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Moving to Norway: How much money do I need to live in Bergen?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 23 Oct, 2022 Updated Sun 23 Oct 2022 09:20 CEST
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Here's how much money you'll need to live in Bergen. Pictured are the streets of Norway's second city. Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash

Bergen, the picturesque city on Norway’s west coast, is an excellent place to call home. But how much money will you need to live comfortably there? The Local takes a look at the numbers. 

Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, is famous for its picturesque UNESCO-listed harbour, and the city attracts tourists in their droves, charmed by the typically Norwegian architecture in the town. 

Bergen is also a popular landing spot for foreigners in Norway, with many calling Norway’s second city home due to work, studying there or falling in love with the place on a trip. 

However, Norway is a seriously expensive place to call home. So, how much money will you need to call Bergen home? 

Below we’ll crunch the numbers on the most essential costs. 

Rent: 8,400- 10,500 kroner

One thing that makes Bergen a much more attractive proposition than Oslo is the lower cost of renting. 

Although, it’s still one of the most expensive places in Norway to rent, and the cost of renting has increased by approximately 6.6 percent over the past year. This could be set to reverse or slow down. In the second quarter, prices dropped 3.1 percent, according to figures from Real Estate Norway. 

Depending on the size of the place you want, you’ll expect to pay between 8,400 and 10,487 kroner per month in rent for your own apartment, according to figures from rental platform Hybel. If you want more space, you can expect to pay upwards of 12,000 kroner for a place with three rooms. 

Figures from Finn-no, Norway’s most popular website for property listings, show that in July 2022, the average monthly cost of an apartment was around 13,500 kroner in Bergen. This number is based on an average of all listings in Bergen on the site, so it is influenced by the most expensive, largest and centrally located properties. 

For those who don’t need as much space, a room in a flat or house share will set you back around 5,236 kroner a month.  

Utilities: 1,000- 2,500 kroner

This can be hard to set a definite price on, given that the country is currently experiencing high and fluctuating energy costs. 

In September 2022, the cost of energy in Bergen was, on average, 4.48 kroner per kWh, including grid rent. However, the government covered around 3.6 kroner of that price in subsidised bills. 

Since then, the proportion the government covers has increased to 90 percent when the spot price is above 70 øre per kWh. 

Additionally, bills will become more expensive through the winter as temperatures drop and consumers use more power. 

Figures show the average monthly consumption for an apartment ranges from 300-500 kWh a month. Bigger homes will typically need more energy to power them. 

Estimates from a comparison site show that quotes for a monthly energy bill in Bergen range from 1,100 kroner for a small apartment with an annual consumption of 4,500 kWh to 2,100 for a larger apartment with an annual consumption of 6,000 kWh per month. Much larger homes, such as a detached home with a consumption of 16,000 kWh can expect to pay an eye-watering 5,000 kroner plus. 

When renting in Norway, the landlord may cover the water and Wi-Fi bills. If they do not, then you can add another 500 kroner to the price of utilities.

Transport: up to 755 kroner

Compact would be one way to describe Bergen’s city centre. However, some more residential areas may be too far for some to walk. 

Transport in the city, both busses and the Bergen Light Rail, is handled by Skyss. A single ticket from Skyss for an adult costs 40 kroner, or more onboard. 

A monthly ticket costs 755 kroner, while a weekly one will set you back 235 kroner. A monthly ticket works out cheaper if you make more than 19 single trips in a month. 

Food: 3,690 kroner 

Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) estimates that the average cost of food for someone aged between 31- 50 was up to 3,690 kroner per month. 

Eurostat, which monitors price levels across the EU, EEA and EU candidate countries, has ranked Norway with the second highest price level index for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

According to Eurostat’s data and price level index, prices in Norway were 49 percent higher than the EU average in 2021

However, Norwegians actually spend less money on food than other European households. Food and non-alcoholic beverages accounted for 11.3 percent of households’ total spending in 2022, according to Statistics Norway. The average across the EU was 13 percent. 

Depending on your habits and diet, you can cut down your food shop significantly. Additionally, making the most of apps, loyalty schemes, and The Local’s money-saving tips can help with this.

READ MORE: Five essential tips for saving money on food shopping in Norway

Childcare: 3,170 kroner

Roughly 90 percent of children living in Norway attend a kindergarten. The maximum price for a kindergarten spot in Norway is 3,050 kroner per month. This applies to both municipal and private kindergartens. However, other fees and costs are typically involved too. 

According to national data agency Statistics Norway (SSB) the average cost of childcare in Bergen was 3,170 kroner. 

You can shop around to find cheaper kindergartens or one that more suits your need. 

READ MORE: Everything parents in Norway need to know about preschool

It’s unlikely that you’ll want to be sat all week indoors after moving to a new city, so you’ll obviously want to know how much you can expect to shell out for one of the country’s infamously expensive beers while out:

Beer: 99-125 kroner 

Glass of wine: 105-115 kroner

Cocktail: 120-140 kroner

Coffee: 48 kroner 

Cinema: 140- 180 kroner 

Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: 700-900 kroner

A cinnamon bun or hot dog: 50-65 kroner

Gym membership: 450-750 kroner

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Frazer Norwell 2022/10/23 09:20

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