Friendly or frosty? The truth about Norwegian hospitality

So you want to visit Norway or maybe you’re planning to move here. Either way, you might wonder if are Norwegians friendly towards foreigners?

The short answer is yes. On average most Norwegians are very friendly towards tourists and foreigners that decide to settle in Norway.

Continue reading as I will share with you some tips to make sure you receive a warm Norwegian welcome.

Are Norwegians friendly towards foreigners?

Yes! On average most Norwegians are very friendly towards tourists and foreigners that decide to settle in Norway. 

Of course, there’s much more than what meets the eye. After all, people are individuals, and some Norwegians might need more time to be fully open to and accept foreigners.

As humans, we seek familiarity. That’s why we tend to get along much better with individuals with whom we share culture, religion, and political opinions.

That’s why you’re more likely to receive a warm welcome if you are a visitor from western Europe and US.

Another issue you might run into is the language barrier. While nobody expects you to speak fluent Norwegian on your arrival, having a decent level of English will certainly help you.

The majority of the Norwegian population speaks the English language on a level that might surprise many visitors.

But if you want a really warm welcome I’ll share with you my little trick. 

Before coming to Norway spend some time and master a few essential phrases in Norwegian. Nothing fancy, just a few polite phrases for everyday situations.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Pronouncing Norwegian can be hard, however, the moment you try speaking Norwegian, you’ll see how the eyes of any Norwegian start to shine.

You see, Norwegians are very proud of their culture and language. Few things make them happier than a foreigner that respects their heritage and tries to learn their language.

How to make sure you receive a warm welcome

While having a few Norwegian phrases in your sleeve can get you a long way, there are a few other tips to make sure you receive a warm welcome in Norway

Have an open mindset 

Nobody likes being labeled by someone they just met. While you might have heard that Norwegians are cold, shy, and difficult to approach, remember that it’s only partly true.

Holding onto these preconceptions will only set you up for failure. Try forgetting about them for a minute and give Norwegians a chance to greet you without putting them off.

Because a  lot of those misconceptions have to do with the Norwegian mentality. You can read more about it in another article on our website.

Don’t be negative

This one’s rather simple and universal, but it deserves to be highlighted. We all have different tastes and preferences. So if you find something to be overly negative and underwhelming best keep it to yourself.

Use flattery

As I mentioned before, Norwegians are very proud of their culture. And the fastest way to win their hearts is to flatter them!

Express how much you enjoy certain aspects of the country and make sure you taste and price the local foods you might be presented with.

And remember, if you happen to talk about cross-country skiing, Norwegians are the best, period!

Avoid religion

Little to explain, religion is always a delicate subject. Although the majority of Norwegians consider themselves agnostic/atheist, quite a few have religious beliefs, however, religion is a very personal thing in Norway. 

The best practice would be to avoid talking about it unless the subject comes up. If it does, don’t be too aggressive in expressing your views if they happen to contradict the views of the other person.


Visiting Norway is something everyone should experience at least once in their lives. 

The country has to offer countless breathtaking views and, despite the various myth about them, Norwegian people are most welcoming to anyone who would like to experience their culture.

You just need to know how to approach them, and now you do.

Photo of author


Erik is the creator and editor of Planet Norway. Born in Trondheim and currently living in Oslo, Erik knows the ins and outs of Norwegian History, society, and culture. His idea for starting planet Norway came about when helping his foreign fiance to settle in Norway.