Ok, we’re going to get the bad news out of the way first. Oslo is possibly one of the most expensive places to live in the world. In fact, it was crowned with this double-edged accolade only last year. The good news? It’s been overtaken this year by London, so you may well be better off relocating here in 2014. But there’s so much more to say about Norway than this, and for all its pricey drawbacks the payoff is priceless. Norwegians are time-rich, and benefit from a work-life balance that far exceeds that of its neighbouring countries. Our expats explain…

Working culture

Five weeks’ holiday a year in Norway is both mandatory and the minimum allocation. Add to this a whole host of public holidays (especially in May) and the 7.5 hour working days which really are just 7.5 hours long, and suddenly Oslo looks like a pretty reasonable place to live and work. Norwegian employers are also very considerate of medical and child-related absences, and family values run deep. You shouldn’t be expected to work late nights or over the weekend here in Oslo – your free time is exactly that: yours. Sundays are very quiet days in this country and you’ll find a lack of shops, restaurants and even public transport operating on Sundays. The 24 hour culture so many other major cities run on is convenient but exhausting, and expats tend to swiftly embrace the ‘enforced’ downtime over weekends. Norwegians are, by and large, content with the simple company of friends and family, and there’s not the pressure here to boast a packed calendar of social events on a weekly basis. This may or may not have anything to do with the cost of living, of course…

Ease of transition

Being a Socialist country that shares the information of all inhabitants that come onto its central data systems, you’ll find everything from renting a flat to seeing a doctor a fairly seamless process with minimal form-filling required. It’s also easy to set up a small business or to work freelance in Oslo, thanks to the fact that there are still gaps in the market in all sorts of services and sectors. In short, the country’s workforce is hugely diverse because of a lack of qualified nationals. Sectors like oil, shipping, technology and education are all employers with a big international workforce in Oslo. Fed up being the little fish? Time to move to the small pond, then.

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Green living

Whether it’s your specific industry or not, you’ll be pleased to know that Oslo is hot on sustainability, and there are plenty of employment opportunities in this area as a result. The city was recently awarded the Green Lux Award for Greenest International City, and was committed to sustainability long before other European cities followed suit. 94% of household waste is now recycled in Oslo, all buses now run on biofuels, and 85% of school children walk or bike to school. Oslo’s CO2 emissions are also the lowest in Europe, and thanks to its smooth-running public transport systems and a proposed new rail service from the airport into the city, there’s little need for a car here.