This is useful for anyone researching Norwegian culture, customs, manners, etiquette, values and wanting to understand the people better. You may be going to Norway on business, for a visit or even hosting Norwegian colleagues or clients in your own country.
Remember this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Norwegians you may meet! Facts and Statistics Location: Norwegian, Sami 20, Religions: Norwegian has 2 written forms, "Bokmal" Book Norwegian and "Nynorsk" New Norwegian and they enjoy the same legal recognition, although "Bokmal" is increasingly more common. Minority languages include Finnish, spoken by 0. Marriage is not a prerequisite to starting a family. Many couples live together without legalizing the arrangement with marriage.
Therefore, it is best not to make presumptions about people's marital status. Women Women are highly respected in business and generally receive equal pay and have access to senior positions. Norwegian women expect to be treated with respect in the office. Business women are direct and can be skilled negotiators. If a woman decides to stay home with pre-school children she receives a monthly stipend from the government. Jante's Law teaches people to be modest and not 'think big'.
It is demonstrated in most people's refusal to criticize others. Norwegians try to see all people as being on equal footing.
They do not flaunt their wealth or financial achievements and look askance at those who do. The tenets of Jante Law are: You shall not think you are special. You shall not believe you are smarter than others. You shall not believe you are wiser than others.
You shall not behave as if you are better than others. You shall not believe that you know more than others. You shall not believe that you can fix things better than others. You shall not laugh at others. You shall not believe that others care about you. You shall not believe that you can teach others anything. Egalitarianism Norwegians view themselves as egalitarian people whose culture is based on democratic principles of respect and interdependence.
They like people for themselves and not for what they do for a living their professional accomplishments or how much money they earn. They have simple tastes and are not prone to ostentation or excessive showiness. They pride themselves on being honest and sincere in their personal relationships. Norwegians are egalitarian and casual; they often introduce themselves with their first name only. In some circumstances people may use the honorific title "Herr" Mr. You can wait to be invited before moving to first names although most people will start with this.
Shake hands and say good-bye individually when arriving or departing. Shake hands with people on a first come first served basis. Gift Giving Etiquette If invited to a Norwegian's home, bring flowers, chocolates, pastries, wine, or imported spirits to the hostess.
Flowers may be sent the morning of a dinner party so they may be displayed that evening. Do not give carnations, lilies or white flowers as they are used at funerals. Do not give wreaths, even at Christmas. Do not give even numbers of flowers. A houseplant is well received in the winter months. A bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers is always appreciated. Gifts are opened when received.
Dining Etiquette Invitations are generally given verbally. Norwegians are punctual in both business and social situations. Confirm the dress code with your hosts. Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.
Do not discuss business. Norwegians separate their business and personal lives. Table manners are more formal than one might expect of a culture that is informal and egalitarian. Hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts. Most food, including sandwiches, is eaten with utensils. When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork across your plate with the prongs facing down and the handles facing to the right. The male guest of honour, generally seated to the left of the hostess, thanks the hostess on behalf of the other guests with the phrase "takk for maten" thanks for the meal.
The host makes a small speech and offers the first toast. Women may offer toasts. Toasts are made with alcoholic beverages, but not beer. When someone is being toasted, raise your glass, look at the person, take a sip, look at the person again, and then return the glass to the table. Women must put down their glasses first after a toast.