06 Mar 11 Things You Should NOT Do When Visiting Norway
Norwegians are known to be good skiers, love winter sports and maybe be a little reserved. Some of the things you need to know before you visit Norway is how close you should be when talking to Norwegians and stuff you should never talk about. Here is my list of 11 things you should not do in Norway.
Make eye contact
Norwegians hate eye contact, even with people they know. Norwegians don’t necessarily see it as rude, but more intimidating and won’t really know what to do. That doesn’t mean you should avoid it, it is expected to look someone in the eye when you greet them but never look too long.
Thinking that Norway is a small country
Many people don’t understand how large Norway actually is. I have heard people thinking it takes 2 hours to get to Bergen from Oslo with a car. Norway has a lot of mountains which makes it take longer to visit certain places. It takes over 5 hours to fly from the south to all the way north of Norway. It takes days to drive. Driving from Oslo to Begen takes 7 hours without stops.
Get too close to anyone, anywhere
After living in South America for 3 years I have become used to people getting really close to you when you speak. Norwegians like their personal space. They are not being rude, it is just their nature. If you are not sure how close you should go just try to read their body language and don’t get closer if they back away from you. I would say half a meter to a meter is fine xD, depending on the situation.
Show up late
It is pretty rude to show up late for an invitation or cancel at the very last minute. Up to 15 minutes late is ok. Norwegians will understand if you tell them earlier that you will be late to the event. Norwegians also don’t mind some people coming early to help out.
Underestimate the word Koslig
Koslig means cosy. Something that is extremely important to Norwegians. Whether it is staying inside near the fireplace or spending a weekend in a cabin without power. Koslig is the secret for Norwegians to feel 100 % comfortable in a situation and to really open up to people. Christmas Eve is the most important day for Norwegians where everything has to be koslig and traditions need to be followed.
Think you are better than everybody else
Janteloven is a very important and unwritten law in Norway. It basically says ” You shouldn’t think you are better.” It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have self-confidence, it is more about don’t be cocky no matter how professional or rich you are. Norwegians don’t like people who brag.
Say that Sweden is better at winter sports
Norway and Sweden are bitter rivals in winter sports. Especially when it comes to the Olympics. Swedes make theories that Norwegians dope themselves because Norwegians win a lot. But if there is one thing you don’t do in Norway, is to make fun of the Olympians. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it.
Asking questions that shows you have no knowledge about Norway
It is not a good idea to visit Norway and ask where are the polar bears or if Norway is the capital of Sweden. Trust me it happens, it is funny but you will feel stupid and chances are high Norwegians will make fun of that moment for years.
Not dressing for the weather and complain about it
It is a saying in Norway ” It is nothing called bad weather, only bad clothes.” Norwegians often complain about the weather, such as it rains too much. However, Norwegians know how to dress up for the cold so if you are showing up in shorts and t-shirts in -20 degrees you can thank yourself.
Think that the Northern lights can be seen everywhere, anytime
Some people think it is dark in Norway all year round and that you can see the Northern Lights all the time. That is not true. The best time to see it is from October to March. You are never guaranteed to see it even if you spend 2 weeks in the northern part of Norway.
Only visit Oslo
You are missing the best part of Norway is you visit the capital Oslo. Oslo is a great starting point for a couple of days seeing the Munch Museum, Opera, Vigelandsparken and the Viking Ship Museum. If you want to see the beauty of Norway, you can travel to the west of Norway to see fjords like the Geirangerfjord. Lofoten and Tromsø are excellent options if you want to see the northern lights during the winter months.
Related: How to see Oslo in one day