Age restrictions in Norway (All You Need To Know!)

Whenever you travel to another country, you have entirely new age restrictions to worry about. Some countries are pretty relaxed on age restrictions, but Norway is not. There are certain things that you need to be older than a certain age to do, and these are usually determined by laws.

The laws that governs age restrictions in Norway allows for both the person who breaks the law, and the company or person who lets them break the law to be punished. This means that bars, restaurants and places that sell restricted goods will take the age limits very seriously.

But what exactly are the age restrictions in Norway? We will be looking closer at most of the different age restrictions that are in place in Norway in this article, so read on to find out how old you need to be in order to get a tattoo, buy a beer, or drive your own car.

Age of majority in Norway

The age of majority in Norway is when you turn 18 years old. At this point the person is considered an adult by the state, and can assume full responsibilities.

Some of the things you can do at the age of majority includes:

  • Voting on elections.
  • Take a loan or get in debt.
  • Get married without parental consent.
  • Start a business.
  • Legally sign official documents.
  • Invest in stocks without parental consent.
  • Be a board member at organizations etc.
  • You get to finally pay for your medical services. These are very cheap in Norway, but anyone under the age of 18 get them completely for free.

As a general rule of thumb, you can be regarded as an adult when you are 18 years old. However, some of the benefits of being a child can be used until you are 21, such as the right to get aid from Barnevernet (the children’s welfare), or a severely reduced bill from dental appointments.

Man signing a contract
You need to be 18 years old to legally sign a contract in Norway. Photo published with permission.

Age restriction for buying alcohol i Norway

The age limitation for buying alcohol in Norway is divided into two, depending on how strong the alcohol is.

The age restriction for beer, wine or alcohol with less than 22 % is 18 years.

The age restriction for any alcoholic drink with more than 22 % alcohol is 20 years.

This applies to both when you buy bottles at the Vinmonopolet, but also to when you buy drinks at a bar or restaurant. Be prepared to bring an ID if you want to buy alcohol when in your 20’s, because the age restrictions are very strict, and anywhere that sell alcohol will take this restrictions very seriously.

If stores are found to break the law when it comes to this, they could lose their license to sell anything alcoholic, which means a big loss in revenue for the store.

Vinmonopolet is the only place to buy spirits or wine in Norway. Photo by Nicklas Iversen / The Norway Guide.
Vinmonopolet is the only place to buy spirits or wine in Norway. Photo by Nicklas Iversen / The Norway Guide.

Legal drinking age in Norway

The legal drinking age in Norway is the same as for buying alcohol.

This means that the legal drinking age in Norway is that:

  • You need to be 18 years or older to drink beer, wine or alcohol with less than 22 % alcohol content.
  • You need to be 20 years or older to drink beer, wine, spirits or any other alcohol with less than 22 % alcohol content.

Age restriction for buying cigarettes and snus in Norway

The age restriction for buying cigarettes, snus, cigars or any products with tobacco in it is 18 years old in Norway. Be prepared to show you ID when you purchase tobacco products at the stores. Most stores take this age limit pretty serious, but not as serious as the one for alcohol. But bring your ID just in case, because stores are allowed and even encouraged to refused you if you can’t prove that you are above the legal age limit.

Age restriction for driving a car in Norway

You will need to be 18 years old before you can get a drivers license for driving a car in Norway. You can start the process of obtaining it when you turn 16, but the final exam (oppkjøring) must be done after the 18th birthday.

Many Norwegian youths book their drivers license exam for their 18th birthday to be able to drive a car from the day they turn 18.

Keep in mind that you must be 18 years old to drive the car, even if you have legally obtained a drivers license in another country that permits it at a lower age such as certain states in the US.

You can get a drivers license to drive a moped, scooter or something called a “moped car” in Norway at the age of 16. These are all limited to drive at a max speed of 45 kmph, but can travel om most roads except for highways.

At the other end of the spectrum, you need to be older to drive bigger vehicles such as buses or trucks. The age limit for driving a bus or getting a bus driver license is as high as 24 years old.

Driving on Arnøya
Driving on Arnøya. Photo published with permission.

Age restrictions for staying at hotels and travelling alone in Norway

There is no legal minimum age to stay at a hotel by yourself in Norway, but many hotels have internal age restrictions that are typically set at 18 years old.

If you want to visit Norway before you turn 18, you should contact the hotels directly to confirm that you are allowed to stay there before you book a room. Some hotels might even make exceptions to the age restrictions if you make a good impression. They will often accept young tourists, but they don’t want a group of 16 years old who will book the hotel room to party.

Some hotels might require minors to have their parents be legally responsible for the hotel room. This has to do with how the can lawfully get paid if you break stuff or do damage to the hotel room (since minors themselves can’t get in debt).

Dalen hotel
Dalen hotel. Photo published with permission.

Age restrictions for bars and night clubs in Norway

Bars and night clubs in Norway are free to choose their own age limit, but it will have to be either the same age as, or higher than the legal age for drinking the alcohol they are serving. This means that bars and night cubs that serve alcohol with more than 22 % alcohol content have to have an age restriction of 20 years or older.

Also keep in mind that this minimum will be based on what they serve. If the bar serves strong alcohol, no one under 20 is allowed in, even if they only want to buy beer or wine.

Most night clubs and bars tend to have a higher age restriction than they have to, which has to do with the fact that people in their early twenties does not tend to have a lot of money, and are usually not that great at controlling themselves when it comes to drinking.

It is common for night clubs and bars to have a minimum age of 23 – 25 to be able to enter. So be prepared to bring an ID with you if you are going to enjoy the night life. There are some bars which are open to anyone over 20, but bars that are open to people in the age between 18 and 20 is actually very rare, and most often confined to student-ran bars close to a university.

At what point do you have to buy adult tickets for buses, trains, concerts etc?

Companies that sells tickets with a reduced price for children are free to choose when they want to define children as adults. This has lead to many places having children’s tickets that can only be bought for children under the age of 13. Other places let people buy a children / young person’s ticket until they are 25.

In other words, you won’t get a clear answer to when companies will force you to buy a more expensive adult ticket instead of a children ticket to enter. But children under the age of 13 will typically be able to buy children’s tickets.

Some examples of companies and their policy on who can buy a children’s ticket:

  • VY (buses and trains): Under the age of 18.
  • Ruter (public transport in Oslo): Under the age of 18.
  • Football matches with the Norwegian national team: Under the age of 15.
  • Norwegian (the airplane company): Under the age of 12.
  • Movie theaters: Varies from cinema to cinema, but usually under the age of either 12 or 15.

Children’s tickets are usually half price compared to a standard adult ticket, and many companies even offer free admission to children under the age of 3.

Age of consent in Norway

The age of consent in Norway is 16 years.

Age restriction to get a tattoo or a piercing in Norway

Want to ink up or perhaps get a piercing while you are visiting Norway? There are actually no laws to regulate the age limit for getting tattoos or piercings in Norway.

Most tattoo parlors have made an unofficial agreement to have the age restriction for getting a tattoo in Norway to be 18 years, and the age restriction for getting piercings done to be 16 years old.

Since there are no regulated rules for this, each parlor is free to chose on their own, so you can find exceptions to this agreed-upon age limit. Many places will let you do it at a younger age if you get consent from a parent or guardian. It is actually pretty common for young children to get their ears pierced.

Read more: How to get a tattoo in Norway.

A tattoo artist
Thinking of getting a tattoo while in Norway? Photo published with permission.

Age restrictions for piercings

It’s also worth mentioning that the general age restriction for getting a piercing in Norway is 16 years old. This is actually up to the parlor to decide, but 16 years seem to be the industry standard. However, certain special piercings can have an age limit of 20 years old.

You typically need to visit a tattoo parlor to get a piercing done in Norway, and there are dedicated piercing staff at these places.

Age restriction for buying energy drinks in Norway

Energy drinks are very popular among the youths in Norway, and this has lead to a big debate as to whether or not is should have a legal age restriction. As of 2022 it does not, but many places have made their own, internal age restrictions, and most of the big grocery store chains have a nationwide policy.

Most stores that sell energy drinks have their own age restrictions in place, refusing to sell energy drinks to anyone under the age of 15.

Some stores take it a step further and refuses to sell it to anyone under the age of 18, while others don’t really care who they sell it to. So expect to be able to buy energy drinks at the age of 15, but you could probably find some places that will sell it to you even before this age.

Age restriction for renting a car in Norway

You can get to see all of the most beautiful places in Norway without much hassle if you rent a car in Norway, but this also has certain age restrictions. These are set by the car rental company themselves, but you obviously have to have a driver’s license, so you must be at least 18 years old.

Most car rental companies have an age restriction of 19 – 20 years, and have had your driver’s license for at least 1 year. Some cars, like sport cars and fast cars, have higher age restrictions, such as 25 years old.

If you have had your driver’s license for at least 1 year and are 19 years old, you should be allowed to rent a regular car in most places.

Avis Rental Car in Lofoten
Rental Car in Lofoten. Photo published with permission.

Age of criminal responsibility in Norway

The age of criminal responsibility in Norway is 15 years old. This means that the legal system cannot prosecute or punish anyone below this age. That said, there are still legal grounds for the police to investigate the crime, bring in the parents for a talk, and potentially involve the child services (Barnevernet), so it’s not a free-for-all for children below 15.

There are also certain leniency for teenagers between the age 15 and 18, where they can often get a so called “teenager punishment” that is tailored more towards changing bad patterns and behaviors than a regular prison punishment.

That said, teenagers are treated the same for lesser crimes such as speeding tickets and other crimes that tend to lead to fines and other small punishments.

Age restriction for driving an electric scooter in Norway

A new law that began to take place in 2022 has put a lower limit on driving an electric scooter in Norway. The new age restriction to drive an electric scooter is 12 years old. Children under the age of 15 are also legally allowed to wear a helmet when they are riding one.

Electric scooters
Electric scooter. Photo published with permission.

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