Question by Cantankerous Rouge: How nice is it to live in Norway?
Do you have to know Norwegian?
Is it expensive to live in a big city?
Are the winters harsh?
Does it get warm in the summer?
Is it Scotland weather?
Nice people (in general, of course)?
Answer by Lenefir
1) Do you have to know Norwegian?
You don’t need to know Norwegian in order to live in Norway. However, if you expect to be able to survive there for more than a couple of months you need at least a basic grasp of the language. Unless of course you have someone to take care of you and you decide to live in more or less isolation.
If you expect to get a job that you have not already been preselected for it is pretty much a requirement. You can get a job in Norway without knowing Norwegian, but that is the very rare exception rather than the rule.
Either way it might be considered common courtesy to try to learn the language in a country you intend to stay for a longer period. While the majority in Norway speak English as a second language not everybody do, and not everybody might feel comfortable enough to practice their language skills. In addition very little written information will be in a language other than Norwegian, unless it is at an expected tourist destination.
2) Is it expensive to live in a big city?
Yes and no. Depends on how “extravagant” a life you expect to live compared to your budget/income. The two things that will cost the most will be a roof over your head and food. And in general consumer products in Norway are relatively expensive compared to other countries. To give you a feeling for it, based on comparing a selection of goods Oslo just recently acquired the dubious honour of being the most expensive city in the world.
3) Are the winters harsh? Does it get warm in the summer? Is it Scotland weather?
Depends a lot on where in Norway you are. If you look at a map you will see that Norway is a pretty stretched out and elongated country, ranging from 58° North to ~71° North. It has a very long coastline with what that leads to of weather variations, and large parts of it is inland, and much of it is mountainous areas. The same mountains also usually take the brunt of the western clouds and winds and western part of Norway usually have more precipitation than the parts east of the mountain areas. In general the inland areas are colder in winter and warmer in summer than the coastline, and northern parts of Norway (usually) colder than the southern parts all year around. But plenty of exceptions.
In my opinion Scotland has milder weather than Norway, but that might just be me having the wrong impression of Scotland.
4) Nice people (in general, of course)?
In general, yes.
If you don’t behave or look out of the ordinary compared to what the people around you expect then people are in general quite nice. The issue is of course that different people will expect different things depending on their own perceptions. And some people are open to accept more changes to that than others.
(And just noticed this was asked in the Netherlands section. Hmm…)
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
Image by afloden
Jan Walter shot this portrait of me on my birthday. I think he did a very good job! Other guests in the background.