Safety in Norway

Norway is an exceptionally safe country for expats. Pickpocketing and petty theft do occur, but these happen very seldom. Police patrol the streets in cars, on foot and on horseback, and do not carry weapons. There are also volunteer groups that patrol the streets at night, where heavy drinking can often end in fights.

Walking alone or at night is acceptable, but of course one should exercise caution in some areas of larger cities. In particular, women should avoid walking alone through quiet streets at night, or taking short cuts through deserted areas.

There were incidents of terrorism in Norway in 2010 and 2011, although these were localised and the threat to expats is low.

Crime in Norway

Incidents of petty theft and robbery do occur, and normal precautions – such as locking one's house or car and keeping valuables in a safe place – should be taken. Norwegians put a high value on honesty, and are more likely to return a person's belongings if they are lost. This is slowly changing, and is not as true in the big cities, but expats may still be pleasantly surprised.

Serious crime is rare, so the occasional murder or rape will get a lot of media coverage, and elicit national shock.

Road safety in Norway

Norwegian traffic laws are strict, particularly for drunk driving, and Norwegians are not known to be overly reckless drivers. Nevertheless, some road deaths do occur. In winter, especially, one should exercise caution on narrow roads and at nighttime. Headlights are mandatory, even during the day. Regulation winter tyres must be fitted in season (November to April).

Health risks in Norway

Living in Norway poses no real health risks. Norway is almost clinically clean and hasn’t suffered from any epidemics in the past century. The tap water is safe to drink and even swimming in lakes, rivers and the fjords is safe. In 2009 there was a brief scare when tests showed traces of a certain chemical in the water system in Oslo. All households were immediately told to avoid using tap water for some days, just to be on the safe side. 

The healthcare system in Norway is among the best in the world and costs almost nothing for citizens and resident expats in Norway. Citizens and residents of the EU can apply for the EHIC (European Healthcare Insurance Card), which entitles them to access Norway’s government-subsidised medical facilities and treatment.