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Why do many Norwegians have a dislike for people from Oslo?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Why do many Norwegians have a dislike for people from Oslo?
Norwegians don't always enjoy the best relationship with those who live in Oslo. Pictured is one of the most famous statues in Oslo.Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

Oslo’s residents aren’t the best-loved by everyone in Norway. There are several reasons why the locals in Oslo aren’t always popular across the country.


Norway’s capital, Oslo, is considered a great place to live. Many move to Oslo from within Norway and abroad to take advantage of these benefits. 

While the capital certainly isn’t for everyone, there are a small but vocal number of people outside Oslo who dislike the city and its residents.  

Oslo isn’t the only city in Norway where the residents aren’t best-loved around the country. The Local will also publish an article on why many find people from Bergen annoying. 

It’s not necessarily about the people 

For starters, many hold a grudge against the city itself and, therefore, dislike the locals by association. 

This is different from the locals in Bergen, where much of the rest of the country finds the strong regional identity and city pride displayed by those from Bergen somewhat tiresome. 

As the capital, a lot of significant cultural and infrastructure spending happens in Oslo. 

Billions of kroner of public spending have funded the construction of the Oslo Opera House, National Museum and Munch Museum. The city of Oslo primarily funded the Munch Museum, but the government was asked to provide tax breaks and additional funding. 

This is money that critics say should have been spent on national cultural programs.

The Folloban railway line is another project that has attracted criticism nationwide. Despite the hefty price tag, the 36.8 billion kroner project, which cuts the journey time to Oslo from commuter towns, has been beset with problems. 

This has drawn the ire of many who felt that other parts of Norway were much more in need of large-scale infrastructure investment. 


Then, there is the focus Oslo gets in the media.

Many accuse the Norwegian press of being too Oslo-centric. A car or cyclist colliding with a tram makes national news, whereas those outside Oslo feel the media ignores the stories that are important to them. 

Norway’s media landscape has tried to improve in this regard. NRK publishes content in both Nynorsk and Sami to ensure better representation. TV 2 is headquartered in Bergen, and many of the country’s best and most well-respected papers are local publications. 

Many also dislike the capital and its residents because it is the crime capital of Norway, and violent crime from Oslo is regularly on the news. For this reason, many see the capital as unsafe, even though many of its residents feel safe in the city

Another factor is just the fact it is the capital. Many countries have some form of disconnect between the capital and the rest of the country. 

Meanwhile, others lament that the best jobs and economic opportunities are found in Oslo. Those in Oslo earn significantly more than the national average. In Oslo, the average pay for full-time employees before tax was 62,920 kroner, compared to the national average of 55,390 kroner per month. 


This can be frustrating for many as most of Norway’s biggest industries, such as oil and fishing, are found in the west rather than the southeast. Many are unhappy that the capital has grown prosperous, when the key industries are nowhere near the capital.  

But for some, it is about the people 

While many dislike Oslo’s residents more because of where they live rather than how they are, plenty dislike Oslofolk specifically. 

Across the country, there is a perception of an “Oslo elite”. Even within Oslo, there is a perception of an elitist class of residents who live on the west side of town. Some refer to these residents as Oslo-verst (Oslo’s worst, a play on Oslo vest, or Oslo west). 

Wealthy residents from the west are seen as, arrogant, shallow and materialistic by those from inside and outside the capital. 

Others see those in Oslo as living in their own bubble and unaware of what’s happening outside the capital.

This perceived lack of interest in what’s happening in other parts of the country means some think that Oslo’s locals have a superiority complex – even if they rarely speak about the city with pride. 

Many also feel that the values residents in Oslo hold, mainly being more individualistic, don’t align with the rest of the country’s values


A slightly different set of norms and cultural values can make it difficult for those from Oslo and the rest of the country to relate to one another. However, many of those living in the country have moved from abroad or other parts of Norway, so the extent of this effect is hard to measure in reality. 

Politically, there has been a move to “push back” against Oslo's residents. 

One of the parties in government, the Centre Party, started life as a farmer’s party. In the modern day, it still seeks to look out for the interests of rural communities. 

The populist Progress Party is another party that has pushed back against the “Oslo elite” in the past, particularly on topics such as reducing parking spaces and investing in cycling infrastructure. 

What do you think of Oslo’s residents? Let us know in the comments. 


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