Every foreign culture has differences to your own. Sometimes these differences can be extremely polar opposites of what you’re used to; other times, they are more subtly diverse.
Norway is no different. In fact, many consider Norwegians aloof or shy; but if you go in educated and with a nice, open, and sincere attitude, you won’t experience any issues.
Whether you’re looking for a great ski trip or a nice visit to the fjords, be prepared for your trip by avoiding these 5 Norwegian faux pas.
1. Avoid Personal Contact
Touching is typically kept to a minimum in Norway, even for family members and close friends. Although it’s okay to give a firm and hearty handshake, avoid giving hugs or kisses.
2. Don’t Stare
Yes, Norwegians tend to be more relaxed when it comes to nudity. Both men and women will change on public beaches. In fact, there are even quite a few beaches where clothing is optional. However, although no one cares about a quick glance, NEVER stare.
3. Watch Your Tips
When visiting establishments a service charge is always included. Although it is common courtesy to round up your bill to the next 5 or 10 NOK amount, avoid giving extravagant amounts. As a general rule of thumb, 10% is generous, but anything over 15% is just showing off.
4. Take off Your Shoes
Depending upon the length of your stay, you may make a few friends during your visit. If so, you may be invited over for a visit. Prior to entering a Norwegian home, it is custom to take off your shoes and only wear clean socks. Never keep your shoes on, unless the host suggests it.
5. Never Drink and Drive
This may seem like the obvious, but although drinking and driving is illegal in just about any country, Norway is especially strict. In fact, one beer can place you over the legal limit in Norway; and if caught, you could end up paying a small fortune in fines or you could face jail time, even for the first offense.