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What's open and what's closed on May 1st in Norway?

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
What's open and what's closed on May 1st in Norway?
Supporters of Norway's Labour Party attend a speech by leader jonas Gahr Støre on May 1st 2017. Photo: Bernt Sønvisen/Labour Party

May 1st, or Labour Day, is widely celebrated in Norway, with anyone even vaguely left-leaning joining marches and attending political speeches across the country. But it's also a public holiday, so what's open and what's closed?

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Although neither May 1st nor Norway's national day, May 17th, are included in Norway's law on religious public holidays, they are both classed as public holidays, or røda dagar under a separate law.

This law allows public demonstrations which are not permitted on religious holidays, but states that otherwise, the two days should be treated in the same way.  

This means that May 1st is covered by the same relatively strict rules on shop opening times, with the state alcohol monopoly, Vinmonopolet closed, big supermarkets closed, and those grocery shops which are open banned from selling beer. 

Several categories of shop are allowed to stay open, and you'll find that many restaurants and hotels stay open too.

Tourists should be warned, however, that fewer museums stay open in Norway's major cities on May 1st than do during Easter

Read Also: What happens in Norway on May 1st?

What's closed? 

Vinmonopolet is closed all day, meaning that if you want to buy strong beer, wine and spirits for May 1st, you need to get there before its shops close at 6pm on Tuesday, April 30th.

The stores will open again at 10am on Wednesday, May 2nd. 

Big supermarkets like Menu, Kiwi, and Rema 1000, will also be closed if, as most are, they are more than 100 square metres in size. 

Even smaller grocery stores which are allowed to remain open are not permitted to sell beer. 

A lot of other public services will also be closed or not operating on May 1st, including primary care or GP's clinics, public libraries, municipal swimming pools, and sports centres. 

If you have an illness or injury that can't wait, you can contact the legevakten, or emergency room at your local hospital.

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What's open? 

Small convenience stores of less 100 square metres in size or less are allowed to remain open, as are petrol stations of less than 150 square metres in size. 

In some tourist areas, such as those served by the Hurtigruten cruise ships, bigger shops are allowed to stay open under a special agreement with the authorities.  

Garden centres and florists are allowed to stay open. 

Duty free shops at airports in Norway are allowed to stay open. 

Restaurants, hotels and cafes are allowed to stay open. 

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Museums and galleries

Many museums in the big cities which stay open over holidays such as Easter are closed on May Day to allow their employees to join the demonstrations.  

In Oslo, the Munch Museum is closed, but the Norwegian Maritime Museum, which includes the popular Fram and Kon-Tiki museums, is open, as is the Museum of Cultural History. 

In Bergen, the Bryggens Museum is closed, as are the other eight museums that are part of the Bymuseet, or city museum. 

All of the museums and galleries grouped under the popular KODE art gallery are also closed, including Troldhaugen, the home of the composer Edvard Grieg, the neo-Classical Permanenten gallery and the contemporary Stenersen gallery.

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