Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway

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Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway

From the iconic silhouette of Oslo’s Town Hall to the fjords and mountains in Western Norway and the Nordic lights high up north, the beauty of Norway’s culture and landscape has drawn people from around the world for centuries. This is the second article in our new series Expat in Scandinavia. Read about Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway.

While the country’s diverse economy and liberal immigration policies once made it easy for expats to move to Norway, immigration requirements have become tighter over time. Now it’s generally expats with specialist skills that are in demand. Free movement in EU countries is, however, a fundamental right guaranteed by European Treaties. Article 2 of the Schengen Agreement states that “internal borders may be crossed at any point without any checks on persons carried out.” Norway is an associated EU member, so this rule complies.

The article continues below the image. You can read our first article in our series Expat in Scandinavia, Moving to Scandinavia – Part 1 – Denmark, by clicking the image.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway
You can learn more about Moving to Denmark by clicking the image.

Living in Norway as an expat

There are a number of strong sectors in the Norwegian economy, including IT, engineering, finance, healthcare, energy, construction, oil and gas. Expats with experience and sought-after skills in these sectors will find that there is plenty of scope for career progression in Norway.

The quality and affordability of housing in Norway varies widely. While expats may struggle to find spacious, high-quality accommodation that doesn’t break the bank in notoriously expensive Oslo, there are many areas in Norway where it’s much easier to find appropriate housing at a decent price.

The article continues below the image. By clicking the image, you’ll be directed to our article Understanding Norway: Cultural Etiquette for the First Time Traveler.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway
Click tye image to learn more about cultural etiquette in Norway.

Public transport in Norway is generally of a high standard and the quality of road infrastructure is relatively good.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway
The Norwegian health care system is financed by taxation, together with income-related employee and employer. and out-of-pocket payments (co-payments). Photo: Nordic cooperation.

The Norwegian health care system is founded on the principles of universal access, decentralization, and free choice of provider. The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is often said to be one of the country’s greatest assets. The standard of hospitals and facilities in Norway is good and expats will find that doctors and medical staff are well trained and knowledgeable.

It is financed by taxation, together with income-related employee and employer contributions and out-of-pocket payments (co-payments). All residents are covered by the National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden, NIS), managed by the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (Helseøkonomiforvaltningen, HELFO). Private medical insurance is limited.

Visitors from the European Union can receive public healthcare services in Norway just like locals would, providing they hold a European Health Insurance Card or EHIC. An EHIC is free but must be obtained in your home country before you travel.

If you’re a professional living and working in Norway, you can ensure your medical needs are met by choosing a suitable international health insurance plan.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway – the article continues below the image.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway
Average disposable salary top counties: Source: Nationmaster.

Cost of living in Norway

As with any country, the cost of living in Norway varies depending on expat’s lifestyle choices and location. Major cities such as Oslo have a well-earned reputation of being pricey to live in, and while life in the rest of Norway is by no means cheap, the cost of living is substantially lower outside he capital area.

You can learn more about cost of living in Norway by clicking this link.

Expat families and children

Schooling in Norway is mandatory for all children aged six to 16. Education is guaranteed by the Norwegian state and is free to all children at public schools. However, many expats choose to send their children to private or international schools. The variety is, however, limited, in particular outside of Oslo.

Climate in Norway

Hardly known for its desirable climate, most of Norway has a maritime climate with mild winters and cool summers. Because of the influence of the North Atlantic Ocean, Norway has a much warmer climate than its latitudinal position would indicate. Although Norway is in northern Europe, the warm waters of the Gulf Stream make the climate relatively mild.

Ultimately, Norway is a fantastic option for skilled expats, and for raising a family. It is also well positioned for easy and affordable travel to Europe and beyond.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway
From Lysefjorden, Norway. Photo: Nordic cooperation.

Fast facts

Population: 5,474,360 (2023)

Capital city: Oslo (also the largest city)

Neighboring countries: Norway shares a land-border with Sweden, Finland, and Russia. It is separated from Denmark by the Kattegat Sea.

Geography: The majority of Norway borders water, including the Skagerak inlet to the south, the North Sea to the southwest, the North Atlantic Ocean (Norwegian Sea) to the west, and the Barents Sea to the north.

Major religion: Christianity.

Political system: Parliamentary, constitutional monarchy.

Main language: Norwegian. English is mostly fluently spoken.

Money: The currency of Norway is Norske kroner – Norwegian crowns (NOK), which is subdivided into 100 øre. In order to open a bank account in Norway, most banks require proof of a local address and a form of official identification, such as a passport.

Time: GMT (GMT +2).

Electricity: 230V, 50Hz. The power plug sockets are of type F (flat two-pin plug).

Internet domain: .no

International dialing code: +47

Emergency contacts: Fire 110, Police 112, Health 113.

Transport and driving: Driving is on right-hand side. There is a variety of public transport options available in Norway and the transportation network is generally well formed both across the country and within most cities. All the major cities and towns in Norway have airports with both international and domestic flights. In fact, there are more than 50 airports throughout the country that are serviced through regular routes, making even remote places such as the Lofoten Islands, the North Cape and Svalbard easily accessible by plane.

Expat in Scandinavia: Moving to Scandinavia – Part 2 – Norway, compiled by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): © Schengen Visa

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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.

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