You’ve just made the move to Norway and wonder how to fit in? Admittedly, Norwegians can seem quirky at first and there might be lots of things that might baffle you about their culture but really, it doesn’t take too much to become a real Norwegian.
Just follow these 10 easy steps:
1. Learn how to ski
Norwegians love their outdoors and no matter the season, spend a huge majority of their free time outside. While they’re mostly hiking during summer and going hunting in autumn, the long winter is best spent on skis!
They say that skiing was invented by the Sami people thousands of years ago so the tradition has been in the country for quite a while now and Norwegian children learn how to ski at a very young age.
If you’re moving to Norway and have never tried skiing before at all, you better get started asap!
2. Get koselig
You might be afraid of the upcoming long and dark winter in Norway and wonder how Norwegians cope with it. Well the truth is, Norwegians love the dark months! Winter is the time where everyone starts getting koselig again – which like the Danish concept of hygge basically just means getting cosy at home with candles, good food and maybe a good book.
If there’s one thing (apart from going skiing and seeing the Northern Lights of course) that you should get excited about the long Norwegian winter, it’s definitely those evenings where you get cosy on the couch.
3. Make Fridays Taco Friday
One of the ultimate ways to get koselig is Taco Friday! Norwegians love Mexican food and although they’re pretty good at ruining it (by putting nachos on burgers and pizzas for example), the classic Taco Friday is something you should totally introduce into your new everyday life in Norway.
4. Learn to appreciate fish oil
Next to tacos, fish oil is another staple of “Norwegian cuisine”. In this country where wind, rain and snow characterize the weather for most of the year, it’s easy to get sick. So what Norwegians do is drink fish oil to prevent them from getting sick altogether. Clever, isn’t it?!
5. Forget Fanta and KitKat
Instead, try Solo and Kvikk Lunsj and start acting like both not only taste very differently from Fanta and KitKat, but also sooo much better!
6. Forget about Dutch cheese and start going crazy for brown cheese
Now I must make it sound like Norwegian culture is all about food but I just can’t help it – Norwegian cuisine is full of odd dishes! One pretty weird food is brown cheese. Tasting very sweet and caramel-like, this cheese is a staple of Norwegian cuisine and best served on waffles (another Norwegian classic)!
7. Stop stressing
Norwegians are generally very calm people who don’t like to stress about things. You’ll notice the slower pace of life as soon as you step foot into the country and it all goes downhill from there. No, just kidding. The Norwegian way of taking things slowly can actually be very refreshing if you come from a country like Germany where stress is a huge part of your everyday life.
Taking things slowly is not just part of the working culture though. In a country that probably has more mountains and fjords than inhabitants, getting from one place to another will most likely take more time than anywhere else in Europe. Some places, like Tromso, can only be reached by plane or ship, making the journey either very long or quite expensive.
It’s nothing to complain about however. Norway takes going on a road trip on a completely different level as yes, the journey will take ages, but the views you get along the way are breath-taking, stunning, amazing and every other word a travel blogger should avoid using for fear of sounding shallow.
8. Go on a vacation to Sweden – but only to buy cheap booze
You might have heard about this already but Norwegians are very grateful for being Norwegians and not Swedes. The two countries are friendly rivals and there are probably only few Norwegians who would actually admit going to Sweden for the sake of an actual holiday and not just to buy cheap alcohol, meat and candy.
My boyfriend’s mother takes this on an even higher level by avoiding to speak Norwegian in public entirely whenever they’re visiting their holiday cabin in Sweden. But psst, don’t let her know I told you!
9. And if you’re up for a real vacation, there’s only one place to go: Syden
Each year, thousands if not millions of Norwegians (okay there are only 5 million so let’s stick with thousands) head down south for their annual 4 week summer holiday. Now down south usually means any place where the sun shines and temperatures reach 30 degrees.
Depending on where in Norway you live and what charter flights are available, that’s mostly somewhere in Spain or Greece. Tromsø people like to head to Alicante and Crete but really, those are the only frequent direct flights available so they don’t have much of a choice…
10. And last but not least: Don’t complain about Norway, ever!
Norwegians absolutely love their country and now that you’re one of them, don’t make the mistake of complaining about it. After all, there are worse places to live, right?
This article is adapted from an original post on Snow in Tromsø