Earlier I've written MyTakes related to Norway about tourist destinations in Bergen, 10 reasons why I love my country Norway and 7 funny facts about Norway and Norwegians. This MyTake is about stereotypes about Norwegians. I'm also going to tell you if the stereotypes are true or not from my experience.
1) Tall, Blonde and Beautiful
Some foreigners imagine Norwegians as a place full of tall, beautiful and blonde people.
A common stereotype about Norway is that everybody are tall, blonde, blue eyed, white and beautiful. When [some] foreigners are thinking of Norwegians often a beautiful blonde model looking woman or a tall athletic handsome man is what's popping up in their minds. It's true being tall, blonde, blue eyed and light skinned is common features in Norway. But Norway is like other places where people are different. We've tall, short, slim, fat, light, dark, pretty and not so pretty people here. The majority of Norwegians from my experience looks like people from the UK, but often a bit blonder. Most Norwegians looks like ordinary people and not everybody are models.
Norwegians exist in all heights, shapes, and colors. Norwegians can be brunette too and not everybody are blondes.
2) Skiing and Other Recreational Activities
Another stereotype is that Norwegians are born with skies on their legs as the phrase says and that we're interested in other outdoor activities like walking or climbing the mountains and that everybody goes to the tropics where it's sun, beaches etc. also known as "Syden" in Norwegian.
These activities are common and quite popular. But that doesn't mean it applies to everyone. I don't like walking in the mountains, skiing or hanging on the beach. I'm more of a lazy indoor type and I knows other people like me as well.
A vacation to the tropics where it's sunny and beaches is called "Syden" in Norway. "We're going to Syden" is what most people say and isn't naming the country they're traveling to.
3) Black Metal
Some foreigners associated Norway with black metal and I was surprised the first time I heard about it because I don't hear so much about it and I thought foreigners associated Norway with mountains. Many pictures Norwegians as hardcore Vikings banging their heads to the black metal. Most Norwegians I've talked to actually are listening to pop-music. Only a few are metal and rock fans.
4) Introverts and Anti-Social
Illustration from the book "A social guidebook to Norway".
Norwegians are seen as introverts and anti-social by some foreigners and especially by none-Western immigrants and refugees from what I've seen due cultural differences. In Norway, it's expected to talk with a calm friendly voice instead of being very loud. Norway also have a culture where being on the bus and in the elevator is seen as intimate places where people prefer to not be disturbed, but in a walk in the mountain and on the pub where Norwegians are drunk we're more open for a conversation. We've a so-called personal space.
It's true the culture is like that, but shyeness and being anti-social isn't true. Norwegians just have a different culture, but that don't make us anti-social or meaning we're shy. We just socialize in a different way than other cultures. It exist Norwegians who breaks the norms, are very extrovert and is talking to people on the bus although they risks being seen as impolite creeps.
5) Food: Brun Ost, Grandiosa, Taco etc.
Both brun ost (brown cheese), Grandiosa (frozen pizza), taco fridays, smalahova (sheep head), lutefisk (cod), fish generally and raspeballer (made of potatoes) are Norwegian food traditions. I've heard about foreigners that actually believes this is what Norwegians eats. It's both true and false.
There's many Norwegians who eat it, but there's also many who don't. Norwegians have likes and dislikes like everyone else. Eating takeaway and foreign food has become more common the last decades. It's not uncommon for Norwegian to eat sushi, Chinese takeaway, kebab etc. Actually, taco and frozen pizza aren't Norwegian food traditions, but ideas we've gotten from abroad. It's not like Norwegians are only eating fish, bread and potatoes nowadays.
6) Norwegians Are Socialists Who Are pro LGBT, Women's and Poor's Rights
Gay pride parade in Bergen, Norway.
Norway is by many seen as the liberal socialistic country where LGBT, women and poor people have many rights. It's a fact Norway is a social democracy, we have a welfare state, the gender equality has come far and that gays are allowed marriage. But that doesn't mean everybody support these things although many do. The two last elections it wasn't one of the social democratic parties that won, but a party on the right-side that won two times a row. In total, they would be in the government in eight years before next election since they've won two elections. A party who wins an election gets four years to lead the country. There are still some conservatives in this country and therefore it's still many priests who choose to not marry homosexual couples. For a not so long time ago gays couldn't marry in the church before the rule was changed in the beginning of 2017.
The party "Høyre" which means "Right" is a political party on the right-side that has won two times a row. Erna Solberg is the leader of the party and became a prime minister again in the 2017 election.
7) We're All Rich Thanks to the Oil and Fish
It's a common misconception that all Norwegians are wealthy and are living in luxury. Norway has won the title "World best country to live in" and "The country with best living standards". But the majority of the population are from the middle class and it still exists poor out there. Poverty isn't all about lacking food, house etc. like in absolute poverty. Poverty can be can't participating in the same way as everyone else because of economical reasons like not being able to afford a vacation, recreational activities, birthday parties, Christmas presents etc. It's called relative poverty and is a thing in Norway. A child who's raised in relative poverty may face excluding from the peers and don't get the same opportunity of experiences for example like the other ones. It's difficult being poor if young peers have fashion and other forms of peer pressure.
It also exists homeless Norwegian citizens. It's mostly alcohol and drug addicted people who are homeless where they're using their money on their addiction because the drug is making them forgetting problems. Problems that may cause such circumstances may be peer pressure, bullying, mental illness and similar. Some drug addicted people lose their jobs and can't afford housing etc. making them homeless. Some of them get support, but since drugs and alcohol can be expensive in addition to not everybody manages to quit it's not getting very cheap making some end as homeless.
Petter Nyquist (the guy on the picture) became known for his documentary "Petter uteligger" about homelessness in Norway where he disguised himself as homeless to see how the experience is.
8 ) Shopping in Sweden
Many may also have heard about it's so expensive in Norway and therefore people are shopping in Sweden instead since it's cheaper there. There's a lot of grocery and candy shopping stories out there. But I actually don't know anyone personally who do that and I don't do it myself since Sweden is too far away from where I live. It would take very many days to drive to Sweden and fuel costs money. It's better going to a grocery store which is closer.
9) The Land of Darkness, Ice and Polar Bear
Meanwhile in Norway
Some people imagine Norway as a very cold country where it's always dark, full of ice and snow with polar bear roaming around in the street.
I've never seen a polar bear outside zoo before and when it comes to weather it's depending where in Norway we're talking about. In North-Norway it can be dark 24/7 during the winter time and being sunny 24/7 in the summer time which is called the mid-night sun. In Bergen it's a bit different. During the winter time it's dark in the morning for a long time before it gets light and it gets dark very early after some hours with lightness. But in the summer time it's light outside for a longer time. So it's light outside early in the morning and it's light outside in the evening before it turns dark. In some parts of the spring and autumn it's almost 50/50 in the transition phase.
The midnight sun in North-Norway.