Søndagsro (Sunday's quietness)

"Søndagsro" is a term in Norwegian that means that Sundays are to be quiet

On Sundays in Norway you shall not make noise

No grass klipper

No high pressure washing of the car

No drilling or wood sawing

No hammering

No loud music

Sundays shall be quiet for everyone to be able to relax

This is especially true if it is a sunny day where your neighbours may want to sit outside

Then you really are expected not to make noise

Most grocery stores are also closed and bars and restaurants often pay their employees higher salary if they are asked to work on Sundays

If you need to work on your apartment, car or house, you are expected to do it on other days - not on Sundays.

That may be difficult to even realise as a newcomers

It is not a law that you will be explicitly informed of

It is an unwritten social law which you are somehow expected to know

If you are lucky your neighbours may indirectly point out that it is for example annoying that the other neighbour on the other side of the street washes his car on Sunday

That is the closest you will get to be informed of this rather strict unwritten social law

The punishment for not following this unwritten law is the same as for most Norwegian unwritten laws that you somehow are expected to know:

Social isolation and passive-aggressive behaviours

Your neighbours will look at you with an annoyed look, or turn their back if you look at them

They will tell each other how annoying it is that you are making noise

But very few will actually tell you directly that it is expected not to make noise on Sundays

This has to do with Norwegian politeness and the concept of conflict avoidance

This law is stronger in well-established older neighbourhoods

It is considered adequate and good behaviours not to make noise on Sunday

Other countries, like Germany for example, have similar unwritten laws

The main difference with other countries is that Norwegians will not tell you directly that you shall be quiet. In Germany and other places, locals may well come and tell you straight out to be quiet, or write it as a rule of the housing community you live at.

Norwegian being precautious an indirect in their communication will just indirectly talk about it hoping that you "understand the message".

This makes it actually very difficult to understand or even be aware of these unwritten rules

This is one of the reasons why I am holding lectures about the Norwegian culture and that we wrote our books:

We help foreigners to get to know about Norwegian expectations and help Norwegians be more aware that their expectations may be completely unknown to newcomers!


Read more about the norms and behaviours of our Norwegian friends in Our Social Guidebooks to Norway or from our work on stage.



By Julien S. Bourrelle

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