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The essential phone apps you need to make your life in Norway easier 

It does not matter whether you are using IOS or Android; these apps are designed to help you save time, money, hassle and generally make life in Norway that much easier. 

The essential phone apps you need to make your life in Norway easier 
These apps will help make your life in Norway easier. Photo by Rohit Tandon on Unsplash

BankID

To access any online public service in Norway, you’re going to need an electronic ID to verify your identity. You can use your electronic ID for everything from filing taxes to logging in to check your Covid-19 certificate. 

You can check out our complete guide to electronic ID’s in Norway here

In the meantime, we recommend you download the BankID app if you haven’t already. This is probably the best and fastest way to access your electronic ID without having to faff around with the fobs and pin-code letters other IDs require. 

You will already need to have a BankID set up to use the app, so you may have to contact your bank to order a BankID If you don’t have one already. 

Here you can see all the banks whose BankID are supported by the BankID app. 

Too Good To Go

Norway is expensive, really expensive, so an app that can help you save money on tasty treats will undoubtedly come in handy, especially if you live in the big cities and towns.

Too Good To Go offers users great prices on food that stores, restaurants and bakeries would otherwise throw away. Doing your bit for the environment never tasted so good. 

The app is already used by over a million Norwegians, and over 3,000 businesses are signed up Too Good To Go , which is available on IOS and Android devices. 

Trumf

Another one your wallet will thank you for, this one is pretty effortless too. 

Trumf is a bonus points scheme that helps you save while you shop. Not only that, you can choose how to redeem your points. You can have the cash value of your points deposited straight into your bank account, get money off of your next shop at a participating retailer or donate the cash value to a charity of your choice. 

Trumf offers around 1 percent cashback on all purchases made at participating stores, sometimes more depending on where you are shopping and what you are buying. 

One of the best things about Trumf is you can link your account straight to your debit card, saving any fussing about with QR codes and membership cards at the tills. Not only that, but you can also form a joint account with your significant other to store both your points together for a rainy day. Saving has never been so simple. 

You can take a look at all the different places you can redeem your points here

You can also take a look at our guide to loyalty schemes here to make sure you get the best bang for your buck next time you hit the shops. 

You can download the app on both Apple and Android phones.

Helsenorge

The Heslenorge app is used to check coronavirus test results and access the Norwegian Covid-19 certificate. 

If you plan to travel under the EU’s vaccine pass scheme, want to skip quarantine on your way back to Norway, or go to a big event such as a music festival, this will be a must-have. 

Not only that but the app can be used for other functions, too, such as ordering prescriptions. 

Having the app and certificate ready and easily accessible on your phone will help save you the time and effort of having to sign in and verify your identity with an electronic ID on the helsenorge.no website every time you need to access the health pass.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to access Norway’s Covid-19 certificate

The app is available on both the Apple and Google Play stores. 

Vipps 

Vipps is Norway’s most popular money-sharing app, and for good reason. 

It’s quick, easy to use, and there’s no charge for receiving or sending money. 

Although DNB developed the app, customers of any Norwegian bank can use it. 

READ ALSO: 11 million users, 330,000 shops: Nordic banks to merge mobile payment apps

One of the reasons Vipps is so easy to use and so popular is that to send someone money, you just need their phone number rather than their bank details. 

You can download Vipps on your Android or iPhone

Digipost

Digipost, if you hadn’t guessed already, is a digital letterbox where you can access important letters sent to you. 

This is important because the post isn’t delivered directly to your door in Norway. 

This makes Digipost an essential app to have on your phone to help save you the time and hassle of regularly visiting the post box. 

More importantly, you can create an archive of important letters and documents. 

Your digital mailbox is encrypted, and nobody, not even Digipost, will have access to it apart from you.

Digipost can help you save money too. In Norway, utility suppliers will often charge their customers for physical letters they send to them. If you switch to receive your bills and other post to Digipost, you can cut that cost out completely. 

VY

Vygruppen is a state-owned Norwegian transport group. On the Vy app, you can plan your journey door to door using trains, busses, taxis, metro and boats. In addition to this, it will show you nearby scooters and city bikes for hire in the bigger cities.

Currently, you can book tickets with Vy and other companies such as Go-Ahead Nordic, SJ Nord and Ruter, and several smaller regional public transport companies. More regional companies will be coming to the app soon, meaning you will be able to prebook many more journeys.

You can also check out our rundown of essential travel apps in Norway.

Vy is available on the IOS app store and the Google Play store

YR

It’s always important to check the conditions before heading out in Norway. The weather app used by the majority of Norwegians is YR. The forecasts are more accurate for Norway than the bog-standard weather applications that come with your phone. YR offers detailed forecasts wherever you are in Norway.

YR is available on Android and Apple.

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FAMILY

‘Barnehage’: Everything parents in Norway need to know about preschool

In Norway, almost every child attends a "barnehage". But what is it, and why are they so popular with parents? Here's what you need to know.

'Barnehage': Everything parents in Norway need to know about preschool
Here's what you need to know about barnhage. Photo by Lucas Alexander on Unsplash

What does barnehage mean? 

Barnehage is a compound word, barn, which means “child”. And hage, which directly translated means, “garden”. In English, barnehage translates to “kindergarten”, or “preschool” or “daycare”, and stems from the German word, kindergarten

How popular is it for children to attend barnehage?

In Norway, there are 5,620 preschools throughout the country. And nearly 93 percent of children from the ages of one to five attend one. 

While it is a popular choice to send your child to barnehage, this is a relatively new trend in Norway’s history. It wasn’t until the 1980s when every municipality in Norway had one or more preschools. And during that time, only five percent of the children who applied were admitted, and children with single mothers were often the most prioritised. However, the demand for childcare grew in the 1990s when it became more common for households to have both parents earning an income. 

Who runs barnehage?

Jurisdiction and control over where the preschools are and how they are run come from the national government. This is to ensure that every child in Norway receives the same standard of care no matter where they live. The Ministry of Education and Research, the Directorate of Education, the County Governor, the municipality, and the kindergarten owner are responsible for the kindergarten’s well-being and daily function. 

It is possible to work in a preschool without higher education. However, most municipalities require a certain percentage of barnehage employees to have the correct degree. 

To be a preschool teacher, you must complete a three-year programme that qualifies as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. And to be a pedagogical leader in the classroom, you must apply for an extra 60 study points of further education in certain subjects. 

All preschools are required to fulfil a particular employee to child ratio. For younger children, it is one employee to every three enrolled children under the age of three. Over the age of three, it is required to have one employee for every six children enrolled. 

To work in a barnehage, even as a substitute, you need to undergo a politiattest or a “background check” conducted by the local authorities. 

How much does it cost to send your child to barnehage?

Depending on which barnehage your child attends, you pay a set monthly price. However, the government has set a maximum price. As of January 1st, 2021, the maximum price parents or caregivers can pay for preschool spots is 3, 230 kroner a month. Whether the preschool is public or privately run, they must abide by this rule and not charge over the max price. 

Some preschools provide breakfast and lunch, which costs extra. And if you have more than one child attending the same preschool, there is often a reduction in the total monthly price. And if you fall into the bracket of “low-income family”, then there is a national scheme in place to offer your children a preschool space at a reduced cost. 

The different types of barnehage in Norway

Yes, the preschools in this country run under both national and local frameworks to ensure equal childcare for all. But there are different types of barnehage you can choose from, which include:

Halvdagsbarnehage: Or “half-day preschool” which is only open between four to six hours a day, five days a week.

Naturbarnehage eller friluftsbarnehage: These are preschools that are based on conducting their learning and childcare outside for large parts of the day. Rain or shine. Bitter cold days in December or windy days in the spring. The four seasons in Norway are not a reason to go inside if you choose to send your children to a friluftsbarnehage, or “open-air preschool”.

Familiebarnehage: Or “family preschool”, which is most often set up in a private home. However, all family preschools are required to have assistance from an educated preschool teacher.

Åpen barnehage: Or “open preschool”, which is an establishment set up where parents can attend the daycare with their children. It’s often used by parents who are home with their children during the day and want to socialise with other parents and give their children a chance to play with others. There is no monthly payment attached to this type of preschool. Open preschool can be free of cost or charge a very affordable drop-in price.

Useful vocabulary and facts

Nearly 90 percent of preschool teachers in Norway are female.

The barnehage is a central part of many communities. Both in small towns and large cities. It is common for most preschools in Norway to host a dugnad (usually during the autumn and spring). Dugnads encourage parents and caregivers to help with the maintenance of the preschool. Typical tasks include cleaning common areas indoors, painting the preschool’s fences, and raking leaves. 

Norwegian expression of the day: Dugnad

Barnehage tante or “preschool aunt” is an outdated term sometimes still used to describe employees who work in a preschool. Even if you have heard others using the term, try and refrain from doing so yourself. Many who work in a preschool find it to be both belittling and outdated.

Omsorg – care

Sove-tid – nap time 

Åpningstider/stengetider – opening times/closing times

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