Being a Nordic country that lies in the northwestern portion of Europe while also controlling the arctic and sub-Antarctic islands, the Kingdom of Norway has quite a unique positioning in today’s world.
Norway mostly features high, mountainous terrain with several natural attractions.
The core territory of this country includes the northern and western parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Famously known for numerous fjords, the deep grooves cut into the land that the sea flooded, following the end of the Ice Age, Norway also claims a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
Once you begin living in Norway, you’ll have over 400,000 lakes to discover among which Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest one on the continent. You’ll also get to explore more than 239,000 registered islands.
There are many factors that make you want to pack your bags and begin living in Norway. But before you make a settlement with yourself, we have some pros and cons listed to help you make a thorough decision.
Pros of Living in Norway
1. Natural Beauty
The outstanding beauty of this country is enough to leave anyone awestruck. The beautiful landscapes more than make up for the discomfort caused by episodes of rain and wind along the coast.
Norwegians have great care for the environment and they take notice of the impact they make on it each day. Their efforts to keep each city clean in multiple ways are fairly visible. Once you start living here you’ll have to be prepared to start recycling in ways that might come off as unusual to you at first.
2. Low Crime Rates
In 2018, there were only a total of 25 murders in Norway. Also, since 2014, the overall crime is down 9.6%. The primary issues are trivial theft and domestic violence while organized crime happens on a small scale.
Even though it is recommended to take precautions anywhere you decide to leave, you’ll come to know that Norway is comparatively safe with a low crime rate. You’ll see most children walking themselves to school every day without the worry of something happening to them. Residents are so confident in their neighborhood and community that they leave their homes unlocked at night.
3. High Work Salaries
As compared to the rest of Europe, the salaries in Norway are generally high. This fact is especially beneficial for workers at the lower end of the pay scale. It is very helpful as the country doesn’t have a fixed minimum wage that businesses must follow.
This means you will be able to pay the higher prices found in Norway as you’ll have more money available. This is also the reason why the service industries are more expensive. But if you have your eyes set on a promotion, you’ll have to remember that the range of salaries isn’t as wide as it is in the United States or Canada.
4. Free Post-Secondary Education
You automatically qualify for this advantage once you become a resident of Norway.
You can attend college classes or the local university even if you aren’t Norwegian. You meet the qualifications once you’ve established residency. Obtaining your degree is absolutely free, which means you can go for whatever vocation you prefer for your career without any hassle of debt. Norway gives primary importance to being educated, hence the public system reflects the structure.
5. Outdoorsy and Family-friendly Environment
You’ll come across endless opportunities especially when you begin exploring the northern part of Norway. There are plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, cycling, and walking paths. It all becomes a part of your lifestyle here. You’ll be having active hours almost every day if you decide to take part in the fun. Finding a gym or joining a sports team is also fairly easy.
You can make it a family adventure as the Norwegians prioritize family time over anything else. In addition to a working day which is mostly 7.5 hours, the government also kindly offers a parental leave policy so that both parents can welcome new additions to the family. Businesses don’t stay productive on the weekends or during the evening, and per year there are five weeks of holidays.
Cons of Living in Norway
1. High Housing and Renting Costs
If you are planning to become a resident of Norway, then you’ll have to set aside expenses for housing before anything else. It can be very expensive to rent or purchase a home, mainly if you wish to live in the city areas. A few people have their employer cover these costs but you’ll have to think about the exchange rate for your initial expenses.
Once you adjust to the economy, it won’t be as much of a problem, even though it might take a little time for you to start enjoying the amount of disposable income you receive.
2. Consumption Taxes
In Norway, there is a form of a sales tax or VAT called Merverdiavgift, that gets applied to goods and services. There isn’t really a way to avoid this expense as it’s put on almost everything. In order to avoid confusion about what you need to pay, you will always see the cost of the tax in the price listed for consumer goods. This is why it can be quite pricey to go to certain places or why prices seem high in Norway.
3. Challenging to Find Work
Finding work in Norway can be quite difficult. As there is a highly educated population due to the free post-secondary educational opportunities. It becomes tough to make a spot for yourself in the vocational culture.
Someone getting fired after they receive an employment offer is almost an impossibility because of which many openings aren’t available on any given day. Sending out more than 100 applications before receiving an offer is not unusual. As training new people is expensive, the hiring managers want to know if you’re sticking around.
4. Different Pace of Life
If you are used to living further west, you’ll notice that life moves a lot slower in Norway. When you begin living here, you’ll need to consciously reduce how much effort you put into things.
People who attempt to rise above what everyone else is doing are even looked down on sometimes by the culture here. Most people eventually get settled and find new pursuits that they love, such as exploring the many outdoor opportunities that exist.
5. Different Food Experience
This really might not be a disadvantage if you are someone who’s used to live on the Scandinavian Peninsula as you’ll already be experienced in living this way. When people begin living in Norway after being in North America, they quickly come to notice that the amount of selection for food products that are available to them is quite less than expected. You can find almost everything that you need or want, but you will have a lesser variety in the choices.
Cost of living in Norway
Life in Norway has its perks and drawbacks but if you’re willing to compromise a few things and go for the good parts, then here are a few basic costs of living listed out just for you
Across the entire country, the average rent stays at 8,740 NOK (952 USD). Also, make note that you will be required to put down a large security deposit when renting in this country. It can be between three to six months’ rent! It is something you will need to budget for in the beginning as this often comes as a shock to many ex-pats.
In Norway, basic utility costs which include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and waste services for an 85 square meters apartment will cost you an average of 1,571 NOK (171 USD) per month. It will cost an average of 473 NOK (51 USD) for an Internet with 60 Mbps or more of unlimited data. One minute of a prepaid local tariff, with no discounts or plans, is nearly 1 NOK (approximately 1 USD).
Public healthcare in Norway is free for people age 16 and younger and for pregnant and/or nursing women. Everybody else has to pay a yearly deductible equivalent to an average of 2,040 NOK (222 USD). You receive an exemption card after paying this, which gives you access to free health care for the rest of the year.
Including higher education, public schools are free in Norway. International students can also study tuition-free at a Norwegian university. There might be a small fee to pay, but it is roughly only 300 to 600 NOK (33–65 USD). This fee covers things like your student card, student union membership, etc. On the contrary, while public schools are free, private and international schools do require tuition fees which vary per school.