Norway (/nɔːrweɪ/ Norwegian: Norge (Bokmål) or Noreg (Nynorsk); Northern Sami: Norga; Southern Sami: Nöörje; Lule Sami: Vuodna), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northwestern Europe whose territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway.[note 1] The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of 5,312,300 (as of August 2018). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and 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 House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway. Erna Solberg became prime minister in 2013 and was reelected in September 2017. Erna Solberg replaced Jens Stoltenberg who was the prime minister between 2000 and 2001 and 2005–2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides state power between the parliament, the cabinet and the supreme court, as determined by the 1814 constitution. The kingdom was established as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms. By the traditional count from 872, the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,145 years, and the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls. From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, and from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany until the end of Second World War.
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 both the European Union and the United States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area.
Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system, and its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals. The Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. 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 of the Middle East.
The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank and IMF lists. On the CIA's GDP (PPP) per capita list (2015 estimate) which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven. It has the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1 trillion. Norway has had the highest Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position also held previously between 2001 and 2006. It also had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report for 2017 and currently ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public Integrity, and the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Kingdom of Norway
Location of the Kingdom of Norway
in Europe (green and dark grey)
and largest city
|Official minority languages|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Tone W. Trøen|
|Toril Marie Øie|
• Old Kingdom of Norway (Peak extent)
|25 February 1814|
|17 May 1814|
|4 November 1814|
|7 June 1905|
|9 April 1940|
|24 April 1940|
|1 February 1942|
|8 May 1945|
|385,203 km2 (148,728 sq mi) (67tha)|
• Water (%)
• 2018 estimate
|15.8/km2 (40.9/sq mi) (213th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
|$397 billion (46th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|$443 billion (22nd)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2014)|| 23.5|
low · 1st
|HDI (2017)|| 0.953|
very high · 1st
|Currency||Norwegian krone (NOK)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||NO|
Norway has two official names: Norge in Bokmål and Noreg in Nynorsk. The English name 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 similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name. The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 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 dominant 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" (from Old Norse suðr) for (Germany), and austrvegr "eastern way" (from austr) for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area that was later called Normandy from norðmann (Norseman or Scandinavian), although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Until around 1800 inhabitants of Western Norway where referred to as nordmenn (northmen) while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn (eastmen).
According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" (Old English nearu) or "northern", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land ("narrow way"). The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to later folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; since 2016 it as also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted by philology professor Michael Schulte. The form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in 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 <ð> in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic attestations have the spellings nuruiak and nuriki). 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 "Norseman, Norwegian person" (modern Norwegian nordmann), and the adjective norrǿnn "northern, Norse, Norwegian", as well as the very early attestations of the Latin and Anglo-Saxon forms with <th>.
In a Latin manuscript of 849, the name Northuagia is mentioned, while a French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia. When Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the ninth century, the land was called Norðwegr (lit. "Northway") and norðmanna land (lit. "Northmen's land"). According to Ohthere, Norðmanna lived along the Atlantic coast, the Danes around Skagerrak og Kattegat, while the Sámi people (the "Fins") had a nomadic lifestyle in the wide interior. Ohthere told Alfred that he was "the most northern of all Norwegians", presumably at Senja island or closer to Tromsø. He also said that beyond the wide wilderness in Norway's southern part was the land of the Swedes, "Svealand".
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 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 Weichselian 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 Norway are 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 Finnmark (Komsa culture) in the north and Rogaland (Fosna culture) in the south-west. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslofjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.
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 rock 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.
Between 3000 and 2500 BC, new settlers (Corded Ware culture) arrived in eastern 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 stylised.
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.
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 Northern Europe into distinct pre-Roman and Roman Iron Ages after Emil Vedel unearthed a number of Iron Age artefacts in 1866 on the island of 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.
The destruction of the Western Roman Empire by the Germanic peoples in the 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 roof.
These states were based on either clans or tribes (e.g., the Horder of 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 the Trondheimsfjord area; the Earls of Lade, near Trondheim, seem to have enlarged the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland from Romsdalsfjord to Lofoten.
From the 8th to the 10th century, the wider Scandinavian region was the source of Vikings. The looting of the monastery at Lindisfarne in Northeast 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 across Vinland, known today as Newfoundland, in Canada. The Vikings from Norway were most active in the northern and western British Isles and eastern North America isles.
According to tradition, Harald Fairhair unified them into one in 872 after the 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 sagas, many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day Irish cities of Dublin, Limerick and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers.
Norse traditions were replaced slowly 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 raiding in 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 proclaimed 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.
From the 1040s to 1130, the country was at peace. In 1130, the civil war era broke out on the basis of unclear succession laws, which allowed all the king's sons to rule jointly. For periods there could be peace, before a lesser son allied himself with a chieftain and started a new conflict. The Archdiocese of Nidaros was created in 1152 and attempted to control the appointment of kings. The church inevitably had to take sides in the conflicts, with the civil wars also becoming an issue regarding the church's influence of the king. The wars ended in 1217 with the appointment of Håkon Håkonsson, who introduced clear law of succession.
From 1000 to 1300, the population increased from 150,000 to 400,000, resulting both in more land being cleared and the subdivision of farms. While in the Viking Age all farmers owned their own land, by 1300, seventy percent of the land was owned by the king, the church, or the aristocracy. This was a gradual process which took place because of farmers borrowing money in poor times and not being able to repay. However, tenants always remained free men and the large distances and often scattered ownership meant that they enjoyed much more freedom than continental serfs. In the 13th century, about twenty percent of a farmer's yield went to the king, church and landowners.
The 14th century is described as Norway's Golden Age, with peace and increase in trade, especially with the British Islands, although Germany became increasingly important towards the end of the century. Throughout the High Middle Ages, the king established Norway as a sovereign state with a central administration and local representatives.
In 1349, the Black Death spread to Norway and had within a year killed a third of the population. Later plagues reduced the population to half the starting point by 1400. Many communities were entirely wiped out, resulting in an abundance of land, allowing farmers to switch to more animal husbandry. The reduction in taxes weakened the king's position, and many aristocrats lost the basis for their surplus, reducing some to mere farmers. High tithes to church made it increasingly powerful and the archbishop became a member of the Council of State.
The Hanseatic League took control over Norwegian trade during the 14th century and established a trading center in Bergen. In 1380, Olaf Haakonsson inherited both the Norwegian and Danish thrones, creating a union between the two countries. In 1397, under Margaret I, the Kalmar Union was created between the three Scandinavian countries. She waged war against the Germans, resulting in a trade blockade and higher taxation on Norwegian goods, which resulted in a rebellion. However, the Norwegian Council of State was too weak to pull out of the union.
Margaret pursued a centralising policy which inevitably favoured Denmark, because it had a greater population than Norway and Sweden combined. Margaret also granted trade privileges to the Hanseatic merchants of Lübeck in Bergen in return for recognition of her right to rule, and these hurt the Norwegian economy. The Hanseatic merchants formed a state within a state in Bergen for generations. Even worse were the pirates, the "Victual Brothers", who launched three devastating raids on the port (the last in 1427).
Norway slipped ever more to the background under the Oldenburg dynasty (established 1448). There was one revolt under Knut Alvsson in 1502. Norwegians had some affection for King Christian II, who resided in the country for several years. Norway took no part in the events which led to Swedish independence from Denmark in the 1520s.
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 Denmark were elected to the throne by their respective nobles, Thus, with his election to the throne of Sweden, both Sweden and 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.
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, Denmark and 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 Sweden with 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, Denmark made 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, 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 into the Kalmar Union.
After 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 natural resources, Denmark–Norway was in fact a very good match since Denmark supported Norway's needs for grain and food supplies, and Norway supplied 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 Troms and Finnmark, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.
After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom at the Battle of Copenhagen, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon, 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, and the 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 with 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. 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 union that 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 arrangement, 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.
This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian romantic nationalism, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland [1808–1845], Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson [1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbjørnsen [1812–1845], Jørgen Moe [1813–1882]), painting (Hans Gude [1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand [1814–1876]), music (Edvard Grieg [1843–1907]), and even language policy, where attempts to define a native written language for Norway led to today's two official written forms for Norwegian: Bokmål and Nynorsk.
King Charles III John, who came to the throne of Norway and Sweden in 1818, was the second king following Norway's break from Denmark and the union with Sweden. Charles John was a complex man whose long reign extended to 1844. He protected the constitution and liberties of Norway and 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.
Still, 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 release, Marcus Thrane attempted unsuccessfully to revitalise his movement, but after the death of his wife, he migrated to the United States.
Christian Michelsen, a shipping magnate and statesman, and Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from 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 (1397: 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.
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. Although 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 France.
King Haakon and the Norwegian government escaped to Rotherhithe in 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 party 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, Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a collaborationist government under German control. Up to 15,000 Norwegians volunteered to fight in German units, including the Waffen-SS.
The fraction of the Norwegian population that supported Germany was traditionally smaller than in Sweden, but greater than is generally appreciated today. It included a number of prominent personalities such as the Nobel-prize winning novelist Knut Hamsun. The concept of a "Germanic Union" of member states fit well into their thoroughly nationalist-patriotic ideology.
Many 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 and 5 Troop as well as No. 10 Commandos.
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 of 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 fourth-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. Each December 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. Svalbard was not occupied by German troops. Germany secretly established a metrological station in 1944. The crew was stuck after the general capitulation in May 1945 and were rescued by a Norwegian seal hunter on 4 September. They surrendered to the seal hunter as the last German soldiers to surrender in WW2.
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.
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. Norway received Marshall Plan aid from the United States starting in 1947, joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEEC) one year later, and became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949.
The first oil was discovered at the small Balder field in 1967, production only began in 1999. 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). Norway was twice invited to join the European Union, but ultimately declined to join after referendums that failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994.
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 should save.
In 2011, Norway suffered two terrorist attacks on the same day conducted by Anders Behring Breivik which struck the government quarter in Oslo and a summer camp of the Labour party's youth movement at Utøya island, resulting in 77 deaths and 319 wounded.
Norway's core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway.[note 2] The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. From the Middle Ages to 1814 Norway was part of the Danish kingdom. Norwegian possessions in the North Atlantic, Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland, remained Danish when Norway was passed to Sweden at the Treaty of Kiel. Norway also comprised Bohuslän until 1658, Jämtland and Härjedalen until 1645, Shetland and Orkney until 1468, and the Hebrides and Isle of Man until the Treaty of Perth in 1266.
Norway comprises the western and northernmost part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. Norway lies between latitudes 57° and 81° N, and longitudes 4° and 32° E. Norway is the northernmost of the Nordic countries and if Svalbard is included also the easternmost. Vardø at 31° 10' 07" east of Greenwich lies further east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul. Norway includes the northernmost point on the European mainland. The rugged coastline is broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. The coastal baseline is 2,532 kilometres (1,573 mi). The coastline of the mainland including fjords stretches 28,953 kilometres (17,991 mi), when islands are included the coastline has been estimated to 100,915 kilometres (62,706 mi). 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, and Skagerrak. The Scandinavian Mountains form much of the border with Sweden.
At 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) (including Svalbard and 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. Norway has about 400,000 lakes. There are registred 239,057 islands. Permafrost can be found all year in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark county. Numerous glaciers are found in Norway.
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 westerlies, 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 tundra climate.
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 Røst and 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 summers throughout Atlantic Norway. 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. Skjåk in Oppland county is also in the rain shadow and is one of the driest places with 278 millimetres (10.9 inches) precipitation annually. Finnmarksvidda and the interior valleys of Troms and Nordland also receive less than 300 millimetres (12 inches) annually. Longyearbyen is the driest place in Norway with 190 millimetres (7.5 inches).
Parts of southeastern Norway including parts of Mjøsa have 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)||12.5
|Average high °C (°F)||−1.8
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−4.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.8
|Record low °C (°F)||−24.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||49
|Average precipitation days||6||4||6||5||5||7||7||8||7||8||8||6||77|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||40||76||126||178||220||250||246||216||144||86||51||35||1,668|
|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)||16.9
|Average high °C (°F)||4.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.2
|Average low °C (°F)||0.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−16.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||190
|Average rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||20||15||17||13||14||11||15||17||20||22||17||21||202|
|Average relative humidity (%)||78||76||73||72||72||76||77||78||79||79||78||79||76|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||19||56||94||147||186||189||167||144||86||60||27||12||1,187|
|Source #1: http://sharki.oslo.dnmi.no/pls/portal/BATCH_ORDER.PORTLET_UTIL.Download_BLob?p_BatchId=666089&p_IntervalId=1351224(eklima.no) (high and low temperatures), NOAA (all else, except extremes)|
|Source #2: Voodoo Skies for extremes|
|Climate data for Brønnøysund (Köppen Cfc), 1960–1990|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−1.1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||138
|Source: Meteorologisk Institutt|
|Climate data for Rena-Haugedalen (Köppen Dfc) (1961–1990), Norway|
|Average high °C (°F)||−7.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−11.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−15.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||50
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.
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 in Norway is known for its size and strength and is often called skogens konge, "king of the forest".
Attractive and dramatic scenery and landscape are 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 known also as the Northern lights.
The 2016 Environmental Performance Index from Yale University, Columbia University and the World Economic Forum put Norway in seventeenth place, immediately below Croatia and Switzerland. The index is based on environmental risks to human health, habitat loss, and changes in CO2 emissions. The index notes over-exploitation of fisheries, but not Norway's whaling or oil exports.
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% (1832), Sweden c. 5% (1866), and Belgium c. 1.15% (1840). Since 2010, Norway has been classified as the world's most democratic country by the Democracy Index.
According to the Constitution of Norway, which was adopted on 17 May 1814 and inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and French Revolution of 1776 and 1789, respectively, Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the 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 legal document.
The monarch officially retains executive power. But 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 crowned King of Norway in 1991, the first since the 14th century who has been born in the country. 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 four-year terms.
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. Norway has a state church, the Lutheran Church of Norway, which has in recent years gradually been granted more internal autonomy in day-to-day affairs, but which still has a special constitutional status. 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 in 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 at Strasbourg in 2007 did not settle the matter. As of 1 January 2017, the Church of Norway is a separate legal entity, and no longer a branch of the civil service.
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 king retains.
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, continued to have the necessary majority through his multi-party alliance to continue as PM until 2013.
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".
Norway, a unitary state, is divided into eighteen 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 Governor. As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level through the County Governors' offices. The counties are then sub-divided into 422-second-level municipalities (kommuner), which in turn are administrated by directly elected municipal council, headed by a mayor and a small executive cabinet. The capital of Oslo is 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, and Queen Maud Land. On most maps, there had been an unclaimed area between Queen Maud Land and the South Pole until 12 June 2015 when Norway formally annexed that area.
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 of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.
The counties of Norway are:
|County (fylke)||Administrative centre||Most populous municipality||Geographical region|
|Oslo||City of Oslo||Oslo||Eastern Norway|
|Sogn og Fjordane||Hermansverk||Førde||Western Norway|
|Møre og Romsdal||Molde||Ålesund||Western 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, 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 Norway is characterised by a high degree of transparency, accountability and integrity, and the perception and the occurrence of corruption are very low. 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 procurement processes.
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.
Norway maintains embassies in 82 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 Atlantic 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.
The 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 Europe and 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 Defence 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 Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 4 April 1949. At present, Norway contributes in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Additionally, Norway has contributed in several missions in contexts of the United Nations, NATO, and the Common Security and Defence Policy of the European Union.
Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per-capita among European countries (after 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 Factbook, 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 in Norway is among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy magazine ranks Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. The OECD ranks Norway fourth in the 2013 equalised Better Life Index and third in intergenerational earnings elasticity.
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 production. 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 join the European Union (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participates in the European Union's single market through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the 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. Norway has 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 industry.
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, alongside Great Britain and Germany. Crops, that are typically linked to forests' destruction are timber, soy, palm oil and beef. Now Norway has to find a new way to provide these essential products without exerting negative influence on its environment.
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 state-owned 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).
Between 1966 and 2013, Norwegian companies drilled 5085 oil wells, mostly in the North Sea. Of these 3672 are utviklingsbrønner (regular production); 1413 are letebrønner (exploration); and 1405 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.
Norway is also the world's second-largest exporter of fish (in value, after China). Fish from fish farms and catch constitutes the second largest (behind oil/natural gas) export product measured in value.
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.
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 November 2009.
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, Sweden had 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 first quarter of 2009, the GNP of Norway surpassed Sweden's for the first time in history, although its population is half the size.
Between 1966 and 2013, Norwegian companies drilled 5085 oil wells, mostly in the North Sea. Of these 3672 are utviklingsbrønner (regular production); 1413 are letebrønner (exploration); and 1405 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.
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.
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 16.7 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, around Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger.
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 98 airports in Norway, 52 are public, and 46 are operated by the state-owned Avinor. Seven airports have more than one million passengers annually. A total of 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian airports in 2007, of whom 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.
The North Germanic Norwegian language has two official written forms, Bokmål and 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.
Several Uralic Sámi languages are spoken and written throughout the country, especially in the north, by some members of the Sámi people. (Estimates suggest that about one third of the Norwegian Sámi speak a Sámi 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 Sámi 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 Romani and Scandoromani language has become officially recognised minority languages.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Norwegian language was subject to strong political and cultural controversies. This led to the development of Nynorsk in the 19th 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 countries, including Iceland and 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 Sámi 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.
|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 (13%) are immigrants and their descendants; there are 117,000 children of immigrants, born in Norway.
Of these 710,000 immigrants and their descendants:
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 Latin America.
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%. According to Reuters, 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.
The Sámi people are indigenous to the Far North and have traditionally inhabited central and northern parts of Norway and 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 19th century up to the 1970s, the Norwegian government tried to assimilate both the Sámi and the Kven, encouraging them to adopt the majority language, culture and religion. Because of this "Norwegianization process", many families of Sámi or Kven ancestry now identify as ethnic Norwegian.
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 identified as Norwegian Americans, which was larger than the population of ethnic Norwegians in Norway itself. In the 2011 Canadian census, 452,705 Canadian citizens identified as having Norwegian ancestry.
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 2001–2005 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.
|Iraq including Kurdistan region||22,493|
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.
Pakistani 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 arrived from Central and Northern Europe, particularly Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The fastest growing immigrant groups in 2011 in absolute numbers were from Poland, Lithuania and Sweden. The policies of immigration and integration have been the subject of much debate in Norway.
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 greater autonomy, a decision which was confirmed in a constitutional amendment on 21 May 2012.
Until 2012 parliamentary officials were required to be members of the Evangelical-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 as 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 made the church independent of the state, but retained the Church's status as the "people's church".
Most Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of the Church of Norway, which has been Norway's state church since its establishment. In recent years the church has been granted increasing internal autonomy, but it retains its special constitutional status and other special ties to the state, and the constitution requires that the reigning monarch must be a member and states 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 70.6% of Norwegians were members of the Church of Norway in 2017. In 2017, about 53.6% of all newborns were baptised and about 57.9% of all 15-year-old persons were confirmed in the church.
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, with 83,000 members, according to 2009 government statistics. The Aftenposten (Norwegian, The Evening Post) in October 2012 reported 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 Lutheran Free Church of Norway (19,600), Methodists (11,000), Baptists (9,900), 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, Kurdish 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 Norwegians. 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 in north 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 Association.
From 2006 to 2011, the fastest-growing religious communities in Norway were Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Oriental Orthodox Christianity, which grew in membership by 80%; however, their share of the total population remains small, at 0.2%. It is associated with the huge immigration from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and to a lesser extent from Central and Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries. Other fast-growing religions were the Roman Catholic Church (78.7%), Hinduism (59.6%), Islam (48.1%), and Buddhism (46.7%).
As in other Scandinavian countries, the ancient Norse followed a form of native 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 Sámi minority retained their shamanistic religion well into the 18th century, when most converted to Christianity under the influence of Dano-Norwegian Lutheran missionaries. Although some insist that "indigenous Sámi religion had effectively been eradicated,' athropologist Gutorm Gjessing's Changing Lapps (1954) argues that the Sámi's "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 Sámi traditional way of life, which has led to a revival of Noaidevuohta. Some Norwegian and Sámi 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". Five percent gave no response.
Norway was awarded first place according to the UN's Human Development Index (HDI) for 2013. In the 1800s, by contrast, poverty and communicable diseases dominated in Norway together with famines and epidemics. 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 improved health.
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 Norway today.
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 Norway.
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 with the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
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.
Norway has been considered 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 female."
The Sámi people have for centuries been the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures in Scandinavia and Russia, those countries claiming possession of Sámi lands. The Sámi people have never been a single community in a single region of Sápmi. Norway has been greatly criticised by the international community for the politics of 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 economic forum."
The Norwegian cinema has received international recognition. The documentary film Kon-Tiki (1950) won an 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 directed by 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.
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, 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 Pavilion at Epcot located within Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in the United States. The attraction and the film ceased their operations on 5 October 2014.
The classical music of the romantic composers Edvard Grieg, Rikard Nordraak and Johan Svendsen is internationally known, as is the modern music of 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 Flagstad.
Norwegian black metal, a form of rock music in Norway, 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, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Burzum, and Immortal. More recently bands such as Enslaved, Kvelertak, Dimmu Borgir and 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 recognised while Paal Nilssen-Love, Supersilent, Jaga Jazzist and Wibutee are becoming world-class artists of the younger generation.
Norway has a strong folk music tradition which remains popular to this day. Among the most prominent folk musicians are Hardanger fiddlers Andrea Een, Olav Jørgen Hegge and Annbjørg Lien, and the vocalists Agnes Buen Garnås, Kirsten Bråten Berg and Odd Nordstoga.
Other internationally recognised bands are A-ha, Röyksopp, Ylvis. 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 Norway are Susanne Sundfør, Astrid S, Adelén, Julie Bergan, Maria Mena, Tone Damli, Margaret Berger, Lene Marlin, Christel Alsos, Maria Arredondo, Marion Raven, Marit Larsen; both former members of the defunct pop-rock group M2M, Lene Nystrøm vocalist of the Danish eurodance group Aqua, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad vocalist of the Swedish pop group ABBA.
In recent years, various Norwegian songwriters and production teams have contributed to the music of other international artists. The Norwegian production team Stargate has produced songs for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie, among others. Espen Lind has written and produced songs for Beyoncé, Lionel Richie and Leona Lewis, among others. Lene Marlin has written songs for Rihanna and Lovebugs. Ina Wroldsen has written songs for artists such as Demi Lovato, Shakira, Inna, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, One Direction and The Saturdays among others.
Norway enjoys many music festivals throughout the year, all over the country. Norway is the host of one of the world's biggest extreme sport festivals with music, Ekstremsportveko—a festival held annually in Voss. Oslo is the host of many festivals, such as Øyafestivalen and by:Larm. Oslo used to have a summer parade similar to the German Love Parade. In 1992, the city of Oslo wanted to adopt the French music festival Fête de la Musique. Fredrik Carl Størmer established the festival. Even in its first year, "Musikkens Dag" gathered thousands of people and artists in the streets of Oslo. "Musikkens Dag" is now renamed Musikkfest Oslo.
The history of Norwegian literature starts with the pagan Eddaic poems and skaldic verse of the 9th and 10th centuries, with poets such as 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 and Konungs skuggsjá.
Little 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 Bjørnson, 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 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, Johan Borgen, Herbjørg Wassmo, 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 mathematicians Niels Henrik Abel, Sophus Lie and Atle Selberg, physical chemist Lars Onsager, physicist Ivar Giaever, chemists Odd Hassel, 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, criminologists; Fredrik Barth, a social anthropologist; Vilhelm Aubert, Harriet Holter and Erik Grønseth, sociologists; Tove Stang Dahl, a pioneer of women's law; Stein Rokkan, a political scientist; and economists Ragnar Frisch, Trygve Haavelmo, and 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".
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.
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 UNESCO's 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.
In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities and villages such as Kongsberg and Røros were established. The city Kongsberg had a church built in the Baroque style. Traditional wooden buildings that were constructed in Røros have survived.
After Norway's union with Denmark was dissolved in 1814, Oslo became 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 period.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Ålesund was 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 Sámi 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 Sámi people.
For an extended period, the Norwegian art scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of Copenhagen. It was in the 19th 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.
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 (such as brunost), 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. Some quirky Norwegian speciality is rakefisk, which is a fermented trout, consumed with thin flatbread (flatbrød, not lefse) and sour cream. And the most popular pastry among all population is vaffel. It is different from Belgian in taste and consistency and is served with sour cream, brown cheese, butter and sugar, or strawberry or raspberry jam, which can all be mixed or eaten separately.
Sports are a central part of Norwegian culture, and popular sports include association football, handball, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, speed skating, and, to a lesser degree, ice hockey.
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 sports. 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).
In association football, the Norwegian women's national team has won the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1995 and the Olympic Football Tournament in 2000. The women's team also has two UEFA European Women's Championship titles (1987, 1993). The Norwegian men's national football team has participated three times in the FIFA World Cup (1938, 1994, 1998), and once in the European Championship (2000). The highest FIFA ranking Norway has achieved is 2nd, a position it has held twice, in 1993 and in 1995.
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 January 2018, the men's national team has captured one silver and one bronze, while the women's national team has managed five 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. Norway leads the overall medal tables at the Winter Olympic Games with considerable margin. Famous Norwegian winter sport athletes includes biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, speed skaters Johan Olav Koss and Hjalmar Andersen, figure skater Sonja Henie and cross-country skiers Marit Bjørgen and Bjørn Dæhlie.
Norway has hosted the Games on two occasions:
As of 2008, Norway ranks 17th in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Tourism in Norway contributed to 4.2% of the gross domestic product as reported in 2016. Every one in fifteen people throughout the country work in the tourism industry. Tourism is seasonal in Norway, with more than half of total tourists visiting between the months of May and August.
The main attractions of Norway are the varied landscapes that extend across the Arctic Circle. It is famous for its fjord-indented coastline and its mountains, ski resorts, lakes and woods. Popular tourist destinations in Norway include Oslo, Ålesund, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromsø. Much of the nature of Norway remains unspoiled, and thus attracts numerous hikers and skiers. The fjords, mountains and waterfalls in Western and Northern Norway attract several hundred thousand foreign tourists each year. In the cities, cultural idiosyncrasies such as the Holmenkollen ski jump attract many visitors, as do landmarks such as Bergen's Bryggen and Oslo's Vigeland Sculpture Park.
The British Government sought to overcome this reluctance by assisting Russia in blockading the coast of Norway
Storting, 4-year term, 4% threshold (supplementary seats)
…formålet med anneksjonen var å legge under seg det landet som til nå ligger herreløst og som ingen andre enn nordmenn har kartlagt og gransket. Norske myndigheter har derfor ikke motsatt seg at noen tolker det norske kravet slik at det går helt opp til og inkluderer polpunktet.
98–99% of Norway's electricity comes from hydroelectric plants.
The fund, the world's largest sovereign wealth fund ...
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The 2011 Norway attacks, referred to in Norway as 22 July (Norwegian: 22. juli) or as 22/7, the date of the events, were two sequential lone wolf terrorist
attacks by Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp, in which 77 people were killed, including 33 children under the age of 18.
The first attack was a car bomb explosion in Oslo within Regjeringskvartalet, the executive government quarter of Norway, at 15:25:22 (CEST). The bomb was placed inside of a van next to the tower block housing the office of the Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The explosion killed eight people and injured at least 209 people, twelve severely.The second attack occurred less than two hours later at a summer camp on the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden, Buskerud. The camp was organized by the AUF, the youth division of the ruling Norwegian Labour Party (AP). Breivik, dressed in a homemade police uniform and showing false identification, took a ferry to the island and opened fire at the participants, killing 69 and injuring at least 110, 55 seriously. Among the dead were friends of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, and the stepbrother of Norway's crown princess Mette-Marit.The attack was the deadliest in Norway since World War II. A survey found that one in four Norwegians knew someone affected. The European Union, NATO and several countries expressed their support for Norway and condemned the attacks. The 2012 Gjørv Report concluded that Norway's police could have prevented the bombing and caught Breivik faster at Utøya, and that measures to prevent further attacks and "mitigate adverse effects" should have been implemented.The Norwegian Police arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian right-wing extremist, on Utøya island and charged him with both attacks. His trial took place between 16 April and 22 June 2012 in Oslo District Court, where Breivik admitted carrying out the attacks, but denied criminal guilt and claimed the defense of necessity (jus necessitatis). On 24 August, Breivik was convicted as charged and sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention in prison, the maximum sentence allowed in Norway. The sentence can be extended indefinitely as long as the prisoner is deemed a threat to society.Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈɑnːəʂ ˈbeːrɪŋ ˈbræɪviːk] (listen); since 2017 legally Fjotolf Hansen, also known by his pseudonym Andrew Berwick), born 13 February 1979, is a Norwegian far-right terrorist who committed the 2011 Norway attacks. On 22 July 2011, he killed eight people by detonating a van bomb amid Regjeringskvartalet in Oslo, then shot dead 69 participants of a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utøya. In July 2012, he was convicted of mass murder, causing a fatal explosion, and terrorism.Breivik was arrested as a juvenile and rejected from the Norwegian Armed Forces. At the age of 20 he joined the anti-immigration/right-wing Progress Party, and chaired the local Vest Oslo branch of the party's youth organization during 2002. He left the Progress Party in 2006 and went on to join a gun club and the Freemasons while also founding a company which he used to finance his planned terrorist attacks.
On the day of the attacks, Breivik electronically distributed a compendium of texts entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, describing his militant ideology. In them, he stated his opposition to Islam and blamed feminism for a European "cultural suicide." The text called for the deportation of all Muslims from Europe and Breivik wrote that his main motive for the attacks was to publicize his manifesto.Two teams of court-appointed forensic psychiatrists examined Breivik before his trial. The first team diagnosed Breivik with paranoid schizophrenia but after this initial finding was criticized, a second evaluation concluded that he was not psychotic during the attacks but did have narcissistic personality disorder.His trial began on 16 April 2012, with closing arguments made on 22 June 2012. On 24 August 2012, Oslo District Court delivered its verdict, finding Breivik sane and guilty of murdering 77 people. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, in a form of preventive detention that required a minimum of 10 years incarceration and the possibility of one or more extensions for as long as he is deemed a danger to society. This is the maximum penalty in Norway. Breivik announced that he did not recognize the legitimacy of the court and therefore did not accept its decision—he claimed he "cannot" appeal because this would legitimize the authority of the Oslo District Court. In 2016, Breivik sued the Norwegian Correctional Service, claiming that his solitary confinement violated his human rights. Subsequent court ruling found that his rights had not been violated, despite an earlier ruling, and in June 2017, Breivik filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights, which dismissed his case in June 2018.Since his imprisonment, Breivik has identified himself as a fascist and a Nazi, who practices Odinism and uses counterjihadist rhetoric to support ethno-nationalists.Bergen
Bergen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ˈbærɡn̩] (listen)), historically Bjørgvin, is a city and municipality in Hordaland on the west coast of Norway. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, the municipality's population was 280,216, and the Bergen metropolitan region has about 420,000 inhabitants. Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. The municipality covers 465 square kilometres (180 sq mi) and is on the peninsula of Bergenshalvøyen. The city centre and northern neighbourhoods are on Byfjorden, 'the city fjord', and the city is surrounded by mountains; Bergen is known as the 'city of seven mountains'. Many of the extra-municipal suburbs are on islands. Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland, and consists of eight boroughs: Arna, Bergenhus, Fana, Fyllingsdalen, Laksevåg, Ytrebygda, Årstad, and Åsane.
Trading in Bergen may have started as early as the 1020s. According to tradition, the city was founded in 1070 by king Olav Kyrre and was named Bjørgvin, 'the green meadow among the mountains'. It served as Norway's capital in the 13th century, and from the end of the 13th century became a bureau city of the Hanseatic League. Until 1789, Bergen enjoyed exclusive rights to mediate trade between Northern Norway and abroad and it was the largest city in Norway until the 1830s when it was overtaken by the capital, Christiania (now known as Oslo). What remains of the quays, Bryggen, is a World Heritage Site. The city was hit by numerous fires over the years. The Bergen School of Meteorology was developed at the Geophysical Institute starting in 1917, the Norwegian School of Economics was founded in 1936, and the University of Bergen in 1946. From 1831 to 1972, Bergen was its own county. In 1972 the municipality absorbed four surrounding municipalities and became a part of Hordaland county.
The city is an international center for aquaculture, shipping, the offshore petroleum industry and subsea technology, and a national centre for higher education, media, tourism and finance. Bergen Port is Norway's busiest in terms of both freight and passengers, with over 300 cruise ship calls a year bringing nearly a half a million passengers to Bergen, a number that has doubled in 10 years. Almost half of the passengers are German or British. The city's main football team is SK Brann and a unique tradition of the city is the buekorps. Natives speak a distinct dialect, known as 'Bergensk'. The city features Bergen Airport, Flesland and Bergen Light Rail, and is the terminus of the Bergen Line. Four large bridges connect Bergen to its suburban municipalities.
Bergen has a mild winter climate, though with a lot of precipitation. From December to March, Bergen can be up to 30°C warmer than Oslo, even though both cities are at about 60° North. The Gulf Stream keeps the sea relatively warm, considering the latitude, and the mountains protect the city from cold winds from the north, north-east and east.Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway (Danish and Norwegian: Danmark–Norge), also known as the Dano-Norwegian Realm, the Oldenburg Monarchy or the Oldenburg realms, was an early modern multi-national and multi-lingual real union consisting of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of Norway (including the Norwegian overseas possessions: the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, et cetera), the Duchy of Schleswig, and the Duchy of Holstein. The state also claimed sovereignty over two historical peoples: Wends and Goths. Denmark–Norway also had several colonies, namely the Danish Gold Coast, the Nicobar Islands, Serampore, Tharangambadi, and the Danish West Indies.
The state's inhabitants were mainly Danes, Norwegians, and Germans, and also included Faroese, Icelanders and Inuit in the Norwegian overseas possessions, a Sami minority in northern Norway, as well as indigenous peoples and enslaved Africans in the colonies. The main cities of Denmark–Norway were Copenhagen, Christiania (Oslo), Altona, Bergen and Trondheim, and the primary official languages were Danish and German, but Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Sami and Greenlandic were also spoken locally.In 1380, Olaf II of Denmark inherited the Kingdom of Norway, titled as Olaf IV, after the death of his father Haakon VI of Norway, who was married to Olaf's mother Margrete I. Margrete I was ruler of Norway from her son's death in 1387 until her own death in 1412. Denmark, Norway and Sweden established and formed the Kalmar Union in 1397. Following Sweden's departure in 1523, the union was effectively dissolved. From 1536/1537, Denmark and Norway formed a personal union that would eventually develop into the 1660 integrated state called Denmark–Norway by modern historians, at the time sometimes referred to as the "Twin Kingdoms," "the Monarchy" or simply "His Majesty". Prior to 1660, Denmark–Norway was de jure a constitutional and elective monarchy in which the King's power was somewhat limited; in that year it became one of the most stringent absolute monarchies in Europe. Even after 1660, Denmark–Norway consisted of three formally separate parts, and Norway kept its separate laws and some institutions, and separate coinage and army.
The Dano-Norwegian union lasted until 1814, when the Treaty of Kiel decreed that Norway (except for the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland) be ceded to Sweden. The treaty however, was not recognised by Norway, which successfully resisted the attempt in the 1814 Swedish–Norwegian War and afterwards entered into a much looser personal union with Sweden as one of two equal kingdoms.German occupation of Norway
The German occupation of Norway during World War II began on 9 April 1940 after German forces invaded the neutral Scandinavian country of Norway. Conventional armed resistance to the German invasion ended on 10 June 1940 and the Germans controlled Norway until the capitulation of German forces in Europe on 8/9 May 1945. Throughout this period, Norway was continuously occupied by the Wehrmacht. Civil rule was effectively assumed by the Reichskommissariat Norwegen (Reich Commissariat of Norway), which acted in collaboration with a pro-German puppet government, the Quisling regime, while the Norwegian King Haakon VII and the prewar government escaped to London, where they acted as a government in exile. This period of military occupation is in Norway referred to as the "war years" or "occupation period".Harald V of Norway
Harald V (Norwegian: [ˈhɑrɑl]; born 21 February 1937) is the King of Norway, having ascended to the throne upon the death of his father King Olav V on 17 January 1991.
Harald was the third child and only son of King Olav V and Princess Märtha of Sweden. He was second in the line of succession at the time of his birth, behind his father. In 1940, as a result of the German occupation during World War II, the royal family went into exile. Harald spent part of his childhood in Sweden and the United States. He returned to Norway in 1945, and subsequently studied for periods at the University of Oslo, the Norwegian Military Academy and Balliol College, Oxford.
In 1957, following the death of his grandfather, Haakon VII, Harald became crown prince. A keen sportsman, he represented Norway in sailing at the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympic Games, and later became patron of World Sailing. Harald married Sonja Haraldsen in 1968, their relationship having initially being controversial due to her status as a commoner. The couple had two children, Märtha Louise and Haakon. Harald succeeded his father as king in 1991, with Haakon becoming his heir apparent.Human Development Index
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development. A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the GNI (PPP) per capita is higher. It was developed by Indian Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen and Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq, with help from Gustav Ranis of Yale University and Lord Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics, and was further used to measure a country's development by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)'s Human Development Report Office.The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that "the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality)", and "the HDI can be viewed as an index of 'potential' human development (or the maximum IHDI that could be achieved if there were no inequality)". The index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.The index is based on the human development approach, developed by ul Haq, often framed in terms of whether people are able to "be" and "do" desirable things in life. Examples include—Being: well fed, sheltered, healthy; Doings: work, education, voting, participating in community life. The freedom of choice is central—someone choosing to be hungry (as during a religious fast) is quite different from someone who is hungry because they cannot afford to buy food, or because the country is in a famine.Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish: Kalmarunionen; Latin: Unio Calmariensis) was a personal union that from 1397 to 1523 joined under a single monarch the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (then including most of Finland's populated areas), and Norway, together with Norway's overseas dependencies (then including Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Northern Isles). The union was not quite continuous; there were several short interruptions. Legally, the countries remained separate sovereign states, but with their domestic and foreign policies being directed by a common monarch.
One main impetus for its formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region. The main reason for its failure to survive was the perpetual struggle between the monarch, who wanted a strong unified state, and the Swedish and Danish nobility, which did not. Diverging interests (especially the Swedish nobility's dissatisfaction with the dominant role played by Denmark and Holstein) gave rise to a conflict that would hamper the union in several intervals from the 1430s until its definitive breakup in 1523, when Gustav Vasa was elected as king of Sweden.Norway continued to remain a part of the realm of Denmark–Norway under the Oldenburg dynasty for nearly three centuries, until its dissolution in 1814. The ensuing Union between Sweden and Norway lasted until 1905, when a grandson of the incumbent king of Denmark was elected as king of Norway; his direct descendants still reign in Norway.Killing Me Softly with His Song
"Killing Me Softly with His Song" is a song composed by Charles Fox with lyrics by Norman Gimbel.
The song was written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman, who recorded the song in late 1971. In 1973 it became a number-one hit in the United States and Canada for Roberta Flack, also reaching number six in the UK Singles Chart. The song has been covered by many artists; the version by the Fugees won the 1997 Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.Nordic countries
The Nordic countries or the Nordics are a geographical and cultural region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic, where they are most commonly known as Norden (literally "the North"). The term includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, as well as Greenland and the Faroe Islands—which are both part of the Kingdom of Denmark—and the Åland Islands and Svalbard and Jan Mayen archipelagos that belong to Finland and Norway respectively, whereas the Norwegian Antarctic territories are often not considered a part of the Nordic countries, due to their geographical location. Scandinavians, who comprise over three quarters of the region's population, are the largest group, followed by Finns, who comprise the majority in Finland; other groups are indigenous minorities such as the Greenlandic Inuit and the Sami people, and recent immigrants and their descendants. The native languages Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese are all North Germanic languages rooted in Old Norse. Native non-Germanic languages are Finnish, Greenlandic and several Sami languages. The main religion is Lutheran Christianity. The Nordic countries have much in common in their way of life, history, religion, their use of Scandinavian languages and social structure. The Nordic countries have a long history of political unions and other close relations, but do not form a separate entity today. The Scandinavist movement sought to unite Denmark, Norway and Sweden into one country in the 19th century, with the indepedence of Finland in the early 20th century, and Iceland in the mid 20th century, this movement expanded into the modern organised Nordic cooperation which includes the Nordic Council and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Especially in English, Scandinavia is sometimes used as a synonym for the Nordic countries, but that term more properly refers to the three monarchies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Geologically, the Scandinavian Peninsula comprises the mainland of Norway and Sweden as well as the northernmost part of Finland.The combined area of the Nordic countries is 3,425,804 square kilometres (1,322,710 sq mi). Uninhabitable icecaps and glaciers comprise about half of this area, mostly in Greenland. In January 2013, the region had a population of around 26 million people. The Nordic countries cluster near the top in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life and human development. With only four language groups, the common linguistic heterogeneous heritage is one of the factors making up the Nordic identity. The languages of Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese are all rooted in Old Norse and Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are considered mutually intelligible. These three dominating languages are taught in schools throughout the Nordic region. For example, Swedish is a mandatory subject in Finnish schools, since Finland by law is a bilingual country. Danish is mandatory in Faroese and Greenlandic schools, as these insular states are a part of the Danish Realm (Rigsfællesskabet). Iceland also teaches Danish, since Iceland too was a part of the Danish Realm until 1918. Beside these and the insular Scandinavian languages Faroese and Icelandic, which are also North Germanic languages, there are the Finnic and Sami branches of the Uralic languages, spoken in Finland and in northern Norway, Sweden and Finland, respectively; and Greenlandic, an Eskimo–Aleut language, spoken in Greenland. All the Nordic countries have a North Germanic official language, commonly called a Nordic language in the Nordic countries. The working languages of the Nordic region's two political bodies are Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.
Each of the Nordic countries has its own economic and social models, sometimes with large differences from its neighbours, but to varying degrees the Nordic countries share the Nordic model of economy and social structure: a market economy is combined with strong labour unions and a universalist welfare sector financed by heavy taxes. There is a high degree of income redistribution and little social unrest and these include support for said "universalist" welfare state aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy and promoting social mobility; a corporatist system involving a tripartite arrangement where representatives of labor and employers negotiate wages and labor market policy mediated by the government; and a commitment to widespread private ownership, free markets and free trade.Norway national football team
The Norway men's national football team (Norwegian: Norges herrelandslag i fotball, or informally Landslaget) represents Norway in international association football and is controlled by the Football Association of Norway, the governing body for football in Norway. Norway's home ground is Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo and their head coach is Lars Lagerbäck. It is, as of November 2018, ranked by FIFA as the 46th best football team in the world.Norway has participated three times in the FIFA World Cup (1938, 1994, 1998), and once in the UEFA European Championship (2000).
Norway is also notable as the only national team that has never lost any of the matches it has played against Brazil. In four matches played, Norway has a 2–2–0 (2 wins and 2 draws) record against Brazil, with one of those victories coming in a friendly in 1997 and the other in a 1998 World Cup group stage match.Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was the attempted Allied liberation of the Scandinavian nation of Norway from Nazi Germany during the early stages of World War II and directly following the German invasion and occupation of the Norwegian mainland and government. It took place from April 9th, 1940 until June 10th the same year. The Allied campaign did not succeed, and it resulted in the fleeing of King Haakon VII along with the remainder of the royal family to Great Britain.
In April, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force. Despite moderate success in the northern parts of Norway, the Allies were eventually compelled to withdraw by Germany's invasion of France in May, and the Norwegian government sought exile in London. The campaign ended with the occupation of Norway by Germany, and the continued fighting by exiled Norwegian forces from abroad. The 62 days of fighting made Norway the nation that withstood a German land invasion for the second longest period of time, after the Soviet Union.Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung (German: Unternehmen Weserübung [ˈveːsɐˌʔyːbʊŋ]) was the code name for Germany's assault on Denmark and Norway during the Second World War and the opening operation of the Norwegian Campaign. The name comes from the German for "Operation Weser-Exercise", the Weser being a German river.
In the early morning of 9 April 1940 (Wesertag, "Weser Day"), Germany invaded Denmark and Norway, ostensibly as a preventive manoeuvre against a planned, and openly discussed, Franco-British occupation of Norway known as Plan R 4. After the invasions, envoys of the Germans informed the governments of Denmark and Norway that the Wehrmacht had come to protect the countries' neutrality against Franco-British aggression. Significant differences in geography, location and climate between the two nations made the actual military operations very dissimilar.
The invasion fleet's nominal landing time, Weserzeit ("Weser Time"), was set to 05:15.Oslo
Oslo ( OZ-loh; Norwegian: [²ʊʂlʊ] (listen), rarely [²ʊslʊ, ˈʊʂlʊ]) is the capital and most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a county and a municipality. Founded in the year 1040 as Ánslo, and established as a kaupstad or trading place in 1048 by Harald Hardrada, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V of Norway around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 reduced its influence, and with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 it functioned as a co-official capital. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624, during the reign of King Christian IV, a new city was built closer to Akershus Fortress and named Christiania in the king's honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. The city's name was spelled Kristiania between 1877 and 1897 by state and municipal authorities. In 1925 the city was renamed Oslo.
Oslo is the economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are among the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programme.
Oslo is considered a global city and was ranked "Beta World City" in studies carried out by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. It was ranked number one in terms of quality of life among European large cities in the European Cities of the Future 2012 report by fDi magazine. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo as the second most expensive city in the world for living expenses after Tokyo. In 2013 Oslo tied with the Australian city of Melbourne as the fourth most expensive city in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s Worldwide Cost of Living study.As of 1 July 2017, the municipality of Oslo had a population of 672,061, while the population of the city's urban area of 3 December 2018 was 1,000,467. The metropolitan area had an estimated population of 1.71 million. The population was increasing at record rates during the early 2000s, making it the fastest growing major city in Europe at the time. This growth stems for the most part from international immigration and related high birth rates, but also from intra-national migration. The immigrant population in the city is growing somewhat faster than the Norwegian population, and in the city proper this is now more than 25% of the total if people with immigrant parents are included.Scandinavia
Scandinavia ( SKAN-dih-NAY-vee-ə) is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.While part of the Nordic countries, the remote Norwegian islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are not in Scandinavia, nor is Greenland, a constituent country within the Kingdom of Denmark. The Faroe Islands are sometimes included.Storting
The Storting (Norwegian: Stortinget [²stuːʈɪŋə], "the great thing" or "the great assembly") is the supreme legislature of Norway, established in 1814 by the Constitution of Norway. It is located in Oslo. The unicameral parliament has 169 members, and is elected every four years based on party-list proportional representation in nineteen plurinominal constituencies. A member of the Storting is known in Norwegian as a stortingsrepresentant, literally "Storting representative".The assembly is led by a president and, since 2009, five vice presidents: the presidium. The members are allocated to twelve standing committees, as well as four procedural committees. Three ombudsmen are directly subordinate to parliament: the Parliamentary Intelligence Oversight Committee and the Office of the Auditor General.
Parliamentarianism was established in 1884. In 2009, qualified unicameralism was replaced by unicameralism, through the dissolution of the two chambers: the Lagting and the Odelsting.
Following the 2017 election, nine parties are represented in parliament: the Labour Party (49 representatives), the Conservative Party (45), the Progress Party (27), the Centre Party (19), the Christian Democratic Party (8), the Liberal Party (8), the Socialist Left Party (11), the Green Party (1), and the Red Party (1). Since 2018, Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen has been President of the Storting.Svalbard
Svalbard (; Urban East Norwegian: [²sʋɑːlbɑɾ]; prior to 1925 known by its Dutch name 'Spitsbergen') is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Situated north of mainland Europe, it is about midway between continental Norway and the North Pole. The islands of the group range from 74° to 81° north latitude, and from 10° to 35° east longitude. The largest island is Spitsbergen, followed by Nordaustlandet and Edgeøya. Administratively, the archipelago is not part of any Norwegian county, but forms an unincorporated area administered by a governor appointed by the Norwegian government. Since 2002, Svalbard's main settlement, Longyearbyen, has had an elected local government, somewhat similar to mainland municipalities. Other settlements include the Russian mining community of Barentsburg, the research station of Ny-Ålesund, and the mining outpost of Sveagruva. Ny-Ålesund is the northernmost settlement in the world with a permanent civilian population. Other settlements are farther north, but are populated only by rotating groups of researchers.
The islands were first taken into use as a whaling base in the 17th and 18th centuries, after which they were abandoned. Coal mining started at the beginning of the 20th century, and several permanent communities were established. The Svalbard Treaty of 1920 recognizes Norwegian sovereignty, and the 1925 Svalbard Act made Svalbard a full part of the Kingdom of Norway. They also established Svalbard as a free economic zone and a demilitarized zone. The Norwegian Store Norske and the Russian Arktikugol remain the only mining companies in place. Research and tourism have become important supplementary industries, with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault playing critical roles. No roads connect the settlements; instead snowmobiles, aircraft and boats serve inter-community transport. Svalbard Airport, Longyear serves as the main gateway.
The archipelago features an Arctic climate, although with significantly higher temperatures than other areas at the same latitude. The flora take advantage of the long period of midnight sun to compensate for the polar night. Svalbard is a breeding ground for many seabirds, and also features polar bears, reindeer, the Arctic fox, and certain marine mammals. Seven national parks and twenty-three nature reserves cover two-thirds of the archipelago, protecting the largely untouched, yet fragile, natural environment. Approximately 60% of the archipelago is covered with glaciers, and the islands feature many mountains and fjords.
Svalbard and Jan Mayen are collectively assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code "SJ". Both areas are administered by Norway, though they are separated by a distance of over 950 kilometres (510 nautical miles) and have very different administrative structures.Sámi people
The Sámi people (also spelled Saami) are a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. The Sámi have historically been known in English as Lapps or Laplanders, a term which has a derogatory implication in the Nordic countries. Sámi ancestral lands are not well-defined. Their traditional languages are the Sámi languages and are classified as a branch of the Uralic language family.
Traditionally, the Sámi have pursued a variety of livelihoods, including coastal fishing, fur trapping, and sheep herding. Their best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding. Currently about 10% of the Sámi are connected to reindeer herding, providing them with meat, fur, and transportation. 2,800 Sámi people are actively involved in reindeer herding on a full-time basis. For traditional, environmental, cultural, and political reasons, reindeer herding is legally reserved for only Sami people in some regions of the Nordic countries.Tromsø
Tromsø (Norwegian pronunciation: [²trʊmsœ] (listen); Northern Sami: Romsa; Finnish: Tromssa; Kven: Tromssa) is a municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø. Outside Norway, Tromso and Tromsö are alternative spellings of the name.
Tromsø lies in Northern Norway. The 2,521-square-kilometre (973 sq mi) municipality is the 18th largest by area out of the 422 municipalities in Norway. Tromsø is the 9th most populous municipality in Norway with a population of 75,638. The municipality's population density is 30.6 inhabitants per square kilometre (79/sq mi) and its population has increased by 15.9% over the last decade. It is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle anywhere in the world (following Murmansk and Norilsk). Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the island of Tromsøya, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. In 2017, the city of Tromsø had a population of about 65,000 people spread out over Tromsøya and parts of Kvaløya and the mainland. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel, and to the island of Kvaløya by the Sandnessund Bridge.
The municipality is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. Tromsø is even milder than places much farther south of it elsewhere in the world, such as on the Hudson Bay and in Far East Russia, with the warm-water current allowing for both relatively mild winters and tree growth in spite of its very high latitude.
The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The city is a cultural centre for its region, with several festivals taking place in the summer. Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge of the electronica duo Röyksopp and Lene Marlin grew up and started their careers in Tromsø. Noted electronic musician Geir Jenssen also hails from Tromsø.