Norwegian Food Items on a table with Norwegian flag

20 Signs You’ve Become a Real Norwegian

It isn’t enough to get the citizenship. Here are signs you have become a real Norwegian!

  1. You always drink water from the tap but cannot stand drinking lukewarm water. Although in your home country you would never waste water by letting it run for long minutes, here in Norway you can wait as long as it takes to get a cold glass of water. It needs to have the temperature of the glacier it just came out of.
  2. When Christmas approaches, you start decorating your house for it to be visible from space. But the most important thing for you as a true Norwegian is to have more lights and outside decorations than your neighbours.
  3. You have a blind trust in Norwegian authorities, and know that the tax authorities will always pay you back whatever you paid extra, with interests. So you willingly pay more taxes every year in order to get it back from the tax authorities the year after. You  call it “a savings plan”.
  4. You are very disappointed if there are no Norwegian waffles at you work’s cafeteria on any given Friday. When you first moved here you maybe had wild ideas like eating waffles with melted chocolate and whipped cream, or with lemon and sugar. But now as a true Norwegian you are so integrated that you only like them with either of these two options: rømme (cream) and jam, or brunost (brown cheese).
  5. Your idea of a perfect vacation is one you spend in untouched nature, meeting as few people as possible, and peeing in an outside toilet with a picture of the King of Norway on the wall.
  6. You never buy Fanta anymore, but choose the Norwegian version Solo instead. Same for Kvikk Lunsj which you would always choose over a KitKat. I mean the Norwegian version tastes totally different and SO much better, am I right?
  7. When crossing the street on a crosswalk, you don’t look sideways for cars that may be coming. Even when crossing the road outside a crosswalk, a true Norwegian would never doubt that cars would stop to let a pedestrian cross.
  8. You can spend 15 minutes explaining to someone the difference between the sound “kj” like in “kjøkken” and the sound “sj” like in “sjokolade”. And another 15 minutes complaining that Norwegian youth says “sh” for everything and does not even differentiate the true Norwegian sounds anymore.
  9. You never call your doctor anymore unless your are sick more than 3 days in a row. In Norway there is something called egenmelding which means the first three days are taken by the employee, based on trust and with no medical justification.
  10. You believe that people who drink a glass of wine on a Tuesday for lunch are alcoholics, but it is completely healthy to drink until you fall on a Friday evening. That is just called having a social life.
  11. You never eat a Grandiosa pizza on a plate, you eat it directly from the cardboard, that is just the original recipe.
  12. You miss cross country skiing so much in the summer that you’ve started roller-skiing. And of course the most stressful part about climate change is that there will be less snow for cross country skiing.
  13. You sleep with people on one-night-stands and ignore them the next day when meeting them in town or on public transportation.
  14. You honestly believe that being drunk is a valid excuse for saying and doing anything without having to be held accountable.
  15. You have already developed an identity relating to Christmas food. You now know whether you are a ribbe or pinnekjøtt family. Make sure you choose that right, because that tradition will have to be respected forever, and probably also by your children.
  16. When you read the word Aass you think of a beer.
  17. You watch a Norwegian show called “Hver gang vi møtes” where singers sing each other’s songs, and cry at least once per episode.
  18. You think the Norwegian Royal family is so warm and fantastic even though they cost tax payers a whole lot of money. But look at those cheek bones, and the nice speeches they write. It is all worth it.
  19. You and your partner switched your double duvet for a single down duvet each. Why on earth would anyone want to sleep under the SAME duvet? Even though you are married and have kids.
  20. You know at any given time whether the state monopoly shop for alcohol is open, and how much alcohol quota you are allowed to take home to Norway returning from a trip abroad. You aren’t even sure it is cheaper anymore but it does not matter, you buy the maximum of that quota every time you come back to Norway.
A Frog in the Fjord: One Year in Norway Book

20 thoughts on “20 Signs You’ve Become a Real Norwegian

  1. This all sounds true to me, although nr. is about to change. Next week water meters are being installed in each apartment in my building. Every drop saved means more electricity produced! I suggest a water bottle in the refrigerator. Cold and ready to satisfy your thirst.

  2. If you hate Norwegians so much why don’t you go back to France. You probably hate them too. Why does it matter what Norwegians like or do not like? Judge not lest you be judged yourself. Perhaps this is just sarcasm but it doesn’t come across that way. By the way, rømme is sour cream, not cream. Clearly you have not tried it.

    1. You forgot number 21 – You’ll feel offended if anyone says anything critical about the best country in the world !

      1. Haha this is so true. Try to critize something about Norway/Norwegians and 80% of them is offended. Has probably to do something with that it’s only a bit more than 200 years ago when they became independant. And just only 60 years ago they found oil and suddenly they became among the richest in the world. And that attitude shows, but it’s only because of oil. You can see that they never had to struggle and trade with many other countries like the rest of europe.

    2. Wow, having a bad day much or are you just new here? Because she’s a lovely woman who does love it here. I’ve been here 15 years and yeah, this is what it looks like. If you don’t like how you look from.the outside, maybe it’s you that has the issue and not us.

      1. Don’t turn it back on me! You are the one being so critical all the time. I’m a happy Norwegian all the time that you would criticize as being cold. Sorry, we can’t all be Norwegian. You are missing the elements of genetic and cultural heritage. Maybe all the expats agree with you and perhaps that is for whom you are writing. Ask some Norwegians how they feel about this and you might be surprised. Ha det bra.

    3. Snakk om hårsår. “You are the one being so critical all the time” says it all, you simply haven’t understood the point. Any immigrant who has lived here for a while will recognize a fair number of the Norwegian traits being described (not criticized!) and will probably have grown to love them. Indeed there are several well-known authors making the same amusing – and friendly – observations. You could start with “How to understand and use a Norwegian” by the Norwegian author Odd Børretzen. Or several books by Julien S. Bourrelle. Or attend a lecture by Pellegrino Riccardi on Norwegian culture. Greetings from an ex Brit, now a roller-skiing Norwegian because I miss the winter 🙂

    4. Even if we assume that she absolutely hates Norwegians, she has a full right to stay here as a French citizen. You are free to go and try to change the law if it hurts you.
      She is also a practicing lawyer and a publishing authoress creating value for the Norwegian economy. What did you do?

  3. I’ve been reading your blogs since I recently discovered it and laughed and laughed because they are all so true! Even that comment above where a Norwegian is insulted that you are criticizing this perfect country is so Norwegian. Hilarious! I’ve been sending the links to all my American friends and having a good discussion around how true it is. I guess immigrant experiences are similar no matter where we are from.

  4. Lovely – and true post! ♥️
    I’m a Norwegian, and I laughed out loud several times! 😊
    (This is the very first time I have left a reply on the internet.) 😁

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