Travelling to Norway is usually an expensive but easy affair because expanding your growing, international brand might be ever so slightly more difficult. With towns and cities tucked neatly between mountains and fjords and spread far-between (with an occasional troll wandering about the woods at night), many businesses struggle to understand the best way to break into the Norwegian market.
If you’ve been following c3 for a while, you probably already know we’re expanding into international markets! That’s why we’ve collated the most important things to remember when attempting to break into the Norwegian market.
Beware of bank holidays
17th of May – The Constitution Day of Norway
No one works on 17th May. Period. There’s no use trying to contact anyone, as everyone will be out celebrating in the streets!
Every year, Norway celebrates the day they got their constitution in 1814 with parades being held in every city and town, fairs, shows, and speeches. The royal family are out on their balcony, celebrating with the country. And every year, university graduates celebrate their graduation with a month-long party. They then finish it off on the 17th of May, by rolling cars and buses through the streets super-early in the morning to wake everyone up!
24th of December – Christmas Eve
Norwegians, among the other Scandinavian countries, celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, not the 25th! Most offices close over Christmas, and very little work will usually be done.
The week leading up to Christmas is very relaxed, too, with fewer people answering their emails. The 23rd of December is even called ‘Tiny Christmas’ and is celebrated by decorating the tree, eating a lovely meal, and enjoying a perfect Christmas film with your family.
Every year, Norwegians do mass holidays, where people are off for three to four weeks during the summer. There are chances of outreaching, but the response is sometimes limited due to companies being slightly understaffed (because of the holidays). The person you’re trying to reach might not be in the office for another month, so be aware of, and plan for, long response times.
No one works Sundays, as it’s recognised as a holy day. There’s nothing Norwegians love more than having a “hyggelig” time with their family in front of a cosy fire and a nicely decorated living room.
Norwegians cherish family time, with “fredagstaco” (Taco Friday) and “lørdaskveld” (Saturday evening time) being the two days in the week where families get together for a nice meal, which is usually tacos or pizza. There’s no use hoping for a response during this time, either.
Understand the sector you operate in
Norway has strict laws on everything alcohol and casino related. All alcohol over 4.5% vol will be sold at “Vinmonopolet”. The shops have short opening hours and will always be closed on a Sunday and most bank holidays, too. And no other shops are legally allowed to sell wine, liquor, and other beverages over 4.5% vol. Food shops selling beer stop at 8:00 PM on weekdays, and 6:00 PM during the weekend.
Norsk Tipping and Norsk Rikstoto are the only companies legally operating in the casino and betting sector in Norway. Land-based casinos are prohibited by the government. It’s also important to note that online gambling is held to the same standard as land-based casinos and is, therefore, not allowed.
Norwegian quirks worth knowing
- Just say “hi”! You don’t need to be super polite; most Norwegians don’t care much for it. A simple “Hei!” will do just as much as your regular “Hi, I hope this email finds you well”. Basically, Norwegians are very straightforward. There’s no beating around the bush and they’re not afraid of confrontations. Some recognise their approach as blunt, but it’s the standard way of working, after all, efficiency is key.
- Norwegian’s love chatting about the weather. Bergen, on the west coast, is one of the rainiest places on Earth, with rain coming down for over 200 days in 2020. You’ll have better luck getting a response from them if you talk about the weather than complimenting their work! Norwegians will always hope for a sunny weekend, even though it’s always raining cats and dogs!
- Writing to a Norwegian in English is for the most part completely fine, as they know the English language quite well and are perfectly capable of conversing with you. However, if you write in proper Norwegian, they’ll instantly be fond of you, as they love people taking the time to learn the language.
- Do you want to outreach in Norwegian? Just beware of the dialect. They wary from town to town, and some native Norwegians even struggle to understand each other if one’s from the south, and the others from the north. The divide in dialects between the north and the south is even greater in Norway than in the UK.
If you want to read more about connective3’s international growth, you can read all about it here.