I am a US post doc applying for a position in Norway. The application asks me to include my motivation for applying for the position. Should I mention my personal willingness to move to Norway? I recently visited and loved the culture and outdoor lifestyle there. Of course my letter is primarily focused on my research interests and how they align with the posted position, but I was wondering if it is appropriate to include 1-2 sentences about my personal desire to live in Norway.
Should I mention my personal willingness to move to Norway?
You can, but I don't expect it to have too much influence on the decision.
Strictly speaking, a committee loves to see that a candidate really wants to come to a specific country or university, and a "personal motivation" is as good (or better) than any other reason. The big problem with "personal motivations" such as this is that basically anybody can write the same thing - there is no way for a committee to decide whether you truly want to come to Norway, or if this is just a thing you write into every application (cp. the treaded "It was my lifelong dream to pursue a PhD in XYZ" that seems to pop up in every other PhD student application I receive). As such, it is hard to take such a statement all too seriously.
In my opinion, where you can make this argument rather effectively is during a campus visit, when you can actually talk to people and explain that, and why, you would truly wish to come to Norway, in a way that allows people to judge whether you are actually sincere. I have seen such "smalltalk" to become a surprisingly positive factor in committee discussions.
When applying for a postdoc position in Norway, I was given the suggestion to mention that I could cope with the weather, since they had lost some postdocs due to that, I understand. Since I had lived all my life in the Nordic countries, I could convincingly write that the weather, the culture and the language were unlikely to present barriers.
Adding a sentence is unlikely to do any harm, but if you can give some reliable signal about your interest, that is even better.