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4 Truths About Growing Up In Norway

Children playing in the snow
Children playing in the snow | Courtesy of Visit Tromsø
How does it feel to grow up in the country with the highest standard of living in the world? It’s no coincidence Norwegians are considered among the happiest people worldwide. Here are some truths about growing up in the Land of the Vikings.

You’re bound to take some things for granted

Growing up in Norway, there are some things you learn as indisputable truths. Take recycling for instance: as a kid in Norway, you’re trained to put plastic in a separate bin to compost and general waste. Growing up and traveling abroad, it’s only natural to wonder where the blue and green bins are, only to be told to your dismay that “there’s only one bin for everything”.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg; there are core social issues that may seem like a given to you. Because you grew up with the knowledge that men and women have equal rights and so should be paid the same, that love is love regardless of gender and that the more taxes you pay the more your country will provide for you. Unfortunately, not every country in the world is quite there yet. But you can share your truth and hope that both you and Norway will act as inspiration for the future.

There are recycle bins everywhere in Norway Courtesy of Kildesortering i Oslo

Being active is ingrained in your DNA

If you grew up in Norway, then you know that cold weather is no excuse when it comes to physical activity. Snow is your friend – so are skis. The cities are made to be explored by bicycle or by foot, not by car. Your jogging efforts can continue even if you’re pushing a baby-stroller and the minute the weather is nice you go hiking up the mountains. You may take a couple of things for granted (see above) but definitely not the beauty of nature surrounding you.

Skiing at Trysil © His Martin Nysæter, Courtesy of Trysil.com

You either love or hate pølse

Norwegian culinary scene is definitely booming – but that’s a quite recent development. For most families with young kids in the ’80s, a relaxed weekend dinner (or snack, for that matter) basically consisted of ‘pølse med lompe’ or, if your parents were feeling exotic, ‘pølse med brød’. Norway’s love for sausages, traditionally boiled and served with thin potato pitas (lompe) or like a regular hot-dog (med brød), it’s no joke – and has caused many 30-year-olds to not even be able to look at the stuff anymore. But then again, there are many who still consider pølse their national dish and will consume it proudly on holidays like May 17. Looks like when it comes to pølse, there is no middle ground in Norway.

Pølse is a staple of the Norwegian way of eating @ cyclonebill / Flickr

If you’re over 35, you remember when things were different

As in, before all the wealth from the oil started pouring in. It may be hard to conceive right now, but Norway was actually quite a poor country after the second World War, before the discovery of oil changed everything. Today’s youth may have grown accustomed to a certain standard of living, but you still remember the importance of foraging for food in the forest and generally being frugal. Good for you, maybe you can teach the next generation a thing or two.