Tag Archives: beer

First beer outside


One of the more minor Norwegian competitions/traditions is seeing who can have the first beer outside each year.  There are only a few hard and fast rules:

  • You have to drink the beer outside
  • You have to drink the beer in Norway…beer in January in Tenerife doesn’t count

I have a strong entry in the competition, having had beer outside in the sun yesterday at Aker Brygge.  Even if the beer was overpriced and it wasn’t exactly warm outside, it sure felt better than cold and gray. 


Vinmonopolet…aka one of the worst things about Norway

I’ve resisted posting about one of my least favorite things about living in Norway for a long time.  I figured that, even if I were initially skeptical, I would give the system a chance and see if it grew on me.  It hasn’t.

The basics:

  • Vinmonopolet (“The Wine Monopoly”) is owned by the government.
  • It is a non-profit enterprise.
  • Wine and liquor can only be sold in Vinmonopolet.
  • “Strong” beer can also only be sold in Vinmonopolet. 
    • What’s a strong beer?  Anything over 4.7%.  Yes, seriously.
  • “Weak” beer is the only alcoholic beverage that can be sold in other stores.
  • There are only 239 stores in all of Norway and only 24 in Oslo.

In short, the stores are horribly inconvenient, always have a long line, close at ridiculous hours, and have a terrible selection. 

For the government’s defense, click below.

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Nobel Peace Prize and Human Rights Day

December 10th.  Peace Prize day.  It’s the one day every year that the world turns its attention to Oslo.  For those of you planning on joining us in Oslo, the forecast for today is a balmy 23F/-5C. 

(I can only imagine how excited the Norwegian Tourism people must have been when they initially heard that the Peace Prize would be awarded every December 10th. 

“You mean we get one a shot a year at showing off the beauty of Norway and you guys picked #!*%ing December 10th?  It’s cold and dark and miserable!  We quit.”)

Martti Ahtisaari will receive the award later today.  If you’re interested in watching live, click here

December 10th is also known as Human Rights Day, in honor of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights being adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948, marking today as the 60th anniversary.

So go out there and celebrate, wherever you are in the world.  If you can’t make it here, I’ll have a 65 kroner (~$9) beer for you.