Why This Norwegian Meeting Site Is More Important Than Tinder

Roasting marshmallows is always better with a friend, Turvenn thinks
Roasting marshmallows is always better with a friend, Turvenn thinks | © Turvenn

Sure, Norwegians are on Tinder. But if you browse enough profiles, after a while you realize two things: a) a lot of them really just want a friend to hang out with and, b) most of them are crazy about hiking. This is where Turvenn comes in. The meeting service that launched in 2015 is helping Norwegians find a ‘venn’ (friend) for ‘tur’ (outdoor adventures). We spoke with Turvenn’s founder, Øyvind Isaksen, to get more insight on the app that’s making Norwegians less lonely, one hiking trip at a time.

How does Turvenn work, exactly?

“The idea behind Turvenn was to make a community where people who like hiking can hook up,” Isaksen tells us. He continues on to clarify that, “this app is just more relevant to Norwegians than Tinder: it’s not just about dating, but it’s also a site where you can find friends who share the same passion for exploring.”

Turvenn works primarily as an app (free to download, both for iOS and Android), but it also has a website version. On the website, there’s also a chat function and a public forum where you can post messages for all to see.

© Kjersti Waskaas (Studio Virvelvind), Courtesy of Turvenn

You’ll start by creating a profile and specifying the kind of person you’re looking for. Besides the usual options like male, female or both, and age ranges, you can also specify the area/country you’re interested in, whether you have kids or not and whether you’re looking for a friend, traveling companions to form a group or a romantic partner. According to Isaksen, about 60% of the current pool of 15,000 users are just looking for a friend or a group of friends, versus the 40% that use Turvenn as a dating app.

© Kjersti Waskaas (Studio Virvelvind), Courtesy of Turvenn

Is Turvenn for you?

One thing you need to keep in mind is that the app and website are, for now, in Norwegian (Isaksen tells us that they’re planning to expand to other countries in the future, so that could mean more languages as well). There are many heartwarming success stories on the website, about people finding their tribe, exploring beautiful places in Norway and, of course, finding a relationship that’s based on having the same interests and values. So if you’re looking for a slower, more human approach (in contrast to Tinder’s more focused approach) and you see friendship as an important first step to potentially something more, then you should probably create a profile today. See you on ‘tur’, friend!

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