International chars (UTF-8) not displaying properly over SSH

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Tags: linux debian locales


I just installed a new Debian box and when connecting over SSH there seems to be an issue with displaying Norwegian UTF-8 characters like æøåÆØÅ.

I’m pretty sure I made a mistake during my Advanced Graphical Installation of Debian 11 by forgetting to configure locales.

When writing these chars (æøå) in a shell, they would appear as underscores in some of my programs and in my shell, /bin/bash, as control characters [^9 and so on. They would however appear properly while reading interactively from stdin

$ cat

I don’t really know why it works through stdin (please send me a comment if you know), but now it works again as it should everywhere with the solution below.

Configure locales in Debian 11

So I checked my locales configuration and it appeared I had not installed any

# dpkg-reconfigure locales

I went ahead and selected en_US.UTF-8 UTF-8 and nb_NO.UTF-8 UTF-8 from the list and terminated all my login shells, deleted the existing SSH connection and reconnected.

I’m selecting Norwegian here because I want my LC_TIME, LC_PAPER and some others in my country’s locale. You probably don’t need it yourself.

Behold – now it looks like it should again :)


At first, I thought I only had these problems in irssi, my terminal IRC client, but even when opening a normal /bin/bash shell the problem was there too. After fixing my locales this also fixed irssi.


If you have any comments or feedback, please send me an e-mail. (stig at stigok dotcom).

Did you find any typos, incorrect information, or have something to add? Then please propose a change to this post.

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