Norway man finds 325,000kr in new home’s fireplace

Norwegian estate agent Vermund Thorkildsen got much more than he bargained for with his recent purchase of a flat in the Oslo neighbourhood of Majorstua, according to a report in Dagbladet.

Norway man finds 325,000kr in new home’s fireplace
The flat's new owner decided to honour the previous occupants' wishes by donating the money. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB Scanpix
When inspecting the apartment with three of his friends, Thorkildsen wondered whether he’d be able to move the fireplace. When he removed a stone slab at the top to begin inspecting the fireplace, something caught his eye. 
Using their mobile phones for light and with one of his friends holding on to his legs, Thorkildsen was able to climb far enough into the flue to pull out four envelopes stashed with cash. 
“I don’t know exactly how much money there is but our rough count put it at around 325,000 kroner,” he told Dagbladet. 
He later told VG that the find, which amounts to about €35,000 or $38,000, was surreal.
“To begin with, I broke out into a cold sweat. After that, we hopped around screaming. I thought this was only something that happened in bad American movies,” he said. 
Even though he was the new rightful owner of the flat and thus the money, he decided he would not pocket the cash but rather help fulfil the wishes of the apartment’s deceased previous owners. 
“After the euphoria subsided, I quickly realized that the money should be returned. An elderly couple lived in the flat for many years and they had bequeathed all of their belongings to Kreftforeningen [the Norwegian Cancer Society, ed.],” Thorkildsen told VG. 
The estate agent thus contacted the cancer society and gave them the good news – and the cold hard cash. 
“I’m impressed that someone can be so honest. He could have easily not told anyone about it, so we are happy that he gave the money to us,” society spokesman Ole Aleksander Opdalshei told VG. 

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How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Known just as much for its high prices as its stunning scenery, Norway doesn't have a reputation as a cheap place to live. But how much does food cost, and how does it compare to the rest of Europe? 

How do food prices in Norway compare to the rest of Europe? 

Famously known for being on the pricey side, Norway has many factors that draw foreign residents, such as the scenery, wages and work-life balance. 

However, one common complaint is the high prices. Is the cost of food and groceries as bad as everyone says? 

Unfortunately, according to the statistics, Norway lives up to its reputation for expensive food and groceries. 

Eurostat, which monitors price levels across the EU, EEA and EU candidate countries, has ranked Norway as the country with the second highest price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Out of the countries monitored by the stats agency, only Switzerland had a higher price level index. A price level index measures the price levels of a given nation relative to other countries. This means that compared to the rest of the other countries measured, food and non-alcoholic beverages in Norway are the second most expensive overall. 

According to Eurostat’s data and price level index, prices in Norway were 49 percent higher than the EU average in 2021. Norway also had the highest price for fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and ‘other food’ products. ‘Other foods’ consist of chocolates, sugars, jams etc. 

READ ALSO: Why food in Norway is so expensive

In addition, non-alcoholic beverages in Norway were also the most expensive found among 36 European countries. The price of alcoholic drinks in Norway lived up to their reputation for priciness, with the cost of alcoholic beverages being 160 percent higher than the average and the second most expensive after Iceland

Scandinavia as a whole has a reputation for high prices, so how did Norway compare in this regard? 

Finland had the lowest overall food prices out of Scandinavian countries when measured by the price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages. This was followed by Sweden, which had a score of 117, Denmark with 120 and Iceland with 139. 

This highlights that even among the Nordics, Norway is an expensive country for food. 

One noticeable trend is that the food prices in Norway are becoming less expensive compared to the European average. In 2018, food prices in Norway were 63 percent higher than the European average. Three years on, this had fallen to 49 percent. 

Even though the prices are high, is it really that expensive when considering wages? 

While food is certainly more expensive in Norway than in most countries, wages are also considerably higher. 

For example, the average monthly salary in Norway was 50,790 kroner per month in 2021. This equates to just over 5,000 euros. In 2022, the estimated monthly average wage in the EU was around 2,570 euros. However, it’s worth pointing out that large differences exist between EU countries. For example, the average monthly wage in Bulgaria was estimated to be around 852 euros, while in Denmark, it’s estimated to be about 5,979 euros (44,514 Danish kroner). 

Therefore, a more accurate way of measuring the true cost of food would be to measure how much of a household’s monthly income is spent on food. 

In Romania, food made up more than a quarter of household expenditure, making food more expensive there for households as it eats up a larger chunk of consumers’ budgets, despite lower prices than the EU average. Across 36 countries measured by Eurostat, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up around 13 percent of total consumption expenditure by households. 

In this regard, Norwegians actually spend less money on food than other European households. Food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 11.3 percent of households’ total spending in 2022, according to Statistics Norway

Typically, someone aged 31-50 years will spend between 3,100 – 3,660 kroner per month on food, according to the Consumption Research Norway’s (SIFO) Reference Budget for Consumer Expenditures

So even while Norway spends more money on food, it’s less expensive overall as it takes up a lower portion of household expenditure. fra