- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Norway Guide (PDF)
Norway is an exceptionally safe country for expats. Pickpocketing and petty theft do occur, but seldomly. 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 generally safe, but one should of course exercise caution in some areas of larger cities. In particular, women should avoid walking alone through quiet streets at night or taking shortcuts through deserted areas.
Though localised and few and far between, there have been threats and incidents of terrorism in Norway, and this cannot be ruled out.
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 few major health risks but residents should follow guidelines and safety instructions from the authorities. The tap water is safe to drink and even swimming in lakes, rivers and the fjords is safe.
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.
For emergency medical services, dial 113.
►See Culture Shock in Norway for what to prepare when moving to the country
►For info on the currency, see Banking, Money and Taxes in Norway
"We have yet to come across an area we do not feel safe in. The crime rate seems to be low here but we do take normal precautions that we would in any city." Read more in our interview with Jay.
"I feel safe walking around Oslo until around 10pm. That's not to say the city is unsafe after 10pm, but I simply believe safety should not be taken for granted." Read this expat interview with Gisèle for more on life in Norway.
Are you an expat living in Norway?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Norway. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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