Norwegian habits For Members

Shoes, sandwiches and small talk: The habits you pick up living in Norway

Frazer Norwell
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Shoes, sandwiches and small talk: The habits you pick up living in Norway
These are the Norwegian habits you will pick up after living in the country. Pictured is a person hiking in Norway. Photo by Lukas Seitz on Unsplash

Whether it's by a conscious effort to fit in or you catch yourself doing it instinctively one day, you'll pick up several Norwegian habits that'll govern what you wear, your social interactions and what you eat.


Sooner or later, your surroundings influence you, whether it's your perception of things or how you behave or see yourself. 

However, you won't have to start seeing yourself as a true Norwegian before you start inadvertently picking up a few Norwegian habits. 

You may have even begun to form some of these habits from day one after being clued in on some of the country's social norms. Nevertheless, here are six Norwegian habits you will probably pick up living in Norway. 

Function over fashion 

This habit will be formed out of necessity and practicality. You will probably need to change up your wardrobe due to the weather in Norway- mild summers and freezing winters - and the emphasis on spending time outdoors and in nature. 

Learning how to layer and investing in wool will be two essential changes you'll make to how you dress. If you live on Norway's west coast (Bergen is considered one of the rainiest cities in the world), you'll need to invest in a good raincoat too. 

Slippery pavements and streets in the winter will also likely tweak your choice of footwear during the colder months.


READ ALSO: Six tips on how to dress like a Norwegian

Shoes off 

On clothing, you'll habitually take your shoes off whenever you enter somebodies home. This is especially important in Norway in the winter. Due to the snow and ice, you don't want to leave your floors soaked after walking around with shoes on. 

Shoes with deep treads will also walk tiny bits of stone, grit and sand into the home. These little bits of debris can scratch up floors and ruin carpets in no time. 

Cutting down on small talk 

Many countries and cultures see chitchat as a form of politeness and a fun part of everyday life. However, in Norway, the opposite is true. Instead, saving the small talk and savouring the silence is seen as more polite. 

Norwegians emphasise respecting one another's privacy, which is why many refrain from small talk or at least keep personal questions to a minimum, which is seen as respecting one's privacy. 

For those from places where small talk is more common, this may make Norwegians seem cold and aloof. But it's worth remembering that the locals refrain from small talk with good intentions. 

After some cultural adaptation, most will typically switch up their social routine to make small talk more appropriate (in the eyes of Norwegians) or take silence as golden.

READ ALSO: When can you talk to a stranger in Norway without annoying them?

Eating earlier 

This habit may not change immediately or for many years, but eventually, time (an earlier dinner time) will catch up with you. 

For most people, this happens when they have kids. This is because children in Norway are typically signed up for all kinds of clubs, events and activities in the evenings. This means getting in an early dinner before sending them off for their hobbies, classes, and training is preferable to feeding them at 8pm. 

Many people in Norway will finish work between 3pm and 5pm, making an early dinner fairly possible.


If it isn't dinner at 5pm that you'll pick up, your colleagues at work may rub off on you, and you'll begin having 'lunsj' at 11am instead. 


Translated to the outdoors life, is friluftsliv. This is a cornerstone of Norwegian culture. Everyone will figure out their way of getting outdoors and enjoying nature. 

This doesn't mean massive cross-country ski trips, scrambling up and down mountains or throwing yourself down a slope on two planks of wood.

It could just mean a slow winding walk on a Sunday (Søndags tur), enjoying a hammock trip in the summer, or just generally getting out and about. 

Depending on how well you adapt ad adjust to Norway will depend on how you embrace the outdoor lifestyle when the weather is less than stellar. 

As Norwegians say, "there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes).  

Sandwiches are a serious business (and other Norwegian cuisine habits) 

Not only will Norway change when you eat, but it will also influence what you eat. Norwegians enjoy a sandwich topped with their pålegg (topping or spread of choice). In fact, it can end up being three of their four daily meals if they opt for a kveldsmat (evening snack-sized meal). 

These are the lunch of choice of Norwegians up and down the country, and if you construct a sandwich which goes beyond what is typical (by Norwegian standards), you can expect to be subject to intense scrutiny. 

Other changes to your diet will include the adoption of texmex tacos and frozen pizzas to varying degrees and saving alcohol and sweets until the weekend. 

READ ALSO: Five Norwegian food mistakes you only make once


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