Tips and advice

Dressing for the Norwegian Weather

My most crucial tip would be: dress like an onion – that means – dress in layers!

Name: Marlen Krause
Country: Germany
Bachelor: Dual Degree – BSc in Hotel & Restaurant Management, Niagara University, USA and BA in International Hospitality Management, IU Bad Honnef – Bonn, Germany
Program: MSc in Finance at Campus Oslo

For most of us coming from abroad, the Norwegian weather is something that could be summarized as ‘up there it’s cold and dark most of the year’. And even after living in Norway for a few years, this is still one of the most common things people abroad assume when I say that I am living in Norway. If you ask people in Norway, however, the answer couldn’t be more different. 

Dress like an onion

Yes, Norway can be cold and icy and dark, but then again, summers are light and sunny and can be hot and winters can be magically white and beautiful. Therefore, my most crucial tip would be: dress like an onion – that means – dress in layers! Especially along the coast and in the mountains the weather is known to change quickly, and it is absolutely possible to have sunshine, rain and snow within a day, even in early summer. Therefore, being prepared for all eventualities is always a good idea. Also, evenings here cool down, so don’t leave the house without at least a cardigan or jacket, even if it’s best summer weather outside.

Dress like the locals

Another thing that my Norwegian friends regularly comment on is: don’t dress like a tourist – meaning, wear appropriate clothes and be prepared for the activities you are planning. Especially when hiking, don’t go hiking in jeans, instead, wear outdoor clothes and bring layers. If you want to truly dress like a Norwegian – wear a woolen base layer, maybe a woolen sweater or down jacket on top of that and a shell jacket on top against the wind. Norwegian mountain regions can have snow and one-digit degrees even in the middle of summer and there’s nothing worse for the ‘proper’ Norwegian than to have to, for whichever reason, rescue ‘another’ tourist … I happen to know this firsthand, as my boyfriend and I had gotten our car stuck in the mud after camping, having to be rescued by a local farmer and his tractor. His first question: “Are you German?...”

There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing

There is a saying in Norwegian: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær! – there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, which shows how serious the ‘right clothing’ is to Norwegians when going about their lives. But dressing ‘right’ in Norway also means dressing casually, comfortably for (almost) all occasions. Only when going to the clubs, one might see some exceptions to the rule. Then again, Sneakers and neutral colors will go a long way when wanting to fit in in ‘Norwegian everyday life’. Only for sports this rule is broken, then, colorful patterns and crazy colors are the way to go.

Summer dressing

While all of this might sound like you do not need proper summer clothes, the opposite is true. When summer comes, and for all the sunny days in spring and fall, it is surprising how hot it feels in the sun, even if the thermometer is just reading 15 degrees Celsius – something my family constantly underestimates when coming to visit.

Layers and more layers

Summarizing my tips, I would say to bring the layers appropriate for what you want to do in Norway, bring fancy clothes for going out and business casual for events at BI, then you should be set for your time in Norway. And if something is missing – Norwegians are pros at buying separate clothes for every sport imaginable, so everything you might be missing is just a trip to the city center away...