Google Trends: What Norwegians Searched For Most in 2023

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From Hamas to Apple Jelly, Norwegians turned to the internet's biggest search engine for answers to a wide range of questions in 2023. Here's the highlights.

This year's Google trend lists, compiled by Google Norway, reveal the most significant spikes in search terms compared to the previous year.

Google Norway search concept image. Illustration: David Nikel.

The year witnessed a surge in queries about how to vote, the nature of ultra-processed foods, and the ongoing war in Europe, which continued to leave its mark, as did the conflict in the Middle East. High on the search list were terms like Hamas and the Wagner Group, reflecting the global interest in these topics.

Sondre Ronander, Communications Chief at Google Norway, noted, “It has been a turbulent year, both in Norway and worldwide. We see recurring interest in the Middle East conflict.” He also observed a rise in cultural queries, including the term ‘woke'.

One reason for the heightened interest in ‘woke' culture may be attributed to Danby Choi, editor at Subjekt, and his book “Kanseller meg hvis du kan” (“Cancel Me If You Can”), which brought attention to the topic.

What is…?

The top 10 “What is…?” searches made by Norwegians in 2023 were:

  • 1. Hva er Hamas (What is Hamas)
  • 2. Hva er woke (What is woke)
  • 3. Hva er ultraprosessert mat (What is ultra-processed food)
  • 4. Hva er Wagnergruppen (What is the Wagner Group)
  • 5. Hva er rødt kjøtt (What is red meat)
  • 6. Hva er olsok (What is olsok)
  • 7. Hva er YS (What is YS)
  • 8. Hva er AI (What is AI)
  • 9. Hva er crossfit (What is CrossFit)
  • 10. Hva er tregrensen (What is the tree line)

Petter Bae Brandtzæg, a media science professor at the University of Oslo, believes these trend lists reflect the current times well. “Analyzing these lists from past years gives a clear picture of the times and their development,” he said to NRK.

Norway flag against blue sky
Google Trends data reveals what is popular in Norway.

The top 10 “Why…?” searches were equally varied, ranging from questions about the Eurovision Song Contest to why the United States supports Israel.

Interest in emerging IT and data topics

The interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and privacy was also evident. Queries about how to remove Snapchat's text robot “My AI,” make Instagram profiles private, and avoid door-to-door sales were prevalent.

Brandtzæg found it surprising that ChatGPT wasn't on the list, considering the growing skepticism about data collection by AI.

People, TV, and entertainment

Reiulf Steen, a former Labor Party politician, topped the “Top 10 Names” list, likely driven by the popularity of the TV series “Makta” (“The Power”), which sparked curiosity about his life and relationship with Norway's three-time prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The “Top 10 Musicians” list featured a blend of new and established artists, with Bjørn Eidsvåg impressing with his continued relevance and popularity. “He has an ability to remain eternally relevant, which I find impressive,” said Google Norway's Ronander.

Like other names on the lists, Eidsvåg participated in this year's edition of “Hver gang vi møtes” (Every Time We Meet). Ronander said there is a trend that Google search statistics increase when well-known individuals participate in such TV series.

Google's search data also highlighted a strong year for film and TV, with HBO's “The Last of Us” and NRK's “Exit” making the top three in the “Top 10 Film & TV” category.

Jelly Tops Food Trends in 2003

Finally, the top food searches of 2023 were dominated by a jelly trend, with apple jelly and blackcurrant jelly leading the top 10 recipe searches. This unique trend captured the culinary curiosity of Norwegians throughout the year.

“It's a bit fun to see jelly at the top. I haven't seen that before, so maybe there has been a jelly trend this year,” said Ronander.

The top 10 food recipe searches were as follows:

  • 1. Eplegelé (Apple Jelly)
  • 2. Solbærgelé (Blackcurrant Jelly)
  • 3. Agurksalat (Cucumber Salad)
  • 4. Kalvedans (a traditional creamy dessert)
  • 5. Eplesaft (Apple Juice)
  • 6. Bruschetta
  • 7. Blomkålsuppe (Cauliflower Soup)
  • 8. Vannbakkels (a simple pastry)
  • 9. Jødekaker (a cookie often made at Christmas)
  • 10. Lammestek (leg of lamb)

About David Nikel

Originally from the UK, David now lives in Trondheim and was the original founder of Life in Norway back in 2011. He now works as a professional writer on all things Scandinavia.

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