Norwegian word of the day: Kveldsmat

Ingri Bergo
Ingri Bergo - [email protected]
Norwegian word of the day: Kveldsmat
Norwegians love their "bonus" evening meal. Caption Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR.

The fourth meal of the day in Norway is also the most important for some Norwegians.


Why do I need to know kveldsmat?

Because it's a common thing that also says a whole lot about Norwegian culture.

What does it mean?

Kveld means 'evening' and mat means 'food'. Put them together and you get kveldsmat, which is food you eat in the evening.

Norwegians eat dinner early, as in 5pm - earlier or later depending on whether or not there are small children in the house - so sometimes they need something small before going to bed. Hence kveldsmat.

It can be translated to 'evening meal' or 'night snack', but really it is so much more than that. Kveldsmat is a ritual Norwegians learn to cherish at young age.

Kveldsmat generally consists of brødskiver, which is Norwegian for 'slices of bread', topped with pålegg (spread). A typical pålegg is cheese, either gulost (yellow cheese) or brunost (brown cheese), or leverpostei (Norwegian type of paté).


And a glass of milk. Classic kveldsmat must have a glass of Norwegian milk.

If you live in Norway, you might have noticed that kveldsmat is basically the exact same meal as what most Norwegians have for both breakfast and lunch.

But Norwegians love brødskiver. Why change a good thing?

Besides, they have perfected the art of making otherwise dull slices of bread look like small pieces of art. Some slices of cucumber, a sliver of red pepper and a dash of pepper go a long way.

But remember that, to Norwegians, a treat is only a treat if you have earned it. Otherwise, it's just indulgence, and that's bad.

Kveldsmat is no exception to the rule. Ideally, you should just have come home from a hike an be dripping in sweat, or covered in mosquito bites. Do that first, then come back and report on what that brødskive and glass of milk tasted like. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also