The Norwegian habits that are just impossible to shake off

Norwegian traits can quickly become part of everyday life after living in the country for a while. We asked which habits you just can't shake off, which ones you like – and which ones you try to avoid.

The Norwegian habits that are just impossible to shake off
Have you bought lots of knitted sweaters to keep warm? Photo: HappyCity/Depositphotos

We received varied and interesting responses to our survey – many thanks to all who took the time to get in touch.

What are the most common habits you picked up?

One thing you tended to agree on here was the need to wrap up warm.

“Wearing wool tights, top, gloves and socks,” was the first habit mentioned by Crystal Turnbull, who moved from South Africa to Ås in Akershus County just over a year ago.

On a related note, Turnbull also said she had taken up knitting while in Norway.

“During (the) first week I was terrified and even worked from home, thinking that it is too cold to go outside,” wrote Nepalese Rajesh Joshi, who also lives in Ås having moved to Norway to do a PhD four years ago

“In Kathmandu (where I am from), if the temperature was below zero we would take leave or just be inside the house. But here, it was impossible.

“Now-a-days I even bike to work every day in winter, no matter how much the temperature is,” Joshi explained.

Other habits mentioned on more than one occasion involved peculiar Norwegian modes of expression.

“Allowing long pauses in conversations. Actively going around a room of strangers and shaking hands with every single one. I picked this habit up quickly, maybe a couple of weeks. It probably took a couple of months for me to get used to the long, quiet pauses in conversations. I still notice it but it bothers me less now,” Turnbull said.

The quick Norwegian ‘what?’ is an easy one to mimic, says Slovakian Dominik Masiarcin, who has lived in northern Norway near Tromsø since April.

READ ALSO: 'Tromsø is a city of extremes and there is something special about that'

“(The) Norwegian ‘what?’, really fast, like ‘ha?’ I do it all the time, even though to be honest I hate it,” Masiarcin wrote.

“It is not really polite way how to ask ‘what’ in my country,” he continued, but also noted that it wasn’t all bad.

“’Ikke stress’ ['no stress' in Norwegian, ed.]… I actually appreciate! No stress is really the greatest thing ever happened to me… I didn’t feel stress since I moved to Norway,” he said.

Taking shoes off when going inside is a habit Carol Dijkhuyzen Smith, of the Netherlands and US, said she had picked up in Norway.

Which Norwegian habits do you dislike or try to avoid?

Generally, those who contacted us said they don't regret picking up Norwegian habits and welcomed the positive effects the Scandinavian land has had.

“About (saying) ‘what’: I would like to stop doing it, at least outside Norway. Regarding ‘no stress’: I would like to make it my motto! Life is much better!,” Masiarcin said.

The sentiments were also voiced by Joshi.

“I am glad that I picked up this habit [of going out in the cold], because at least this has helped me to be more active,” the Nepalese PhD student wrote.

But the Norwegian fondness for bread hadn't worked out so well, he added.

“Eating bread for lunch is the habit I try to avoid, simply because I don't like bread. If I eat bread for lunch, I start to feel hungry after a few hours and cannot focus on my work. A proper lunch has helped me to focus on my work,” he wrote.

Dijkhuyzen Smith said she preferred not to border shop.

“Driving to a large store near Sweden because it is cheaper! I support the stores in Oslo,” she wrote.

The inhaled Norwegian ‘ja’, meanwhile, was a non-starter for Turnbull, who said she was otherwise glad to have picked up Norwegian habits.

“I can’t do the inhaling ‘ja’ sound. It doesn’t come easily and I won’t force it,” she wrote.

Are there any archetypal Norwegian habits that we’ve missed? Any that you have learned from Norwegians or Norway that you particularly enjoy? Let us know.

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How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 

A trip to the dentist can be painful in more ways than one, especially for your bank account, so how much will it set you back in Norway and how do you get an appointment?

How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 
Many dread a trip to the dentist. Photo by Yusuf Belek on Unsplash

Is dental work free in Norway?

Norway’s robust and comprehensive public healthcare system is accessible through the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme. Because it is so comprehensive, many make the assumption that all health issues, including dental problems, are covered by the scheme.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as, generally, dental care is not covered by the public healthcare system. Instead, you will have to go to a private practitioner should you have an issue with your teeth or if it’s time for a checkup. 

If you’d like to learn more about what is covered by the National Health Insurance, you can look at our guide on how the scheme works and common problems foreigners run into here.

How much does it cost?

The bad news is that, much like most other things in Norway, a trip to the dentists will set you back a fair amount, and unlike the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme, there is no exemption card, or frikort, after you have paid a certain amount. 

READ MORE: Seven things foreigners in Norway should know about the health system

On the bright side, dental treatment is free for children under 18, and if you are aged between 19 and 20, you will only need to stump up 25 percent of the total bill. 

In most cases, everyone over the age of 21 will be expected to pay the whole bill, apart from a few exceptions, which you can read about here

The cost of dentistry can be reimbursed or subsidised if you meet any of the 15 conditions that will entitle you to claim support from The Norwegian Health Economics Administration or Helfo.

Helfo is responsible for making payments from the National Insurance Scheme to healthcare providers and reimbursing individuals for vital healthcare services not covered by the insurance scheme. 

The list of conditions includes essential work, such as having an oral tumour removed, for example. You can take a look at the 15 conditions for which you claim help from Helfo here.

You can also apply to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) for financial assistance relating to dental work.

How much you are eligible to receive from NAV will depend entirely on your situation. 

Below you can take a look at the rough cost of some common dental work in Norway. 

  • Examination/appointment- 600 kroner 
  • Examination/appointment with tartar removal and x rays- 1,000 kroner 
  • Small filling- 900 kroner 
  • Medium sized filling 1,400- kroner 
  • Large filling- 1,500 kroner 
  • Tooth surgically removed- 2,000 kroner 
  • Root canal filling 3,800 kroner
  • Crown- 7,000 kroner

How to book an appointment

Booking an appointment in Norway is as simple as contacting your nearest dentist. Before you book, you can typically check the price list of the dentist you will be visiting to get a rough idea of how much the visit could cost you too. 

The majority of dentists in Norway will speak good English. You can also visit an entirely English speaking dentist surgery, where all the staff will speak English, in the big cities such as Oslo if you haven’t quite gotten to grips with Norwegian yet. 

You can search for a dentist using this tool which will show you your nearest dentist in the town, city or county you live in.