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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

What changes about life in Norway in September 2021

From a new government to the last remaining Covid measures being lifted and the government deciding whether children aged between 12 and 15 will be vaccinated, here's what's happening in Norway in September 2021.

What changes about life in Norway in September 2021
The Geiranger Fjord. Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

New government? 

A new coalition government could be on the cards in Norway, according to the latest polls

Bar any unexpected swings, it’s likely we will see a red-green coalition of the Labour Party and the Centre Party after voters head to the ballot box on September 13th. 

It’s still unclear what other parties may or may not join them in government, and current PM Erna Solberg and the Conservative Party could still pull off a surprise victory, so nothing is set in stone just yet. 

Both Labour and the Centre Party have pledged to cut income tax for those on low-to-middle incomes, while the Conservatives have pledged to offer young people tax breaks. 

You can catch up on all our election coverage and see what election promises the major players in Norwegian politics have made here

Lifting of all national Covid-19 measures

September could also see the last remaining national Covid measures in Norway lifted, despite rising infections in the country.

The government has said it would lift all remaining Covid measures once everyone over 18 has received their final coronavirus vaccine jab

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has previously said that it expects this to happen around September 12th. Local measures will still remain in place where necessary. 

Currently, it is unclear how this would affect travel restrictions, and the government hasn’t hinted at what the lifting of all measures would mean for those still hoping to travel to Norway, such as the majority of those from outside the European Economic Area or EAA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

 Reader question: When will Americans be able to visit family in Norway again?

Interest rate rises

Not the most exhilarating of topics, but important nonetheless. Historically low-interest rates in Norway are expected to rise in September, Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, has said. 

The key interest rate has been at zero percent since last May. A rising interest rate means that loans and mortgages become more expensive to repay, but it also should protect against rising house prices in Norway. 

EXPLAINED: What do Norway’s rising house prices mean for you?

Norges Bank has said that interest rate rises would be gradual while the economy recovers from the impact of Covid-19. 

Norway to decide whether children aged 12-15 will get Covid jabs

A decision over whether kids aged between 12 and 15 will be jabbed or not is expected to be made at the turn of the month. 

The decision may come a smidge before September as there is no fixed date on when the government will decide. 

The government has already decided to vaccinate those aged between 16-17.

Vaccination for children aged between 12-17 will be wholly voluntary and won’t begin until around October.

Number of scooters in Oslo to be cut 

Whether you think they are brilliant, or they’ve become the bane of your life, you’ll be seeing a lot fewer e-scooters around Oslo after September 10th. 

The number of scooters in the city will be slashed significantly to 8,000, and they will be distributed more evenly throughout Oslo. 

The number of scooters available will be evenly distributed between 12 companies. Ayva, Bird, Dott, Tier, Ryde, ShareBike, Wind, Lime, Bolt, Voi, Bydue and CATS are the companies to have been given licences to rent out the devices in Oslo. 

Following a sharp rise in accidents, including one fatal one, involving the devices in Oslo, the city council decided it would clamp down and introduce new regulations. 

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For members

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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