Many Norwegians think it’s only illegal in Norway to mow their lawns during church hours on Sundays, from 11am to noon, but the law against it actually applies to the whole day, police confirm. They’re often contacted during the summer months by people irritated over neighbours disturbing the peace, and this year has been no exception.
“We generally tell them to have a chat with their neighbours first,” Elin Anja Drønnen, an inspector for the Sunnmøre Police District, told state broadcaster NRK. She confirmed, however, that a national law ensuring helgedagsfred (Sunday peace) applies all day. It’s often a case, she noted, of evaluating what can be too much noise.
“There are many other days to mow your lawn, Sunday should be Sunday,” argued 88-year-old Per Fagerslett while sitting on his tractor at Lerstad in Ålesund, on Norway’s northwest coast. Even though steady rain this summer has prevented many from mowing their lawns on Saturdays or other days, residents of nearby Molde have been avidly debating restrictions on Sunday noise in their local newspaper Romsdals Budstikke. Some residents are also irritated when neighbours use a chainsaw on Sundays, or mow their lawns in the evening.
“Then other regulations apply,” Drønnen said, “and that’s the law against disturbances at night.” That’s usually between the period from 11pm until 7am, according to the rules of various homeowner- and community associations.
Others argue that Sunday can be the only option for lawn-mowing, for those who work the rest of the week. Fagerslett wouldn’t budge on his demand for quiet Sundays. “If people absolutely must mow their lawns on Sundays, then they can invest in a robot lawn mower that runs silently,” he told NRK.