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Six things foreigners should expect if they live in Oslo

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 11 Nov, 2022 Updated Fri 11 Nov 2022 13:05 CEST
Six things foreigners should expect if they live in Oslo
When moving to Oslo there may be a few things that you will need to get used to. Pictured is Oslo city centre from above. Photo by Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

Norway's capital is a fantastic place to call home, but there are a few things about living in the city that you'll only understand after living there. Here are some of the things to expect if you move to Oslo. 



Unfortunately, Oslo fully lives up to its reputation as an incredibly expensive city. While it doesn't quite stretch to the horror stories of beers costing 15 euros, it will nonetheless be a costly place to call home. 

Rent in the capital is the most expensive in Norway. A 2-room apartment costs an average of 14,791 kroner a month in Oslo. It's not just rent either. A monthly public transport ticket (814 kroner) is among the most expensive in the world, according to figures from Business Insider

You may also have to get used to cutting back on eating out too, as a meal for two with drinks can easily cost up to 1,200 kroner. However, several food halls like Matahllen, Oslo Street Food and Vippa serve excellent food at more reasonable prices. 

READ ALSO: The downsides of Oslo you should be aware of before moving there 


You may have to get used to using a laundry room

Laundry rooms are incredibly common in Norway. While some newer and more up-market blocks may boast underground parking or a gym, many instead have a humble laundry room. 

The system may seem weird at first, but soon enough, you'll get used to it. As you may have guessed, the laundry room is an area with machines, dryers and drying racks where those living in the block can clean and dry their clothes. 

While you may have a small washing machine dryer combo in your apartment, using the laundry room might be easier as you'll get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time. 

This also means taking a crash course in laundry room etiquette and procedures. If your current cycle might cut into someone else's time, you should always ask if it's okay, and in return, you can expect neighbours knocking on your door asking if they can borrow a machine for an hour. 

There are plenty of jobs for English speakers, but it isn't as easy as you think

Being the capital, Oslo is home to plenty of international companies with English as the primary working language.

This means getting a job in most sectors with English as the primary language is possible. However, it may not be as straightforward as you think. 

While there are plenty of jobs with English as the primary language, the Norwegians you will be applying against also have excellent English language skills. 

Furthermore, not having Norwegian will probably limit your career opportunities in the long run. 


On a more positive note, learning Norwegian will help you feel more integrated and at home in Norway. 

Winters can be a struggle

Winter in Oslo can be a struggle for some. The snow and ice on pavements can take on a grey tone from all the dust and pollution that is kicked up, making the usually clean streets feel dirty. 

Then the cold weather and short days can also put a dampener on your mood. This is in stark contrast to the long mild summer days. 

While it may seem bleak, it doesn't have to be. If you get a clear blue sky on a January or February afternoon, then most of the city will look stunning. In addition, there are plenty of opportunities for cross-country skiing in Oslo, too- so you can still stay active and get out into nature. 


Don't be shocked to see people with skis on public transport

As we've mentioned, there are plenty of opportunities to get out into the great outdoors when you live in Oslo. This applies all year round. Therefore, it shouldn't shock you when you see people on buses, trams, and the metro decked out in ski gear, carrying around their equipment. 

When summer comes, you can expect huge rucksacks, camping gear and people decked out in hiking gear rather than the trendy get-ups you'd associate with a Scandinavian capital. 

This strange but common sight is a testament to Oslo's excellent public transport network. 

It may be hard to make new friends

Moving to a strange city and establishing a new network is one of the more challenging aspects of upping sticks. Unluckily, Oslo's residents have earned themselves a reputation for unfriendliness. 

While Oslo's residents are not outwardly rude, they aren't keen on small talk and are more on the reserved side. 

This doesn't mean it will be impossible to make friends with the locals, but it may be trickier than in other places. The best way to get around this is just diving in the deep end and joining clubs, groups and activities.

From there, you should manage to meet some people with similar interests that you click with. 


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