Winter sport activities/cabins

The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT)

The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) is Norway’s biggest outdoor activities organization. DNT operate 500 cabins across the country, mark routes and ski tracks. Together they maintain a network of about 20,000 km of marked foot trails and about 7000 km of branch-marked ski tracks. DNT members are given discounts on lodgings at all cabins and on served meals at the staffed lodges. There are also many cabins close to Oslo. Events and trips at

Nordmarka forest

Nordmarka forest surrounds Oslo and are just 20 minutes from the city centre. You can easily reach these places with public transportation. The Nordmarka forest is frequently used by the city’s inhabitants, but also more and more visitors come here, both in the summer and winter. Many of the cabins in Nordmarka are open throughout the year. Some are unserviced cabins that one can use if one has the key (for members of DNT), while others are open during the day and serve lovely home-baked snacks for hungry hikers and skiers. Some cabins also offer accommodation with meals included. Nordmarka is also a great place for nordic walking, camping in the wild, kayaking, bicyling and hiking trips.

Visit Oslo(tourist information) about nordmarka forest.

Skiglede ski school

Skiglede offers lessons in cross-country skiing, telemark skiing, slalom, jibbing and snowboard. The lessons can be suited to any skill level, and are given to individuals or small groups by highly skilled instructors. Skiglede specialises in cross-country lessons for tourists. 


Oslo with children


  1.  Attractions for children museums, farmhouse, cultural activities
  2.  Sport activities in winter and summer
  3. (in norwegian)
  4. Childplanet, play hall for children
  5. Ekeberg Park, big play area for children
  6.  Barrat Due Music kindergarten
  7.  Dance class for children

International MOther and BAby Group Oslo (IMOBAGO)

This Facebook group has been created in order to help foreigner mothers or expectant mothers living in Norway (independently from their origin or age of their children) to get into a social network. Apart from lovely people, here you will find a lot of useful information related to kids (kindergarten, clothing, transport, etc). Join us; we are already over 500 members!

The group’s founder, Katalin Galambos, has launched a book that will help any newcomer or long-established expat mom in Norway: “OSLO FOR MOTHERS” at indie Gogo.

Oslo International Toddler Group

Hannah, organizer of this group writes: The Oslo International Toddler Group is a friendly group that meets each Wednesday during the school term.  The group is intended for international parents with babies and toddlers living in Oslo and surrounding areas.  There are tons of toys to play with and we also sing with the children.  We meet at Høvik kirke just off the E18 at Høvik.  For more info contact email

Mums or dads in Oslo?

(See the Facebook page Oslomamma/papa)


Are you a mum or dad in Oslo and looking for things to do during your maternity leave? Or you´re pregnant and wondering how Oslo works? Or you´re simply a parent looking for child-friendly activities and cafes in Oslo? On these pages you will find tips on activities, child-friendly cafes, strolls, what you need when you are traveling with a baby, workout with or without babies, how to choose a day care, and much more. Hope you like it!

Cafes and picnic places in Oslo

Day care /Nursery school information before you apply, after applying

How to dress your child for the day care etc

 Baby friendly walks with prams

Baby swimming, baby yoga & baby gym, baby cinema, playground, farms for children.

Open Day care Centers for children 0-3 years

If you have run out of ways to entertain your baby or you just need a break, or you want to meet other mums and dads, go to the Open Day Care Center in your neighbourhood/town! No signing up is needed, you can just show up. The parent has to be present, but you can place your baby on a mat with tons of toys around while you chill with a cup of coffee and a waffle. It´s also a great way to meet other parents in your neighbourhood.

Do-Re-Mini group

Music classes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in English. Do-Re-Mini was established to provide families in Asker/Bærum with an English language early childhood music education.

Check them out at Læringsverkstedet Doremini


Information on Banking Services in Oslo

We advise you to choose one of these following banks to open your account:

DnB (Majorstuen)
Contact address: Kirkeveien 59, 0366 Oslo
Telephone: 04800 (+ 47 from abroad)
DnBs website

To register as a new customer you will need the following documents:
1. D Number or Norwegian ID number
2. Valid passport
3. Tax card
4. Residence permit (must be valid for more than 3 months.)
5. Employment contract

Please make an appointment before you drop in to register.
NB: Please note that it can take up to 2 months to get the account activated.

Nordea (Majorstuen)
Contact address: Kirkeveien 64, 0364 Oslo
Telephone: 06001 (+47 from abroad)

Nordeas Website

To register as a new customer you will need the following documents:

1. D Number or Norwegian ID number
2. Valid passport
3. Tax card
4. Residence permit (must be valid for more than 3 months.)
5. Employment contract
6. Recommendation letter from the current / former bank

You can drop in to open the account and you do not need to make an appointment.

NB: Please note that it can take up to 5 weeks to get the account activated.

Take Tram no. 11 from HiOA Campus at Pilestredet and get off at the last stop which is Majorstuen. Both banks are located right on the main street.

There’s no “I” in “TEAM”

Two men and a woman sitting around a table with papers in front of them
Working together as a team is an important part of Norwegian work culture. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward/HiOA All rights reserved.

Norway is one of the countries that place emphasis on team success rather than personal excellence. Norwegians have learned to work together and achieve goals as a team. It is important to understand that this mentality is present in all aspects of life and not only in the confines of a work-related environment, where there is always a certain goal to be achieved – be it a sales number, a deadline, a conference to be held etc. In many industries though, the capitalistic view is as common in Norway as in other countries, but the old joke remains of the  so-called Law of Jante (Norwegian: Janteloven), a set of rules created by Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in an attempt to describe the negative disposition of Nordic countries towards individualism.

The ten rules (or commandments) of the Law of Jante

  1. You are not to think you are anything special.
  2. You are not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You are not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You are not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You are not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You are not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You are not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You are not to laugh at us.
  9. You are not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You are not to think you can teach us anything.

Now, if you are not familiar with the North-European culture, these rules may sound inexplicably harsh. Keep in mind, though, that they are only a way to express just one simple concept: we live, work and evolve as a team.

Health and insurance

A student practicing
Students at HiOAs bachelor program in Paramedics. Photo: Benjamin A.Ward/HiOA All rights reserved.

Upon signing a work contract where you are planning to stay in Norway for a while, you can become a member of the National Insurance Scheme (Norwegian: Folketrygden). You can opt not to join, but this is highly inadvisable, since public health care in Norway is among the best in the world.

Primary doctor

All members of the National Insurance scheme are entitled to a primary doctor (Norwegian: fastlege). The primary doctor is responsible for examining, diagnosing, prescribing medication and referring to a specialist doctor or hospital if necessary. The doctor is not appointed arbitrarily; the insured person gets to choose from a list of available practitioners in the near vicinity. If you do not make a choice, there is an automatic selection, but you can opt to change afterwards.

Your primary doctor can grant you a leave of absence from work if they deem fit. The severity of the condition determines whether you get full leave (100%), or reduced working time over a certain period. In case your doctor says you can work part-time, it is the employer’s duty to modify your schedule and adapt it to your needs.

Benefits of the National Insurance Scheme

European Health Insurance Card

If you are a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme and are staying temporarily in another EEA country or in Switzerland, it is recommend having a European Health Insurance Card.

The card proves that you are entitled to necessary healthcare in the same way as nationals of the country you are visiting.


The major hospitals in Oslo is under the cooperative umbrella of Oslo University hospital, making it one of the largest in Scandinavia and the 3 major Oslo hospitals of Ullevål hospital, Rikshospitalet and Aker Sykehus.

Ullevål Sykehus has many specialized areas, including a reputable maternity ward. The hospital also runs many residency-training programs for different groups engaged in healthcare, such as doctors, nurses and lab technicians. The hospital is a level I trauma center, servicing approximately half of Norway’s population

Rikshospitalet does specialized treatment and research. About 60 percent of the patients admitted to Rikshospitalet are referred from other hospitals in Norway. In Norway, Rikshospitalet plays an important role in the treatment of rare and complicated disorders.

Emergency care

Call 113 for life-threatening and acute health problems.

Treatment of illnesses and injuries that cannot wait until the next day, you need to  go to the emergency care (Norwegian: Legevakten) at Oslo Emergency Ward


Weather and climate

Contrary to popular belief, Norway is not “in the freezer” throughout the year. The Golf stream, a warm sea current originating from the Caribbean Sea and ending up to Barents Sea, is primarily responsible for Norway’s rather mild climate, at least compared to other countries of the same latitude.


A group of students sitting on a lawn in the sunshine
A group of students enjoying the summer sun. Photo: John Hughes/HiOA

Summers in Norway can be pleasantly warm, with the average high temperature in Oslo exceeding 20 degrees Celsius. Oslo’s record high is 35 degrees, though temperatures above 30 are far from a frequent phenomenon.

Oslo has a stable climate, compared to the coast of Norway, with more sunny days. It’s common to enjoy the beaches along the fjord, go sailing or do sports outside in the spring and summer season.

The fall can be similar to the North East of the US with cooling temperatures and colorful leaves. The Norwegians love their mountains, and the fall is a popular time to take mountain walks while picking an abundance of berries and mushrooms that are free for all.


This is not to say that it cannot get cold in Norway. Winters in Oslo and adjacent areas are marked by average temperatures between -10 and 0 degrees, with temperatures around -15 degrees being the norm for a few days every year. Snowfalls can occur between October and April, but they are most frequent in January, February and March. In the recent years the climate changes have been very visible in the Oslo region with more rain and less snow. Those who love to ski are therefore going off to the mountains to look for good snow conditions whenever they can.

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”, according to a popular Norwegian saying.  Winter clothes are best purchased in Norway or in countries with similar cold climate zones and wool is recommended during the days of winter.

Information on climate and expected temperatures


Official languages in Norway

You already know that Norwegians speak a language that falls into the category of Scandinavian languages and you may know that it is a North Germanic language. What you probably do not know is that there are three official written languages in Norway. The first is Bokmål, which means «language of books». Bokmål was once the only written language in Norway and is an evolution of Danish. If you compare a text in Norwegian and the exact same text in Danish, you will notice that there are striking similarities. The vast majority of Norwegians (more than 85 percent) use Bokmål today.

The second official written language is Nynorsk (literally: New Norwegian). Nynorsk is the spiritual child of Ivar Aasen, a Philologist who traveled across the country during the 19th century and collected various elements of local dialects, eventually proposing the Nynorsk written standard. Nynorsk is particularly common in the western part of Norway.

While sharing the same rules and structure, these two standards can appear quite different to the untrained eye. In reality, though, they are just variations of the same language. These are the main languages used in schools, churches, public services and the media.

The third language is Sami, which is the language of Norway’s indigenous people. It is a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sami people in Northern Europe Northern Europe (in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden and extreme northwestern Russia).

Local dialects

When it comes to oral communication, things can get even more confusing. With the exception of Oslo, Bergen and a handful of other large cities, Norway’s population has always been scattered throughout the country. Before the establishment of telecommunications, many communities in Norway were virtually isolated entities with little external interaction. This has led, among other things, to the development of countless local dialects, some of which are nearly incomprehensible to the average city dweller. Note, however, that Oslo and its neighboring communities share pretty much the same dialect. Therefore, foreigners who stay in the area are not required to master several variations of the language.

Language class offers

Norwegian classes for Academics

Norwegian for Researchers

Work culture in Norway

The Norwegian work culture has a flat structure and empowered employees. For a newcomer it may be difficult to distinguish the boss from the rest of the employees. Decision-making is often by consensus, depending on the nature of the situation. There is a high degree of autonomy in both what employees do and how they do it. Employees are often given a great sense of individual responsibility to carry out their tasks, and expected to ask along the way, rather than given clear directions. This is very different from many other working cultures, and employers generally has is a high level of trust that everyone contributes to the common goals and objectives.

Dress code is informal in most businesses, except those working with sales, finance and officials – that is, men are required to wear a tie only on very special occasions

Personal development, a good working environment and friendly colleagues commonly motivate Norwegians, more so than high financial or other quantitative rewards. Employees are expected to work for the common good, and to a lesser extent for personal fame and fortune. Team spirit is a key aspect in Norwegian work culture and salary structure bears witness to that.

Salaries and taxes

The gap between top- and entry-level salaries in Norway is surprisingly narrow, at least when compared to other countries with strong economy, such as Germany or the USA. Simply put, a line manager in a Norwegian corporation does earn more than a janitor, but the difference is not huge – at least not as much as you might expect. You pay rather high taxes in Norway, but when having a family in Norway you see the benefits of the taxes, which includes medical costs, payments for maternity and paternity leave, supported kindergartens and education, even at the university level. These are high costs that in other countries, parents start saving for the kids early.

Children are highly valued in society and this influences work culture. It is acceptable for families with young children to leave work early to pick up their children from kindergarten.

Work/Life balance

At the very core of Norway’s culture lies the importance of work/life balance. There is a general notion that people work to live rather than live to work. Norwegian lifestyle focuses on family values, sports and outdoors life. Norwegians have a close relation to nature, and many families have cabins (Norwegian: hytte) close to the coast or in the mountains. Do not be surprised if you find your colleagues leaving work early on Fridays to go to their “hytte”. If you don’t’ have your own cabin, there are plenty to rent for a low cost in the mountain or by the fjord. Oslo offers a great number of cabins from 2 – 40 people.

Information on renting a cabin in Oslo and surroundings

Tips on mountain trips in Norway by the Norwegian Trekking Association

People and social interactions

Norwegians are calm and modest people, much based to their history as farmers, living with long distances in between and times with economic hardship. They seldom show intense emotions, but that does not mean that they have no feelings. It may seem impossible at first to be friends with a Norwegian, but this is a common misconception. Once you get past the first few interactions, you will see that Norwegians value friendship and prefer to have a few very good friends than many superficial friends. If you come from a country where it is customary to meet people every other day, be prepared for fewer interactions with your Norwegian friends. Norway is a society with a strong family focus and time with the children is a priority. The society is built on equality, and men and women are expected to take equal part in taking care of the children.

HiOA offers Cultural Understanding courses for its entire staff to help provide a better understanding of the Norwegian work culture, what are the cultural differences and how can we use and learn from them, language challenges and how to work in multicultural teams at HiOA. Courses are free for staff and are posted on the HiOA intranet.

How to greet in Norway

When meeting someone for the first time a handshake is required, while a hug is common when encountering friends or acquaintances. Kissing cheeks is not as common as in other countries, though the younger generation and those who have travelled a bit are starting to adopt that custom. To be safe, start with a handshake both for men and for women.

Dress code

Norwegians like to keep things informal whenever possible. There is no particular dress code when visiting friends or relatives, but you would normally try to dress according to whom you are visiting. It is always better to dress up rather than down the first time you visit someone, as this is a show of respect for the host. A shirt but no tie for men and a nice blouse for women will do.

The dress code at work varies on the place of work. If you have a job that requires you to meet with clients or officials, it will be more formal. Working in Academia in Norway is generally informal. Women are not required to wear a skirt and everyone can wear jeans to work. Wearing a full suit with a tie is only for special occasions, though in industries such as finance, that would be a daily work outfit.

Keep in mind that it is customary for Norwegians to take off their shoes when entering someone’s home, though it is no crime if you choose not to remove them. After experiencing the changing of the season, you will soon understand why this is a practical custom.

Work/life balance

People living in Norway value their work/life balance and employers expect you to have interests outside of work. When working in Norway, you may find yourself having more spare time than what you had back home, as the general working hours are from 08.00 – 16.00, although many people work longer than that. The separation between your work time and private time is stronger in Norway than many other countries, and this often comes as a big cultural shock to foreigners, at least until they have been long enough in Norway to enjoy having more time for their hobbies.

One the best ways to get to know Norwegians is to take part in sports or volunteer activities, enjoying the outdoors, finding a hobby, playing music and so on. See the sport and activity offers from HiOA’s own sports club “HiOABIL”.

Interesting reading on understanding Norwegian culture

Norwegian culture with an international view

How to meet Norwegians


Your contact person in Oslo and Akershus University College can help you rent your first apartment or house. Learn more about how to find housing and how your contact person can assist you.

Residence in Norway

Residence in Norway comes in various shapes and sizes, ranging from cozy apartments with few rooms, to real estate wonders with gardens and lakes. The vast majority of advertisements are found on websites such as, where one can go through extensive galleries of available apartments and houses, and some are also advertised in local newspaper and the biggest Oslo newspaper called Aftenposten. Some real estate agents also deal with property for rent, such as Utleiemegleren where you can sign up to get available rental listings.

You can choose between furnished, somewhat furnished and unfurnished housing. In the beginning, newcomers are recommended to get a ready furnished place to save time and money, but should you want to get your own things, Oslo has several inexpensive furniture stores such as IKEA that has a free shuttle bus to/from downtown.

Rent or own?

Rent is usually seen as a temporary solution in Norway. Owning a house or an apartment is one of the cornerstones of Norwegian culture. As the old Norwegian saying goes: “paying for rent is like throwing money out of the window”. Banks in Norway are secure and offer good interest rates. You can often support a loan for the same money as paying rent; therefore, many people choose to buy as soon as they have a stable income.


The contract between the property owner and the tenant describes the exact terms of the lease, such as monthly rent and deposit amount. It is common that the deposit is 3 months’ rent. Note that electricity and heating expenses are often included in the rent, and apartments in Norway always come with electrical appliances.


While prices can vary significantly, depending on the size of the house and its proximity to the city center, a typical rent in Oslo for an one-bedroom apartment can easily exceed NOK 10.000 (Norwegian kroner) a month. Larger apartments with more bedrooms cost around NOK 16.000 and can even break the barrier of NOK 20.000 a month. If you come on your own and do not mind sharing a place to save on rent, you can opt to live in shared housing (Norwegian: kollektiv).

Buildings and floors

The first floor in a Norwegian building is the ground or street floor. One flight of stairs upwards leads to the second floor, and so forth. If you come from a country where the first floor lies above the ground floor, your first few months in a Norwegian city can be somewhat confusing, but it is only a matter of time before you get used to it.

Mandatory fire protection

Keep in mind that fire protection is mandatory in Norway. Smoke detectors must be installed and maintained properly in every home. If you are considering living in Norway even for a short time, you should familiarize yourself with the procedures.

Useful links about housing