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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Norway Social Profile
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Food & Drink

Breakfasts are often enormous with a variety of fish, meat, cheese and bread served from a cold buffet with coffee and boiled eggs.

Lunch served in many hotels and restaurants includes a koldtbord (cold table), with smoked salmon, fresh lobster, shrimp and hot dishes. Open sandwiches are topped with meat, fish, cheese and some salad. Other dishes include roast venison, ptarmigan in cream sauce, wild cranberries, multer (a berry with a unique flavour), lutefisk (a hot, highly flavoured cod fish) and herring prepared in different ways.

Aquavit (schnapps) is a very popular drink, but in general alcohol is limited and quite expensive, although beer and wine are generally served in the restaurants. Bars have table and counter service. Licensing laws are strict and alcohol is sold only by the State through special monopoly and Licensing hours are also enforced.

Nightlife

Several hotels and restaurants in Oslo stage cabaret programmes and floor shows. Venues change so it is best to check in the local newspaper for more details. Theatres, cinemas, nightclubs and discos are located in the major centres. Resorts have dance music, and folk dancing is very popular.

Shopping

Most towns and resorts have a shop where typical Norwegian handicrafts are on sale.

Silversmiths and potteries are numerous and worth a visit.

Traditional items include furs, printed textiles, woven articles, knitwear, woodcarving, silver, enamel, pewter, glass and porcelain.

Tax-free cheques can be obtained from any of the 2500 shops carrying the sticker ‘Tax free for tourists’. These shops save visitors 11 to 18 per cent of the price paid by the residents. VAT refunds are paid in cash at airports, ferries, cruise ships and border crossings.

Shopping hours

Monday-Wednesday and Friday 0900-1700/1800 hrs, Thursday 0900-2000 hrs, Saturday 0900-1300/1500 hrs.

Special Events

For a full list, contact the Norwegian Tourist Board. The following is a selection of special events occurring in Norway during 2005:
January 13th-16th International Film Festival, Tromsø
January 20th-23rd Polarjazz
January 26th-30th Northern Lights Festival, Tromsø.
February 10th-13th Winter Arts Festival (music, theatre, art exhibitions), Narvik.
February 15th-19th Rorosmartnan.
March 5th-12th Finnmarkslopet.
March 12th-13th Holmenkollen Ski Festival
March 13th-20th Borealis - Bergen Contemporary Music Festival.
March 20th-28th Easter Festival.
April 4th-10th Snowjam
April 30th Svalbard Ski Marathon.
May 25th-June 5 Bergen International Festival
June 3rd-13th Oslo Festival
June 4th Norwegian Mountain Marathon
June 8th-11th The Great Norwegian Humor Festival
June 8th - 12th Viking Festival
June 17th-20th Norwegian Wood, music festival
June 18th Midnight Sun Marathon, Tromsø.
July 29th 20 Cherry Festival.
August 4th-14th Peer Gynt Festival, Vinstra/Gala
August 5th-14th Nordland Music Festival.
August 11th-14th Mandal Seafood Festival.
August 15th-21st Oslo Jazz Festival
August 18th-26th Norwegian International Film Festival.
August 24th-27th Norwegian Food Festival
December 22nd-31st Christmas in Lillehammer
Social Conventions

Normal courtesies should be observed in Norway and it is customary for the guest to refrain from drinking until the host toasts their health.

Casual dress is quite normal.

Lunch generally takes place between 1200 and 1300 hrs and dinner usually takes place at 1700 hrs. It is customary for an invited guest to offer gifts to the host/hostess of the meal and punctuality is expected if invited out for dinner.

Smoking is prohibited in most public buildings and on public transport (although there are often special spaces for smokers to indulge in cafes, bars and restaurants.

Tipping

It is not customary to tip the taxi drivers. Waiters expect a tip of no more than 5 per cent of the total bill. The porters at airports and railway stations charge per piece of luggage. Hotel porters are tipped NOK5-10 according to the amount of luggage.
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