Norway is a beautiful Scandinavian country famous for its natural attractions like mountains, glaciers, and stunning fjords. The land of Vikings is undoubtedly one of the most amazing countries in the world, known for its safe streets, clean air, midnight sun, and its high standard of living. Working and living in this peaceful country is great in so many ways, however, if you’re thinking of moving to Norway, you need to understand the whole picture and find out everything about living in Norway, pros and cons, and what benefits can you get. Relocating to a foreign country can be both exciting and a bit scary, so before you decide, it’s really important to know everything. Without further ado, here is our list of some of the biggest advantages and disadvantages of living in Norway.
Pros and Cons of Living in Norway
It’s actually the happiest place on Earth
According to a United Nations agency report, Norway is currently the happiest place on Earth. In 2017, Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country and behind Norway and Denmark come Iceland, Switzerland, and Finland. But what makes this country so special? Well, Norway is ranking highly in all areas that support happiness such as freedom, health, caring, generosity, honesty, good governance and income.
It’s really safe and peaceful country
Besides being the happiest place on Earth, Norway is also one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world. The crime and the incarceration rates in Norway are extremely low. Police officers don’t even carry guns and robberies are very rare, which makes Norway one of the safest places to live in and travel to.
High-quality healthcare for all
The quality of public healthcare in Norway is high and it’s covered under the national system. This means that the residents aren’t paying out of their pockets for visits to the doctor (except for dental care) or are paying but only a small fee. There are both public and private facilities in Norway, although private healthcare is funded by patient fees and is much more expensive. Anyone who’s living and working in Norway for more than a year is required to contribute toward the National Insurance Scheme which helps to fund public healthcare.
High salary and high standard of living
Salaries in Norway are among the highest in the world and the unemployment rate is very low. There are many employment opportunities in a range of industries and the salaries are high even for the non-skilled workers. There’s no minimum wage and the average salary of full-time workers is around $68,000 ($5,135 per month). Part-time employees can earn an average of $4,000 per month.
The Norwegians love to work hard but they also want to play hard. If you’re on a local working contract, you will enjoy five weeks of holidays per year in addition to the many national holidays throughout the year.
Short working hours
Compared to other countries, Norway has signficantly shorter working weeks. Norwegians usually work 7.5 hours per day (37.5 per week) with half an hour for lunch. Employees spend an average of 8 hours at the workplace and it’s not expected that they will answer emails in the evenings or on the weekends. Of course, anyone who has to work more than 40 hours in a week will be paid overtime.
The market in Norway is full of charming and modern houses and apartments you can buy or rent for a high standard of living. Norwegians take a lot of pride in their homes, which means that they take very good care of them. Most houses are built with wood, which gives them a natural feel and they are usually painted in a variety of vivid colors such as yellow, red, or blue.
High-quality public education and free college education
Norway is a peaceful and safe country that favors equality and places great importance on education. Norway is known to offer a high quality of life in many aspects including education, which means that they have numerous high-quality learning institutions. The country also offers free college and university education to everyone, whether they’re Norwegian or not.
If you enjoy the outdoors and you like to maintain an active lifestyle, then Norway is the place to be. Norwegians enjoy many kinds of sports such as hiking, fishing, skiing, camping, snowboarding, and whitewater rafting. Norway is widely regarded as the home of skiing and winter sports lovers in Norway get to ski for almost six months of a year. Hiking is also a popular sport in this beautiful country that boasts some of the most amazing mountain landscapes in the world.
When thinking of Norway, most people think of winter. Even though it can get very cold in the Northern parts of the country, in the coastal areas of Southern Norway the temperatures are rarely exceptional. The winters are long, freezing, and windy, but summers are generally cool and pleasant. The worst thing about Norwegian weather is that it is wet year round, so if you don’t like rain, snow, and cold weather, then this place is not right for you.
High cost of living
Even though Norway is the safest country with high salaries, high-quality healthcare and education, it’s still one of the world’s most expensive countries. Almost everything in Norway is really expensive. For example, a cup of coffee costs around $7.50, a loaf of bread is $10, a 10-minute bus trip costs nearly $5.00, and an average dinner at a mid-range restaurant comes with a hefty price tag of $35.00 to $40.00 per person.
Norway may be the wealthiest and happiest place on Earth, but it is also one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world with a total tax burden of 45% of GDP. If you’re living in Norway you will have to pay a huge amount of tax no matter what, but on positive side, this money will go to worthwhile areas like public healthcare ad free education.
Norwegian is not the easiest language to learn
The Norwegian language (natively known as Norsk) is not the easiest language to learn. Learning Norwegian is one of the first challenges you will face when you move to Norway and Google Translate will probably become your best friend. You can start by taking Norwegian classes every day, watching movies and TV series with subtitles in Norwegian and listening to Norwegian radio stations to get used to listening to local dialects. However, even if you can’t learn Norwegian, it’s okay because almost everyone in Norway speaks English.