Moving to Norway: One year on

Our Norwegian lifestyle

beach in new zealand at matapouri

From this.......

winter wonderland in norway with snow in the forest

To this......

We moved from New Zealand to Norway exactly one year ago this week and oh boy, has it been a long journey! And we are not quite ‘there’ yet, there’s still lots to do before we can say that we are ‘settled’.

There were unexpected challenges, some easy stuff that we expected to be difficult and overall we haven’t done too badly I guess. We have a house, garden, a borrowed car, the kids are settled in school/nursery, and my wife Cia, has a busy job that pays the bills.

I seem to have a lot to do even if I don’t have a ‘regular’ job, something that I need to get very soon if we are to go back on ‘luxuries’.

To sumarise the year I’m going to list the stuff I like and if I dare, the stuff I don’t like about living in Norway……

The great stuff:

  1. Clear blue, oh so blue skies quite a lot of the time.
  2. Virtually no wind, no roof rattling, fence flattening storms at all.
  3. No need to be obsesive about locking everything away.
  4. Safe driving most of the time, Norwegians are super law followers!
  5. Snow. Clean, fun and spectacular landscapes.
  6. Outdoorsy life with walks, fishing, forests, living near the sea etc.

The not so nice stuff….

  1. Sub zero temperatures for over 4 months.
  2. Horrendous electricity bills and a house with only 10cm thick insulation!
  3. Many small things are extremely expensive and prices vary, a lot.
  4. 20km humps on 40km roads, kills the suspension, fuel economy and throws you all over the car (OK if you have big 4×4, I guess).
  5. Super narrow roads and super big cars!
  6. Getting a decent paying job is difficult if you don’t speak Norwegian.

Looking at the lists, I think that the good outweighs the niggles and I wonder how this list will change over time as we settle in?

Stay well

About Ian

Handyman, humanitarian, inventor, blogger and finally a house husband looking after Cecilia, Julia, William near Hvalstrand in Asker, Norway.
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4 Responses to Moving to Norway: One year on

  1. Ian says:

    Hi Craig,
    Thanks for such an in depth comment and sorry that Norway isn’t living up to it’s ‘reputation’ for you. I also have very little confidence that I will find work other the work that I arrange for myself (I am a builder) and even that is hampered price wise, by the plentiful cheap labour from …..er, lets just say Eastern Europe.

    I was also told that Norwegians will ‘put up’ with speaking English but that they will ‘expect’ you to learn Norwegian pretty quick. And therein lies my problem, I don’t hear too well and even after two language courses am finding it pretty impossible to learn ( I was hopeless at language at school too). However, Norwegians look at the people from the Philippines etc who seem to pick it up in a flash and assume that brits can simply do the same. Fat chance for me!

    Every single construction based job in the last year advertised on Finn stipulates that good oral and written Norwegian is required. One company even stipulated that the applicant must be Norwegian for security reasons.

    So, there are many things I like about living in Norway but I have accepted that I will have to make my own way, work wise. Not easy when you think how much you need to earn here to eat and stay warm in the winter lol!
    Thanks for stopping by Craig, give me a shout if you’re ever passing Hvalstrand in Asker 🙂

  2. craig palmer says:

    I have been her 13 years, albeit in Geilo, which is a small country town. I can say that getting the good jobs will most likely continue to be elusive as there appears to be a very bigoted culture within HR departments. I speak, read and write Norwegian (I chose Bokmål out of the 256 dialects) yet still see jobs go by that I am qualified and experienced in. I have experienced being told, straight out by prospective employers that I am not suitable because I am not Norwegian. It would appear that employers trying to fill positions do not seek out those that are best suited to fulfil the duties the position will include, but are after a local who can talk about football and go out drinking with them.
    Whilst I think that the country is beautiful and that on face value, the people are friendly and the standard of living is reasonable high, I am regularly reminded that I am an outsider, less entitled than the natives and that my experience, education and qualifications are not recognised due to my nationality.
    In discussions with other immigrants to Norway a common thread seems to recur: in Norway we have 3 choices:
    1. take low paying jobs and do not engage in them, just turn up and take the money.
    2. Leave Norway altogether if we wish to locate meaningful employment where we can pursue opportunities and personal growth.
    3. be completely independent – establish our own business that is not reliant on Norwegians alone for success.
    In Bergen, you will most likely find that the bigotry and xenophobia is less than I encounter here in Hallingdal (dictionary definition of Halling is rednecks with mobile phones), however I believe that over time you will find that the constant exclusion form opportunity will grind you down and demoralise you as well.
    Hope it works out better for you than it has for me.

  3. Happy First Anniversary :).

  4. W and W says:

    Wow, a year has gone by. Miss you all. Warren and Wendy

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