Working for a company headquartered in a foreign country really makes cultural differences apparent. My colleagues and I often feel like anthropologists studying the potential reasons and implications for these cultural differences. Since I have spent more time in Norway than I have in the Netherlands, I have become very used to the differences between Norway and the U.S. So, I´ve been thinking over the past couple of days about peculiar facts about Norway that implicate something about the Norwegian people.
-Grocery stores are not allowed to be open on Sundays, but gas stations and kiosks can (and they sell groceries).
-You can buy beer in grocery stores, but you have to buy wine and hard liquor at one place and one place only-Vinmonopolet (which literally means ´Wine Monopoly´and closes quite early)
-Even though Norway is one of the top oil producers in the world, gas is more expensive in Norway than almost anywhere.
-Because food prices are so high in Norway, many Norwegians drive across the border to Sweden to shop. These purchases amount to over 2 billion USD every year.
-If you get caught drinking and driving in Norway, you will go to jail for 30 days and immediately get your license revoked until a year later (assuming they pass the test).
-It can cost in the thousands for Norwegian teenagers to get their license (minimum age 18).
-Norwegians eat brown cheese (brunost)-one of my favorite things
-And lutefisk, fish soaked in lye (a chemical used in making soap)
-speeding fines are often more serious than if a person is caught with drugs
-Norway has voted against membership in the EU several times, but has implemented more EU directives than any other EU member state.
-Norwegians love Grandiosa, cheap frozen pizza.
-Most Norwegians take a 4 week holiday during the summer. This means that the country slows down a lot and if you are a tourist and you aren´t aware of this, you wonder where everyone is and why nothing is open….
-Norwegians are one of the only people in the world to hunt whales
-Norwegians eat American children´s Christmas figure, Rudolph (and it´s darn good!)
-Norwegians do not typically smile or start talking to a stranger on the bus. It is not considered rude to behave as such.
-Bars stay open very late, but having drinks outside at the bar closes earlier than inside the bar. The bartender will take your full drink even if you just ordered it inside and walked outside.
There are many, many more peculiarities about the Norwegian culture, but that was a good dose. If you spend a month or 2 in Norway, especially over the summer, you will learn all of these things.
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