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Everything that changes in Norway in 2024

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Norway in 2024
Here are all the key changes happening in Norway in 2024 that you need to know about. Pictured is a valley in NorwayPhoto by Stock Birken on Unsplash

Norway's counties being split up, cheaper child care, more expensive alcohol and internet shopping, interest rates, the Norwegian krone and changes to how travel in and out of Norway will work are among the things to be aware of next year.

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New counties 

Significant changes will be made to Norway's local authorities starting January 1st, 2024. Firstly, Troms and Finnmark will be divided into separate counties. After the change, three local authorities will be running northern Norway rather than two. 

Viken County, home to almost a quarter of the Norwegian population, will be divided up into three different counties. 

The county only formed in 2020, will be divided back into the historic counties of Buskerud, Akershus and Østfold. This means each new county will have its own county council. Those in favour of the scheme say it will improve local services. 

The formation of Viken county has proved extremely unpopular. 

New police stations to open

Another bid to improve local services will see the government open ten new police stations in 2024. 

The police stations will act more as outposts in rural areas or locations where there is little police presence currently. 

The decision itself has proved unpopular with the police. The police say that more resources and officers are needed to maintain the new locations. 

Police in Norway have previously warned that funding issues could affect services. 

EES border systems to enter service 

The EU's Entry/Exit System (EES) is a digital scheme to register non-EU citizens each time they cross the external borders of the Schengen Area, by air, land or sea.

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The EES will replace the manual stamping of passports with an electronic record of entries and exits. It will register the person's name, type of travel document, fingerprints and facial images and the date and place of arrival and departure.

The system aims to tighten up border security, including the enforcement of the rule of maximum 90-day stays in any 180-day period for short-term visitors.

The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), expected six months later, will require people from visa-exempt countries who travel to the Schengen area for short stays to apply for an authorisation before departure.

The EES will arrive between quarters three and four of 2024. The ETIAS isn't expected to arrive until 2025. 

Alcohol and tobacco prices to rise 

Pending the Norwegian state budget being given the go-ahead, the cost of tobacco and alcohol will rise next year due to taxes. 

The alcohol tax will increase by 3.8 percent. The tax on cigarettes will increase by 4 percent. 

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Meanwhile, the price of snus will see the biggest increase. Taxes on snus will go up by 4.3 percent. 

Kindergarten to get cheaper 

At the beginning of August 2024, the cost of a kindergarten place in Norway will be slashed by 1,000 kroner per month. 

This means the maximum monthly cap for a kindergarten place will be 2,000 kroner per month. 

In more rural areas, the cap will be even lower at 1,500 kroner for a kindergarten place. 

When the change comes into practice, the maximum price a family will pay for kindergarten a month will be 3,400 kroner – excluding other costs such as food.

This is because a discount is applied to the second child of the same family in a kindergarten. A family's third child and onwards receive a free space if they attend the same kindergarten as their siblings at the same time.

Online shopping to be more expensive 

Items that cost under 350 kroner have typically been exempt from paying import duties. This is because of an exception, which means such goods don’t need to be cleared through customs upon entering Norway.

However, this will change from the New Year, and now all items will be stopped and required to pay VAT and duty upon entering Norway.

VAT and customs duties will need to be paid from the first kroner from January 1st. Norway’s parliament removed the exception to create better competition between Norwegian shops and online stores abroad.

The new rules will primarily affect foreign stores that are not part of the VOEC (VAT on E-commerce) scheme. Foreign stores can sign up for the VOEC scheme to collect and report VAT to Norway. This means that items go through a simplified customs process.

Could Norway's krone recover? 

2023 has been a miserable year for the Norwegian krone. Dane Cekov, one of Norway's leading currency analysts, has told The Local that the krone's fortunes hang in the balance. 

There's a high level of uncertainty, and the Norwegian krone could easily weaken further. This year's weakening surprised many of us, so never say never…" Cekov said.

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However, should interest rates come down abroad due to low inflation, the conditions might be good for the krone, the analyst noted.

"We're (Nordea) leaning towards a somewhat less weak Norwegian krone next year," Cekov said.

Homeowners could get some good news on interest rates

The good news for homeowners is that economy and inflation-dependent, the first interest cuts could arrive towards the back end of last year. 

This means less expensive loan and mortgage repayments and more disposable income. 

High number of refugees coming to Norway to continue

Norway plans to welcome 37,000 new refugees in 2024. The war in Ukraine means that the number of people seeking asylum in Norway will remain at record levels. 

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Norwegian municipalities have settled 50,000 refugees from the country. 

The Norwegian government has a collective temporary protection scheme open to Ukrainian nationals, giving them the right to asylum on arrival to Norway.

Conversion therapy banned

The controversial act of conversion therapy will be banned from January 1st 2024. Carrying out and marketing conversion therapy will be a criminal offence.

The law also applies when the act is carried out outside of Norway by a Norwegian citizen or resident or on behalf of a company registered in Norway.

The ban covers the controversial practice of trying to change one’s sexual orientation or gender.

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Norway’s electricity support scheme to change

The threshold for energy support from the government will be tweaked slightly. Support will only kick on when prices exceed 73 øre per kilowatt hour in the New Year.

The current threshold is 70 øre per kilowatt hour. When support is triggered, the government will cover 90 percent of the hourly energy price that exceeds 93 øre per kilowatt hour.

You will be able to buy a ticket on a train for the same price

The additional charge for buying a ticket onboard a train in Norway will be scrapped from January.

This means passengers will no longer be required to pay an additional 40 kroner when purchasing a ticket aboard the train.

Clampdown on foreign tour busses

New rules will clamp down on foreign tour buses operated by foreign drivers and companies starting from the New Year.

Foreign buses will only be allowed to carry passengers on Norwegian roads for a maximum of 20 consecutive days and 30 days in total. The change aims to prevent foreign companies from out-pricing Norwegian ones and prevent social dumping in the transport and tourism sector.

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Steven Johnson 2023/11/14 21:46
Interesting to learn about the cost of kindergarten. I did not know that. I am always bombarded with a world of information that touts free education in Norway. Nothing is ever free.

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