Norway – 9 Customs and Etiquette Advice

Hurtigruten - NorwayAbout 4,463 miles is the distance between the central U.S. and Norway. With such great lengths invariably comes new customs, unique walks of life and different ways of doing things. So before setting sail on a Norwegian cruise and docking at cities across the Scandinavian country, it’s helpful to learn about the Norwegian people and their customs. Here are nine things you should take with you:

1. For starters, more than 99 percent of the 4.3 million people who live in Norway speak Norwegian, the official language. Norwegian has two written forms of language: Bokmål (literally “book language”) and Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”). Although both have the same legal recognition, Bokmål is more common. You will see both on signs throughout the country.

2. When greeting someone from Norway, use a firm handshake, direct eye contact and a smile. Like the U.S., Norwegian greetings are casual but meaningful. If you want to stay on the side of caution and be very polite, people may use the honorific title “Herr” (Mr.) or “Fru” (Mrs.) followed by their surname.

3. Though informal, Norwegians generally have reserved body language, so don’t take offense if someone appears cold or aloof.

4. Norwegians are punctual in both social situations and business.

5. Keeping calm and not displaying strong emotions in public are common virtues in Norway.

6. Avoid discussing business. Norwegians tend to separate their business and personal lives.

7. Similar to the rising trend in the U.S., many couples live together without getting married. A wedding is not a prerequisite to starting a family, so it’s best not to make presumptions about people’s marital status.

8. In general, Norwegians are known to be humble, good-natured and friendly. Many people recognize Jante Law, a term used to describe a pattern of behavior associated with Scandinavians that frown upon individual success and achievement. Essentially, it is meant to teach people to be modest. As such, Norwegians try to see all people as standing on equal footing.

The tenets of the law are: 

– You shall not think you are special.
– You shall not believe you are smarter than others.
– You shall not believe you are wiser than others.
– You shall not behave as if you are better than others.
– You shall not believe that you know more than others.
– You shall not believe that you can fix things better than others.
– You shall not laugh at others.
– You shall not believe that others care about you.
– You shall not believe that you can teach others anything.

9. Most Norwegians have simple tastes and are not prone to excessive showiness.

One of the best ways to experience Norway is on Hurtigruten coastal cruise. You will be immersed in the culture and visit as many as 30+ ports in the 6, 7, or 12-night itinerary. For more information about visiting Norway or taking an exciting Hurtigruten cruise please contact AREA Vacations at travel@area-vacations.com or call 770-591-5552.

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