Norwegians seem to be the most ordinary people: moderately polite, restrained, stylishly dressed. But once you dig a little deeper, you will find that their lives are subject to a host of strange rules. And the typical habits of local residents cannot be called anything other than unusual. As they say, scratch a Norwegian and you will find a Viking. What do they surprise foreigners with the most today? Learn about the 7 rules of Norwegian life that you won’t believe right away.
- Invasion of personal space is unacceptable
In Norway, it is considered unacceptable without a valid excuse to talk to strangers in parks, transport, shops, or sit next to a stranger on a bus, even if it is overcrowded. They will also not be happy if you decide to drop in for a visit without a call, because “I was not far here, I decided to drop in.” Moreover, they will not hide it for the sake of decency: a typical Norwegian in such a situation will most likely politely say that he is busy and slam the door in front of you.
- Get to work as early as possible
Norwegians are obsessed with the idea that they have to be as useful to society as possible. That’s why the locals want to find a job right after graduation, young mothers are no more than a year on the maternity leave, and even to get unemployment benefits, the applicant must meet one of the main requirements – to actively look for work. Work in Norway begins at 8:00, rarely at 9:00. At the same time, the work week is shorter than the standard work week – only 37.5 hours.
- Fall in love with pickled cod and herring
It’s hard to understand how one could love such a thing, and even call it a delicacy, but the reality is unforgiving. The Norwegians, wishing to impress an expensive foreign guest, will certainly advise them to try “surströmming” (fermented, read – squeezed, if not to say rotten herring) and “lutefisk” (dried cod soaked in lye) – and they will be happy to join the meal.
- Feed your kids with fast food and leave them to sleep in the freezing cold
A typical kindergarten menu is different types of sandwiches. Moreover, children can “collect” them themselves from the proposed ingredients: bread, cheese, sauce, caviar, sausage, fish sticks, eggs. Hot in the gardens is served once a week. Sandwiches are also more common at home, especially in the mornings and evenings. Sandwiches are taken on hikes, walks, to work.Related: Stubborn Norwegians
Babies from the cradle are taught to sleep outside at lunchtime in any weather. Coldly? Snow? Is it dripping with rain? It’s OK. They wrapped the child warmer, put a raincoat on the stroller, pulled it on – so it will be healthier. True, with growing up, they refuse such a daytime sleep.
- Love nature
The main feature of the Norwegians is their love for nature, and it is customary to prove it every week. This is why local cities are emptying out over the weekend. Norwegians lock their apartments with a key, take children, parents, fishing rods, food and go to the wilderness, away from civilization, closer to dampness, inconvenience and beauty. It is this kind of pastime that is considered the norm. The rest are deviations worthy of public censure.
- Gender equality is a must
In the Land of Fjords, a man’s attempt to pay for a woman in a restaurant can be regarded as an insult. It is customary to divide everything, including housekeeping. Moreover, it works both ways: not only a man should, for example, wash dishes or bathe children, but a woman should also make an equal contribution to the family budget with her partner. However, each family negotiates in its own way.Related: The Cool Norwegians
- Be indifferent to luxury
It is not customary to stand out in this country. Therefore, luxurious mansions, expensive supercars, pompous interiors and deliberate demonstration of diamonds are absent from the word “absolutely”. Solid bicycles, emphasized “casual” in clothes and well-known to the world restrained Scandinavian style in interiors. And this despite the fact that salaries in Norway are higher than the European average.
7 Rules of Norwegian Life that You Won’t Believe Right Away, written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Jean Hartley. Jean leads freelance projects as an essay writer free. She will give you the best recommendations on how to write a personal essay. Jean is inspired by nature and books.
Feature image (on top): Illustration University of Bergen