If someone asks you how you are, be honest. Having a rubbish time? Elaborate in great detail – and do not under any circumstances try to make it less awkward.
When having a conversation, about anything, make sure to say ‘ikke sant’ a lot. It is a bit like the English use ‘right’. Depending on your intonation, ‘ikke sant’ can mean a range of different things (most on a spectre of ‘Yes – I agree wholeheartedly’); including but not limited to:
– Ikke sant. Yes, I agree
– Ikke sant? Do you agree?
– Ikke Sant! YES
– Ikke SANT? You’re kidding
– Ikke sant. Yes, yes
– Ikke sant?! I hear ya
illustration by Jenny Blake
Always bring a matpakke (packed lunch) – yes you could be more adventurous and stop having those 4 slices of bread with sweaty cheese or smelly salami, but why would you?
In autumn, winter and Easter time, never ever go hiking without a kvikk lunsj in your bag.
Avoid looking directly at your fellow citizens in all urban areas. That includes pavements, public transport and inside shops.
But remember to say Hei hei to everyone when hiking or on a Sunday stroll (manners!).
Every spring, make an excuse not to partake in Dugnad (where everyone living in a block of flats, for example, get together to tidy up the communal areas).
Eat tacos every Friday. It’s the national dish of Norway, didn’t you know?
If you live close to the Swedish border, drive across the border on meat-safari (fleskesafari).
Never, ever, admit to a Swede being better than a Norwegian at anything. Especially not skiing.
If a Swede beats a Norwegian at skiing it is always because of ‘Smørekrise’ (the way the skis are prepped, depending on conditions). It has nothing to do with the athletes themselves you see. Blame the kit.
Own at least one hi tech brightly coloured coat to protect you from the elements. Wear this every day, in any weather – in Norwegian it is called All Weather Jacket (allværsjakke).
Make sure to stare at people who go hiking in jeans. They are usually tourists and are not informed of the hiking dress-code.
Every summer, travel to Syden and get a sunburn. Syden = anywhere south of your home town (but usually excludes Scandinavia).
Do not be alarmed if someone starts begging you to let them jump in front of you in the supermarket queue – this is completely normal and usually occurs at five to no-more-alcohol-today (no alcohol can be bought in shops after 8pm ever).
Never, ever, ask someone to pass you something at the table. Just stretch your arms and lean across. One does not bother people by asking them to pass anything.
Always say Takk for maten (thanks for the food), or mamma will be most upset.
Go to your cabin – Dra på hytta – every weekend. Sure, you’ll spend 4 hours in your car each way but on hytta you must.
Own at least one Norwegian flag.
Remember to ‘kose deg’! Literally – cosy you – enjoy and indulge in whatever. A bun with your coffee, an ice cream in the sun, all the sweets on a Friday night.
As soon as the sun comes out, run outside and smile yourself silly. Have utepils. Do not, under any circumstances, stay inside on a sunny day.
Say Yes in English (but spell it jess).
Drink a lot of coffee. And milk. A glass of milk with every meal.
Eat a lot of pølse. Travelling by train? Have a pølse. In the airport? Have a pølse. Watching the footy? Have a pølse. Celebrating the day Norway got its own constitution? Pølse it is.
PLEASE NOTE our webshop is now closed, no new orders will be accepted until the 25th of Dec when we re-open. If you have already placed your order don't worry - we will ship it as soon as possible. Our central London cafe & shop is open and fully stocked until 6pm Dec. 23rd - our lovely team is there to help.