When you think of Norway, the image that first pops into your head is more than likely that of bleak yet beautiful arctic landscapes and striking fjords that rise up from vast glacial planes.
In addition to this more traditional vision of Norway in which the great outdoors takes centre stage, you are just as likely to find the Norwegian lifestyle revolving around ice hockey, online gaming and black metal.
Much like their other Scandinavian neighbours, Norwegians are also experts in indulging in their hobbies, interests and pastimes. The average Norwegian takes every weekend completely off, has around five weeks of paid vacation per year and works around 35 hours per week.
This more casual way of life prioritises spending time away from work, with Norwegian culture focusing on achieving that perfect work-life balance that seems so elusive in other parts of the world.
When Norwegians do clock off from work or school, however, what hobbies and pastimes do they tend to indulge in?
Although Norway has not historically been a great producer of popular musicians that have made it onto the global stage, this has changed in recent years.
The Norwegian music scene has thrived in recent years, which is down in no small part to the achievements of musicians such as AURORA and Sigrid, whose catchy pop hits have taken the world by storm.
In addition to these more mellow, catchier musicians, however, Norway has also made an important contribution to another music scene: black metal.
The early Norwegian black metal scene, which exploded in the 1990s, has played a pivotal role in creating what became the more modern black metal genre. In doing so, Norway has produced some of the most acclaimed, influential and well-loved artists in the metal genre.
Today, the Norwegian metal scene continues to thrive and produces some of the most cutting-edge music in the genre!
As a country that must endure a long, dark, almost impossibly cold winter, it is arguably little surprise that computer games are so popular.
As a way of taking refuge from the bitter cold, hundreds of thousands of Norwegians across the country spend hours each week indulging in this incredibly popular pastime.
As a sign of just how popular online games are, Norway has developed a thriving esports scene. While they might lack some of the successes of other, larger esports countries such as South Korea and China, Norway nevertheless holds their own on the global stage.
Another popular online gaming scene in Norway is the online casino scene. This once niche pastime has exploded in popularity in recent years and is now played by thousands across the country. Each week, Norwegians adults of all ages and demographics log on to the likes of Guts casino to get their sessions in.
Another more obvious pastime that many Norwegians regularly indulge in is winter sports.
Winter sports are a core part of Norwegian culture. Indeed, they are so important that one famous national motto states that: “All Norwegians are born with skis in their hands!” While this might seem like a joke at first glance, there really is some element of truth to it.
Winter sports are a big deal in Norway. Even when they aren’t hitting the slopes or the ice rink, hundreds of thousands of Norwegians across the country tune in every week to catch the latest winter sports competitions.
With this in mind, it seems obvious why Norway have historically performed so strongly at the Winter Olympics!
One of the more unique pastimes you will see many Norwegians indulging in during the summer months is roller skiing.
As the name suggests, roller skiing is skiing that is done on a type of modified roller blade rather than on traditional cross-country skis. It primarily functions as a way for cross-country skiing fans to train in the spring and summer months when there is less snow on the ground.
However, since it first became popular in the 1970s, roller skiing has also developed as a sport in its own right. The European Roller Ski Federation was set up in 1985 and helps to develop the sport across Europe. While roller skiing is definitely not a Norway specific sport, it is still incredibly popular here when compared to other parts of the world!