The Norwegian Dating Culture

by Eric Erickson

The dating culture in Norway reflects, in many ways, the culture of other developed European countries and the United States. However, Norwegian culture is also reflective of its own small, homogeneous population.

Norwegian Culture

Norwegian men and women have among the highest life expectancies in the world and fertility rates among European countries second only to Iceland and Ireland. Although Norway has an aging population, it has no shortage of young adults starting families. As with other Scandinavian countries, Norwegian men and women have developed dating practices that are outwardly progressive while remaining humble in spirit. With a recent influx of asylum seeking immigrants that has altered the homogeneity somewhat, Norwegian men and women are open to outsiders in the dating world, as long as they are not subject to archaic traditions and values. Class stratification is rare in Norwegian social interaction and the culture instills the notion that mates should be chosen based on compatibility and with goals of equal partnership. While marriage remains popular, Norway has seen cultural acceptance of unmarried cohabitation and alternative lifestyles.

Jante Law and Dating

Jante Law consists of cultural premises that have influence in many facets of Norwegian life. The law, which has tenets of humility, fosters the goal of equal partnerships in dating. Women may be accepted as just as aggressive as men, or as passive. Concern for the other person, and concern for the greater community, are stressed over one's own needs. Balanced against the modern trend of individualistic pursuits, Norwegian singles enter the dating world armed with few precepts of gender expectations and blessed with a freedom from cultural baggage.

Egalitarianism and Equality

Norwegian women have made strides toward gender equality since the 1960s. Norwegian public schools enforce the absence of gender roles and Norwegian women have achieved great success in business, politics and with overall earning. Economic and cultural equality, and the egalitarian philosophy prevalent among Norwegians, strips the dating environment to its most basic. Neither men nor women are expected to initiate a relationship, and neither gender is expected to be the breadwinner of the household or the homemaker. Males seeking a submissive partner will have trouble finding one among Norwegian women, and Norwegian women may be shocked to find that Western values may wish to confine them to traditional gender roles.

Marriage and Divorce

According to everyculture.com, 38 percent of adult Norwegians are married, a figure that has decreased by 9 percent since 1978. During this period of time, the divorce rate has doubled, prompting many to blame progressive cultural trends and gender equality for the destruction of marriage as an institution. In 2008, Norway legalized gay marriage under strong opposition from traditionalists who felt that this would further destroy the nuclear family. However, according to the "Nordic Statistical Yearbook," divorce rates in Nordic countries have stabilized since 1990.

Internet

Norwegian singles are demographically well-educated, humble and egalitarian in their beliefs. According to Statistics Norway, 70 percent of Norwegians use the Internet daily. They enjoy the resources that the modern world of dating provides, including Internet matching sites, singles clubs and nightlife in cities such as Oslo and Bergen.

About the Author

Eric Erickson has written professionally since 2004. He is a published poet with work appearing in "Plainsongs" and "The Curbside Review." He was a staff writer for the websites IndependentMovieReview.com and IndieMusicStop.com. Erickson received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • midsummernight@norway image by muehle from Fotolia.com