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Five things that make Norway a great place to raise a family

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Five things that make Norway a great place to raise a family
Norway is considered a great place to start and raise a family. Here's why. Photo by Georgy Trofimov on Unsplash

From a robust social safety net to generous family-friendly policies, there are many reasons why Norway is an excellent place for families.

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While many people move to Norway to pursue career opportunities – given the country's strong labour laws and high salaries – the country is also broadly considered a great place to start and raise a family.

Of course, when considering whether to move to a new country to start a family – or just start a family if you're already abroad – it is crucial to evaluate your circumstances carefully.

What are your job prospects in Norway? Do you have any social support networks in the country? Will you successfully adapt to a different culture? You'll need to find the answer to these – and many more – questions on your own.

However, once you assess these individual aspects, given you're still up for bringing up your family in a foreign country, you should seriously consider Norway.

How Norway supports parents through family-friendly policies

First things first. As a society and a country, Norway places notable emphasis on supporting young families.

Take, for example, parental leave. Parents in Norway are entitled to 12 months leave in connection with a birth. As the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority explains on its website, these 12 months include the mother's entitlement to up to 12 weeks leave during the pregnancy and six weeks' leave which can only be taken by the mother after the birth.

Pair this with accessible childcare options (parents in Norway spend an average of 3,106 kroner per month on pre-school/kindergarten, which includes free places, food fees, and other additional fees) and relatively flexible work arrangements (as an employed or self-employed parent, you have the right to stay at home with your sick child and take time off work for a set number of days in a year), and you'll understand why parents in Norway are set to strike a great balance between work and family life.

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Norway's famous social safety net

If you ask people what Norway is best known for, you'll likely get a wide range of responses. Some will point to its majestic fjords, and others will single out the country's oil industry, while some people will mention its Viking past.

Norway's strong social welfare system – often called its social safety net – also figures prominently in such discussions – and with good reason.

READ MORE: What are the rules for foreigners accessing welfare in Norway

Families in Norway receive a set of benefits, such as child allowance, healthcare coverage, and subsidised housing, to mention just a few. All of these social mechanisms contribute to a higher overall quality of life and increased safety.

The support system also includes robust measures aimed at those who experience issues in the workplace, such as getting laid off or fired.

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A safe country with low crime rates

Naturally, parents highly value the overall safety of a country. After all, they want their children to be in a position where they will be able to grow and thrive with minimal exposure to crime and violence.

As a country with low crime rates, and particularly rare instances of serious crime, Norway is widely seen as a safe environment to raise children.

This means that, generally speaking, you will be able to keep peace of mind and feel a sense of security in your day-to-day life as a parent in Norway, especially once your children come of school age.

Furthermore, children thrive in an environment where they can play outdoors and walk around their hometown without fear or danger, which makes Norway's low crime rates and emphasis on community safety significant advantages for any parent considering starting a family in the country.

Kayaking

If you're feeling adventurous, kayaking is a great way to explore Norway's fjords. Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

An outdoors like no other

Outdoor activities play a big part in family life in Norway, allowing different generations to connect while they explore the country's fantastic landscapes, hike its mountains, or ski down its famed slopes.

If you're keen on creating a healthy and active lifestyle for your family, you will find an abundance of options to do so in Norway.

READ MORE: Key things to know about moving to Norway to be with family

From hiking the mountains of Bergen and biking along various scenic routes to camping in Norway's national parks like Jotunheimen and exploring the stunning fjords such as Geirangerfjord and Sognefjord, you'll almost be spoiled by the opportunities you and your family will have to immerse yourselves in the Norwegian wilderness.

If you're a winter sports enthusiast, know that Norway's winter season is internationally known for its skiing, snowboarding, and sledging, and a number of Norway's ski resorts are very family-friendly.

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A rich cultural scene in the major cities

Families can enjoy an excellent cultural and social scene in Norway, with many festivals, concerts, and community events taking place in the country year-round.

Furthermore, the country's rich cultural heritage allows you to visit a number of galleries and museums that even young kids will find fascinating (Bergen's Natural History Museum is a great example of this).

Norway also has a strong social scene that fosters a sense of community. Norwegians often engage in social activities together, which is widely seen as key to maintaining social connections.

One of the best examples of this can be found in "dugnad," a type of voluntary community work that tends to occur once a year and involves neighbours joining forces to fix up common areas in the neighbourhood.

Communities in Norway also come together for a number of celebrations, such as the country's Constitution Day festivities on May 17th, which are deeply rooted in society as lubricants promoting community, inclusivity, and a sense of love of country.

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