A few do’s and dont’s in England vs Norway

In England it is common to offer the plumber/electrician etc a cup of tea, in Norway it isn’t…

When in an English supermarket it is normal to put the “next customer bar” on the conveyor belt after you have put your shopping on to let the customer behind you to start putting their shopping on…
In Norway however,it is common to ignore the customer behind you who is standing there holding a heavy basket full of shopping and who can’t reach the “next customer bar” as it is on the other side of your mountain of shopping…

In England it is common to let people exit a lift before you get on…
In Norway it is common to try to get into the lift before letting anybody out. Do try to use your elbows whilst getting on, and do watch out for old ladies with walking chairs who are the most aggressive of them all…

In England it is normal to say “thank you” to the bus driver when leaving the bus…
In Norway you should try to ignore anybody and everybody, eye-contact is very dangerous…

In England it is common to hold doors open for others…
In Norway you should try to ignore  and everybody and pretend you don’t notice the existence of people around you. Every man for themselves…

In England it is common to take turns buying rounds in the pub…
In Norway you should just ignore everybody around you and just look after yourself…

English drivers motion a hand in front of the rear view mirror to thank you for letting them into a stream of traffic, Norwegian drivers don’t… (Courtesy of kba from Vent-elated)

In Norway cars always stop in front of the pedestrian crossing…
In England you can’t trust them to…

In Norway you take your shoes off when going inside somebodys home, and keep the floors nice and clean…
In England you keep your shoes on…

Most Norwegians will understand or even speak English… The Brits are not equally good with other languages… (Courtesy of Mette from My Corner of England)

Now there must be more things that Norwegians are better/nicer at, I will add more as I think of them? Let me know if you have any suggestions!


15 Comments to “A few do’s and dont’s in England vs Norway”

  1. The next customer bar is a killer for me I must admit – it doesn`t hurt/cost anything/make you go out of your way to place it there. There`s another one too I´m afraid – English drivers motion a hand in front of the rear view mirror to thank you for letting them into a stream of traffic, Norwegian drivers…fill in the gap (as it were)…

    • Kba, yes I forgot about that one, it annoys my husband every time! It also annoys him when he stops to let pedestrians cross that nobody says “thank you” by waving or even a littlen nod – now I never did that in England either so I don’t know if that is something that is common in the UK?

    • Hope you don’t mind that I added your do/don’t to the list above!

  2. Oh, the zebra crossing thing drives me insane also! Norwegians do not even look before they step out onto that crossing. They then look straight ahead and never say thank you. I have been known to wind my window down and shout “tusen takk” at them (but I guess that makes me rude also!) In England most people stand still at the zebra crossing, wait to see if the traffic is going to stop (it won’t always!) and then cross and give a little wave or nod to say thank you.
    Here in Norway when I cross I make eye contact with the driver and mouth “takk” and give them a thumbs up. 9/10 times I get a little smile from them. Things like this need to be introduced into norwegian society to make this country a little bit nicer!

  3. Ok – my contribution to this list:
    Most Norwegians will understand or even speak English… The Brits are not equally good with other languages… 😉

    have a great day!
    cheers mette

  4. This is very interesting. I have a romanticized idea that Norway is so nice to moms and families, that it must be full of nice people too. It sounds like they are alot like New Yorkers! That driving courtesy thing is a big deal for me too. It’s hit or miss here in L.A. but in Hawaii, it is very customary to thank a person for the little things like that — it’s the Aloha! spirit there.

    • Hi Heather, the thing is I always used to think that Norwegians are very nice, and I still do, I just think we are misunderstood in a way… (I am desperatly trying to come up with some excuses here 😉 ) I think we are just used to keeping to ourselves, maybe it is the long cold winter that is to blame for this, or maybe we are all just very shy… I don’t know what the reason is! But when you get to know us and understand us you’ll find that we are nice! 🙂

  5. The buying rounds in Pubs is annoying in England as it just creates a heavy drinking pressure. If you are in a group of three people you cant have just one drink, you have to have minimum three..

    I find that compared to London, Norwegians are much friendlier. On London streets everyone tries to look hard so they don’t get mugged.

    In London pretty much everyone I know have been assaulted, mugged with a knife or similar. I Norway this is not as usual..

    The English countryside is great though. Not as introvert as Norwegian countryside.

    Also in Norway you can drive on a lovely windy road and not meet another car for hours (great roads for motorbikes!!). In England this is pretty much impossible! (Maybe except at nighttime).

  6. I am a Norwegian living in Switzerland for 6 years now. Leaving a country teaches you a lot about what is typical in a Country. Here is one other thing related to shopping:

    When you are buying something in Switzerland, you will be asked: “Would you like to have your item a plastic/paper bag?” Than you will be sent out with: “Thanks – have a good day!”

    The lady/man in the shop says:
    Which means “Would you like a paper bag?”, but this is very short form as the word means paper- or plastic-bag.

    She/he will probably not say goodbye when you leave, but focus immedeately on the next customer or their mobile phone….



    • You are so right! 🙂 Sometimes it is difficult to explain to foreign friends that Norwegians aren’t rude – just efficient… Somedays I am not convinced myself 😉

  7. I like the idea of it being efficiency. I’m a bit ‘efficient’ some days and I’m sure it’s interpreted as me being rude.Usually it’s because I’ve a million things to do and once one thing is accomplished the next thing is foremost in my mind. All the Scandinavian blood roaming my veins perhaps?!!
    PS I’ve heard that about the climate too…warmer climate=warmer people. not sure about that though. 🙂

  8. This is really intersting, Norway is sounding better and better! I might just be being grunpy, but I hate the way English people faf around with thank you and after yous with stranger, it just complicates thing. There are exception though, when it’s a old lady of pregnant woman it’s different because it’s not only there feeling that could be affected but the health. Although it may seem like harless manner, you can get into a bad habbit in cars with say after you , no, after you; that’s how most accidents happen in my exsperience. just follow the high way code. To me efficentcy over rules manners with strasngers. It’s a whole different story when you know them…

    • Thanks for your comment! 🙂 I agree with you that it is better to be efficient, but I must admit that I do miss a little bit of “gentlemenism” (I am sure that is not a word, but couldn’t think of a better one) – as having big guys use their elbows on me to get into the bus before me is getting a little bit annoying as well! But at the same time I do hate having to talk to strangers and make eyecontact and all that – expecially first thing in the morning.

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