter and it has more than a certain amount in it I am required to seek permission from the local Government official to withdraw that money. Another example of a nanny state ( and that’s a polite description)

    • Embla
      Posted at 13:40h, 08 October

      Ian: You’re listing up things that are exactly the same in Britain and elsewhere. If people see or suspect a child to be abused they contact CPS or even police. “They are particularly intolerant of immigrant parents” No, it’s about not understanding the laws of the country you have moved to. It is both illegal and socially unacceptable to use ie. violence to discipline your children. If you find this ‘strict’, please move.

  • Amy
    Posted at 15:56h, 14 March Reply

    I love the banking system here too.
    One big thing I struggle with is paying for parking.
    One important thing we have learned is about getting a drivers license. If you are coming from the US you need to apply for your Norwegian DL within 3 months of getting your work permit. If you wait more than 3 months then you do NOT get a temporary Norwegian driving permit. It takes a minimum of 4 weeks for Norway to decide if they are going to let you finish applying. My husband wanted to ask if they could rush our application, but I don’t him not to even ask. They don’t put a priority on any one application over another.
    We haven’t traveled within Norway at all, but we have had fun traveling in Europe.
    Great post with lots of great info!

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:08h, 20 March

      i had no idea about the drivers license situation! i know for me i have to get my switched over within a year, but personally, i hate driving so im not to keen on doing that when i get my new visa. ill probably just be a slave of public transportation for life…and i think im ok with it!

      the banking system here rocks. i wish the US could manage something like that but there are FAR too many people living there for it to work i think.

    • pilot
      Posted at 02:51h, 06 May

      It has nothing to do with the size of the population, it has to do with money controls. The USA of today is simply a police state. Enjoy Norway, it is a paradise compared to the USA. I am from Israel originally, lived in both the US and Norway, I spend the good weather months in Norway and the rest of the year in Jerusalem, best of both worlds.

    • Gucio
      Posted at 22:40h, 28 November

      There is not such a thing as “good months” in Norway lol
      There might be a week or two when it doesnt rain. It also depend on what part of Norway you live in.
      I honestly hate the weather in Norway. I look at the face skin of Norwegians and they have lots of wrinkles. How you Wonder why???

    • Megan
      Posted at 11:20h, 13 January

      i never noticed- i found norwegians to be beautiful!!

  • Lily @ Lilywanderlust.com
    Posted at 16:14h, 14 March Reply

    It really surprises me to hear about the food quality there! The Dutch banking system is also really simple to use and it probably won’t surprise you to hear that the public transportation here can be a huge pain…even a few little snow flakes create a train cancelations! Luckily, we live in the city center so I can cycle to work every day! :)

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:09h, 20 March

      that is so nice that you’re able to walk everywhere by living in the center of the city! i can walk anywhere…it just takes a while! and i dont have winter tires on my bike so i dont ride it in the winter (oslo is pure ice all winter…and still even in march!)

      yea the food quality here is horrendous. makes it really hard to feel good about what youre putting in your body. i dont mind fruits and veggies looking ugly by shape, but these things are just moldy and nasty. blah.

    • Tashi
      Posted at 07:34h, 15 January

      Glad to hear it’s an all over thing, was beginning to think it was only in Trondheim!

    • Domaldel
      Posted at 18:36h, 23 November

      Hum, haven’t seen anything like that in any shops near me here in Trondheim.
      That said, different shops make a huge difference.
      Basically you’ll want to find a shop that’s not understaffed and where the employees does a food job of sorting through their products.
      It also helps living in a place with a lot of students who makes use of the (if you find something out of date or ruined then you get paid twice the products value as a reward campaign of kiwi)
      Well, it’s something like that.
      It only works if the customers actually makes use of it but people here do.

  • Dena Barrie
    Posted at 06:02h, 15 March Reply

    Interesting post! I think it’s amazing how much I expected everything to be just the same as my life in the US. Never did I think that I would have to pay to use the bathroom, pay to watch my TV or pay for the shopping cart! Thanks for making me realize that it wasn’t just me who was in shock by it all!

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:14h, 20 March

      hahha! ohhhhh yes, nothing is ever free here! or in most of europe. i definitely took it for granted in the US.

      i love when norwegians tell me ‘well we pay for the person who is maintaining the bathroom’…and them im like ‘then why is there no toilet paper and all toilets stink and are clogged?’ i dont believe the excuses ;) i also miss drinking fountains from the US. that was random but i thought id throw that in there!

  • Nina-Martine
    Posted at 12:13h, 15 March Reply

    I pretty much agree with everything you mentioned, except for the fact that Norwegians don’t complain and that the public transportation is incredible. Ugh, I work at a cafè and I swear when people are complaining about this and that I am actually afraid that they’re going to start throwing punches at me. Norwegians complain. A lot.
    And the public transportation here in and around Oslo is absolutely horrific! I don’t know what it’s like anywhere else in Norway, but I definitely mostly use my car because the public transportation is almost non-existent and super expensive!

    But definitely an awesome read! You mentioned several things I didn’t even know or had realized myself :p

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:21h, 20 March

      hahhaha i think norwegians are so passive when complaining compared to americans! :) and i think the public transportation rocks here (ok…compared to the US and other places ive traveled). but i guess i should have stated i think it rocks more in oslo than other parts of norway! i hated bergen’s public transport. their bybanen was kind of pathetic i thought and didnt serve much more purpose than a bus.

      thanks for your comment girl! glad to get a norwegian’s perspective <3

    • Gucio
      Posted at 22:50h, 28 November

      Nowegians do complain! A lot! There no shy and sometimes rude. I had my neighbor complain about my kids. They r small and they don’t understand that they might be disturbing our neighbors in different ways. No matter what I tell them they will forget soon enough. There is nothing I can do but I found it extremly rude when my Norwegian neighbor told me that I need some training to become a fit parent. Really!? You dont come to my apt and tell me that! She should get a life herself and mind her own business! Get that Norwegians!

    • Megan
      Posted at 11:19h, 13 January

      I currently live in Germany and have found Germans to be above and beyond when it comes to complaining hahha! If Norwegians complained at all, it was far nicer than what I see here :P

    • Tashi
      Posted at 07:37h, 15 January

      Public Transport is great in Trondheim, compared to what I deal with in Canada…. except it’s pretty expensive like everything else.. and they now installed about 16 new bomstations (toll roads) … I think they are trying to phase out driving in city… it’s not a bad thing, but there are more people than buses here!

    • Christian
      Posted at 19:58h, 21 March

      If you were afraid that they’re going to throwing punches at you,it’s because norwegians are psychopaths!

  • Heather
    Posted at 07:11h, 16 March Reply

    Great post! I absolutely love the idea of just being able to slap a tent wherever you happen to be for the night… that sounds so much better than having to find a decent campground. And Norwegian banking does sound just the same as German banking, which is about the most convenient/wonderful thing ever.

    I just discovered Yogi teas a month ago, and have been working my way through all the different kinds. I have 7 or 8 boxes in the kitchen right now… I don’t think I can go back to regular tea now, they are so good! I’m dying to know which one is banned… and why??

    • Megan
      Posted at 04:03h, 01 April

      i completely agree with being able to hike or pitch a tent anywhere! makes traveling around the country so much easier when i have options aside from super expensive hotels!

      yogi teas rock! my favorite is blueberry green slimming tea. totally banned in norway ;)

  • Sylvia
    Posted at 19:23h, 16 March Reply

    Loved this post! So interesting to read about these things from a non-Norwegian’s point of view. So many things I have never even really thought about, just accepted! I agree with you about vacation in July.. I’m always like “I REFUSE to leave Norway in summer!” It’s goooorgeous and the whole atmosphere is completely different! Klem!

    • Megan
      Posted at 05:14h, 20 March

      i know right?!?! norway is the place i want to be in july and i dont want to escape somewhere brutally hot!

      hoping you’re coming home soon so we can meet up when im not wearing sweatpants and a bright yellow sweatshirt ;) hhahah!

  • Andrew
    Posted at 16:44h, 17 March Reply

    Such an interesting list and such a contrast to Andrea’s. I saw so many similarities to Germany in her list, and so many differences here.
    11 is crazy. Seems so wierd to shut down the entire country for a month.

  • Carol
    Posted at 22:25h, 19 March Reply

    I was just reading an article about the cost of living in various countries and Oslo was towards the top – I had no idea it was such an expensive city!

    • Megan
      Posted at 05:07h, 20 March

      ohhhhh yes. very, very expensive!

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