Oslo is the capital of Norway, home to about 700,000 people (which is more than one-tenth of the total Norwegian population). There are many foreigners who already live here and many dream living in Oslo. Statistics show that about 1 million non-Scandinavian citizens have emigrated to Norway in the last years.
The city is surrounded by nature, in a few minutes you can reach the hills around Oslo, where you can ski in winter or hike and walk in summer.
The public transport system in the city and suburbs is adequate, with good connections and generally short travel times. If you live in Oslo, you may also choose not to use a car, which is advisable given the cost of purchasing and maintaining it. Keep in mind that Norway, along with Switzerland, is the country with the highest car purchase costs in Europe.
Living in Oslo is not cheap, it is an expensive city. Everything is very expensive: food, transportation, alcohol, clothing, cigarettes, etc. Salaries are higher than the European average, but prices are sometimes really prohibitive. Accommodation is no exception it’s expensive, a room in a shared apartment can cost between €600 and €900 per month depending on the area. Studio prices start at €1,100 to €1,400 per month and continue to rise. Wages are high, but if you have paid your rent, go out to eat and drink often, and are a smoker, your wages will be gone quickly unless you have a very well-paying job.
Oslo is a very safe city. Violent incidents are usually limited to a few fights on weekend nights.
The climate is the sensitive point, the summer days are very long and the sun almost never sets, the sun that is not seen at all in winter, with dark and cold days where temperatures can reach even -20ºC. These days without sunlight can be a psychological problem for many people.
In general, people in Norway are reserved, introverted and rather closed, but if you need something, Norwegians are accessible and friendly. There are many singles living in Oslo, so it is quite easy to make new friends, especially if you know Norwegian. In general, Norwegians are very tolerant of immigrants. Oslo is the most multicultural city in Norway, where you can meet people from many countries of the world. It is true that the people of Oslo, and the Norwegians in general, speak good English, so that it is possible to get along in a public office or in a shop at any time without knowing Norwegian. But language is a fundamental factor. If you want to live in Oslo and integrate into the local community, you need to learn Norwegian, and once you have chewed the fat a bit, it’s enough to join a gym, sports club or association and meet lots of people.
As for work, you must know Norwegian to have full access to the labor market. If you only know English, you may find low-skill jobs in a restaurant kitchen, cleaning company, or as a waiter, in addition to high-skill jobs such as IT or engineering jobs. In the tourism industry, there is always a great demand for workers during the summer or winter season, so it is not difficult to find a seasonal job in this sector, even if it is only in English. I think that Oslo, along with Amsterdam, is a non-English speaking European city where you can find work if you speak only English, and with fairly high salaries.
Anyone interested in working in Norway should read the article: Working in Norway
Living and working in Oslo – pros and cons
Living and working in Oslo, pros
- Excellent infrastructure and public transportation
- Easy access to natural beauties in the immediate vicinity of the city
- Free health and education
- High quality of life, good work-life balance
- Polite and friendly people
- High security and low crime rate
- Excellent wellness system
- High wages
- Very well organized city
Living and working in Oslo, cons
- Very expensive city, but on the other hand salaries are high
- Bad weather, with long, dark winters
- Difficult language, and although English is widely spoken, you have to know Norwegian to get many jobs or to integrate
Living and working in Oslo, conclusion
In summary, I would say that living in Oslo, even if it is a short-term experience, is an interesting option. If you have the opportunity to earn a good salary and do not feel the need to go to a club every night, you can also save some money.
Anyone interested in moving to Norway should read the article: How to move to Norway