For members


Five signs you’ve settled into life in Norway 

It can take time to adjust to living in a new country. However, here are some of the signs that you've made a smooth transition into life in Norway. 

Five signs you've settled into life in Norway 
Here are the signs you've bedded into life in Norway. Photo by tarreha on Unsplash

Change in eating habits 

A small but significant step in adjusting to life in another country is adopting local eating habits. If somebody asked you what your favourite pålegg (spread or topping) was, would you know the answer? Have you adopted kveldsmat, a meal eaten after dinner later in the evening, into your daily routine? 

Do you like having friends over for tacofredag, taco Friday, or setting up an engangsgrillI, disposable grill, in the park on a sunny day? 

No Norwegian summer is complete without having an engangsgrill in the park. Photo by Thomas Angermann on Flickr.

If these apply to you, then congratulations. It’s a sign that you’re bedding into life in Norway quite nicely by adopting eating habits, routines and traditions.  

Norwegian word of the day: Pålegg

Thinking in Norwegian 

This one may take longer to rear its head as its not something that’ll happen after a couple of weeks or months, but one day you’ll catch yourself thinking something along the lines of ‘Jeg må huske å kjøpe melk neste gang jeg er på butikken’- I need milk next time I go to the store. 

Or ‘Jeg må huske møtet mitt I banken neste uke‘- I need to remember my appointment with the bank next week. 

It might not seem significant but having the odd stray thought in Norwegian signifies that the language is coming more naturally to you. 

Appreciating the Norwegian approach to things

Now, this won’t apply to everything in Norway, namely bureaucracy, as we aren’t sure anyone can begin to enjoy that, but eventually, you’ll start appreciating the Norwegian approach to things. 

Dugnad springs to mind. For the uninitiated, dugnad is where people band together to do voluntary work for the good of the community.   

A sign you are becoming more in sync with the Norwegian state of mind will be when instead of seeing dugnad as a day full of unpaid labour and boring chores, you’ll relish it as an opportunity for the local community to come together to do something nice that everyone can benefit from. 

Other examples include making the most of the fantastic nature on your doorstep and getting out and active whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

Your home becomes more Norwegian 

Nordic interior design is world-famous, but it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Having two single duvets instead of one double on your bed is probably the best place to start. 

The reason for this, simply put, is because two single duvets is a much better system than fighting with your partner for the covers. 

That’s not all, but the humble cheese knife, or ostehøvel, will also become a kitchen essential if you’re getting used to life in Norway. We’re surprised that one of Norway’s most arguably genius inventions hasn’t taken off worldwide. 

We probably draw the line at cabin sweaters, though. 

You’ve made peace with how expensive everything is 

If you’ve never lived in Scandinavia before, the prices will take some getting used to. Even if you have lived in another Nordic country, Norwegian prices will still need a bit of adjusting to. 

Getting used to the prices in Norway is comparable to the seven stages of grief. First, there is denial. You’ll find yourself thinking, “This can’t possibly cost that much, can it?”. 

Then will come the pain. “Did I really just pay that much for a beer?” 

This is followed by bargaining, “Well, the price isn’t that bad because Scandinavian wages are quite generous.” 

Eventually, you will start working through the initial shock and start accepting it, and then one day, you’ll come to terms with the price of everything. After that, you’ll barely think about the cost of things or constantly make price comparisons in your mind of what items would cost in your home country. 

If it’s any consolation, high Norwegian wages will help cushion the blow. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
Paywall free


TELL US: What are the most Norwegian things in the world?

We want to hear readers views on what the most Norwegian words, phrases, things, places, foods and habits are.

Pictured is a woman in a bunad at the Norwegian Folk Museum.
Could Norway's traditional national costume be the most Norwegian thing in the world?. Pictured is a woman in a bunad at the Norwegian Folk Museum. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Have you ever seen, eaten, heard or done something and thought, “that’s so Norwegian”?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on what the most typically Norwegian things in the world are.

Let us know in the short survey below whether it’s brunost (brown cheese) or the trusty cheese knife you use to slice it or whether it’s something else entirely. 

The best answers may be used in a future article where we list the most Norwegian things in existence.

Thanks for taking part! Frazer at The Local.