Norwegian Language Blog

The healthy Norwegian lifestyle Posted by on Aug 23, 2010 in Culture

I have been meaning to write a post about this for a long time now.  Uten tvil (Without a doubt) one of the first things I notice when I come to Norway is how sunn (healthy) most people seem to look.  I´m pretty sure every day I have a deja vu experience-I see someone, man or woman, and think to myself ´that is quite possibly the most attractive person I´ve ever seen.´ Then I have the same experience the next day.  By no means am I saying that everyone in Norway is beautiful or that there aren´t beautiful people all over the world, but for å være  helt ærlig (to be totally honest), there are many beautiful people here.  And I don´t think it´s because many Norwegians fulfill the stereotype of blondt hår og blå øyner (blond hair and blue eyes).  I think it has much more to do with psykologisk sunnhet (psychological health) i utgangspunktet (to begin with).

What do I mean by psykologisk helse?  My observations and experiences lead me to believe that Norwegians in general lead quite comfortable lives.  Arbeidsdagen (The work day) is shorter, they get a LOT of ferie (vacation), there isn´t as much access to usunn mat (unhealthy food) such as fast food and junk food in stores, there is an abundance of gorgeous outdoors that are just asking to be explored, and I feel that also, in general, Norwegians have a very healthy self image and they really care how they feel and how they present themselves.

If you´re wondering about the last statement, I think it can be explained by the lack pressure from the media to look a certain way.  And I don´t just mean physical appearance, although that is definitely a huge part of it.  The expectations from parents, peers, teachers, and the media to excel in school, be involved in a dozen extra-curricular activities, be physically active, have time for friends and family, and look good….are minimal compared to such expectations in the U.S.

Here, it seems life is enjoyed at a much slower and comfortable pace.  When such a pace is considered normal, people are more at ease with themselves and others, and have much more motivation to feel good for themselves.  It´s important for people to feel good physically and mentally.  To accomplish this, people are active both in their free time and on their way to work or to the grocery store.  And we all now that if you feel good physically, you are much more likely to buy clothes that actually fit you and look good.  I would say that most Norwegians are fairly (and many very) fashionable.

Well, that´s my take on why Norwegians seem to be so glade og sunne folk(happy and healthy people)!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Jacek:

    Thank you for this post, it’s very interesting 🙂 You wrote so many good things about Norway that I’m starting to think about moving there 😀 So maybe you can write about some disadvantages of living in Norway.
    Hilsen 😉

  2. Sheila Bradigan:

    Howdy! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Sheila Bradigan Sorry, Sheila, I can’t help you there. Any iPhone 4 owners out there?

  3. A. Johnson:

    Attractiveness ≠ healthy. Seriously — I usually enjoy your posts but this is drivel.