Is landet really refering to a country or rather to a rural area?
In this case a rural area. Had it been a country it would've been "Han har valgt å bo i det landet" = "He has chosen to live in that country".
can the phrase also mean that he chose to settle on fixed ground (as compared to continue his life on ships on the sea)?
That would be "Han har valgt å bo på land." :)
However it accepted "in the country"... but I suppose it is referring to countryside.
Which we can also say in English, it's just not a very common way of expressing it these days.
It depends on where you live. It is still common here in central Pennsylvania
Most common way to say it in the Midwest as well.
Oh cool! I felt like I was doubting myself, cuz it I immediately thought it made sense but then saw the comments. I'm from Oakland, CA, and I feel like I would say "he lives out in the country" and 0 people would get confused.
How would you translate the english phrase "live on the land," as in, to go off the grid and hold a self-sustaining farm or hunter-gatherer sort of situation?
I don't know the answer to your question, but I would refer to that type of scenario as "living OFF the land".
Sounds like 'Han var valgt...' :D