Tag Archives: scandi

Glossary: Norwegian Words – Topic: Weather

March 30, 2016 | Leave a comment

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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How to be more Scandinavian in your everyday life

March 18, 2015 | 132 Comments

Also known as: Quirky traits of the Scandinavian people.

We asked on Facebook and Twitter for your help on this. Thanks to everybody who came up with some awesome suggestions:

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The slicing of cheese

It’s a thing. A big thing (especially in Sweden). Do not cut the end of the cheese if it’s a triangle, always use a cheese slicer (never a knife, sacré bleu!) – and if you make a ski-slope (i.e cutting too much of one side without correcting it) you risk being outlawed.

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Using the right cheese slicer

What, you didn’t think there were rules for this? Of course there are rules. This is Scandinavia. The metal cheese slicer is for harder cheeses, such as Cheddar and Västerbotten. The plastic slicer is for cheese that are slightly softer, like Havarti (aka Åseda Gräddost), Herrgårdsost, Grevé – and some brown cheeses, too. And the cheese slicer with a wire on is for Danish cheeses such as Riberhus and Gamle Ole.

Look, we know its sounds complicated, but if you use the wrong one, your cheese will be cut wrong. See ‘The slicing of cheese’.

Speaking as you breathe in

Sometimes we say things while breathing in. Like ‘ja’. Try it, you will find it most peculiar.  A point to note, however, is that it is usually done when you agree on something – affirming the point by breathing in and saying ’ja’ at the same time. The further North, the less sound is needed More here

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Friday night is for tacos.

Nobody is sure when it happened, but we only eat tacos on Fridays. Don’t ask, just do.

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Sweets are for Saturdays

It’s called Saturday Sweets. It’s also a thing. If you have them on Friday, then only in the evening and they its called CozyFriday. But on Saturdays, it’s Lørdagsslik or Lördagsgodis.

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Our obsession with coffee breaks

You will find very few Scandi work places that don’t have the fika/kaffepause at 11am and again in the afternoon (before we leave work at 16.30, because that’s also a thing – and nobody stays late). Usually with some sort of cake. The only acceptable drink is super-strength filter coffee – so strong that it hurts your nostrils and makes all the caffeine receptors in your brain think you’re back clubbing in a field in 1993.

I’m off on holiday in week 29…

We don’t count months, we count weeks. Nobody else does, which makes for interesting conversations. First week of January is week 1 – and so it goes. Forget months and days, it is all about weeks in Scandinavia. Easter is in week 14 this year. Now you know. We have no idea when that is, either. 

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Cheese & jam

It’s most certainly a thing. Toast, cheese and jam. Any kind. Even marmalade. Just embrace it. Cheddar and Strawberry jam is a thing.


skulls

Salty, strong liquorice

Most Nordic people embrace salty liquorice. The stronger and saltier, the better. We just do not understand that you don’t like it. How can you not? It’s strong, makes your mouth feel like its on fire and gives you a tummy ache when you over do it. We start training our children when they are young so we are sure they develop a taste for it. For Scandi ex-pats, it’s a rite of passage to make sure their overseas-born children develop the taste too (we see them at the cafe, tempting little Ingrid with salty liquorice lollipops).

The top ones are Tyrkisk Peber, Djungelvrål, and chocolate with salty liquorice centres.

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Eurovision

Eurovision is huge. Huge. Especially in Sweden, where they have six regional heats just to find a representative winner. Even those who say they never watch it probably still do in secret. Eating tacos and Saturday sweets.

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Our home style

The first time you walk into a Danish apartment, you will think the owner is an interior decorator. Second time, you wonder if the owner of the first and second flat know each other. Third time, you realise every single apartment looks the same. White walls, white doors, Arne Jacobsen dining chairs, an Eames chair in the corner with a casually thrown sheepskin, Eva Solo or Blue Flute crockery.  We all have the same cutlery and, curiously, we seem to leave the stickers on them.

In Sweden, it’s the same except it’s a lot more IKEA mixed with stuff from our country cottages by the lake.

We really do eat a lot of meatballs

But the Swedish ones are not the same as the Danish ones, and the Norwegian ones are different too. Don’t confuse things. Learn the difference or get found out.

We have rules for the Smörgåsbord

There is a strict set of rules about when you eat herring and what bread you use for prawns and salmon. And at what point you start singing and cheering with aquavit. Eat open sandwiches with your hands and be forever excluded. No, we don’t write down the rules: You just need to know them.

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Look me in the eye…

When you cheer with Scandi folk, it is very impolite not to look everybody around the table in the eye before you take a sip. Skål!

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How you butter your bread.

Crispbreads usually have a bubbly side and a flat side. The flat side is for every day, the bubbly side is for Sundays. Some people disagree, so there are no hard rules, for once. Rye bread that has too much butter is called ‘tandsmør’ – literally, tooth butter. Meaning the indent of your teeth can be seen.

bsNZO

The queuing system

In most shops – especially in Sweden – there are little ticket machines. Brits may remember these from supermarket deli counters in the 80s before they disappeared. Take a number as you enter and wait your turn. You never ever cheat. We like orderly queues, but are not very good at them, so this helps us. At bus stops there are no ticket machines, so it is your job to remember at what point you turned up. This is stressful. You know the other people will remember, so don’t mess it up.

scandinavians1

The Scandi look

So, you want to look like one of us? Then you need to decide which one of us you want to look like. You see all us Scandis as the same, but we have very clear differences between us (as illustrated here by the brilliant Jenny Blake).

A general rule of thumb:

Danish: If you own anything not black, get rid of it. You’ll probably never need it again. Buy oversized scarves, dye your hair very blond and wear it in a messy bun if a girl – or bed-head style if you’re a guy. Viking Beard optional.

More info about looking like a Dane here from this blog.

Swedish: Very blond hair. If you’re a guy, we recommend the ‘Stockholm Stureplan Brats’ look. Maybe. Well, try it and see if it fits you. Otherwise, just grow a beard and speak with a funny accent. If you’re a girl, get yourself some skinny white jeans and white converse all stars.

Norway: Beard. Definitely eat brown cheese, have a backpack stuffed with Kvikklunsj and oranges. Buy a sheep. Bring it with you to places*.

*(Okay, the sheep comment was added by a disgruntled Swede who has since been punished and sent on a long vacation to Finland. Norwegians don’t really have pet sheep). 

scandidress

But no matter who you choose to style yourself on, don’t forget to get a Fjällräven backpack.

Now, go forth and be a bit more genuinely Scandi.

If you like reading random bits about Scandinavia, sign up for our (sometimes slightly amusing) newsletter on our homepage (down at the bottom to the left) www.scandikitchen.co.uk

Love, The Kitchen People

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