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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

What changes about life in Norway in February 2022

Here are the main changes and events in Norway in February that you need to know about.

What changes about life in Norway in February 2022
What changes about life in Norway in February 2022. Oliver Morin/AFP

Covid rules to be relaxed?

The government has stated that it plans on relaxing national measures to protect the public from Covid-19 despite the growing number of infection cases. The newest national update is expected, but not confirmed, to happen Tuesday evening, February 1st. 

Recently, many national regulations have changed to recommendations including:

  • It is recommended to not have more than ten guests at a private party.
  • Sports and free time activities can continue with proper precautions in place.
  • Universities and higher education institutions should take measures to ensure more in-person learning.

In addition, quarantine rules have recently been relaxed. You can check here to for the latest guidelines on what to do if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. 

International travel in February 

The national rules may be relaxing. But if you plan on traveling from the first of February, take the necessary time needed to read up on the newest international travel rules. You should also check how long your corona pass is valid for your final destination.

From February 1st – When 270 days (just over nine months) have passed since dose two, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) warns that some countries may require a booster dose.

You can check here for more international travel regulations for traveling both in and out of Norway. 

Oslo’s night time metro closures

Parts of Oslo’s T-bane metro system will close during the evening for five days a week throughout much of February and March.

From Sunday, February 6th, metro traffic at some of Oslo’s busiest stations will stop during the evening for around seven weeks, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

The disruption will be split into two periods. The first round of night closures will begin on February 6th, when all metro traffic between Majorstuen and Stortinget (Norway’s parliament) will stop after 9pm.

The second round of disruption will last for more than four weeks, from February 27th until March 24th. During this second period of evening closures, trains will no longer run between Jernbanetorget and Brynseng after 9pm. This will apply to lines 1,2, 3 and 4. In addition, Tøyen, Ensjø and Helsfyr will also be closed when traveling on the affected lines.

On the days that nighttime closures apply, alternative transport will be arranged by having more trams. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Oslo’s nighttime metro closures in February

School holiday 

February is the month when many Norwegians choose to take a week free from work. This is because of school closures most commonly referred to as winter break. While all other holidays happen on the same date throughout all of Norway, winter break is special in that the days free from school happen on different weeks depending on where in the country you live. 

A good part of Norwegians schools close for vinterferie or “winter break” on week 8 (the 21st to the 25th of February) on the eastern and southern parts of Norway. Up north, schools are closed the week before on week 7 (14th to 18th). And over on the west side in Bergen and its surrounding municipalities, winter break happens during week 9 (Feb 28th – Mar 4th). 

Pre-pandemic, many Norwegians chose to travel abroad during this week. Although a good portion of them spend it  at their cabins or up in the mountains. One of the main reasons this school holiday is taken on different weeks is in an effort to reduce heavy traffic on mountain roads. Surely the deviation helps. Yet still,  you can expect traffic and a rise in accommodation prices in and surrounding popular winter break destinations throughout February.

A damper for the romantics

Valentine’s day (February 14th) lands on a Friday this year.

Traditionally, this is a recognized as a day of love, romance, and sweet gestures. But don’t feel bad if you don’t come home with flowers and chocolates to your loved one in Norway.

Yes, Valentine’s day is acknowledged in this country but really, there is no pressure for grand gestures of kjærlighet or “love” as Valentine’s day is like most others. You may however see some red hearts or banners placed in boutique windows. And you may find it more difficult to get reservations and certain restaurants. 

February is not without a celebration in Norway

If you have younger children, then it’s time to to start thinking about a costume. Norway has its very own tradition of the popular festival Carnival which is called Fastelavn.

Children in preschool usually dress up in costumes of their choice and have a Fastelavn party at their school. The celebration has Roman Catholic origins. But in modern day, many Norwegians choose to celebrate Fastelavn as a celebration for the soon arrival of Spring. 

This year, Fastelavn lands on Sunday, February 27th. Meaning children will likely dress up in school the Friday before or Monday after. Adults don’t usually dress up.

But they do wear looser fitting pants in preparation for Fastelavnsboller, This is a special type of bolle (an airy pastry) that is cut into two, filled with cream and jam, and then powdered with sugar on top. It’s a sugar lover’s dream! And even the healthiest of Norwegians will often make an exception and enjoy.

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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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