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Living in Norway

Living in Norway

The housing situation in Norway differs from municipality to municipality, both when it comes to rent or purchase an apartment or house. If you move to Norway, you should check the real estate ads on the internet, the daily newspapers (you should also consider to place an ad yourself), the offers of real estate agents, possible municipal real estate agencies of the municipality you are going to move to, or if your employer can help you to find an accommodation. In most towns there are municipal real estate agencies, however, they might have long waiting queues.

Residents from other countries are on equal terms with Norwegians residing in Norway when it comes to the purchase of property.

Useful links:

Living Costs
Norway is ranked as one of the most expensive countries to live in. Expenses are very high when it comes to food, accommodation and other costs of living. Food expenses are about 50 % higher than the EU average. Income taxes are also very high. Furthermore, there are 25% goods and services taxes, about 70 % gasoline taxes and 100 % taxes on new cars.

At the same time, salaries are also very high. The average monthly salary in 2006 was NOK 30, 600 (Euro 3, 872,-, USD 5, 885,-). Norway’s per capita income is about 32, 000 USD, more than 40 % higher than the EU average.

An average Norwegian household uses 10 % of its budget for food, 28 % for accommodation and 18 % on transport. Some price examples:

  • Dinner at an ordinary restaurant/dinner: NOK 250 
  • Cinema ticket: NOK 100
  • Buss/tram ticket in Oslo: NOK 40
  • 20 cigarettes: NOK 90 
  • 250 gr. coffee: NOK 20
  • 1 l gasolin: NOK 12-15 
  • 0,5 l beer: NOK 60-70 

Foreign associations in Norway:
The Danish Society in Oslo:
Norwegian-Finnish Society:
Norwegian-Estonian Society:
The Latvian Society in Norway:
The Czech-Norwegian Forum:
Norwegian-Slavic Society:

Around 4,7 million people live in Norway, most of them in the bigger cities. Oslo is Norway’s capital and has about 550 000 inhabitants. Approximatly 415 000 immigrants from over 200 countries reside in Norway. The largest immigrant groups are from Pakistan, Sweden, Danmark, Irak, Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Turkey and Serbia. Around 130 000 immigrants live in Oslo. About 54 000 people are from other Nordic countries, 51 000 from other West-European countries and North America, 51 000 from Eastern Europe and 230 000 from Turkey and countries in Asia, Africa ands South America.

Norway is a country with rather little social inequality. The culture is characterised by respect for democratic principals, and Norwegians are concerned with all people being equal and having the same rights. Norwegians stress that people are valuable individuals, no matter what job one has or how much money one ears or owns. Humbleness is important, and many Norwegians can react very negatively if people try to stick out or make themselves look better than others by bragging about things they have accomplished or bought.

Norwegians are very casual and address both unknown people and their own boss by first name. They take their pride in being honest and sincere even if some foreigners might judge this as naivity. Punctuality is very important for Norwegians, both at work and at spare time.

Norwegians enthusiasm for nature is an important part of the Norwegian identity. Large parts of their sparetime are spent in nature – both summer and vinter. To hike at the seaside, in the forest or mountains is an important source for meditation, energy and a way to spend time together with the family. More than halvpart of the population has access to a cabin, schools arrange annual ski-days and on postcards you find more nature motives than pure turist attractions.

The official language in Norway is Norwegian, occurring in two forms: Bokmål (the official and most spread language form) and Nynorsk. In addition, the language of the Sami people, Sami, is an official language. Most Norwegians speak very well English, and many of them have a good command of another language like German, French or Spanish.

Norway is a democracy – the people chooses who rules, and the people elects representatives for parliament as well as for the governance of the administrative districts and municipalities. Norway is a monarchy, yet, the king has no real power. It is the parliament and the government that hold the greatest political power in the country. Norway is not member of the EU.

In Norway, Norwegian rules apply, and the laws are enacted by the parliament. Everyone who stays in Norway most follow Norwegian law. Those who violate the law, do not get away without penalty, because he or she is not familiar with the law.

Social Welfare and Taxes
Everyone has to pay a part of it’s income and assets in form of taxes to the government and the municipality of residence. The taxes are used to conduct hospitals, kindergarten, schools, asylum seekers hostels, road works and many other social tasks. By paying taxes everyone contributes to the community.

Social Rights
In Norway everyone has the right to free speech and publication. That means, everyone can utter and write whatever one wants, you can for example criticise and protest against what you think is wrong. Newspapers, radio and TV are independent of the authorities.

Freedom of Religion
In Norway, freedom of religion is practised. Everyone has the right to exercise it’s religion. The protestant-lutheran belief is the official religion in Norway, and most Norwegians are members of state church. In Norway, many different religions can be found, however, there are also people without any religious belief.

Legal Security
In Norway, noone can be imprisoned without legal causes and conviction. Everyone has the possibilty to appeal against a judgement and the public authorities are to treat all individuals and cases equally.

Several laws forbid discrimination in Norway. Noone shall be pursued or discriminated because of his or her religion, political conviction, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual disposition, skinn color or life philosophy. Norway has also a law about equal rights for men and women. This implies, that men and women are equal and have the same rights and duties within society.

Norway is the most Northern country in the world with a coast line. Despite the fact that Norway is situated so far up North, the climate is surprisingly mild. This is among others due to the gulf stream – a warm stream that directs warm water from the Caribean Sea North East via the Atlantic Sea to the coast of Norway.

The climate in Norway can vary significantly from year to year. Especially in the Northern parts of the country, which are located on the edge of the global temparature zones. The lowest temperature that was ever measured is minus 51 degrees in Karasjok, Northern Norway.

The annual average temperature differs from about 8 degrees at the West coast to about 0 degrees in the mountains. The coldest months are January and February, while it is warmest around mid July. The average temperature in July is 16 degrees in the Oslo area and 11 degrees in the North.

The climate in Norway is different from the rest of Scandinavia. The high mountains that separate Western and Eastern Norway, protect the Eastern parts of the country from rain. That implies that large parts of Eastern Norway have a more continental climate than you would expect in these latitudes. Some of these areas have less than 300 mm rain a year, while at the Westcoast until 3000 mm rain can fall.

In periods during the summer halvyear, the Northern parts of Norway experience midnightsun. That means sun during 24 hours a day, a phenomen that occurs north of the polar circle. The regions having midnightsun in summer, have respectively darktime in winter - that implicates that there is no sunlight during a certain period a year.

Useful links:
Information to Employees from EEA/EFTA Countries (pdf)

New in Norway

Sources: Skatteetaten, UDI, Statsistisk Sentralbyrå, Ny i Norge,, Arbeidstilsynet

The fact sheet serves as a primary overview about working life in Norway, not as a complete reflection on the legal status in Norway. It may contain information that is created by a variety of sources both internal and external to Monster. For this reason, Monster does not control or guarantee the information contained in the fact sheet or information contained in links to other external web sites. In no event shall Monster be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of this fact sheet.

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