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Norwegian expression of the day: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær

Is it minus 20 out? Not a problem. Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær.

Norwegian expression of the day: Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær
If you ever get caught in the cold or rain we're certain a Norwegian will be on hand to say this to you. Photo by Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know this?

Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær is as much of a mentality in the Norwegian society as it is a popular expression. Norwegians refuse to use bad weather as an excuse to not be outside and enjoy nature.

If they did, then you might not see many of them for months on end. 

What does it mean?  

Directly translated to English, Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær means, “there is no such thing as poor weather, just inappropriate clothes”. 

Norwegians in general are pragmatic and active individuals. And you can see this in what they wear throughout the four seasons. For many locals, fashion choices and clothing trends are deeply rooted in being protected and prepared for harsh weather conditions. Even in the more trendy areas of bigger urban cities. Thick soled boots trump high heels. You likely won’t catch a glimpse of a bare shoulder for months during the winter. Because thick woolen sweaters are the popular and practical choice. 

How do I use this expression? 

The expression is often stated during the winter. But you can also use it in reference to choosing the right item of gear or clothing for an outside activity like hiking or fishing. It’s a reminder to dress in layers and to bring an extra pair of dry socks. 

You will often hear the popular expression, det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær as a response to someone who is skeptical spending time outside. 

It’s also a declaration you would say to yourself or those in your vicinity as you peer through a window caked in frost. It’s a reminder that being prepared is key. And if you want to enjoy all the breathtaking beauty Norway has to offer, wearing the appropriate clothing for the weather and the days plan is a great way to start. 

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Norwegian word of the day: Tropenatt 

If it’s been hot and humid throughout the day, then the chances are that a ‘tropenatt’ will follow, making it hard to fall asleep. 

Norwegian word of the day: Tropenatt 

What does it mean? 

Tropenatt means “tropical night” in English. It is formed by compounding the words for tropical and night. 

Given that Norway is a country perhaps more famous for its cold winters than warm weather, you may find it surprising that the language has a word for sweltering evenings. 

A tropenatt is an evening where the temperature doesn’t drop below 20C between 8pm and 8am. Apparently, tropical nights are the most common along the Oslo Fjord. The reason for this is that high sea temperatures in the area contribute to the frequency of tropical nights. 

Why do I need to know this? 

Seeing as the winters in Norway are so cold, homes in the country are designed to hold heat as much as possible. Therefore, if you see a tropenatt mentioned by anyone or in the forecast, you can probably expect an uncomfortable night’s sleep. 

However, if you’ve adopted a few Norwegian habits or home design cues, you may be prepared to combat warm sticky nights. 

This is because Norwegians (and Scandinavians as a whole) will sleep with two single duvets rather than one double one. 

This helps one deal with a tropical night as single duvets allow people to regulate their temperature better when they sleep. Poor temperature regulation and struggles with a large shared duvet contribute to a worse night’s sleep, according to experts.

Use it like this: 

Det er kjempevarmt i dag, og ifølge værmeldingen skal de bli tropenatt I natt også. 

(It’s super hot today, and according to the weather forecast, it’s meant to be a tropical night tonight too.)

 Jeg var så varm i natt. Det var 30 grader og tropenatt. 

(I was so hot last night. It was 30 degrees and a tropical night.)