Norway is a great destination for all kinds of travellers. You’ll find a unique variety of offers, from the stunning nature and scenery to designer shops and contemporary art galleries. In addition, the Norwegians are a friendly and welcoming people and pretty much everyone is fluent in English. They are also experts at enjoying themselves.
If you want the full, Norwegian experience, you need to learn how to “kose deg” – enjoy yourself a good time in Norwegian style. Here’s everything you need to know.
Norway Happiest Country in the World
Norway is continuously ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world in the World Happiness Report, in close competition with neighbouring countries Denmark and Finland. These countries have much in common, with their affluent culture, high living standards, low crime rate and free health care.
They also share one particular quality: They are obsessed with enjoying a nice time. The Norwegian language even has plenty of words for enjoyment – much more than the English language: “Kos”, “Koselig” and “Hygge” are a few of them. The exact meaning is hard to translate – in order to understand it, you simply have to live it.
What is “Kos”?
“Kos” is the feeling you get when you enjoy yourself, and a Norwegian person will take steps to enhance this feeling.
“Kos” can be an all-evening activity, or something you do to make a tedious task easier. It can be done alone, with your partner, with your pet or with your friends. You can do it at home, at work or out on the town. It can be something you eat, drink, do or say, and it can be an attitude to whatever task you have in front of you. “Kos” can also be all of the above combined.
In short: “Kos” is the way you feel when you do whatever you have to do to make a moment more enjoyable.
How to “Kos”
“Kos” is when you curl up under a blanket with a good book, when you eat a tasty snack, when you buy fresh bread on a sunday morning, when you drink a beer in the sun with your friends or when you finally watch that movie you’ve been saving for a special day.
Some Norwegians use the tobacco snus as “Kos” everyday, and others save the “Kos” for the weekend using candy or drinks. It’s not so much about the activity as the attitude – “Kos” is both a mood and a feeling that you can bring to whatever task is in front of you.
Why is “Kos” Important?
“Kos” is so important to Norwegians that many foreigners are surprised when they notice the constant obsession with making every moment more enjoyable. It is a cultural phenomenon that characterizes the Scandinavian og Nordic countries. “Kos” has even been criticised for being to much about materialistic stuff, like food, interior and clothes.
But as any Norwegian will tell you – “Kos” doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s more about the way you feel than what you have to show for. “Kos” is important because it makes life more enjoyable. It gives you something to look forward to and something special to remember. It may even be the key to happiness as this article from CNN claims – “Kos” makes you less stressful, more mindful and generally a happier person.
So don’t be surprised the next time you see a Norwegian person in the middle of the street, facing the sun, not paying attention to anyone around, eyes closed with a smile on their face and a big upper lip – it’s probably a snus under there, and he or she is probably busy enjoying a moment in the sun!