"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 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.