Norwegians are usually tolerant and open-minded, and there are few, if any, dos and don’ts that foreign tourists should be aware of. It is essential to remember that Norway is perhaps the most equitable nation in the world. Behaving in a manner that implies either party is inferior or superior is regarded very impolite, and displaying money or status (if any) is frowned upon. Most Norwegians will react positively to misconceptions or potentially offending remarks, and nearly all will respond positively to praise for the nation as a whole.
Many Norwegians, on the other hand, may be misunderstood as harsh and unwelcoming since they can be blunt and small chat is difficult for them. This is just a cultural difference; establishing contact with strangers, such as conversing with other bus riders, is unusual. This does not apply to train rides or outside of major cities, when small conversation will be made out of curiosity. It is common to converse with strangers on the same route when hiking in distant areas.
Furthermore, Norwegian is a fairly simple language. The once-common usage of the polite pronoun, as well as polite phrases and terms in daily settings, is now very uncommon, so don’t be upset if a Norwegian speaking a foreign language employs a very familiar language. When shopping, checking in at hotels, and other similar circumstances, employ casual language, but don’t anticipate small chat. Although Norwegian does not have a direct equivalent to please (German bitte), people may say unnskyld (pardon me) to get your attention. On the other hand, in Norway, it is customary to show gratitude in a variety of circumstances. In a private house, for example, it is usual to express gratitude for the meal (takk för maten); on more official occasions, the “thanks” is frequently followed with a handshake. For example, after dining or traveling together, several Norwegians express gratitude for excellent company. Many Norwegians also express gratitude for the last time we met, for example, a few days after attending a party.
In general, Norwegian culture is extremely casual, and Norwegians generally address each other by first name exclusively, unless in official meetings. The casual culture is not the same as in southern Europe; being late for appointments is regarded impolite, as is chatting loudly, getting too intimate with strangers, and losing your temper. When entering a Norwegian house, it is traditional to remove your shoes; in the cold, this is frequently a requirement.
Norwegians’ reputation for being chilly and unwelcoming may be due to a remarkably complicated unwritten code of behavior that contains many apparent inconsistencies. For example, although it is rare to establish eye contact with strangers on public transit like as buses, the reverse is true when meeting Norwegians in outdoor activities such as hiking or skiing: greeting a fellow hiker or skier is expected, and failing to do so is frequently regarded very impolite. Another phenomenon that often perplexes foreign visitors is the function of alcohol in social relations. With a few exceptions, it is best described as the oil that allows Norwegians to meet and establish touch without too much friction. Tourists, fortunately, are free from most or all social standards, and Norwegians are generally aware of, and amused by, the inconsistencies in their social norms.
Building stone cairns in the wilderness, along rocky beaches, and on mountain routes is becoming more popular among tourists. Stone cairns are used to indicate routes, although they may be deceiving to hikers. Visitors erecting cairns often choose stones from stone fences, some of which are cultural assets, while others are used for reindeer, sheep, or cows. It is, in fact, unlawful to tamper with nature in this way, even with a single boulder.
Norwegians are also considered to be quite patriotic. The flag is often used in private festivities (such as anniversaries and weddings), and many people fly it on public holidays. Most Norwegians are proud of their nation, especially when it comes to nature and the country’s economic prosperity. May 17, Constitution Day, may be a little overwhelming for visitors since the nation is draped in flags, people dress up in their best clothing, and celebrate all day. Norwegian nationalism, on the other hand, is usually a statement of pride in living in a prosperous society, and is not confrontational in any manner. Dress up and attempt to say gratulerer med dagen (literally “congratulations on the day”) to everyone you encounter on Constitution Day, and you’ll definitely receive the same reaction and see a lot of smiles, even if you’re not Norwegian at all. Norwegians take pleasure in the fact that schoolchildren and families, rather than military soldiers, march in the parades on Constitution Day. It should also be mentioned that May 17 marks the anniversary of the 1814 constitution, which established Norway as a liberal democracy; the constitution is still in force.