Living in Norway?
Housing and Education in Norway
Finding an Apartment: Estate Agents and Newspapers
Most expats living in Norway prefer to rent an apartment or a house, instead of buying one. You can, of course, hire a real estate agent to help you with the apartment hunt. Keep in mind, however, that real estate agents often charge a very high fee and ask yourself if it is in your budget. You can find an agent in your region by contacting the Norwegian association of real estate agents (Norges Eigendomsmeglerforbund). Alternatively, you can simply refer to the Norwegian Yellow Pages.
However, if you decide to do the apartment hunt on your own, there are still ways to go about it. Online resources are usually the easiest and fastest way of finding an apartment. Refer to finn.no for up-to-date posts on available apartments. Most big newspapers, like Oslo-based Aftenposten, have online listings as well. Also have a look at this list of other Norwegian newspapers.
Hurdles and Costs
Many Norwegians and many expats obviously head for the big cities like Oslo, which offer more employment opportunities and more cultural opportunities than small towns or rural areas. As a result, rents have increased significantly in Oslo, and it has become harder and harder to find a place to live.
Many experts also mention the quality of housing as a reason for the high rents. After all, the construction of most houses is quite solid and very well insulated. Most rooms are also equipped with excellent heating, due to the low temperatures. It is the high living standard and the demand for high quality that causes rental prices to rise. However, in big cities it is not just the high quality but mostly the high demand that raises the rents. While you are on the apartment hunt, you will find that the closer you are to the city center, the more expensive housing will get.
In terms of universal schooling, Norway can look back on a 250-year history. Universal schooling was introduced in 1889 with seven years of compulsory education. In 1969 this was increased to nine years and in 1997 to ten years of schooling. Norway’s population is scattered all across the country. As a result, primary and secondary schools are often combined and children of different ages are taught in the same classroom.
However, all schools adhere to the national curriculum, which includes subjects like Norwegian, Mathematics, English, Music, Science and the Environment as well as other compulsory subjects. Learning a second foreign language, choosing supplementary language studies or practical project work is also part of the curriculum. The history and culture of the Sami people is taught as well in order to familiarize children with the heritage and culture of the indigenous people.
Upper secondary education is dominated by general studies or vocational education and training, both lasting for three years. Vocational training leads to a craft certificate after two years in school and one year in service training. General studies, on the other hand, is the road to receiving a university admissions certification.
Despite Norway’s excellent education system, you may decide to send your children to an international school instead. This can be a smart move if your children are in their teens and/or are not fluent in the Norwegian language. However, keep in mind that most international schools charge hefty tuition fees. Some international schools in Norway are:
- Birralee International School Trondheim
- International School of Bergen
- Oslo International School
- Kongsberg International School
- Skagerak International School
- The International School of Stavanger
- International School Telemark
- Arendal International School
- The Children’s House
We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.