There are many couples out there who are wondering if they should move to Norway to raise their family or to have children, or if it’s better to stay in another country.
It’s not like anyone can freely move to Norway to have children here, but it’s open to some. One of the groups are those where at least one of the parents are a Norwegian citizen, even if the children are not Norwegian themselves.
But should you move to Norway when you have children, or should you start your new family in the country you are living in?
I can’t give you the answer, but what I can do is tell you what Norway is like with children, allowing you to choose the best option for you and your children.
So, let’s take a closer look at the top 8 reasons to move to Norway when you have children or are expecting in the future.
1) It’s completely free to give birth in Norway
If you want to have a child in the US, the average cost is just over $18,800. The same cost for Norway is 0 NOK or $0 USD.
All costs related to pregnancy and the childbirth itself is completely free, and you won’t need to pay a single Norwegian krone yourself, neither for the actual birthing or for the medical issues that can arise before or after the childbirth.
2) Kindergarten is very cheap
The reason is simply because the government subsidizes kindergartens, so you have a max cap of how much it costs. As of 2022, this max cap is around 3,000 NOK (around $300 USD) per month.
This had lead to Norwegians spending on average about 8 % of their paycheck on kindergartens, way less than countries like the United States or United Kingdom where the average is around 34 %!
And if you can’t handle the 3,000 NOK monthly charge, don’t worry. Low-income families get a reduced pay as well, and it’s all based on your income. I actually paid just a few hundred NOK monthly when me and my wife were students.
PS. another thing worth mentioning is that all children have the right to go to kindergarten if you want. It’s rare to have stay-at-home moms or dads in Norway, and most children attend kindergarten.
3) Healthcare for children is free
All health care for children under the age of 18 is free. So you won’t need to pay a single krone for a visitor to the doctor, the dentist or even at the hospital (which is also free for adults by the way).
As a matter of fact, you can even get medication for your child for free, even if they need it regularly.
Dental care is free for children as long as they are under 18 years old, but it’s not for adults.
4) You get sick leave when your children are sick
If you have children, you have the right to stay at home with your sick children. And not only are you allowed to stay home, but you also get paid for this as if you were working that day.
Each parent has 10 sick child sick days (called omsorgsdager in Norwegian) for a single child, or 15 days each if you have two or more children below the age of 12.
Single parents get double, so that makes it either 20 or 30 days per year.
And if it’s all gone, don’t worry. Most Norwegian work places that are somewhat serious employers will allow you to take even more days if you need them.
5) Parental leave for both parents
Norway has a pretty good system for parental leave, rivaling most other countries in the world. The general parental leave is either 49 weeks with a 100 % of your regular pay, or 59 weeks with a 80 % pay.
Both parents must take parental leave, and there’s a period where you decide which parent should stay home. So both parents get parental leave, not only the mother.
The idea is that each parent get minimum 15 weeks each, and the rest is shared. The mother is required to be on parental leave the first six weeks after the birth, but you get to decide for yourselves after that point.
You are not allowed to lose your job by going on parental leave, and you a right to take parental leave when you give birth a child.
6) It’s socially acceptable to leave work to bring your child to the doctor, dentist etc.
In addition to the child sick days, there’s a general understanding that it’s acceptable to leave the office or work early or even in the middle of the day to take the child to the doctor, dentist or other healthcare professional.
This is generally allowed to be done without “spending” a child sick day in most places as long as you let your boss know beforehand.
So don’t worry if you need to leave the office for a couple of hours to take your child to the doctor, it’s not going to be a problem at most workplaces.
7) Norway typically has a family first approach
Norway is ranked very high when it comes to having a good balance of work and life, which is something most families appreciate. This is all part of what is called the Nordic Model where family is regarded as more important than work.
You are not really expected to work more than (at most) 40 hours each week, and there are plenty of public holidays and other opportunities to spend time with your family.
Most places don’t expect you to work overtime, and when you do, you get paid a pretty nice bonus for it.
Despite this, Norway has a high productivity with focus on completing the tasks you need to do, not spending long hours in the office.
If you want to live life without focusing too much on working as much as possible, moving to Norway is a great option.
8) Move to Norway when you have children to let them grow up in the incredible nature
One of the great benefits of choosing to move to Norway when you have children is that they are allowed to grow up in the amazing nature here. You can often find incredible nature just outside your front door!
The crime rates are extremely low, and they can grow up in a safe environment with a lot of focus on being outside.
It’s common to see strollers with sleeping babies outside of cafés, and the parents are inside enjoying themselves. You might ask why, and the reason is simply that no one steals a baby in Norway, so there’s little risk involved. In other words, there is a high level of social trust here.
Most kindergartens spend about half of their day outside, and the children will quickly learn to be outside in both good and bad weather. Even the big cities in Norway have forest and nature pretty close by, and it’s never too difficult to get to a nice place to be out in nature.
Nicklas is the owner and editor of The Norway Guide, and is responsible for most of the content on the website.
He lives in Skien, Norway with his wife and two children. Nicklas is specialized in Norwegian ecology (including Norway’s geology, wildlife and flora) from his degree in Ecology And Nature Management at University of South-Eastern Norway, but has a particular interest in tourism and content creation.
His biggest hobbies are fishkeeping, going on hikes with his dog, and rooting for the local football team.