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Norway Customs & Etiquettes


Norwegians view themselves as egalitarian people whose culture is based on democratic principles of respect and interdependence. They like people for themselves and not for what they do for a living their professional accomplishments or how much money they earn. Norwegians also have simple tastes and are not prone to ostentation or excessive showiness and they pride themselves on being honest and sincere in their personal relationships.

Meeting & Greeting

• Greetings are casual, with a firm handshake, direct eye contact, and a smile.
• Norwegians are egalitarian and casual; they often introduce themselves with their last name only.
• Older people may use the honorific title "Herr" (Mr.) or "Fru" (Mrs.) and their surname.
• Wait to be invited before moving to first names.
• Shake hands and say good-bye individually when arriving or departing.
• Shake hands starting with women first and then move on to the men in a rough approximation of age order, oldest to youngest.

Gift Giving Etiquette

• If invited to a Norwegian's home, bring flowers, chocolates, pastries, wine, or imported spirits to the hostess.
• Flowers may be sent the morning of a dinner party so they may be displayed that evening.
• Do not give carnations, lilies or white flowers as they are used at funerals.
• Do not give wreaths, even at Christmas.
• Do not give even numbers of flowers.
• A houseplant is well received in the winter months.
• A bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers is always appreciated.
• Gifts are opened when received.

Dining Etiquette

• Invitations are generally given verbally.
• Norwegians are punctual in both business and social situations.
• Confirm the dress code with your hosts.
• Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served.
• Do not discuss business. Norwegians separate their business and personal lives.
• Reciprocate any invitation.

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