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READER QUESTION: Why do Norwegians rate things out of six? 

If you see a film, restaurant or album given a six in Norway, it's been met with the highest possible accolades rather than middling reviews. So, where does this unique ranking system come from? 

Pictured are dice.
Why do Norwegians use dice to rate films, TV shows or books? Pictured are dice.Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Question: Why do Norwegians use a dice roll to rate things? 

This is an excellent question that even those who have lived in Norway will often ask themselves. 

Many have been left scratching their heads after hearing someone wax lyrical about something, only for them to say it deserves a score of six. 

For many foreigners, it may not make sense that films like Verdens verste menneske (The worst person in the world) received a score of six, despite being such a critical darling worldwide. 

Six for many represents a respectable score, but it’s the highest accolade possible for films and the like in Norway.

Also, grades in Norway are ranked from one to six, with the highest-grade students can aim to achieve being a six, showing just how strongly the number six is associated with excellent achievements. However, the origins of the two systems appear to be unrelated to one another. 

How does the system work

The reason why six is the highest score awarded for media, restaurants and cultural performances is that Norway uses the teringkast or dice roll system to rate things. 

When using dice, six is the highest number you can roll. Many film posters, book covers, and product advertisements proudly display their favourable “dice scores”. The score is usually displayed as red dice with white pips representing the product’s score out of six. 

Therefore, it is more common to hear things ranked out of six rather than five or ten, as there are no commonly used dice with this many sides. Some publications will award scores of one or seven to heap heavy praise or criticism on something. 

Furthermore, as much as parts of Norway’s wilderness can feel like a fantasy world, Dungeons and Dragons has yet to hit the mainstream in a way that means a D20 is adopted as the new universal scoring system. 

And (don’t let any Norwegians hear this), when scores are displayed on products on a dice, see the example for Verdens verste mennesk below, the system kind of makes sense. 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Verdens Verste Menneske (@verdensverstemenneske)

Where does the system come from? 

The system is over 70 years old, first appearing on March 31st 1952, in an issue of Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG). 

Film critic Arne Skouen introduced the format as he wanted to summarise a film’s quality in a short and concise manner. To do this, he devised a system of displaying the film’s score on dice so readers could easily see whether the movie would be worth their time. 

While this system is certainly easy to digest for readers, it is perhaps strange that it has caught on, given Norway’s conservative attitudes to gambling. 

These days, the system has been adopted by most online publications and newspapers for reviews. 

Such is the popularity of this system, it has even been extended to rank the performance of political leaders during debates.

Dice rolls for scores are especially Norwegian, rather than a quirk unique to Scandinavia. The system is rarely, if at all, found in neighbours Sweden and Denmark. 

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MONEY

READER QUESTION: Is it better for tourists to use cash or card in Norway?

For many heading to the bureau de change and getting their money exchanged into a foreign currency is a holiday tradition. However, as card is king in Norway, is cash necessary, and are there any better alternatives? 

READER QUESTION: Is it better for tourists to use cash or card in Norway?

Question: I am travelling to Norway soon, should I exchange cash for the trip and do many places accept it? 

Getting your money transferred into the local currency is usually up there with packing and taking out insurance when most people prepare for a trip away. 

However, nobody wants to be lumbered with unspent foreign currency, nor do they want to lose out when they exchange it back into local money when they return home. 

So, when travelling to Norway, do tourists need to have their money exchanged for Norwegian kroner? 

Well, it’s up to what you feel comfortable with, but if you prefer to pay with cash, then you may actually have trouble getting rid of it. 

This isn’t because Norway doesn’t live up to its reputation as one of the most expensive European countries, but because physical money is becoming far less common. Many shops and restaurants may refuse to accept it- even if it is legal tender. 

Additionally, very few shops accept foreign currency such as euros and dollars, so you’ll have an even harder time trying to get rid of that than you would the local currency. 

Norway’s government itself wants to try and reverse the decline of cash to try by attempting to solidify customers’ rights to pay with cash in Norway

In short, Norway’s government has submitted a proposal that means all shops, restaurants and service providers in Norway, excluding pop-up shops, food trucks and the like, will need to accept cash. 

But, the bad news for those who prefer to use cash on trips abroad is that the proposal will probably not enter law until 2023 at the earliest- and that’s if the rule change is given the green light to go ahead. 

On the other hand, cards are accepted everywhere in Norway, from the large cities and tourist hubs to remote mountain villages.

Many will be eager to point out that using a card has drawbacks. The biggest of these is that many banks will offer less than competitive exchange rates and charge fees on every card purchase you make while abroad. 

Foreign transaction fees can range from 1-5 percent, which can soon add up if you are spending a long time in Norway or spend quite a bit of money. 

Another drawback to using the plastic square abroad is that while Visa and Mastercard are accepted pretty much everywhere, not everywhere will take American Express. 

There may be a better option

Although, there may be an alternative that offers the best of both worlds. 

These days, many cards are available that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. This means you won’t get lumbered with cash you can’t spend, nor will you have to stump up for using your cards abroad. 

Furthermore, many of these cards will not charge any fees for using foreign ATMs, meaning that if you need cash in a pinch, you can always draw some out. 

As well as getting out of being lumbered with any foreign fees, you can transfer the amount of money you wish to spend into an account with no foreign fees. This also helps you budget and prevent overspending while on a trip to Norway. 

If you are reading this before heading on holiday and are worried that your card with no foreign charges won’t arrive on time, you can typically link the account to your Apple Pay or Google Pay before the card comes and you activate it. 

For an overview of where you can set up a bank account with zero transaction fees in the UK, click here. For other countries, click here. If you can’t find an option for your own country with the links provided, you will need to search for accounts with the option for zero transaction fees online instead. 

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