Category Archives: Norway

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

Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Kind Of True Facts About Norway

Hei mine norske venner! My blog views by country typically go United States, European Union, England, Canada and then a handful from a random assortment of other countries. About 6-8 months ago Norway joined the list right behind Canada every month with 6-10 views and now it’s up to 6-10 views a day.  I’ve never written about Norway or any celebrities from Norway, so I was intrigued. In an effort to try to provoke a reaction or declaration of war from Norway I came up with this list of kind of true facts about the tiny island nation of Norway.

10. Everyone from Norway looks like the picture above: Yes, I did a little research and it seems that Norwegians are overly fond of plaid. And jumping.

9. Norway Hates Walmart: Norway as a country is not in trillions of dollars  of debt like the United States. Norway in fact has a s–tload of money and a few years ago it stopped investing in Walmart because Norway as a country thinks Walmart is a humongous jerk.

8. Norwegian Babies Get Too Much Parenting: In Norway fathers have 14 weeks of mandatory paternity leave when their child is born. In fact, Norwegians only reproduce just to get the time off from work.

7. There’s a town in Norway called Hell: I’m pretty sure it freezes over all the time. What do they say in place of that “Hell freezes over” joke?

6. There Are No Famous Norwegians: I looked up “famous Norwegians.” On the first list I found, three of the top 12 were two “YouTube stars”, one didn’t even have a picture, and a 15 year old blogger who has only been blogging since 2013. Amateur. I considered contacting her for an interview as a representative of Norway, but she writes her blog entirely in Norwegian! How is that going to help anyone? I tried to contact Norway’s most popular comedian, Espen Eckbo, but he’s either dead or can’t read my e-mails written in English.


5. Norwegians have funny names like Espen for example. I don’t know why they don’t name their kids something normal and cool like Pilot Inspektor or Fifi Trixibelle, or maybe North West.

4. In 2008 Norway knighted a penguin: Hey, if Donald Trump has a shot at being President, why can’t a penguin be a knight. It sounds like the conclusion to a Disney movie doesn’t it?

3. Norwegians are trying to fool everyone: Voss “artesian” bottled water is just tap water from Iveland, Norway.


2. Lutefisk is an aphrodisiac: The fish, native to Nordic waters, is believed to enhance the sex drive of both men and women. Unfortunately lutefisk has a disgusting gelatinous texture so no one eats it. If all the Norwegians ate lutefisk and reproduced correspondingly there would be enough Norwegians to take over every country in the world.

1. According to scientists the zombie apocalypse “most likely” to begin in Norway: Due to the constant permafrost, bodies buried in Norway don’t decompose, meaning that with the right conditions and after a good Spring thaw they’re ready to get up and go.

If anyone from Norway is reading this, say so in the comments and leave your email and I’ll interview you. As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share it with your favorite Norwegian by hitting the Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog button below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil