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Norway Basic Facts - History

Norway Basic Facts - History

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Population 2009........................................................4,660,539

GDP per capita 2008 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$)..............55,20
GDP 2008 (Purchasing Power Parity, US$ billions)................ 256.5

Average annual growth 1991-97
Population (%) ....... .5
Labor force (%) .......1.2

Total Area...................................................................125,049 sq. mi.
Poverty (% of population below national poverty line)...... 26
Urban population (% of total population) ............................... 74
Life expectancy at birth (years)..................................................... 78
Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)........................................ 4
Access to safe water (% of population) ....................................100
Illiteracy (% of population age 15+) ............................................._

The Culture Of Norway

Norway is a Scandinavian nation with a population of around 5 million. Ethnic Norwegians constitute the largest ethnic group in the country and account for 83.2% of the total population. Other European ethnic groups and others comprise 8.3% and 8.5% of the total population of Norway, respectively. The vast majority of Norway’s population adheres to Christianity. 71.5% of the population is affiliated to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Roman Catholics account for 2.8% of the population. The rest of the population comprises of followers of other Christian denominations, Islam, Hinduism, etc.

Interesting facts about Norway

1. Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole in the Antarctic. Amundsen and four companions reached the South Pole on 14th December 1911.
(Source: National Geographic)

2. Norway has topped the United Nation’s Human Development Index nine out of 11 times from 2001 to 2011. The other two years (2007 and 2008), it came second to Iceland.
(Source: UN Development Programme)

3. Hornindalsvatnet in Norway is Europe’s deepest lake. It reaches a maximum depth of 514m (1,686ft).
(Source: VisitNorway)

4. Roald Amundsen was also was the first to conquer the Northwest Passage solely by ship. With a crew of six, Amundsen traversed the passage in a three-year journey from 1903 to 1906. The ships Amundsen used on his expeditions, the Fram and the Gjøa, can be seen at the Fram Museum in Oslo.
(Source: Royal Museums Greenwich)

5. Norway is the birthplace of skiing, predating the sport in Switzerland and Austria. The word ‘ski’ is a Norse word, skīth, meaning ‘piece of wood.’
(Source: Merriam-Webster)

6. Wild camping in Norway is enshrined in the Allemannsretten (the right to roam) – and thus it is my favourite interesting fact about Norway! The traditional right of access has been maintained from ancient times and, from 1957, has also been part of the Outdoor Recreation Act. I love it!
(Source: The Guardian)

7. Norway is suspected to have the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, estimated to be worth $1 trillion by 2020. It is the world’s seventh largest oil exporter and has resisted the temptation to splurge its fortune, choosing instead to deposit the excess wealth into its oil fund.
(Source: BBC)

8. To encourage Norwegian men to take care of their children, a 10-week paternity leave quota is reserved for them. As such, in Norway, 90% of fathers take at least 12 weeks’ paternity leave, known as pappapermisjon.
(Source: The Guardian)

9. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded in Oslo annually since 1901. It is one of the five Nobel Prizes, the others awarded in recognition of academic successes in Chemistry, Physics, Medicine and Literature.
(Source: Nobelprize.org)

10. Around 98-99% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power stations. In 1991, it was one of the first countries to adopt a carbon tax in an attempt to slow global warming.
(Source: Economist)

11. At 25,148km (15,626mi) Norway’s coastline is enormous. If you include its islands it becomes an incredible 58,133km (36,122mi). It is the longest coastline in Europe (excluding Russia) and the eighth longest in the world.
(Source: CIA Factbook)

12. The Norwegian King’s Guard mascot and Colonel-in-Chief is a penguin called Nils Olav (Brigadier Sir Nils Olav to be precise). Sir Nils resides in Edinburgh Zoo, Scotland, and was initially given the rank of visekorporal (lance corporal) in 1961. He has been promoted each time the King’s Guard has visited the zoo since.
(Source: The Telegraph)

17. Norway has won more Winter Olympic medals than any other country. The country has won 329 medals (118 gold) in total – considerably more than any other nation. Norway is also one of only three nations (along with Austria and Liechtenstein) to have won more medals at the Winter Games than the Summer.
(Source: Olympic.org)

18. Despite there being little demand for whale meat in Norway, the country continues to defy a global ban on commercial whaling, along with Japan and Iceland. Not cool, Norway. Not cool.
(Source: National Geographic)

19. Vikings originated in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The name ‘Viking’ comes from a language called ‘Old Norse’ and means ‘a pirate raid’. Those that went raiding in ships were said to be ‘going Viking’.
(Source: BBC)

20. Vinnufossen in Norway is Europe’s highest waterfall at 860m (2,822ft) and the world’s sixth tallest.
(Source: Wikipedia)

21. It is forbidden to die in the Arctic town of Longyearbyen in Norway’s Svalbard Islands. The town’s small graveyard stopped accepting bodies 70 years ago after it was discovered that they were failing to decompose. Those that are terminally ill or do indeed die, are transported to another area of Norway.
(Source: BBC)

22. In 1947, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean on Kon Tiki, a rudimentary raft made of balsa wood. Heyerdahl and his men sailed for 101 days across 6,900km (4,300mi) of the Pacific Ocean.
(Source: New York Times)

23. Norway is home to the largest glacier in mainland Europe. The Jostedalsbreen glacier covers 474km 2 .
(Source: VisitNorway)

For more interesting facts about Norway, get the Lonely Planet Guide to Norway.

Norway in the Iron Age

The Iron Age led to better tools and easier cultivation. New areas were cleared as the population grew with the increased harvests. A entirely new social structure evolved.

When sons married, they would remain in the same house creating an extended family known as a clan. This social system offered protection for family members from other clans.

If and when conflicts arose, the issues would be resolved at a thing, a sacred place where all freemen from the surrounding areas would assemble and could determine punishments for crimes. Common punishments for more minor offences included fines, payable in food.

The Norwegian Parliament takes its name from an old word

The word ‘thing’ is still used today to refer to council chambers. The Norwegian translation of the Norwegian Parliament, Stortinget, literally translates as ‘The Big Thing’.

From the first century AD, the expanding Roman Empire began to exert significant cultural influence. Norwegians created a runic alphabet and began trading furs and skins for luxury items from other lands.

Some of the most powerful farmers became chieftains and their power increased during the Migration Period between 400 and 550 as other Germanic tribes migrated northwards and local farmers wanted protection.

3. The world's most remote island is a Norwegian territory

But it may surprise you to learn that it's not in the north! It's actually on the other side of the world. Administered by Norway since 1929, Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean is Planet Earth's most remote island.

It is located approximately 1,700km north of the coastline of Antarctica and 2,600km away from the South African coast. The closest inhabited land is the British overseas territory of Tristan da Cunha, more than 2,000km away. Tristan is also an extremely remote place, with no airport.

Norway designated the 49km² island and its territorial waters a nature reserve in the 1970s. While no-one lives on the island, Norwegian authorities do maintain an (unmanned) weather station. This means it's easy to check the weather there from Norway, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

Because of Bouvet's remoteness and the lack of an airport, visiting the island is a no-go. Unless you're a scientist on a research expedition, this is one island you'll likely never get to visit.

To conform to their culture’s beauty ideals, brunette Vikings—usually men—would use a strong soap with a high lye content to bleach their hair. In some regions, beards were lightened as well. It’s likely these treatments also helped Vikings with a problem far more prickly and rampant than mousy manes: head lice.

Vikings didn’t recognize fellow Vikings. In fact, they probably didn’t even call themselves Vikings: The term simply referred to all Scandinavians who took part in overseas expeditions. During the Viking Age, the land that now makes up Denmark, Norway and Sweden was a patchwork of chieftain-led tribes that often fought against each other—when they weren’t busy wreaking havoc on foreign shores, that is.

Political Life

Government. Norway is a constitutional monarchy that divides responsibility between the parliament (Storting) and the King's Council of State, which consists of a prime minister and other ministers of state. The Storting, which consists of 165 representatives, is the supreme authority and controls finances. Representatives are elected by direct vote for a four-year term. One-quarter of the representatives serve in the upper chamber (Lagting), and the rest form the lower chamber (Odelsting). Local government is represented by 450 municipalities in eighteen counties.

Leadership and Political Officials. Leaders are supposed to be articulate and dedicated spokespersons for the policies of their parties. The major parties, listed roughly in order of their popularity in recent elections, are the Norwegian Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet), a socialist party affiliated with labor unions the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), a nationalistic party the Conservative Party ( Høyre ) the Christian People's Party (Kristelig Folkepartiet), which supports the use of the principles of Christianity in politics the Center Party (Senterpartiet), which originally focused on agrarian issues the Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstrepartiet) and the Liberal Party (Venstre), a reform party. Coalition governments that rely on the cooperation of two or more parties are not uncommon. Party leaders receive considerable media attention and are supposed to be accessible to the electorate. They are not likely to respond to offers of gifts or special privileges.

Social Problems and Control. The judicial system has three levels: the district (Herredsrett) and city

Military Activity. National military service is required, with the option of community service for conscientious objectors. The nation has an army, navy, and air force is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and participates in peacekeeping operations. Norway spends 3 percent of the gross national product on defense.

About people and history

1. Harald V is the present King of Norway. He represents the country and plays a ceremonial role.

2. More than 30% of the country has received higher education. Norwegian universities and state university colleges do not charge a tuition fee for international students.

3. Norway introduced Salmon Sushi to Japan in the 80s.

4. In 2017, Norway is ranked no. 1 in prosperity index while it stood second on the list in 2016.

5. Odd and Even are popular names for males in the country.

6. The late King Olav V used public transport and always paid the ticket. He might have done this to encourage people to make use of public transport instead of private vehicles to cut pollution and minimize traffic.

7. Norway was originally called “Nordweg” meaning the “Northern Way.”

8. The first ever ski jumper was a Norwegian. The Vefsn Nordland ski, found in Norway is dated to 5100 BC. Skiing could be by far one of the oldest sports in existence, if not the oldest.

9. Norway topped the list of Human Development Index (a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions) 9 times between 2001 and 2011. It stood on the second spot behind Iceland in 2007 and 2008. Lifespan, education level and GDP per capita are the three dimensions based on which the HDI is calculated.

10. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark all have one of the lowest income inequality in the world.

11. In 2017, Norway is the happiest place on Earth followed by Denmark, Iceland, and Switzerland.

12. Norway was ranked fifth out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index. It is one of the world’s least corrupt countries.

13. The country has more English speakers than Canada. 76% of the Canadian population speaks English while 86% of the Norwegians make use of the English language for communication.

14. The country does not have any official religion.

15. Since 2008, same-sex marriage is allowed in Norway.

Where is Norway?

Norway is a Northern European country located on the western half of the Scandinavian Peninsula. It is geographically positioned both in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres of the Earth. Norway shares land borders with Sweden, Finland and Russia in the east and an extensive coastline facing the North Atlantic Ocean on the west. It is bounded by the Barents Sea in the north, the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea in the west and the Skagerrak (Skager Strait) in the south.

Regional Maps: Map of Europe


The Norwegian economy is dependent largely on the fortunes of its important petroleum industry. Thus, it experienced a decline in the late 1980s as oil prices fell, but by the late 1990s it had rebounded strongly, benefiting from increased production and higher prices. In an effort to reduce economic downturns caused by drops in oil prices, the government in 1990 established the Government Petroleum Fund (renamed the Government Pension Fund Global in 2006), into which budget surpluses were deposited for investment overseas. Norway reversed its negative balance of payments, and the growth of its gross national product (GNP)—which had slowed during the 1980s—accelerated. By the late 1990s Norway’s per capita GNP was the highest in Scandinavia and among the highest in the world. The Norwegian economy remained robust into the early 21st century, and Norway fared much better than many other industrialized countries during the international financial and economic crisis that began in 2008. Nevertheless, foreign demand for non-petroleum-related Norwegian products weakened during that period, and, though not a participant in the single European currency, Norway was not immune to the pressures of the euro-zone debt crisis.

About one-fourth of Norway’s commodity imports are food and consumer goods (including motor vehicles) the rest consists of raw materials, fuels, and capital goods. The rate of reinvestment has been high in Norway for a number of years. This is reflected in the relatively steady employment in the building and construction industry. Rapid growth, however, has been registered in commercial and service occupations, as is the case in most countries with a high standard of living.

Fewer than 1 percent of the private businesses and industrial companies in Norway have more than 100 employees. Nonetheless, they account for more than two-fifths of the private industrial labour force. The smaller companies are usually family-owned, whereas most of the larger ones are joint-stock companies. Only a few larger concerns are state-owned, most notably Statoil, the state-owned petroleum industry, as well as the railways and the postal service. The state also has large ownership stakes in hydropower stations and electricity plants.

Watch the video: Φτάσαμε στο βορειότερο άκρο της Ευρώπης - Happy Traveller στη Βόρεια Νορβηγία (June 2022).


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