Posted by: Sarah | October 28, 2010

You’ve Been In Norway Too Long When…

I’ve just come across a booklet that Eliot received when he attended the “Moving To Norway” training via his company and it’s brilliant.  I forgot all about it.  I just had to share this chapter with you.  If you’re a non-norwegian reader of this blog, maybe some of these sound familiar.  I couldn’t help but add some of my own observations at the bottom.  Please feel free to contribute – I’m sure I have missed some.

 You have been in Norway too long when…

  • You can’t remember when to say “please” and “excuse me”
  • You always prepare to catch the closing door if following closely behind someone
  • It seems nice to spend a week in a small wooden cottage up in the mountains with no running water and no electricity
  • An outside temperature of 9 degrees celcius is mild
  • You think nothing of paying $50 for a bottle of “cheap” spirits at Vinmonopolet
  • You like to wrap your hotdog in a cold pancake
  • You start to believe that if it wasn’t for Norway’s efforts the world would collapse
  • You only buy your own drink at the bar even when you are with a group of people
  • A stranger in the street smiles at you so you assume that a) they are drunk b) they are American c) all of the above
  • You actually believe there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing
  • You find yourself more interested in the alcohol content than in the name of the wine
  • You don’t look twice at business men/women wearing dark suits with sports socks or UGG boots

I’ve added a few more…

  • You become obsessed with checking the weather on – Eliot is!
  • You like brown cheese – this will never happen to Eliot and I
  • Every Sunday you “går på tur
  • You no longer use the signal indicators on your car


  1. Hi Sarah,
    Oh so true! We have been in Norway now for nearly 2 years and we don’t think we will ever get used to eating hot dogs and pancakes! The other thing I love/hate, is the obsession with colour for Christian dates in the calender. It’s purple everywhere at the moment and then all change in December. How can everyone afford it??


    • Yes – I’ve noticed that too Donna. I wanted some orange decorations last year for my tree (matches my room scheme) and I could not find anything anywhere…everything is red and that’s your choice! But you’re right…purple is everywhere for advent. Just have to change my room scheme I guess :-)

    • I have been living outside of Norway for more than 20 years and I second all the bullet points, Except for one; it is not a pancake. It is called Lompe and has a different recepie than pancakes.

      • Hi Per – yes, you’re absolutely right – the lompe is more a potato based pancake than a sweet pancake

  2. Have you started to pack your lunch in paper? If not, you’ll have to stay her longer! ;-D

    • I haven’t done it before but this weekend I will try for the first time. I’m spending it in Hamar with my friend and her family and both ELiot and I will be getting a taste of true Norwegian hospitality. Can’t wait! See you Monday.

  3. A cousin of mine shared your blog on Facebook, and I’ve been reading, laughing and enjoying myself for a very long time now. :D Best get back to the hoover, AFTER I’ve added your blog to my favourites.

    • Hi Lise – thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you enjoy reading it – I absolutely love learning about Norway and writing it up on my blog so if you have any suggestions or recommendations, please let me know! I’m willing to try pretty much anything – including lutefisk which I haven’t tried yet :-)

  4. Hi Sarah! I’ve been reading your blog for the past few days now! (a bit every evening) and I’m so grateful for all your tips, links and interesting info on Norge! I’ve been tempted to comment on other posts too but lacked the courage:) However I HAVE to ask about this one because it somehow contradicts the other posts and I’m a little bit lost now :( Just to clarify – I’ve been living in UK for the past few years so I am interested in British view about Norway since I got to know British mentality very well and kind of adapted a bit of it (the same you do by living in Norway:) ).I am considering moving to Norway with my family within next few years. I used to live there for a year…but it was 12 years ago!! :) So I don’t remember much and a lot surely have changed. I research this subject thoroughly because this is the last time in my life I want to be packing and moving out :D I love to travel and get to know new languages and cultures but…I’m getting fed up with living without clear future, you know. Anyway my question is whether I understood right that Norwegians don’t have good manners (like saying please or excuse me)? Or they won’t keep the door open for you? Or they are rather cheerless so they won’t smile at you or say hi on the street? I suspected (from what I remember and from reading your blog) that they are kind, helpful and happy people….are they? xxx

    • Hi Marta – so nice of you to send such a lovely message. I love to read messages from folks enjoying the blog so firstly – thank you! So nice that you’re thinking of moving to Norway. I know what you mean about settling somewhere. We are facing the same decisions now we have Lizzie. We really have to decide where home is. Thank you for raising the question about how Norwegians are as people. I don’t want to generalise the entire population here but here are my observations. Norwegians are generally quite private people so it can take a while to get to know them. This can often be misinterpreted as rudeness. It’s correct – you generally have to fight your way onto the bus in rush hour, they don’t hold doors open for you and they are quite direct in their language (not using “please” very much) but they don’t do it to be rude – that’s just the way of life. It’s so funny because many Norwegians say to me how they love going to London because the people are just so polite and wish it could be more like that over here. Once you get to know Norwegians and you’re accepted into a circle of friends you will see a new side – generosity, kindness and and warm hearted hospitality. If you go out drinking with Norwegians you will see a whole new level you didn’t know existed :-) The trick is to make the effort and integrate. Have a go at speaking Norwegian – they find it hilarious (perhaps that’s just me). Go out and join clubs/groups to make local friends. Join in on local celebrations e.g. 17th May. You need this network of friends to get you through the winter because everyone tends to hibernate in their houses in the evenings hosting dinners and watching movies. I hope that helps your decision. Let me know how you get on xx

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