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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Norway in August 2021 

Everything from what schools will be like after the summer holidays, new entry rules for certain travellers, and all Covid measures potentially being lifted. Here’s what’s happening in Norway during August 2021. 

EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Norway in August 2021 
You will be able to get married at this spot in August. Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Full easing of Covid-19 measures (potentially)

Norway will assess lifting the remaining Covid measures in the country in mid-August. 

The Norwegian government recently delayed the final step of its reopening strategy due to concerns over the delta variant.

It is the second time that Norway has delayed the final phase of its exit plan from Covid measures. 

Depending on the infection situation come the next assessment the lifting of measures could be pushed back once more.  

The government has not yet detailed what the relaxing of all Covid measures would mean for travel restrictions.

You can read more about the current measures here

New Covid measures introduced

Before Norway decides whether it will lift all Covid measures, some changes to the current rules will be introduced in the meantime. 

Firstly, from August 16th, children under 18 will be exempt from self-isolating after being exposed to Covid-19.

The exception to this is if a member of their household or close contact such as boyfriend or girlfriend is required to isolate, or if the person in question tests positive for the coronavirus. Until then, the ten-day self-isolation period, seven if a PCR test is taken, will remain in place.

In practice, this means pupils at schools will no longer have to isolate if a classmate tests positive.

In addition to this, on August 2nd, the rules for organisations and companies holding social gatherings will be relaxed too.

Get-togethers organised by companies for employees will now be classed as public events rather than private events.

You can read more about the rules for public events here.

New entry rules for children 

Children under 18 whose parents are exempt from entry quarantine and aren’t vaccine pass holders will now be exempt from the same entry restrictions. Children whose parents are vaccine pass holders are already exempt.

The changes will come into effect from August 2nd. 

Fellesferie and Sommerferie end 

Norway’s collective holiday period, Fellesfeire, when the majority of companies in Norway grant their entire workforce holiday and shut up shop, will come to an end during the first two weeks of August. 

For many, the end of the collective summer holiday period will be a sad sight. However, it will be a welcome relief for anybody waiting on any bureaucratic matters to be resolved. 

Fellesferie: Everything you need to know about Norway’s collective holiday period

This is because the collective leave period brings things, including important matters such as appointments for residence cards, to a grinding halt. 

Those with pending applications or struggling to nail down an appointment for official matters should see the process pick up the pace following the end of fellesferie.

Sommerferie, or the summer holiday for schoolchildren, will also end, which brings us to our next point… 

Kids go back to school in Norway

August 19th will see the majority of children return to school from the 2021 summer break. 

The government is aiming for as many schools as possible to reopen at “green level”, which is, more or less, a return to normal teaching following more than a year of teaching being disrupted by the pandemic. 

Covid-19: What will schools in Norway be like after the summer break?

Entry for international students opens up

On the subject of students and education, Norway will open its borders to international students attending university in Norway. 

Students arriving in Norway will be required to quarantine either at home or somewhere with a private bedroom and bathroom or in a hotel, depending on the country they are arriving from and whether they have an EU vaccine passport. 

READ ALSO: Essential tips for international students looking to rent in Norway

Election season hots up

In August, the campaign for Norway’s nine main political parties to make their case to voters will heat up. 

Polls suggest that Norway’s next government will likely be a left-green coalition, following eight years of centre-right government. 

The Local Norway will keep you updated with all the essential election news ahead of voters hitting the polls in September. 

You will be able to get married at one of Norway’s most famous beauty spots

Trolltunga, one of Norway’s most renowned mountain tops and one of its most popular hikes, will soon host its first-ever wedding.

The peak, one of Norway’s most stunning rock formations, has been no stranger to marriage proposals over the years, but the world-famous mountain top, which hangs 700 meters above Ringedalsvanet Lake, will host its first-ever wedding in August.

One lucky Danish couple has been granted permission to tie the knot at Trolltunga by Ullensvang Municipality, the local authority responsible for the mountain in West Norway.

You’ll be able to get married at the beauty spot in August. Photo by Tuomas Härkönen on Unsplash

This is the first time the municipality has allowed people to get married at the site, situated 1,180 meters above sea level.

Ullensvang Municipality has said that other couples can get married atop Trolltunga, provided they meet a few conditions.

Bride and grooms must contact the municipality by August 11th and must be able to have the ceremony on August 14th.

They will also need to have a valid wedding certificate from the tax administration in place.

EXPLAINED: What paperwork do you need to get married in Norway?

New rules for e-scooter users in Oslo

Oslo City Council will introduce new rules for electric scooters in the capital in August. 

As part of its clampdown, the city council will cut the number of scooters available to rent by almost 70 percent by imposing a limit of 8,000. 

In addition to this, rental scooters will be picked up and dropped off in designated areas, similar to how city bikes in Oslo are used.

Curfews on when users can rent scooters will also be introduced. From August, rentals will be closed at night between 11 pm to 5 am. You can read more about the changes here.

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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

Everything that changes about life in Norway in July 2022

Free ferries, a potential pilot strike, more expensive food and a change in the voting rules are among the biggest changes happening in Norway during July.

Everything that changes about life in Norway in July 2022

Potential pilot strike

This one isn’t fully set in stone but could spell travel chaos if it goes ahead. Up to 900 pilots from SAS could be taken out on strike from July 2nd if an agreement isn’t reached between the airline and pilots’ representatives. 

After weeks of intensive negotiations over a new agreement between SAS leadership and 1,000 of the airline’s pilots, both sides were willing to continue discussions, pushing back the original deadline. 

Pilots are unhappy that SAS is hiring new pilots on cheaper contracts in their two subsidiaries, SAS Link and SAS Connect. If the two parties cannot agree, up to 30,000 SAS passengers could be affected per day, the airline said on June 27th.

You can check the likelihood of your flight being affected here

Food prices are likely to go up

July will also see the cost of grocery shopping in Norway go up significantly. This is because the price farmers will be able to charge for milk, grain, potatoes, vegetables and fruit in Norway will rise. 

Food prices in Norway are adjusted twice a year by supermarkets. The next change is set to happen in July, with prices expected to go up due to increasing costs from suppliers and producers. 

Ferries to become free

Ferry connections with less than 100,000 annual passengers will be completely free from the beginning of July. 

The government pledged to make all ferry connections with less than 100,000 passengers free of charge when it was formed last October to try and make transport easier for rural and coastal communities and boost tourism. 

Free tickets will apply to both residents, tourists and commercial passengers. 

READ MORE: Norwegian islands lose quarter of voters as foreigners frozen out of local elections

Fellesferie begins

Fellesferie is the collective leave period or general staff holiday period that many Norwegian companies have adopted, which takes place during July. 

The origins of fellesferie date back to the interwar years, when employers and employees in the Norwegian metal smelting industry agreed on a collective holiday period of three weeks. 

If you’ve not experienced the holiday period in Norway yet, it’ll feel like everything is coming to a grinding halt.

Many companies will shut down entirely or operate vastly reduced opening hours. As a result, big cities such as Oslo can feel practically deserted as everyone flocks to the beaches, fjords and mountains – often staying in their country retreats or hyttes If they aren’t travelling abroad.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Norway’s collective holiday period

Air passenger tax returns

Air travel will become slightly more expensive at the beginning of July as the passenger tax for travellers will be reintroduced. 

The low rate of 80 kroner per passenger will be applied to journeys where the final destination is within Europe. 

Those travelling outside of Europe will have to pay a tax of 214 kroner. 

Rates apply to Europe as a whole, rather than the EU, so passengers heading to the UK will pay the lower rate. 

A new grid rent model implemented 

The beginning of July also sees a new grid rent system introduced. 

Grid rent is the charge consumers pay for receiving electricity into their homes. Under the current model, grid rent is typically anywhere between 20 to 50 øre per kilowatt-hour. Those in rural areas usually pay more, while those in cities pay less.

The new model will have a lower fixed proportion of the fee with a higher part of the charge linked to total consumption, meaning homes that use more power will pay higher grid rent, while those that consume less will have lower bills. 

READ MORE: What Norway’s new grid rent model means for you

A transition period of two years will be introduced, and the new consumption charge will only be allowed to account for 50 percent of grid companies’ revenues. The energy ministry will then assess the new model at the end of the transition period. 

Svalbard residents lose their voting rights

The Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is to lose over a quarter of its voting base for local elections under new rules preventing foreign nationals from participating.

Under new rules, non-Norwegian citizens will be required to have lived in a Norwegian municipality for three years in order to be eligible to vote in local elections and run for office on the remote Arctic archipelago.

Over 700 of the 2,500 people who live on Svalbard could be affected by the decision, broadcaster NRK reports.

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