An Interview With An Actual Norwegian!

My guest this week is, as the title implies, someone from Norway. Maja Asgautsen is a blogger from Norway. I became curious about Norway after getting regular views from Norway over the last several months and they weren’t all Maja. My curiosity about Norway first lead me to make fun of it and while doing that I realized how little I really knew about the country. Maja, who has a really great blog which you should go visit, was kind enough to agree to my “interview” about Norway.


1. What is the one thing you’d like people from other countries to know about Norway? That we are actually a country and not the capitol of Sweden, or a city in Scandinavia.

2. When people from other countries visit Norway what are they most surprised by? Many of the tourists, especially from countries outside of Europe seem to be very surprised by the fact that we don’t have polar bears walking up and down the streets (there are no polar bears on the mainland in Norway just on Svalbard, an island that belongs to Norway). Some also seem to be surprised by the winter darkness and midnight sun up north or they are equally surprised to find out that this only occurs in the North of Norway.

Northern lights

Northern lights

3. What differences do you see between Norwegian culture and those of other countries? Norway is a country where equality is very prominent, both in how our welfare state works and in the fact that we have come quite a long way in gender equality. Norway is a very democratic country and even if there are quite a few political parties they fundamentally don’t disagree on things as they do in many other countries, in an international scale they would be quite similar. This doesn’t stop them from arguing very passionately for their view points.

We generally are not that big on hierarchy here in Norway, at work we don’t tend to dress formally and most places we address our colleagues by their first name regardless of their position in the company or their title.

The “typical” Norwegian is quite taciturn. And we tend to like to keep to ourselves. You hardly ever see a Norwegian person sitting next to a stranger on the bus as long as there is a possibility of sitting alone.

We take great pride in winter sports and in the winter Olympics we tend to win a lot of medals especially if you consider that we are a notion of 5 million people. But most of our athletes are quite modest, the Norwegian way of thinking is that a person should never think he or she is better than anyone else. From time to time there are people that differ from this, but these are normally viewed as a bit un-Norwegian.

4. What is the best thing about living in Norway? For me the best thing about living in Norway must be the closeness to nature. You never seem to be far from a beautiful scenery with mountains, fjords and the like. I also don’t think we always fully appreciate how well our benefit system works and we have a lot of freedom that we often take for granted.

5. As evidenced by your blog, you obviously are very well versed in English. Are most Norwegians bi-lingual? Which language do you use the most? Thank you, you flatter me. Most Norwegians can speak English in varying degrees as it is taught as a subject in school, but it’s not like a second language to us. We can also choose to learn a bit of German, French or Spanish in school, should we wish. In fact in Norway we have three written languages and two spoken. Two of the written ones are a bit similar and is called bokmål (book language) this was heavily influenced by the Danish language from when they ruled us and so they made a new one called New Norwegian that is based on a collecting dialects around the country. The other language is not written or spoken by many, but it’s the language of the Sami people and it’s been given the status as an official language in Norway.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I'm not kidding.

I own this tie and wore it today to support this post. I’m not kidding.

6. Besides Edvard Munch and you, who are some other famous Norwegians that people from other countries would know? The composer Edvard Grieg’s music is quite well known around the world. The band A-ha used to be quite popular. We have quite a few famous explorers some might have heard of Nansen, Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl.  Jens Stoltenberg is currently the Secretary General of NATO. Magnus Carlsen is good at chess, Alexander Kristoff is good at cycling, Mats Zuccarello Aasen is good at ice hockey.  There are quite a few others you might have heard of depending of what your interests are. If you are curious a list can he found at

Maja, thank you so much for taking the time to educate me and the rest of the world about your beautiful home country of Norway. Everybody go follow Maja’s blog for regular posts on life in Norway. Have a great Wednesday! ~Phil

58 responses to “An Interview With An Actual Norwegian!

  1. That was lovely 🙂 I think I would like Norway very much!

  2. Thank you very much for interviewing me Phil! I had fun.

  3. Reblogged this on The thoughts and life of me and commented:
    I was interviewed by Phil from the Phil Factor! I recomend you all to go visit his blog.

    • Hi Maja, I just wanted to let you know he popular you are. Your interview got a lot of views and a whole lot of likes and comments. Based on the reaction to the post, you should be the full time ambassador of Norway to the world.

  4. Very enlightening! Definitely makes me miss my years studying Cultural Anthropology in college where learning about these types of things was an everyday activity. Shame on me for not pursuing this more and thank you for reminding me how neat and interesting it is to learn about other cultures!

    • That’s definitely one of the things I like about blogging. I’ve learned a lot about other cultures and countries from making friends with people all over the world.

  5. So Norway’s fjords weren’t designed by Slartibartfast? 😀 (Tell me you know what I’m talking about Phil!) In all seriousness, that was informative and entertaining. Thank you for sharing that with us!

  6. What a great interview! I have recently started following her blog and enjoy it very much! But now I have even more insight! THANK YOU!

  7. I love reading Maja’s blog so had to read this interview. Well done. Thank you for doing it.

  8. Maja, what a lovely interview and I think you will now have every heading to Norway! Oh, never take that landscape and nature for granted!

  9. Thank you Annika!

  10. Norway sounds pretty okay
    Think I’ll move out there today
    Don’t got to sit next to no fools
    And their ski pants are pretty cool.

  11. Thank you Phil for hosting. It is always nice to see Maja, and I feel I learned something today too, so double win!

  12. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    My friend Maja on Phil’s blog – YAAY 👍😃🐵

  13. Pingback: An Interview With An Actual Norwegian! | Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

  14. Nice to see Maja out and about. She’d be a great ambassador for her country.

  15. Such an interesting read. Scandinavia in general is an area of the world I’m very intrigued by and not just because I’m a huge fan of Grieg and was in love with Morten Harket for many years!

  16. A fascinating interview. Wonderful to meet Maja Asgautsen, an interesting blogger from Norway. Brrr. Is it really cold there?

  17. Very interesting Maja. Nice to meet you and learn more about Norway. Thanks Phil

  18. I really enjoyed your interview with Maja. I have been following her blog for sometime now. I loved hearing more about Noway from her. She always had such interesting posts. Thanks!

  19. Thanks, that was really interesting. My family is from Denmark but some ended up in Norway, I’ve never been there so it was interesting to read about it.

  20. Great interview and Majas blog is lovely. I live in beautiful Sweden, but Norweigians are nice, they ski faster than Swedes and they have beautiful nature. Sweden has great nature too, but Norway may be even more beautiful when it comes to nature.

    • Hi Anna, it’s nice to meet you. Thanks for coming over to my blog. I just followed you and I look forward to learning more about Sweden as well.

      • Welcome! I found your blog through Majas blog. I will visit your blog again and I follow from now on 🙂

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