A land of fiords, Vikings, welfare, as well as beautiful and wild nature, Norway is considered one of the best countries to live in, and Norwegians are among the happiest  people in the world. There are many factors that lead us to think of Norway as land of milk and honey. A huge contribution to this success was made by the discovery of oil deposits in 1969, which had a major influence on the economic level of the country and the people’s wealth. However, we can’t ignore Norwegian culture and their way of being, conveyed over the generations.

Welfare state

Norway is often called a “velferdsstaten”, which in translation means a “welfare state”. This image has its reflection in reality, as Norway ensures its people health care, an allowance in case of job loss or an accident, it guarantees high-level education, a postive family-friendy policy in the form of long maternity and paternity leaves. This is the welfare state at its best.

Another issue is the highly developed egalitarianism in Norwegian society, in other words complete equality among people in economic, social and political terms. Control of the free market is essential to the authorities, mainly in order to eliminate inequality. This is why the state acts as a  distributor of goods, services and rights. The Norwegian welfare state enjoys trust from its citizens, who often pay enormous taxes in order to benefit the whole of society later.

Black gold

One of the main income sources is of course crude oil. Norwegians are the third largest international oil distributor, and the seventh when it comes to natural gas. What differentiates Norway from other oil-producing countries is th way the money collected from oil sales is invested. The profits from the sale of “black gold” and gas are paid into the Norwegian Oil Fund, whose assets amount over one trillion euro. It is worth noting that the fund does not finance current pensions, it is a provision for future generations when oil deposits will run out.

Norwegian way of being

When you ask a Norwegian what it is that makes him or her happy, for sure most of them will answer “interacting with nature”. In spite of full bank accounts or having the latest electronic devices, they love to have good time in their “hytte”, or holiday cottages, most frequently located in the mountains. In these, they always pay attention to the atmosphere; cosy interiors, the warm colour of light, lamps lit on balconies and decks, thick and soft blankets, warm tea in a huge cup – an amazing celebration of the moment, according to hygge philosophy.

A typical Norwegian “Ola Nordmann” is characterised by moderation, but without redundant questions will always help those in need, he has great trust in others, he loves to do sports, especially winter sports. The inhabitants of the frosty north are very engaged socially, it is their national feature. Natteravn is one example of how they care for other citizens. In Norway, weekend patrols of volunteers operate, which during evenings walk around the streets make sure that nobody is being harmed. Temperatures here are unusually low, so it is worth checking whether someone under the influence of alcohol has not fallen asleep on a bench or if there hasn’t been some unpleasant happening after leaving a party. In the case of any danger, the politiet, or police in translation, is called.

Being a Norwegian

Norwegian culture, rational financial management, a love of nature and equality all cause Norway to be considered one of the best countries to live in. The idea of social equality and state help in many fields make citizens of the fiords feel safe. The possibility of living at a high level, enjoying unique and unusual nature, extraordinary landscapes, an original language, a joy of life and sensitivity toward others place Norwegians high on the list of the happiest people. I guess it is no surprise!

(translation B.A.)

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