NORWAY (/ˈnɔːrweɪ/ ( listen ) NAWR-way ; Norwegian : Norge
Bokmål ) or Noreg (
Nynorsk )), officially the KINGDOM OF NORWAY,
is a sovereign state and unitary monarchy whose territory comprises
the western portion of the
Scandinavian Peninsula plus the remote
Jan Mayen and the archipelago of
Svalbard . The Antarctic
Peter I Island
Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic
Bouvet Island are dependent
territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom.
lays claim to a section of
Antarctica known as
Queen Maud Land . Until
1814, the kingdom included the
Faroe Islands ,
Greenland , and Iceland
. It also included
Bohuslän until 1658,
Jämtland and Härjedalen
Orkney until 1468, and the
Hebrides and Isle
of Man until 1266.
Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi)
and a population of 5,258,317 (as of January 2017). The country
shares a long eastern border with
Sweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long).
Norway is bordered by
Russia to the north-east, and the
Skagerrak strait to the south, with
Denmark on the other side. Norway
has an extensive coastline, facing the North
Atlantic Ocean and the
Barents Sea .
Harald V of the Dano-German
House of Glücksburg
House of Glücksburg is the current
King of Norway
King of Norway .
Erna Solberg became Prime Minister in 2013, replacing
Jens Stoltenberg . A constitutional monarchy ,
Norway divides state
power between the Parliament , the Cabinet and the Supreme Court , as
determined by the 1814 Constitution . The kingdom is established as a
merger of several petty kingdoms . By the traditional count from the
year 872 , the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,145 years, and
the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls.
Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two
levels: counties and municipalities . The
Sámi people have a certain
amount of self-determination and influence over traditional
territories through the Sámi Parliament and the
Finnmark Act . Norway
maintains close ties with the
European Union and the
United States .
Norway is a founding member of the
United Nations ,
NATO , the Council
Europe , the Antarctic
Treaty , and the
Nordic Council ; a member
European Economic Area , the WTO , and the
OECD ; and is also a
part of the
Schengen Area .
The country maintains a combination of market economy and a Nordic
welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social
Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum , natural
gas , minerals , lumber , seafood , fresh water , and hydropower . The
petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's
gross domestic product (GDP). On a per-capita basis,
Norway is the
world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle
The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on
World Bank and
IMF lists. On the CIA 's GDP (PPP) per capita list
(2015 estimate) which includes territories and some regions, Norway
ranks as number eleven. It has the world's largest sovereign wealth
fund , with a value of 960 billion USD. Since 2009,
Norway has the
Human Development Index
Human Development Index ranking in the world, a position also
held previously between 2001 and 2006. It also has the highest
Norway ranks first on the World
Happiness Report , the
OECD Better Life Index , the Index of Public
Integrity , and the
Democracy Index .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.7 Union with
* 2.8 Union with
* 2.9 Dissolution of the union
* 2.10 First and Second World Wars
* 2.11 Post-
World War II
World War II history
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 3.2 Biodiversity
* 3.3 Environment
* 4 Politics and government
* 4.1 Administrative divisions
* 4.2 Judicial system and law enforcement
* 4.3 Foreign relations
* 4.4 Military
* 5 Health
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Resources
* 6.1.1 Oil fields
* 6.2 Transport
* 7 Demographics
* 7.1 Migration
* 7.1.1 Emigration
* 7.2 Religion
* 7.3 Largest cities of
* 7.4 Education
* 7.5 Languages
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Human rights
* 8.2 Religion
* 8.3 Cinema
* 8.4 Music
* 8.5 Literature
* 8.6 Research
* 8.7 Architecture
* 8.8 Art
* 8.9 Cuisine
* 8.10 Sports
* 9 International rankings
* 10 See also
* 11 Notes
* 12 References
* 13 Bibliography
* 14 External links
Opening of Ohthere\'s
Old English account, translated: "Ohthere
told his lord Ælfrede king that he lived northmost of all
Norway has two official names: Noreg in
Nynorsk (Old Norse: Noregr)
and Norge in
Bokmål (Old Norse: Noregi, dative of Noregr).
Norway comes from the
Old English word Norþweg mentioned in
880, meaning "northern way" or "way leading to the north", which is
how the Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of atlantic Norway.
The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of
880 as Norðmanna land.
There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway
originally had the same etymology as the English form. According to
the traditional and until recently undisputed view, the first
component was originally norðr, a cognate of English 'north', so the
full name was Norðr vegr, 'the way northwards', referring to the
sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting with
suðrvegar "southern way" for
Germany , and austrvegr "eastern way"
for the Baltic . According to another theory, the first component was
a word nór, meaning 'narrow', referring to the inner-archipelago
sailing route ('narrow way') through the land. The interpretation as
'northern', as reflected in the English and
Latin forms of the name,
was due to later folk etymology . This latter view originated with
philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847, and it has recently been
advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and
Michael Schulte . The form Nore is
still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake
Buskerud county, and still has the same meaning.
Among other arguments in favour of the theory, it is pointed out that
the word has a long vowel in Skaldic poetry and is not attested with
in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic
attestations have the spellings nuruiak and nuriki). However, this
resurrected theory has received some pushback by other scholars on
various grounds, e.g. the uncontroversial presence of the element
norðr in the ethnonym norðrmaðr 'Norwegian person', 'Norseman'
(modern Norwegian nordmann), and the adjective norrǿnn 'northern',
Norse and Norwegian, as well as the very early attestations of the
Anglo-Saxon forms with th.
Latin manuscript of 849, the name Northuagia is mentioned, while
a French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia.
Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King
Alfred the Great in England
in the end of the 9th century, the land was called Norðwegr (lit.
Northway) and norðmanna land (lit. Northmen's land).
Old Norse norðmaðr was Latinized as Nortmannus in the 9th century
to mean "
Norseman " and also "
Viking ", giving rise to the name of the
Normans . After
Norway had become Christian , Noregr and Noregi had
become the most common forms, but during the 15th century, the newer
forms Noreg(h) and Norg(h)e, found in medieval Icelandic manuscripts,
took over and have survived until the modern day.
The adjective Norwegian, on the other hand, recorded from c. 1600, is
derived from the latinisation of the name as Norwegia. In the
adjective Norwegian, the
Old English spelling '-weg' has survived.
History of Norway and
History of Scandinavia
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age rock carvings at
The first inhabitants were the
Ahrensburg culture (11th to 10th
millennia BC), which was a late
Upper Paleolithic culture during the
Younger Dryas, the last period of cold at the end of the Weichsel
glaciation. The culture is named after the village of
Ahrensburg , 25
km (15.53 mi) north-east of Hamburg in the German state of
Schleswig-Holstein , where wooden arrow shafts and clubs have been
excavated. The earliest traces of human occupation in
found along the coast, where the huge ice shelf of the last ice age
first melted between 11,000 and 8,000 BC. The oldest finds are stone
tools dating from 9,500 to 6,000 BC, discovered in
culture ) in the north and
Rogaland (Fosna culture ) in the
south-west. However, theories about two altogether different cultures
Komsa culture north of the
Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna
Fjord being the other) were rendered
obsolete in the 1970s. Approximate extent of the Corded Ware
More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists
that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to
different types of tools and not to different cultures. Coastal fauna
provided a means of livelihood for fishermen and hunters, who may have
made their way along the southern coast about 10,000 BC when the
interior was still covered with ice. It is now thought that these
so-called "Arctic" peoples came from the south and followed the coast
northward considerably later.
In the southern part of the country are dwelling sites dating from
about 5,000 BC. Finds from these sites give a clearer idea of the life
of the hunting and fishing peoples. The implements vary in shape and
mostly are made of different kinds of stone; those of later periods
are more skilfully made.
Rock carvings (i.e. petroglyphs) have been
found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game
such as deer , reindeer , elk , bears , birds , seals , whales , and
fish (especially salmon and halibut ), all of which were vital to the
way of life of the coastal peoples. The carvings at Alta in Finnmark,
the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level from 4,200 to 500
BC and mark the progression of the land as the sea rose after the last
ice age ended (
Rock carvings at Alta ).
Locations of the Germanic tribes described by
Jordanes in Norway
Nordic Bronze Age
Nordic Bronze Age
Between 3000 and 2500 BC new settlers (
Corded Ware culture ) arrived
Norway . They were Indo-European farmers who grew grain and
kept cows and sheep . The hunting-fishing population of the west coast
was also gradually replaced by farmers, though hunting and fishing
remained useful secondary means of livelihood.
From about 1500 BC, bronze was gradually introduced, but the use of
stone implements continued;
Norway had few riches to barter for bronze
goods, and the few finds consist mostly of elaborate weapons and
brooches that only chieftains could afford. Huge burial cairns built
close to the sea as far north as
Harstad and also inland in the south
are characteristic of this period. The motifs of the rock carvings
differ from those typical of the
Stone Age . Representations of the
Sun , animals , trees , weapons , ships , and people are all strongly
Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, and the
large stone burial monuments known as stone ships , suggest that ships
and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The
depicted ships, most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for
warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as
far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman
Iron Age, as exemplified by the
Hjortspring boat .
Iron Age Scandinavia
Little has been found dating from the early
Iron Age (the last 500
years BC). The dead were cremated, and their graves contain few burial
goods. During the first four centuries AD the people of
Norway were in
contact with Roman-occupied
Gaul . About 70 Roman bronze cauldrons,
often used as burial urns, have been found. Contact with the civilised
countries farther south brought a knowledge of runes ; the oldest
known Norwegian runic inscription dates from the 3rd century. At this
time, the amount of settled area in the country increased, a
development that can be traced by coordinated studies of topography ,
archaeology , and place-names. The oldest root names, such as nes,
vik, and bø ("cape," "bay," and "farm"), are of great antiquity,
dating perhaps from the
Bronze Age, whereas the earliest of the groups
of compound names with the suffixes vin ("meadow") or heim
("settlement"), as in Bjǫrgvin (Bergen) or Sǿheim (Seim), usually
date from the 1st century AD.
Archaeologists first made the decision to divide the
Iron Age of
Europe into distinct pre-Roman and Roman
Iron Ages after Emil
Vedel unearthed a number of
Iron Age artefacts in 1866 on the island
Bornholm . They did not exhibit the same permeating Roman
influence seen in most other artefacts from the early centuries AD,
indicating that parts of northern
Europe had not yet come into contact
with the Romans at the beginning of the
Iron Age .
Viking swords found in Norway, preserved at
Migration period See also:
Petty kingdoms of Norway
The destruction of the
Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire by the Germanic peoples
5th century is characterised by rich finds, including tribal
chiefs ' graves containing magnificent weapons and gold objects. Hill
forts were built on precipitous rocks for defence. Excavation has
revealed stone foundations of farmhouses 18 to 27 metres (59 to 89 ft)
long—one even 46 metres (151 feet) long—the roofs of which were
supported on wooden posts. These houses were family homesteads where
several generations lived together, with people and cattle under one
These states were based on either clans or tribes (e.g., the Horder
Hordaland in western
Norway ). By the
9th century , each of these
small states had things (local or regional assemblies), for
negotiating and settling disputes. The thing meeting places, each
eventually with a hörgr (open-air sanctuary) or a heathen hof
(temple; literally "hill"), were usually situated on the oldest and
best farms, which belonged to the chieftains and wealthiest farmers.
The regional things united to form even larger units: assemblies of
deputy yeomen from several regions. In this way, the lagting
(assemblies for negotiations and lawmaking) developed. The Gulating
had its meeting place by
Sognefjord and may have been the centre of an
aristocratic confederation along the western fjords and islands called
the Gulatingslag. The Frostating was the assembly for the leaders in
Trondheimsfjord area; the
Earls of Lade , near
Trondheim , seem to
have enlarged the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland from
Viking helmet found at Gjermundbu in
Buskerud , is the only
Viking Age helmet that has been found The Gokstad ship
Viking Ship Museum in
Norway Main article:
Unification of Norway and
Hereditary Kingdom of Norway
From the 8th to the 10th century, the wider Scandinavian region was
the source of Vikings . The looting of the monastery at
England in 793 by Norse people has long been regarded as the
event which marked the beginning of the
Viking Age . This age was
characterised by expansion and emigration by
Viking seafarers . They
colonised , raided, and traded in all parts of Europe. Norwegian
Viking explorers first discovered
Iceland by accident in the 9th
century when heading for the
Faroe Islands , and eventually came
Vinland , known today as Newfoundland , in
Canada . The Vikings
Norway were most active in the northern and western British Isles
North America isles.
According to tradition,
Harald Fairhair unified them into one in 872
Battle of Hafrsfjord in
Stavanger , thus becoming the first
king of a united Norway. Harald's realm was mainly a South Norwegian
coastal state. Fairhair ruled with a strong hand and according to the
Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, the Faroe
Greenland , and parts of Britain and
Ireland . The
modern-day Irish cities of
founded by Norwegian settlers. Norwegian, Danish and Swedish
expansion during the
Viking age between 800–1050
Norse traditions were slowly replaced by Christian ones in the late
10th and early 11th centuries.One of the most important sources for
the history of the 11th century Vikings is the treaty between the
Icelanders and Olaf Haraldsson, king of
Norway circa 1015 to 1028.
This is largely attributed to the missionary kings Olav Tryggvasson
and St. Olav . Haakon the Good was Norway's first Christian king, in
the mid-10th century, though his attempt to introduce the religion was
rejected. Born sometime in between 963–969, Olav Tryggvasson set off
England with 390 ships. He attacked
London during this
raiding. Arriving back in
Norway in 995, Olav landed in Moster . There
he built a church which became the first Christian church ever built
in Norway. From Moster, Olav sailed north to
Trondheim where he was
King of Norway
King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995.
Feudalism never really developed in
Norway or Sweden, as it did in
the rest of Europe. However, the administration of government took on
a very conservative feudal character. The
Hanseatic League forced the
royalty to cede to them greater and greater concessions over foreign
trade and the economy. The League had this hold over the royalty
because of the loans the Hansa had made to the royalty and the large
debt the kings were carrying. The League's monopolistic control over
the economy of
Norway put pressure on all classes, especially the
peasantry, to the degree that no real burgher class existed in Norway.
Kalmar Union See also:
Norwegian Kingdom at its greatest extent, c. 1265
Upon the death of Haakon V (King of Norway) in 1319, Magnus Erikson ,
at just three years old, inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of
Norway. At the same time, a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden
proved successful, and both the kings of
Sweden and of
elected to the throne by their respective nobles, Thus, with his
election to the throne of Sweden, both
Norway were united
under King Magnus VII.
In 1349, the
Black Death radically altered Norway, killing between
50% and 60% of its population and leaving it in a period of social
and economic decline. The plague left
Norway very poor. Although the
death rate was comparable with the rest of Europe, economic recovery
took much longer because of the small, scattered population. Even
before the plague, the population was only about 500,000. After the
plague, many farms lay idle while the population slowly increased.
However, the few surviving farms' tenants found their bargaining
positions with their landlords greatly strengthened. Kalmar
Union c. 1400 AD
King Magnus VII ruled
Norway until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was
placed on the throne as Haakon VI . In 1363, Haakon VI married
Margaret , the daughter of King Valdemar IV of
Denmark . Upon the
death of Haakon VI, in 1379, his son, Olaf IV , was only 10 years old.
Olaf had already been elected to the throne of
Denmark on 3 May 1376.
Thus, upon Olaf's accession to the throne of Norway,
Norway entered personal union . Olaf's mother and Haakon's widow,
Queen Margaret, managed the foreign affairs of
Denmark and Norway
during the minority of Olaf IV.
Margaret was working toward a union of
Denmark and Norway
by having Olaf elected to the Swedish throne. She was on the verge of
achieving this goal when Olaf IV suddenly died. However,
Margaret temporary ruler upon the death of Olaf. On 2 February 1388,
Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret. Queen Margaret knew that
her power would be more secure if she were able to find a king to rule
in her place. She settled on
Eric of Pomerania
Eric of Pomerania , grandson of her
sister. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Erik of
Pomerania was crowned king of all three Scandinavian countries. Thus,
royal politics resulted in personal unions between the Nordic
countries , eventually bringing the thrones of Norway,
Denmark , and
Sweden under the control of Queen Margaret when the country entered
Kalmar Union .
UNION WITH DENMARK
Denmark–Norway See also:
Greater Norway The
Battle of the Sound between an allied Dano-Norwegian–Dutch fleet and
the Swedish navy, 8 November 1658 (29 October O.S. )
Sweden broke out of the
Kalmar Union in 1521,
Norway tried to
follow suit, but the subsequent rebellion was defeated, and Norway
remained in a union with
Denmark until 1814, a total of 434 years.
During the national romanticism of the 19th century, this period was
by some referred to as the "400-Year Night", since all of the
kingdom's royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centred in
Copenhagen in Denmark. In fact, it was a period of great prosperity
and progress for Norway, especially in terms of shipping and foreign
trade, and it also secured the country's revival from the demographic
catastrophe it suffered in the
Black Death . Based on the respective
Denmark–Norway was in fact a very good match,
Denmark supported Norway's needs for grain and food supplies,
Denmark with timber, metal, and fish.
With the introduction of Protestantism in 1536, the archbishopric in
Trondheim was dissolved, and
Norway lost its independence, and
effectually became a colony of Denmark. The Church's incomes and
possessions were instead redirected to the court in Copenhagen. Norway
lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav at the
Nidaros shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and
economic life in the rest of Europe.
Eventually restored as a kingdom (albeit in legislative union with
Denmark) in 1661,
Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th
century with the loss of the provinces Båhuslen , Jemtland , and
Herjedalen to Sweden, as the result of a number of disastrous wars
with Sweden. In the north, however, its territory was increased by the
acquisition of the northern provinces of
Finnmark , at the
Sweden and Russia.
The famine of 1695–1696 killed roughly 10% of Norway's population.
The harvest failed in
Scandinavia at least nine times between 1740 and
1800, with great loss of life.
UNION WITH SWEDEN
Main article: United Kingdoms of
Norway See also:
Norwegian protectorate and
Norwegian romantic nationalism The
1814 constitutional assembly, painted by
Denmark–Norway was attacked by the
United Kingdom at the
Copenhagen , it entered into an alliance with
with the war leading to dire conditions and mass starvation in 1812.
As the Danish kingdom found itself on the losing side in 1814, it was
forced, under terms of the
Treaty of Kiel , to cede
Norway to the king
of Sweden, while the old Norwegian provinces of Iceland, Greenland,
Faroe Islands remained with the Danish crown.
Norway took this opportunity to declare independence, adopted a
constitution based on American and French models, and elected the
Crown Prince of
Denmark and Norway, Christian Frederick , as king on
17 May 1814. This is the famous Syttende Mai (Seventeenth of May)
holiday celebrated by
Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans alike.
Syttende Mai is also called Norwegian Constitution Day.
Norwegian opposition to the great powers' decision to link Norway
Sweden caused the Norwegian-Swedish War to break out as Sweden
tried to subdue
Norway by military means. As Sweden's military was not
strong enough to defeat the Norwegian forces outright, and Norway's
treasury was not large enough to support a protracted war, and as
British and Russian navies blockaded the Norwegian coast, the
belligerents were forced to negotiate the
Convention of Moss
Convention of Moss .
According to the terms of the convention, Christian Frederik abdicated
the Norwegian throne and authorised the
Parliament of Norway to make
the necessary constitutional amendments to allow for the personal
Norway was forced to accept. On 4 November 1814, the
Parliament (Storting) elected Charles XIII of
Sweden as king of
Norway, thereby establishing the union with
Sweden . Under this
Norway kept its liberal constitution and its own
independent institutions, except for the foreign service. Following
the recession caused by the
Napoleonic Wars , economic development of
Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.
Harvesting of oats in
Jølster around 1890
This period also saw the rise of the
Norwegian romantic nationalism ,
Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national
character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including
Henrik Wergeland ,
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson , Peter
Christen Asbjørnsen ,
Jørgen Moe ), painting (
Hans Gude , Adolph
Tidemand ), music (
Edvard Grieg ), and even language policy, where
attempts to define a native written language for
Norway led to today's
two official written forms for Norwegian:
King Charles III John , who came to the throne of
Norway and Sweden
in 1818, was the second king following Norway's break from
the union with Sweden. Charles John was a complex man whose long reign
extended to 1844. He protected the constitution and liberties of
Sweden during the age of Metternich . As such, he was
regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless
in his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on
the freedom of the press to put down public movements for
reform—especially the Norwegian national independence movement.
The Romantic Era that followed the reign of King Charles III John
brought some significant social and political reforms. In 1854, women
won the right to inherit property in their own right, just like men.
In 1863, the last trace of keeping unmarried women in the status of
minors was removed. Furthermore, women were then eligible for
different occupations, particularly the common school teacher. By
mid-century, Norway's democracy was limited by modern standards:
Voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders and
burghers of incorporated towns. A Sami family in
Norway remained a conservative society. Life in Norway
(especially economic life) was "dominated by the aristocracy of
professional men who filled most of the important posts in the central
government". There was no strong bourgeosie class in
Norway to demand
a breakdown of this aristocratic control of the economy. Thus, even
while revolution swept over most of the countries of
Europe in 1848,
Norway was largely unaffected by revolts that year.
Marcus Thrane was a Utopian socialist. He made his appeal to the
labouring classes urging a change of social structure "from below
upwards." In 1848, he organised a labour society in
Drammen . In just
a few months, this society had a membership of 500 and was publishing
its own newspaper. Within two years, 300 societies had been organised
all over Norway, with a total membership of 20,000 persons. The
membership was drawn from the lower classes of both urban and rural
areas; for the first time these two groups felt they had a common
cause. In the end, the revolt was easily crushed; Thrane was captured
and in 1855, after four years in jail, was sentenced to three
additional years for crimes against the safety of the state. Upon his
Marcus Thrane attempted unsuccessfully to revitalise his
movement, but after the death of his wife, he migrated to the United
In 1898, all men were granted universal suffrage , followed by all
women in 1913. A bride from
Hardanger , about 1900's.
DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION
Main articles: Union dissolution referendum and Dissolution of the
Christian Michelsen , a shipping magnate and statesman, and Prime
Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the
peaceful separation of
Sweden on 7 June 1905. A national
referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a
republic. No Norwegian could legitimately claim the throne because
none was able to prove relationship to medieval royalty and in
European tradition royal or "blue" blood is a precondition for laying
claim to the throne.
The government offered the throne of
Norway to a prince of the
Dano-German royal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg .
Prince Carl of
Denmark was unanimously elected king by the Norwegian
Parliament , the first king of a fully independent
Norway in 508 years
Kalmar Union ); he took the name Haakon VII . In 1905, the
country welcomed the prince from neighbouring Denmark, his wife Maud
of Wales and their young son to re-establish Norway's royal house.
Following centuries of close ties between
Norway and Denmark, a prince
from the latter was the obvious choice for a European prince who could
best relate to the Norwegian people.
FIRST AND SECOND WORLD WARS
German occupation of Norway ,
Reichskommissariat Norwegen ,
Quisling regime , and
Free Norwegian Forces Scenes from the
Norwegian Campaign in 1940
Throughout the First World War ,
Norway was in principle a neutral
country. In reality, however,
Norway had been pressured by the British
to hand over increasingly large parts of its large merchant fleet to
the British at low rates, as well as to join the trade blockade
against Germany. Norwegian merchant marine ships, often with Norwegian
sailors still on board, were then sailing under the British flag and
at risk of being sunk by German submarines. Thus, many Norwegian
sailors and ships were lost. Thereafter, the world ranking of the
Norwegian merchant navy fell from fourth place to sixth in the world.
Norway also proclaimed its neutrality during the Second World War ,
but despite this, it was invaded by German forces on 9 April 1940.
Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack (see:
Battle of Drøbak Sound ,
Norwegian Campaign , and
Invasion of Norway
), military and naval resistance lasted for two months. Norwegian
armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German
forces in the
Battles of Narvik , until they were forced to surrender
on 10 June after losing British support which had been diverted to
France during the German invasion of
King Haakon and the Norwegian government escaped to
London. Throughout the war they sent inspirational radio speeches and
supported clandestine military actions in
Norway against the Germans.
On the day of the invasion, the leader of the small National-Socialist
Nasjonal Samling ,
Vidkun Quisling , tried to seize power, but
was forced by the German occupiers to step aside. Real power was
wielded by the leader of the German occupation authority,
Josef Terboven . Quisling, as minister president,
later formed a collaborationist government under German control . Up
Norwegians volunteered to fight in German units, including
Waffen-SS . Norwegian fighter pilots in the United Kingdom
World War II
World War II
The fraction of the Norwegian population that supported
traditionally smaller than in Sweden, but greater than is generally
appreciated today. It included a number of prominent personalities
Knut Hamsun . The concept of a "Germanic Union" of member
states fit well into their thoroughly nationalist-patriotic ideology.
Norwegians and persons of Norwegian descent joined the Allied
forces as well as the
Free Norwegian Forces . In June 1940, a small
group had left
Norway following their king to Britain. This group
included 13 ships, five aircraft, and 500 men from the Royal Norwegian
Navy. By the end of the war, the force had grown to 58 ships and 7,500
men in service in the Royal Norwegian Navy, 5 squadrons of aircraft
(including Spitfires, Sunderland flying boats and Mosquitos) in the
newly formed Norwegian Air Force, and land forces including the
Norwegian Independent Company 1
Norwegian Independent Company 1 and 5 Troop as well as No. 10
During the five years of German occupation ,
Norwegians built a
resistance movement which fought the German occupation forces with
both civil disobedience and armed resistance including the destruction
Norsk Hydro 's heavy water plant and stockpile of heavy water at
Vemork , which crippled the German nuclear programme (see: Norwegian
heavy water sabotage ). More important to the Allied war effort,
however, was the role of the Norwegian Merchant Marine . At the time
of the invasion ,
Norway had the 4th largest merchant marine fleet in
the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping company Nortraship
under the Allies throughout the war and took part in every war
operation from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the
Normandy landings .
Norway gives a
Christmas tree to the
United Kingdom as
thanks for the British assistance during the Second World War. A
ceremony takes place to erect the tree in London's
Trafalgar Square .
POST-WORLD WAR II HISTORY
From 1945 to 1962, the Labour Party held an absolute majority in the
parliament. The government, led by prime minister
Einar Gerhardsen ,
embarked on a program inspired by
Keynesian economics , emphasising
state financed industrialisation and co-operation between trade unions
and employers\' organisations . Many measures of state control of the
economy imposed during the war were continued, although the rationing
of dairy products was lifted in 1949, while price control and
rationing of housing and cars continued as long as until 1960.
Since the 1980s oil production has helped to expand the Norwegian
economy and finance the Norwegian state.
The wartime alliance with the
United Kingdom and the United States
was continued in the post-war years. Although pursuing the goal of a
socialist economy, the Labour Party distanced itself from the
Communists (especially after the Communists' seizure of power in
Czechoslovakia in 1948), and strengthened its foreign policy and
defence policy ties with the US.
Marshall Plan aid
United States starting in 1947, joined the OEEC one year
later, and became a founding member of the North
Organization (NATO) in 1949.
In 1969, the Phillips
Petroleum Company discovered petroleum
resources at the Ekofisk field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian
government founded the State oil company,
Statoil . Oil production did
not provide net income until the early 1980s because of the large
capital investment that was required to establish the country's
petroleum industry. Around 1975, both the proportion and absolute
number of workers in industry peaked. Since then labour-intensive
industries and services like factory mass production and shipping have
largely been outsourced.
Norway was a founding member of the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA). Two referendums on joining the
European Union failed by narrow
margins in 1972 and 1994. Town Hall Square in
Oslo filled with
people with roses mourning the victims of the
Utøya massacre , 22
In 1981, a Conservative government led by
Kåre Willoch replaced the
Labour Party with a policy of stimulating the stagflated economy with
tax cuts, economic liberalisation, deregulation of markets, and
measures to curb record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).
Norway's first female prime minister,
Gro Harlem Brundtland of the
Labour party, continued many of the reforms of her conservative
predecessor, while backing traditional Labour concerns such as social
security , high taxes, the industrialisation of nature, and feminism.
By the late 1990s,
Norway had paid off its foreign debt and had
started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund . Since the 1990s, a
divisive question in politics has been how much of the income from
petroleum production the government should spend, and how much it
Norway suffered two terrorist attacks on the same day
Anders Behring Breivik which struck the government
Oslo and a summer camp of the Labour party's youth movement
Utøya island, resulting in 77 deaths and 319 wounded.
The 2013 Norwegian parliamentary election brought a more conservative
government to power with the Conservative Party and the Progress Party
, winning 43% of the electorate's votes.
Geography of Norway and
Geology of Norway A
satellite image of continental
Norway in winter The tallest
vertical rock face in Europe,
Trollryggen over the
river Rauma in
Norway comprises the western part of
Scandinavia in Northern
The rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands ,
stretches 25,000 kilometres (16,000 mi) and 83,000 kilometres (52,000
Norway shares a 1,619-kilometre (1,006 mi) land border with
Sweden , 727 kilometres (452 mi) with
Finland , and 196 kilometres
(122 mi) with
Russia to the east. To the north, west and south, Norway
is bordered by the
Barents Sea , the
Norwegian Sea , the
North Sea ,
Skagerrak . The
Scandinavian Mountains form much of the border
with Sweden. Norwegian lowland landscape near the Gaulosen branch
At 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) (including
Jan Mayen ) (and 323,802 square kilometres (125,021 sq mi) without),
much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with
a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and
varied topography . The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep
grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the
Ice Age. Sognefjorden is the world's second deepest fjord, and the
world's longest at 204 kilometres (127 mi).
Hornindalsvatnet is the
deepest lake in all Europe.
Permafrost can be found all year in the
higher mountain areas and in the interior of
Finnmark county. Numerous
glaciers are found in Norway.
Norway lies between latitudes 57° and 81° N , and longitudes 4°
and 32° E .
The land is mostly made of hard granite and gneiss rock, but slate ,
sandstone , and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations
contain marine deposits. Because of the
Gulf Stream and prevailing
Norway experiences higher temperatures and more
precipitation than expected at such northern latitudes, especially
along the coast. The mainland experiences four distinct seasons, with
colder winters and less precipitation inland. The northernmost part
has a mostly maritime
Subarctic climate , while
Svalbard has an Arctic
Because of the large latitudinal range of the country and the varied
topography and climate,
Norway has a larger number of different
habitats than almost any other European country. There are
approximately 60,000 species in
Norway and adjacent waters (excluding
bacteria and virus). The Norwegian Shelf large marine ecosystem is
considered highly productive.
The southern and western parts of Norway, fully exposed to Atlantic
storm fronts, experience more precipitation and have milder winters
than the eastern and far northern parts. Areas to the east of the
coastal mountains are in a rain shadow , and have lower rain and snow
totals than the west. The lowlands around
Oslo have the warmest and
sunniest summers, but also cold weather and snow in wintertime.
Because of Norway's high latitude , there are large seasonal
variations in daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never
completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic
Circle (hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight Sun
"), and the rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight
per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the sun never
rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very
short in the rest of the country.
The coastal climate of
Norway is exceptionally mild compared with
areas on similar latitudes elsewhere in the world, with the Gulf
Stream passing directly offshore the northern areas of the Atlantic
coast, continuously warming the region in the winter. Temperature
anomalies found in coastal locations are exceptional, with
Værøy lacking a meteorological winter in spite of being north of the
Arctic Circle. The
Gulf Stream has this effect only on the northern
parts of Norway, not in the south, despite what is commonly believed.
The northern coast of
Norway would thus be ice-covered if not for the
Gulf Stream. As a side-effect, the
Scandinavian Mountains prevent
continental winds from reaching the coastline, causing very cool
Oslo has more of a continental
climate, similar to Sweden's. The mountain ranges have subarctic and
tundra climates. There is also very high rainfall in areas exposed to
the Atlantic, such as Bergen. Oslo, in comparison, is dry, being in a
rain shadow .
Oppland county is also in the rain shadow and
is one of the driest places with 278 millimetres (10.9 inches)
Finnmarksvidda and the interior valleys of
Nordland also receive less than 300 millimetres (12 inches)
Longyearbyen is the driest place in
Norway with 190
millimetres (7.5 inches).
Parts of southeastern
Norway including parts of
warm-summer humid continental climates (Köppen Dfb), while the more
southern and western coasts are mostly of the oceanic climate (Cfb).
Further inland in southeastern and northern Norway, the subarctic
climate (Dfc) dominates; this is especially true for areas in the rain
shadow of the
Scandinavian Mountains . Some of the inner valleys of
Oppland get so little precipitation annually, thanks to the rain
shadow effect, that they meet the requirements for dry-summer
subarctic climates (Dsc). In higher altitudes, close to the coasts of
southern and western Norway, one can find the rare subpolar oceanic
climate (Cfc). This climate is also common in Northern Norway, but
there usually in lower altitudes, all the way down to sea level. A
small part of the northernmost coast of
Norway has the
tundra/alpine/polar climate (ET). Large parts of
Norway are covered by
mountains and high altitude plateaus, many of which also exhibit the
tundra/alpine/polar climate (ET).
CLIMATE DATA FOR OSLO-BLINDERN (KöPPEN DFB) (1961–1990), NORWAY
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Source #1: Norwegian Meteorological Institute eklima.met.no
Source #2: Met
.no (precipitation > 3 mm)
CLIMATE DATA FOR BERGEN (KöPPEN CFB), 1961–1990
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS (≥ 1 MM)
AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%)
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
Source: Meteorologisk Institutt
CLIMATE DATA FOR RENA-HAUGEDALEN (KöPPEN DFC) (1961–1990),
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
Arctic fox has its habitat in high elevation ranges on the
mainland as well as on
The total number of species include 16,000 species of insects
(probably 4,000 more species yet to be described), 20,000 species of
algae , 1,800 species of lichen , 1,050 species of mosses , 2,800
species of vascular plants , up to 7,000 species of fungi , 450
species of birds (250 species nesting in Norway), 90 species of
mammals , 45 fresh-water species of fish, 150 salt-water species of
fish, 1,000 species of fresh-water invertebrates , and 3,500 species
of salt-water invertebrates. About 40,000 of these species have been
described by science. The red list of 2010 encompasses 4,599 species.
Cold-water coral reefs in
Skagerak off of the southern coast of
Seventeen species are listed mainly because they are endangered on a
global scale, such as the European beaver , even if the population in
Norway is not seen as endangered. The number of threatened and
near-threatened species equals to 3,682; it includes 418 fungi
species, many of which are closely associated with the small remaining
areas of old-growth forests, 36 bird species, and 16 species of
mammals. In 2010, 2,398 species were listed as endangered or
vulnerable; of these were 1250 listed as vulnerable (VU), 871 as
endangered (EN), and 276 species as critically endangered (CR), among
which were the grey wolf , the
Arctic fox (healthy population on
Svalbard) and the pool frog .
The largest predator in Norwegian waters is the sperm whale , and the
largest fish is the basking shark . The largest predator on land is
the polar bear , while the brown bear is the largest predator on the
Norwegian mainland. The largest land animal on the mainland is the elk
(American English: moose ). The elk is in
Norway known for its size
and strength and is often called skogens konge, "king of the forest".
Stunning and dramatic scenery and landscape is found throughout
Norway. The west coast of southern
Norway and the coast of northern
Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries
in the world. National Geographic has listed the Norwegian fjords as
the world's top tourist attraction. The country is also home to the
natural phenomena of the
Midnight sun (during summer) as well as the
Aurora borealis know also as the Northern lights. The 2014
Environmental Performance Index put
Norway in tenth place, based on
the environmental performance of the country's policies. A
summer evening view from Sande over
Stryn , Sogn og
Fjordane in 2013
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
Politics of Norway and
Law of Norway See also:
Norwegian parliamentary election, 2013 The Royal Palace in Oslo
Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, reigning since 1991.
Storting is the
Parliament of Norway . Erna Solberg
Prime Minister of Norway since 2013.
Norway is considered to be one of the most developed democracies and
states of justice in the world. From 1814, c. 45% of men (25 years and
older) had the right to vote, whereas the
United Kingdom had c. 20%
Sweden c. 5% (1866), and
Belgium c. 1.15% (1840). Since 2010,
Norway has been classified as the world's most democratic country by
Democracy Index .
According to the
Constitution of Norway , which was adopted on 17 May
1814 and inspired by the
United States Declaration of Independence
French Revolution of 1776 and 1789, respectively,
Norway is a
unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of
government, wherein the
King of Norway
King of Norway is the head of state and the
Prime Minister is the head of government . Power is separated among
the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as
defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme
The Monarch officially retains executive power. However, following
the introduction of a parliamentary system of government, the duties
of the Monarch have since become strictly representative and
ceremonial, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime
Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly,
the Monarch is commander-in-chief of the
Norwegian Armed Forces , and
serves as chief diplomatic official abroad and as a symbol of unity.
Harald V of the
House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was
King of Norway
King of Norway in 1991, the first since the 14th century who
has been born in the country.
Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway , is the
legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
In practice, the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers.
Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government
and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme
legislature and a unicameral body.
Norway is fundamentally structured
as a representative democracy . The Parliament can pass a law by
simple majority of the 169 representatives, who are elected on the
basis of proportional representation from 19 constituencies for
150 are elected directly from the 19 constituencies, and an
additional 19 seats ("levelling seats") are allocated on a nationwide
basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with
the popular vote for the political parties. A 4% election threshold is
required for a party to gain levelling seats in Parliament. There are
a total of 169 Members of Parliament .
The Parliament of Norway, called the Stortinget (meaning Grand
Assembly), ratifies national treaties developed by the executive
branch. It can impeach members of the government if their acts are
declared unconstitutional. If an indicted suspect is impeached,
Parliament has the power to remove the person from office.
The position of Prime Minister , Norway's head of government, is
allocated to the Member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of
a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest
political party or, more effectively, through a coalition of parties.
A single party generally does not have sufficient political power in
terms of the number of seats to form a government on its own. Norway
has often been ruled by minority governments.
The Prime Minister nominates the Cabinet, traditionally drawn from
members of the same political party or parties in the Storting, making
up the government. The PM organises the executive government and
exercises its power as vested by the Constitution. Reflecting its
Norway was established under the
Lutheran Church of
Norway , and was the state church until 2012. Formerly, the PM had to
have more than half the members of Cabinet be members of the Church of
Norway, meaning at least ten out of the 19 ministries. This rule was
however removed in 2012. The issue of separation of church and state
Norway has been increasingly controversial, as many people believe
it is time to change this, to reflect the growing diversity in the
population. A part of this is the evolution of the public school
subject Christianity, a required subject since 1739. Even the state's
loss in a battle at the
European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights at
in 2007 did not settle the matter. As of January 1, 2017, the Church
Norway is a separate legal entity, and no longer a branch of the
Through the Council of State , a privy council presided over by the
Monarch , the Prime Minister and the Cabinet meet at the Royal Palace
and formally consult the Monarch. All government bills need the formal
approval by the Monarch before and after introduction to Parliament.
The Council reviews and approves all of the Monarch's actions as head
of state. Although all government and parliamentary acts are decided
beforehand, the privy council is an example of symbolic gesture the
Members of the
Storting are directly elected from party-lists
proportional representation in nineteen plural-member constituencies
in a national multi-party system . Historically, both the Norwegian
Labour Party and Conservative Party have played leading political
roles. In the early 21st century, the Labour Party has been in power
since the 2005 election , in a
Red-Green Coalition with the Socialist
Left Party and the Centre Party .
Since 2005, both the Conservative Party and the Progress Party have
won numerous seats in the Parliament, but not sufficient in the 2009
general election to overthrow the coalition. Commentators have pointed
to the poor co-operation between the opposition parties, including the
Liberals and the Christian Democrats .
Jens Stoltenberg , the leader
of the Labour Party, continues to have the necessary majority through
his multi-party alliance to continue as PM.
In national elections in September 2013, voters ended eight years of
Labor rule. Two political parties,
Høyre and Fremskrittspartiet ,
elected on promises of tax cuts, more spending on infrastructure and
education, better services and stricter rules on immigration , formed
a government. Coming at a time when Norway's economy is in good
condition with low unemployment, the rise of the right appeared to be
based on other issues.
Erna Solberg became prime minister, the second
female prime minister after Brundtland and the first conservative
prime minister since Syse . Solberg said her win was "a historic
election victory for the right-wing parties".
Administrative divisions of Norway , Counties of
Municipalities of Norway , List of towns and cities in Norway
Dependencies of Norway See also:
Norway, a unitary state , is divided into nineteen first-level
administrative counties (fylke). The counties are administrated
through directly elected county assemblies who elect the County
Governor. Additionally, the King and government are represented in
every county by a fylkesmann , who effectively acts as a
As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level
County Governors' offices. The counties are then
sub-divided into 430 second-level municipalities (kommunar), which in
turn are administrated by directly elected municipal council, headed
by a mayor and a small executive cabinet. The capital of
considered both a county and a municipality.
Norway has two integral overseas territories:
Jan Mayen and Svalbard
, the only developed island in the archipelago of the same name,
located miles away to the north. There are three Antarctic and
Subantarctic dependencies :
Bouvet Island ,
Peter I Island
Peter I Island and Queen
Maud Land . On most maps, there had been an unclaimed area between
Queen Maud Land and the
South Pole until June 12, 2015 when Norway
formally annexed that area. A geopolitical map of Norway,
showing the 19 fylker , the
Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and Jan Mayen
islands, which are part of the Norwegian kingdom
96 settlements have city status in Norway. In most cases, the city
borders are coterminous with the borders of their respective
municipalities. Often, Norwegian city municipalities include large
areas that are not developed; for example,
Oslo municipality contains
large forests, located north and south-east of the city, and over half
Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.
its overseas administrative divisions
The counties of
MOST POPULOUS MUNICIPALITY
Sogn og Fjordane
Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal
Svalbard (unincorporated area )
JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
Judiciary of Norway
Norway uses a civil law system where laws are created and amended in
Parliament and the system regulated through the Courts of justice of
Norway . It consists of the Supreme Court of 20 permanent judges and a
Chief Justice , appellate courts , city and district courts , and
conciliation councils . The judiciary is independent of executive and
legislative branches. While the Prime Minister nominates Supreme Court
Justices for office, their nomination must be approved by Parliament
and formally confirmed by the Monarch in the Council of State.
Usually, judges attached to regular courts are formally appointed by
the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Courts' strict and formal mission is to regulate the Norwegian
judicial system, interpret the Constitution, and as such implement the
legislation adopted by Parliament. In its judicial reviews, it
monitors the legislative and executive branches to ensure that they
comply with provisions of enacted legislation.
The law is enforced in
Norway by the
Norwegian Police Service . It is
a Unified National Police Service made up of 27 Police Districts and
several specialist agencies, such as Norwegian National Authority for
the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime
, known as Økokrim; and the National Criminal Investigation Service ,
known as Kripos, each headed by a chief of police. The Police Service
is headed by the
National Police Directorate , which reports to the
Ministry of Justice and the Police. The Police Directorate is headed
by a National Police Commissioner. The only exception is the Norwegian
Police Security Agency , whose head answers directly to the Ministry
of Justice and the Police.
Norway abolished the death penalty for regular criminal acts in 1902.
The legislature abolished the death penalty for high treason in war
and war-crimes in 1979.
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders , in its 2007
Worldwide Press Freedom Index, ranked
Norway at a shared first place
(along with Iceland) out of 169 countries.
In general, the legal and institutional framework in
characterised by a high degree of transparency, accountability and
integrity, and the perception and the occurrence of corruption are
Norway has ratified all relevant international
anti-corruption conventions, and its standards of implementation and
enforcement of anti-corruption legislation are considered very high by
many international anti-corruption working groups such as the OECD
Anti-Bribery Working Group. However, there are some isolated cases
showing that some municipalities have abused their position in public
Norwegian prisons are humane, rather than tough, with emphasis on
rehabilitation. At 20%, Norway's re-conviction rate is among the
lowest in the world.
Foreign relations of Norway
Foreign relations of Norway See also:
Norway and the
European Union and
Whaling in Norway Royal Norwegian Navy
Fridtjof Nansen class frigate
Norway maintains embassies in 86 countries. 60 countries maintain an
embassy in Norway, all of them in the capital, Oslo.
Norway is a founding member of the
United Nations (UN), the North
Treaty Organization (NATO), the Council of
Europe and the
European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Norway issued applications for
accession to the
European Union (EU) and its predecessors in 1962,
1967 and 1992, respectively. While Denmark,
Sweden and Finland
obtained membership, the Norwegian electorate rejected the treaties of
accession in referenda in 1972 and 1994.
After the 1994 referendum,
Norway maintained its membership in the
European Economic Area (EEA), an arrangement granting the country
access to the internal market of the Union, on the condition that
Norway implements the Union's pieces of legislation which are deemed
relevant (of which there were approximately seven thousand by 2010)
Successive Norwegian governments have, since 1994, requested
participation in parts of the EU's co-operation that go beyond the
provisions of the EEA agreement. Non-voting participation by Norway
has been granted in, for instance, the Union's Common Security and
Defence Policy , the
Schengen Agreement , and the European Defence
Agency , as well as 19 separate programmes.
Norway contributes to international development . In addition, it
participated in the 1990s brokering of the
Oslo Accords , an attempt
to resolve the
Israeli–Palestinian conflict . These were
Norwegian Armed Forces Norwegian Leopard tanks in
the snow in
Norwegian Armed Forces numbers about 25,000 personnel, including
civilian employees. According to 2009 mobilisation plans, full
mobilisation produces approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway
has conscription (including 6–12 months of training); in 2013, the
country became the first in
NATO to draft women as well as
men. However, due to less need for conscripts after the
Cold War ended
with the break-up of the Soviet Union, few people have to serve if
they are not motivated. The Armed Forces are subordinate to the
Norwegian Ministry of Defence . The Commander-in-Chief is King Harald
V . The military of
Norway is divided into the following branches: the
Norwegian Army , the
Royal Norwegian Navy , the Royal Norwegian Air
Force , the
Norwegian Cyber Force and the Home Guard .
In response to its being overrun by
Germany in 1940, the country was
one of the founding nations of the North
(NATO) on 4 April 1949. At present,
Norway contributes in the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
Norway has contributed in several missions in contexts
of the United Nations, NATO, and the Common Security and Defence
Policy of the European Union.
Health in Norway
Norway was awarded first place according to the UN's Human
Development Index (HDI) for 2013. Poverty and communicable diseases
Norway together with famines , and epidemics in the
1800s. From the 1900s, improvements in public health occurred as a
result of development in several areas such as social and living
conditions , changes in disease and medical outbreaks, establishment
of the health care system, and emphasis on public health matters.
Vaccination and increased treatment opportunities with antibiotics
resulted in great improvements within the Norwegian population.
Improved hygiene and better nutrition were factors that contributed to
The disease pattern in
Norway changed from communicable diseases to
non-communicable diseases and chronic diseases as cardiovascular
disease . Inequalities and social differences are still present in
public health in
In 2013 the infant mortality rate was 2.5 per 1,000 live births among
children under the age of one. For girls it was 2.7 and for boys 2.3,
which is the lowest infant mortality rate for boys ever recorded in
Economy of Norway ,
Energy in Norway , European
Economic Area , and Exclusive economic zone §
depiction of Norway's product exports in 28 colour-coded categories.
GDP and GDP growth
Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per-capita among European
Luxembourg ), and the sixth-highest GDP (PPP)
per-capita in the world. Today,
Norway ranks as the second-wealthiest
country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital
reserve per capita of any nation. According to the CIA World
Norway is a net external creditor of debt. Norway
maintained first place in the world in the UNDP Human Development
Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001–2006), and then
reclaimed this position in 2009, through 2015. The standard of living
Norway is among the highest in the world.
Foreign Policy Magazine
Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway
to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. The OECD
Norway fourth in the 2013 equalised Better Life Index and third
in intergenerational earnings elasticity. Norway's exclusive
The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy , a prosperous
capitalist welfare state and social democracy country featuring a
combination of free market activity and large state ownership in
certain key sectors. Public health care in
Norway is free (after an
annual charge of around 2000 kroner for those over 16), and parents
have 46 weeks paid parental leave. The state income derived from
natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum
Norway has an unemployment rate of 4.8%, with 68% of the
population aged 15–74 employed. People in the labour force are
either employed or looking for work. 9.5% of the population aged
18–66 receive a disability pension and 30% of the labour force are
employed by the government, the highest in the
OECD . The hourly
productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway, are
among the highest in the world.
The egalitarian values of Norwegian society have kept the wage
difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most
companies as much less than in comparable western economies. This is
also evident in Norway\'s low
Gini coefficient .
The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors,
such as the strategic petroleum sector (
Statoil ), hydroelectric
energy production (
Statkraft ), aluminium production (
Norsk Hydro ),
the largest Norwegian bank (DNB ), and telecommunication provider
Telenor ). Through these big companies, the government controls
approximately 30% of the stock values at the
Oslo Stock Exchange. When
non-listed companies are included, the state has even higher share in
ownership (mainly from direct oil licence ownership).
Norway is a
major shipping nation and has the world's 6th largest merchant fleet ,
with 1,412 Norwegian-owned merchant vessels.
By referendums in 1972 and 1994 ,
Norwegians rejected proposals to
European Union (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland
Liechtenstein , participates in the European Union's single market
European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty
European Union countries and the EFTA countries–
transposed into Norwegian law via "EØS-loven" – describes the
procedures for implementing
European Union rules in
Norway and the
other EFTA countries.
Norway is a highly integrated member of most
sectors of the EU internal market. Some sectors, such as agriculture,
oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty.
also acceded to the
Schengen Agreement and several other
intergovernmental agreements among the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including
petroleum , hydropower , fish , forests , and minerals . Large
reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s,
which led to a boom in the economy.
Norway has obtained one of the
highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large
amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. In
2011, 28% of state revenues were generated from the petroleum
Norway is the first country which banned cutting of trees
(deforestation), in order to prevent rain forests from vanishing. The
country declared its intention at the UN Climate Summit in 2014,
Great Britain and Germany. Crops, that are typically linked
to forests' destruction are timber, soy, palm oil and beef. Now Norway
has to find new way to provide these essential products without
exerting negative influence on its environment.
Agriculture is a significant sector, in spite of the mountainous
Flakstad ) Oil production has been central to the
Norwegian economy since the 1970s, with a dominating state ownership
Statfjord oil field )
Stockfish has been exported from Lofoten
Norway for at least 1,000 years
Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to almost 50% of total
exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP .
Norway is the
fifth-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the
world, but it is not a member of
OPEC . In 1995, the Norwegian
government established the sovereign wealth fund ("Government Pension
Fund — Global" ), which would be funded with oil revenues, including
taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees. This was intended
to reduce overheating in the economy from oil revenues, minimise
uncertainty from volatility in oil price, and provide a cushion to
compensate for expenses associated with the ageing of the population.
The government controls its petroleum resources through a combination
of state ownership in major operators in the oil fields (with
approximately 62% ownership in
Statoil in 2007) and the fully
Petoro , which has a market value of about twice Statoil,
and SDFI . Finally, the government controls licensing of exploration
and production of fields. The fund invests in developed financial
markets outside Norway. The budgetary rule (Handlingsregelen) is to
spend no more than 4% of the fund each year (assumed to be the normal
yield from the fund).
In March 2017, the Government Pension Fund controlled assets were
valued at approximately US$913 billion (equal to US$182,000 per
capita), which is about 178% of Norway's current GDP. It is the
largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. The fund controls about
1.3% of all listed shares in Europe, and more than 1% of all the
publicly traded shares in the world. The Norwegian Central Bank
operates investment offices in London, New York, and Shanghai.
Guidelines implemented in 2007 allow the fund to invest up to 60% of
the capital in shares (maximum of 40% prior), while the rest may be
placed in bonds and real-estate. As the stock markets tumbled in
September 2008, the fund was able to buy more shares at low prices. In
this way, the losses incurred by the market turmoil was recuperated by
Other nations with economies based on natural resources, such as
Russia , are trying to learn from
Norway by establishing similar
funds. The investment choices of the Norwegian fund are directed by
ethical guidelines ; for example, the fund is not allowed to invest in
companies that produce parts for nuclear weapons. Norway's highly
transparent investment scheme is lauded by the international
community. The future size of the fund is closely linked to the price
of oil and to developments in international financial markets.
In 2000, the government sold one-third of the state-owned oil company
Statoil in an IPO . The next year, the main telecom supplier, Telenor
, was listed on
Oslo Stock Exchange . The state also owns significant
shares of Norway's largest bank, DnB NOR and the airline SAS . Since
2000, economic growth has been rapid, pushing unemployment down to
levels not seen since the early 1980s (unemployment in 2007: 1.3%).
The international financial crisis has primarily affected the
industrial sector, but unemployment has remained low, and was at 3.3%
(86,000 people) in August 2011. In contrast to Norway,
substantially higher actual and projected unemployment numbers as a
result of the recession. Thousands of mainly young Swedes migrated to
Norway for work during these years, which is easy, as the labour
market and social security systems overlap in the Nordic Countries. In
the 1st quarter of 2009, the GNP of
Norway surpassed Sweden's for the
first time in history, although its population is half the size.
Norway contains significant mineral resources , and in 2013, its
mineral production was valued at US$1.5 billion (Norwegian Geological
Survey data). The most valuable minerals are calcium carbonate
(limestone ), building stone, nepheline syenite , olivine , iron ,
titanium , and nickel .
Norway is also the world's 2nd-largest exporter of fish (in value,
after China). Hydroelectric plants generate roughly 98–99% of
Norway's electric power, more than any other country in the world.
Decreasing oil production
Between 1966 and 2013, Norwegian companies drilled 5085 oil wells ,
mostly in the
North Sea . 3672 are utviklingsbrønner (regular
production); 1413 are letebrønner (exploration); and 1405 of these
have been terminated (avsluttet).
Oil fields not yet in production phase include: Wisting Central
—calculated size in 2013, 65–156 million barrels of oil and 10 to
40 billion cubic feet (0.28 to 1.13 billion cubic metres), (utvinnbar)
of gas. and the Castberg Oil Field (Castberg-feltet )—calculated
size 540 million barrels of oil, and 2 to 7 billion cubic feet (57 to
198 million cubic metres) (utvinnbar) of gas. Both oil fields are
located in the
Barents Sea .
Transport in Norway ,
Rail transport in Norway , and
List of airports in Norway
Due to the low population density, narrow shape and long coastlines
of Norway, its public transport is less developed than in many
European countries, especially outside the major cities. The country
has long-standing water transport traditions, but the Norwegian
Ministry of Transport and Communications has in recent years
implemented rail , road , and air transport through numerous
subsidiaries to develop the country's infrastructure. Under
discussion is development of a new high-speed rail system between the
nation's largest cities. E6 highway at Brattlikollen outskirts
Norway's main railway network consists of 4,114 kilometres (2,556 mi)
of standard gauge lines, of which 242 kilometres (150 mi) is double
track and 64 kilometres (40 mi) high-speed rail (210 km/h) while 62%
is electrified at 15 kV 16 2⁄3 Hz AC . The railways transported
56,827,000 passengers 2,956 million passenger-kilometres and
24,783,000 tonnes of cargo 3,414 million tonne-kilometres . The
entire network is owned by the Norwegian National Rail Administration
. All domestic passenger trains except the Airport Express Train are
operated by Norges Statsbaner (NSB). Several companies operate
freight trains. Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is
financed through the state budget , and subsidies are provided for
passenger train operations. NSB operates long-haul trains, including
night trains , regional services and four commuter train systems,
Stavanger . Visualization
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen as of 2017 after the latest expansion and
Norway has approximately 92,946 kilometres (57,754 mi) of road
network, of which 72,033 kilometres (44,759 mi) are paved and 664
kilometres (413 mi) are motorway . The four tiers of road routes are
national, county, municipal and private, with national and primary
county roads numbered en route. The most important national routes are
part of the European route scheme. The two most prominent are the E6
going north-south through the entire country, and the E39 , which
follows the West Coast. National and county roads are managed by the
Norwegian Public Roads Administration .
Norway has the world's largest registered stock of plug-in electric
vehicles per capita . In March 2014,
Norway became the first
country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the roads is a
plug-in electric. The plug-in electric segment market share of new
car sales is also the highest in the world. According to a report by
Dagens Næringsliv in June 2016, the country would like to ban all
gasoline and diesel powered vehicles as early as 2025. In June 2017,
42% of new cars registered were electric.
Of the 97 airports in Norway, 52 are public, and 46 are operated by
Avinor . Seven airports have more than one million
passengers annually. 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian
airports in 2007, of which 13,397,458 were international.
The central gateway to
Norway by air is
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen .
Located about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Oslo, it is hub for
the two major Norwegian airlines :
Scandinavian Airlines and
Norwegian Air Shuttle , and for regional aircraft from Western
Norway. There are departures to most European countries and some
intercontinental destinations. A direct high-speed train connects to
Oslo Central Station every 10 minutes for a 20 min ride.
Demographics of Norway Ethnic woman in Norwegian
local geographic environment at
Gudvangen in 1959
SOURCE: Statistics Norway.
Norway's population was 5,096,300 people in October 2013. Norwegians
are an ethnic North Germanic people. Since the late 20th century,
Norway has attracted immigrants from southern and central Europe, the
Mideast, Africa, Asia and beyond.
In 2012, an official study showed that 86% of the total population
have at least one parent who was born in Norway. More than 710,000
individuals (14%) are immigrants and their descendants; there are
117,000 children of immigrants, born in Norway.
Of these 710,000 immigrants and their descendants:
* 323,000 (39%) have a Western background (Australia, North America
, elsewhere in Europe)
* 505,000 (61%) have a non-Western background (primarily
Pakistan , Iran ).
In 2013, the Norwegian government said that 14% of the Norwegian
population were immigrants or children of two immigrant parents. About
6% of the immigrant population come from EU,
North America and
Australia, and about 8.1% come from Asia, Africa and
In 2012, of the total 660,000 with immigrant background, 407,262 had
Norwegian citizenship (62.2%).
Immigrants have settled in all Norwegian municipalities. The cities
or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants in 2012 were
Oslo (32%) and
Drammen (27%). The share in
Stavanger was 16%.
Oslo is the "fastest growing city in Europe
because of increased immigration". In recent years, immigration has
accounted for most of Norway's population growth. In 2011, 16% of
newborn children were of immigrant background.
Sami people are indigenous to the Far North and have
traditionally inhabited central and northern parts of
Sweden, as well as areas in northern
Finland and in
Russia on the Kola
Peninsula . Another national minority are the
Kven people ,
descendants of Finnish-speaking people who migrated to northern Norway
from the 18th up to the 20th century. From the 1
9th century up to the
1970s, the Norwegian government tried to assimilate both the Sami and
the Kven, encouraging them to adopt the majority language, culture and
religion. Because of this "
Norwegianization process", many families
of Sami or Kven ancestry now identify as ethnic Norwegian.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul has the largest concentration of ethnic
Norwegians outside Norway, at 470,000.
Norwegian diaspora and
Particularly in the 19th century, when economic conditions were
difficult in Norway, tens of thousands of people migrated to the
United States and Canada, where they could work and buy land in
frontier areas. Many went to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. In
2006, according to the US Census Bureau, almost 4.7 million persons
Norwegian Americans , which was larger than the
population of ethnic
Norway itself. In the 2011 Canadian
census, 452,705 Canadian citizens identified as having Norwegian
On 1 January 2013 , the number of immigrants or children of two
immigrants residing in
Norway was 710,465, or 14.1% of the total
population, up from 183,000 in 1992. Yearly immigration has increased
since 2005. While yearly net immigration in 2001–5 was on average
13,613, it increased to 37,541 between 2006 and 2010, and in 2011 net
immigration reached 47,032. This is mostly because of increased
immigration by residents of the EU, in particular from Poland.
In 2012, the immigrant community (which includes immigrants and
children born in
Norway of immigrant parents) grew by 55,300, a record
high. Net immigration from abroad reached 47,300 (300 higher than in
2011), while immigration accounted for 72% of Norway's population
growth. 17% of newborn children were born to immigrant parents.
Children of Pakistani, Somali and Vietnamese parents made up the
largest groups of all
Norwegians born to immigrant parents.
Norwegians are the largest non-European minority group in
Norway. Most of their 32,700 members live in and around Oslo. The
Iraqi and Somali immigrant populations have increased significantly in
recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, a wave of
immigrants has arrived from Central and Northern Europe, particularly
Lithuania . The fastest growing immigrant groups
in 2011 in absolute numbers were from
The policies of immigration and integration have been the subject of
much debate in Norway.
Largest immigrant groups (1st and 2nd generation):
Religion in Norway The
Nidaros Cathedral in
Heddal stave church in
Notodden , the largest
stave church in
Baitun Nasr Mosque on the outskirts
of Oslo, the largest mosque in
Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of the Church of
Norway which used to be the official state religion . The constitution
still requires that the reigning monarch must be
Lutheran and that the
country's values are based on its Christian and humanist heritage.
Many remain in the church to participate in the community and
practices such as baptism , confirmation , marriage and burial rites.
About 71.5% of
Norwegians were members of the
Church of Norway
Church of Norway in
2016. In 2016, about 55.3% of all newborns were baptised and about
60.0% of all 15-year-old persons were confirmed in the church.
In the early 1990s, studies estimated that between 4.7% and 5.3% of
Norwegians attended church on a weekly basis. This figure has dropped
to about 2%.
In 2010, 10% of the population was religiously unaffiliated , while
another 9%, were members of religious communities outside the Church
of Norway. Other Christian denominations total about 4.9% of the
population, the largest of which is the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church , with
83,000 members, according to 2009 government statistics. An article
in the newspaper
Aftenposten in October 2012 noted there were about
115,234 registered Roman Catholics in Norway; the reporter estimated
that the total number of people with a Roman Catholic background may
be 170,000–200,000 or higher.
Others include Pentecostals (39,600), the Evangelical
Church of Norway
Church of Norway (19,600),
Eastern Orthodox (9,900),
Brunstad Christian Church (6,800),
Seventh-day Adventists (5,100), Assyrians and Chaldeans , and others.
The Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic
Lutheran congregations in Norway
have about 27,500 members in total. Other Christian denominations
comprise less than 1% each, including 4,000 members in The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and 12,000 Jehovah\'s Witnesses .
Among non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest, with 132,135
registered members (2014), and probably fewer than 200,000 in total.
It is practised mainly by Somali , Arab , Bosniak , Albanian and
Turkish immigrants, as well as
Norwegians of Pakistani descent .
Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including 819 adherents
of Judaism . Indian immigrants introduced
Hinduism to Norway, which
in 2011 has slightly more than 5,900 adherents, or 1% of non-Lutheran
Sikhism has approximately 3,000 adherents, with most
living in Oslo, which has two gurdwaras . Sikhs first came to Norway
in the early 1970s. The troubles in Punjab after Operation Blue Star
and riots committed against Sikhs in
India after the assassination of
Indira Gandhi led to an increase in Sikh refugees moving to Norway.
Drammen also has a sizeable population of Sikhs; the largest gurdwara
Europe was built in Lier . There are eleven Buddhist
organisations, grouped under the Buddhistforbundet organisation, with
slightly over 14,000 members, which make up 0.2% of the population.
The Baha\'i religion has slightly more than 1,000 adherents. Around
1.7% (84,500) of
Norwegians belong to the secular Norwegian Humanist
From 2006 to 2011, the fastest-growing religious faith in
Christianity , which grew in membership by 80%; however, its
share of the total population remains small, at 0.2%. It is associated
with the huge immigration from
Ethiopia , and to a lesser
extent from Central and Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries.
Other fast-growing religions were the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church (78.7%),
Hinduism (59.6%), Islam (48.1%), and
As in other Scandinavian countries, the ancient Norse followed a form
Germanic paganism known as
Norse paganism . By the end of
the 11th century, when
Norway had been Christianised , the indigenous
Norse religion and practices were prohibited. Remnants of the native
religion and beliefs of
Norway survive today in the form of names,
referential names of cities and locations, the days of the week, and
other parts of everyday language. Modern interest in the old ways has
led to a revival of pagan religious practices in the form of Åsatru .
The Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost formed in 1996; in 2011, the
fellowship had about 300 members. Foreningen Forn Sed was formed in
1999 and has been recognised by the Norwegian government.
The Sami minority retained their shamanistic religion well into the
18th century, when most converted to
Christianity under the influence
Lutheran missionaries . Although some insist that
"indigenous Sami religion had effectively been eradicated,'
Gutorm Gjessing 's Changing Lapps (1954) argues that the
Samis "were outwardly and to all practical purposes converted to
Christianity, but at the subconscious and unconscious level, the
shamistic frenzy survived, more or less latent, only awaiting the
necessary stimulus to break out into the open." Today there is a
renewed appreciation for the Sami traditional way of life, which has
led to a revival of Noaidevuohta . Some Norwegian and Sami
celebrities are reported to visit shamans for guidance.
According to the 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 22% of Norwegian citizens
responded that "they believe there is a God", 44% responded that "they
believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 29% responded
that "they don't believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life
force". 5% gave no response.
LARGEST CITIES OF NORWAY
Largest cities or towns in Norway
According to Statistics 2016
Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal
Education in Norway The main building of the
Norwegian University of Science and Technology in
Higher education in Norway is offered by a range of seven
universities , five specialised colleges, 25 university colleges as
well as a range of private colleges. Education follows the Bologna
Process involving Bachelor (3 years), Master (2 years) and PhD (3
years) degrees. Acceptance is offered after finishing upper secondary
school with general study competence.
Public education is virtually free, regardless of nationality. The
academic year has two semesters , from August to December and from
January to June. The ultimate responsibility for the education lies
Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research .
Languages of Norway See also:
Norwegian language and
Sami languages Distribution of Norwegian dialect groups: North
Trøndelag Norwegian (navy blue), West Norwegian
(orange) and East Norwegian (pale blue).
Norwegian and Sami are the two official languages of Norway.
The North Germanic
Norwegian language has two official written forms,
Nynorsk . Both are used in public administration, schools,
churches, and media.
Bokmål is the written language used by a large
majority of about 80–85%. Around 95% of the population speak
Norwegian as their first or native language, although many speak
dialects that may differ significantly from the written languages. All
Norwegian dialects are mutually intelligible, although listeners with
limited exposure to dialects other than their own may struggle to
understand certain phrases and pronunciations in some other dialects.
Sami languages are spoken and written throughout the
country, especially in the north, by some members of the Sami people.
(Estimates suggest that about one third of the Norwegian Sami speak a
Sami language. ) Speakers have a right to be educated and to receive
communication from the government in their own language in a special
forvaltningsområde (administrative area) for Sami languages. The
Kven minority historically spoke the Uralic
Kven language (considered
a separate language in Norway, but generally perceived as a Finnish
dialect in Finland). Today the majority of ethnic Kven have little or
no knowledge of the language. According to the
Kainun institutti ,
"The typical modern Kven is a Norwegian-speaking Norwegian who knows
his genealogy." As
Norway has ratified the European Charter for
Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) the
Kven language together with
Scandoromani language has become officially recognised
Some supporters have also advocated making
Norwegian Sign Language an
official language of the country.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the
Norwegian language was subject to
strong political and cultural controversies . This led to the
Nynorsk in the 1
9th century and to the formation of
alternative spelling standards in the 20th century.
Norwegian is similar to the other languages in Scandinavia: Swedish
and Danish . All three languages are to a degree mutually intelligible
and can be, and commonly are, employed in communication among
inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the
co-operation within the
Nordic Council , inhabitants of all Nordic
Finland , have the right to
communicate with Norwegian authorities in their own language.
Students who are children of immigrant parents are encouraged to
learn the Norwegian language. The Norwegian government offers language
instructional courses for immigrants wishing to obtain Norwegian
citizenship. With increasing concern about assimilating immigrants,
since 1 September 2008, the government has required that an applicant
for Norwegian citizenship give evidence of proficiency in either
Norwegian or in one of the Sami languages, or give proof of having
attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language
requirements for university studies in
Norway (that is, by being
proficient in one of the Scandinavian languages).
The primary foreign language taught in Norwegian schools is English ,
considered an international language since the post-WWII era. The
majority of the population is fairly fluent in English, especially
those born after World War II. German , French and Spanish are also
commonly taught as second or, more often, third languages. Russian ,
Japanese , Italian ,
Latin , and rarely Chinese (Mandarin) are offered
in some schools, mostly in the cities. Traditionally, English, German
and French were considered the main foreign languages in Norway. These
languages, for instance, were used on Norwegian passports until the
1990s, and university students have a general right to use these
languages when submitting their theses.
Culture of Norway
Bergen is on the
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
The Norwegian farm culture continues to play a role in contemporary
Norwegian culture. In the 19th century, it inspired a strong romantic
nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian
language and media . Norwegian culture blossomed with nationalist
efforts to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature,
art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a
result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and
artwork. Traditional Norwegian farmer's costumes, known as
folkedrakt, and modern costumes inspired by those costumes, known as
bunad , are widely used on special occasions.
Norway has been a progressive country, which has adopted legislation
and policies to support women's rights, minority rights, and LGBT
rights . As early as 1884, 171 of the leading figures, among them five
Prime Ministers for the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party,
co-founded the Norwegian Association for Women\'s Rights . They
successfully campaigned for women's right to education , women\'s
suffrage , the right to work , and other gender equality policies.
From the 1970s, gender equality also came high on the state agenda,
with the establishment of a public body to promote gender equality,
which evolved into the
Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud .
Civil society organisations also continue to play an important role,
and the women's rights organisations are today organised in the
Norwegian Women\'s Lobby umbrella organisation.
In 1990, the Norwegian constitution was amended to grant absolute
primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child,
regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. As
it was not retroactive, the current successor to the throne is the
eldest son of the King, rather than his eldest child. The Norwegian
constitution Article 6 states that "For those born before the year
1990 it shall...be the case that a male shall take precedence over a
Sami people have for centuries been the subject of discrimination
and abuse by the dominant cultures in
Scandinavia and Russia, those
countries claiming possession of Sami lands. The
Sami people have
never been a single community in a single region of Lapland . Norway
has been greatly criticised by the international community for the
Norwegianization of and discrimination against the
indigenous population of the country. Nevertheless,
Norway was, in
1990, the first country to recognise ILO-convention 169 on indigenous
people recommended by the UN.
In regard to LGBT rights,
Norway was the first country in the world
to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of gays and
lesbians. In 1993,
Norway became the second country to legalise civil
union partnerships for same-sex couples, and on 1 January 2009 Norway
became the sixth country to grant full marriage equality to same-sex
couples. As a promoter of human rights,
Norway has held the annual
Oslo Freedom Forum conference, a gathering described by The Economist
as "on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos
Separation of church and state happened significantly later in Norway
than in most of
Europe and is not yet complete. In 2012, the Norwegian
parliament voted to grant the
Church of Norway
Church of Norway greater autonomy, a
decision which was confirmed in a constitutional amendment on 21 May
Until 2012 parliamentary officials were required to be members of the
Lutheran Church of Norway, and at least half of all
government ministers had to be a member of the state church. As state
church, the Church of Norway's clergy were viewed are state employees,
and the central and regional church administrations were part of the
state administration. Members of the Royal family are required to be
members of the
Lutheran church. On 1 January 2017, Norway
disestablished the Church, making it independent of the state, but
retaining the Church's status as national church .
Cinema of Norway
The Norwegian cinema has received international recognition. The
documentary film Kon-Tiki (1950) of the expedition won an American
Oscar Academy Award . In 1959,
Arne Skouen 's Nine Lives was
nominated, but failed to win. Another notable film is Flåklypa Grand
Prix (English: Pinchcliffe Grand Prix), an animated feature film
Ivo Caprino . The film was released in 1975 and is based
on characters from Norwegian cartoonist
Kjell Aukrust . It is the most
widely seen Norwegian film of all time.
Nils Gaup 's Pathfinder (1987), the story of the Sami , was nominated
for an Oscar.
Berit Nesheim 's
The Other Side of Sunday was nominated
for an Oscar in 1997.
Since the 1990s, the film industry has thrived, producing up to 20
feature films each year. Particular successes were Kristin
Lavransdatter , based on a novel by a Nobel Prize winner; The
Telegraphist and Gurin with the Foxtail .
Knut Erik Jensen was among
the more successful new directors, together with
Erik Skjoldbjærg ,
who is remembered for Insomnia .
The country has also been used as filming location for several
Hollywood and other international productions, including The Empire
Strikes Back (1980), for which the producers used Hardangerjøkulen
glacier as a filming location for scenes of the ice planet Hoth. It
included a memorable battle in the snow. The films
Die Another Day
Die Another Day ,
The Golden Compass ,
Spies Like Us and Heroes of
Telemark , as well as
the TV series
Lilyhammer and Vikings also had scenes set in Norway. A
short film, The Spirit of
Norway was featured at Maelstrom at Norway
Epcot located within
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
in the United States. The attraction and the film ceased their
operations on 5 October 2014.
Music of Norway
Edvard Grieg , composer and
The classical music of the romantic composers
Edvard Grieg , Rikard
Johan Svendsen is internationally known as is the modern
Arne Nordheim . Norway's classical performers include Leif
Ove Andsnes , one of the world's more famous pianists;
Truls Mørk ,
an outstanding cellist; and the great Wagnerian soprano Kirsten
Norwegian black metal has been an influence in world music since the
late 20th century. Since the 1990s, Norway's export of black metal , a
lo-fi, dark and raw form of heavy metal , has been developed by such
bands as Emperor ,
Gorgoroth , Mayhem ,
Burzum , and
Immortal . More recently bands such as Enslaved ,
Kvelertak , Dimmu
Satyricon have evolved the genre into the present day while
still garnering worldwide fans. Controversial events associated with
the black metal movement in the early 1990s included several church
burnings and two prominent murder cases .
The jazz scene in
Norway is thriving.
Jan Garbarek ,
Terje Rypdal ,
Mari Boine ,
Arild Andersen , and
Bugge Wesseltoft are internationally
Paal Nilssen-Love ,
Jaga Jazzist and
Wibutee are becoming world-class artists of the younger generation.
Hardingfele , the "
Hardanger fiddle", a Norwegian instrument
Norway has a strong folk music tradition which remains popular to
this day. Among the most prominent folk musicians are Hardanger
Andrea Een ,
Olav Jørgen Hegge and
Annbjørg Lien , and the
Agnes Buen Garnås ,
Kirsten Bråten Berg and Odd Nordstoga
Other internationally recognised bands are
A-ha initially rose to global fame during the mid-1980s. In the 1990s
and 2000s, the group maintained its popularity domestically, and has
remained successful outside Norway, especially in Germany,
Switzerland, France, and Brazil.
Some of the most memorable female solo artists from
Julie Bergan ,
Maria Mena ,
Tone Damli ,
Margaret Berger ,
Lene Marlin ,
Christel Alsos ,
Maria Arredondo , Lene Nystrøm
vocalist of the popular Danish dance band Aqua and
Marion Raven ">
Knut Hamsun , author
The history of
Norwegian literature starts with the pagan Eddaic
poems and skaldic verse of the 9th and 10th centuries, with poets such
Bragi Boddason and
Eyvindr skáldaspillir . The arrival of
Christianity around the year 1000 brought
Norway into contact with
European mediaeval learning, hagiography and history writing. Merged
with native oral tradition and Icelandic influence, this influenced
the literature written in the late 12th and early 13th centuries.
Major works of that period include
Historia Norwegiæ , Þiðrekssaga
Konungs skuggsjá .
Norwegian literature came out of the period of the
Scandinavian Union and the subsequent Dano-Norwegian union
(1387–1814), with some notable exceptions such as
Petter Dass and
Ludvig Holberg . In his play
Peer Gynt , Ibsen characterised this
period as "Twice two hundred years of darkness/brooded o'er the race
of monkeys." The first line of this couplet is frequently quoted.
During the union with Denmark, the government imposed using only
written Danish, which decreased the writing of Norwegian literature.
Two major events precipitated a major resurgence in Norwegian
literature: in 1811 a Norwegian university was established in
Christiania . Secondly, seized by the spirit of revolution following
the American and French revolutions, the
Norwegians created their
first Constitution in 1814. Strong authors were inspired who became
recognised first in Scandinavia, and then worldwide; among them were
Henrik Wergeland ,
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen ,
Jørgen Moe and
Camilla Collett .
By the late 19th century, in the
Golden Age of Norwegian literature,
the so-called "Great Four" emerged:
Henrik Ibsen , Bjørnstjerne
Alexander Kielland , and Jonas Lie . Bjørnson's "peasant
novels", such as Ein glad gut (A Happy Boy) and Synnøve Solbakken,
are typical of the
Norwegian romantic nationalism of their day.
Kielland's novels and short stories are mostly naturalistic. Although
an important contributor to early romantic nationalism, (especially
Peer Gynt ),
Henrik Ibsen is better known for his pioneering realistic
dramas such as
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck and A Doll\'s House . They caused an
uproar because of his candid portrayals of the middle classes,
complete with infidelity, unhappy marriages, and corrupt businessmen.
In the 20th century, three Norwegian novelists were awarded the Nobel
Prize in Literature :
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1903,
Knut Hamsun for
the book Markens grøde ("Growth of the Soil") in 1920, and Sigrid
Undset (known for Kristinlavransdatter ) in 1928. Writers such as the
following also made important contributions:
Dag Solstad ,
Jon Fosse ,
Cora Sandel ,
Olav Duun ,
Olav H. Hauge ,
Gunvor Hofmo , Stein Mehren
Kjell Askildsen ,
Hans Herbjørnsrud ,
Aksel Sandemose , Bergljot
Hobæk Haff ,
Jostein Gaarder ,
Erik Fosnes Hansen ,
Jens Bjørneboe ,
Kjartan Fløgstad ,
Lars Saabye Christensen
Lars Saabye Christensen ,
Johan Borgen , Herbjørg
Jan Erik Vold , Rolf Jacobsen ,
Olaf Bull ,
Jan Kjærstad ,
Georg Johannesen ,
Tarjei Vesaas ,
Sigurd Hoel ,
Arnulf Øverland ,
Karl Ove Knausgård and
Johan Falkberget .
Internationally recognised Norwegian scientists include the
Niels Henrik Abel
Niels Henrik Abel ,
Sophus Lie and
Atle Selberg ,
Lars Onsager , physicist
Ivar Giaever , chemists Odd
Peter Waage , and
Cato Maximilian Guldberg .
In the 20th century, Norwegian academics have been pioneering in many
social sciences , including criminology , sociology and peace and
conflict studies . Prominent academics include
Arne Næss , a
philosopher and founder of deep ecology ;
Johan Galtung , the founder
of peace studies ;
Nils Christie and
Thomas Mathiesen ,
Fredrik Barth , a social anthropologist; Vilhelm
Harriet Holter and
Erik Grønseth , sociologists; Tove Stang
Dahl , a pioneer of women's law;
Stein Rokkan , a political scientist;
Ragnar Frisch ,
Trygve Haavelmo , and
Finn E. Kydland
Finn E. Kydland .
In 2014, the two Norwegian scientists
May-Britt Moser and Edvard
Moser won the
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with John
O\'Keefe . They won the prize for their groundbreaking work
identifying the cells that make up a positioning system in the human
brain, our "in-built GPS".
Architecture of Norway The
Urnes Stave Church has
been listed by
UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site .
With expansive forests,
Norway has long had a tradition of building
in wood. Many of today's most interesting new buildings are made of
wood, reflecting the strong appeal that this material continues to
hold for Norwegian designers and builders.
Dalen Hotel in
Telemark built in dragestil ("Dragon Style"), a style of design and
architecture that originated during the period of Norwegian romantic
With Norway's conversion to
Christianity some 1,000 years ago,
churches were built. Stonework architecture was introduced from Europe
for the most important structures, beginning with the construction of
Nidaros Cathedral in
Trondheim . In the early
Middle Ages , wooden
stave churches were constructed throughout Norway. Some of them have
survived; they represent Norway's most unusual contribution to
architectural history. A fine example,
Urnes Stave Church in inner
Sognefjord , is on
World Heritage List
World Heritage List . Another notable
example of wooden architecture is the buildings at
Bryggen Wharf in
Bergen, also on the list for World Cultural Heritage sites, consisting
of a row of tall, narrow wooden structures along the quayside.
The 17th-century town of
Røros , designated in 1980 as a
Heritage Site, has the narrow streets and wooden houses of the period.
In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities and villages
Røros were established. The city had a church
built in the Baroque style. Traditional wooden buildings that were
Røros have survived.
After Norway's union with
Denmark was dissolved in 1814,
the capital. The architect Christian H. Grosch designed the earliest
parts of the University of
Oslo , the
Oslo Stock Exchange , and many
other buildings and churches constructed in that early national
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of
rebuilt in the
Art Nouveau style, influenced by styles of
France . The
1930s, when functionalism dominated, became a strong period for
Norwegian architecture. It is only since the late 20th century that
Norwegian architects have achieved international renown. One of the
most striking modern buildings in
Norway is the Sami Parliament in
Kárášjohka , designed by Stein Halvorson and Christian Sundby . Its
debating chamber, in timber, is an abstract version of a lavvo, the
traditional tent used by the nomadic
Sami people .
Norwegian art Brudeferd i
Hardanger by Adolph
Hans Gude , 1848
For an extended period, the
Norwegian art scene was dominated by
Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of
Copenhagen. It was in the 1
9th century that a truly Norwegian era
began, first with portraits, later with impressive landscapes. Johan
Christian Dahl (1788–1857), originally from the Dresden school,
eventually returned to paint the landscapes of western Norway,
defining Norwegian painting for the first time."
Norway's newly found independence from
Denmark encouraged painters to
develop their Norwegian identity, especially with landscape painting
by artists such as Kitty Kielland , a female painter who studied under
Hans Gude , and
Harriet Backer , another pioneer among female artists,
influenced by impressionism .
Frits Thaulow , an impressionist, was
influenced by the art scene in Paris as was
Christian Krohg , a
realist painter, famous for his paintings of prostitutes.
Of particular note is
Edvard Munch , a symbolist/expressionist
painter who became world-famous for
The Scream which is said to
represent the anxiety of modern man.
Other artists of note include
Harald Sohlberg , a neo-romantic
painter remembered for his paintings of
Røros , and
Odd Nerdrum , a
figurative painter who maintains that his work is not art, but kitsch
Norway\'s culinary traditions show the influence of long seafaring
and farming traditions with salmon (fresh and cured), herring (pickled
or marinated), trout , codfish and other seafood balanced by cheeses,
dairy products and breads (predominantly dark/darker).
Lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread, usually topped with large
amounts of butter and sugar, most common around Christmas. Some
traditional Norwegian dishes include lutefisk , smalahove ,
pinnekjøtt , raspeball and fårikål .
Ole Einar Bjørndalen from
Norway is the most
Winter Olympian of all time, with 13 medals
Sports are a central part of Norwegian culture, and popular sports
Association football , biathlon , cross-country skiing , ski
jumping , and, to a lesser degree, ice hockey and handball .
Association football is the most popular sport in
Norway in terms of
active membership. In 2014-2015 polling, football ranked far behind
biathlon and cross-country skiing in terms of popularity as spectator
Ice hockey is the biggest indoor sport. The women\'s
handball national team has won several titles, including two Summer
Olympics championships (2008 , 2012 ), three World Championships (1999
, 2011 , 2015 ) and six European Championship (1998 , 2004 , 2006 ,
2008 , 2010 , 2014 ).
The Norwegian national football team has participated three times in
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup (1938 , 1994 , 1998 ), and once in the European
Championship (2000 ). The highest
Norway has achieved is
2nd, a position it has held twice, in 1993 and in 1995.
Chess is also gaining popularity in Norway.
Magnus Carlsen is the
current world champion. There are about 10 Grandmasters and 29
International Masters in Norway. The Norwegian women\'s national
bandy team in 2006
Bandy is a traditional sport in
Norway and the country is one of the
four founders of Federation of International
Bandy . In terms of
licensed athletes, it is the second biggest winter sport in the world.
As of 2017 the men\'s national team has captured one silver and one
bronze, while the women\'s national team has managed four bronzes at
the World Championships .
Norway first participated at the
Olympic Games in 1900, and has sent
athletes to compete in every Games since then, except for the sparsely
attended 1904 Games and the 1980
Summer Olympics in
Moscow when they
participated in the American-led boycott . Famous Norwegian winter
sport athletes are, for instance, biathlete
Ole Einar Bjørndalen and
cross country skiers
Marit Bjørgen and
Bjørn Dæhlie .
Norway has hosted the Games on two occasions:
Winter Olympics in
Winter Olympics in
The following are international rankings of Norway, including those
measuring life quality, health care quality, stability, press freedom
World Happiness Report 2017
Human Development Index
Human Development Index 2015
Human Development Index
Human Development Index 2015
OECD Better Life Index 2016
Legatum Prosperity Index 2015
Index of Public Integrity 2016
Democracy Index 2016
Save the Children
Save the Children State of the World\'s Mothers report 2015
Total health expenditure per capita 2013
Press Freedom Index 2017
Fragile States Index 2016
Gallup gross median household income 2013
Median equivalent adult income 2009–2014
International Property Rights Index 2015
Net international investment position of creditor nations per
Euro health consumer index 2015
Global Gender Gap Report 2016
EF English Proficiency Index 2015
Corruption Perceptions Index 2015
Networked Readiness Index 2014
Household final consumption expenditure per capita 2013
Ease of doing business index 2016
Global Peace Index 2016
Globalization Index 2015
Logistics Performance Index 2016
Index of Economic Freedom 2016
Outline of Norway
Aristocracy of Norway
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to NORWAY .
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Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
article NORWAY .
* Norway.no, Norway's official portal
* Statistics Norway
* State of the Environment Norway
The World Factbook
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Norway entry at
Norway from UCB Libraries GovPubs