Countdown: 9 Norway Trivia to Impress Your Friends
5th July 2018
Nailing pub quizzes, becoming a champion of random knowledge, hitting that jackpot on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ or learning about another culture through mind-blowing facts.
Whatever your motivation, I hope you will enjoy the following interesting facts about Norway that I’ve meticulously collected during my recent trip to Oslo and Bergen. Let the countdown begin!
9. Sleepless in Oslo
This will be obvious to most of you. I assumed that Oslo was too south to experience white nights. To my delight, I was wrong.
The official white nights season starts around June 11th. We were arriving in Norway about a week earlier, but nevertheless, the land of trolls welcomed us with this marvelously luminous sky at 10 pm (and 23 degrees Celsius, or 73 Fahrenheit)!!!
8. I’ll Be Back in a Minute, Dog
They don’t look particularly cozy or comforting, and I am not sure if I would ever leave my pooch in one.
But that’s certainly a cultural trivia I haven’t come across anywhere else so far (though I can see they’re available, e.g., in NYC):
These are public kennels. They’re bigger than in the picture, there’s air-con inside (with the temp between 20-21°C / 68-69.8°F), the front panel is semi-transparent and has see-through slits, and there’s a soft lining provided for comfort.
The kennels are rented on a per minute basis and charges are made via a mobile app. However, my doggie seems unimpressed:
7. The Life of She(ep)
If you ever wanted to hang out with other sheep, here’s the good news – now you can. Many sheep enjoy a pretty happy life pasturing on the endless grassy hills of the Norwegian glaciers.
They reach nooks and valleys unattainable for most humans.
Worry not, you may now explore the life of sheep thanks to a brilliant educational/travel program #SheepWithAView.
A couple of GoPros, four adventurous sheep, Eric, Frida, Lars, and Kari, and you can experience Norway like you’ve seen never before!
6. Don’t Drop That Alcohol
Norway isn’t a place you’d go for cheap booze. Alcohol, like most other goods here (with a curious exception of casual clothes), is exorbitantly expensive.
If you’d like to buy your Merlot, remember that Norway is pretty strict when it comes to drinking policy. Spirits stronger than 4.7% are sold through the state-run Vinmonopolet shops. Individual store operating hours may differ, but generally, you won’t be able to buy any alcohol on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.
This is bewildering to people from Poland where liquor stores are practically the only stores open 24/7 (bar some drugstores and gas stations).
5. Your Sunday BBQ Can Get You Busted!
Depending on the source, forests and woodland are said to cover 33-37% of the Norwegian mainland.
Dense forestation, unusually warm weather, a prolonged period of water shortage make a dangerous combo that has led to fire spread across the country in the recent months.
For that reason, in May the Norwegian authorities imposed an all-state open fire ban, which basically means that you may get a ticket for your usual Sunday BBQ in your backyard.
Following precipitation in mid-June, the ban was lifted in several counties, however, it still applies in many places. Be cautious.
4. Feeding Pigeons Not Allowed
Another thing you may not do in Norway (at least in some areas)? Feeding pigeons.
Pigeons have a tough life. They’re despised, shooed away, and even shot at. In Bergen, they can’t even get proper food.
Why the ban? I did not find the exact answer. I can only presume that it’s because of their usual “rats with wings”, disease-spreading reputation, and the fact that their increasing number may threaten other bird species. Is this true? Tell me if you know the right answer.
3. A Minority-Majority (“Mniejsza Większość”)
Just as in Iceland, Ireland, and possibly a few other countries, Poles are number one minority in Norway.
The boom for the Polish labor started right after Poland joined the EU, i.e., in 2004, when the foreign job markets opened for Polish workers. Many Poles left their country at that time, with the intention to work abroad for a year or two. A lot of them decided to stay abroad, bringing their families along.
Norway was particularly attractive to Poles due to high earnings, stable job market, and plenty of job opportunities. Emigration to Norway was also much easier than in the case of other European countries, as employment agencies were actively recruiting Polish employees for certain positions, such as a nurse, carpenter, forklift driver, or farmer.
2. High-tech Restrooms
This is my personal fixation, as I am always on a lookout for, preferably clean, toilets.
In Poland, public toilets are still few and far between, and many tourist use McDonald’s as an alternative. Anyway, if you’re lucky enough to find one around the city center, they might still remember the times of the Polish People’s Republic, and yes, there will be a restroom attendant in most of them, dispensing toilet paper, most likely.
In Norway, the restrooms are more Japanesque. Pristine, high-tech, and slightly intimidating in the way that at times you have no idea how to handle them.
For example, this stunning urinal in Oslo harbor latches automatically when someone’s inside.
If you have no change, worry not, as the restroom on Bergen station accepts cards only! With no attendant in sight, this one was a bit problematic for several tourists, including me, but we figured out together how it worked in the end:)
1. Longer than Golden Gate
Fog City may be proud of their ruby miracle stretching over the San Fran Bay:
But Norway has its own ultimate suspension bridge, magnificently spanning at the total length of 1,380 meters (4,530 ft) between two fiords.
This is the Hardanger Bridge and in fact, its main span is 30 meters longer than the one of the Golden Gate, which makes it the 13th longest suspension bridge in the world!
To be fair, it doesn’t seem that long, maybe because of its extremely lightweight structure. You can best admire it from one of the picturesque cruises that take you down the fiords. We did this one.
More Freaky Facts About Norway!!!
These were my own nine Norway trivia, as seen in Oslo and Bergen. If you’re eager to find out more, have a look at one of these sites:
Hope you enjoyed the countdown, do share your own stunning facts about Norway, and check back in for more travel tips and observations!