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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Norway in November 2021

November in Norway will usher in the beginning of the ski season, the opening of ice rinks, and potentially significant changes to the proposed state budget for 2022.

EXPLAINED: What changes about life in Norway in November 2021
The ski season commencing is among the things happening in Norway such as potential amendments to the budget. Pictured is a set of skis atop a mountain in Northern Norway.Photo by Knut Bakke on Unsplash

Amended state budget for 2022 

Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre will have until November 10th to submit any amendments to the state budget that his new government wishes to make. 

The outgoing government presented the initial proposed budget in the first half of October, and among the key changes are petrol price hikes, changes to wealth tax and more taxes on new cars. 

The current government is a minority one and has floated the idea of seeking parliamentary support for any amendments from the Socialist Left Party to help get changes to the bill pushed through the Storting. 

READ MORE: How Norway’s proposed state budget for 2022 could affect your finances

Winter sports season begins 

For those who love nothing more than a day on the slopes, then the year will only just begin in November when resorts up and down Norway open up to skiers and snowboarders. 

This season should be a return to normal business for those visiting resorts across Norway, especially compared to the past two pandemic disrupted seasons. 

Fully vaccinated can travel to US

Fully vaccinated travellers from Europe will be able to travel to the United States from November 8th if they undergo testing and contact tracing. 

US nationals living in Europe and their close family members were able to travel home across the Atlantic despite the outgoing ban, but the strict rules caused difficulty for many.

READ ALSO: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th

Winter tyre season 

Motorists in the south will be expected to have made the switch to their winter treads by November 1st if they haven’t already. 

The season for winter treads began on October 16th in the north due to the chillier climate and snow settling sooner. 

In some more remote parts of the country with lots of snowfall and not much road maintenance coverage, you can opt to use studded tyres for more traction.

While changing your tyres may seem like a tedious chore, it could save you a small fortune as you can be charged up to 750 kroner per tyre if they aren’t up to scratch. 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about winter tyres in Norway

Extra housing support for households struggling to pay for electricity

The government will provide almost 3,000 kroner in additional housing support for those hit hard by rising energy expenses.

The support will come in the form of an extra payment in November to help low-income households cope with the costs. 

Around four out of five housing benefit recipients will receive the payments. This equates to approximately 66,000 households. 

Ice rinks open 

From the turn of the month, ice rinks in Norway will begin to open, so best start digging out your skates so you can practice your pirouettes. 

Valle Hovin in Oslo will open from the beginning of the month. For those who might be new to Norway, most ice rinks in the country are free to use with reasonable rental prices, making it a budget-friendly activity to get in the mood for the coming winter. 

Travel rule changes (potentially)  

We will qualify this as being speculative, but November could see changes to Norway’s travel rules. 

The country could decide to take the next step in its plan to open the country for restriction-free travel. That plan was unveiled in September, when it was announced that all restrictions on who could enter the country would be dropped for those within the EEA (EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). 

However, it has yet to announce when it will loosen the rules for those outside the EEA, and the new government hasn’t said much of anything on the topic. 

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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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