Exploring Norwegian Culture

Norway is a country of breathtaking glaciers, fjords, and avid winter sport enthusiasts. The terrain is glaciated with mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys, scattered plains, coastline deeply indented by fjords, and arctic tundra in north. During the warmer months, Norwegians of all ages love to be outside and hike, fish, and barbecue. In the colder months, some travelers are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights). Norwegians tend to have a strong sense of history and civic engagement and on special occasions, many Norwegians wearing traditional clothing, or bunad. In Norwegian culture, some of the most important values are tolerance, respect and equality.

Study abroad in Norway Host a Norwegian student in the U.S.


Norwegian People and Community

A family sharing a holiday meal in Norway

Norwegian families tend to be small, but relatives often live in the same town. For most Norwegian parents, it’s important that their children grow independent, and take responsibility for their own activities and actions. One key principle in Norwegian culture is egalitarianism (that we are all equal). This is reflected in gender relations, age relations and how people address others. Norwegians always address people by their first names, even teachers and elders. Norwegians dress and act informally, and treat each other with the sense of equality, no matter differences in economic class, gender or status. Men and women are considered equal. That means it is expected that they do the same kind of jobs, work just as much, earn the same amount of money, have a shared responsibility in the house and have a shared responsibility for the upbringing of their children.

Language and Communication Styles

Teenagers in Norway

Norwegian is the language of Norway. It is a Germanic language related to Danish, Swedish and Icelandic and has two official forms of writing—Bokmål (Standard Norwegian) and Nynorsk (New Norwegian).

Food in Norway

An open sandwich in Norway

Norwegian food is usually a mix of traditional and international cuisine. One of the most popular foods in Norway is fish, but people also eat lots of meat, potatoes, vegetables, milk and cheese, and there are various sweets. Open-faced sandwiches are also popular and are often eaten for breakfast. Dinner is the main meal of the day and a favorite dish is meatballs and potatoes with gravy. Even though Norwegians still appreciate traditional Norwegian dishes, the international cuisine has had a lot of influence the recent decades. “Tacos” for example, are a very typical dish some families will eat during the weekend, quite different from Mexican tacos! The same works for pizzas and pasta. Norwegians eat bread at least two times a day, and sometimes even three times. Breakfast and lunch are usually made up of bread. Most Norwegians will not have any hot meals before dinner.

Explore the Programs Available in Norway