Norway, like every country, has its own habits.
I listed below the ones that I find the most important and weird so that you’ll be prepared when you’ll be in Norway:
1. There is a Norwegian saying which says that : “There is no bad weather in Norway, only bad clothes”. So don’t forget to pack some waterproof and warm clothes, even in summer.
2. All TV programs, except those for young children, are in original language with Norwegian subtitles. This is one of the reasons why almost everybody speaks a perfect English.
3. In general, the speed limit for cars on Norwegian roads is 80 km/h.
4. It’s obligatory for all vehicles to drive with dipped headlights at all times, even on the brightest summer day.
5. Keep an eye for sheeps and mooses when you drive as they tend to cross the road unexpectedly.
Moose is the animal that kills the most people in Norway every year.
6. Diner can be served as early as 4pm. But Norwegians take a late snack later in the evening.
7. Beverages with an alcohol content higher than 4.75% can only be sold in government shops called “Vinmonopolet”.
8. There is a deposit of 1.00kr or 2.50kr (PANT) on all plastic bottles and cans that is refunded when you return them to a supermarket.
9. Norwegians consume snus, a moist powder tobacco which is usually placed under the upper lip.
10. Norwegians aren’t modest. So don’t be surprised if everybody is naked in a communal shower or in a Sauna. And yes, some saunas are mixed.
11. Norwegians have understood that a large duvet for a double bed is the cause of many disputes. They have resolved the problem by putting 2 single duvets, one for each. You might find it strange at first but you’ll quickly get used to it and then you won’t be able share a large duvet with someone again.
12. Norwegians, like people from Northern Europe, don’t care to wear socks with sandals.
13. Norwegians hunt and eat minke whales.
14. Almost everything is closed on Sunday, Christmas, Easter and 17 May (National Day). And many restaurants are closed in July too.
15. When you meet someone for the first time, you shake hands. Be prepared because most Norwegians have a iron grip.
From the second time, you normally hug and always say “Takk for sist”, which literally means “Thank you for the last time”.
16. The blood alcohol limit for driving a car in Norway is 0.02% (equivalent to a small glass of wine or half a pint of weak beer). The penalties are severe for those who breach the rule : heavy fines, confiscation of the driving license and even jail up to 1 year.
17. “Vann” means “water” but unlogically “mineralvann” generally refers to “soda”.
18. Wild camping is generally allowed in Norway as long as you avoid private and cultivated land. But don’t forget to show consideration to the environment.
19. Norwegians are huge consumer of toothpicks. They like to clean their teeth with a toothpick after a meal, whether at home or in a restaurant. They do it in a discreet way. Don’t hesitate to do the same and your teeth will thank you!
I’ve visited Norway so many times that I might have forgotten some things that might surprised a first comer. If that’s the case, please let me know.