03 Fév Def. of Norwegian, Norwegians « The Norway Way »
Expats in Norway
Expats in Norway have told me that Norwegians are a mystery. Not to mention that the language is complicated and the climate is tough. In addition the people seem distant and winter is loooong. But they also define Norwegians as loyal, witty and charming. Summertime up North is magic with the incredible daylight. And of course nature is amazing. The standard of living is also very comfortable.
Keys to enter the Norwegian market
Businesses I work with need to master both Norwegian regulations and EU-laws. They need to understand the Norwegian way of working between 8am to 4pm (no “overtid” please) and the flat hierarchy. Cultural specificities as the arm’s length distance when talking to someone and the aversion for small talk on the bus caracterises this savage people …
The key to entering any market is the capacity to master the local language, but also the cultural consciousness. I can only imagine the cultural chock an Asian would meet if he or she went unprepared for a business meeting up North. Indeed the cleavage between the direct, Norwegian language and the consensual Asian way of speak is huge. Seen from abroad this must be really confusing.
The Norway Way
A friend of mine offered me a book called “The Norway Way” when I moved to France a few years ago. The author, Jenny Blake depicts through charming and witty drawings the Norwegian people. She describes everything from packed lunch with “pålegg” (topping which is put on slices of bread) to cheese slicers. Cabin life and the wonderful Norwegian definition of and hunger for “finvær” (nice weather) are also covered.
Obviously this book is refreshing and can be useful for anyone wanting to go to Norway. If you wish to start business in Norway, or if you have a Norwegian colleague or family member you should also have a look. Just remember: Norwegians are human beings after all – with common decency. So if you get lost in the countryside, just ask, and you will not only get directions, but maybe a cup of coffee and a “svele” (delicious, thick pancake) as well…
And a friendly advice to Norwegian expats: take a sneak-peak on this book whenever you feel homesick…