The Do and Don’ts of Norway

Norway has its set of Do’s and Don’ts too. Here are a few.

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Don’t “hijack” public amenities such as benches and tables by putting table cloths and flowers on them, like these camper tourists did at a camp site in the North-West of Norway.

  1. Motorcyclists always greet each other by waiving their left hand when passing each other on the road.

  2. Norwegians usually do not greet strangers when passing them in the street while walking. This is not rudeness – it’s just the way we are. This rule does not apply if you meet someone while hiking in the mountains, or if you are a motorcyclist – see #1.

  3. Don’t jump the queue. Norwegians are particularly sensitive to this. But you may filter with your bike in a traffic queue, of course.

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    Don’t jump the queue. Any queue. But you can filter with your bike in car queues.

  4. Don’t complain about the prices. At least not loudly. Norwegians know that the prices are high for most visitors, but it is not something we can easily fix.

  5. Make sure you are not perceived as trying to occupy public amenities, such as a bench or table at a camp site, by pulling it to your tent or in other ways signalling “ownership”. Public amenities are for sharing.

  6. General politeness gets you a long way. But do not expect a “you’re welcome”, “my pleasure”, “thank you” or even an “excuse me” from a Norwegian. Again: It is not a sign of rudeness. It’s just the way we are, so please do not be offended.

  7. Take particular care not to litter or leave annoying traces of any kind when venturing into our magnificent nature, or actually whenever you are in public places. You will be perceived as a particularly likeable person if you pick up litter after someone who didn’t bother.
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    Don’t litter. Of course.

  8. If you sit at a table enjoying your coffee in a cafe or restaurant, the table is yours for as long as you like. You will not be ushered out to give room to new customers, which you may experience in countries where the waiting staff is paid solely by tips.

  9. Norwegian waiters have a fixed salary, with a minimum wage of 17 euro/18 USD pr hour (2018). Therefore, tipping is not required (but please feel free to do so if you find the service stellar).

  10. Haggling is not common in Norway, at least not in ordinary stores. However, there is nothing wrong in trying to get a few percents off the price if buying, say, a new helmet. You can even try to negotiate a better rate if you need to stay at a hotel.

  11. Sometimes, especially when riding in the West, you may encounter a table stacked with cherry or strawberry baskets along the road, but no-one is there to sell. Instead, you might find a small sign asking you to help yourself to the berries and “vipps”/pay-pal a few kroner to the owner, or even leave some cash in a box nearby. This is a sign of trust in you as a visitor. Please do not break this trust.

  12. People living in more picturesque locations in Norway have reported incidents where tourists have ventured into their garden and even into their homes to take pictures. You as a motorcyclists have by default particulary well developed social skills and know that this is plain crazy, but we still wanted to mention this as an obvious “DON’T!”

Do you have other do’s and don’ts of Norway? Let us hear them!


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