The Big July Shutdown

Closed in July

Hoping to do business in Norway in July? You have no chance.

Having worked for a number of engineering and manufacturing companies back in the UK, I am used to the concept of a 2-week summer shutdown.

Employees are required to take two specific weeks off, during which the factory closes its doors. Its the concept by which some British holiday resorts such as Blackpool built their success (although those days are now long gone!)

Summer in Hammerfest

The concept of a summer shutdown saves the potential inefficiencies of having only 50-75% of the workforce in place for a much longer period of time, not to mention a team and people management headache.

A communal summer holiday

However, in Norway, they take things a step further. Across all industries, the entire country shuts down, for pretty much the entire month of July!

I’m not even joking. Nearly all employees take 2-3 weeks off, with many taking the entire month. Contractors and consultants such as myself are “encouraged” to take time off.

In reality you have to do so, because there are so few people at work, not just at your location but all your customers and suppliers too, that getting any productive work done is difficult.

Guarding the Oslofjord
Guarding the Oslofjord

So, where does everyone go? Many Norwegian families own a summer house, some on the islands in the Oslofjord, some elsewhere in the region and some much further north.

Others go abroad, but it seems a normal Norwegian July is spent holidaying within Norway.

A quiet capital

This means that Oslo, a quiet capital at the best of times, becomes a ghost town.

Already just a few days into the month, the streets and T-Bane are noticeably quieter. Some buses are less frequent. Some opening hours are shortened.

For a city which is becoming a bigger tourist destination every year, it might seem staggering to think you scale down operations during one of the main holiday months of the year!

Walking in Oslo Vigeland Park

Yet like most things in Scandinavia, it makes sense. The internal machine slows down, but the tourist attractions keep on ticking.

I am taking next week off to travel back to England for the first time since moving out here.

I also have a few days off the following week, during which I intend to explore more of Oslo and perhaps take my first trip out of the capital, to Lillehammer, the home of the 1994 Winter Olympics, or Drøbak, a picturesque town further down the Oslofjord.

I'm open to suggestions too, if anyone can suggest a good day trip out of Oslo, doable on public transport 🙂

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About the Author: 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 freelance writer for technology companies in Scandinavia.

12 Comments

  1. LOL! I was just thinking about doing a blog entry on this very topic – the leaving of Oslo! You might want to check out Fredrikstad – slightly further south than Drobak (oops English keyboard). Perhaps also check out some flights to further afield places – Norwegian and Wideroe aren’t that expensive. Oh, did you get on the trikke 17 at Bruggata this evening? I think I saw you!

  2. Why yes I did! It was a quick dart into Byporten to buy a gift for someone. I live close to there and often walk that way, hopping on a trikk or buss if one happens to be passing 🙂

  3. Kikutstua hvis du får finvær. Buss til Maridalen, gå resten, eller sykle. Gjerne med 3 retters middag og overnatting.

    Ellers er Fredrikstad bra. Men kanskje også Kragerø?

    That gives you a chance to practice your norwegian 😉

  4. Hei David!

    I’m currently looking for work in Norway, Oslo and Trondheim – but I’m planning on taking a trip to Oslo at the end of this month to liaise with some design companies out there.
    But I was wondering if you thought it a bad idea to go out in June, considering most companies have July off. Would August be a better month to go do you think?

    Kind regards

    Charlie

    1. Hi Charlie, congrats for doing what 99% of people don’t do – coming to Norway and networking in person! The wind-down begins from week 3 in June and lasts until week 2 of August with the middle two weeks in July absolutely out of the question. But you may find startups still at work, it all depends. I would recommend mid-August at the earliest. Good luck!

    1. Hi Carol, this article was written from the perspective of living here. For tourism, it’s absolutely high season. Some places such as Lofoten will be very busy. You may find a little bit more space in the cities, but you might be surprised at the ratio of tourists-locals in Oslo!

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