The Norwegian difference.

I imagine there’s several blog posts out there outlining the differences between Norway and a certain country. However It’d be silly of me to way up the pros and cons of these differences.

The point of this blog post is really to outline some of the differences I’ve found during my first week here. It would be rude and improper of me to form some sort of opinion on these differences, as what works for one country doesn’t always work for another. However, they certainly are worth noting if you plan on visiting or moving to Norway.

Like Alcohol above 4.75%? There’s a shop for that.

There is in fact, only one shop for that. If you enjoy the trickle of a red wine, the harshness of a spirit or the classiness of a champagne, the one and only place you can buy these drinks is from the Vinmonopolet.

Broken down into English, it literally means Wine Monopoly. The Government owned alcohol shop found in almost all towns and cities is the only place (par the duty free) where you can buy drinks with more than 4.75% alcohol content.

It seems to have been designed to limit alcohol consumption among citizens, and has a far earlier closing time than most other shops here. However the range is absolutely fantastic, and the staff extremely knowledgeable on the subject of all things alcohol.

Planning a night out often involves first heading to the Vinmonopolet (or Polet) before it shuts, as opening times are strictly 10:00-18:00 on weekdays, and 10:00-15:00 on Saturday.

Just visiting? I’d personally recommend hitting the duty free before you leave the airport. Oslo’s airport has a duty free after you land, and you’re bound to get a far cheaper deal than at polet.

Sunday Shopping

Not too dissimilar to the UK, shops are closed on Sundays with the exception of Petrol Stations and small convenience stores.

Whilst you may have been able to still go to Tesco between 10:00-16:00 on a Sunday, Norwegian law states that all stores larger than 100m2 are not allowed to be open on Sunday.

You’ll still find the odd small store open during this time, but the selection is greatly reduced. So if you fancy doing your “big shop”, sunday is not the day for you.

Petrol Stations

Despite my earlier claim that I will not form any opinion on the differences, the Petrol / Service stations in Norway are simply amazing.

Almost all stations selling fuel double down as a mini fast food store. From the fancier ones selling burgers and pizza’s, to the smaller stations selling pølse, you’re never too far away from a hot meal should you need one.

On that subject…


A guilty pleasure of mine and, from what I’ve heard most Norwegians, pølse is a wonderful thing.

I’d probably get in trouble for saying it’s just a hot dog, because it’s so much more than that. It’s the warm food you eat after a night out, it’s the delicious meal you have on a long road trip, and its the comfort food you automatically go for on a BBQ. 

Hugely popular in Norway and the go to food for people on the go, you’ll struggle to find a convenience store which doesn’t have some sat ready to go.

The variation on these hot dogs is what makes them fantastic. If you’re visiting you might be tempted by the more well known hot dog bun, but a somewhat different approach is a pølse med lompe, wherein the sausage is wrapped in a potato pancake. Great stuff.


There are probably loads of more differences which I’ll discover along the way, and many more which I haven’t mentioned. Hopefully this provided a small insight into some of the wonderful things which makes Norway different (to what I’m used to).

Again, I’d hate to make this an opinionated blog (despite having sort of done so). It’s important to remember that every country is different, but those differences should not be mocked nor scowled upon. The differences are what makes those countries a fantastic place to explore and live in.




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