Norway has a low crime rate. The most likely crimes for tourists to experience is car break-ins and bicycle theft. Pickpockets do also tend to be an increasing problem in urban areas in the summer season, but it's still nothing like in larger cities in Europe. It is always a good idea to look after your belongings, this includes never leaving valuable objects visual in your car and locking your bike safely.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Norway are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. In Norway, driving under the influence defined generally as 0.02% Blood Alcohol Content could land you immediately in jail.
The Norwegian royal family is protected by lèse majesté laws. Criticism directed at the King or the royal family is, in theory, punishable up to five years in prison, but these laws have hardly ever been used since the independence in 1905. As a general rule of thumb, avoid discussing the royal family unless it is really necessary or you know the people you are talking with.
Single women should have few problems, although ordinary street sense is advised after dark. Especially the inner east side of Oslo has become more dangerous during night hours over the last decade. Even so, there are still relatively few violent crimes.
Norway is one of the countries in the world with least corruption. Police and other authorities cannot be bribed, travellers are strongly advised against attempting in any form of bribery.
The greatest dangers to tourists in Norway are found in nature. Every year, quite a few tourists get hurt, even killed, in the mountains or on the seas, usually after given, unheeded warnings. For example, do not approach a glacier front, big waves on the coast, or a big waterfall unless you know what you're doing, and do not walk on glaciers without proper training and equipment.
Norway has few dangerous wild animals. Car crashes with the mighty moose or the smaller red deer account for the bulk of wild animal-related deaths and injuries. Also note that in some rural districts, sheep, goats, cows or reindeer can be seen walking or sleeping on the road.
Specific rules and precautions apply to Svalbard, where you should never travel outside Longyearbyen without someone in your party carrying a weapon. The polar bears on Svalbard are a real and extremely dangerous threat for the unprepared. In the summer, during the tourist season, there are more polar bears here than humans. They are strong, quick if they want to, curious, and have no fear of people, but will mostly shy away at the sound of a gunshot. Still, it's one of the few areas polar bears can survive on when there's no frozen waters to hunt from during summer, and they're protected as an endangered species. Svalbard is a fragile, dry arctic tundra with large parts almost untouched by humans. Both growth and decay is extremely slow here, so all activity is under management. The current recommendation is that non-local visitors participate on organized tour arrangements only. Breaking the law, disturbing wildlife or being reckless can land you a fine and/or deportation from the archipelago. That said, if you come well prepared with common sense, the visit will be one of the most memorable you've ever had. The nature, scenery and history of Svalbard is simply breathtaking.
As for other wild animals on mainland Norway, there are not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with brown bear and wolf in the wilderness. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no polar bears in mainland Norway, let alone polar bears walking city streets. The Scandinavian brown bear is peaceful and will generally run away from humans. In any case it is extremely unlikely that tourists will even see a glimpse of one of the around 50 brown bears remaining in Norway. Norwegian wolves are not dangerous to humans. In general, there is no reason worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts in Norway.
When hiking or skiing, be prepared for a sudden shift in the weather, as these can happen very quickly in Norway. If unsure about conditions, ask locals or go on a guided tour. Norwegians develop a common sense on security, and may give warnings but won't, essentially, protect you from ignoring them. You are expected to manage on your own in the wilderness, so only the most common tourist spots have fences or warning signs. Even at the most dangerous places. Norwegian nature can be a safe place to enjoy if you take time to develop the necessary skills to handle it, but lives are lost when people think too much of themselves and lack the training. Nature is full of surprises, so the most important preparations are done through trips that don't look all that exciting on the outset, but will have yet another list of things you've never been into before. Keep in mind that avalanches are common. Unless you know exactly what you're doing, stay in marked slopes when skiing. If you think you know what you're doing, think twice. Only in the first three months of 2011 12 people were killed in avalanches in Norway.
If you plan to cross the mountains by car for instance by driving from Oslo to Bergen in the winter season, it is imperative that you are prepared for the journey. The conditions are harsh. Always keep a full tank of fuel, and keep warm clothes, food and drink in the car. Make sure your tires are good enough and suited for winter conditions studded or non-studded winter tires, "all-year" tires are not enough, and that you have the sufficient skills for driving in snowy and cold conditions. Roads are often closed on short notice due to weather conditions. For advice on conditions and closed roads, call 175 in Norway or check the online road reports (http://www.vegvesen.no/Tr...) in Norwegian only from the Norwegian State road authorities. Remember that not all parts of the roads have cellular phone coverage.
Norway has a unified police force "politi". The police is the government authority in areas like crime, national security, major accidents, missing persons, traffic control, passports and immigration control. Most cities have municipal parking officers, these do not however have any authority beyond fining and removing vehicles.Commercial areas are mostly guarded by private companies. They generally act as public service, peaceful and friendly, but are well connected in case anything happens. Anyone may hold anyone for the purpose of immediately getting hold of police, but they have no special rights.
It's generally considered good practice to help others in case of need, and basic rescue training is part of school education. The country is too sparsely populated to always have to wait for someone with a license, and no one can sue anyone for a honest effort. Robberies happen and there's reason to be wary in public areas, but it's still good practice to call for police or for an ambulance.
Before calling, find, if possible, the exact position
Emergency Medical Services ☎113
If you are unsure which number to call, ☎112 is the central for all rescue services and will put you in contact with the correct department.
For non-emergencies, the police is to be called on ☎02800.
The hearing impaired using a text telephone can reach the emergency services by dialing 1412
AAA members may call NAF on ☎08505
The water quality in Norway is mostly adequate and tap water is always drinkable except on boats, trains etc.
The hygiene in public kitchens is very good, and food poisoning rarely happens to tourists.
Norway can get relatively warm in the summer, but be prepared to bring warm clothes sweater, windbreaking/waterproof jacket, as they might come in handy. It's hard to predict the weather, and in summer, you may experience severe weather changes during your stay.
Tourists hiking in the high mountains above the forest should bring sports wear for temperatures down to freezing.
Norway has a high density of pharmacies. Nose sprays and standard pain killers paracetamol, aspirin can also be purchased in grocery stores and gas stations.
The sun is generally not as strong as in southern Europe. Keep in mind that in cool conditions low temperatures or wind you don't feel that the sun burns your skin. The air is often very clear and clean in the North and UV-levels can be high despite the low sun. Also keep in mind: the sun is stronger in the high mountains, radiation is multiplied on or near snow fields as well as water surfaces. Even when it's cloudy the light can be strong on snow fields. Do not underestimate the power of the Nordic sun! Bring sunglasses when you go to the high mountains, when you go skiing in spring and when you go to the beach.
In southern Norway there are ticks flått that appear in summertime. They can transmit Lyme's disease borreliosis and more serious TBE tick-borne encephalitis through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly along the coast from Oslo to Trondheim. Although incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry diseases, it's advisable to wear long trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense or tall grass areas the usual habitat for ticks. You can buy special tick tweezers from the pharmacy that can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should go visit a doctor as soon as possible. Since ticks are black, they are more easily found if you wear bright clothes.
There's only one type of venomous snake in Norway: the European adder hoggorm, which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Norway up to the arctic circle except for the highest mountains and areas with little sunshine. Although its bite hardly ever is life-threatening except to small children and allergic people, be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields. In the unlikely event that one encounters the adder, the most common and effective advice to simply stomp hard on the ground not on the adder!. The adder will feel the vibration and seek to get away, as it will only attack if all its attempts to avoid contact fail. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance. The probability of being bitten is however very small, as the adder is very shy of humans.
ContactFor minor injuries and illness, go to the local "Legevakt" emergency room/physician seeing patients without appointment. In cities this is typically a municipal service centrally located, be prepared to wait for several hours. In rural districts you typically have to contact the "district physician" on duty. For inquiries about toxins from mushrooms, plants, medicine or other chemicals call the national Toxin Information Office at 22 59 13 00
Most Norwegian households are connected to the Internet in some way often broadband, making cybercafés hard to find outside major cities, due to a relatively small market. Most public libraries have free public access to the internet, but a limited number of computers and limited opening hours. As of May 2015, free Internet appears to be available in all 7-11 and Deli de Luca convenience stores, no purchase required.
However, if you bring a laptop with a wireless connection you will find wireless internet zones just about everywheregas stations, city centres, cafés, shopping centres, hotels etc, be prepared to pay for it though. It is not unusual for hotels to have a terminal for guest use. Around 60% of camp grounds have wifi internet, but if it's crucial for you, best to ask before paying for your camping space.
As of August 2011, Telenor national telecoms provider sells prepaid wireless 3G internet dongles for computers NOK700, about €100, NOK150 buy-in must be purchased with the dongle itself, that comes with NOK50 credit and 300Mb of data to be used in 4 days. Then, another NOK150 purchase must be made for 15 days unlimited internet access. 3G speeds are very usable, and if 3G service is not available the dongle steps down to 2G not so much fun. Of course, these prices and conditions may change quickly. There is a mobile phone shop at Oslo airport land side that sells phone equipment.
numbers, times and dates
Norwegians use a comma as the decimal sign, eg: 12,000 means 12 specified with three decimal places not 12 thousand, whereas 12 000 or 12.000 means 12 thousand.
Norwegians use both 24 and 12 hour system; often the 12 hour system when speaking and the 24 hour system in writing. Norwegians don't use am/pm to indicate morning or afternoon. In Norwegian "half ten" "halv ti" means half past nine, when speaking to a person not fluent in English better not use this form to avoid misunderstanding. Dates can be seen abbreviated in a number of ways, but the order is always DATE-MONTH-YEAR, for instance 12.7.08 or 120708, 12/7-08 or 12.07.08; the first and latter being the only correct forms is July 12, 2008. Monday is considered the first day of the week, while Sunday is the last. In timetables, weekdays are thus often indicated by numbers 1 Mon through 7 Sun. Norwegian calendars will also indicate the number of the week 1 through 53. Timetables for public transport often use the abbreviation Dx67, meaning "all days except Saturday and Sunday".
Norway uses the metric system only. A Norwegian mile, mil, is exactly 10km. Land is commonly measured in decares dekar or mål, and equals 1000m². There is overall limited knowledge of Imperial or US measures, although most younger Norwegians will be somewhat familiar with US weight and distance measures. Few Norwegians will be able to convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, and weather forecasts use metric units. However, many modern cell-phones have conversion programmes which can be used to understand the metric system.
In Norwegian there is usually no concept of a ground floor as in the UK or Erdgeschoss in German; instead, the entrance level of a building is called the first floor første etasje like in the US. Levels are then counted 1, 2, 3 etc.
First time visitors not familiar with the country tend to plan a trip in Norway from city to city. Although Norway has many nice cities the country's main attraction is the land itself, the nature, the landscapes, the wilderness, as well as a number of man-made sights in rural districts, notably road constructions and cultural treasures such as the stave churches. Unlike many other countries in Europe, a trip to Norway should ideally be planned according to types of landscapes to visit as well as a selection of cities. Norway is wide country with long distances and complex topography, and travellers should not underestimate distances.
If purchasing a house and business in Norway do check all legal documents kjøpekontrakt/takstand maps grensekart are correct. Ask for information in the native language you are used to. Make sure the Estate Agent is registered with NEF.
There is no standard spoken Norwegian and a wide range of dialects is used even in public broadcasting, and there are even two standard ways of writing it, bokmål and nynorsk. Norwegians learn both at school. The two varieties are very close and mutually intelligible with the two other Scandinavian languages, Danish and Swedish. Of the two standard ways of writing it, bokmål is by far the more common form of writing in most of the country, though nynorsk is prevalent in Western Norway. Overall, bokmål is the preferred written standard for about 85% of the population.
Sami is a minority language which has official status in some Northern regions. Road signs and other public information is then provided in both Norwegian and Sami note that Norwegian and Sami place names may differ, maps will typically use the Norwegian name. Sami is related to Finnish, but not to Scandinavian languages, and virtually no non-Sami Norwegians speak Sami.
Almost all Norwegians speak English, and unless you approach someone really old and isolated you should have no trouble whatsoever getting around in English. Officially, 91% of the population speak fluent English, making Norway one of the most English proficient countries on the planet where English is not an official language.
German and French are spoken by some workers in the tourism industry. However, this does not mean you will actually get by in these languages, and English is what you should stick to if you don't speak the local language or another Nordic language.
Foreign films and television programmes are generally shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Norwegian.
classical travel journals from norway
W. Matthiue Williams: Through Norway With a Knapsack 1859
Mary Wollstonecraft: Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark 1796
Thomas Malthus: Travel journal from Norway 1799
Samuel Beckett: The fjords and folk of Norway 1915
W.C. Slingsby: Norway: the Northern Playground 1904
Dhiravat na Pombejra: A Month in Norway: King Chulalongkorn's travels July-August 1907.
Robert Everest: A journey through Norway, Lapland, and part of Sweden : with some remarks on the geology of the country, its climate and scenery. 1829
Lees, James A. and Clutterbuck, Walter J: Three in Norway by two of them 1912
Norwegians are generally open-minded and tolerant and there are few, if any, dos and don'ts that foreign visitors need to keep in mind.
Many Norwegian people can, however, be mistaken as somewhat rude and unwelcoming, due to the fact that they can be very direct and that small talk generally doesn't come easy. This is just a matter of culture. Making contact with strangers, such as talking with fellow passengers on the bus, is uncommon. Furthermore, Norwegian as a language is very straightforward. If asked for a favor, you are likely not to hear a "please." On the other hand, Norwegians say "takk" "thank you" for almost anything, including, for example, receiving change back from cashier or bus driver. It is customary to thank the cook for the food "takk for maten" in a private home. The reply will be "velbekomme" or "værsågod". The once-common use of the polite pronoun is nowadays extremely rare, and so is polite phrases and words in everyday situations, so don't be offended if a Norwegian speaking a foreign language uses a very familiar language. The Norwegian culture is, in some aspects, very informal, and Norwegians usually address each others by first name only, except perhaps in official meetings. The informal culture is, however, not equivalent of that in southern parts of Europe; showing up late for meetings is considered rude, and so is talking loud, being too personal with strangers, and losing your temper. Although you may get away with arriving "fashionably late" at dinners in someone else's home, this is certainly not expected and should be limited to no more than fifteen minutes. It is customary to take off your shoes when entering a Norwegian home - particularly in the winter.
Norwegians can also be perceived as somewhat nationalistic. It is common to use the flag in private celebrations such as anniversaries and weddings, and many will also fly the flag on public holidays, and violating the flag rules is frowned upon. Most Norwegians will speak warmly of their country, in particular about subjects such as nature, sports, and the country's economic success. 17 May, the constitution day, can perhaps be a bit overwhelming for foreigners, as the country is covered in flags, citizens dress up in their finest clothes and celebrate all day long. Norwegian patriotism is, however, generally just an expression of appreciation of living in a successful community, not chauvinistic or aggressive in any way. Even so, you should refrain from making jokes about the Norwegian patriotism unless you are sure they will be well-received. On constitution day, dress up and try to say gratulerer med dagen literally "congratulations with the day" to anyone you meet, and you will probably get the same in response and see a lot of smiles, even if you're not Norwegian at all. Norwegians take pride in the fact that the parades on constitution day are made up of schoolchildren and families instead of military troops.