Expats far from happy in Norway

Denmark and Norway fare poorly in new international survey

expat survey - Oslo street

Photo: A guy called John / Flickr
The streets of Oslo may seem full of life, but for many expats, life in Norway is lonely. Three in 10 said they did not feel at home in the local culture and just over three in five struggle with making local friends.

The Local

Denmark and Norway provoked mixed feelings among international workers trying to make a life in the two countries, as they performed relatively poorly in a widescale survey about expat life around the globe.

Denmark came 48th out of 64 countries in the latest edition of global community InterNations’ annual Expat Insider Survey, a fall of 13 places compared to last year. Norway placed 35th, 10 places worse than in 2018.

“Despite affordable childcare and education, an amazing environment, and a great work-life balance, expats in the Nordic countries are far from happy, suffering from social isolation,” InterNations wrote on its website, in its summary of the surveys.

Denmark performed particularly badly in the Ease of Settling In Index (63rd out of 64), ranking among the bottom 10 for the sixth year in a row. In the survey, 70% of responders said they found it hard to make local friends, far less than the 39% global

The InterNations survey pointed at other factors influencing workers’ view of the country, however.

Denmark was voted the world’s best country with regard to working hours, while 81% of internationals in Norway said they were happy with the country’s working hours, comparing vary favorably to the 62% global average.

Norway received some of its best ratings in the Family Life index, where it was the sixth most-highly ranked country overall. Here, 67% said that education options are numerous and easy to get (53% globally), and 81% considered education easy to afford (49% globally).

In Denmark, childcare options were ranked third-best of all the included countries.

Somewhat surprisingly, tech-savvy Norway was voted the worst of the Nordic nations at 11th spot overall for digital life. Nevertheless, 96% said it is easy to pay without cash in Norway. 82% said they appreciated the availability of administrative or government services online, compared to 55% globally.

Some 20,000 people took part in the InterNations survey, with at least 75 respondents per country. InterNations is a global community and information site for people who live and work abroad, and boasts 3.6 million members in 420 cities around the world. The full report is available to read at www.internations.org/expat-insider/2019/the-nordic-countries-39838.

“The locals are not friendly towards foreigners,” a Portuguese responder to the survey said, according to InterNations’ press release.

“It is less easy to have a social life in Denmark than in other countries,” the person added.

Norway ranked 54th out of 64 destinations in the same index: three in 10 people said they did not feel at home in the local culture and just over three in five struggle with making local friends.

At 63rd out of 64, Denmark also fared poorly in the Cost of Living Index—as did Norway in 60th. The latter country’s high taxes were cited as a key reason for this.

An area where the countries performed better, however, is the Work & Leisure subcategory.

The Local Denmark has previously reported about obstacles faced by foreign professionals regarding work permits, where international talents face daunting criteria and uncertainty about getting to stay in Denmark.

The InterNations survey pointed at other factors influencing workers’ view of the country, however.

Denmark was voted the world’s best country with regard to working hours, while 81% of internationals in Norway said they were happy with the country’s working hours, comparing vary favorably to the 62% global average.

Norway received some of its best ratings in the Family Life index, where it was the sixth most-highly ranked country overall. Here, 67% said that education options are numerous and easy to get (53% globally), and 81% considered education easy to afford (49% globally).

In Denmark, childcare options were ranked third-best of all the included countries.

Somewhat surprisingly, tech-savvy Norway was voted the worst of the Nordic nations at 11th spot overall for digital life. Nevertheless, 96% said it is easy to pay without cash in Norway. 82% said they appreciated the availability of administrative or government services online, compared to 55% globally.

Some 20,000 people took part in the InterNations survey, with at least 75 respondents per country. InterNations is a global community and information site for people who live and work abroad, and boasts 3.6 million members in 420 cities around the world. The full report from the expat survey is available to read at www.internations.org/expat-insider/2019/the-nordic-countries-39838.

This article was originally published on The Local.

This article originally appeared in the October 4, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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