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Kingdom of Norway

Kongeriket Norge (Bokmål)
Kongeriket Noreg (Nynorsk)
Flag of Norway
Flag
{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms
Motto: Royal: Alt for Norge
("Everything for Norway")
1814 Eidsvoll oath: Enig og tro til Dovre faller
("United and loyal until the mountains of Dovre crumble")
Anthem: Ja, vi elsker dette landet
("Yes, we love this country")

Royal anthemKongesangen
("The King's Song")
Location of  Norway  (dark green)on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Norway  (dark green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Capital
and largest city
Oslo
Official languages Norwegian (Bokmål and Nynorsk)
Recognised regional languages Northern Sami, Lule Sami, Kven and Southern Sami
Ethnic groups
81% Norwegians, 2% Sami, 17% other
Demonym(s) Norwegian
Government Unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
• King
King Harald V
• Prime Minister
Erna Solberg (H)
• President of the Storting
Olemic Thommessen (H)
• Chief Justice
Tore Schei
• Current coalition
Conservative Coalition
Legislature Storting
Establishment
• Unification
872
• Constitution
17 May 1814
• Dissolution of union with Sweden
7 June 1905
• Restoration from German occupation
8 May 1945
Area
• Total
385,170 km2 (148,710 sq mi) (67th1)
• Water (%)
6.03
Population
• 2014 estimate
5,581,100 (116th)
• 2001 census
4,858,200
• Density
13.26/km2 (34.3/sq mi) (213th)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
• Total
$255.285 billion
• Per capita
$52,012
GDP (nominal) 2010 estimate
• Total
$414.462 billion
• Per capita
$84,443
Gini (2000) 25.8
low · 5th
HDI (2013) Increase 0.944
very high · 1st
Currency Norwegian krone (NOK)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (CEST)
Date format dd.mm.yyyy
Driving side right
Calling code 47
ISO 3166 code NO
Internet TLD .no2
  1. Includes Svalbard and Jan Mayen. (Without these two areas, the area of Norway is 323,802 km2, placing it 67th in the world.)
  2. Two more TLDs have been assigned, but to date not used: .sj for Svalbard and Jan Mayen; .bv for Bouvet Island.
  3. This percentage is for the mainland and also includes glaciers

Norway is a country in the north of Europe. It is the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula. The mainland of Norway is surrounded by a coast on the west side and borders Russia, Finland, and Sweden to the east. The coast touches the Oslofjord, Skagerrak, and the North Sea.

The Kingdom of Norway has been independent since 1905. Its head of state is now King Harald V. The national day is May 17, which celebrates Norway's constitution of 1814. The parliament is called Stortinget and its members are elected by the people every 4 years.

About 5 million people live in Norway. The capital is the city of Oslo. It is also the largest city, with a population of over 942,000. Other major cities are Bergen with 251,000 people and Trondheim with 172,000; both of these have been the Norwegian capital in earlier years.

Norwegian is the national language. There are two official written versions of Norwegian called Bokmål and Nynorsk. Many Sami individuals are native speakers of one of the Sami languages. Nord-samisk is also an official language in a number of kommuner. ( Each kommune has a mayor. )

History

Bronze Age boats
Nordic Bronze Age rock carvings at Steinkjer, Central Norway
Viking swords at Bergen Museum
Viking swords found in Norway, preserved at Bergen Museum
Hjelm av jern fra vikingtid fra Gjermundbu
Viking helmet found at Gjermundbu in Buskerud, is the only complete Viking Age helmet that has been found

Major pieces of Norwegian history include :

  • The battle of Hafrsfjord ( 872 A.D. ) resulted in small kingdoms becoming one, larger, kingdom, ruled by Harald I of Norway which is Harald the First.
  • In 1349 half of the Norwegian people died, getting sick from the bubonic plague. The last of the early Norwegian kings died in 1387.
  • The union with Denmark : Norway was the weaker part of the union with Denmark, which lasted until 1814 when Norway tried to get free. The Norwegian constitution was written in 1814 and signed on May 17th that year. However, Denmark, on the losing side of the Napoleon wars, lost Norway to Sweden, on the winning side. Norway could not escape the much greater military force of Sweden, and formally entered into union with Sweden in November 1814.
  • The union with Sweden : It lasted from 1814 until June 7th, 1905 when Norway finally became a separate nation again.
  • In 1905 Prince Carl of Denmark was elected King of Norway and he became King Haakon VII, and his wife, Princess Maud, became Queen Maud. Their son, Prince Alexander of Denmark, became Crown Prince Olav and followed after his father as King Olav V in 1957. Olav and his wife, Crown Princess Märtha, had three children; Princess Ragnhild, Princess Astrid and Prince Harald (later Crown Prince Harald and in 1991 he followed his father as King Harald V).

King Harald is the first king born in Norway in over 600 years. He has two children; Princess Märtha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus.

In World War I Norway was neutral and served as a trading nation. Norway tried to stay neutral in World War II, but was occupied by German forces from 9 April 1940 to 8 May 1945.

Geography

Satellite image of Norway in February 2003
A satellite image of continental Norway in winter

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. 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.

Reine Lofoten 2009
Reine fishing village in Lofoten, Northern Norway.

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.

Trollryggen and Trollveggen from Litlefjellet, 2013 June
The tallest vertical rock face in Europe, Trollveggen and Trollryggen over the river Rauma in Romsdalen valley.

At 385,207 square kilometres (148,729 sq mi) (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen) (and 323,808 square kilometres (125,023 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.

GaldhøpiggenFromFannaråki
Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway and Northern Europe, at 2,469 m (8,100 ft)

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.

Climate

Sandefjord Voera
Sandefjord is a resort town which has Norway's highest number of annual cloud-free days.
Langeby Beach, 1966.
Norway Köppen
Climate map of Norway

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).

Biodiversity

The Arctic fox has its habitat in high elevation ranges on the mainland as well as on Svalbard.
Muskox in the low alpine tundra at Dovrefjell National Park.

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".

Environment

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.

Government

Ministry of Defence

The Government has Norwegian soldiers working in Afghanistan, together with soldiers from other countries that belong to NATO. The Norwegian parachute regiment is known for being very good.

Norwegian Politics

In Norway power is shared among three branches: The justice sector, the government and the parliament (Stortinget). Norway also has a king, Harald 5, but he does not have any real power and acts as a symbol and ambassador. This form of government is called a constitutional monarchy. Elections are held every four years, and the winner of the election is the party or coalition of parties that gets the most votes and seats in the parliament. After the elections are done, the winners work together to find out who the prime minister should be, as well as who the other ministers should be.

Economy

Gaulosen og Øysand
Agriculture is a significant sector, in spite of the mountainous landscape (Øysand)
Stockfish in Lofoten
Stockfish has been exported from Lofoten in Norway for at least 1,000 years
Oil industry
Heidrun, Norskehavet (28276260560)
Oil production has been central to the Norwegian economy since the 1970s, with a dominating state ownership (Heidrun oil field)

Exports include : natural gas, oil, hydroelectric power, and fish. Other natural resources are agriculture, forests, and minerals.

The Government collects much money from various sources, and has policies intended to spread this wealth among Norwegians. This spread of wealth, is done both directly and indirectly.

Ethnicity

Nærøydalen - no-nb digifoto 20150121 00098 NB MIT FNR 19592.jpg|thumb|Ethnic woman in Norwegian local geographic environment at Voss near Gudvangen in 1959 Basic demographics of Norway 1900 2000.PNG|thumb|300px|Demographics in Norway Most people in Norway are ethnic Norwegians. They speak a language that is related to German and early English. Swedish and Danish are so close to Norwegian that most Norwegians understand them. Across Norway, many different dialects are spoken. Norwegians disagree on how to make one correct written language. Therefore, there are two standard languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Nynorsk is used in writing in most of the western areas and in the central mountains. Bokmål is written by most people in the rest of the country.

A native population of Norway, the Sami people, has its home in the northern parts of the country. Their language is not at all related to Norwegian. In some parishes in the far north, they make up the majority of people. Many Sami now live outside the Sami homeland, mostly in Oslo and other big cities. Earlier, Sami people were forced to speak Norwegian in school. Now Sami is taught as the first language in school for Sami children, and Norwegian is the first foreign language.

Many immigrants have come to Norway in the last 30–40 years. They mostly live in and around Oslo, and in the other big cities. Many immigrants come from nearby countries, like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia. There are also many from countries far away, such as Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq and Vietnam.

Traditionally, all Norwegians were Lutherans, a variety of the Protestant faith. Still, more than 80% of Norwegians are Lutherans. Other important faiths include Islam, other Protestant groups and Catholicism.

Tourism

Among tourists to Norway, more come from Germany than from any other country. There are also many Swedes, Danes, British, Dutch and Italians visiting Norway. The Swedes and Danes often come in winter to go skiing. The others mainly come in summer.

Organisations associated with the Government of Norway

Media

The largest national newspapers in Norway are Verdens Gang (VG), Aftenposten and Dagbladet.

Norwegian culture

Wilhelmine Seippel
Traditional Norwegian farmer's costumes, known as folkedrakt, and modern costumes inspired by those costumes, known as bunad, are widely used on special occasions.

Norwegian culture can be compared to English culture in the way that it is considered a bad thing to show off, as opposed to the US, where this is more acceptable. This is a big aspect of Norwegian culture, and it is related to the philosophy of egalitarianism. Because of this, people will understate things, for example if a Norwegian says something is good or nice, it usually means that it's really great.

Norway also has a rich cultural history, going all the way back to the age of the Vikings, and up to today with several writers and painters. The most famous Norwegian cultural person is probably Henrik Ibsen who wrote several plays and novels, and they often upset people because he challenged popular attitudes such as the role of women. Other famous writers include Knut Hamsun, Jonas Lie, Amalie Skram and more recently, Jens Bjørneboe. Famous painters and musicians include Edvard Munch, Theodor Kittelsen, Ole Bull and Edvard Grieg.

Cuisine

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.

Transport

E6 Årumkrysset
Årumkrysset on European route E6 in Årum, Fredrikstad.

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.

Oslo Lufthavn 2017 - visualisering luftperspektiv dag
Visualization of Oslo Airport, Gardermoen as of 2017.

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.

Related pages

Images for kids


Norway Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.