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Nine ways to improve your life in Norway without even trying

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Nine ways to improve your life in Norway without even trying
Train journeys offer an excellent way of seeing some particular scenery, without having to exert yourself too much. Pictured is a train on the way to Flåm. Photo by Abbilyn Zavgorodniaia on Unsplash

Sometimes, it takes a few small tweaks rather than big sweeping changes to make life easier. With these tips, you can make a big difference to your quality of life in Norway.


There are so many things that make Norway an excellent place to call home, including the standard of living, abundance of spectacular scenery, and high salaries, among many other things.

However, moving to another country comes with plenty of bumps along the way, and it can be hard to settle at first, or even later on.

Luckily, regardless of whether you are new to the country or have been here a while, there are many things you can do to improve life in Norway without having to reinvent the wheel.

Embrace the food…

Norway may not be blessed with the same internationally revered cuisine as France or Italy, but learning to love the food can help you feel a lot more at home.

You can do this without having to go anywhere near fermented fish or a sheep's head, we promise.

Instead, start small, find your local favourites and learn to enjoy them. For example, a hot dog from a convenience store can become a guilty pleasure on a Monday night, fish burgers could become a mid-week staple, and kjøttkaker could become a firm favourite when you're craving some comfort food.

And, of course, this extends to the local confectionary. We are firm believers that the chocolate here trumps anything found back in the UK.

…and the eating habits

Welcoming new eating habits with open arms will help you feel more settled and offer an excellent opportunity to strike up conversations and get to know people better.

Firstly, there's taco fredag (taco Friday). Let's not question why Norwegians eat Mexican food on Fridays or why they use tortillas instead of taco shells. Instead, let's breathe a collective sigh of relief that rakfisk fredag (salted and fermented fish Friday) doesn't exist.

If you're finding it a bit tricky to make friends, inviting people over for taco fredag might be a reasonably easy place to start, and you won't need to be a whizz in the kitchen to impress your guests either.

If Mexican food isn't your thing or doesn't feel Norwegian enough, then you could perhaps make a Norwegian style breakfast with eggs, pålegg (toppings) and bread. One way of sparking up a lively debate would be to ask friends or colleagues what the best pålegg is.


Buy an Ostehøvel 

The Swiss have army knives, and Norwegians have their trusty cheese knives. This is an essential piece of equipment for any Norwegian kitchen and one you'll likely bemoan not having if you choose to move away.

The cheese knife is a nifty little invention that lets you cut nice thin, uniform slices of cheese. If you want to make life that much easier, we'd recommend opting for a plastic one, although they don't look as nice.

Seriously, if you are reading this, live in Norway and don't own one already, go out and buy one.


See the sights (while sitting down) 

Norway is home to some spectacular scenery, and to see some of the very best you don't need to go on a 12-hour hike.

Instead, you can see some of the best sights you have to offer while sitting down. This can come in the form of a road trip that takes you down the Trollstigen or along the Atlantic Road, or by hopping on the train and taking either the Bergen line or the Flåm Railway.

These more laid-back methods for seeing some of what Norway have to offer will help you fall in love with the country without having to stress about blisters, midges or whether it might rain or not.

Stay informed (with The Local, hopefully) 

Since you're currently reading The Local, chances are more than likely that you already stay up to date with what's going on. But keeping on top of current affairs over your morning coffee or daily commute is the best way to feel more integrated into Norwegian society and learn more about what makes the country tick.

Spend time outdoors 

Norwegians live and breathe for the great outdoors, and it's no wonder. We all, of course, are aware of the fact that Norway boasts terrific scenery. However, you might not have known that spending two hours a week in nature is associated with better health and well-being.

Luckily, you don't have to put too much effort into this in Norway either. There are plenty of forests, fells, and footpaths to roam. It doesn't matter where you live either.

For example, if you live in the country's largest city, Oslo, all you have to do is hop on the T-bane to Songsvann, and you'll be greeted by a stunning lake and plenty of footpaths to get your steps in.


Adopt the two-duvet system

This will make your house feel a bit more Nordic. It also comes with some added benefits. For couples who want to get the best night's sleep possible, experts recommend separate duvets.

This is because most sleep disturbance comes from being at an uncomfortable temperature or having a shared duvet pulled away from you.

Get to know the neighbours

This is especially important if you are living in a housing block. But getting to know the neighbours will improve your life in a few different small ways.

Firstly, most neighbourhoods or apartment blocks will have a community group or page online. Residents can warn one another of construction noise, when waste is being collected and other useful information. In addition, many of these groups will have announcements for events such as dugnads, activities the whole block or neighbourhood is invited to, or sweepstakes and predictions for big events such as Eurovision.

Getting to know your neighbours will help make you feel an active part of the community. 

Learn to love winter 

Winter is at the bottom of many people's list of favourite seasons. But the colder months are an opportunity to experience some of the best things about life in Norway.

Winter offers an opportunity to stay active and get involved with winter sports, see the northern lights or book a cabin trip for an idyllic and relaxing short stay. 

READ ALSO: Five things you need to learn to love about winter in Norway


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