Why the fuck did you move to Norway?

Why did you come to Norway?

Is asked again and again every time I encounter any Norwegian for the first time.  An understandable question (If a little tedious to answer repeatedly) and a natural choice to begin conversation with someone who you discover is non Norwegian.  The trouble is that it is always asked with a confused uncomprehending frown; like a cat trying to do algebra. This expression gives away the real question which is  “Why the fuck did you come to Norway?! – are you insane or just merely stupid?” The implication being that Norway is a strange country to choose for an English person  migrate to.

Equally, whenever I am in England and explain to people that I’ve moved to Norway I get the same thing, except they quite often do actually say “Why the fuck did you move to Norway?”. This question never arose, or at least not with the same incomprehension when I moved to Argentina and Japan, the reasons for moving there are apparently self evident. The question I got was more along the lines, “Wow – what are you doing over there?” implying a kind jealousy.  Nobody ever expresses the slightest jealousy when I say I live in Norway.

Now, the Norwegian confusion could be ascribed to false modesty, or in the English case could be the result of undue arrogance. While there might be a certain amount of truth in both explanations, I think a large part of it can be explained by sheer ignorance on both sides about the reality of life in Norway compared to England. This is essentially a public relations issue. For the rest of the world Norway is just a very cold and expensive country with a weird hatred of whales and to a certain extent Norwegians believe that themselves   This article will attempt to debunk some of the myths that perpetuate this popular misconception.

Weather suicide myth: Norway is a such freezing dark country where everyone is so miserable that they spend most of their time silently plotting how to kill themselves often with great success.

I have heard this myth of suicide rate from both Norwegians and English stated as fact.  The truth is that it originally stems  from American propaganda aimed against  “Socialist Sweden” in 1960, when President Dwight Eisenhower gave a speech on why the US shouldn’t develop a welfare state. The reasoning being that they would end up like Sweden where  “following a socialistic philosophy…their rate of suicide has gone up almost unbelievably… and is now second in the world”.

Initially Norway’s reaction was one of amusement (at their neighbours expense), but over time this propaganda got repeated and eventually reified into accepted truth and because much of the world thinks that Norway is a county in Sweden, this myth of Sweden’s high suicide rate became Norway’s (and Finland’s and Iceland’s). The reality today, and pretty much for as long as records have been kept,  Scandinavian countries’ suicide rates have been distinctly average (Sweden’s was high in the 1950’s if only because they had the bureaucratic and secular will to acknowledge and count it).  Today for example none are in the top 20 and Norway sits at 34th, a full 13 places below sunny utopian France.  With their wine, food and incredible sense of superiority this doesn’t make any sense if you buy the weather suicide unhappiness theory. In fact, the opposite is true, Norway is actually ranked 3rd in the world (just behind the Finns and the Danes) in terms of peoples perception of their own happiness.

Yes it gets cold and dark here, but if you have the correct clothes then its fine, its not like people in countries with mild winters of 5 or 10 degrees spend their spare time outside picnicking.  They spend it inside as well.  As for the light thing, lightbulbs are pretty universal in Norway these days so its largely irrelevant unless you buy into quasi-science arguments about the psychological need for natural light.  Also, living in a generally warmer country doesn’t even mean that people get to wear summer clothes for longer.  People who live in warm countries become wimpy;  the slightest chill brings out thick winter clothes and complaints that its “freezing”. Furthermore people in these countries don’t like the hot weather much better either, complaining that its too hot to even work – hence the institution of the Siesta which sounds great from afar but in reality it just means its considered so hot that its unbearable to do anything except sleep in the shade. Basically, it doesn’t matter what your climate actually is, nobody is ever happy.

Norway’s freezing winter brings with it some objective advantages.  Namely – regular snow. With snow comes snowmen, snowball fighting and all manner of enjoyable winter pursuits (skiing, skating etc). However, in the UK  the temperature generally floats around zero, not cold enough for proper snow, merely extremely cold rain. There is no outside activity that is improved by rain. This means we suck at the winter Olympics (albeit in quite an amusing way) and at the summer Olympics.  Also, because Norway is always extremely cold in the winter they have developed the necessary capabilities to deal with it (house insulation and heating, measures to counteract snow) When it does occasionally snow properly, it is so unusual that England ceases to function.

Myth 2: Norwegians are “cold”

Not literally cold, although I would suggest that the reason why this expression is so often used is subconsciously because of the temperature. This is not so much of a misconception that British people have about Norwegians (we don’t really have a stereotype of Norwegians except as whale hating suicide candidates) as much as Norwegians have about themselves.  But as a British person, who suffers from the same stereotyping I have developed a hypothesis as to why this belief is so prevalent.  Having been an English teacher of foreigners for 5 years before coming to Norway I have lived in three different continents and taught hundreds of people from across 5 continents and  I noticed that it was specifically people from “latin” countries that seemed to be most vocal about this stereotype.  The reason being, I suggest, is merely to do with the clashing social conventions of greeting.  In countries where people routinely kiss on the cheek to greet each other, to celebrate saying goodbye, goodmorning and the opening of a biscuit tin, not doing so suggests unfriendliness.  However this is just shallow social formalities. It isn’t a genuinely good representation of the friendliness of a person, or more importantly, how likely it is that they will become your good friend.

It is difficult to make good friends in any new country you go to and having lived in Japan, Poland, Czech Republic, Scotland and Argentina I am better placed than most to say that Norwegians are not noticeably  more or less (genuinely) friendly in general than anywhere else. However would argue that it is actually easier in Norway as a foreigner and specifically an English speaker than most places due to multi generational and unrivalled bilingual nature of the Norway’s inhabitants that allows genuine conversation with locals even if you can’t speak Norwegian.

Myth: Its so expensive!

One gets the impression when talking to a Norwegian, that when they go on holiday to the rest of the world and discover that things cost less, that they believe it is part of some global conspiracy against them, possibly carried out by Russia. This is not the case.  Expensiveness only makes sense when measured against income.  The GDP of Norway is 56,000$ per capita, 3rd in the world and 5 times the median and nearly double that of the UK.  That wouldn’t matter if it was unevenly distributed, but Norway is the 5th most egalitarian country in the world according to the world bank. For example, a good measure of the expensiveness of a country is food which represents just 11% of average household expenditure in Norway. This is the second lowest in Europe (again losing out marginally to the Danes).  In real terms that means that anyone with a job, no matter how unskilled, can live quite comfortably.  I work part time as a dish washer and earn almost 3 times as much as a similar job would pay in the UK (150kr/18£  an hour compared to roughly 50kr or 6£  in the UK).   Even when you take into account alcohol, prices are not 3x  or even 2x as much in Norway than in the UK. When you consider the average level of pay, the lowest level of pay and the living standard that it affords, Norway is an exceptional place to live as a foreigner.

The difference for students is even more pronounced.  The modern English bachelor student has to pay around 9,000pounds (82,000kr) in fees alone per year to go to university in England (even a rubbish university), in Norway it is 350kr.  And you can study in English.  There is no other country I know of that provides such high quality education to foreigners in the none native language in the world. (If Norway marketed itself more effectively, they could suck the brightest and best students from the UK and America, improve their universities reputation and force the UK and US to rethink their education policies for the benefit of the people in all the countries concerned.)

Thus, Norway is only expensive for tourists. Inversely, those that work in Norway get to go on holiday and literally EVERYWHERE is cheaper and therefore it makes holidays and holidaying comparatively more pleasant.  In contrast, everyone else in the world  thinks Norway is extortionate.  This is kind of funny  and it keeps tourists away.  You might think that you want tourists, but its not true.  Being cheap for tourists induces other countries to use you like brothel come booze cruise. Ask any Eastern European country what they think about tourism and you’ll understand. Even if you don’t get prostitution you’ll get tourist shops selling exclusively reindeer jumpers, I love OSLO snowdomes and your national dress but made out of polyester. This will ruin your town centre.   Tourists also move incredibly slowly, so slowly in fact that in London they tried to introduce a “tourist lane” along Oxford Street so that locals could avoid the dawdling Japanese and Italian hordes.

The funny thing is that Norway has quite a lot of tourist in spite of the expense, but geniously put them on boats and send them off to look at the fjords.  This is the best tourist industry imaginable – you get their money but you never have to give them directions.


It is not a strange decision to move to Norway from England but perhaps one of the most logical choices of destination of all the world.  If the rest of the world knew what Norway was really like then they would realise that the question that should be asked is

Why doesn’t everyone move to Norway?

Note: I still have no idea why Norwegians hate whales so much.

Follow me on twitter at your leisure @beaumontpaul for a little more quasi-political-humour and opinion.

This article has been translated into Norwegian and published in Aftenposten under the new title “Tre Myter om Norge”

About Paul David Beaumont

Occasional journalist, part-time socialist & full time International Relations PhD student. Available for hire - but never in the morning. Academia page: https://umb.academia.edu/PaulBeaumont
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240 Responses to Why the fuck did you move to Norway?

    • BORIS says:

      Peeeeew ! These people are a very dislikable lot ! Norwegians are well known to be nasty, arrogant, cold, snobby, and rude ! They all seem to have this lousy “superiority complex” and put themselves forward as thinking they are better than you ! And for what ?….It is quire a comical joke ! Norway is a half frozen little nothing country, way up there in Northern Europe, and not known for anything great or noteworthy, at all ! All Scandinavians pretty much are similar, however, even the Danes and Swedes do not like the Norwegians much. None of these three peoples are known as being warm, charming or overly friendly for sure,…but the Norwegians are the worst ! They sit around like robotic stuffed shirts, rarely smile or laugh. They are also ugly ! The “Nordic” myth of beauty and superiority….is just that, a myth ! The women all seem to have big feet, big heads, high foreheads, huge pickle noses and seem awkward, clumsy and hunch-backed ! So pale and anemic looking, too. Muck like sickly albinos ! Horrible hair, lifeless, baby-fine, yellow and a curse ! The men strike me as very un-masculine and non-virile. They have delicate, effeminate features and do not look sexy. The food is some joke, too ! Norwegian “cuisine” is garbage ! All they seem to eat are dried flatbreads;(crackers), berries, little gherkins-(pickles), bland cheese, gray reindeer salami, and pickled herring. That is the “big feast !” This is not cooking by any European standard, and a crummy snack-at best ! Well, there you have it ! Having visited Norway, and seeing enough of them here in the U.S.,…I do not like them as a people one bit !!!!

      • Fredrik says:

        Thanks doouchebag,you insultet me and my fellow 5 million norwegians.

      • Vain says:

        Pretty much sums it all up

      • Julie says:

        Hahaha! Well aren’t you bitter? You seem very angry at scandinavians, norwegians in particular.. were you bullied by one in school? Have you ever been to norway/sweden/denmark? Beautiful countries! Expensive, yes, cold, yes (though not in summer) and friendly welcoming people, of course every country has their share of bitter, close minded and rude people.. Like you are! You are not setting a good example for your country either 🙂

      • Ilovepizza says:

        Norwegians are not that bad, yes sometimes there can be rude people but that does mean to say that there aren’t nice people, which there are and generaly most of them are so if I was you I wouldn’t judge a whole country by just meeting a few people

      • Angelica says:

        Haha. Wow, Boris! I’ve been living in Norway for many years now, and you can put all your insulting subjective opinions up where the sun don’t shine. Also, Norway has been crowned to be one of the BEST countries to live in, many times.

      • NORWAYguy xD says:

        Why do u think that lol.. Im from norway and please don’t say anything rude about norwegians, before u read what u just wrote. 🙂

      • Sophie says:

        Well, listen up spastic, I am half English (half Norwegian) and live in England. The fact you are American explains it all. We have teamed up with Norway whom also thinks that you are useless scum to society. You say that you’re so safe init, so why the fucking hell do you carry a gun with you wherever you go? When you speak it sounds like you have no emotions whatsoever, and truth be told, if you keep on chatting I will stab you in your fucking mouth, you muggy cunt. You are legitimate losers, can’t even come up with your own language, so you take English and make it into something as horrible as American.
        Apart from that, don’t fucking chat about things you know fuck all about, yeah?

      • Craig says:

        @ boris- Wow, you are the classic american idiot.. I’d take Norway and it’s people over the U.S. and it’s people any day.. Theres nothing worse than travelling to foreign countries (I am Canadian) and coming across americans and their arrogant attitudes.. I dread the day when you and your fellow americans can travel to Cuba for vacations.. It was a great place to go and know that when you’re there you weren’t going to be hearing the constant chant “USA-USA-USA”…. Well now we can kiss that goodbye..

      • karoline says:

        Of course we don`t smile at you when you act like a dick. Ever heard that americans act like they rule the world, thinking the only way is the american way? Get your head out of your ass. We can be the most charming people in the world if you meet us with respect, we`re not charmed by arrogant americans trying to get in our pants after 2 min.

      • Henning says:

        Bitter much?

      • Dave says:

        I don’t believe this is a real person…

      • Amanda says:

        I’m sorry but since I’m half American half Norwegian, I’m half ugly/rude/mean/snobby and have big feet? You my friend should really open your eyes and see realise the world doesn’t revolve around you. You can’t judge and entire country based on the little you’ve seen, think before you write.

      • Seriously Boris… Shut up! As an American you insult the intelligent people in the country by being stupid and ignorant!

        For the rest of you who commented on his post about Americans… don’t you think its calling the kettle black. Not every single Norwegian or every single American or for that matter anyone is the same. To call every single American ignorant is ignorant and to call every Norwegian ugly is stupid. It is judgmental both ways so you are no better than Boris.

        I love being an American (yes we have stupid people here) and I love my Norwegian husband. I love that my children will know both cultures, both worlds and both traditions. I love that they will travel the world and get to know other cultures.

        Fear and Ignorance is what is wrong with this world today.

      • Haakon says:

        Your preception of my motherland is clearly not well thought and superbly biased. Our food is quite unorthodox compared to the fast food chains of the english speaking countries, since we live by the sea and have reindeer and elk we have discovered the nutrition and delicious taste of the heart of the reindeers heart (yes, we are still vikings), which is very tasty.

        We are very modest and usually avoid hugging or kissing with people we haven`t met before, but can be ok if they become our friends.

      • Emily says:

        You have done nothing but embarrass yourself and your country. I am American and nothing upsets me more than my fellow Americans belittling other nationalities simply because you are American. No wonder other countries dislike us, because we all act like pompous snobs who can’t recognize the amazing cultures other countries have to offer. That’s probably the main reason I want to move to Europe. And as for the others bashing Americans you can’t quite generalize Americans based off one idiot. Just as you got angered over a someone spouting nonsense about generalizing Norwegians you do the same with Americans, isn’t that a bit hypocritical? I realize I kinda contradict myself haha. Anyway that’s my little rant, have a nice day everyone ^_^

      • I appreciate your comment, and welcome you to actually meet a norwegian one day, or even go to Norway. It might do you some good.

        On a side-note, please don’t. I’d rather not have you come to our country anyway. As a matter of fact, I believe I speak for all scandinavians when I say this ^^

      • Lol, you mad.

        Best regards,

      • vivien hill says:

        lived here for 15 years and old now..every norwegian fridge has identical contents, (just like norwegians,),,,cold and unimaginatively identical,,,even Hitler advised his henchman to explain things ‘slowly’ to Norwegians ,,hahah The early history is far more interesting , todays world here..is meaningless and pointless., Educational standards are without quality control and appalling.!
        The people are pathologically lazy and incompetent..(check out thei statistics re’ ‘Disability’.rates in the whole of Europe.A nation full of ‘glassbacks’ planning (years in advance for being old and helpless)..they embrace it as the only form of escape left to them..hahahahah
        I am 70 and they bore me shitless.!

      • Hey C’mon, why are so mad about Scandinavia and Norway in particular?
        You didn’t find any good.. Are you sure have you ever been there in Scandinavia?
        Because you probably walked upside down, and everything you saw and visit was completely unreal. Sorry for you, you lost the chance to see Aurora Borealis in winter, and midnight sun in summer.
        You missed the chance to be in one of the most wonderful country ever, with a spectacular nature, but you were too busy to find at any cost something to hate that you didn’t catch your Carpe Diem
        You didn’t even tried any fiskeboller, or brun ost, reker salad, laks, krabbe..
        did you bought food in a supermarket?
        Scandinavians are polite and kind people, especially norwegian ones.
        By the way in every country there are kind and unkind people.
        If all the women and men you met weren’t any charm, friendly and kind, there’s only an option:
        I guess you met Trolls for real! Aren’t you? 😀

      • Vivek Nair says:

        I do not know if anything you have said is true and neither do I want to. I once saw a Norwegian girl online. On PSN actually, and I got to know her a little bit just because I was interested to know her. She was very honest and told me upfront that it’s not possible because I live in India and not Norway and that I’m much older than her. She was never rude to me even though I kind of kept spamming. Then soon I just stopped because I knew she can do much better than me. I Google her to get more pictures of her which while it sounds creepy is what I did and let me tell you something my friend. She is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen and no matter how many I see for the rest of my life, my opinion will never change. She truly is special. I wish she was mine 🙂

      • Christian says:

        Myself lived in Norway from 2014-15, I was shocked at seeing how backward this country is while I found the norwegians to be very uncivilized-uneducated-low class-evil-arrogant-ignorant-liars-greedy-lazy-unprofessional-racist-robbers. They also pretend to be a christian society but that is not true,as a fact thugs,liars,and psychopaths have become church leaders and “pastors” there. Everything in Norway is a facade or false, those rascal norwegians are good at nothing. All they have is the pride of foolishness. Most of the norwegians have the symptoms of psychopath and Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

      • Beth says:

        I’m not Norwegian, but I lived with them for a couple years and met more than I can count. Norway is not a frozen nothing-country. Not known for anything? Really? How about being the first Europeans to set foot on America? The food? As if all they eat are crackers and berries, please. Yes, they eat a lot of smorrebrod, but smorrebrod is good, and some places eat a lot of pizza and sandwiches; who cares what your country’s go-to lunch is? Norwegians eat lots of things besides crackers. We ate stuffed grilled salmon fresh off the boat that would melt your damn face off. Norway is GORGEOUS!!!! I mean, as an outsider, taking a train from Oslo to Trondheim, and then to Bergen, and a drive to Volda…. This taught me that “take your breath away” isn’t just a figure of speech! As for Norwegians being rude… I’m kind of shocked this is the stereotype. They were incredibly kind to me. Even the shopkeepers were warm and helpful, especially when they realized I was trying to learn Norwegian. People are people. Every country has its share of dicks, clearly not excluding yours. JEG ELSKER NORGE! PS: Norwegian men are fine fine fine.

      • Kvikk Lunsj says:

        I can see why you think like this, and I agree on some points. I have been living in Norway all my life, 23 years, and I can honestly say that Norway is mostly shit. I felt it when growing up and till now.
        Now I live in Finnmark, Alta, which is a festering town with its people not wanting to work, prejudice against newcomers are they also. Me and my husband feel like we are living on a different planet. Nothing ever happens in this town. Either you have to be a typical party drunk or radical religious asshat. People are cold and unfriendly, not wanting to help, always have to force them to do their job. And according to Norway, I can’t marry with whoever I want – fascist immigration system. There is a kvota on how many Turkish people that is allowed into the country, my husband got refusal on several appeals, but we are fucking married. We have been doing this for over a year now. We have talked to people in the same situation and repeating what I have mentioned earlier about Norwegians in general. They have huge complex they need to overcome.

        The food restaurants are very limited and bad, repetitive-low- quality service. Very hard to eat healthy foods since it’s costly and often with no taste. My husband mentioned Turkish food culture being richer in cuisine and quality. Price is lower and give more for the money spent.
        Even the local fish is toxic, filled with all kinds of crap that is bad for your health. Don’t eat Norwegian farmed salmon, or other fish from farms.

    • vivien hill says:

      Hi ..sorry you have a hearing issue..but trust me a ‘Pom’ with a bit of a hearing issue is an attractive preference to me..I cant see the problem (other than the inconvenience for you.)
      Doesn’t stop you from being an interesting person with life experience and an interesting story to tell..
      After 15 years in Norway I have yet to meet one Norwegian with an interesting story to tell..lol
      I came here because my Norwegian husband wanted to return re’ dying of Cancer.
      I did not come here for a better life I already had one..now I am trapped.
      ( In this paradise for zombies.)

      • Evidently you have eaten way too much junk food and can’t get out of your apartment, Vivien. Oh, yea, Norwegians did hide in their dens from the late viking age and until the early 70’s, and many still tend to stay put in the village where they where born, but if you really have bothered to get to know them, you’d find that there are more interesting lives out there than you can imagine.
        You are right regarding the education standards from grade school and up to High school, Above that, and Norway has a quite acceptable level of education, and compared to the US it cost much less.

        And for your information, for the price of a couple shopping carts of food you can afford a flight back to the US if you believe that you got greener pastures there, but I doubt that you really want to, because your retirement home in Norway is free, and your pension check will probably not be enough to pay for one in the US 😉

        PS ! I too originated in the US, and I’ve lives in Norway, Finland and now Sweden, and I’ve probably got a bit more experience in speaking with Scandinavians than you.

      • OsloExpath says:

        “Paradise for zombies”

        I moovde to Oslo more than 3 years ago and that sentenc describes this place spot on.

  1. Karl S says:

    As a Norwegian, I found your post very reflective and interesting.

    I do have a few comments on your thoughts though.

    WEATHER: Your argument that the weather in Norway is better than in England, really makes sense. And I also have the impression that foreigners think that the Norwegian winter is colder than it actually is. However, and there is a big however: We are cursed with very short and chilly summers. In many countries further south you have a long period of good temperature between spring and autumn, we have only a very short period between mid-june and late august with what I would consider “nice” weather. Rain for 2 weeks with temperatures hovering 15 degrees is not that uncommon even in July. (You could argue that 15 degrees is better than 40 degrees though).

    “COLD” NORWEGIANS: Your thoughts on this issue are highly reflective, and I definitively support them. I think this perceived coldness derives from the fact that Norway is very much no-nonsense. We have a very informal culture (partly catalyzed by egalitarianism, I think), and we don’t see the point in “going around the porridge” (a norwegian saying, meaning the opposite of cutting to the chase) by using verbal pleasantries. I know some Norwegians are puzzled by the “how are you doing”-phrase (or rather how’y’ doin?) which is used so commonly in English-speaking countries. You can certainly ask how somebody are doing in Norwegian as well, but then you are implying you want an answer or engage in a conversation with them on a personal or semi personal level. In Norway, it may seem unnatural and ungenuine to ask somebody how they are doing if you really don’t give a damn. However, I think this might be slowly changing due to the English language’s and American culture’s increased influence on Norway.

    However, this “no-nonsense-cut-to-chase” approach may result in a social situation that can be interpreted as hostility or unfriendliness. I do think the Latino’s have a point though, it might be harder to strike up a conversation with a stranger in Norway than some other places, because people naturally become skeptical and think “why do you want to know how I am doing” if engaged in conversation with a stranger. Then again, I think this is slowly changing due to increased globalization and an increasingly continental mindset on our part.

    By the way, according to personal conversation with swedes, they are even more “cold” than Norwegians. This supports my theory that egalitarianism deter pleasantries since Sweden are THE country in the world with the lowest Gini coefficient.

    • wow, as a norwegian i feel this is a spot on reflection, and to the article itself, its just hitting the nail. Only thing is though, atleast we in the south, we do not hate whales, nor do i know that many that eat them.

      • Fredrik says:

        Same for me

      • The whaling industry was driven, run and recruiting primarily in the south, east and west. Keyword: Was. Whaling is illegal in Norway and has been for quite some time.

      • I see that Vegard Bratteng doesn’t know what’s going on in Norway. Whaling is legal, but it is done mostly for the purpose of keeping a balance in the population. Norway for one got to see the result of the ban of Seal hunting. The population of seal exploded, and ten times the amount of seal ever hunted in a season, died due to starvation illness, and getting trapped in fish nets when they traveled further south than they ever had been since the stone ages in search for food. they decimated their food supply in the arctic regions and migrated as far south as Denmark, and these where species of seal that rarely traveled as far south as Norway.

        As for the whale, only one species is hunted, the other species of whales found in Norwegian waters have never been in danger of over population, and are not hunted. In fact a large portion of the whale meat that could have been used for human food is used to make dog food, or other animal food products due to the fact that no one buys it. A shame really because it is good food that could be used to feed the hungry. I am certain that there are enough of them some where.

    • Anne Chia says:

      “I do think the Latino’s have a point though, it might be harder to strike up a conversation with a stranger in Norway than some other places, because people naturally become skeptical and think “why do you want to know how I am doing” if engaged in conversation with a stranger.”

      I completely agree with you. I have found that Norwegians and Swedes (not that both are the same, am just listing my experience with the Scandinavians) are quite unwilling to strike up conversation and chit-chat. I have experienced this severally. It almost feels like they believe ‘you want something”. Quite strange actually 🙂

    • NORWAYguy xD says:

      Why do so many hate norwegians? I mean like norwegians is not rude or anything.. Im a norwegian and im not rude or anything so i don’t know whats the problems with norwegians .. If 5 of “5 million” norwegians dont like u or something it dont means that norwegians are mean.
      Without us

    • Christine says:

      How would you suggest striking up a conversation with a Norwegian? I think in the U.S. there are a lot of unwritten formalities one has to go through before they can “cut to the chase” so to speak. So, it’s kind of expected that we start small and work our way up. If an American is interested Romantically in someone who is Norwegian do they just go up to them and say something like, “Hey…You’re pretty cute.; )”…or, girl to a guy, “You’re pretty dashing?” Or, do you find some serious topic to discuss? Haha. Not saying this scenario is the case for me. I’m awful with that kind of stuff to begin with. Here in the U.S., the pressure is so much on the guy to make the first move, I’m used to just doing my best to be charming and waiting for a response. Generally if he doesn’t respond, the assumption is that he’s not interested. However, there are women who are much more forward than myself. So, I don’t speak for all American women. Just kind of been wondering about that. This thread is from a while ago though, so I don’t necessarily expect any response. It would be cool though. Anyways, thank you Norwegians for sticking around in spite of the hatuzz. Haha.

      • Elin says:

        I don’t know if you still want a reply, but I’m gonna give you one anyway!

        The whole “we don’t small talk” thing really depends on how you define small talk. If you start a conversation – with someone you don’t know – with: “nice weather today”, it’s likely not going to go anywhere. The point is, in my experience, that if you’re talking with someone because you want to get to know them, then that’s what you do; get to know them. You talk about your interests, share stories perhaps, etc.. People generally don’t ask questions they don’t want answers to (like “how are you?”), or shy away from sharing personal experiences (this, of course, varies a lot – some are more private than others). An example of a typical way to start a conversation:

        You: So, did you watch the new episode of Breaking Bad?
        Them: Yeah, it was awesome! I especially liked that part with the…

        and so on. Alternatively:

        You: So, did you watch the new episode of Breaking Bad?
        Them: Nah, I don’t watch that show.
        You: Which shows do you like then?

        It’s not that we don’t small talk, it’s just that we don’t do it just to talk. If that makes sense.

        As for the person you would hypothetically be interested in, it would be much the same. A lot of people have been talking about the two ways Norwegians become romantically involved lately:

        1. We become friends with the person, then it just sort of naturally escalates from there.
        2. We have a drunken “one” night stand with the person, then repeat until we’re in a relationship.

        It’s kind of a running gag, but honestly, it’s very descriptive.

        We don’t really have a concept of dating other than from American movies, although, as some other commenters have pointed out, we are becoming more influenced by certain aspects of American culture, and I have the impression that dating is one of those.

      • Christine says:

        Thank you for your response! This is indeed very helpful!: )

    • The reason we are regarded as “cold” is because of the “Nine Noble Virtues” from the days we went Viking. (Norse culture)

      You were deemed worthy/unworthy of Valhalla (A sort of paradise) based on how you did in these matters, in order of rank:
      Courage, Truth, Legalism, (This one is important. It means being brutally honest, or truthful, at any and every given time.) Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self Reliance (even for women),

  2. Lars says:

    We don’t hate Whales, we eat them 🙂

    • That maybe so, but I would argue that the “Grenade-tipped harpoons” element of the story muddies the waters somewhat 🙂

      • koffeinvrak says:

        That would be due to the need to kill a creature the size of a bus in one shot.

        A regular barbed harpoon would impale itself in the animal, and lead to a rather extensive and messy struggle before the beast is finally put out of its misery. A grenade-tipped harpoon induces enough trauma to (preferably) kill the animal immediately, or at least knock it unconscious until a second harpoon or a rifle can be used for the killing shot.

        It is of course not a perfect method, but it is one of the best options if you want to kill a whale somewhat effectively.

      • I know, I know – if one really must go hunting whales then I can understand why grenade tipped harpoons would be your weapon of choice. It just sounds bad. More positively it does remind me of one of my favourite youtube videos of all time.

      • CC says:

        I would argue that its only a tiny part of the norwegian population that kill whales. The rest of us find it as stupid as most other people. But when we socialise with people from other countries we get nationalistic and stick up for the few we normaly would berathe for their idiotic slaughter.

      • I guess koffeinvrak said the most of what was to be said.
        The fact is though that there are several species of whale along the Norwegian coast, but only one is hunted. The reason for this is population control. There is also a certain science factor there. As much as possible is sold as human food, and the rest used to produce other products, such as animal food. Norway has bad experience with so called know it all environmental activists that grew up in big cities, believing that meat is made with a machine from star trek.
        Some may remember the seal hunting that was banned in the late 70’s, early 80’s. No one really remembers what happened next, except the Norwegians. The seal population exploded so such a large amount of animals that they decimated their food supply, and started traveling south. First to Norway, then south as far as Denmark. Several times the amount of seal ever hunted died of starvation, illness, or from getting caught in fishing nets. This was a species of seal that rarely ever visited the Norwegian coast, let alone travel south along the coast.
        To prevent such a catastrophe happening again they hunt some whale in Norway.

  3. I can answer your question why Norwegians hate whales so much – they don’t hate them at all! They love them so much that they could simply eat them – and they do:)

  4. I will be back soon, Paul!
    Thanks for the article!


  5. G Tande says:

    I’m a Norwegian currently studying in Australia. While Norway is really great at providing education, we’re not great at educating, and we don’t provide very exciting options either (aside from certain specialized private schools). While I enjoy the warm Aussie weather, I probably will move back though, as Norway really is a good country to live in.

    Also, we don’t hate whales, they’re delicious!

    • Southern California says:

      You must be out of your mind to go back. My grandparents came to the southern California beach, and never looked back. Over half the Norse population went to America due to the bad weather in old country.

      • Schumpeter says:

        Nah. That ain’t right.
        Most of the Norwegians emigration to the US was because of poverty, lack of opportunity, and a quite rigid class structure. This was in the period between 1825 and 1920, and at the time Norway was a very poor country, and the US was still thought off as really the Home of the brave and the land of the free, with boundless opportunities for a better life.
        Also, most of the Norwegian immigrants settled in the Midwest: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Dakota and Iowa. (After landing in New York, where they had their own ethnic enclave for a while). I might be wrong but I believe that Minnesota has the largest population of Americans with Norwegian heritage today. Minnesota is not really known for being very warm is it?
        This clip clearly shows that there is at least some snowfall there. http://youtu.be/X_uscBJn0p0

      • Vain says:

        call of the wild mate!

      • North says:

        You know much about your roots do you?

    • NORWAYguy xD says:

      Why so many study in norway? Tell me :p Homework 😦

    • Muluneh Tolessa says:

      Wow I like Norway and even I need if there is any one who can help me to go there!!

  6. filmroller says:

    I loved the part about putting our tourists on boats. This was a really good read!

    Also, whales are delicious, and I really hate the stereotype that whales are somehow the most intelligent of all earth’s creatures. I’m not going to call you a cow hater because you eat beef.

    • Ha, I should probably admit now, seeing as its been the primary focus of the comments that I only included the Whale thing as an afterthought because I felt that I was in danger of being overly sychophantic and needed to take the piss out of Norway a bit more – plus I think the concept of irrationally hating whales is defintely amusing – I draw your attention to this Southpark episope for a much funnier example of this theme.

  7. Håkon says:

    You’ve misunderstood, like everyone else. We don’t have whales… We hate Wales!

    • Muluneh Tolessa says:

      What ever you are talking about i dont care that, what i know is Norway is really good country, ith is my dream country; Norwegians are are down going shame full people but they are not something like this post and comment on this blog. Really i want to be in Norway; if there any one who can support me to come to there please contact me.(tmulex15@gmail.com) .

  8. Benedichte says:

    Reading this made me smile. Just the other week i met a British guy at a bar – and we talked about a lot of these things. Then the next week I met another who also talked about it. Come to think of it, I think the last British guy I talked to even worked in the restaurant business as well. 🙂

  9. Eirik says:

    Good read. Now it is time for a small correction:

    The reason, primary reason, that Norway or any of the Northern countries are considered to have high suicide rates and how that is correlated to weather is actually from an unsourced ‘study’ in the 19th century which claimed that Scandinavia had high suicide rates due to its weather climate.

    To make that more interesting, the entire study or claim was dispelled by Emilè Durkenheim who studied the case further in 1870 when he thought that claim was not accurate and became one of the prime examples on social science cases done on a quantitative basis. His study of suicide can be read more here:


    (weather is not mention and is considered non-relevan)

    With regards,

  10. Interesting read! I’d just like to point out that very few of us Norwegians have actually seen a whale, or known someone who has. Amongst many people I know, whaling is an environmental and cruel problem, and there are plenty of Norwegian organizations and groups working against it. The grenade-tipped harpoons (amongst other methods) are also quite controversial.

    Kristina (http://kraakeklo.blogspot.com/)

    • Viv says:

      Why do you concider whaling a cruel and enviromental problem?

    • Haugesund says:

      That’s just you and you veggie friends, Kristina! Whalemeat is fucking sweet!

    • Actually, Kristina Tyttebær Svare, there are quite many Norwegians that have seen whales. I get the odd feeling that you live in inland Norway and have rarely been to the coast. Norway has several species of whale, some almost as small as dolphins, and there are at least two species that regularly travel in the fjords, even the Oslo fjord. They only hunt one species, and the real cause for this hunt is to keep the population in check. There is also a science part involved, but it is mostly there to call the hunt done for science. As much of the meat as possible is sold for human consumption, and the rest used for various other whale products.
      There are always controversial questions about any killing method, but the fact is that the grenade tipped harpoon is the quickest method besides drugs that would taunt the meat and make it useless.
      The method is actually probably more secure and just as quick as the slaughter masks used in the slaughter house. It is probably more humane as well as the whale rarely knows what’s going on before it is too late, while your average cow is dragged on to a truck, taken on a long ride while locked up in a small pen in a truck, and later lead to a bloody slaughterhouse before getting the mask strapped on to it, and then the shot in the head.

  11. kinejosefine says:

    I really liked your post. I didn’t know the world tought we hate whales? But I did read somewhere that peopel thought we had polarbears roaming around the streets in Oslo 😉

  12. Storvollen says:

    Whale tastes very good.. Barerqued on coal its fantastic..

  13. Anette says:

    Thanks for a funny and interesting post about my home country! I’m going to show this to my Japanese boyfriend as a part of my “let’s-move-to-Norway-in-the-future”-propaganda.. v(-_^)

  14. Sebastian says:

    I agree with everything you wrote but:
    Wheather: differs from Oslo to Bergen but if you live in Bergen, boy, it is the city of never ending April and you get on average a week per year to go around just in a T-shirt. When living there I needed to escape once in a while to sunny Berlin (where I am from) and felt like a reptile on a rock warming up again. And having lived in Italy and other sunny places I think sun does a lot to your mood which raingear simply cant.
    People: While it is true that making real friends takes time everywhere I remember a scene that a good (german) friend has told me. She met two norwegians in a train and they started talking, of course about Norway because as a foreigner you almost always end up answering the question how you like it in Norway. She said that she likes it in Norway, people take a little time to warm up but now, after two years she has found a circle of friends. The two norwegians were reacted really surprised – wow, two years, you were really quick. I have lived in several places and it has never taken me so much time to be included then in Norway, which is the experience of any of my friends who are foreigners. Having said that – did you ever notice the change in people when they have a week of continuous sun?
    Prices: I used to be annoyed by friends who would come to visit me from other countries and would start to tell me what x,y and z would cost in euros and that it all would be so f… expensive. I never calculated what it would be in euros because it would have made me really unhappy. Its true – you earn enough when you live there. What annoys me with the alcohol prices and the social stigma around alcohol is that alcohol I realized is a social thing and that this screws up somewhat the social life. I guess you are familiar with the vorspiel/nachspiel culture in Norway. People meet up in their circle of friends to get drunk before they go out because drinking in a bar or a club is to expensive. Then they are usually pissed when they are out which doesnt make them pleasant at all. But it is the only time when they are really social – when they are pissed is when they start talking to you. A pity that they wont remember you the next day anymore. What annoys me further with prices is that they prevent you from the small luxuries of the everyday life – on a regular basis you simply cant afford to meet up in a restaurant with friends, have a beer after work in a bar or even a wine, its just to expensive.

  15. Margarethe says:

    Germans would not ask why you moved to Norway – they would envy you. The country is gorgeous, the out-door life style great, politics usually bearable. I have lived for years in Trondheim, and enjoyed most of it so much that I am still entertaining the idea to move there permanently…But Norwegians do perpetuate the stereotype of their own stand-offishness, they call it being shy. They also like to proclaim how much more true and valuable their friendship is, when finally given. Not like those superficial Americans who smile at everybody! They are proud of meeting someone, then not seeing him for two years, and at the next meeting, takk for siste, you pick up right where you left off. No wonder it takes more than two years to establish a friendship…I live in Arizona, USA, now. The landscape is gorgeous, the out-door life style is fun, the politics are horrendous. But the people are more interesting, warmer, and making friends is easier. My husband is Norwegian-Danish-German American. By the way, a study (can’t find the source right now but statistically sound) showed that the suicide rate of ethnic Scandinavians (even of those who left Minnesota for California) is the highest of all groups of the American melting pot.

  16. MJ says:

    I just want to say (as a norwegian citizen) : I have no idea where you got the idea that we hate whales from. I have never heard any norwegian, in any kind of situations, say that they hate whales. And I have never read or heard that foreigners think so either.. Haha that was really weird, but funny though ..

    • Ha! I am afraid you have slightly missed the point:) No Norwegians say they hate whales but they are pretty much the only country (bar Japan I think) that allows it. That is one of the things that people know about Norway – hence the – why do they hate whales. Now to pre-empt you, I am aware that there is nothing wrong environmentally with hunting whales in small numbers like you do, I am just commenting on the perception.

      • Fuk u dolfin! Fuk u whaaaale!

      • Just for a fact, they hunt whale on “Færøyene”, on greenland, and in North America. Not that the ones hunting whale on Greenland and in North America are the natives. they have held on to this right of heritage in the same way that the Sami people hold the right to herd reindeer.

      • vivien hill says:

        Hi Matt..I dont come from the US..couldn’t you tell?
        ‘Down Under’ ….we say_’if you cant take it dont dish it out.’.so I enjoyed your response which was fair enough…ok ?
        I am in awe of the early history of Norway..and the Vikings gave up too soon.
        Its a pity they spread themselves too far , too fast and too thinly..geographically.
        I wonder what Norway would be like today if they had endured.?..(one Norwegian told me that Christianity wrecked Norway.)..lol
        But at least the Trolls have survived
        Money isn’t enough tho….cheers !

      • The Vikings are still there, but they evolved, I’m afraid. All the Nordic countries had Vikings, even the Danes, even though they where connected closer to main land Europe. As for Norway, their language got watered out, and lack of having their own royal family got tainted by the Danish and the Swedish. There are quite a few differences between the Nordic countries, in the way the people are, and act.
        I agree that money isn’t everything. I moved from Norway to Sweden, and even with our Slightly lower wages, I get by just as well or maybe better than in Norway. Of the Nordic countries, Norway is still in the lead when it comes to exploring. They might even be the lead in the world on this field. Though much of Norway had ended up in the hands of the Danish (Greenland and Faeroeyene), and the Swedish Jämtland, and parts of Dalarne, they still have a majority claim on Antarctica.
        Interesting enough, the only country that actually speaks Norwegian today, is Iceland. They speak Norwegian like they used to in Norway 1000 years ago. They’ve kept the language very well, and chosen to create new words in stead of borrowing words from other languages, so you won’t find Borrowed English words for computers and computer components, In stead there are own Icelandic (Old Norse) words.

  17. The whole “We-kill-whales-for-fun” T-shirt bonanza we experienced in 2004-2005 may have something to do with the perception of us hating whales 🙂

    You could buy these T-shirts on every street corner in Oslo, and I guess the tourists didn’t get the humor.

    In Norway we only kill one species of whale, the Balaenoptera acutorostrata. There are about 20 ships in this industry and they kill about 400-500 whales a year.

    BTW: You forgot one thing; our beautiful women. Although the most beautiful ones usually are Swedish girls that has moved here to work in bars and restaurants… I remember a British colleague of mine once proclaimed in a bar in Hemsedal: “Even the ugly girls in Norway are beautiful” 🙂

  18. Intersting and funny, but I have two small comments.
    You talk about the dark and cold weather. I agree with you, it’s cold and dark during the winter year. But you shouldn’t forget that from april to September, it’s extremely light. In mid summer you can get temeratures up to 30 C and the sun stay up for 19-24h a day. (depends on where in the country you stay)

    have a great day everyone, tommorow is the 17th may (independence day)
    The whale thing is just stupid. Mcdonalds cut down the rainforest, so they systematically can kill cattle for your burger. It’s weird how people protect some animals, and don’t give a fuck about others.

    • It is true that Norway probably has one of the most underrated summers in the world, personally I’d like to keep it that way – secret.

      I agree the whale thing is indeed stupid and unfair but its no less real. A little bit like when I say Korea most people say “hmm korea: “dog eaters!!!”. A Korean would respond the same “Its unfair, why are dogs different from any other animal?, why don’t you say Korea: pioneers in digital technology?” – because dog eating is vivid and so different its what gets in the news and that its what you remember. Same with whales I am afraid. To be honest there is no way of changing this perception even if Norway stopped, you may as well just continue and enjoy.

    • Mavi Avila says:


  19. Billy says:

    Enjoyed that read! I have some appraisals and my own interactions with Norska folk but I couldn’t be bothered digressing, it’s just a tremendous country. Wish you all the best there.
    Also, as a non-nordic person, I find these illustrations amusing and interesting in regards to the Nordic’s (and the rest of the world!) Interactions with each other or perceptions of each other.

  20. Espen says:

    In my experience, most foreigners (at least those with attractive educational backgrounds and a choice in the matter) move here because they have met some equally attractive Norwegian male or female. For experts, it certainly isn’t the job market – precisely because of the equality you referred to.

    • Indeed, you can include me in your latter observation. However I would argue that the social benefits of living in a equal society outweigh the costs of the limited financial rewards, at least it would for me. Its not like experts can’t live very well here, it’s just perhaps the champagne quaffing excess of (for example) London’s top 5% is denied to them. Personally I would argue that Norway is probably better off without those people.

      Overall though, I think all points are moot, most people don’t move here because they have never thought about it nor looked into it and like you say the only people that do are those who’ve been ensnared by Norwegian.

  21. sungame says:

    “For the rest of the world Norway is just a very cold and expensive country with a weird hatred of whales”

    I believe that is indeed the way at least parts of the world see us, even if I couldn’t have phrased it quite as well myself. I also believe that if we Norwegians do believe it ourselves at times, at other times (tomorrow, for example), we really do believe that it is “typisk norsk å være god”. I guess as the pendulum swings, it all balances out in an odd sort of way.

    And, oh, if you’re ever in need of a job, you should contact the people at Visit Norway. They could really use someone with your PR skills 😉

    • I am indeed in need of a part time job (I am getting somewhat bored with dish washing) – for summer at least. May well give them a call, do you have any inside advice on who I should contact?

      • sungame says:

        I’m sorry to say that the last paragraph was mostly meant as a joke. I have no inside information about Visit Norway, and I don’t even know if they’re hiring. I was just thinking that a blog entry like this probably does as much for the image others hold of Norway as a bunch of expensive ad campaigns .

      • Ha, yes in retrospect its rather obvious, it just happens to have coincided with a theme of my gf’s and so slipped through my humour sensors

  22. accordingtojulie says:

    Great post! You saved me a lot of time, because I was planning on writing something very similar about Norway (where I’m from) compared to the UK (where I live now). If my auto-posting works, there will be a short post with a link to this post on my blog tomorrow: http://www.accordingtojulie.com

  23. awat says:

    Im researcher who was looking for a lost land ,they say a small part of paradise has fallen on the earth ,where is extremely unimaginable ,mixture of soil and water ,the land of heavens mountains and lovely residents, Finally I found it , they call it Norway

  24. Pingback: In defense of Norway « According to Julie

  25. jbrains says:

    It seems to me that living elsewhere and having Norwegian clients would be the best of both worlds. I got a taste of that this past year, and quite liked it.

  26. thomas says:

    Facts about Norwegians and whalehunting – behind the myths.

    Norwegians have a long history of fishing industries and for many people living in rural areas along the coast, the natural resources are paramount to survival. As for elephants or any other wildlife-resource it is important to stay rational and maintain the natural resources based on what is sustainable and advantageious for the future.

    This is Norwegian quotas and catch of whales the last two years:
    Year Quota catch
    2010 1286 468
    2011 1286 529
    Source: Report of the IWC Scientific Committee 2010

    But the most striking and profound argument is the fact that we hunt only one type of whales (yes there are several types, although you never would have guessed if you read Greenpeace or “Peta”-like organizations info/propaganda-material…). Norway hunt the North Atlantic minke whales, that are far
    Get it ?
    With other words, we don’1t “hate” whales – we cull a certain number from the worst predators based on purely scientific reasons and arguments, trying to maintain our natural resources the best way for the future, (and then we eat them as we would eat deer, moose, cattle or chickens – yummy)

    For more info on Minke-whales and their diets in the Norwegian sea and the North sea: see some science (please): http://www.imr.no/sok/en?searchString%3Autf8%3Austring=Minke+whales

  27. thomas says:

    Not at all, facts are fun.

    • Correcting, or updating facts: – just heared a lecture of Georg Monbiot (via the Arne Næss symposium) and he presented new science indicating that the krill-population has decreased to dangerous low levels due to a decrease in whale-populations. Turns out that the whales behavior during hunting krill, their movements between layers of different water, together with their droppings (high iron values), starts a fertilizing-process beneficial and essential for the krill-reproduction. This makes the main argument behind the political decision of culling whales collapse. The only sensible thing to do, in light of this new information is to stop commercial whalehunting, – and it will be interesting to see what happens now… anyway Georg Monbiot had some really interesting new ideas – check out: http://www.monbiot.com/2013/04/19/feral-searching-for-enchantment-on-the-frontiers-of-rewilding/

  28. Margrethe says:

    Sebastian, I can understand that you miss going out to restaurants more, like you did in Berlin, I did that a lot when I was in the US for a while, and I miss that too. But when the food in restaurants isn’t much more expensive than in the store, the people who serve it, probably makes a lot less than you and me. It’s not perfect in that industry in Norway either, but at least I can say that most of the people who work at the restaurants would be able to afford actually eating in those restaurants themselves if they want to.

    • sebastian says:

      Hm…as far as I know restaurant make money on drinks more then on food, the profit margin simply much higher. That of course depends also on the type of restaurant but it holds I think for the average italian, indian, persian, german restaurant in germany.

      • But then they still need to make the money to cover the extra staff costs involved in paying a living wage. Thus whether it is on the drinks or the food or both the extra costs of the paying the staff fairly will be one of the key factors of why restaurants are as expensive as they are. If for example my bar and restaurant paid the same as a bar in the UK they would save 100kr per person per hour, in bar with staff or around 8 people then in total thats 15,000 kr a day. The downside would be that everyone who worked there would be living in squalor.

  29. Millie says:

    Really, am I the only Norwegian that don’t like to _eat_ whale meat? How did I end up here anyway?

  30. Ellen Andresen says:

    Read you in Aftenposten http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kronikker/Tre-myter-om-Norge-6842193.html today, and found it amusing that your header was changed…. and the passages on the weather edited out.
    Growing up, we often had whale steak for dinner, and my memories of that is not good – think cod liver oil meat. This was probabely cheap meat, and inferior quality. But the memories stay, and absolutely do not want to eat whale meat again. So that might be one reason for our “hate” of whale meat….

  31. Geir Aaslid says:

    As a Norwegian I found this incredibly funny as well as very well written. Now for the whales. You know, there are an awful lot of them out there. Same thing with Moose, deer, sheep or cows. So we kill a few of them and eat them. That is what we call sustainable development.

    Before I turn my attention to todays dinner, which is whale beef fried with onions and mushrooms, served with carrots, broccoli, tzatziki and basmati rice, I have a short return comment.

    What is it that makes otherwise sensible people to go out in the nature merely in order to hunt a poor little fox until it is almost dead of exhaustion, before having it shredded by a pack of aggressive dogs?

  32. Cicera says:

    It takes years for the coldness of the natives to seep into your bones, but it does, eventually.

  33. Vidar S says:

    Aahhh…. Whalemeat… What a delicious treat. Whalestew, steak etc is sooooo good. Throw’em on the barbeque!

  34. Bil Wright says:

    I’m English and I’ve spent 17 winters working in North Norway and would move there in a flash had I the opportunity. The weather, the scenery amd most of all the people are just perfect for me.

  35. tim says:

    In many states in Germany, there is no tuition for foreigners. This means that anyone who is admitted to university pays no tuition fees. There are still two German states which have tution fees and these would be up to €1000 a year (2 semesters) .

    And in Germany, one can study in English as well for many of the courses. If you’re doing engineering, Germany is a very good place to study it.

    http://www.daad.de/en/ <- more info.

  36. Tina says:

    Having been on the opposite end, coming from Norway and staying 5 years in NZ where I had to justify my reasons for coming there, I can see what you mean. But, I’d still say – Why the fuck did you move to Norway (!?). I think Norwegians, no matter how patriotic we are, we still suffer from the tall poppy syndrome which makes us instinctively undermine any great success to the wider world (although secretly celebrate it lavishly with a lot of alcohol, possibly), we still hate the fact that we’re not best in the world, and we love complaining. But no one understands that to us, complaining may not be equal to actual displays of being displeased….. it’s more like a hobby, and we don’t really mean much with it when we do.

    I live in Austria for the time being, and will probably move on when I finish my work here. Whether I move back to Norway – ever – is totally up in the air. I love visiting my family, but I also appreciate the country more when I’m not in it. Distance makes the heart grow fonder… perhaps that’s the case with your escape from Britain as well? 🙂

  37. biancamilla says:

    I read your article in Norsk, with my dictionary to help me, repeating to myself “you leave in Norway, you read Norwegian”. An hour later, I found out you’ve got a blog and you write in English. Ok, now I can say I liked it very much. 🙂

  38. Pingback: 10 grunner til hvorfor jeg er fornøyd med å bo i Norge! | Et meningsfylt liv!

  39. Thomas says:

    As a Dane, even I want to move to Norway!

    • Actuallly when I was researching this article, in the charts about happiness and such Denmark came out higher than Norway. I am pretty sure living in Copenhagen would be great, its just it wouldn’t represent as much as an apparant suprise as Norway.

      • Ruben Stein says:

        Seriously…you must be kidding.
        The “Happiness” is more akin to smugness.
        I live here (Denmark).

        You are only truly “happy” ..if you get way more from the “system” than you will ever possibly contribute .i.e Unemployed Drug addicts who get a monthly allowance for their ‘condition’ as well as unemployment benefits.

        The other productive members of society tend especially highly skilled expatriates, would beg to beg to disagree with this “happiness” award being thrown around.

        I would go with Norway…Norwegians are way more friendly than Danes.
        Not to generalize but its likely you will find that despite the weather being ‘warmer’ than Norway, the cold icy nature of mot of its native inhabitants makes the place more miserable.

        Also the Norwegian farmer mentality though fast being lost, makes it more pleasant for foreign born people.

        If one isn’t “happy” in Norway, then its possible the measurements of happiness being used to get these results needs to be altered not to focus on material aspects but on none tangible metrics like how genuinely nice your neighbors or strangers on the street are to you, if you feel life is worth living, hope, love and what not.

  40. Douglas Siu says:

    Interesting piece of article! I just moved to Norway 2 months ago and I have had this doubt since then. Many people asked me the same question. It’s clear now. 🙂

  41. Vibaco says:

    Your post is very interesting and made me think a lot about the topics you mentioned.

    Im a Latino guy as you say (mexican), and I lived one year in London, from which I moved out (to Spain) promising myself not to move there again. The main reasons why I moved out were, as you can imagine, weather and people. After reading what you wrote I can say that everything really depends on where you were raised, what are you used to and how flexible can you be. I lived in London as I already mentioned, and did a lot of friends there (mostly greeks, italians, indians and mexicans… similarity in culture? weather? maybe…), and some of them stayed, some of us moved out. Talking about this topic with them, we didnt agree why some of us didnt like it and some others did. There were very different opinions. Personally, I love summer sports, sun, beach and all of that, and weather in London is just not what I was used to. I couldnt practice them properly (wearing too much clothes to go out and run is not what I have in mind as running)… and I do like people to smile at you, make you feel comfortable, and hug you. Maybe you find it strange, and I dont blame you, but our social realtions are based on kisses, hugs and talking. I didnt believe it, until I moved out from Mexico to England… I found myself sad, really needing a hug from someone that made me feel important. It is a cultural thing… that is why we say northern (not just nordic) people are “cold”, and the same reason why I guess you say latinos are so annoying and obtrusive. We have different interpretations and meaning of those social actions. Now I live in Spain, salaries arent good, they complain about everything, government sucks, there is not as much order and “respect” as in northern countries, but Im really happy… and I think is all that matters. Isnt it?

    Norway, I would love to go and visit!! Even if they dont like tourists as I now know… But moving there… something has to really make me chance my perspective of things.

  42. Gerard. says:

    I’m from the Caribbean and visited Norway some years ago and just loved it.Being from Trinidad & Tobago and experiencing the cold weather was refreshing, it’s like having outdoor air-conditioning on all day , every picture I took looked like a postcard ,and I just loved the Whale burgers .

  43. Luisa Bernardes says:

    I´m portuguese,living in sunny Portugal. Lots of friends of mine are norwegians, and I love them!! Best friends in the world! I realy would like to live in Norway!
    About suicide been caused by the weather and darkness, it’s curious that the region in Portugal we have more suicide is at Alentejo where the hottest temperatures of the country occurs.
    Yes, I will gladely live in Norway! Just been there once and loved the country

    • Rodrigo says:

      Hi Luisa,
      That’s because what makes you happy are the people and social circle. In Alentejo, the desertification and abandonment of the villages by youngster cause a great loss in cthe social tissue increasing the suicidal tendencies.

      • Mavi Avila says:

        In my opinion, we the people must learn to survive it doesn’t matter where we are or where we go. If we have a happy heart, is enough to warm it up any place where we go. is not the weather, is not an specific people or country or ethnicity. i wrote a small poem as follows: I am cold even the sun is touching my skin,
        I am sad, even the music is around me,
        i am alone even I am surrounded by love,
        I am alone, because I’ve closed my heart to live.
        I just realize that the world is beautiful,
        the sun is touching my skin,
        the cold it doesn’t exists
        was just me, I am not alone!!!

  44. Great article! Don’t know how I have not heard of your blog before! I am an American expat living in Stavanger for a Norwegian 😛

  45. Victor says:

    I am a foreigner living in Norway and while I found your article interesting (and certainly agreed with many of your arguments), I believe Norway will not be able to keep up the same level of prosperity as oil revenue declines over the coming decades. See http://www.norway.org/ARCHIVE/business/businessnews/oilproduction/ for a worrying trend with oil production on the NCS. For a country that has 47% of exports from oil and gas and around 80% of its GDP dependent on oil and gas (directly or via companies servicing oil and gas industry). In 15+ years time you will see a country who is facing significant GDP declines with a workforce with many who do not know how to do a hard days work. Fish, timber and shipping will never replace the impact oil has given this country. As unemployment soars and income declines, lets see if everyone is happy then as they are in their oil inflated bubble they live in today.

    • Geir Aaslid says:

      Victor, you are wrong. There will not be a decline i 15 years. It will only take 5 years (max) before the rest of Europe has built up their supply of Shale gas, which will kill off all profitability of gas exploitation from Norwegian waters. At that point we can do what the rest of Europe and the US has done for the previous 20 years, borrow to cover the Budget deficit. Unlike the lot of you (except Germany) who are nearly broke due to borrowing too much for too long, we can keep borrowing for at least 30 years. So where is the problem?

  46. Mari! says:

    This was such a good read, I genuinely enjoyed it and found it utterly hilarious! As an insider looking at Norway from the outside, it certainly is spot on. You’re a brilliant writer. Good work, and furthermore, good luck with your degree!

  47. IlliterateGraduate says:

    I`m a Canadian living up in Tromso (don`t have the oe key on my keyboard, sorry) and I`ve been here for about a year now. Life in nordnorge is a bit of a different ballgame I think.

    Norway is actually pretty warm in the winter, even up here in the arctic. It is miserably dark though, which has a flipside in that people spend a lot of time eating and drinking together. Consequently, the folks up here are some of the friendliest I`ve met in Europe.

    About the cost of life, you are bang on! Everything except alcohol is reasonably priced here if you are earning Kroner.

    As for university, you are right again. It is great to have nearly free education, but the quality and diversity is a little… less than I would have expected. That being said, English countries tend to have more demanding higher level education than others, and it might just be the switch from that that makes school here seem incredibly easy…. but, I like all the free time you have as a student!

    • Logan says:


      I am interested in attending school in Norway and as such i have a few questions if you wouldn’t mind talking with me. I should add that i am also a Canadian so our situations would be somewhat similar. Also the “nearly free education” really intrigues me, hopefully you can explain this to me a bit more. Sorry if my questions seem stupid but i am trying to get all the information i can from every possible source. Please e-mail me @mullerlm6@gmail.com and hopefully we can talk more. Thanks.



  48. Thanks for your reply. I have never taken a Masters anywhere else other than Norway, but certainly it’s quite big step up for me than my bachelors at the LSE. Actually thats not quite true, SOME of my modules are a big jump others are easier.

  49. Ruben says:

    hello there. im a norwegian and i also want a say 🙂 in regards to one of the comments. about making friends and that norwegians are . for lack of a better word rough… is because i think we are more serious group of people. and take me for example im like that and im also quite shy so im even harder to make friends with. but when opened up you will find norwegian friends to be quite nice and converce alot more also.. about the drinking part. you are probably spot on there that we can be a bit hardheaded and unpleasent of sorts. but drinking with friends and maby tussle alittlebit is a great way to get off pent up anger and stress. atleast for us.. ive read your comments on whaling. yes we eat whale. why is it different than any other animal? you wont see a whale coming up to the shore and say fuck off . damn veggies trying to put a conscience on us. heh all kidding aside. we are great once you get to know us.. also norwegian people are like any other people out there. we have the same fears, hopes and problems as any other country. tho the oil money does help alot 😛 im not racist. but i do belive we should control who gets to live here. only those who have the experience needed to make norway a better place.. i do belive you have the right mindset and qualifications to do well here in norway. i know it might seem alittle harsh but if we take in more people who drain resources and doesent want to work or contribute to society then norway would be a worse place to live.. i have nothing against color or anything just that if you are going to live here. do as the rest of us 🙂 but thats just my opinion. there are alot of other opinions on that manner as well i wont deny ^^ but atleast im entitled to an opinion . thats why i love norway so much. tho i wouldnt mind staying a long period of time in some countries some of my friends live 😉

  50. I’m also an Englishman living in Norway and I too agree with what you say about the weather. I regularly wanted to end my life in the British winter, such is the constant greyness and bone-achingly moist nature of the cold, but the dark months in the arctic are just beautiful.

  51. Skjalg kreutzer says:

    Whales are tasty!

  52. Disappointed says:

    Having lived in a lot of different places in the world i can say that Norway is by far the worst, most boaring, nationalistic drum beating communist by steath place i have ever lived. If my norwegian wife was not so brainwashed by the state to stay in the greatest country on earth! i would move tommorrow! Explain to me how one of the wealthiest countries in the world has one of the worst road systems in Europe and a avarage car standard worst than Albainia, im confused

    • wow! you seem just ‘a little’ bitter…

    • Slavica says:

      Not to mention: where is the culture? I have yet to see a good place to go out to just for the sake of socializing? And talking about socializing, I have not made any real friends here and I have lived in 5 European countries so far and made friends very easily. I find it very dull here and the general attitude towards “new people” is very alienating. I tried everything. From randomly approaching people to inviting neighbors over for lunch/dinner. Nothing but rejections. It’s beyond me. Same happened to my Norwegian boyfriend. He spend a total of 7 years abroad and came back to Norway now. He still didn’t make any friends here and we’ve lived here now for almost 1.5 years and frankly we have friends pretty much all over the world. We’re not asocial people.

      About food in general I can say that it’s really dire. The street-food is not present. I have only encountered one good restaurant so far and it’s SO insanely overpriced that no matter when I go there it’s always empty. The food in general is a disaster. There is no food markets or farmers markets. If you actually come across a farmer that sells meat he will sell you half an animal. Not less. What am I supposed to do with half an ox or half a pig. Seriously. The groceries in the stores are far below anything I have seen in my life. The freshness of the vegetables simply isn’t there. If it wasn’t for Sweden being just around the corner I’d go mental. As for your situation with your wife. I got my boyfriend to finally realize how bad it is here. But he studied in England for 4 years and he lived with me in Germany for 2 years so he can actually compare it and he is baffled by how boring and horrid life is in Norway. But to realize that you actually have to live abroad for a while since the Norwegian media is so indoctrinated itself. You have no chance of getting a realistic view about this country as Norwegian who has never lived anywhere else.

      I could go on about the bad healthcare system or the roads, or the insane import-charges on items you order from other countries – which you will end up doing as immigrant. But frankly I do not feel like writing an essay here – I’ve written enough.

      We’re leaving this country in about half a year and I am for sure never coming back – not even if someone paid me millions for it.

      For a vacation it’s okay – if you need to get away from stress and enjoy nature.
      Living here however is a total disaster.

  53. thanks for sharing and for putting a few things into perspective 🙂

  54. Eriko Da Bro says:

    Myth No. 2: Norwegians can be so “cold”.
    We can be very mean, we won’t leave you a seat in a bus, we’ll call you a homo or whore many times if you dare do shit. We fuck and party all night, We buy cheap candy and alcohol from Sweden and never buy floorboards from there. We buy big houses from Sweden and make them awesome and full of luxury. Or just to make the text shorter, we’re awesome.

    -Eriko da norwegian bro.

  55. Kathleen says:

    I am from the US and married a Norwegian. We have two children who have missed growing up with cousins…who are all in Sandefjord. Thanks for your well written article. I would really love to move to my husband’s hometown within the next 2 years. I tire of the fake American persona and unfortunately find myself falling into the sterotype. I want my kids to know a more sincere lifestyle.

    • Matthew says:

      You DO realize Kathleen, that there are over 300 million people in America? Generalizing all Americans as having a “fake persona” only shows ignorance on your part. As an American who has been all over the world and has friends from numerous countries around the world, I can tell you that there are good and bad people everywhere.

      • Sandrine says:

        Thank you Matthew for “calling Kathleen out’ (that’s American slang for getting a person straight on the facts). As a genuine and sincere American who was brought up from childhood as many, if not most, Americans are to be kind, pleasant and courteous to others (it’s called good manners!!!) I resent the sterotype of the “fake smile.” We are not all the same, so give us a break.

  56. Annette says:

    What a brilliant read! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

    As I am currently persuading my English boyfriend to come back to Norway with me (we live on the Wirral in the UK at the moment), I was just wondering.. How long have you lived there for, and have you learnt any Norwegian yet? If yes, how long did it take you? I assume you did not speak Norwegian when you first moved there. Did you find it difficult, either socially or professionally, living in Norway and not being able to speak the language?

    Obviously, the chances of getting work are essential when moving to a foreign country, and I have noticed that 90 percent of jobs in Norway require written and spoken Norwegian. As my boyfriend works in IT, I thought his chances would be good, seeing that the ‘IT language’ is international. However, it might prove more difficult than initially expected. Have you ever experienced any difficulties in finding jobs, regarding language?

  57. Kristine says:

    I live longer south in Norway, and have got to ask..
    WHERE in the country do they eat whales? Seriously, this was new to me :p

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  59. nourlight says:

    HIiiiiiiii everybody..
    I am 28 years old English teacher.and i love Norway.it is the most beautiful country in the world.i don’t know why .it just is for me.and i want to move there .i want to work there and have some friends there.i think Norwegian people are happy and enjoying their life.I always loved the country since my childhood although i have never been there .I just love Scandinavian countries so much.as me coming from Tunisia , i think that it is different culture and new world for me.I like the snow :)anyway if anybody can help me with what i can do it will be great 🙂
    i think if somebody is a better person then the other ones will be better persons with him.i mean it is like Karma what comes around goes around .so if you are good people will be good and vice versa.
    Norway all the way 🙂

  60. I hold a permanent Norwegian visa and I can’t stand it there. It’s hell, boring and expensive, whether the season is warm or cold. The people are so full of themselves and the Norwegian way of life (which is frankly sad, xenophobic and tiresome) that they can’t see how much, as you state, their much poorer neighbors have more interesting lives. That’s why I work out of the country and pray for the day when my spouse will wake up so we can move.

  61. Anna says:

    I live in Norway.. And i fucking hate this place. Its ugly, sad and people here are judgmental like hell! Im moving to America in the future. Note to all of you, NEVER move to norway.. it sucks!

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  64. Charles says:

    Wow, I have rarely seen so many superlatives about Norway in one place. Thoughtful article altogether giving alternative answers to some questions I have had over the years. Yet, I am left with the feeling of something missing. It is called “the other side of the coin”. Usually when people ask me about Norway, my reply is “cold, boring and expensive”. Perhaps what is much colder than the weather is the social culture. People are generally distant,apathetic and unfriendly. What’s more, they’re rude, ignorant and xenophobic. I do not envy any foreigner moving to Norway, but I understand the ones preferring this to living in a war zone or in financial misery.

    As for prices being OK you may wonder why people are so fond of shopping on discounts and constantly complaining about the price of everything: services, food, alcohol, petrol, housing, etc. I wonder how often the average Norwegian can afford to go to a restaurant, for this wouldn’t be statistics to brag about. For any travelled person, the choice and quality of products and services is way too poor compared to the prices. The one time people feel great financially is when being on holidays, spending their holiday money abroad…

    Lastly, what I despise the most in this society is the ever present hypocricy. Racists and xenophobs wouldn’t say things straight to your face, but you will notice it in their actions. The state and the media lie to the people about what a great life they live. Then people lie to each other about what a party they’re having. And the circus goes on and on.

    • Joan says:

      Totally agree with you. I am a latino who lived in the UK and been working in Norway for 2 years. I want to get the hell out of here as soon as i can.
      As a southern european you are taught that Scandinavia is a dream country where everything works, everybody is well mannered, respectful and well educated.
      By living here you find out it’s a big lie. Mainly because people live in a bubble and are brainwashed by the government.

      Norsk tend to be extremely rude, definitively xenophobic and extremely selfish. I have been totally shocked by this experience, because, again, we have a loads of problems where i’m coming from but people are much more human and happy.
      I have never seen so many depressed people and self hurting kids in my life. I believe this have nothing to do with the weather, but an inner inability to express emotions.

      One of the most ridiculous statement is saying they are the 3d happiest country in the world. They say that because a totalitarian government make them believe it. They think because there’s a welfare state that covers every handicap of the population they can be considered happy. And they wouldn’t be self sufficients without the government.
      Being a nationalist country, it’s not allowed to moan about the quality of life. Same kind of brainwashing as in ex USSR.
      Where i come from, we complain and protest all the time, but that’s another story.
      Nature is great though, and i’d advise everybody to come here to visit the beautiful landscape.
      As for living, unless you’re coming for a place which suffers from financial misery, stay away from here.

      • MaleLatin says:

        I’m sorry that you feel that way, but in my opionon the things you say is not true at all. I’m a Brazilian who have lived and worked Oslo for 2.5 years and I have to say that I love it and are not planning to move back in the near future, if ever.
        I have to say that everything actually do work here and everyone are very polite and well educated. You can’t really find anyone who does not talk english which is a huge pluss the first months of living there. The people are definitely diffrent than the ones in Latin countries which you should expect traveling from a Latin country to a Scandinavian country. Yes, they do not kiss you on the cheek when they meet you but they that does not mean that they are cold. It’s just a cultural thing as stated in the article. Yeah, its different getting friends here, but it is not hard. Most people I met are very eager to meet and befriend new people, but they can be shy. I got several Norwegian friends which are not selfish at all and very down to earth. Some of them with families, and they all actual seem very happy. Like they have no worries in life. Something I definitely can’t say about many of the Latin countries these days. All in all I think you did not adept good enough to the diffrent culture. I have worked in Brazil, America and Spain and I have to say that Norway is without a doubt my favorite country so far.

        Oh, and the Salary you earn compared to what things cost is really high ! Only comparable with America. The ratio in the big Latin countries can’t even compare.

        To be honest I think your post is just a un-serious joke because the things you write is just so way off that it seems like you never been here.

      • Neil says:

        Been here 12 months and I totally agree with you. You have these benefits in child care and good working conditions but the lack of choice in many aspects of food, entertainment, socialising, education and other aspects of enjoying life rather than just getting by make Norway a real tricky place to live.

    • Neil says:

      Totally agree – I have never seen Nepotism to this level in my life where vendors and contractors are chosen solely on the fact that the are Norwegian and must be the best. Any logical arguments on why you would look at others on cost, quality and ethics are met with “why” . I have worked all over the world and have never seen the likes of it

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  68. guy munroe says:

    working as a dish washer earning 18 pounds an hour – ???

    sounds pretty high …… but then again isnt the tax rate in norway high as well ??????

    maybe 18 per hr is ,,, after tax,,, 9 pounds per hr

    and 9 pounds per hr after high norwegian living expenses – is not so high

    i say this of course living in england and never having lived in norway …. but am i far off the truth?

    • Charles says:

      not very far at all. wages are high but after taxes things don’t look good at all. check out some international purchasing power stats.

  69. Your calculation is extremely faulty. It is not a flat 50% tax rate. Like in the UK, only income over a certain high amount gets taxed at that rate. Your tax rate is decided by how much you earn. I was at the bottom of the payscale and I only worked 15-20 hours a week and ended up with a tax rate of about 14%.

    It was enough to live (frugally on) as in addition I got untaxed tips which on a Friday and Saturday were about 100quid per night on average. I could get buy working just weekends and then studying a full time Masters (for free) during the week. I don’t think that is possible anywhere else in the world

  70. Rosamelia says:

    Tell me more! I liked this article almost as much as reading the comments. I’ve been thinking about studying my master’s in Norway, but am so apprehensive about the culture shock. I notice the two latinos who wrote comments were specially adamant about a certain unfriendly atmosphere 😦

    I’ve been reading so much about Norway lately, and my lectures both confirm my wishful longings and worst fears about the place…ay ay ay…what to do?

    • Charles says:

      It is just another place with its contrasts. It is good to be aware of what you might expect. You’ll have to experience it for yourself though. You might end up liking it 🙂

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  73. Eirikur Gudjonsson Wulcan says:

    Living in Norway raises the question; why? Natural for all expats in a foreign country.
    I myself chose to live in Norway for over 8 years and they where not bad at all. As I happened to move a lot in those years I got a pretty good picture of the people and the culture.
    One of the recurring myths about Norway is that it is homogenic, well it is not. In the first place they speak many, many different dialects and do it openly and freely so every Norwegian is used to understand many different ways of torturing the language. A distinct advantage for the foreigner trying to master it.
    Looking at the map of the country it is obvious that the topography is varied to put it mildly. That gives us two distinct groups; those living inside the land and those living on the coast. Finally we have another great divider north and south. All these groups have their characteristics. People living in Trönderlag and north of it have a very different kind of humour from those living in the south. They are familiar with irony, in the south that might be a town in Russia.
    The people living inland tend to be a bit shyer of strangers than those on the coast.
    I lived in Hallingdalen in the beginning and had a great time. The natives had a rule: never say hello to anybody who did not have at least three generations in the churchyard. They where very nice and I liked them a lot. Moving to Oslo things changed a lot except that they where even a bit more reclusive. Through social activities I was able to meet them and had a good time. In spite of working on a night shift that tends to ruin your social life. From there I went to Bodö in Nordland. There I felt like at home coming from Iceland. I can promise you they are just as rotten/good as Icelanders and I often came across the feeling that the people there felt more kinship with me the foreigner/Icelander than with the people from east, (meaning the people living in the south).
    The most far out place I stayed in was Ringvassöy just north of Tromsö. In a hamlet of 200 and there I started socializing with a fugitive from Somalia a veterinary nurse who spoke Serb-Croat, good English plus his native languages and he was learning Norwegian, and a dentist from Uganda.
    In Trondheim, which is the dream place for the people from the north of the country, I discovered a lively culture, and had a very good time. I went to the University there and read there for some years before I moved to Sweden.
    The main difference between Norway and the rest of Scandinavia is that the Norwegians are shamelessly nationalistic and have a very special religion. That is sport and everything turns around that. When I say sport I mean sport that Norwegians are good at.
    The flip side of the coin is very low self-esteem that manifests itself in adding Norwegian to everything and downright fear of everything that comes from abroad.
    I saw that some of the letters mentioned the fact that vegetables are generally of low quality.
    I lived in small flat in Grunerlöcka in Oslo around 2000 and there was an vegetable store run by some Turkish families and they where a rampant success and on Saturdays there where queues for buying vegetables that where fresh and edible!
    What I found a bit disturbing was the feeling of isolation. Xenophobia and racism had their place but not worse than in the rest of Scandinavia. Where the Swedes tend to be racists and the Danes hate foreigners.
    All in all I think that the Norwegians have a lot to be proud of besides running on skis. They would not lose anything by opening up for the rest of the world.

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  75. Beautifully written and spot on!

  76. Reblogged this on Edge of the Arctic and commented:
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  78. Kalle says:

    Sweden exported many lovely things like: ABBA, Smorgasbord, Ombudsman and prestigious Nobel Prize winners. Norway exported only horrid things like: Berserks, Quislings, Trolls and incomprehensible Nobel Prize choices.

    • Charles says:

      LOL come on, give the locals some credit: Vikings, ski, A-HA, some heavy metal bands, the famous salmon, oil & gas, Grieg, Ibsen and Munch, it’s not too bad for a small nation.

      • Slavica says:

        Agree on Grieg, Ibsen, Munch and the much forgotten Hans Gude. Also the nature with it’s contrasting landscapes is rather beautiful. The rest: excuse me, no! Especially the salmon…just recently the “famous” salmon went through a massive scandal thanks to “Salma”.

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  80. Sindre says:

    That suicide thing is actually a fact. The lack of sun makes your body produce less vitamin D and will lead you into depression. Read about it here http://bit.ly/14n025Z

    • Charles says:

      Norwegians are not the only people living far north. Have you heard of the eskimos having a high suicide rate? There is something else going on.

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  82. AC says:

    after seeing that NatGeo documentary with the baby whale dying (took 4 hours) I decided that I’ll never eat whale – however, I have eaten baby harp seal in Alaska (illegally) and it was quite delectable – how’s the sushi like in Norway? lots of yellowtail? are the whales eaten in Norway mature males? (if yes, I might reconsider my moratorium) or are they little baby whales bombed out of the water by drunken vikings?(if yes, I might also reconsider my moratorium 🙂

  83. Lai says:

    Some Norwegians are quite shy. Norwegians don’t seem to enjoy small talk to the same extent as Americans (or they’re not good at small talk). If this is true, perhaps a part of the explanation can be attributed to geography/culture. Big country (land mass), small number of people… mountains… hard to get from one village to another (or time consuming)… historically and over time, this might have had an effect on how Norwegians communicate.

  84. Ola Nordmann says:

    If the cold doesn’t kill you, the people will

  85. Ciwan says:

    I am a recent UK graduate in Web Development. I would like to move to Stavanger (been there on Holiday) but can’t find any Web Development jobs listed for that area, at least not via Google. I don’t want to move and be dependent on state benefits, hell I’m not even sure if I’ll be entitled to any help from the government until I find a job.

    If you’re still living in Norway, are you able to provide some help and advice?

    PS. Love your 🙂

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  87. offensive says:

    you sure have offended the Japanese, the Italians, Latinos, etc, in your quest to defend Norway.
    So you best watch your tone.
    I also find it funny since you are being a tourist yourself and you wouldn’t find it like your “cup of tea” when others bash the uk.

    • Ha, So you speak on behalf of all Japanese, Italians and Latinos, who you assume to a number can’t laugh at themselves . I think it is you who are more likely to offend. But in the end, it doesn’t matter; no one has the right not to be offended.

      I am not a tourist, I live and work in Norway.

      Lastly, if you read my post “Blair’s Janus Faced Multilateralism” and the video beneath, you will hopefully understand that I am not only happy for my country to be “bashed”, I spend a lot of my time mocking the UK and trying to persuade others to publicly criticize them.

  88. We dont hate whales? 🙂 haha.

  89. weeviking says:

    I’m Norwegian, and have lived for the past 17 years in Scotland. I must say the perceptions foreigners have of Norway having bad weather and being cold and dark is hilarious. One of the things I miss the most about ‘home’ is the SUMMERS (and proper seasons)! Where I live, we’ve had three weeks of proper, gorgeous summer this year, the first summer we’ve had for several years. Then it was back to the usual clammy, grey drizzle. Whilst at home they keep spending the days at the beach, and the evenings having barbeque parties. If I tried swimming in the sea over here without a wetsuit, I’d probably die from hypothermia. Meanwhile, mum reports over 20C in the water at her local beach. Aaargh!

    Oh, and in the winter we still have grey, drizzly weather over here, only colder. And the whole country shuts down if we get an inch of snow….. But the haggis hunting is so enjoyable, the ale so good, and the men in kilts so sexy, I might just stay a while longer. 😉

  90. kristinereite says:

    As a norwegian i find it typical that other norwergians get’s overly excited when somebody acknowledges our existence. Especially when you when you write about how “great” our country is!

  91. Dave says:

    It was interesting reading this article I’m a dentist from Melbourne looking to spend 6 months in a European country to have a change of lifestyle and new experience and in looking for a place to live most most memorable experience of my last 14 years ( I’m 43 now) was 3 months I dated a fantastic nurse from Oslo when I lived in Adelaide. I met all her Norwegien friends and had much exposure in their/your culture!

    My take is Norwegiens seem to be so similar in culture to Australians in their humour, their love of the outdoors, and down to earth approach to life, and such similar sense of humour!

    Perhaps a secret not many know about as us Australians do have a strange sense of humour as noted by the rest of the world .

    Anyway if any folk from Oslo would like to spend some time with an Aussie dentist next month you can write me.

    Thank you to the person for your post you’ve helped me make a mind bending decision of where to spend my time !


  92. Skippern says:

    I often get similar questions as you, sometimes with a lot of compassion (why wouldn’t any Norwegians move to Brazil?), sometimes confusion (why would anyone move from Norway?). And sometimes with hostility (why the hack did you move to Brazil?), I think anybody leaving a country/culture for another really does this for a number of reasons:

    1) challenging the mind by learning other ways, experiencing other types of food etc. for most people visiting other places as tourist fills this need, but some want more. These become backpackers, au pairs or exchange students

    2) hunting for opertunity, people moving to get a better paid job within their field of expertise, sometimes to get a job at all. This has much to do with socioeconomic differences

    3) love, one never know where one find the person to marry, and to share life with, and when deciding to move in with somebody from halfway around the world, at least one have to move

    4) education

  93. Good read. I lived in Norway for a year and now go back 3 months of every year. I can relate to the comments from those who love it and from those who hate it. Norway is a state of mind. I write a weekly column on my observations of the differences between life in Norway and life in America, for those who might want another perspective. It’s not meant to be serious, as the Norwegian I’m married to, and most of the ones I know in Norway, don’t take themselves all that seriously either.

  94. Debbie says:

    As a brit who has just moved to norway, this was a fantastic read. Bits of me are thinking, ‘don’t make it sound so good, or everyone will come’. I completely agree that norway offers a better lifestyle than the uk, and I’m just getting used to the salary… very nice! 🙂

  95. No says:

    As an American, I hope no one moves to Norway. You don’t want to turn a paradise into America trust me, you don’t want to be like America.

    • Just Say No! says:

      I will be moving to Oslo soon and if I ever ran into an American talking down his own homeland I’d go to great lengths to embarrass the hell out of them.
      No, please stay gone.

  96. Raul Wollo says:

    You must be brain damaged to like living in a freezing racist country .

  97. Pirulo alias Per Olof. says:

    I have visited 3 different spots of Norway: Trondheim, Roeros and Narvik.
    Norgewians are very proud of themselves, they became rich some years after the independence from Sweden, they belive is all their merit, but the rail was built by Germans during WWII, ehem, ehem…
    The norwegians do not have a well defined sense for stetics, when you say “why do you hate whales”..they say “I do not they are delicious”….Whales are beautiful and represent the force of nature…this way of thinking does not exists. Norwegians are practical, whatever is not practical that is not good…. the “no-nonsense” concept someone told… this way of understand living make them unatractive… if people is not able to enjoy the beauty of spending sometime in a hot beach, the tropical flowers, or de songs and dances of a whale then those ones need something important to learn.

  98. dmm says:

    lived here half my life now, still hate it here: ) and who are anyone to say what is myth and not?

  99. Bill Ban says:

    Ive been to lots of places but Oslo Is just stupid expensive.
    Been eating in Mcdonalds, $15 for burger & fries!? Get real!
    I make $100, 000\yr in NY, I couldnt afford these prices.
    You can have this place!!

  100. Chris says:

    Sorry, but that is bull. First of all I live in Finland and if you wanna know “cold people” welcome to Finland. Its shit storm out here, I was a little, my family moved here for some school shit reason better for the kids “US”, yea the thing is I have been in Norway and (Bergen) they are friendly and very kind, I’m actually moving there for university and work. I don’t even speak the language, my girlfriend lives in there, so I have learned allot about Norwegian people and culture. Respect the country, respect people you will get the same respect back & you can live and make a lots of money there is peace.

  101. Silje says:

    I’m very confused about this whale “hate” thing. Let me state for the record: I am opposed to any kind of over-use and over-hunting of any species, and I believe that all hunting, fishing and harvesting of natural resources should be closely monitored to ensure no species are pushed into danger of extinction.

    But if you go hunting other things (like Norwegians, but surely also other peoples like Americans, Canadians and even Brits do), say, deer – do you do it because you hate deers? Do you go fishing because you hate fish? I mean, dude, do you EAT BURGERS BECAUSE YOU HATE COWS?

    If you are opposed to hunting in general, fine, then we clearly disagree, but at least that sort of makes sense. If you are not opposed to hunting (for food purposes) other animals, then concider this: hunting should always be done with skill and care to minimize suffering, and minimize the danger of a hurt animal escaping just to die slowly and painfully, while ensuring the safety of both hunters and of those who will use and eat the meat later. This means choosing the weapons that ACTUALLY work best to achieve this, rather than avoiding weapons that “doesn’t sound nice” to people who haven’t checked out how they work.

  102. Åge Thoen says:

    We do not hate whales. We love their taste, great, lean meat.

  103. Henning says:

    we don’t actually hate whales, we just have a long lasting tradition of hunting them. Like you britts and foxes.
    Oh, an we like the meat.
    Seals om the other hand. Hate them! little f***ers, they’re god for slippers though.

  104. topo heavy says:

    I hate whales too, do you think I have a chance to live in Norway(joking).

  105. Annike says:

    Why does everyone think whe hate whales and are learned to do so? I am from Norway and i have never tasted, hunted or hated whales. Where i live there are not whales, and i am pretty sure it is a wery small part of my country that is involved in whaling. I have never had people tell me anything hatred towards whales. So dont assume that if you are Norwegian you automatically hate all whales and want to see them die.

  106. Lings says:

    Wow I completely disagree with this author. I am from London and spent 2 years over in Oslo. It was absolutely dreadful and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. The people are rude, self-centred and horrible. I spent part of my time there studying towards a masters at Oslo University, the people in the lectures were split between Norwegians and…..everyone one else. Living in Norway and having to be among Norwegians seems to me why people get depressed over there. It’s not the weather ( I don’t think) and the landscape is stunning, it’s the people. I am not joking one bit when I say that I was crying tears of joy on the train back home in good ol Blighty.

  107. Sophia Tanak says:

    I am Scandinavian myself and believe that Scandinavians score high on happiness because they are covert narcissists. They love to portray themselves as better at practically everything – including happiness.

  108. Vicky says:

    Muy divertido tu artículo, gracias por compartir tu experiencia.
    Saludos desde Venezuela.

  109. luz says:

    @Sophie I find it very offensive that you wrote that Americans are scub bags because im American and i have nothing against Norwegans and im sure you wouldn’t like it if i said that norwegans are scub bags just because “Someone” of your race was being ignorant. just because someone of your race is being ignorant DON’T compare every american to a SCUB BAG because not everyone is ignort.. So you should watch what you say because your making norwegians look bad.. And i don’t criticize your culture so DON’T criticize mine because were not all the same.

  110. Catherine says:

    Thank you for such an excellent and interesting article. It’s still going strong many years after you wrote it! I came to Norway in 1985 as an utveklslingstudent from Australia and spent a year here and learned the language. It changed my life and instilled in me (and my family) a love for all things Norwegian. I am in Norway now and this is my 4th time here and my love for it continues to grow. Quite frankly I can’t understand why everyone doesn’t want to live here! Politically, socially, environmentally, linguistically, economically and educationally it is quite the paradise in my opinion (oh, and the food! I adore traditional Norwegian food!). In fact, free education ought to be top of the list for reasons to live here. I am rather envious of your life in Norway. However, I shall be working on my own plan to come back here to study again!
    I am somewhat perturbed by the negative comments made above; clearly these people know a very different Norway to the one I know. I have travelled extensively throughout the world and speak a few languages other than English but Norway is and always will be closest to my heart.

  111. Pingback: The future of Norwegian education, if we only dared | Applied Abstractions

  112. Two faced liars is the only way I can describe the Norwegian establishment. When I read the website http://www.norwayuncovered.com set up by an English lawyer I was amazed at the revelations.

  113. Amazing article! I love Norway. My sister moved there 2 years ago. She usually repeats that this is the wisest decision she has ever taken. I was in Norway several times. It has a spectacular nature. Greetings! http://kenningtonmanandvan.co.uk/

  114. Alex Ander says:

    Norway may be a nice country, I have met many Norwegian on Internet media sites, the Norwegian people are lovely lots but when its come to disability, the Norwegian are very ignorance toward disabled people, I’m deaf and when I told some that I was deaf after about couple days of getting to know some Norwegian people, the way the Norwegian talk to me online are quite cheeky which if it was in UK I would take them to court for disability discrimination, also Norwegian own residents disabled people are being treated unfairly and some are quite hurtful and for me to go to Norway is No way, lastly I don’t know if online media sites and meeting Norwegian in person are two different attitudes for them but the way they talk me about disadisability is shocking………

  115. Edoo says:

    Just read what norwegians reply to this unsensed attack to their culture and everything, and you’ll realise that they are just the opositte, Kind, friendly and very respectful people, I’ve been twice in Norway (I’ll be back for sure) and never felt this kind of “superiority complex”, and I think norwegians girls/women are probably the most beautiful around the world

  116. Dave says:

    Norway is ok socially, but if you are a foreigner, the job market treats you like a leper and depending upon where you are in the Country, getting a job can be like mission impossible. The worst place of all is Trondheim for bias in the job market. At one time you could get around not being fluent in Norwegian IF you worked in the oil & gas industry, but now that industry is biting the dust, so I wouldn’t advise anyone to go there job seeking unless you are fluent in Norwegian first as only then do you stand half-a-chance to get a job washing dishes or something like that.

  117. Heath says:

    My my. The first comment I read about Norwegians here on this article is ridiculous. In fact why don’t you study about the culture, and the way they interact is the reason for the way they are. As for beauty, oh trust me there is beauty but its not the same as the standardized beauty of other cultures or countries have. For an example, many Americans have made comments about Norwegians, they have this idea about what beauty is and isnt and then they make fun of the person because they did not live up to whatever they saw beauty suppose to be. I found a few Norwegians at least the ones I have met, are friendly you just have to learn how to communicate with them. As for the other stuff mentioned, grow up.

  118. S says:

    There is true DNA and historical fact in the men actually being feminine and woman masculine dating back to the Vikings(Google this). The Natives where stand offish apart from those trying to sell me something or working at the airport. The two nicest people where foreign ( An East Asian woman and a French man). Being 18 at the time I lived off Norwegian Christmas cookies, Turkish Kebab (Norwegian style) and coffee. They are trustworthy people with very very little crime and it’s a beautiful place to wake up to every morning. I just got sick and tired of the snow, isolation and there’s nothing really to do!

  119. Richard T Winter says:

    I spent three weeks in Norway last year and loved it. I met friendly Norwegians on the train and in the small hotels. The Norwegians have some admirable qualities: a sense of fairness and a lack of pretension (they do not like displays of wealth) They also have a great feeling for design. I remember a lovely waterfall we visited and even the trash cans were well designed.

  120. I’m just here for the rants. Also; yay for our fantastic country! 😛

  121. Alex says:

    Hi there
    Nice article…
    I wonder if you had time to give me some tips on travelling round Norway in winter by campervan please? Things like best places to visit, part time (cash in hand) work.etc…

    Many thanks
    Regards Alex

    • If you want to travel in Norway during the winter I would suggest doing this in February or march, and stick to the eastern parts of the southern half of Norway (South of Trondheim). Then you will have access to huge amounts of rivers and lakes to go ice fishing on, and several ski resorts. Northern Norway is mostly closed down this part of year. The coastal areas have a temperate and wet climate, even in the far north, and the mountains have huge amounts of snow, and ices are too thick to go fishing on until April or May. They do have the ice hotel in the north, and December and January are the dark months. This is when the sun does not rise over the horizon at all, and day is just a little lighter shade of gray. On clear nights you do often have northern lights which get more fantastic the further north you get.
      As for money in the hand jobs I suggest offering to work at farms, and for private people. Businesses tend not to offer this kind of work at all. While you are in the Nordics you might want to travel some in Sweden as well. Roads are better there, and lots of Norwegians chose to travel through Sweden when driving north. Partly due to the distance being shorter, and part due to the better roads. Sweden is much like Norway in culture and language. One funny adverse effect due to the oil industry in Norway is that most prices are more expensive in Norway, and roads are worse. This is due to the fact that the government has too much money which in turn allows for politicians to mess up for each other. Result is less being done to keep the infrastructure up and running.

  122. Nicklas says:

    Im norwegian and have lived in Norway(Oslo) all my life..and almost all in my family(not me) say they dont NOT like foreigners.spesially black people. Why not? Because they believe we Norwegians are the best race and people in the world.
    And what about University of Oslo, almost no real intellectual people at all.
    Oslo and Norway is a paradise. Yes it is!!

    Norway is PARADISE to live in for average-minded and stupid people who in their stupidity think they are smarter and better than all others on the Earth.
    There is great similarity between the average norwegian mind-set and the nazi-mind-set
    They both think they are superior to rest of the world SCUMBAG!!

    Most norwegians I have meet (Oslo) are so arrogant and cocky and stupid that they think the Universe was created in Norway…the Big Bang theory is a wrong name…it should be called Norway- Bang

    Average norwegians think even aliens in an other galaxy admire Norway….rest of our Solar System doesnt matter. And a stupid a known norwegian football player said: “GOD is Norwegian!!.”

    Some norwegians are OK, but most of them are stupid shit!!
    To hell with average norwegians and their stupid culture….

  123. Nils Lakseberg says:

    This article is very offensive to norwegians. Please stop harassing us (we love our whales).

  124. Norway or No Way? says:

    Well, offensive it may be, but it contains a lot of true elements, too. Weather you Norwegians like it or not. I am of European origins, have lived many years in Britain, Germany, Canada, Hong Kong, India and France. Over a decade in Norway has taught me a lot: Norwegians love their procedures over common sense and will not give any higher level jobs easily to foreigners (well, with the exception of health personal maybe – simply because they cannot fill the positions themselves). Try and apply for a position as a teacher with a public school, or apply for a position as Harbor Master – then you will experience the true spirit. You may have the best suitable qualifications in the world, speak fluently Norwegian and still you will be sidelined. Why? Well, Norwegians do not like it when foreigners tell them what to do. But they will let you know in a cool way which will not give you any reason to complain. They are really good with that. For as long as you fill a low-level position (suiting their superiority complex), like cleaning or packing fish you are safe tho’. Besides, filling a position is a lengthy and complicated process in Norway. Because any employer will initially assume the worst of you and ALL references will be checked before any communication about next steps comes out to you. Anywhere else in Europe this is done AFTER an interview and only if the candidate seems suitable. That is also why a hiring process in Norway takes a HUGE amount of time and a job offer may not come until 5 months after the dead line of the original ad (even if it stated “URGENT”!). There is a lot more to be said about life in Norway as a foreigner, but I will stop here. Before you now start calling me names or start on a rampage let me tell you that my claims are not out of thin air:
    1) I run my own company and have years of experience in dealing with Norwegian red tape and work related regulations. And for most parts I found that Norwegian employees are not performing to their best abilities. This is due to a society notion that nobody should stand out and people are afraid to really surpass others. It is a very costly experience for any employer! But still, as a foreigner you are an “unknown” – and therefore suspicious.
    2.) A senior representative of NAV (the Norwegian social security agency) has confirmed to me that this is a well known and internally documented problem. If your surname is Norwegian you will find it a lot easier to land the leader job than with a foreign name.
    3) And comments I hear from some Innovation Norway representatives sub rosa are quite scary too: Main concern is the lack of initiative with Norwegians and a phenomenal lack of creativity – which goes back to the teaching in schools where creativity is killed at an early stage. Hence foreign teachers are not welcome….and here it goes full circle.

    • v hill says:

      With a 1.something%— birthrate—- the problem of Norway will disappear ‘naturally’
      .That is a mathematical certainty.
      No matter which country of origin..no matter which walk of life , no matter what age group or gender…all newcomers see and experience exactly the same thing.

      The solution ? gut the education system and take on a more effective model that encourages creativity, creative thinking and innovative people.and reward excellence..it might also help to toss in a work ethic as a subject and a novelty factor.

      Even Hitler commented when he walked into Norway and took it over.
      As for the rest of us—–(”we shall never surender”’…..hahaha)—etc-

  125. Helen Halvorsen says:

    lol. I moved to UK and everyone say ” why the fuk. .. did you move here ? lol
    cant say I can give a reasonable answer to that.

  126. Helen Halvorsen says:

    lol. I moved to UK and everyone say ” why the fuk. .. did you move here ? lol
    cant say I can give a reasonable answer to that.

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