Norway is one of the countries with the highest per capita income in the world. There are many employment opportunities, people are well paid and there is a good work/life balance (5/7 weeks vacation per year). Living in Norway is definitely a good choice. Norway has a relaxed pace of life. If your goal is to have a career, work overtime and even work weekends, you’ll be disappointed. Norwegians work to live, they don’t live to work.
The gap between rich and poor is not large, and wage differentials are also small. Most people belong to the middle class and real poverty does not exist. There are numerous allowances and subsidies for the unemployed and a good social welfare system that provides security for pensioners, people with chronic illnesses or the disabled. The tax level is high, about 50% of the income is spent on taxes. Even though taxes are quite high, everyone can take advantage of a number of vital benefits, such as health services, paid paternity leave, free school services, subsidies, etc.
People are friendly, tolerant, polite, calm and ready to help you. Norwegians are generally loyal, serious, punctual and creative, but they are also very reserved and want their personal space to be respected. People keep a respectful distance, don’t talk too loudly, and don’t invade your privacy. For People who come from a more outgoing culture, these good manners can add to the sense of isolation that always accompanies a move to a new country, and when the gray weather is added to the mix, all the conditions are in place to increase depression.
Norwegians have created a relatively safe society. Life is generally quite monotonous and boring. After 6 p.m., everything is over, stores close, and people go home. On weekends, however, the bars and clubs fill up, and the national sport is social drinking, often to the point of drunkenness.
As a foreigner, don’t expect to make friends very quickly. Most Norwegians tend to date people they have known for years, so making a group of local friends is difficult. As a foreigner, it takes a lot of effort to build a circle of friends. Most people are very closed and reserved and have already had a circle of friends for a long time and aren’t interested in making new friends. If you learn Norwegian, your chances will increase, but it won’t be easy. Norwegian is not an easy language to learn, but it is important to learn it if you want to have an active social life or better job prospects.
The cost of living in Norway is very high. This is the flip side of the coin for rich countries with good economies. You earn more, but expenses are higher. Maybe you could earn money like in Norway and live in Spain.
All services (education, health, public transport, etc.) work perfectly because they are well financed by the state. Medical care is free, and in some cases psychological care is also free. The educational system is also free. Norway is a great country to raise a family. The education system is free, there are excellent daycare centers, one year of parental leave, and a variety of other benefits and family support measures, which means that the cost of caring for a child is minimal.
The weather, at least for many people, is absolutely terrible: 300 days a year of dark gray skies, cold, windy and wet. Winters are incredibly dark, long and dreary. In contrast, the short summers are pleasant and people are cheerful and spend a lot of time in nature, but forget about the long, hot Mediterranean summers. Weather, in my opinion, is the biggest problem you will face in Norway. You can change your attitude towards the weather, but you cannot change the weather.
Living and working in Norway pros and cons
Living in Norway, pros
- Good standard of living
- Good job opportunities and high salaries
- Excellent services (public transport, health, education, etc.)
- Good social system
- Possibility to live only with English
- Nature is incredible and the landscapes impressive
Living in Norway, cons
- High taxes
- High cost of living
- Difficult Norwegian language
- Terrible weather
Living and working in Norway, conclusion
Norway is a country that offers many opportunities, there is no doubt about that. In my opinion, the biggest problem with moving to this country is the weather. Norwegians themselves suffer from it, which is why they spend most of their vacations outside their country.
If you think that the weather is not essential for you and you are not a particularly extroverted person who loves his privacy, Norway can offer you a beautiful nature, a quiet life, a lot of free time, job opportunities, a good salary, decent public transport, modern and a welfare system that is one of the best in the world, which does not seem like a small thing to me. It is no coincidence that Norway is always, in different surveys, one of the countries with the best quality of life on the planet.
If you want all the information on how to work in Norway, I recommend that you read the article: Working in Norway
If you want to move to Norway you can read the article: How to move to Norway