Drinking in Norway


I’ve never been crazy about drinking alcohol, but one evening we decided to make a barbecue on the pontoon, next to our cabin.

We prepared Lofoten cod, whale meat and of course Norwegian salmon. All we needed were some beers and a bottle of wine to have a great evening.

At that moment we thought about going to Sørvågen, where we knew there were two shops. We entered one of them and looked for some wine, but we couldn’t find any. We also noticed there were no other alcoholic drinks, but beer. So, we took a few beers and went to pay for them. We were really surprised when the shopkeeper said that „it’s too late for beer” and that we can take some light beer with no more than 3% alcohol.

We looked at the clock and it was 20:30.

Seeing our amazed faces, he told us this country had a real issue with alcohol and because of this, very strict laws were imposed.
These laws say you can take beer from normal shops until 20:00 hours during the week (Saturday up to 18:00 hours), but wine and other alcoholic drinks can only be purchased from state controlled shops (Vinmonopolet). Sunday you are not allowed to purchase any alcoholic drink.

We took a few light beers for that evening. Next days we bought normal beer from the shops in Sørvågen during daytime. If we had wanted wine or other drinks, we should have gone to the state controlled shops in Leknes, 65 km away.


I got used quickly to the idea of a country having such laws and because I am not a real drinker, I really don’t care.
But, at that moment I was really shocked to find myself on some remote islands, over the Arctic Circle and see that things were not left on their own.

Though I respect Norway as a civilized country,  I felt like the Norwegian state interferes and controls people’s lives. When I returned from the shop that evening,  I felt sorry for the Norwegians because I thought their own government treated them like children.

Now, I really don’t know how it is best. To be in a country where you are treated like a child and the state imposes laws for your own protection? Or to be in a country where nobody cares about you?


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