New figures from the National Mediation Service, or conflict council, which is responsible for dealing with issues between neighbours in Norway, suggest that more and more neighbours are coming into conflict with one another.
In 2020, the mediation service dealt with 200 more local disagreements than the year before. In total, mediation services dealt with 887 issues between neighbours last year.
“There are no limits to what we Norwegians argue with our neighbour about,” Mona Hammerfjeld, head of the National Mediation Service in Nordland, said to state broadcaster NRK.
Hammerfjed told the broadcaster that some cases end as criminal cases due to falling out’s between neighbours ending in physical confrontation.
She also added that she believed that the reason Norwegians fell out with their neighbours so often was that they are pretty easily offended.
We’ll take a look at some of the most common issues that annoy neighbours in Norway so you can avoid becoming the nightmare next door and why Norwegians particularly don’t always get along with their neighbours.
In the meantime, you can look at our handy guide that’ll help keep you in your neighbour’s good books.
Why do neighbours fall out in Norway?
So why do neighbours argue with one another?
“Typical cases are trees hanging over into the neighbouring plot of land, leaves falling into the neighbours garden or tree’s that shroud the neighbours garden in shade,” Hammerfjeld told NRK.
Other familiar sources of conflict are party noise, trampoline noise, smoking on the balcony, smoke from barbecues, parking and rubbish bins.
All pretty typical, you may say, but some issues are distinctly Norwegian.
For example, Hammerfjeld told NRK that the conflict council had been involved in cases where a neighbour has reported the other neighbour for drying fish up against their property.
Other more Scandinavian issues include noise from tractors, dogs attacking livestock and animals feeding on grass on the other side of the fence.
Are Norwegians bad neighbours?
Hammerfjeld said she believes that Norwegians make bad neighbours because they think they have the right to do as they please on their property.
“We have a very strong perception of ‘mine’ and ownership. People believe they can do as they please on their property without consideration for their neighbours,” Hammerfjed said.
Hammerfjeld is not alone in thinking that Norwegians make for particularly quarrelsome neighbours; her view is supported by Hans Nordahl, professor of behavioural medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
“It’s about culture. In Norway, we live in cities and villages where we have large amounts of space; we often own houses and property too,” Nordahl told NRK.
“It sets us apart a bit from other European countries. If we look in Europe, most people live in closer proximity and have a higher tolerance for short-sightedness,” Nordahl added.
A lack of communication is another reason why neighbours fail to see eye to eye in Norway, which is why mediation is often used to resolve issues between neighbours, according to Hammerfjeld.
“Our goal isn’t for neighbours to be best friends, but to at least be able to greet each other over the hedge,” she said.