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WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

UPDATE: What changes about life in Norway in March

Norway’s biggest counties being dissolved and loans and mortgages becoming more expensive are among the changes you need to know about in March.

Gjerstad, southern Norway.
Interest rates are set to increase and some of Norway's largest counties are set to dissolve. Pictured is Gjerstad, Norway. Photo by Kenneth Mark on Unsplash

Deadlines for counties to apply to be dissolved

March 1st marks the deadline for local authorities to apply to the government to dissolve their counties.

Several counties have already decided to disband into smaller, historic counties.

Viken County, Norway’s largest, and Vestfold og Telemark are two counties that will be applying to the government to be broken up. Troms og Finnmark has also voted to split up.

Innlandet, however, has voted against dissolving. The counties were only merged a few years ago. The government hopes that by dissolving counties, services for people in these areas can be decentralised.

The government will be covering the cost of dissolving the counties.

Spring wage negotiations 

In March, the wage settlement negotiations will begin between various employer organisations and unions.

Fellesforbundet, the largest private-sector union, will present its demands on March 9th.

Unions this year are saying they will be asking for strong wage growth in the face of rising inflation and cost of living costs.

READ ALSO: What foreign residents in Norway should know about workers’ unions

Employer organisations have said the exact costs impacting workers spending powers are also hitting businesses hard.

If agreements cannot be reached between the two, then it could lead to workers being taken out on strike.

Fines for being caught using your mobile while driving go up

The cost of a fine for being caught using your mobile has been increased from 5,000 kroner to 7,450 kroner and three points on your licence.

The penalty rate for being caught on your phone has now been increased for the second time in just over a year. At the beginning of 2021, the fine was increased from 1,700 to 5,000 kroner plus three points.

If you accumulate more than eight points in three years, your licence will be taken away for six months.

World Cup and World Championships come to Norway

No, not that world cup. However, for many Norwegians, this will be the world cup they will be following the closest this year.

Norway will host downhill and super-g events at Kvitfjell and the Ski Jumping World Championships at Vikersund.

Norwegian crowds should be in festive spirits, given the country’s dominant displays at the recent winter Olympics.

Interest rates will be raised

Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, will likely raise the key interest rate in March. The rate will be increased to around 0.75 percent.

The bank will be aiming to raise rates to 1.75 percent by 2024, following record lows of 0 percent due to the pandemic.

Banks will likely increase their rates on the back of the announcement, making loans and mortgages more expensive to repay.

Higher education deadlines

There are several deadlines those looking to study in Norway should be aware of in March.

Applications for the Norwegian Police Academy and aviation at the Norwegian Arctic University close on March 1st. March 15th will make the deadline for student loans and scholarships for those beginning education in the spring semester.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about studying in Norway

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN NORWAY

Everything that changes about life in Norway in May 2022

The first 'normal' Consitution Day celebrations for three years, more child-friendly train travel, and it becoming more expensive to buy an electric car are among the things you need to know about in May. 

Everything that changes about life in Norway in May 2022

First ‘normal’ May 17th celebrations for three years

For the first time in three years, Norway will have typical May 17th, or Constitution Day, celebrations. This comes after previous celebrations have been curtailed and cancelled due to the pandemic. 

This is a must-do activity if you’ve not been a part of non-pandemic disrupted celebrations in Norway. 

Kids and marching bands will participate in parades, and large swathes of the population will be adorned in their national costumes. 

The typical May 17th celebration day begins with a champagne breakfast followed by watching a parade and gatherings with friends and families. 

May 17th isn’t the only important occasion either… 

You should have a couple of other days in your calendar if you don’t already. First up, right at the beginning of the month, is Labour Day. 

May 1st is used to celebrate regular workers worldwide, and Norway is no different. Marching bands mark the day in Norway. 

Then exactly a week later, Norway will mark the day it was liberated during World War Two. If you want to learn more about Norway’s resistance during the German occupation, it may be worth paying a visit to the Resistance Museum in Akershus Fortress. 

The charge for buying an electric car will go up 

From the beginning of the month, it’ll become more expensive to purchase a used electric car. From May 1st, there’ll be a re-registration fee of up to 1,670 kroner to be paid when EVs change hands. 

The fee will be paid online via a digital self-service system. The rate for electric cars is still at a 75 percent discount compared to the maximum rate for petrol. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about owning an electric car in Norway

Renovated children’s carriages on train lines

From May 1st, train operator SJ will open renovated playrooms on its trains on the Nordlandsbannen and Dovrebanen. 

The carriages will have books, a model railway, toys, TV screens and a café which serves snacks and drinks. 

The Dovre line runs between Trondheim and Oslo and the Norrland line between Trondheim and Bodø. 

Tax returns for the self-employed

The deadline for business owners to submit their tax returns is May 31st. This applies to sole proprietorships (Enkeltpersonforetak/EK) and companies (Selskap/AS). 

You can read about the process of doing tax returns for both here.

READ MORE: The key Norwegian tax season dates you need to know about

Loan and mortgage repayments go up 

Norway’s central bank, Norges Bank, announced an interest rate hike at the end of March. As a result, existing customers of several banks can expect their repayments to go up from May. 

DNB will hike rates by 025 percent from May 13th. Nordea will up rates by the same amount from May 29th. 

Sparebank 1 Nord-Norge will also up interest rates on May 6th. 

May 11th will see Sparebanken Sør raise rates. 

Winter sports season gives way to hiking season 

May, weather dependent, is an excellent time for more active types to head to Norway’s national parks and trek across some of the country’s best trails before the summer holidays start and crowds arrive in their masses.

If you prefer life at a more relaxed pace, then spring also makes an excellent time for walks in the forest or parks.

Plan a fjord trip if you haven’t already

The country’s famous for its fjords and waterfalls, which are a sight to behold at all times of the year. Spring is the best time of year to see the country’s fjords and waterfalls.

May is the best time to see Norway’s waterfalls as the snow melts away and cascades down mountains. The month of May is also the best time to plan a trip to see Norway’s fjords.

This is because, in southwest Norway, thousands of fruit trees will bloom along the fjords, giving the surroundings a fresh spring look.

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