Norwegian values are rooted in egalitarian ideals. Norway undoubtedly has one of the best welfare systems in the world, making sure that people who are sick and unable to work, or who are unemployed for whatever reason are not left out in the cold, but are given support so that they are able to live with dignity. This, coupled with a strong public education system and public health care system, has lead to a society in which it is easier to bounce back from a bad start in life, or a bad year.
Egality and equality
The egalitarian values which are at the root of the welfare state also manifest themselves throughout Norwegian society in many ways - for instance in the field of gender equality. The novel idea that women are equal to men and should therefore have an equal say in running society did take some time to catch hold in most of the world, but Norway was in the lead: it was one of the first nations to give women the right to vote. Norway was also among the first countries in the world to elect a female prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was elected prime minister of Norway in 1981 and had eight women in her cabinet, an incredible number at the time.
Because of this, and active government support of gender equality, women have been steadily climbing in standing over the past fifty years. Still, the goal of total equality remains a long way off: while forty percent of the representatives in Parliament are female, only one in every ten company directors are women. Gender equality has certainly changed the Norwegian male’s role as a father.
Norway has a paternity leave quota, 10 weeks, so that fathers can also take extended time off to be with their children. This has helped make the mixing of careers and family a lot easier.
In Norway we have three official written languages and a myriad of spoken dialects. We have two official written Norwegian languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk. In addition the indigenous Sámi people have their own official written language. The majority of the people in Norway are using Bokmål. But in the south and the northwestern part of Norway, Nynorsk is widely used. However, it should be noted that Bokmål and Nynorsk are not classified as two different languages. In short one could say that they are more two different written norms. Thus, text written in Bokmål is perfectly understandable for a person using Nynorsk, and vice versa.
Very few Norwegians, if anybody, speak the way a text is written, whether it's in Bokmål or Nynorsk. Instead we make use of our local dialects. For Norwegians the dialect makes up an important part of their identity, and by listening to a person's dialect we can in most cases determine with good accuracy from which part of the country he or she comes from. Beginners to the Norwegian language might find some dialects hard to understand, but Norwegians are understanding and speak closer to the written language if they notice you don't understand them.
English in Norway
Most Norwegians speak English fluently. Children start learning English in kinder garden and at school, so even the smaller children often speaks a bit of English. Therefore you should not worry about coming to Norway without speaking the native tongue. Many Norwegians also speak German, French or Spanish.
Weather and climate
Norwegians love to talk about the weather. But it’s not very strange. Weather in Norway is dramatic and changes very fast, and it can often completely change the options for what is possible to do on any given day.
Four seasons in one day
Norway is often regarded as a cold and wet country. Though this is true in some regions, Norway’s climate is wildly different from region to region and season to season, and the entire coastline is greatly warmed by the Gulf Stream.
Most of Norway south of Trondheim is a temperate climate. This means that southerly inland climates are dry and very cold in the winter and quite hot in the summertime. The North can be pretty cold and wet except for the brief summer months. Coastal climates in the south are mild and wet in all seasons.
You can easily check out the weather in different parts of Norway at yr.no