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Living in Oslo

Living in Oslo is not only a great way to experience both nature and an urban environment. It also gives you the opportunity to visit Norway’s cultural center. Our InterNations Expat Guide to living in Oslo gives you an insight into healthcare, education, housing, and different neighborhoods.
Explore the countryside around the city and lead a healthy life in Oslo!

At a Glance:

  • Oslo has an almost free healthcare system with good medical standards that covers everyone living in the municipality.
  • The city has trendy areas such as the newly developed Aker Brygge and Tjuvholmen, as well as the modern western districts, where housing is more expensive.
  • Oslo has a mix of both Norwegian and international schools, providing universal education for all ages.


Between the islands in the Oslofjord and the forests and mountains surrounding the city, expats living in Oslo benefit from a vibrant metropolis. Oslo is Norway’s heart and soul, its cultural, financial, and economic center. Indeed, Oslo has a lot to offer both to its local and its expat population. However, it takes more than a beautiful city and breathtaking fjords to fully enjoy your expat life in Oslo.

Looking After Your Health in Oslo

While living in Oslo, you will be able to access public healthcare services and facilities with good quality standards, as well as a smaller amount of private healthcare institutions if you wish. You should remember, however, that in most cases, only public services are covered under the National Insurance Scheme, to which all expats working in Norway are obliged to contribute.

The public health service (Folketrygden) is financed by the Norwegian government and run by the individual municipalities. Expats in Oslo can always turn to a public medical clinic (Helsesenter) or refer to our list of medical services below.

Joining the National Insurance Scheme

Every expat living in Oslo has the right to join the National Insurance Scheme. This rule applies even if you are not a national of an EEA country, as long as you are a legal resident in Norway or are working in Norway. Members of the National Insurance Scheme must pay contributions with their taxes.

In order to claim certain insurance benefits, like disability benefits, you must have been a member of the National Insurance Scheme for a while — in the case of disability benefits, for example, you must have been a member in the three years prior to becoming disabled.

If you are not automatically covered by the National Insurance Scheme, you can make voluntary contributions. This applies to you if your stay does not exceed twelve months and if you have strong ties to Norway, such as a spouse or close family member.

Alternatives to Public Healthcare

You may prefer to choose a private practice or hospital for a healthy life in Oslo. Private healthcare is widely available in Oslo, as many doctors work in private clinics or hospitals — you are free to make an appointment anytime by contacting them directly. Keep in mind, however, that private doctors are not covered under the National Insurance Scheme and are therefore more expensive.

But even if you turn to public medical facilities, healthcare will not be entirely free. It is, however, heavily subsidized. Essentially, expats living in Oslo have to pay a certain fee after each doctor’s appointment until they reach a certain limit (2,205 NOK or roughly 270 USD in November 2017). From then on, they are entitled to a so-called free card (frikort) for the current calendar year of living in Oslo.

Where to Go When You Become Sick

Joining the Norwegian social insurance system (National Insurance Scheme) while living in Oslo allows you to choose your doctor freely within the public system. It also gives you the right to change your doctor up to twice per year. As soon as you have picked a doctor, you can call them to set up an appointment. If your preferred doctor is not taking on any more new patients, it is possible to be placed on a waiting list.

Please remember that most offices are open from 08:00 to 15:00, with out-of-hours clinics servicing emergency patients. You will be asked to pay your medical fees following your appointment. Are you in need of specialist treatment? You need to visit your general practitioner first and ask for a referral.

Below we have listed a number of hospitals and medical centers in Oslo. This list is, however, by no means extensive. Please refer to your municipality or your health insurance provider for more information.

What to Do in an Emergency

If you haven’t picked your medical practitioner yet, or if you are in need of emergency care while living in Oslo, dial the emergency number 113. With major injuries, you can refer to Legevakten (Oslo Emergency Hospital) at Storgata 40, 0182, Oslo. This emergency ward is open 24 hours a day. During the day, you should get in touch with your general practitioner to make an appointment or in more urgent cases visit one of the city’s drop-in emergency ward centers.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

David Hicks

"Thanks to my network on InterNations, I already had some contact persons to ask for support on coming to Oslo. "

Amelie Barreau

"Enjoying the great spirit of our InterNations’ Oslo Community for the last few months, I am absolutely convinced of the vision to bring people from different nations together."

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