Things You Should Know Before You Move to Norway
A country known for its mountains and lakes – after reading this guide to Norway you’ll be perfectly equipped to deal with the highs and lows of moving to a new country.
There are approximately 5 million Norwegians in the world. The Sami are the indigenous people of Norway and have their origins in the northern regions of Finland, Sweden and Russia. Today, there are approximately 30,000 Sami in the country and most live in Finnmark, in the northern region of the country. The Sami are known for their rich culture, distinctive music and art.
In Norway, education is very important and something that’s freely available regardless of social background, religion or race. Pursuing higher education is very much encouraged in Norway and the country offers a range of academic opportunities at universities and colleges.
Norwegians are known for their modern lifestyle and while some processes in Norway may seem slow, many are fast, effective and electronic. For example, Norway is quickly becoming a cash-free society with debit and credit cards fully integrated into shops and other services to allow for easy payments. Similarly, when visiting the dentist or the doctor, you’ll notice that there aren’t any receptionists; instead, Norway relies on people being prompt and patient, waiting their turn to be seen.
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One of the only things certain in life, tax is no different in Norway – except that it’s higher than most other European countries. Taxes are one of the main reasons that Norway is considered an expensive country to live in. In Norway, people pay tax on nearly everything and this is reflected in the price of everyday goods. With the rate of Value Added Tax at 25 per cent and 14 per cent for food and drink, Norway often seems expensive to people emigrating from elsewhere in Europe. And VAT is only the beginning – there are property taxes, inheritance taxes, TV taxes, car taxes, fuel taxes and of course income taxes, which is at least 28 per cent of a salary.
Many Norwegians speak English, but if you’re considering moving to Norway, it helps if you have a basic understanding of their language. It’s easy enough to get by in shops using English but most Norwegians expect people to speak their language when in social settings. The same goes for work – regardless of the industry, almost all business is conducted in Norwegian.
Getting around within Norway can be expensive. Hotels and flights aren’t cheap unless you’re only flying to and from Norway’s capital, Oslo. The language barrier can also become an issue in less populated areas where English isn’t as widely accepted in communication.
The serious matter of holidays
Holidays are a serious matter in Norway. Employees get five weeks annual leave a year, three of which are normally taken consecutively over the summer. So serious is the holiday season in this country that the local authorities even stagger the school holiday periods so that the ski resorts don’t get too busy at the same time.