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“Swede moving to Norway, what do I need to know?”
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“Swede moving to Norway, what do I need to know?”

| Tekst Berit Kvam, foto Christopher Olssøn

On 13 December 2010 Charlotte Lundell started working as Brand Manager at Orkla Confectionery & Snacks. The first thing she did when she got the job was to google: “Swede moving to Norway, what do I need to know?” At the time she was one of 80,000 Swedes working in Norway. In 2013 she is one of 90,000.

“I love chocolate. When I was little I used to dream about working in a chocolate factory, and now I am so lucky that I actually do, I am Brand Manager at Orkla. I’m responsible for the budget, marketing and innovation for Nidar Favoritter. Nidar Favoritter’s annual turnover is 185 million Norwegian kroner (€22.4m). It is fun to be responsible for a product which is selling so well among Norwegians." 

Charlotte Lundell has been a travelling youth since leaving her childhood home in Stockholm at 18. She first went to France, then she studied at the Uppsala University and in Australia before getting the job in Oslo.

“The Uppsala University is known for its student life. I wanted to experience that. I took a master in economics and marketing. Orkla was among the companies introducing themselves at the university. When I graduated the following year I wanted to find a job as Brand Manager. I could not find one in Sweden at that time. Then I remembered Orkla, went to their webpage and saw they were looking for a Brand Manager. I applied just like all the Norwegian applicants. After a long recruitment process with four interviews I got the job. So, suddenly I was here. The first thing I did was to apply for a personal number. It said on the web that that should be a priority. After two weeks it was Christmas holidays, and when I returned after the break I had got the personal number. Everything was going really smoothly. The only problem was the language. It was an obstacle at first. But I decided to write and work in Norwegian from day one — so Google Translate came in very handy.

“The worst thing was the canteen which has very bad acoustics. I understood very little at first. I also remember a time when I was going to send a costume to be dry cleaned [kemtvätt in Swedish, renseri in Norwegian]. I called them and told them in Swedish ‘I have a fancy dress outfit which looks like a cow which must be cleaned". They didn’t understand a thing. They asked and I explained over and over. When a colleague came to pick up the costume, the person at the dry cleaners’ asked: what was the matter with her? 

“The misunderstanding was just ‘rolig’ [fun]. I don’t think about whether people speak Norwegian or Swedish anymore. 

She has stopped using the word ‘rolig’, by the way, because it means something completely different in Norwegian; in Swedish in means ‘fun’ or ‘funny’, in Norwegian ‘quiet’ or ‘calm’. She has stopped using words that can lead to misunderstandings when she speaks Swedish. She speaks more Swedish when she is in Stockholm to visit family and friends, but she is not there as often as she used to. Her boyfriend has moved to Oslo and has found a job too. They have moved in together and are renting a flat in the west of the city. 

“I love Oslo. The streets are so nice. The houses are so charming. Everything is just around the corner. You’re close to nature. One of my first days in Oslo I saw a guy with a snowboard in the city centre. Strange, I thought. Later I realised he had come straight from the piste. You can take the underground straight from the city centre to the hills, and ten minutes on the bus takes you to the best beach. There are coffee bars everywhere. It is easy to grab a cup of coffee before going to work, or to meet friends for a five minute break in the afternoon. I have time to meet the lovely people I have met here, both Swedes and Norwegians. Life is more than work. The quality of life is very high in Oslo.”

Her working hours are normally between 8am and 3.45pm. She works more, often much more. She earns more than in Sweden, but the cost of living is also higher, so it evens out. 

Charlotte Lundell 2

“Oslo is not so much different from Stockholm in general. Oslo is like a smaller version.

“I do miss shops that are open on Sundays. When you work the whole week it is difficult to do the shopping in the week. In Stockholm all shops are open on Sundays. I wish that was the case in Oslo too.

“In Oslo people go for walks on Sundays, out in nature. I like that, walking in the forest, take a break for snacks in a cabin, meet people. It’s nice.

“I love Oslo. When my friends ask, I tell them: we have no date of return."

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