Year after year, Oslo is crowned as one of the best cities in the world to live in. But there are plenty of people who hate living in Oslo. So, who’s right, is Oslo a great city or the most boring capital in Europe?
Oslo feels healthy, has amazing saunas, and it’s extremely safe. Salaries seem very high compared to other cities, and employers see work-life balance as a priority. So why should you not move to Oslo? What’s the trick?
During the long winters, the city gets very grey and dark. Days shorten to a few hours of daylight, and the sun is rare and very weak during the months of November to March. For example, in December you can expect an average of about an hour of sunlight per day.
Mostly grey, rainy, and cold. Summer in Oslo is beautiful, but the rest of the year the weather is certainly not the best. You’ll need thick jackets, thick gloves, thick shoes, and thick skin. Summers are nice, tho, but as they say, they’re the nicest week of the year.
Hard to socialize
Norwegians are MUCH more reserved than most other European nationals. This means that making friends in Oslo is really hard. It’s much easier if you arrive as a student or work at a large company. Yes, there’s a community of expats and internationals, but you won’t integrate if you don’t hang out with locals.
Meeting new people ‘organically’ is rather unusual as friend groups keep to themselves. And dating is mostly limited to the main apps (Tinder, Bumble, and Hinch). Locals tend to keep a big personal space, thus living in some sort of a bubble. Trying to talk to people or look at people makes them very uncomfortable. Also, locals have very high standards on a number of dimensions: boys look like Ken, and girls like Barbie.
Norwegians are generally responsible. But when they drink, they often drink a LOT and get wasted. This allows them to be ‘free’, which means that often they’ll be lovely and super chatty when tipsy, while extremely reserved and politically correct when sober.
Tough job market
Yes, salaries are pretty great, but unless you’re in tech or some engineering field, most likely will need Norwegian to be hired. Companies are still quite protective of local culture, and many don’t hire candidates who don’t speak Norwegian. It’s understandable, but this is not Berlin, so you should keep it in mind.
It’s expensive as hell to do virtually anything. This means that unless you make very good money, your quality of life won’t be as high as you think. Going out for anything more than a cup of coffee will feel like you’re breaking the bank.
But if you still feel like moving here, check out our tips on how to live on the cheap, or find a room.