Norway: Daily Life
To understand Norwegians, you must understand the natural environment in which they live. Considered among the most beautiful places on earth, Norway is also a harsh land of cold, snow, fjords and isolation.
Norwegians are proud of living so closely to nature and their relationship with the natural world forms their national identity.
The most northerly European country, Norway enjoys one of the world's highest standards of living. Norwegians are proud of their prosperity, egalitarianism and independence. Norway is not a member of the European Union, although it is an important trading partner through the European Economic Area.
'Jante Law,' or Janteloven, articulated in a novel by Aksel Sandemose, describes group behavior in Scandinavia. Overall, Jante Law promotes humility, and it is key to understanding Norwegian culture. A main precept includes viewing others as equals. Do not flaunt wealth and personal achievements or exhibit ostentatious behavior. Norwegians are not impressed by material wealth and prefer the simpler things in life.
Norway is composed of two main ethnic communities: Norwegian and Sámi. The Sámi are an arctic indigenous people, closely related to the Finns, with communities spread across Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. They live in the north, and population estimates range from 60,000 to 100,000. In Norway, the Sámi have their own parliament, although its powers are only consultative. Even today, the Sámi maintain their traditional lifestyle, with some Sámi continuing to herd reindeer on a full-time basis.