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Eight expensive things in Norway you’ll hate paying for (apart from the alcohol)

Agnes Erickson
Agnes Erickson - [email protected]
Eight expensive things in Norway you’ll hate paying for (apart from the alcohol)

Chances are before moving to Norway you did a bit of research and found out it was not the cheapest country to move to.


But even if the research wasn’t done, the pricey costs of some products or services in this country most likely left you short of breath on one or two occasions after making the move. 

According to a recent article by Ceoworld, Norway takes second place (right behind Switzerland) in the ranking of the world's most expensive nations. Here are a few pricey things to look out for. 

The cost of settling in 

“I had to buy a return ticket to New Zealand before getting on my flight to Norway despite having a job offer, because I was still waiting on my visa to be approved,” Alistair says.

The native New Zealander told The Local his savings were quickly drained after he made the international move to Norway.

Alistair also had to put down three months’ rent as a security deposit before moving into his apartment in Oslo. It then took a while for him to be able to add funds to his account because he, like most others, had to wait at least a month after working to get paid.

“I always knew Norway was expensive but you don’t know how expensive it is until you get here,” he says.

The New Zealander recommends “biting the bullet,” and not constantly doing money conversions to your native currency in the beginning. Wait until your bank account begins to level out. 

Bottled beverages

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

Bottled water and all other bottled non-alcoholic beverages alike are costly. National statistics agency SSB rates non-alcoholic beverages in Norway as priced at a whopping 90 and 81 percent above the EU average.

A 20oz bottle of the Norwegian water brand, Imsdal, sells for around 33 kroner at a convenience store. This is just under 3 euros. It might come as a shock that both Norwegians and foreigners would pay such a high price for bottled water, especially considering the tap water in Norway is high quality, drinkable water. 


Purchasing a book in Norway will set you back (unfortunately this also includes the textbooks commonly  used to teach Norwegian languages). This can be explained.

According to TNR, the deep discounting of new books in Norway is pretty much banned. Also, Norwegian books that pass a quality control will be distributed to libraries (1,000-1,500 copies) which help keep small publishers alive. Norway also lends significant support to writers and other artists directly. All of these are factors contributing to the high prices of books. 

Meat and cheese

Meat is priced insanely high in this country. According to SSB, meat prices are 55 percent higher than the European average. This could be in large part due to the Norwegian farmers’ protection from foreign competition. Politicians have set restrictions in place, limiting imports of the meat and dairy industry in order to support jobs in outlying areas within Norway. 

Similar reasons can be cited for the high price of cheese. SSB states that “milk, cheese, and eggs” are 74 percent higher than the European Union average. It is safe to claim a meat and cheese board at parties in Norway is not a common sight.

Owning a car

PhotoPeter Fiskerstrand/Flickr

Just buying the car itself in Norway is a costly affair. This is in large part due to the high taxes surrounding imports.  And then there are the cash swallowing extras that follow after the car’s purchase.

Regular EU controls, expensive traffic penalties, maintenance and petrol expenses.

According to The New York Times, the price of petrol in Norway makes it the most expensive place in the world to buy gas. It is no wonder electric cars are extremely popular in this country. 

READ ALSO: Electric car sales in Norway motor to new high

Home improvements

Although renovation in itself is not cheap, necessary steps along the way make it unexpectedly pricey.


“This is a country where everything is done by rules,” Estonian born Natalia says.

For example, if electrical work needs to be done, you must hire an electrician. Even if you are lucky enough to have the skills to fix an electrical problem yourself, the project must be godkjent or approved by a certified electrician in Norway. 

“It is simply impossible to avoid,” Natalia says.

The hidden price (VAT) 

Norway’s Value Added Tax (VAT), currently 25 percent, is paid by consumers on almost all goods and services.After almost eight years of living in Norway, Natalia is still shocked by the extra costs of VAT on a bill.

“Although VAT is tagged on for everything, it can still come as a surprise if I’m not constantly keeping in mind that I need to add on the extra price,” she says.

“When negotiating prices for services, the VAT is never discussed,” Natalia says.

Useful Norwegian words to know concerning expenses

Pris - Price

Tilbud- Offer

Rabatt- Discount

Vipps- A popular Norwegian payment and money transfer app.

*The commenters in this article requested their full names not be used. 





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