Norwegian money has long been counted in kroner and øre.
A krone, or “crown,” is worth about twenty cents nowadays. Although they have different values, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands also use their own version of crowns.
I kind of like them, to be honest. “Dollars” sounds so commonplace, and “euros” have always sounded a bit tacky to me, like a kind of breakfast cereal. But “crowns” has such a nice, medieval feel to it!
You can get 1 krone, 5 kroner, 10 kroner and 20 kroner coins. The 20 kroner coin is worth about $3.50 — so it’s well worth picking up if it falls out of your pocket! Unlike in America, where coins are a hassle and most people only really mess with quarters, cleaning out your drawers and pockets of loose change here can easily yield enough for a week’s worth of groceries (even at Norwegian prices!).
The first few times you pay for something with a handful of coins, you may well feel like a pirate. This is normal.
Working downward, crowns are divided into 100 øre. There used to be copper coins going all the way down to one øre, but they have gradually lost their value. By the time I arrived in Norway, the only one left in circulation was the 50-øre coin.
On May 1, however, Norwegian money changed forever. The 50-øre coins have been discontinued — and with them, the øre slipped quietly into history.
The 50-øre coins were worth about a dime, so at first it seemed strange to me that this was considered an amount too small to be represented. However, the banks determined that most people were not going to the trouble to reuse their øre coins after receiving them as change. And I have to say, with the higher and more rounded prices here, I’ve only received a dozen or so øre during my stay, and they do have a tendency to do little more than line my pockets!
Still, it’s funny.
When I went a few weekends ago to the outdoor club’s old cabin, I found a pile of still-usable match boxes. They must be pretty old, because they are marked with a formidable price of 1 øre!
In another ten years, children will have to ask their parents what øre even means…