January 15, 2015 | By Collette Peck
Norway has gotten so popular as a travel destination (partially due to the success of Disney’s Frozen) that tourists are flocking to the fjords! And which such dramatic scenery, it’s no wonder! If you are looking forward to a visit to Norway, here are a few Norwegian customs and etiquette rules that you might find helpful on your trip.
1. For starters, more than 99 percent of the 4.3 million people who live in Norway speak Norwegian, the official language. Norwegian has two written forms of language: Bokmål (literally “book language”) and Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”). Although both have the same legal recognition, Bokmål is more common.
2. When greeting someone from Norway, use a firm handshake, direct eye contact and a smile. Like the U.S., Norwegian greetings are casual but meaningful.
3. Though informal, Norwegians generally have reserved body language, so don’t take offense if someone appears cold or aloof. I find this to be the case with most European countries, until they get to know you, better save the BFF hugs for your friends at home.
4. Norwegians are punctual in both social situations and business.
5. Keeping calm and not displaying strong emotions in public are common virtues in Norway.
6. Avoid discussing business. Norwegians tend to separate their business and personal lives.
7. Similar to the rising trend in the U.S., many couples live together without getting married. A wedding is not a prerequisite to starting a family, so it’s best not to make presumptions about people’s marital status.
8. In general, Norwegians are known to be humble, good-natured and friendly. Many people recognize Jante Law, a term used to describe a pattern of behavior associated with Scandinavians that frown upon individual success and achievement. Essentially, it is meant to teach people to be modest. As such, Norwegians try to see all people as standing on equal footing.
The tenets of the law are:
– You shall not think you are special.
– You shall not believe you are smarter than others.
– You shall not believe you are wiser than others.
– You shall not behave as if you are better than others.
– You shall not believe that you know more than others.
– You shall not believe that you can fix things better than others.
– You shall not laugh at others.
– You shall not believe that others care about you.
– You shall not believe that you can teach others anything.
9. Most Norwegians have simple tastes and are not prone to excessive showiness.
I hope this helps to provide a little background about the Norwegian people as you enjoy your journey!