Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a sovereign and unitary monarchy. It has been independent since 1905 and celebrates its national day on May 17.
UN has for several times ranked Norway as the number one country in the world to live in. Although it is argued that the HD index lacks an ecological “footprint”, nevertheless the ranking is based on the quality of health, wealth and social outlook.
As a major shipping nation with a high dependence on international trade, Norway is basically an exporter of raw materials and semi-processed goods. While only a few countries export more oil than Norway, Norway does import more than half its food because there is so little arable land. Norway is the world leader in consumption of electric energy. Some 600 hydroelectric power stations produce more than 99% of the country’s electrical energy and the market is competitive.
Norway has for several times been ranked by the United Nations as the number one country in the world to live in. The ranking is based on the quality of health, wealth and social outlook.
Approximately 5.3 million people live in Norway, or about 14 people per square kilometer, making it one of the most scantily populated areas in the world. Oslo, the capital, is in the southern part of the country and has a population of approximately 650,000. Other major cities are Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger.
Almost everyone in the country is of Norwegian descent; the Lapps, or Sami, are a minority of some 20,000 people residing exclusively in the north.
Norway is one of the world’s richest countries and has an important stake in promoting a liberal environment for foreign trade. Metals, pulp and paper products, chemicals, shipbuilding and fishing are its most significant industries. As a major shipping nation with a high dependence on international trade, Norway is basically an exporter of raw materials and semi-processed goods.
However, it was Norway’s emergence as a major oil – and gas producer in the mid-70s that transformed the economy. Large sums of investment capital poured into the offshore oilsector, leading to greater increases in Norwegian production costs and wages than in the rest of Western Europe up until the mid-80s. The influx of oil revenue also allowed Norway to expand its already extensive social welfare system.
Working in Norway
Norwegians at work are preoccupied by equality and little hierarchical levels. Any person can address the managers and often all the employees have a say in the final decisions in the companies. Cooperation and democracy are an important factor at work, and in order to succeed with an assignment in Norway, it is important to adapt and understand the way of operating at work. In general, all offices in Norway are open from 8 am to 4 pm, and there is a half an hour lunch break around noon. In general, the Norwegians are very informal and usually address people by their first names. They take their pride in being honest and sincere, and punctuality is very important for Norwegians.
Living in Norway
Norway is a country with little social inequality. The culture is characterized by respect for democratic principles, and Norwegians are concerned with all people being equal and having the same rights. Norwegians emphasizes that people are valuable individuals, and the job position has not that much of importance.
Norwegians have a special interest for nature and represents an important part of the Norwegian identity. Norwegians often spend their spare time out of doors all year around. Besides work, Norwegians practice a lot of additional activities like sports and music. Taking part in these kind of activities is a good way for foreigners to integrate into the Norwegian society.
Housing in Norway
The population and size of the biggest cities Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger are compared to small towns in other countries. The rental market mirrors this picture. The supply of normal to high standard rental properties in the cities is fairly good, but the exclusive market is limited. Investments in buy-to-let properties is limited due to high property prices, taxes and instable interest rate. Norwegian houses vary in size, style and layout. Bungalow types are very rare, so expect 2 or 3 floors. A normal size of a 4 bedroom house with 2 baths is 200 sqm. A master bedroom is 14 sqm. An average size on a 2 bedroom flat is 80 sqm. Most homes are heated electrically and therefore the developed standards to minimize electric hazards are stricter than those of other countries. Gas is not common in homes. Most rental accommodation comes with standard electrical appliances.
Cost of Living
Norway is ranked as one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. Food expenses are typically about 50 % higher than the EU average. Income taxes are also very high. Furthermore, there are 25% taxes on all goods and services. Accordingly, salaries are also generally high. An average Norwegian household spends 11 % of its budget on food, 31 % on accommodation and 16 % on transport. (Statistisk Sentralbyrå)