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Life Abroad: Oslo

For this instalment of the TransferGo Blog we continue our series of Life Abroad articles. The Life Abroad series is designed to give our readers a brief introduction to life in other cities. Part of the impetus for the Life Abroad series is the fact that today’s population is far more mobile than at any time in history; with people moving in search of better employment opportunities or simply as an adventure.

In this instalment we look at Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Oslo is a very old city and was started as a trading post in 1040. Oslo quickly grew in importance and size, although it was not named a capital until the 1300s.

Oslo is the governmental and economic centre of Norway. The country’s banking and industrial sectors are located in the city and it has also maintained its importance as a trading centre since its founding.  

Since the earliest days of its existence, Oslo has been a major shipping and maritime centre. Today it is one of Europe’s main maritime industry and maritime trade centres. Some of the world’s largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers are based in Oslo.

Oslo is a global city which has been ranked number one in terms of quality of life among Europe’s large cities.  

Like most large municipalities in the world, the population in Oslo is measured in three different ways. The city proper has a population of about around 660,000, the urban area numbers around 980,000 and the metropolitan area’s population is just under 2 million.

Oslo is one of the fastest growing major cities in Europe. Much of the growth can be attributed to immigration. Immigration has played an important part in the city’s history since its founding, fuelled in part by the tendency of nobles to arrange strategic alliances with neighbouring countries through marriage. The city’s status as an international shipping centre also contributed to the growth of its migrant population.

However in the last two decades, Norway’s immigrant population has grown rapidly, from about 4.3% of the population to a current level of almost 17%. The top five migrant populations are Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Somali and Pakistani. Many of the migrants arrived in the country for economic reasons, although refugees also make up a substantial part of the migrant population.

Getting Around in Oslo

As is to be expected in any world-class city, Oslo has a well-developed transportation system.

The bus and tramlines service the entire city and expand into the suburbs as well. However, night services on both the bus and tram are severely curtailed.

The underground, referred to by locals as the “T-Bane”, is the fastest way to travel the city and reaches further from the city centre than the bus and tramlines.

Cost of Living

Oslo ranks among the most expensive cities in Europe, and the world, in terms of cost of living. Prices are about 60% higher than in Berlin. Goods and services cost from 5% to 25% more than in London.

Here are some of the typical costs in Oslo. For ease of comparison, the prices are in Euros rather than Norwegian kroner.

Meal in casual restaurant € 14.81-21.15

Fast-food meal € 11.63

1 gallon milk  € 6.01-8.01

One-way bus, tram, T-bane ticket € 3.38

Monthly bus, tram, T-bane Pass € 72.98

Basic Utilities €141.58

1 bedroom Apartment in City Centre  € 1,004.78-1,480.73

1 bedroom Apartment Outside of Centre   € 846.13-1,269.19

3 bedroom Apartment in City Centre  € 1,692.26-2,644.16

3 Bedroom Apartment  Outside of Centre average  € 1,642.78

Average Monthly Net Salary €2,890.40


Opening A Bank Account

Opening a bank account is a must if you plan to work in Norway as most companies pay wages via direct deposit.

DnB and Nordea, are the two largest banks in Oslo and in Norway. The country also has about 120 savings banks, many of which are located in Oslo.

Internet banking is common in Norway; DnB provides internet banking services in English.

Opening a bank account can be a bit time consuming with DnB stating that opening an account for a non-citizen can take up to a month.

To open an account you will need the following documentation:

  • National Identity Number – processing for a national identity number is about 2 weeks for those that have completed EU/EEA registration or the visa/residence permit process.
  • Passport
  • Employment contract

Most banks in Norway offer a wide range of services, including international transfers. However, money transfers tend to be very expensive. TransferGo services are available from Norway. TransferGo offers low-cost, fixed rate money transfers that are fast and easy. The ability to make transfers direct from your mobile device means that you can make payments at any time. TransferGo also has a team of customer service experts who specialise in helping business customers find fast low-fee purchasing and payment solutions.


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