Norwegians culture is greatly influenced by its Viking past but with many of its old traditions changed and developed with time. This makes it be one of the most unique culutures in the world. If you want to have a real experience during your trip, you will first have to understand all customs and traditions in Norway.
The unique culture in Norway
There are many facts about Norwegian culture but talking about all of them it´s almost impossible, that´s why we have selected the top 8 most popular traditions in Norway.
1) Bunads (Traditional Norwegian dress)
The most famous custom in Norway, or at least one of the most popular ones, is wearing a Bunad, during the official celebrations like May 17th, the Constitution Day in Norway.
This dresses are also influenced by the Viking´s past. Both men and women wear this traditional national costume and there are around 200 different types of them.
That said, we must advice you, Bunads are extremely expensive, and people from all over the country, spend up to 50,000 NOK ($5878, £4624 or €4585), which is quite a lot.
2) Nature first
Eventhough most of their famous dishes include meat or fish, we have to admit Norwegians respect a lot their nature, forests and wildlife.
There is a reason for it, which is that they just love spending time outdoors. In order to keep enjoying it, they try to keep the wild alive.
There is even a law known as “Allemannsretten” that says all public lands are free to access, including National parks and reserves. The only thing they ask in exchange is to treat nature with respect.
Having a second home or a cabin closser to nature is one of the most famous Norway holiday traditions.
Usually this cabins are about two hours or so far from their homes, so they can go easily during weekends or winter break.
The tradition requires not having electircity or water in these cabins, so they have to make the water by melting the snow. Unfortunately the tradition is being lost, and many people nowadays, make their cabins with electricity, WCs and running water.
4) Personal space
If you are traveling to Norway for the first time, you really need to know about this one. Norwegians like having their own space, so never seat on their table, avoid touching and when you are meeting someone from there, they would sure appreciate if you could skip the two kisses or the handshakes.
Noway is a huge country with a very small population, houses are usually spread out and cities don´t get as crowded as in other countries, therefore, we totally understand why having your own space is part of the Norwegian culture.
5) Norwegians Tacos every friday
Aren´t tacos from Mexico? Yes! You are 100% right, but they just love it here in Norway. This Norwegian tradition started trending back in the 90s, when almost every family and group of friends would celebrate the beginning of the weekend with some delicious tacos.
Although nowadays it doesn´t need to be eaten in friday and they eat whenever they want, tacos are still a thing in Norway and we can say these Norwegian custom is still alive.
That said, if you are traveling to Norway, don´t expect tacos to be as good as the Mexican ones!
6) They love to read
Reading plays a very important role in the culture of Norway. The same way in many countries people like to spend 1 or 2 hours watching tv, playing sports or videogames, Norwegian people like to spend their free time reading books.
Don´t be surprised if you are ever taking the bus, or even if you are walking through the street and you see lots of people reading. Norway is the home for any book lover and furthermore, Norwegians read more books than any other country in the world (per capita), plus, books are tax-free!
7) Russ: The 1 month party
Who said Norwegians don´t like to party? Maybe they don´t do it as much as other countries like Italy or Spain, but whenever they do, they go hard on it.
This is one of the most famous customs in Norway, and it is all about partying. 18/19 years old students finishing school, start this famous party at the beginning of March and finish it the 17th, the Norwegian National Holiday.
Right after the party is over the exams starts. As you can imagine, after so much party, many students fail the exams, because of it, many schools allow students to take their last year once again.
8) Miths and Folklore in Norway
You may have heard about the famous Norse Gods, like Thor, Odin or Loki, but the Norwegian mithology is much more than that. Trolls, elves, witches, there all kind of non-human creatures and if you get to meet a real Norwegian, you will sure get to hear at least one of those stories.
Of course, this part of the Norwegian culture, comes from the Vikings. Back then, all these stories were actual facts for them, and with the lack of science, even things like the Northern Lights, had a magical or misterious meaning.
Telling these stories is still a Norwegian tradition and they pass it down from generation to generation
Other things to know about the culture in Norway
The Norwegian traditions we just told are 8 of the most interesting facts about the culture in Norway, but there are other things you really need to keep in mind if you want to avoid porblems while traveling Noway and if you want to be respectful with them and their lifestyle.
Tipping culture in Norway
I think everyone wonders the same before traveling to a new country, is it mandatory to tip at the reastaurants or hotels, is tipping seeing as a good or a bad thing…
Well, here in Norway, as it happens in most of the European countries, tipping isn´t mandatory, so if you don´t want to, you can decide to just not do it.
That said, depending on the type of activity, in some places, they may actually expect the tip. For example, restaurants and bars usually expect between 10 to 20% tip, if the service has been good. Meanwhile, it is uncommon to tip any worker at hotels.
Take your shoes off
Taking your shoes off in Norway is like saying thank you or sorry anywhere else around the world, it is one of those social rules they teach you since you are a kid.
This rule is mainly used in private houses, but it is so importan, that they even teach it during the first years of school.
Nowadays, it is a matter of respect, but if you think about it, the rule makes perfect sense in Norway. It is a country, where it rains and snows oftenly, so the last thing you want to do, is be cleaning constantly all the mess from the outdoors.
Relationship between Norwegians and Swedish:
Historically, the relationship beween Norway and Sweden has never been the best. There were years where both countries, where ruled by the same king and there has also been a few wars between them. Everything started in the Viking Era and the last big conflic took place in 1905.
It has been a while and nowadays the relationship is much better, but still, there are people in some parts of both countries that don´t like to talk about each other, so you better be carefull when talking about the other country.
Hope you enjoyed reading about the culture and traditions of Norway
That´s all you need to know about the traditions and culture in Norway, as you can see, they have a very unique lifestyle and many social customs to follow.
Now, you are more than ready to make a trip to Norway! Hope you enjoyed reading about Norway culture and traditions, and if you have any question or you find out about another tradition we should add to our list, please let us know!