Glossary: Norwegian Words – Topic: Weather

Posted by Martina Wade | Fun stuff, Scandi Life
snowy 17.mai oslo

Norwegian Words to Describe Weather

  1. Værfast; literally, weather stuck. If one finds oneself stuck in torrential rain, howling winds or wintry snow storms. Then you are weather stuck. For example, you said you would go and meet your friend but it is raining so much you can’t (won’t) go outside. You can tell your friend you are weather stuck.

    cat stuck in bad weather - værfast
  2. Opphold – literally, break. Mostly used in Bergen (aka Rain City) where the weather is either rain or simply a break from the rain. Rain is the normal, anything else is an exception.

    bergen regn rain opphold

    This lady is dressed for the rain. Notice the blue sky – this is a prime example of opphold.


  3. Surt – literally, sour. Yep, in Norway the weather can be sour. It means it is bone-chillingly cold, usually with some wind and a wet feel, too. Not very nice.
    surt var
  4. Bikkjekaldt – Literally, dog cold. When it is so cold the dogs won’t go outside. Usually when it creeps below -10 degrees.

    bikkjekaldt dog with a coat

    Not too cold with a coat.


  5. Sludd / Slaps – the kind of snow most commonly seen in South England, that melts before it hits the ground. Known for creating thick layers of ‘sørpe’ or ‘slaps’ which are dense, ice cold build ups on the ground of really. Really. really wet snow. Wet and cold feet alert level 10.

    slaps-sludd wet feet
  6. Påskevær – Literally, Easter weather. What this actually means is ‘every weather type known to man in the space of 30 minutes.’ And repeat. Beautiful warming sun, hail storm, icy winds, tropical rain all common. A very hard weather type to dress for. Cold, hot, perfect, wet, warm, chilly, sweaty – you’ll cover all bases.
    Paskevær all weathers in one day
  7. Sommervær – summer weather; again this is a highly fluid concept, however we can apply some ground rules. Between April and June, this means any dry day of 13 degrees and over and at least one observed ray of sun. June to August we are a bit more picky and should be pushing 23 (17 if you are in Bergen). Sun a must (unless you’re in Bergen where 2. Opphold, will do) Long, light nights present for both. Unless it’s raining, of course.
    sommervær norwegian summer cold


And a few events and activities we would like to bring your attention to, as their names may lead you to think you are guaranteed a certain temperature or weather type. Consider yourself warned;

  • Utepils – you may already know this one. Utepils is a thing to do – it means having a beverage, preferably a beer (pils=lager), outside. You would think this implies the conditions are warm and summery, but no. Utepils-weather is anything not raining (opphold) and above freezing. In March, for example, utepils can be had in 4 degrees, sun and icy winds. In August, in 20 degrees and a mild breeze. Blankets optional but advisable in the former. Utepils is something of an obsession, and it must be done as soon as possible when the sun comes out in spring.

And remember; if you have committed to Utepils you cannot change your mind. It is NOT too cold. You don’t need to feel your toes or your bum anyway.
utepils cold weather norway

  • 17.Mai – This is the national day of Norway. 17th of May – yep, sounds like it should be a warm late spring/early summer’s day, but it usually snows in either Bergen or Oslo, and the inhabitants of each city are extremely smug if it is the other one, this year. Luckily the Norwegian national costume (the bunad) is made of very prickly wool to keep you warm, should it snow.

    snowy 17.mai oslo
  • Midtsommer /Sankthans Aften – Midsummer, late in June. In Norway marked by a huge bonfire, we think it is because this night is never as warm as it sounds. Bring a blanket just in case and stay close to the fire.
    sankthans norge danmark


Last but not least; there is no such thing as bad weather. Only poor clothing.

Finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær!

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