Simplicity and nature are the core of the Norwegian lifestyle.
Tolerance, kindness to each other and independence are highly
valued. Criticism of other people or others' systems is frowned
upon. "Peace and progress" are mottos in the country that sponsors
the Nobel Prizes. Norwegians treasure their landscape, outdoor
activity, sailing, cross-country skiing, etc.
Meeting and Greeting
- Shake hands with everyone present--men, women and children--at
a business or social meeting. Shake hands again when leaving.
- When introduced for the first time, address the other by both
first and last name, i.e. Mr. John Lund.
- Norwegians do not use the phrases "Pleased to meet you" or
"How are you?" They find these to be surface formalities with no
- There is little personal touching except between relatives and
- Do not stand close to a Norwegian, back slap or put your arm
- Norwegians take punctuality for business meetings very
seriously and expect that you will do likewise; call if you will
be more than five minutes late.
- Management style is similar to the participative management
style in the United States, and employees are asked opinions.
- Consensus is a high priority, but the boss makes the final
Dining and Entertainment
- Norwegians insist on punctuality for social occasions. 7:00
p.m. means 7:00 p.m.
- Business lunches are to discuss business, but business dinners
are mostly social. Business can also be discussed, but allow the
host to open the discussion.
- For a formal toast, look into the eyes of the person being
toasted and give a slight nod, then say Skĺl. Before
putting your glass down, meet the other person's eyes and nod.
- In a formal setting, the meal ends with the male guest of
honor tapping his glass with a knife and thanking the hostess on
behalf of all the guests. A little story or joke may accompany the
- Dinners are generally long with three courses and much
conversation. It is impolite to leave immediately after dinner.
- It is polite to finish everything on your plate. Norwegians do
not like to waste food, but you are not expected to overstuff
- Dress is conservative. For business, men should wear sports
jackets, ties or suits. Women should wear suits, dresses or dress
- When invited to someone's home, always bring a small gift for
the hostess. Give: flowers, chocolates, wine, pastries, liquor
(very expensive in Norway). Do not give: carnations, bouquet of
only white flowers, like lilies (funeral only), wreath (even at
Christmas--for funerals only).
- If invited to a dinner party, it would be a good idea to send
flowers to the host the day of the dinner party.
- Gifts are normally not exchanged at business meetings, but
small gifts may be appropriate at the successful conclusion of
- Keep gifts small. An expensive gift may be viewed as a bribe.
Give: brandy or whiskey that are good quality but not too
- Do not drink and drive. Norway has very strict laws for
intoxicated drivers, and the limit for blood/alcohol content is
only .05. One beer can put you over the limit.
- Sincerity is very important. Norwegians often consider
Americans too glib and too casual. Never invite someone to dinner
or suggest "getting together" without following with a sincere
- Norwegians are very proud of their landscape. Take the time to
notice it, appreciate it and comment on it.
- Never lump Norwegians together with Swedes or Danes.
Especially for Women
- Foreign women will have no problem doing business in Norway.
- It is acceptable for a foreign woman to invite a Norwegian man
to dinner. She should have no problem paying the bill.