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Do Norwegians also complain about high prices, or is it only foreigners?

Robin-Ivan Capar
Robin-Ivan Capar - [email protected]
Do Norwegians also complain about high prices, or is it only foreigners?
It's always a good idea to approach cost of living discussions in a respectful manner, with a constructive and solution-oriented mindset. Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

It is no secret that the cost of living in Norway can be exceptionally high. Whilst it is an issue that mostly annoys foreigners, Norwegians can also be heard grumbling about high prices, explains Robin-Ivan Capar.


There is a widespread stereotype that foreigners often complain about the steep prices in Norway, which often annoys the locals. Is there any validity in this stereotype?

Well, to start off, prices in Norway are notoriously high (so they do warrant some discussion every now and then).

This is due to several reasons, including the fact that many goods in Norway are imported (think customs duties and transportation fees), very high average wages (meaning that businesses also have to pay their employees more), a progressive tax system and generous welfare benefits – to mention just a few.

EXPLAINED: Why food in Norway is so expensive

But is it fair to say that Norwegians are immune to complaining about the country's high cost of living and that foreigners are the ones who do the most complaining?

In the context of this article, when referring to "Norwegians," we are discussing a diverse group of individuals with varying backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Our intention is to explore general tendencies within the context of high prices in Norway, but it's important to recognise that Norwegians, like any other group of people, are not a monolithic entity.


Avoid the the trap of non-stop complaining

While it's entirely understandable that high prices in Norway can be a source of frustration, non-stop complaining about prices will likely annoy most people, regardless of whether they are Norwegians or non-Norwegians.

Be aware that such conversations can dampen the mood and make interactions and get-togethers less enjoyable for everyone involved.

You should ask the question - Do you really want to contribute to creating a negative atmosphere at work, with friends, or among family members?

Furthermore, complaining about a host country's prices, especially when living there by choice, may be viewed by the locals as being a little disrespectful.

So, while it's expected to complain about prices in any country every now and then – and especially during a cost of living crisis – try not to overdo it.

Yes, Norway is very expensive. You know it. Others know it. But do we need to restate the obvious all the time?

And remember Norway has much more to offer than high prices. Its natural beauty, quality of life, and numerous amenities are just some of the reasons why people choose to live and visit there.


Do Norwegians complain about high prices?

Let's bust this stereotype open right away - yes, Norwegians do complain about high prices, and cost of living issues aren't a concern just for foreigners.

While Norwegians are accustomed to their country's high cost of living, it doesn't mean they are immune to its impact on their daily lives.

READ MORE: Cost of living: How expensive is Norway compared to a year ago?

After living in the country for years, I have come across multiple reasons that tend to trigger price complaints among Norwegians.

One of the key triggers is a price surge for basic necessities (think food and electricity). Even though higher wages offset some of the costs, Norwegians still find that food, housing, and utilities can be expensive, leading to occasional grumbling.

But don't take my word for it – a quick look at topical Facebook groups should be enough to experience the frustration levels firsthand. For example, the group Vi som krever billigere strøm, which calls for cheaper electricity in Norway, has over 600,000 members at the time of writing.

You'll also hear some Norwegians complain about the prices after they return from holiday trips to other countries, where they often notice the significant price differences.

Disparities in prices across regions within Norway can also be a source of frustration when it comes to electricity and housing prices, and Norwegian students and young with lower incomes are often quite vocal about affordability when it comes to housing and education.


High prices are a legitimate talking point

It's important to remember that the cost of living is a vital issue for most people living in Norway, and both Norwegians and foreigners have valid reasons to discuss and address concerns related to rising costs.

The country's high prices are a legitimate talking point in the broader public debate because they touch on economic equity, social welfare, policy considerations, regional disparities, consumer protection, international comparisons, and much more.

These discussions are vital for fostering a society that values both economic stability and affordability.

However, it's a good idea to approach these discussions in a respectful manner, with a constructive and solution-oriented mindset.

READ MORE: Has inflation in Norway peaked?

After living in the country for years, I can say that the perception that only foreigners complain about high prices in Norway is a misconception.

While Norwegians may be more accustomed to the high prices and enjoy a higher standard of living due to their high wages and robust welfare system, don't expect them to stoically ignore galloping inflation.

While they may have adapted to their country's economic circumstances, they are often active and vocal participants in discussions about the cost of living.

High prices are a concern that transcends nationality and impacts anyone living in Norway. Therefore, the national debate on affordability and economic stability can only benefit from a diverse range of voices – as long as all participants voice their concerns in a civil and respectful manner.

What do you think? Share your own views about the subject of high prices in Norway in the comments section below.



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