Norway

Norway

Overview
Norway officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula
Scandinavian Peninsula
The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula in Northern Europe, which today covers Norway, Sweden, and most of northern Finland. Prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, large parts of the southern peninsula—including the core region of Scania from which the peninsula takes its name—were part of...

, Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen Island is a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and part of the Kingdom of Norway. It is long and 373 km2 in area, partly covered by glaciers . It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by an isthmus wide...

, and the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 archipelago of Svalbard
Svalbard
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

 and Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an...

. Norway has a total area of 385252 square kilometres (148,746.6 sq mi) and a population of about 4.9 million. It is the second least densely populated country in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 to the south and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the east; in its south Norway borders the Skagerrak Strait
Skagerrak
The Skagerrak is a strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat sea area, which leads to the Baltic Sea.-Name:...

 across from Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

.
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Timeline

1179   The Norwegian Battle of Kalvskinnet outside Nidaros. Earl Erling Skakke is killed, and the battle changes the tide of the civil wars.

1314   King Håkon V Magnusson moves the capital of Norway from Bergen to Oslo.

1326   Treaty of Novgorod delineates borders between Russia and Norway in Finnmark.

1472   Orkney and Shetland are pawned by Norway to Scotland in lieu of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark.

1520   King Christian II of Denmark and Norway defeats the Swedes at Lake Åsunden.

1523   Christian II is forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.

1718   Swedish king Charles XII dies during a siege of the fortress Fredriksten in Norway.

1767   Norway's oldest newspaper still in print, Adresseavisen, is founded and the first edition is published.

1814   Treaty of Kiel: Frederick VI of Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden in return for Pomerania.

1814   Norway's independence is proclaimed, marking the ultimate end of the Kalmar Union.

 
Encyclopedia
Norway officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

 unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula
Scandinavian Peninsula
The Scandinavian Peninsula is a peninsula in Northern Europe, which today covers Norway, Sweden, and most of northern Finland. Prior to the 17th and 18th centuries, large parts of the southern peninsula—including the core region of Scania from which the peninsula takes its name—were part of...

, Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen Island is a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and part of the Kingdom of Norway. It is long and 373 km2 in area, partly covered by glaciers . It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by an isthmus wide...

, and the Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 archipelago of Svalbard
Svalbard
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

 and Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an...

. Norway has a total area of 385252 square kilometres (148,746.6 sq mi) and a population of about 4.9 million. It is the second least densely populated country in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 to the south and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 to the east; in its south Norway borders the Skagerrak Strait
Skagerrak
The Skagerrak is a strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat sea area, which leads to the Baltic Sea.-Name:...

 across from Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

. The capital city
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of Norway is Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

, is home to its famous fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

s.

Two centuries of Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 raids tapered off following the adoption of Christianity
Christianization of Scandinavia
The Christianization of Scandinavia took place between the 8th and the 12th century. The realms of Scandinavia proper, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, established their own Archdioceses, responsible directly to the Pope, in 1104, 1154 and 1164, respectively...

 by King
Germanic kingship
Germanic kingship refers to the customs and practices surrounding kings among the pagan Germanic tribes of the Migration period and the kingdoms of the Early Middle Ages ....

 Olav Tryggvason in 994. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, and Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, but competition from the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 and the spread of the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 weakened the country. In 1380, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

 resisted the cession of their country to Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and adopted a new constitution
Constitution of Norway
The Constitution of Norway was first adopted on May 16, 1814 by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll , then signed and dated May 17...

. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism was a movement in Norway between 1840 and 1867 in art, literature, and popular culture that emphasized the aesthetics of Norwegian nature and the uniqueness of the Norwegian national identity...

 throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, but was nonetheless occupied
Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany
The occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, and ended on May 8, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. Throughout this period, Norway was continuously occupied by the Wehrmacht...

 for five years by the Third Reich. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities
Immigration to Norway
The number of immigrants in Norway is currently approximately 601,000, which corresponds to 12.2 percent of the total population . In addition to these, 213,486 are born in Norway with one immigrant parent, 31,540 are born abroad with one Norwegian parent, and 37,056 are born abroad to Norwegian...

, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net
Nordic model
The Nordic model refers to the economic and social models of the Nordic countries . This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by "universalist" welfare states , which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human...

 with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness
Economy of Norway
The economy of Norway is a developed mixed economy with heavy state-ownership in strategic areas of the economy. Although sensitive to global business cycles, the economy of Norway has shown robust growth since the start of the industrial era...

.

Norway is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 parliamentary democracy
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 and constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, with King Harald V
Harald V of Norway
Harald V is the king of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991...

 as its head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg
is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

 as its prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

. It is a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 with administrative subdivisions on two levels known as counties (fylke
Counties of Norway
Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called counties . The counties form the primary first-level subdivisions of Norway and are further divided into 430 municipalities...

r) and municipalities (kommuner). The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament
Sami Parliament of Norway
The Sami Parliament of Norway is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people....

 and the Finnmark Act
Finnmark Act
The Finnmark Act transferred about 95% of the area in the Finnmark county in Norway to the inhabitants of Finnmark. This area is managed by the Finnmark Estate agency....

. Although having rejected European Union membership in two referenda, Norway maintains close ties with the union and its member countries, as well as with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Norway remains one of the biggest financial contributors to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, and participates with UN forces in international missions, notably in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

, Kosovo
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

, Sudan
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 and Libya
2011 military intervention in Libya
On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the 2011 Libyan civil war...

. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, NATO, the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

, and the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
The Nordic Council is a geo-political, inter-parliamentary forum for co-operation between the Nordic countries. It was established following World War II and its first concrete result was the introduction in 1952 of a common labour market and free movement across borders without passports for the...

, a member also of the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

, the WTO
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

, the OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 and is a part of Schengen Area
Schengen Area
The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985...

.

Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

, natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, minerals, lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

, seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

, fresh water
Fresh Water
Fresh Water is the debut album by Australian rock and blues singer Alison McCallum, released in 1972. Rare for an Australian artist at the time, it came in a gatefold sleeve...

, and hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

. On a per-capita
Per capita
Per capita is a Latin prepositional phrase: per and capita . The phrase thus means "by heads" or "for each head", i.e. per individual or per person...

 basis, it is the world's largest producer of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 outside of the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, and the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

. The country maintains a Nordic welfare model
Nordic model
The Nordic model refers to the economic and social models of the Nordic countries . This particular adaptation of the mixed market economy is characterised by "universalist" welfare states , which are aimed specifically at enhancing individual autonomy, ensuring the universal provision of basic human...

 with universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

, subsidized higher education
Higher education
Higher, post-secondary, tertiary, or third level education refers to the stage of learning that occurs at universities, academies, colleges, seminaries, and institutes of technology...

, and a comprehensive social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

 system. From 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 through 2011, Norway has had the highest human development index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 ranking in the world.

Etymology


Modern etymologists
Etymology
Etymology is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time.For languages with a long written history, etymologists make use of texts in these languages and texts about the languages to gather knowledge about how words were used during...

 believe the country's name means "the northward route" (the "way north" or the "north way"), which in Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 would have been nor veg or *norð vegr. The Old Norse name for Norway was Nóregr, the Anglo-Saxon
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 Norþ weg and mediaeval Latin Northvegia. The present name of the Kingdom of Norway in Bokmål
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 is "Kongeriket Norge" and in Nynorsk
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 "Kongeriket Noreg", both only a couple of letters removed from the original "northern way": Nor(d)-(v)e.g.

Prehistory





The first inhabitants were the Ahrensburg culture
Ahrensburg culture
The Ahrensburg culture was a late Upper Paleolithic culture during the Younger Dryas, the last spell of cold at the end of the Weichsel glaciation. The culture is named after village of Ahrensburg, northeast of Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein where wooden arrow shafts and clubs...

 (11th to 10th millennia BC) which was a late Upper Paleolithic
Upper Paleolithic
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age as it is understood in Europe, Africa and Asia. Very broadly it dates to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, roughly coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity and before the advent of...

 culture during the Younger Dryas, the last spell of cold at the end of the Weichsel glaciation. The culture is named after village of Ahrensburg, 25 km (15.53 mi) northeast 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
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 (Komsa culture) in the north and Rogaland
Rogaland
is a county in Western Norway, bordering Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. It is the center of the Norwegian petroleum industry, and as a result of this, Rogaland has the lowest unemployment rate of any county in Norway, 1.1%...

 (Fosna culture) in the southwest. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag
Trøndelag
Trøndelag is the name of a geographical region in the central part of Norway, consisting of the two counties Nord-Trøndelag and Sør-Trøndelag. The region is, together with Møre og Romsdal, part of a larger...

 to Oslo Fjord 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. Some may have come along the ice-free coast of the Kola Peninsula, but the evidence of this is still poor.

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 skillfully made. Rock carvings (i. e. petroglyphs) have been found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game such as deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

, reindeer
Reindeer
The reindeer , also known as the caribou in North America, is a deer from the Arctic and Subarctic, including both resident and migratory populations. While overall widespread and numerous, some of its subspecies are rare and one has already gone extinct.Reindeer vary considerably in color and size...

, elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

, bears, birds, seals
Earless seal
The true seals or earless seals are one of the three main groups of mammals within the seal superfamily, Pinnipedia. All true seals are members of the family Phocidae . They are sometimes called crawling seals to distinguish them from the fur seals and sea lions of the family Otariidae...

, whales, and fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 (especially salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

 and halibut
Halibut
Halibut is a flatfish, genus Hippoglossus, from the family of the right-eye flounders . Other flatfish are also called halibut. The name is derived from haly and butt , for its popularity on Catholic holy days...

), all of which were vital to the way of life of the coastal peoples. The carvings at Alta
Alta, Norway
-Birdlife:For those interested in bird watching, the river outlet, known locally as Altaosen is well worth a visit. This tidal area is used as a stopover for many wetland species.-Transportation:...

 in Finnmark, the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level continuously from 4,200 to 500 BC and mark the progression of the land as it rose from the sea after the last ice age (Rock carvings at Alta
Rock carvings at Alta
The Rock art of Alta are located in and around the municipality of Alta in the county of Finnmark in northern Norway. Since the first carvings were discovered in 1972, more than 6000 carvings have been found on several sites around Alta...

).

Bronze Age


Between 3000 and 2500 BC new settlers (Corded Ware culture
Corded Ware culture
The Corded Ware culture , alternatively characterized as the Battle Axe culture or Single Grave culture, is an enormous European archaeological horizon that begins in the late Neolithic , flourishes through the Copper Age and culminates in the early Bronze Age.Corded Ware culture is associated with...

) arrived in eastern Norway. They were Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 farmers who grew grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 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
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 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
Harstad
is the second largest city and municipality by population, in Troms county, Norway – the city is also the third largest in North Norway. Thus Harstad is the natural centre for its district. Situated approximately north of the Arctic Circle, the city celebrated its 100th anniversary in...

 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
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

. Representations of the Sun
Sun
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It is almost perfectly spherical and consists of hot plasma interwoven with magnetic fields...

, animals, trees, weapons, ships, and people are all strongly stylized, probably as fertility symbols connected with the religious ideas of the period.

Iron Age



Little has been found dating from the early Iron Age
Iron Age
The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of such material coincided with other changes in society, including differing...

 (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
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

. About 70 Roman bronze cauldrons, often used as burial urns, have been found. Contact with the civilized 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
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, 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 Bjorgvin (Bergen) or Saeheim (Seim), usually date from the first century AD.

Migration Age



The destruction ot the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 by the Germanic tribes (5th century AD) is characterized by rich finds, including chieftain
Chieftain
Chieftain may refer to:The leader or head of a group:* a tribal chief or a village head.* a member of the 'House of chiefs'.* a captain, to which 'chieftain' is etymologically related.* Clan chief, the head of a Scottish clan....

s’ graves containing magnificent weapons and gold objects. Hill forts were built on precipitous rocks for defense. Excavation has revealed stone foundations of farmhouses 60 to 90 feet (18 to 27 metres) long—one even 150 feet (46 metres) long—the roofs of which were supported on wooden posts. These houses were family homesteads where several generations lived together, with people and cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 under one roof. From this period and later (600–800), nascent communities can be traced. Defense works require cooperation and leadership, so petty states of some kind with a defense and administrative organization must have existed.

These states were based on either clans or tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s (e.g., the Horder of Hordaland
Hordaland
is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen...

 in western Norway). By the 9th century each of these small states had things, or tings
Thing (assembly)
A thing was the governing assembly in Germanic and introduced into some Celtic societies, made up of the free people of the community and presided by lawspeakers, meeting in a place called a thingstead...

 (local or regional assemblies), for negotiating and settling disputes. The thing meeting places, each eventually with a horg
Hörgr
A hörgr or hearg was a type of religious building or altar possibly consisting of a heap of stones, used in Norse paganism...

 (open-air sanctuary) or a hov
Heathen hofs
Heathen hofs or Germanic pagan temples were the temple buildings of Germanic paganism; there are also a few built for use in modern Germanic neopaganism...

 (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
Sognefjord
The Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, and the second longest in the world. Located in Sogn og Fjordane county, it stretches inland to the small village of Skjolden...

 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
Trondheimsfjord
The Trondheimsfjord , an inlet of the Norwegian Sea, is Norway's third longest fjord at long. It is located in the west central part of the country, and it stretches from Ørland in west to Steinkjer in north, passing the city of Trondheim on its way...

 area; the earls Jarls of Lade
Jarls of Lade
The Jarls of Lade or Old Norse Hlaðir were a dynasty of Norwegian rulers, who ruled Trøndelag and Hålogaland from the 9th century to the 11th century. -Lade Gaard:...

, near Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

, seem to have enlarged the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland from Romsdalsfjord
Romsdalsfjord
Romsdalsfjord is the ninth longest fjord in Norway. It is long and located in the Romsdal district of Møre og Romsdal county. It flows through the municipalities of Midsund, Haram, Vestnes, Molde, Nesset, and Rauma...

 to the Lofoten Islands. A lagting developed in the area of Lake Mjøsa in the east and eventually established its meeting place at Eidsvoll
Eidsvoll
is a municipality in Akershus county, Norway. It is part of the Romerike traditional region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Sundet.-Name:...

, becoming known as the Eidsivating. The area around Oslofjord
Oslofjord
The Oslofjord is a bay in the south-east of Norway, stretching from an imaginary line between the Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses and down to Langesund in the south to Oslo in the north....

, although at times closely tied to Denmark, developed a lagting—with its meeting place at Sarpsborg
Sarpsborg
is a city and municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Sarpsborg.Sarpsborg is part of the fifth largest urban area in Norway when paired with neighbouring Fredrikstad...

 called the Borgarting.

Viking Age


The Viking Age
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

 was characterized by expansion and emigration by Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 seafarers. According to tradition, Harald Fairhair
Harald I of Norway
Harald Fairhair or Harald Finehair , , son of Halfdan the Black, was the first king of Norway.-Background:Little is known of the historical Harald...

 (Harald Hårfagre) unified them into one in 872 after the Battle of Hafrsfjord
Battle of Hafrsfjord
The Battle of Hafrsfjord has traditionally been regarded as the battle in which western Norway for the first time was unified under one monarch.The national monument of Haraldshaugen was raised in 1872, to commemorate the Battle of Hafrsfjord...

 in Stavanger
Stavanger
Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway...

, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway. (The date of 872 may be somewhat arbitrary. In fact, the actual date may be just prior to 900). Harald's realm was mainly a South Norwegian
South Norway
South Norway is the southern third of Norway, consisting of the regions Vestlandet, Østlandet and Sørlandet. South Norway has no administrative functions, and does not constitute a cultural or linguistic region - as opposed to Central Norway/Trøndelag and particularly North Norway...

 coastal state. Harald Fairhair ruled with a strong hand and, according to the sagas, many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, the Faroe Islands
Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are an island group situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroe Islands are a self-governing territory within the Kingdom of Denmark, along with Denmark proper and Greenland...

, Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

, and parts of Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. The modern-day Irish
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 cities of Dublin, Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

, and Waterford
Waterford
Waterford is a city in the South-East Region of Ireland. It is the oldest city in the country and fifth largest by population. Waterford City Council is the local government authority for the city and its immediate hinterland...

 were founded by Norwegian (and Danish) settlers.
Norse traditions
Norse mythology
Norse mythology, a subset of Germanic mythology, is the overall term for the myths, legends and beliefs about supernatural beings of Norse pagans. It flourished prior to the Christianization of Scandinavia, during the Early Middle Ages, and passed into Nordic folklore, with some aspects surviving...

 were slowly replaced by Christian ones
Christian mythology
Christian mythology is the body of myths associated with Christianity. In the study of mythology, the term "myth" refers to a traditional story, often one which is regarded as sacred and which explains how the world and its inhabitants came to have their present form.Classicist G.S. Kirk defines a...

 in the 10th and 11th Centuries. This is largely attributed to the missionary kings Olav Tryggvasson
Olaf I of Norway
Olaf Tryggvason was King of Norway from 995 to 1000. He was the son of Tryggvi Olafsson, king of Viken , and, according to later sagas, the great-grandson of Harald Fairhair, first King of Norway.Olaf played an important part in the often forcible, on pain of torture or death, conversion of the...

 and St. Olav
Olaf II of Norway
Olaf II Haraldsson was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. He was posthumously given the title Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae and canonised in Nidaros by Bishop Grimkell, one year after his death in the Battle of Stiklestad on 29 July 1030. Enshrined in Nidaros Cathedral...

. Haakon the Good
Haakon I of Norway
Haakon I , , given the byname the Good, was the third king of Norway and the youngest son of Harald Fairhair and Thora Mosterstang.-Early life:...

 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 were he was acclaimed King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995.

Feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 never really developed in Norway and Sweden, as it did in the rest of Europe. However, the administration of government took on a very conservative feudal character. The Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 forced the royalty to cede to them greater and greater concessions over foreign trade and the economy. The League had this hold over the royalty because of the loans the Hansa had made to the royalty and the large debt the kings were carrying. The League's monopolistic control over the economy of Norway put pressure on all classes, especially the peasantry, to the degree that no real burgher class existed in Norway.

Kalmar Union


Upon the death of Haakon V, King of Norway, in 1319, three year-old Magnus Erikson
Magnus IV of Sweden
Magnus Eriksson as Magnus IV was king of Sweden , including Finland, as Magnus VII King of Norway , including Iceland and Greenland, and also ruled Scania . He has also vindictively been called Magnus Smek...

 inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of Norway. At the same time a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful. (At this time 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
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 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. Before the plague, total population was only about 500,000 people. After the plague, many farms lay idle while the population slowly increased. 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 Danish King Valdemar. 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 May 3, 1376. Thus, upon his ascension to the throne of Norway, Olaf united Denmark and Norway under a single throne. 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 February 2, 1388, Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret.

Queen Margaret knew that her power would be more secure if she were able to find a king to rule in her place. She settled on Eric of Pomerania
Eric of Pomerania
Eric of Pomerania KG was King Eric III of Norway Norwegian Eirik, King Eric VII of Denmark , and as Eric King of Sweden...

, 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
Nordic countries
The Nordic countries make up a region in Northern Europe and the North Atlantic which consists of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their associated territories, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland...

, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 under the control of Queen Margrethe I of Denmark
Margaret I of Denmark
Margaret I was Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and founder of the Kalmar Union, which united the Scandinavian countries for over a century. Although she acted as queen regnant, the laws of contemporary Danish succession denied her formal queenship. Her title in Denmark was derived from her...

 when the country entered into the Kalmar Union
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

.

Union with Denmark



After Sweden broke out of the Kalmar Union
Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union is a historiographical term meaning a series of personal unions that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway , and Sweden under a single monarch, though intermittently and with a population...

 in 1521, Norway remained with Denmark until 1814, a total of 436 years. During the national romanticism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

 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
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 in Denmark.
With the introduction of Protestantism in 1536, the archbishopric in Trondheim was dissolved, and Norway effectually became a tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 to Denmark, and the church's incomes were distributed to the court in Copenhagen instead. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav
Olaf II of Norway
Olaf II Haraldsson was King of Norway from 1015 to 1028. He was posthumously given the title Rex Perpetuus Norvegiae and canonised in Nidaros by Bishop Grimkell, one year after his death in the Battle of Stiklestad on 29 July 1030. Enshrined in Nidaros Cathedral...

 at the Nidaros
Nidaros
Nidaros or Niðarós was during the Middle Ages, the old name of Trondheim, Norway . Until the Reformation, Nidaros remained the centre of the spiritual life of the country...

 shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe. Additionally, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provinces Båhuslen
Bohuslän
' is a Swedish traditional province, or landskap, situated in Götaland on the northernmost part of the country's west coast. It is bordered by Dalsland to the northeast, Västergötland to the southeast, the Skagerrak arm of the North Sea to the west, and the county of Østfold in Norway to the north...

, Jemtland
Jämtland
Jämtland or Jamtland is a historical province or landskap in the center of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders to Härjedalen and Medelpad in the south, Ångermanland in the east, Lapland in the north and Trøndelag and Norway in the west...

, and Herjedalen
Härjedalen
' is a historical province or landskap in the centre of Sweden. It borders the country of Norway as well as the provinces of Dalarna, Hälsingland, Medelpad, and Jämtland...

 to Sweden, as a result of numerous wars between Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway
Denmark–Norway is the historiographical name for a former political entity consisting of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, including the originally Norwegian dependencies of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands...

 and Sweden. To the north, however, its territory was increased by the acquisition of the northern provinces of Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

 and Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.

The famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 of 1695–96 killed roughly 10% of Norway's population. At least nine severe harvest failures were recorded in the Scandinavian countries between 1740 and 1800, each resulting in a substantial rise of the death rate.

Union with Sweden (19th century)



After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 at the Battle of Copenhagen, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon, with the war leading to dire conditions and mass starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 in 1812. As the Danish kingdom found itself on the losing side in 1814, it was forced, under terms of the Treaty of Kiel
Treaty of Kiel
The Treaty of Kiel or Peace of Kiel was concluded between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden on one side and the Kingdoms of Denmark and Norway on the other side on 14 January 1814 in 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
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 and French
Constitution of France
The current Constitution of France was adopted on 4 October 1958. It is typically called the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, and replaced that of the Fourth Republic dating from 1946. Charles de Gaulle was the main driving force in introducing the new constitution and inaugurating the Fifth...

 models, and elected the crown prince of Denmark-Norway Christian Frederik
Christian VIII of Denmark
Christian VIII , was king of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, king of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born in 1786 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen...

 as king on 17 May 1814. This is the famous Syttende Mai
Norwegian Constitution Day
Norwegian Constitution Day is the National Day of Norway and is an official national holiday observed on May 17 each year. Among Norwegians, the day is referred to simply as syttende mai or syttande mai , Nasjonaldagen or Grunnlovsdagen , although the latter is less frequent.- Historical...

 (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
Convention of Moss
The Convention of Moss was a cease fire agreement, signed August 14, 1814, between the Swedish King and the Norwegian Storting. It followed the Swedish-Norwegian War due to Norway's claim to sovereignty...

. According to the terms of the convention, Christian Frederik abdicated the Norwegian throne and authorized the Parliament of Norway to make the necessary constitutional amendments to allow for the personal union
Personal union
A personal union is the combination by which two or more different states have the same monarch while their boundaries, their laws and their interests remain distinct. It should not be confused with a federation which is internationally considered a single state...

 that Norway was forced to accept. On November 4, 1814, the Parliament (Storting) elected Charles XIII of Sweden
Charles XIII of Sweden
Charles XIII & II also Carl, , was King of Sweden from 1809 and King of Norway from 1814 until his death...

 as king of Norway, thereby establishing the union with Sweden
Union between Sweden and Norway
The Union between Sweden and Norway , officially the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, consisted of present-day Sweden and Norway between 1814 and 1905, when they were united under one monarch in a personal union....

. 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
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, economic development of Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.

This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism was a movement in Norway between 1840 and 1867 in art, literature, and popular culture that emphasized the aesthetics of Norwegian nature and the uniqueness of the Norwegian national identity...

, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland was a Norwegian writer, most celebrated for his poetry but also a prolific playwright, polemicist, historian, and linguist...

 [1808–1845], Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

 [1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore...

 [1812–1845], Jørgen Moe
Jørgen Moe
right|thumb|Norske Folkeeventyr Asbjørnsen and Moe Jørgen Engebretsen Moe was a Norwegian bishop and author...

 [1813–1882]), painting (Hans Gude
Hans Gude
Hans Fredrik Gude was a Norwegian romanticist painter and is considered along with Johan Christian Dahl to be one of Norway's foremost landscape painters...

 [1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand
Adolph Tidemand
Adolph Tidemand was a noted Norwegian romantic nationalism painter. Among his best known paintings are Haugianerne and Brudeferd i Hardanger with Hans Gude.-Biography:Adolph Tidemand was born in Mandal, Norway as the son of customs inspector and Storting representative...

 [1814–1876]), music (Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

 [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
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

: Bokmål
Bokmål
Bokmål is one of two official Norwegian written standard languages, the other being Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 85–90% of the population in Norway, and is the standard most commonly taught to foreign students of the Norwegian language....

 and Nynorsk
Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...

.

King Karl XIV Johan
Charles XIV John of Sweden
Charles XIV & III John, also Carl John, Swedish and Norwegian: Karl Johan was King of Sweden and King of Norway from 1818 until his death...

, 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. Karl Johan was a complex man whose long reign extended to 1844. King Karl Johan 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
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

 to put down public movements for reform—especially the Norwegian national independence movement.

The Romantic Era
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 that followed the reign of King Karl Johan brought some significant social and political reforms. In 1854, women were given 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. However, by mid-century, Norway was still far from a "democracy". Voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders, and burghers of incorporated towns. There was some dissatisfaction with this backwardness.

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. Most revolts broke themselves on the granite conservativism of the Norwegian society. Indeed, the Thrane movement was the only "revolt" that broke out in Norway in 1848.

Marcus Thrane
Marcus Thrane
Marcus Møller Thrane was a Norwegian author, journalist, and the leader of the first Norwegian labor movement, later known as the Thrane movement .-Early life:...

 was a Utopian socialist. He made his appeal to the labouring classes urging a change of social structure "from below upwards." In 1848, he organized a labour society in Drammen
Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

. In just a few months this society had a membership of 500 and the society was publishing its own newspaper. Within two years 300 societies had been organized all over Norway with a total membership of 20,000 persons. The membership was drawn from the lower classes of both the town and country. For the first time these two groups felt they had common cause with each other. In the end, the revolt was easily crushed, Thrane was captured and sentenced to three years in jail for crimes against the safety of the state. Upon his release from jail, after serving his sentence, Marcus Thrane migrated to the United States of America.

In 1898, all men were granted universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

, followed by all women
Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage or woman suffrage is the right of women to vote and to run for office. The expression is also used for the economic and political reform movement aimed at extending these rights to women and without any restrictions or qualifications such as property ownership, payment of tax, or...

 in 1913.

Independence


Christian Michelsen
Christian Michelsen
Peter Christian Hersleb Kjerschow Michelsen was a Norwegian shipping magnate and statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of an independent Norway from 1905 to 1907...

, a shipping magnate and statesman, Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden on 7 June 1905. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl, and Parliament unanimously elected him king, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 586 years. He took the name of Haakon VII
Haakon VII of Norway
Haakon VII , known as Prince Carl of Denmark until 1905, was the first king of Norway after the 1905 dissolution of the personal union with Sweden. He was a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg...

, after the mediaeval kings of independent Norway.

World War I and II




During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Norway was a neutral country. In reality, however, Norway had been pressured by the United Kingdom to hand over increasingly large parts of its massive merchant fleet to the UK at low rates, as well as to join the trade blockade against Germany. Norwegian merchant marine ships with Norwegian sailors were then required to sail under the British flag and risk being sunk by German submarines. Thus, many Norwegian sailors and ships were lost. Thereafter, the world ranking of the Norwegian merchant marine fell from fourth place in the world to sixth place in the world.

Norway also proclaimed its neutrality during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, but Norway was invaded by German forces
Operation Weserübung
Operation Weserübung 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...

 on 9 April 1940. Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack (see: Battle of Drøbak Sound
Battle of Drøbak sound
The Battle of Drøbak Sound took place in the northernmost part of the Oslofjord on 9 April 1940, on the first day of the German invasion of Norway...

, Norwegian Campaign
Norwegian Campaign
The Norwegian Campaign was a military campaign that was fought in Norway during the Second World War between the Allies and Germany, after the latter's invasion of the country. In April 1940, the United Kingdom and France came to Norway's aid with an expeditionary force...

, and Invasion of Norway), but military and naval resistance lasted for two months. The armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German forces in the Battles of Narvik
Battles of Narvik
The Battles of Narvik were fought from 9 April-8 June 1940 as a naval battle in the Ofotfjord and as a land battle in the mountains surrounding the north Norwegian city of Narvik as part of the Norwegian Campaign of the Second World War....

, until they were forced to surrender on June 10 after losing British help diverted to France during the German Invasion of France
Battle of France
In the Second World War, the Battle of France was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, beginning on 10 May 1940, which ended the Phoney War. The battle consisted of two main operations. In the first, Fall Gelb , German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes, to cut off and...

.

King Haakon and the Norwegian government escaped to Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe
Rotherhithe is a residential district in inner southeast London, England and part of the London Borough of Southwark. It is located on a peninsula on the south bank of the Thames, facing Wapping and the Isle of Dogs on the north bank, and is a part of the Docklands area...

, London, England
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and they supported the fight through inspirational radio speeches from London and by supporting clandestine military actions in Norway against the Nazis. On the day of the invasion, the collaborative leader of the small National-Socialist party Nasjonal Samling, Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Quisling
Vidkun Abraham Lauritz Jonssøn Quisling was a Norwegian politician. On 9 April 1940, with the German invasion of Norway in progress, he seized power in a Nazi-backed coup d'etat that garnered him international infamy. From 1942 to 1945 he served as Minister-President, working with the occupying...

, 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
Reichskommissar
Reichskommissar , in German history, was an official gubernatorial title used for various public offices during the period of the German Empire and the Nazi Third Reich....

 Josef Terboven
Josef Terboven
Josef Antonius Heinrich Terboven was a Nazi leader, best known as the Reichskommissar during the German occupation of Norway.-Early life:...

. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a collaborationist government under German control
Quisling regime
The Quisling regime, or the Quisling government are common names used to refer to the collaborationist government led by Vidkun Quisling in occupied Norway during the Second World War. The official name of the regime from 1 February 1942 until its dissolution in May 1945 was Nasjonale regjering...

. Up to 15,000 Norwegians volunteered to fight in German units, including the Waffen-SS
Waffen-SS
The Waffen-SS was a multi-ethnic and multi-national military force of the Third Reich. It constituted the armed wing of the Schutzstaffel or SS, an organ of the Nazi Party. The Waffen-SS saw action throughout World War II and grew from three regiments to over 38 divisions, and served alongside...

.

There were also many Norwegians, and those of Norwegian descent, who joined the Allied forces as well as the Free Norwegian Forces
Free Norwegian Forces
The Norwegian Armed Forces in exile were remnants of the armed forces of Norway that continued to fight the Axis powers from Allied countries, such as Britain and Canada, after they had escaped the German occupation of Norway during World War II.-Background:...

. From the small group that had left Norway in June 1940 consisting of 13 ships, five aircraft and 500 men from the Royal Norwegian Navy who followed the King to the United Kingdom the force had grown by the end of the war to 58 ships and 7,500 men in service in the Norwegian Navy; 5 Squadrons of aircraft (including Spitfires, Sunderland flying boats and Mosquitos) in the newly formed Norwegian Air Force; and land forces including the Norwegian Independent Company 1
Norwegian Independent Company 1
Norwegian Independent Company 1 was a British SOE group formed in March 1941 originally for the purpose of performing commando raids during the Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany. It was organized under the leadership of Captain Martin Linge...

 & 5 Troop as well as No.10 Commandos
British Commandos
The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

.

During the five years of Nazi occupation
Occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany
The occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany started with the German invasion of Norway on April 9, 1940, and ended on May 8, 1945, after the capitulation of German forces in Europe. Throughout this period, Norway was continuously occupied by the Wehrmacht...

, Norwegians built a resistance movement
Norwegian resistance movement
The Norwegian resistance to the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany began after Operation Weserübung in 1940 and ended in 1945. It took several forms:...

 which fought the German occupation forces with both civil disobedience and armed resistance including the destruction of Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro ASA is a Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, headquartered in Oslo. Hydro is the fourth largest integrated aluminium company worldwide. It has operations in some 40 countries around the world and is active on all continents. The Norwegian state holds a 43.8 percent...

's heavy water
Heavy water
Heavy water is water highly enriched in the hydrogen isotope deuterium; e.g., heavy water used in CANDU reactors is 99.75% enriched by hydrogen atom-fraction...

 plant and stockpile of heavy water at Vemork
Vemork
Vemork is the name of a hydroelectric power plant outside Rjukan in Tinn, Norway. The plant was built by Norsk Hydro and opened in 1911, its main purpose being to fix nitrogen for the production of fertilizer. Vemork was later the site of the first plant in the world to mass-produce heavy water...

, which crippled the German nuclear program (see: Norwegian heavy water sabotage
Norwegian heavy water sabotage
The Norwegian heavy water sabotage was a series of actions undertaken by Norwegian saboteurs during World War II to prevent the German nuclear energy project from acquiring heavy water , which could be used to produce nuclear weapons...

). More important to the Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 war effort, however, was the role of the Norwegian Merchant Marine
Merchant Navy
The Merchant Navy is the maritime register of the United Kingdom, and describes the seagoing commercial interests of UK-registered ships and their crews. Merchant Navy vessels fly the Red Ensign and are regulated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency...

. At the time of the invasion
Invasion
An invasion is a military offensive consisting of all, or large parts of the armed forces of one geopolitical entity aggressively entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering, liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a...

, Norway had the fourth largest merchant marine fleet in the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping company Nortraship
Nortraship
The Norwegian Shipping and Trade Mission was established in London in April 1940 to administer the Norwegian merchant fleet outside German-controlled areas. Nortraship operated some 1,000 vessels and was the largest shipping company in the world. It is credited for giving a major contribution to...

 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
Christmas tree
The Christmas tree is a decorated evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, and a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century...

 to the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as thanks for the British assistance during World War II. A ceremony takes place to erect the tree in London's famous Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

.

Post-war history


From 1945 to 1962, the Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

 held an absolute majority in the parliament. The government, led by prime minister Einar Gerhardsen
Einar Gerhardsen
was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party of Norway. He was Prime Minister for three periods, 1945–1951, 1955–1963 and 1963–1965. With 17 years in office, he is the longest serving Prime Minister in Norway since the introduction of parliamentarism...

, embarked on a program inspired by Keynesian economics
Keynesian economics
Keynesian economics is a school of macroeconomic thought based on the ideas of 20th-century English economist John Maynard Keynes.Keynesian economics argues that private sector decisions sometimes lead to inefficient macroeconomic outcomes and, therefore, advocates active policy responses by the...

, emphasizing state financed industrialization, cooperation between trade union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

s and employers' organization
Employers' organization
An employers' organization, employers' association or employers' federation is an association of employers. A trade union, which organizes employees is the opposite of an employers' organization...

s. Many measures of state control of the economy imposed during the war were continued, although the rationing
Rationing
Rationing is the controlled distribution of scarce resources, goods, or services. Rationing controls the size of the ration, one's allotted portion of the resources being distributed on a particular day or at a particular time.- In economics :...

 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
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 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 Soviet seizure of power in Czechoslovakia in 1948
Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948
The Czechoslovak coup d'état of 1948 – in Communist historiography known as "Victorious February" – was an event late that February in which the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, with Soviet backing, assumed undisputed control over the government of Czechoslovakia, ushering in over four decades...

), and strengthened its foreign policy and defence policy ties with the U.S. Norway received Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

 aid from the United States starting in 1947, joined the OEEC
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is an international economic organisation of 34 countries founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade...

 one year later and became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949.

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.

In 1969, the Phillips Petroleum Company discovered petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 resources at the Ekofisk
Ekofisk oil field
Ekofisk is an oil field in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea about southwest of Stavanger. Discovered in 1969, it remains one of the most important oil fields in the North Sea. Production began in 1971 after the construction of a series of off-shore platforms by Phillips Petroleum Company...

 field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian government founded the State oil company, Statoil
Statoil
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro...

. 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.

Norway was a founding member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Two referendum
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

s on joining the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994. In 1981, a Conservative government led by Kåre Willoch
Kåre Willoch
Kåre Isaachsen Willoch is a Norwegian politician from the Conservative Party. He served as Minister of Trade and Shipping in 1963 and 1965–1970, and as Prime Minister of Norway from 1981 to 1986...

 replaced the Labour Party with a policy of stimulating the stagflated economy
Stagflation
In economics, stagflation is a situation in which the inflation rate is high and the economic growth rate slows down and unemployment remains steadily high...

 with tax cuts, economic liberalization, deregulation of markets, and measures to curb the record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).

Norway's first female prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

 of the Labour party, continued many of the reforms of her right-wing predecessor, while backing traditional Labour concerns such as social security
Social security
Social security is primarily a social insurance program providing social protection or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. Social security may refer to:...

, high taxes, the industrialization of nature, and feminism. By the late 1990s, Norway had paid off its foreign debt and had started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund
Sovereign wealth fund
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial...

. 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 a pair of devastating attacks
2011 Norway attacks
The 2011 Norway attacks were two sequential terrorist attacks against the government, the civilian population and a summer camp in Norway on 22 July 2011....

 conducted by Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik
Anders Behring Breivik is a Norwegian terrorist, paranoid schizophrenic and the confessed perpetrator of the Norway attacks on 22 July 2011: the bombing of government buildings in Oslo that resulted in eight deaths, and the mass shooting at a camp of the Workers' Youth League of the Labour Party...

 which struck the government quarter
Regjeringskvartalet
Regjeringskvartalet is a collection of buildings in the centre of Norwegian capital city Oslo housing several of the offices of the Government of Norway...

 in Oslo and a summer camp of the Labour party's youth movement
Workers' Youth League (Norway)
The Workers' Youth League is Norways biggest political youth organization, and is affiliated with the Norwegian Labour Party.AUF took its current form in April 1927, following the merger of Left Communist Youth League and Socialist Youth League of Norway corresponding with the merger of its...

 at Utøya
Utøya
Utøya is a small island in the Tyrifjorden lake in Hole municipality, in the county of Buskerud, Norway. The island is , situated off the shore, by the E16 road, driving distance north-west of Oslo city centre.-Overview:...

 island, resulting in 77 deaths and 96 wounded.

Geography


Norway comprises the western part of Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 in Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

. The rugged coastline, broken by huge fjord
Fjord
Geologically, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.-Formation:A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a U-shaped valley by abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by rebound of Earth's crust as the ice...

s and thousands of island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

s, stretches 25000 kilometres (15,534.3 mi) and 83000 kilometres (51,573.9 mi) including fjords and islands. Norway shares a 1619 kilometres (1,006 mi) land border with Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, 727 kilometres (451.7 mi) with Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and 196 kilometres (121.8 mi) with Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 at the east. To the north, west and south, Norway is bordered by the Barents Sea
Barents Sea
The Barents Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean, located north of Norway and Russia. Known in the Middle Ages as the Murman Sea, the sea takes its current name from the Dutch navigator Willem Barents...

, the Norwegian Sea
Norwegian Sea
The Norwegian Sea is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a...

, the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 and Skagerrak
Skagerrak
The Skagerrak is a strait running between Norway and the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat sea area, which leads to the Baltic Sea.-Name:...

.
At 385252 square kilometres (148,746.6 sq mi) (including Svalbard
Svalbard
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

 and Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen Island is a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and part of the Kingdom of Norway. It is long and 373 km2 in area, partly covered by glaciers . It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by an isthmus wide...

), (and 323802 square kilometres (125,020.7 sq mi) without) much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glacier
Glacier
A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

s and varied topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

. 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
Ice age
An ice age or, more precisely, glacial age, is a generic geological period of long-term reduction in the temperature of the Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental ice sheets, polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers...

. The longest is Sognefjord
Sognefjord
The Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, and the second longest in the world. Located in Sogn og Fjordane county, it stretches inland to the small village of Skjolden...

en at 204 kilometres (126.8 mi). Sognefjord
Sognefjord
The Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway, and the second longest in the world. Located in Sogn og Fjordane county, it stretches inland to the small village of Skjolden...

en is the world's second deepest fjord, and the world's longest. Hornindalsvatnet
Hornindalsvatnet
Hornindalsvatnet is Norway's and Europe's deepest lake, officially measured to a depth of . Its surface is above sea level, which means that its bottom is below sea level. The village of Grodås lies at the eastern end of the lake in Hornindal and the village of Mogrenda is located on the...

 is the deepest lake in all Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

.
Frozen ground
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 all year can be found in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

 county. Numerous glaciers are found in Norway.

Norway lies between latitudes 57°
57th parallel north
The 57th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 57 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 81° N
81st parallel north
The 81st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 81 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane, in the Arctic. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Asia, the Arctic Ocean and North America....

, and longitudes
4th meridian east
The meridian 4° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 32° E
32nd meridian east
The meridian 32° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Europe, Turkey, Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

The land is mostly made of hard granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 and gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

 rock, but slate
Slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

, sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 and limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 are also common, and the lowest elevations contain marine deposits. Because of the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

 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
Subarctic climate
The subarctic climate is a climate characterized by long, usually very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. It is found on large landmasses, away from the moderating effects of an ocean, generally at latitudes from 50° to 70°N poleward of the humid continental climates...

, while Svalbard has an Arctic
Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

 tundra
Tundra
In physical geography, tundra is a biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract." There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra, alpine...

 climate.

Because of the large latitudinal range of the country and the varied topography and climate, Norway has a larger number of different habitat
Habitat
* Habitat , a place where a species lives and grows*Human habitat, a place where humans live, work or play** Space habitat, a space station intended as a permanent settlement...

s 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


The southern and western parts of Norway experience more precipitation and have milder winters than the southeastern part. The lowlands around Oslo have the warmest and sunniest summers but also cold weather and snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

 in wintertime (especially inland).

Because of Norway's high latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

, 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
Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. For Epoch 2011, it is the parallel of latitude that runs north of the Equator....

 (hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight Sun
Midnight sun
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon occurring in summer months at latitudes north and nearby to the south of the Arctic Circle, and south and nearby to the north of the Antarctic Circle where the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Given fair weather, the sun is visible for a continuous...

"), 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.

Biodiversity


The total number of species include 16,000 species of insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s (probably 4,000 more species yet to be described), 20,000 species of algae
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

, 1,800 species of lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

, 1,050 species of moss
Moss
Mosses are small, soft plants that are typically 1–10 cm tall, though some species are much larger. They commonly grow close together in clumps or mats in damp or shady locations. They do not have flowers or seeds, and their simple leaves cover the thin wiry stems...

es, 2,800 species of vascular plant
Vascular plant
Vascular plants are those plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water, minerals, and photosynthetic products through the plant. Vascular plants include the clubmosses, Equisetum, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms...

s, up to 7,000 species of fungi
Fungus
A fungus is a member of a large group of eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds , as well as the more familiar mushrooms. These organisms are classified as a kingdom, Fungi, which is separate from plants, animals, and bacteria...

, 450 species of bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s (250 species nesting in Norway), 90 species of mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s, 45 fresh-water species of fish, 150 salt-water species of fish, 1,000 species of fresh-water invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s and 3,500 species of salt-water invertebrates. About 40,000 of these species have been described by science. The red list
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

 of 2006 encompasses 3,886 species.

Seventeen species are listed mainly because they are endangered on a global scale, such as the European Beaver
European Beaver
The Eurasian beaver or European beaver is a species of beaver, which was once widespread in Eurasia, where it was hunted to near extinction both for fur and for castoreum, a secretion of its scent gland believed to have medicinal properties...

, even if the population in Norway is not seen as endangered. There are 430 species of fungi on the red list, many of these are closely associated with the small remaining areas of old-growth forests. There are also 90 species of birds on the list and 25 species of mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s. 1,988 current species are listed as endangered or vulnerable as of 2006; of these are 939 listed as vulnerable (VU), 734 species are listed as endangered (EN), and 285 species are listed as critically endangered (CR) in Norway, among these are the gray wolf
Gray Wolf
The gray wolf , also known as the wolf, is the largest extant wild member of the Canidae family...

, the arctic fox
Arctic fox
The arctic fox , also known as the white fox, polar fox or snow fox, is a small fox native to Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and is common throughout the Arctic tundra biome. The Greek word alopex, means a fox and Vulpes is the Latin version...

 (healthy population on Svalbard) and the pool frog
Pool Frog
The Pool Frog is a European frog. It is one of only four amphibian species recognized by the UK government as protected under its Biodiversity Action Plan. The reasons for declining populations are decreased pond habitat from human encroachment and also air pollution leading to...

.

The largest predator in Norwegian waters is the sperm whale
Sperm Whale
The sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, is a marine mammal species, order Cetacea, a toothed whale having the largest brain of any animal. The name comes from the milky-white waxy substance, spermaceti, found in the animal's head. The sperm whale is the only living member of genus Physeter...

, and the largest fish is the basking shark
Basking shark
The basking shark is the second largest living fish, after the whale shark. It is a cosmopolitan migratory species, found in all the world's temperate oceans. It is a slow moving and generally harmless filter feeder and has anatomical adaptations to filter feeding, such as a greatly enlarged...

. The largest predator on land is the polar bear
Polar Bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

, while the brown bear
Brown Bear
The brown bear is a large bear distributed across much of northern Eurasia and North America. It can weigh from and its largest subspecies, the Kodiak Bear, rivals the polar bear as the largest member of the bear family and as the largest land-based predator.There are several recognized...

 is the largest predator on the Norwegian mainland, where the common moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

 (also known as the "European Elk") is the largest animal.

Environment


Stunning and dramatic scenery and landscape is found throughout Norway. The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries in the world. National Geographic
National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society , headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical...

 has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world's top tourist attraction. The 2010 Environmental Performance Index
Environmental Performance Index
The Environmental Performance Index is a method of quantifying and numerically benchmarking the environmental performance of a country's policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets...

 put Norway in fifth place, based on the environmental performance of the country's policies.

Politics



According to the Constitution of Norway
Constitution of Norway
The Constitution of Norway was first adopted on May 16, 1814 by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll , then signed and dated May 17...

, which was adopted on 16 May 1814 and inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence
United States Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of Independence was a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain regarded themselves as independent states, and no longer a part of the British Empire. John Adams put forth a...

 and French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 of 1776 and 1789, respectively, Norway is a unitary
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

 constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 with a parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 of government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Norway
The Prime Minister of Norway is the political leader of Norway and the Head of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Stortinget , to their political party, and ultimately the...

 is the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

. Power is separated between the legislative
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

, executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 and judicial
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.

The Monarch
Norwegian Royal Family
The Royal Family of Norway is the family of King Harald V of Norway. In Norway there is a distinction between the Royal House and the Royal Family. The Royal House includes only the King and his spouse, the Queen, the King's eldest son with spouse, being the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and the...

 officially retains executive power, however, following the introduction of a parliamentary system of government, the duties of the Monarch have since become strictly representative and ceremonial, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch is commander-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Norwegian armed forces
Norwegian Armed Forces
The Norwegian Armed Forces numbers about 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to mobilisation plans , the strength during full mobilisation would be approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has mandatory military service for men and voluntary service for women...

, supreme authority in the Church of Norway
Church of Norway
The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway, established after the Lutheran reformation in Denmark-Norway in 1536-1537 broke the ties to the Holy See. The church confesses the Lutheran Christian faith...

, and serves as chief diplomatic official abroad and a symbol of unity.

In practice, it is the Prime Minister who is responsible for the exercise of executive powers. Since his accession in 1991, Harald V
Harald V of Norway
Harald V is the king of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991...

 of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg has been King of Norway, the first since the 14th century who has actually been born in the country. Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway
Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway is the heir apparent to the throne of Norway. On birth he was named Prince Haakon Magnus but it was stressed in the announcement that he would go by the name Haakon. He became Crown Prince Haakon when his father ascended to the crown as Harald V in 1991...

 is the legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme legislature and a unicameral
Unicameralism
In government, unicameralism is the practice of having one legislative or parliamentary chamber. Thus, a unicameral parliament or unicameral legislature is a legislature which consists of one chamber or house...

 body. A proposition can become a law or an act by simple majority amongst the 150 representatives, who are elected on the basis of proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 from 19 constituencies for four-year terms. An additional 19 seats ("levelling seats") are allocated on a nationwide basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with the popular vote.

As a result, there are currently 169 Members of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 altogether. There is also a 4% election threshold to gain levelling seats in Parliament. As such, Norway is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

. Effectively called the Stortinget, meaning Grand Assembly, members of Parliament ratify treaties
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 and can impeach
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 members of the government if their acts are declared unconstitutional, and as such have the power to remove them from office in case of an impeachment trial.
The position of Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Norway
The Prime Minister of Norway is the political leader of Norway and the Head of His Majesty's Government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Stortinget , to their political party, and ultimately the...

, Norway's head of government, is allocated to the Member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence
Motion of no confidence
A motion of no confidence is a parliamentary motion whose passing would demonstrate to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government.-Overview:Typically, when a parliament passes a vote of no...

 of a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political party or more effectively through a coalition of parties
Coalition government
A coalition government is a cabinet of a parliamentary government in which several political parties cooperate. The usual reason given for this arrangement is that no party on its own can achieve a majority in the parliament...

, as a single party normally does not have the support to form a government on its own. However, Norway has often been ruled by minority government
Minority government
A minority government or a minority cabinet is a cabinet of a parliamentary system formed when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a Hung Parliament election result. It is also known as a...

s.

The Prime Minister nominates the Cabinet, traditionally drawn from members of the same political party in the Storting, to which they are responsible
Responsible government
Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy...

, and as such forms the executive government and exercises power vested to them by the Constitution. In order to form a government, however, more than half the membership of the Cabinet is required to belong to the Church of Norway. Currently, this means at least ten out of the 19 ministries. This has sparked controversy regarding an ongoing debate of separation of church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

 in Norway. The current Prime Minister is Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg
is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

 (AP).
Through the Council of State
Norwegian Council of State
The Norwegian Council of State consists, according to the constitution of the prime minister and at least seven other ministers, the majority of which must belong to the state church. The current number of ministers is 20.-External links:*...

, a privy council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

 presided over by the Monarch, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet meet at the Royal Palace
Royal Palace, Oslo
The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of Norwegian and Swedish king Charles III and is the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch. The crown prince couple resides at Skaugum in Asker west of Oslo...

 and formally consult the Monarch. Besides enacting parliamentary bills, all government bills need the formal approval by the Monarch before and after introduction to Parliament. Approval is also given by the Council to 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 another symbolic gesture the King obtains.

Members of the Storting are directly elected from party-list
Party-list proportional representation
Party-list proportional representation systems are a family of voting systems emphasizing proportional representation in elections in which multiple candidates are elected...

s proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 in nineteen plural-member
Plurality voting system
The plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a legislative assembly which is based on single-member constituencies...

 constituencies in a national multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

. Historically, both the Norwegian Labour Party
Norwegian Labour Party
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in Norway. It is the senior partner in the current Norwegian government as part of the Red-Green Coalition, and its leader, Jens Stoltenberg, is the current Prime Minister of Norway....

 and Conservative Party have played leading political roles, while the former has remained in power since the 2005 election
Norwegian parliamentary election, 2005
Parliamentary elections were held in Norway on 12 September 2005. More than 3.4 million Norwegians were eligible for vote for the Storting, the parliament of Norway. The new Storting has 169 members, an increase of four over the 2001 election....

, in a Red-Green Coalition with the Socialist Left Party
Socialist Left Party (Norway)
The Socialist Left Party or SV, is a Norwegian left-wing political party. At one point one of the smallest parties in Parliament, it became the fourth-largest political party in Norway for the first time in the 2001 parliamentary election, and has been so ever since...

 and the Centre Party
Centre Party (Norway)
The Centre Party is a centrist and agrarian political party in Norway, founded in 1920. The Centre Party's policy is not based on any of the major ideologies of the 19th and 20th century, but has a focus on maintaining decentralised economic development and political decision-making.From its...

.

Since then, both the Conservative Party and the Progress Party
Progress Party (Norway)
The Progress Party is a political party in Norway which identifies as conservative liberal and libertarian. The media has described it as conservative and right-wing populist...

 have won great amount of seats in the Parliament, however, as of the 2009 general election
Norwegian parliamentary election, 2009
The 2009 parliamentary election was held in Norway on 14 September 2009. Elections in Norway are held on a Monday in September, usually the second or third Monday, as determined by the king. Early voting was possible between 10 August and 11 September 2009, while some municipalities held open...

, not sufficient enough to overthrow the coalition. This has been the result of poor cooperation between the opposition parties, including the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party. As such, Jens Stoltenberg
Jens Stoltenberg
is a Norwegian politician, leader of the Norwegian Labour Party and the current Prime Minister of Norway. Having assumed office on 17 October 2005, Stoltenberg previously served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2001....

, the leader of the Labour Party, remains Prime Minister of Norway with the necessary majority attributed to the alliance with the Socialist Left and Centre parties.

Administrative divisions



Norway, a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

, is divided into nineteen first-level administrative counties
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

 (fylker). The counties are administrated through directly elected county assemblies who elect the County Governor. Additionally, the King
Norwegian Royal Family
The Royal Family of Norway is the family of King Harald V of Norway. In Norway there is a distinction between the Royal House and the Royal Family. The Royal House includes only the King and his spouse, the Queen, the King's eldest son with spouse, being the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and the...

 and government are represented in every county by a fylkesmann, who effectively acts as a Governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

. As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level through the County Governors’ offices. The counties are then sub-divided into 430 second-level municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 (kommuner), which in turn are administrated by directly elected municipal council, headed by a mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 and a small executive cabinet. The capital of Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

 is considered both a county and a municipality. Norway also has two integral overseas territories, Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen
Jan Mayen Island is a volcanic island in the Arctic Ocean and part of the Kingdom of Norway. It is long and 373 km2 in area, partly covered by glaciers . It has two parts: larger northeast Nord-Jan and smaller Sør-Jan, linked by an isthmus wide...

 and Svalbard
Svalbard
Svalbard is an archipelago in the Arctic, constituting the northernmost part of Norway. It is located north of mainland Europe, midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The group of islands range from 74° to 81° north latitude , and from 10° to 35° east longitude. Spitsbergen is the...

. There are three Antarctic and Subantarctic
Subantarctic
The Subantarctic is a region in the southern hemisphere, located immediately north of the Antarctic region. This translates roughly to a latitude of between 46° – 60° south of the Equator. The subantarctic region includes many islands in the southern parts of the Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and...

 dependencies
Dependent territory
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a State, and remains politically outside of the controlling state's integral area....

: Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island
Bouvet Island is an uninhabited Antarctic volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,525 km south-southwest of South Africa. It is a dependent territory of Norway and, lying north of 60°S latitude, is not subject to the Antarctic Treaty. The centre of the island is an ice-filled crater of an...

, Peter I Island
Peter I Island
Peter I Island is an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellingshausen Sea, from Antarctica. It is claimed as a dependency of Norway, and along with Queen Maud Land and Bouvet Island comprises one of the three Norwegian dependent territories in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic. Peter I Island is ...

 and Queen Maud Land
Queen Maud Land
Queen Maud Land is a c. 2.7 million-square-kilometre region of Antarctica claimed as a dependent territory by Norway. The territory lies between 20° west and 45° east, between the British Antarctic Territory to the west and the Australian Antarctic Territory to the east. The latitudinal...

.

In addition, there are 96 settlements with 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 non-built up areas; for example, Oslo municipality contains large forests, located north and southeast of the city, and over half of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.

The counties of Norway are:
ISO-code Arms County (fylke) Administrative centre Most populous municipality
01 Østfold
Østfold
is a county in southeastern Norway, bordering Akershus and southwestern Sweden , while Buskerud and Vestfold is on the other side of the bay. The seat of the county administration is Sarpsborg, and Fredrikstad is the largest city.Many manufacturing facilities are situated here. Moss and...

Sarpsborg
Sarpsborg
is a city and municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Sarpsborg.Sarpsborg is part of the fifth largest urban area in Norway when paired with neighbouring Fredrikstad...

Fredrikstad
Fredrikstad
is a city and municipality in Østfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Fredrikstad....

02 Akershus
Akershus
- Geography :The county is conventionally divided into the traditional districts Follo and Romerike, which fill the vast part of the county, as well as the small exclave west of Oslo that consists of Asker and Bærum...

Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

Bærum
Bærum
is a municipality in Akershus county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Sandvika. Bærum was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. A suburb of Oslo, Bærum is located on the west coast of the city....

03
Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

City of Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

Oslo
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

04
Hedmark
Hedmark
is a county in Norway, bordering Sør-Trøndelag, Oppland and Akershus. The county administration is in Hamar.Hedmark makes up the northeastern part of Østlandet, the southeastern part of the country. It includes a long part of the borderline with Sweden, Dalarna County and Värmland County. The...

Hamar
Hamar
is a town and municipality in Hedmark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Hedmarken. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Hamar. The municipality of Hamar was separated from Vang as a town and municipality of its own in 1849...

Ringsaker
Ringsaker
is a municipality in Hedmark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Hedmarken. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Brumunddal.The municipality of Ringsaker was established on 1 January 1838...

05
Oppland
Oppland
is a county in Norway, bordering Sør-Trøndelag, Møre og Romsdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Akershus, Oslo and Hedmark. The county administration is in Lillehammer. Oppland is, together with Hedmark, one of the only two landlocked counties of Norway....

Lillehammer
Lillehammer
is a town and municipality in Oppland county, Norway, globally known for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. It is part of the traditional region of Gudbrandsdal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Lillehammer. As of May 2011, the population of the town of Lillehammer was...

Gjøvik
Gjøvik
is a town and a municipality in Oppland county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Gjøvik.In 1861, the village of Gjøvik in the municipality of Vardal was granted town status and was separated from Vardal to form a separate municipality...

06
Buskerud
Buskerud
is a county in Norway, bordering Akershus, Oslo, Oppland, Sogn og Fjordane, Hordaland, Telemark, and Vestfold. The county administration is located in Drammen.-Geography:...

Drammen
Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

Drammen
Drammen
Drammen is a city in Buskerud County, Norway. The port and river city of Drammen is centrally located in the eastern and most populated part of Norway.-Location:...

07
Vestfold
Vestfold
is a county in Norway, bordering Buskerud and Telemark. The county administration is in Tønsberg.Vestfold is located west of the Oslofjord, as the name indicates. It includes many smaller, but well-known towns in Norway, such as Larvik, Sandefjord, Tønsberg and Horten. The river Numedalslågen runs...

Tønsberg
Tønsberg
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, southern Norway, located around north-east of Sandefjord. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tønsberg....

Sandefjord
Sandefjord
is a city and municipality in Vestfold county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Sandefjord. The municipality of Sandefjord was established on 1 January 1838...

08
Telemark
Telemark
is a county in Norway, bordering Vestfold, Buskerud, Hordaland, Rogaland and Aust-Agder. The county administration is in Skien. Until 1919 the county was known as Bratsberg amt.-Location:...

Skien
Skien
' is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county....

Skien
Skien
' is a city and municipality in Telemark county, Norway. It is part of the traditional region of Grenland. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Skien. Skien is also the administrative centre of Telemark county....

09
Aust-Agder
Aust-Agder
is a county in Norway, bordering Telemark, Rogaland, and Vest-Agder. In 2002, there were 102,945 inhabitants, which is 2.2% of the total population in Norway. Its area is . The administrative center of the county is in Arendal....

Arendal
Arendal
is a town and municipality in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway. Arendal belongs to the traditional region of Sørlandet.The town of Arendal is the administrative center the municipality and also of Aust-Agder county...

Arendal
Arendal
is a town and municipality in the county of Aust-Agder, Norway. Arendal belongs to the traditional region of Sørlandet.The town of Arendal is the administrative center the municipality and also of Aust-Agder county...

10
Vest-Agder
Vest-Agder
In the 16th century, Dutch merchant vessels began to visit ports in southern Norway to purchase salmon and other goods. Soon thereafter the export of timber began, as oak from southern Norway was exceptionally well suited for shipbuilding...

Kristiansand
Kristiansand
-History:As indicated by archeological findings in the city, the Kristiansand area has been settled at least since 400 AD. A royal farm is known to have been situated on Oddernes as early as 800, and the first church was built around 1040...

Kristiansand
Kristiansand
-History:As indicated by archeological findings in the city, the Kristiansand area has been settled at least since 400 AD. A royal farm is known to have been situated on Oddernes as early as 800, and the first church was built around 1040...

11
Rogaland
Rogaland
is a county in Western Norway, bordering Hordaland, Telemark, Aust-Agder and Vest-Agder. It is the center of the Norwegian petroleum industry, and as a result of this, Rogaland has the lowest unemployment rate of any county in Norway, 1.1%...

Stavanger
Stavanger
Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway...

Stavanger
Stavanger
Stavanger is a city and municipality in the county of Rogaland, Norway.Stavanger municipality has a population of 126,469. There are 197,852 people living in the Stavanger conurbation, making Stavanger the fourth largest city, but the third largest urban area, in Norway...

12
Hordaland
Hordaland
is a county in Norway, bordering Sogn og Fjordane, Buskerud, Telemark and Rogaland. Hordaland is the third largest county after Akershus and Oslo by population. The county administration is located in Bergen...

Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

13 Not in use.County no. 13 was dropped when Bergen
Bergen
Bergen is the second largest city in Norway with a population of as of , . Bergen is the administrative centre of Hordaland county. Greater Bergen or Bergen Metropolitan Area as defined by Statistics Norway, has a population of as of , ....

 merged into Hordaland in 1972.
14
Sogn og Fjordane
Sogn og Fjordane
is a county in Norway, bordering Møre og Romsdal, Oppland, Buskerud, and Hordaland. The county administration is in the town of Hermansverk in Leikanger municipality while the largest town is Førde....

Leikanger
Leikanger
is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sogn. The administrative center is the village of Leikanger, which is also the administrative center of Sogn og Fjordane county....

Førde
Førde
Førde is a municipality in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It is located in the traditional district of Sunnfjord. The administrative center is the town of Førde which in 2010 had 12,035 inhabitants. The historic village of Bruland is located just east of the town of Førde...

15 Møre og Romsdal
Møre og Romsdal
is a county in the northernmost part of Western Norway. It borders the counties of Sør-Trøndelag, Oppland and Sogn og Fjordane. The county administration is located in Molde, while Ålesund is the largest city.-The name:...

Molde
Molde
is a city and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the Romsdal region. The municipality is located on the Romsdal Peninsula, surrounding the Fannefjord and Moldefjord...

Ålesund
Ålesund
is a town and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Sunnmøre, and the center of the Ålesund Region. It is a sea port, and is noted for its unique concentration of Art Nouveau architecture....

16
Sør-Trøndelag
Sør-Trøndelag
- References :...

Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

17
Nord-Trøndelag
Nord-Trøndelag
is a county constituting the northern part of Trøndelag in Norway. As of 2010, the county had 131,555 inhabitants, making it the country's fourth-least populated county. The largest municipalities are Stjørdal, Steinkjer—the county seat, Levanger, Namsos and Verdal, all with between 21,000 and...

Steinkjer
Steinkjer
is a town and a municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Innherad region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Steinkjer, which is also the seat of the county government...

Stjørdal
Stjørdal
is a municipality in Nord-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Stjørdalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Stjørdal, also called Stjørdalshalsen...

18
Nordland
Nordland
is a county in Norway in the North Norway region, bordering Troms in the north, Nord-Trøndelag in the south, Norrbottens län in Sweden to the east, Västerbottens län to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The county was formerly known as Nordlandene amt. The county administration is...

Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

Bodø
Bodø
is a city and a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region.The city of Bodø was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 . Bodin was merged with Bodø on 1 January 1968. Skjerstad was merged with Bodø on 1 January 2005...

19 Troms
Troms
or Romsa is a county in North Norway, bordering Finnmark to the northeast and Nordland in the southwest. To the south is Norrbotten Län in Sweden and further southeast is a shorter border with Lapland Province in Finland. To the west is the Norwegian Sea...

Tromsø
Tromsø
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population...

Tromsø
Tromsø
Tromsø is a city and municipality in Troms county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the city of Tromsø.Tromsø city is the ninth largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population...

20 Finnmark
Finnmark
or Finnmárku is a county in the extreme northeast of Norway. By land it borders Troms county to the west, Finland to the south and Russia to the east, and by water, the Norwegian Sea to the northwest, and the Barents Sea to the north and northeast.The county was formerly known as Finmarkens...

Vadsø
Vadsø
is a city and municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The city is the administrative centre of the municipality and the county of Finnmark....

Alta
Alta, Norway
-Birdlife:For those interested in bird watching, the river outlet, known locally as Altaosen is well worth a visit. This tidal area is used as a stopover for many wetland species.-Transportation:...




Judicial system and law enforcement


Norway uses a civil law system
Civil law (legal system)
Civil law is a legal system inspired by Roman law and whose primary feature is that laws are codified into collections, as compared to common law systems that gives great precedential weight to common law on the principle that it is unfair to treat similar facts differently on different...

 where laws are created and amended in Parliament and the system regulated through the Courts of Justice of Norway
Courts of Justice of Norway
The structure of the Courts of Justice in Norway is pyramidic and hierarchic with the Supreme Court at the apex. The conciliation boards only hear certain types of civil cases. The District Courts are deemed to be the first instance of the Courts of Justice...

. It consists of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Norway
The Supreme Court of Norway was established in 1815 on the basis of the Constitution of Norway's §88, prescribing an independent judiciary. It is located in Oslo and is Norway's highest court...

 of 19 permanent judges and a Chief Justice
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway is the judicial leader of the Supreme Court of Norway.The following is a chronological list of chief justices since the court was established:...

, appellate court
Appellate court
An appellate court, commonly called an appeals court or court of appeals or appeal court , is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal...

s, city and district courts, and conciliation councils. The judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

, although traditionally a third branch of government, 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
Courts of Justice of Norway
The structure of the Courts of Justice in Norway is pyramidic and hierarchic with the Supreme Court at the apex. The conciliation boards only hear certain types of civil cases. The District Courts are deemed to be the first instance of the Courts of Justice...

, interpret the Constitution, and as such implement the legislation adopted by Parliament and monitor the legislative and executive powers to ensure that they themselves comply with the acts of legislation that have been previously adopted.

Law enforcement in Norway
Law enforcement in Norway
Law enforcement in Norway is the direct responsibility of the Norwegian Police Service. However, other agencies subordinate to the Minister of Justice and the Police, such as the National Security Authority and Police Security Agency also play a role. The Norwegian Police Service is controlled by...

 is carried out by the Norwegian Police Service
Norwegian Police Service
The Norwegian Police Service is the official police force in Norway which are run by the Minister of Justice and Police. The department consists of 27 regional areas and seven national special forces. The department has about 11,000 employees....

. The Norwegian Police Service
Norwegian Police Service
The Norwegian Police Service is the official police force in Norway which are run by the Minister of Justice and Police. The department consists of 27 regional areas and seven national special forces. The department has about 11,000 employees....

 is a Unified National Police Service made up of 27 Police Districts and several specialist agencies like Økokrim and Kripos
Kripos
Den nasjonale enhet for bekjempelse av organisert og annen alvorlig kriminalitet is a Norwegian special police division under the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and the Police....

, each headed by a Chief of Police. The Police Service is headed by the National Police Directorate, which in turn is subordinate 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 who answers directly to the Ministry of Justice and the Police.

In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press. It was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008...

 ranked Norway at a shared 1st place (with Iceland) out of 169 countries. The death penalty was abolished in Norway in 1902. Death penalty for high treason in war and war-crimes was also abolished in 1979.

Foreign relations


Norway maintains embassies in 86 countries. 60 countries maintain an embassy in Norway, all of them in the capital, Oslo.

Norway is a founding member of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 and the European Free Trade Association
European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association or EFTA is a free trade organisation between four European countries that operates parallel to, and is linked to, the European Union . EFTA was established on 3 May 1960 as a trade bloc-alternative for European states who were either unable to, or chose not to,...

 (EFTA). Scandinavia has traditionally been considered more reluctant in relation to the process of European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

 than other European countries. Norway did however follow suit when neighbouring Nordic countries issued applications for accession to the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) in 1962, 1967 and 1992, respectively. While Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 obtained membership, the treaties of accession which had been negotiated were rejected by the Norwegian electorate in 1972 and 1994. After the failed 1994 referendum, Norway maintained its membership in the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

 (EEA), an arrangement which had been seen as a prerequisite for countries about to accede to the EU in 1995
1995 enlargement of the European Union
The 1995 enlargement of the European Union saw Austria, Finland and Sweden accede to the European Union . This was the EU's fourth enlargement and came into effect on the 1 January of that year. All these states were previous members of the European Free Trade Association and had traditionally...

. This continues to grant the country access to the internal market of the Union, on the condition that Norway implements those of the Union's pieces of legislation which are deemed relevant to the internal market (counting approximately seven thousand as of 2010) Successive Norwegian governments have, since 1994, requested Norway's participation in parts of the EU's cooperation which 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
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

, the European Defence Agency
European Defence Agency
The European Defence Agency is an agency of the European Union based in Brussels. It is a Common Foreign and Security Policy body set up on 12 July 2004, reporting to the Council of the European Union. All EU member states, except Denmark which has an opt-out of the CFSP, take part in the agency...

 as well as 19 separate programmes.

Norway has been considered a notable participant in international development
International development
International development or global development is a concept that lacks a universally accepted definition, but it is most used in a holistic and multi-disciplinary context of human development — the development of greater quality of life for humans...

, having been involved in the 1990s brokering which lead to the ill-fated Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

 regarding the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Israeli–Palestinian conflict
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

.

Military



The Norwegian Armed Forces currently numbers about 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to the current (as of 2009) mobilization plans, the strength during full mobilization is approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has conscription
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 for males (6–12 months of training) and voluntary service for females. The Armed Forces are subordinate to the Norwegian Ministry of Defence
Norwegian Ministry of Defence
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Defence is a Norwegian government ministry in charge of the formation and implementation of national security and defence policy, and for the overall management and control of the activities of subordinate agencies. The ministry is located at Glacisgata 1, Oslo,...

 and the Commander-in-Chief is King Harald V
Harald V of Norway
Harald V is the king of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991...

. The military of Norway is divided into the following branches: the Army
Norwegian Army
Norway achieved full independence in 1905, and in the first century of its short life has contributed to two major conflicts, the Cold War and the War on Terror. The Norwegian Army currently operates in the north of Norway and in Afghanistan as well as in Eastern Europe. The Army is the oldest of...

, the Royal Navy
Royal Norwegian Navy
The Royal Norwegian Navy is the branch of the Norwegian Defence Force responsible for naval operations. , the RNoN consists of approximately 3,700 personnel and 70 vessels, including 5 heavy frigates, 6 submarines, 14 patrol boats, 4 minesweepers, 4 minehunters, 1 mine detection vessel, 4 support...

, the Royal Air Force
Royal Norwegian Air Force
The Royal Norwegian Air Force is the air force of Norway. It was established as a separate arm of the Norwegian armed forces on 10 November 1944. The RNoAF's peace force is approximately 1,430 employees . 600 personnel also serve their draft period in the RNoAF...

 and the Home Guard.

Partly due to Norway's failure to maintain its traditional policy of neutrality in World War II (joining the Allied war effort after being invaded by Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in April 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
International Security Assistance Force
The International Security Assistance Force is a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan established by the United Nations Security Council on 20 December 2001 by Resolution 1386 as envisaged by the Bonn Agreement...

 (ISAF) in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. 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.

Economy




Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita (after Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

) and fourth 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
United Nations Development Programme
The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

 Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

 (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001–2006), and then reclaimed this position in 2009 and 2010. Cost of living is about 90% higher in Norway than in the United States and 50% higher than the United Kingdom. The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy Magazine
Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy is a bimonthly American magazine founded in 1970 by Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel.Originally, the magazine was a quarterly...

 ranks Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. Continued oil and gas exports coupled with a healthy economy and substantial accumulated wealth lead to a conclusion that Norway will remain among the richest countries in the world in the foreseeable future.

The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy
Mixed economy
Mixed economy is an economic system in which both the state and private sector direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies. Most mixed economies can be described as market economies with strong regulatory oversight, in addition to having a variety...

, a prosperous capitalist welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 featuring a combination of free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors. The Norwegian welfare state makes public health care free (above a certain level), and parents have 46 weeks paid parental leave. The income that the state receives from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production and the substantial and carefully managed income related to this sector. Norway has a very low unemployment rate, currently 3.1%. 30% of the labour force are employed by the government, the highest in the OECD. 22% are on welfare and 13% are too disabled to work, the highest proportions in the world. The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway are among the highest in the world. The egalitarian
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

 values of the Norwegian society ensure that the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies is much smaller 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
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 sector (Statoil
Statoil
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro...

 and Aker Solutions), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft
Statkraft
Statkraft is a Norwegian state owned electricity company. With a total energy production of 44.9 TWh in 2007, the Statkraft Group is the third largest energy producer in the Nordic region, as well as the largest energy producer based on renewable energy sources in Europe,consisting of 40% of the...

), aluminium production (Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro ASA is a Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, headquartered in Oslo. Hydro is the fourth largest integrated aluminium company worldwide. It has operations in some 40 countries around the world and is active on all continents. The Norwegian state holds a 43.8 percent...

), the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR
DnB NOR
DNB ASA is Norway's largest financial services group with total combined assets of more than NOK 2.0 trillion and a market capitalisation NOK 102 billion as per December the 31st. The Group includes brands such as DNB, Vital, Nordlandsbanken, Cresco, Postbanken, DnB NORD and Carlson...

), and telecommunication provider (Telenor
Telenor
Telenor Group is the incumbent telecommunications company in Norway, with headquarters located at Fornebu, close to Oslo. Today, Telenor Group is mostly an international wireless carrier with operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, working predominantly under the Telenor brand...

). 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 license ownership).
Norway is a major shipping
Shipping
Shipping has multiple meanings. It can be a physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods and cargo, by land, air, and sea. It also can describe the movement of objects by ship.Land or "ground" shipping can be by train or by truck...

 nation and has the world's 6th largest merchant fleet
Ship transport
Ship transport is watercraft carrying people or goods . Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips and pleasure cruises...

, with 1,412 Norwegian-owned merchant vessels.

Referendums in 1972 and 1994 indicated that the Norwegian people
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

 wished to remain outside the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

, participates in the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's single market via the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

 (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 countries and the EFTA
European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association or EFTA is a free trade organisation between four European countries that operates parallel to, and is linked to, the European Union . EFTA was established on 3 May 1960 as a trade bloc-alternative for European states who were either unable to, or chose not to,...

 countries– transposed into Norwegian law via "EØS-loven"– describes the procedures for implementing European Union rules in Norway and the other EFTA countries. This makes Norway a highly integrated member of most sectors of the EU internal market. However, some sectors, such as agriculture, oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty. Norway has also acceded to the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 and several other intergovernmental agreements between the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

, hydropower
Hydropower
Hydropower, hydraulic power, hydrokinetic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of falling water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as...

, fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, forests
Forestry
Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

, and mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 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.

Resources


Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to 45% of total exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

. Norway is the fifth largest oil exporter and third largest gas exporter in the world, but it is not a member of OPEC
OPEC
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization of twelve developing countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965, and hosts regular meetings...

. To reduce overheating in economy from oil revenues and minimize uncertainty from volatility in oil price, and to provide a cushion for the effect of aging of the population, the Norwegian government in 1995 established the sovereign wealth fund
Sovereign wealth fund
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial...

 ("Government Pension Fund — Global"
The Government Pension Fund of Norway
The Government Pension Fund of Norway comprises two entirely separate sovereign wealth funds owned by the Government of Norway:* The Government Pension Fund - Global...

), which would be funded with oil revenues, including taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees.
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
Statoil
Statoil ASA is a Norwegian petroleum company established in 1972. It merged with Norsk Hydro in 2007 and was known as StatoilHydro until 2009, when the name was changed back to Statoil ASA. The brand Statoil was retained as a chain of fuel stations owned by StatoilHydro...

 in 2007) and the fully state-owned Petoro
Petoro
Petoro, a company wholly owned by the state of Norway, manages Norway's portfolio of exploration and production licenses for petroleum and natural gas on the Norwegian continental shelf. This portfolio is collectively called State's Direct Financial Interest . The company also has a control...

, which has a market value of about twice Statoil, and SDFI
State's Direct Financial Interest
State's Direct Financial Interest is a portfolio of the Norwegian government's directly owned exploration and production licenses for petroleum and natural gas on the Norwegian continental shelf...

. 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).

By January 2006, the Government Pension Fund of Norway
The Government Pension Fund of Norway
The Government Pension Fund of Norway comprises two entirely separate sovereign wealth funds owned by the Government of Norway:* The Government Pension Fund - Global...

 controlled assets valued at US$200 billion. During the first half of 2007, the pension fund became the largest fund in Europe, with assets of about US$300 billion (equivalent to over US$62,000 per capita). The savings equal the Norwegian GDP and are the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation as of April 2007. Projections indicate that the Norwegian pension fund may become the largest capital fund in the world. Currently it is the second-largest state-owned sovereign wealth fund
Sovereign wealth fund
A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund composed of financial assets such as stocks, bonds, property, precious metals or other financial instruments. Sovereign wealth funds invest globally. Some of them have grabbed attention making bad investments in several Wall Street financial...

, second only to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is a sovereign wealth fund owned by Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates founded for the purpose of investing funds on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi....

; Conservative estimates tell that the fund may reach US$800–900 billion by 2017. As of March 2011, the size of the fund is approximately US$570 billion. To help understand the scale of this amount, it could finance the US Space Shuttle program
Space Shuttle program
NASA's Space Shuttle program, officially called Space Transportation System , was the United States government's manned launch vehicle program from 1981 to 2011...

 more than 3 times over, from its start in the 1970s until 2008 (according to shuttle program cost estimates by Roger J. Pielke, 2008). The fund controls approximately 1.25% 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. New 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 natural resource
Natural resource
Natural resources occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity and geodiversity existent in various ecosystems....

-based economies, such as Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, are trying to learn from Norway by establishing similar funds. The investment choices of the Norwegian fund are directed by ethical guidelines
Socially responsible investing
Socially responsible investing , also known as sustainable, socially conscious, or ethical investing, describes an investment strategy which seeks to consider both financial return and social good....

; for example, the fund is not allowed to invest in companies that produce parts for nuclear weapons. The highly transparent
Transparency (market)
In economics, a market is transparent if much is known by many about:* What products, services or capital assets are available.* What price.* Where....

 investment scheme is lauded by the international community.

The future size of the fund is of course closely linked to the price of oil and to developments in international financial markets. The Norwegian trade surplus for 2008 reached approximately US$80 billion. With an enormous amount of cash invested in international financial markets, Norway has financial muscles to avert many of the worst effects of the financial crisis that hit most countries in the fall of 2008. As most western countries struggle with burgeoning foreign debt, Norway remains a nation of stowed-away wealth, financial stability and economic power to meet the challenges of the worldwide economic crisis. In spite of the crisis, Norway still runs a 9% state budget surplus, being the only western country to run a surplus as of July 2009.

In 2000, the government sold one-third of the state-owned oil company Statoil in an IPO
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

. The next year, the main telecom supplier, Telenor
Telenor
Telenor Group is the incumbent telecommunications company in Norway, with headquarters located at Fornebu, close to Oslo. Today, Telenor Group is mostly an international wireless carrier with operations in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, working predominantly under the Telenor brand...

, was listed on Oslo Stock Exchange
Oslo Stock Exchange
The Oslo Stock Exchange serves as the main market for trading in the shares of Norwegian companies. It opens at 9:00am and closes 5:30pm local time...

. The state also owns significant shares of Norway's largest bank, DnB NOR
DnB NOR
DNB ASA is Norway's largest financial services group with total combined assets of more than NOK 2.0 trillion and a market capitalisation NOK 102 billion as per December the 31st. The Group includes brands such as DNB, Vital, Nordlandsbanken, Cresco, Postbanken, DnB NORD and Carlson...

 and the airline SAS. Since 2000, economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 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 is at 3.3% (86 000 people) in August 2011. Norway is among the least affected countries of the international economic downturn. Neighbouring Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 is experiencing substantially higher actual and projected unemployment numbers as a result of the ongoing recession, and in the 1st quarter of 2009 the GNP of Norway surpassed Sweden's for the first time in history, despite a population numbering about half of Sweden's.

Norway is also the world's second largest exporter of fish (in value, after China) and the 6th largest arms exporter in the world. Hydroelectric plants
Hydroelectricity
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 generate roughly 98–99% of Norway's electric power.

Transport



Due to the low population density, narrow shape and long coastlines, public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 in Norway is less developed than in many Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an countries, especially outside the cities. As such, Norway has old water transport
Ship transport
Ship transport is watercraft carrying people or goods . Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips and pleasure cruises...

 traditions, but the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications
Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Transportation and Communications is a Norwegian ministry established in 1946, and is responsible for transportation and communication infrastructure in Norway. It is led by Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa...

 has in recent years implemented rail
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

, road
Road transport
Road transport or road transportation is transport on roads of passengers or goods. A hybrid of road transport and ship transport is the historic horse-drawn boat.-History:...

 and air transport
Aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

 through numerous subsidiaries in order to develop the country's infrastructure. Most recently there has been discussion of the possibility of created a new high-speed rail system between the nation's largest cities.

Norway's main railway network consists of 4114 kilometres (2,556.3 mi) of standard gauge
Standard gauge
The standard gauge is a widely-used track gauge . Approximately 60% of the world's existing railway lines are built to this gauge...

 lines, of which 242 kilometres (150.4 mi) is double track
Double track
A double track railway usually involves running one track in each direction, compared to a single track railway where trains in both directions share the same track.- Overview :...

 and 64 kilometres (39.8 mi) high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 (210 km/h) while 62% is electrified at . The railways transported 56,827,000 passengers 2,956 million passenger kilometre
Units of transportation measurement
The units of transportation measurement describes the units of measure to measure the quantity and traffic of transportation used in transportation statistics, planning, and their related fields.-Length of Journey:...

s and 24,783,000 tonnes of cargo 3,414 million tonne kilometre
Units of transportation measurement
The units of transportation measurement describes the units of measure to measure the quantity and traffic of transportation used in transportation statistics, planning, and their related fields.-Length of Journey:...

s. The entire network is owned by the Norwegian National Rail Administration, while all domestic passenger trains except the Airport Express Train
Flytoget
is a Norwegian high-speed airport rail link connecting Oslo Airport, Gardermoen to Oslo Central Station in nineteen minutes. Run by Flytoget AS , it operates on the high-speed Gardermoen Line using sixteen GMB Class 71 electric trains. Normal service frequency is once every ten minutes, with half...

 are operated by Norges Statsbaner (NSB). Several companies operate freight trains.

Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is financed through the state budget
State budget of Norway
The State budget of Norway is a budget passed by the Norwegian legislature, Storting, each year. It accumulates all income and expenses for the Government of Norway. The document defines the taxes to be collected, and what expenses will be accomplished....

, and subsidies are provided for passenger train operations. NSB operates long-haul trains, including night trains
NSB Night Train
NSB Night Train is a night sleeping car service provided by the Norwegian State Railways on four routes; Oslo - Bergen , Oslo - Stavanger , Oslo - Trondheim and Trondheim - Bodø .The service is provided using El 18 locomotives with WLAB2 and B7 cars on the electrified lines in Southern Norway,...

, regional services and four commuter train systems, around Oslo
Oslo Commuter Rail
Oslo Commuter Rail is a commuter rail centered in Oslo, Norway, connecting the capital to six counties in Eastern Norway. The system is operated by the Norwegian State Railways and its subsidiary NSB Gjøvikbanen, using Class 69 and Class 72 electric multiple units . The network spans eight routes...

, Trondheim, Bergen
Bergen Commuter Rail
Bergen Commuter Rail sometimes called Vossebanen is a commuter rail between Bergen and Arna, Voss and Myrdal, Norway. The service is operated by Norwegian State Railways using Class 69 electric multiple units...

 and Stavanger.

There are approximately 92946 kilometres (57,754.1 mi) of road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

 network in Norway, of which 72033 kilometres (44,759.3 mi) are paved and 664 kilometres (412.6 mi) are motorway. There are four tiers of road routes; national, county, municipal and private, with only the national roads numbered en route. The most important national routes are part of the European route
International E-road network
The international E-road network is a numbering system for roads in Europe developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe . The network is numbered from E 1 up and its roads cross national borders...

 scheme, and the two most prominent are the E6
European route E6
European route E 6 is the designation for the main north-south road in Norway, and the west coast of Sweden, running from the southern tip of Sweden, at Trelleborg, into Norway and through almost all of the country north to Finnmark. The route ends close to the Norwegian border with Russia...

 going north-south through the entire country, while E39
European route E39
E 39 is the designation of a 1330 km long north-south road in Norway and Denmark, running from Klett just south of Trondheim to Aalborg, via Orkanger, Vinjeøra, Halsa ... Straumsnes, Krifast, Batnfjordsøra, Molde ... Vestnes, Skodje, Ålesund ... Volda ... Nordfjordeid ... Sandane, Førde,...

 follows the West Coast. National and county roads are managed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration
Norwegian Public Roads Administration
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is a Norwegian government agency responsible for the state and county public roads in the country. This includes planning, construction and operation of the state and county road networks, driver training and licensing, vehicle inspection and subsidies to...

.

Of the 97 airports in Norway, 52 are public, and 46 are operated by the state-owned Avinor
Avinor
Avinor AS is a state owned limited company in that operates most of the civil airports in Norway. The Norwegian state, via the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications controls 100 percent of the share capital. Avinor was created on 1 January 2003, by the privatization of the...

. Seven airports have more than one million passengers annually. 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian airports in 2007, of which 13,397,458 were international.

The central gateway by air to Norway is Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen is the principal airport serving Oslo, Norway. It acts as the main domestic hub and international airport for Norway, and the second-busiest airport in the Nordic countries. A hub for Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle, and a focus city for Widerøe, it is...

, located about 50 kilometres (31.1 mi) north of Oslo with departures to most European countries and some intercontinental destinations. It is hub
Airline hub
An airline hub is an airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations...

 for the two major Norwegian airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

s Scandinavian Airlines System and Norwegian Air Shuttle
Norwegian Air Shuttle
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA , trading as Norwegian, is the second-largest airline in Scandinavia. In 2010, it transported 13.0 million people. As of October 2011, Norwegian operates a total fleet of 62 aircraft; 17 Boeing 737-300s and 45 Boeing 737-800s...

, and for regional aircraft from Western Norway.

Demographics




Norway's population numbers roughly 4.9 million. Most of the population are Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

, a North Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 people.

The Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

 traditionally inhabit central and northern parts of Norway and Sweden, as well as in northern Finland and in Russia on the Kola Peninsula. Another national minority are the Kven people who are the descendants of Finnish speaking people that moved to northern Norway in the 18th up to the 20th century. Both the Sami and the Kven were subjected to a strong assimilation policy by the Norwegian government from the 19th century up to the 1970s. Because of this "Norwegianization
Norwegianization
Norwegianization is a term used to described the official government policy carried out by the Norwegian government against the Sami and later the Kven people of northern Norway to assimilate non-Norwegian-speaking native populations into an ethnically and culturally uniform Norwegian population...

 process", many families of Sami or Kven ancestry now self-identify as ethnic Norwegian.

Other groups recognized as national minorities of Norway are Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, Forest Finns
Forest Finns
Forest Finns are people of Finnish descent in the forest areas of Eastern Norway and Central Sweden...

, and Norwegian Romani Travellers (a branch of the Romani people, not to be confused with non-recognized Indigenous Norwegian Travellers
Indigenous Norwegian Travellers
The indigenous Norwegian Travellers are an ethnic minority group in Norway. They are a wandering people who once travelled by foot, with horse-drawn carts and with boats along the southern and southwestern coastline of Norway.-Names for the group:...

).

Migration



Emigration


There are almost 4.7 million Norwegian American
Norwegian American
Norwegian Americans are Americans of Norwegian descent. Norwegian immigrants went to the United States primarily in the later half of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th century. There are more than 4.5 million Norwegian Americans according to the most recent U.S. census, and...

s according to the 2006 U.S. census. The number of Americans of Norwegian descent living in the U.S. today is roughly equal to the current population of Norway. In the 2006 Canadian census, 432,515 Canadian citizens claimed Norwegian ancestry
Norwegian Canadian
Norwegian Canadians are Canadians of Norwegian descent.There are approximately 1.2 million Canadians of Scandinavian descent living in Canada, representing around 3.9% of Canada’s population. In the Canada 2006 Census 432,515 Canadian residents claimed Norwegian ancestry, making up 1.4% of the...

.

Immigration


In recent years, immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 has accounted for most of Norway's population growth. According to Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway
Statistics Norway is the Norwegian statistics bureau. It was established in 1876.Relying on a staff of about 1,000, Statistics Norway publish about 1,000 new statistical releases every year on its web site. All releases are published both in Norwegian and English...

 (SSB), a record 61,200 immigrants arrived in the country in 2007, an increase of 35% from 2006. At the beginning of 2010, there were 552,313 people in Norway of some immigrant background (including those born of immigrant parents), comprising 11.4% of the total population. 210,725 were from Western countries (Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) and 341,588 were from other countries. The largest immigrant groups by country of origin, in order of size, are Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

, Swedes
Swedes
Swedes are a Scandinavian nation and ethnic group native to Sweden, mostly inhabiting Sweden and the other Nordic countries, with descendants living in a number of countries.-Etymology:...

, Pakistanis, Iraqis
Demographics of Iraq
This article is about the demographic features of the population of Iraq, including population density, ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population....

, Somalis
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

, Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Vietnamese
Vietnamese Norwegian
Norwegian Vietnamese refers to citizens or naturalized residents of Norway of Vietnamese descent.When this article describes Vietnamese living in Norway, it primarily means persons with two parents born in Vietnam...

, and Danes
Danes
Danish people or Danes are the nation and ethnic group that is native to Denmark, and who speak Danish.The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which mentions how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century...

.

Pakistani Norwegians are the largest non-European minority group in Norway, and most of their 31,000 members live around Oslo. The Iraqi immigrant population has increased significantly in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, there has also been an influx of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. The large 2007 immigrant group was primarily from Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

.

In 2011 there were approximately 883,000 people of some non-Norwegian background residing in Norway, or 18% of the total population. In 2010, the immigrant community grew by 57,000, which accounted for 90% of Norway's population growth; some 27% of newborn children were of immigrant background. The policies of immigration and integration are subjected to major controversy in Norway. These statistics indicate that Norway's population is now 82.0% ethnic Norwegian, a figure that has steadily decreased since the late 20th century. Some 12.2% of the population is of solely immigrant background, while 5.7% of the population is of mixed Norwegian-foreign ancestry. People of other European ethnicity are 5.8% of the total, while Asians (including Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Turks) are 4.3%, Africans 1.5%, and others 0.6%.
Ethnicity Population Percent
Norwegians
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

4,037,301Includes persons with no foreign born parent 82.0%
Swedes
Swedes
Swedes are a Scandinavian nation and ethnic group native to Sweden, mostly inhabiting Sweden and the other Nordic countries, with descendants living in a number of countries.-Etymology:...

78,830 1.6%
Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

65,294 1.3%
Danes
Danes
Danish people or Danes are the nation and ethnic group that is native to Denmark, and who speak Danish.The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which mentions how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century...

53,630 1.0%
Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

40,847 0.8%
British
British
The word British is an adjective referring in various ways to the United Kingdom or the island of Great Britain and its people and language.People...

36,312 0.7%
Pakistanis 35,722 0.7%


Rindal
Rindal
Rindal is a municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the Nordmøre region. The administrative centre is the village of Rindal. Rindal is the only landlocked municipality in Møre og Romsdal county. The lakes Foldsjøen and Gråsjøen lie along the border with Surnadal to the...

 and Beiarn
Beiarn
Beiarn is a municipality in Nordland county, Norway. It is part of the Salten region and the Bodø Region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Moldjord...

 municipalities have the highest percentage of Norwegians, 99.5% and 99.1%, respectively.

Religion


Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of the Church of Norway
Church of Norway
The Church of Norway is the state church of Norway, established after the Lutheran reformation in Denmark-Norway in 1536-1537 broke the ties to the Holy See. The church confesses the Lutheran Christian faith...

; many remain in the state church to be able to use services such as baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, confirmation, marriage and burial, rites which have strong cultural standing in Norway. About 79.2% of Norwegians were members of the Church of Norway as of January 1, 2010. However, only 20% of Norwegians say that religion occupies an important place in their life (according to a recent Gallup poll
The Gallup Organization
The Gallup Organization, is primarily a research-based performance-management consulting company. Some of Gallup's key practice areas are - Employee Engagement, Customer Engagement and Well-Being. Gallup has over 40 offices in 27 countries. World headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Operational...

), the fourth-lowest such percentage in the world (only Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 and Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 are lower). In the early 1990s, it was estimated that between 4.7% – 5.3% of Norwegians attended church on a weekly basis. This figure has dropped to about 2% – the lowest such percentage in Europe – according to 2009 and 2010 data
In 2010, 10% of the population was religiously unaffiliated, while another 9% (431 000 people), were members of religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway.
Other Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 denominations total about 4.9% of the population, the largest of which is the Catholic Church, with 57,000 members. Others include Pentecostals
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

 (39,600), the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway
Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway
The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church, or the Free Church as it is commonly known, is a nationwide Lutheran church in Norway consisting of 81 congregations and 21,817 baptized members. It was founded in 1877 in Moss. It should not be confused with the Church of Norway, though both churches are...

 (19,300), Methodists
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

 (11,000), Baptists (9,400), Orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 (7,700) Brunstad Christian Church (6,800), Adventists
Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ...

 (5,100), Assyrians and Chaldeans
Religion in Iraq
The major religion in Iraq is Islam, followed by about 95% of Iraqis, although more recent poll results seem to contradict these numbers. The other 5% consist of those following Christianity and other religions...

, and others. The Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic Lutheran congregations in Norway have about 22,500 members in total. Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and 15,000 Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

.

Among non-Christian religions, Islam
Islam in Norway
Islam is the largest minority religion in Norway, which consist between 2.0% and 3.4% of the population. In 2007, government statistics registered 79,068 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, about 10% more than in 2006. 56% lived in the counties of Oslo and Akershus...

 is the largest with the population of 98,953. It is practiced mainly by Somali
Somali people
Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

, Arab
Arab diaspora
Arab diaspora refers to Arab immigrants, and their descendants who, voluntarily or as refugees, emigrated from their native lands and now reside in non-Arab countries, primarily in Latin America, and Europe, as well as North America and South Asia, parts of Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and West...

, Albanian
Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

, and Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 immigrants, as well as Norwegians of Pakistani descent. Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including 803 adherents of Judaism. India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n immigrants introduced Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 to Norway, which in 2009 has slightly more than 5,200 adherents, or 1% of non-Lutheran Norwegians. Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 has approximately 2,700 adherents with most living in Oslo, with two Gurdwara
Gurdwara
A Gurdwara , meaning the Gateway to the Guru, is the place of worship for Sikhs, the followers of Sikhism. A Gurdwara can be identified from a distance by tall flagpoles bearing the Nishan Sahib ....

s; Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Gurdwara Sikh Sangat. Sikhs first came to Norway in the early 70s. The troubles in Punjab after Operation Bluestar and the genocide of Sikhs after the assassination of Indira Gandhi led to an increase of Sikhs moving to Norway. Drammen also has a sizeable population of Sikhs with the largest Gurdwara in north Europe completed in Lier. There are eleven Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 organizations, grouped under the Buddhistforbundet organization, with slightly over 12,000 members, which make up 0.42% of the population. The Baha'i religion has slightly more than 1,000 adherents. Around 1.5% (76,500) of Norwegians adhere to the secular Norwegian Humanist Association.

From 2005 to 2010, the fastest-growing religious faith in Norway was Orthodox Christianity
Orthodoxy in Norway
Orthodoxy in Norway is a small minority religion in Norway with 8,492 official members in 2010, up from 2,315 in 2000.- History of the Orthodox Church in Norway :...

, which grew in membership by 68.8%; however, its share of the total population remains small, at 0.17%. On of the reasons is huge immigration from Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 and Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 and to a lesser extent from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

an and Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern countries. Other fast-growing religions were the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholicism in Norway
Roman Catholicism in Norway is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, the Curia in Rome and the Scandinavian Bishops Conference.There are about 83,000 - 230,000 Catholics in the country, 70% of whom were born abroad...

 (55.3%), Buddhism
Buddhism in Norway
Buddhism in Norway has existed since the beginning of the 1970s, after immigration from countries with Buddhist populations, mainly Vietnam. Buddhistforbundet in Norway was established as a religious society in 1979 by two Buddhist groups who wanted to create a common organization to preserve...

 (41.2%), Hinduism
Hinduism in Norway
In Norway 0.1% of the total population are Hindus, of South Asian descent and around 75% of those are Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka.-Ethnic Background of Hindus in Norway:...

 (37.3%), and Islam
Islam in Norway
Islam is the largest minority religion in Norway, which consist between 2.0% and 3.4% of the population. In 2007, government statistics registered 79,068 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, about 10% more than in 2006. 56% lived in the counties of Oslo and Akershus...

 (29.1%).

According to the Eurobarometer Poll 2005, at that time 32% of Norwegian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god". A study conducted three years previously by Gustafsson and Pettersson (2002), similarly found that 72% of Norwegians did not believe in a 'personal God.'

Like other Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n countries, the Norse followed a form of native Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism
Germanic paganism refers to the theology and religious practices of the Germanic peoples of north-western Europe from the Iron Age until their Christianization during the Medieval period...

 known as Norse paganism
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

. By the end of the 11th century, when Norway had been Christianized
Christianization of Scandinavia
The Christianization of Scandinavia took place between the 8th and the 12th century. The realms of Scandinavia proper, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, established their own Archdioceses, responsible directly to the Pope, in 1104, 1154 and 1164, respectively...

, 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 the everyday language. Modern interest in the old ways has led to a revival of the pagan religious practices in the form of Asatru
Germanic Neopaganism
Germanic neopaganism is the contemporary revival of historical Germanic paganism. Precursor movements appeared in the early 20th century in Germany and Austria. A second wave of revival began in the early 1970s...

. The Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost formed in 1996; as of 2011, the fellowship has about 300 members. Foreningen Forn Sed formed in 1999 and has been recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious organization.

Parts of the Sami minority retained their shamanistic religion well into the 18th century when they were converted to Christianity by Dano-Norwegian missionaries.
Religion Members Percent As of 2010
Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

3,919,571 80.6%
Catholicism
Roman Catholicism in Norway
Roman Catholicism in Norway is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope, the Curia in Rome and the Scandinavian Bishops Conference.There are about 83,000 - 230,000 Catholics in the country, 70% of whom were born abroad...

66,972 1.3%
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism in Norway
Pentecostal congregations in Norway is the largest Protestant free church in Norway with a total membership at 39,590 people in 2009....

39,923 0.8%
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

11,640 0.2%
Methodism
Methodism
Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

11,082 0.2%
Baptism
Baptism in Norway
The Norwegian Baptist Union is a baptist community in Norway.Most countries have a number of Baptist societies or associations of Baptist churches. In Norway, we find only a Baptist community, but there are independent Baptist congregation outside the Baptist community, which is not organized as a...

9,749 0.2%
Orthodoxy
Orthodoxy in Norway
Orthodoxy in Norway is a small minority religion in Norway with 8,492 official members in 2010, up from 2,315 in 2000.- History of the Orthodox Church in Norway :...

8,492 0.1%
Brunstad Christian Church 6,879 0.1%
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Adventism in Norway
Adventist congregations in Norway is a protestant free church in Norway with a total mempership of 5,086 people in 2009 in about 70 local churches....

5,136 0.1%
Other Christianity 20,793 0.4%
Non-Christian religions 121,321 2.4%
Islam
Islam in Norway
Islam is the largest minority religion in Norway, which consist between 2.0% and 3.4% of the population. In 2007, government statistics registered 79,068 members of Islamic congregations in Norway, about 10% more than in 2006. 56% lived in the counties of Oslo and Akershus...

98,953 2.0%
Buddhism
Buddhism in Norway
Buddhism in Norway has existed since the beginning of the 1970s, after immigration from countries with Buddhist populations, mainly Vietnam. Buddhistforbundet in Norway was established as a religious society in 1979 by two Buddhist groups who wanted to create a common organization to preserve...

13,376 0.2%
Hinduism
Hinduism in Norway
In Norway 0.1% of the total population are Hindus, of South Asian descent and around 75% of those are Tamil Hindus from Sri Lanka.-Ethnic Background of Hindus in Norway:...

5,175 0.1%
Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

1,037 0.02%
Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith in Norway
The Bahá'í Faith in Norway began with contact between traveling Scandinavians with early Persian believers of the Bahá'í Faith in the mid-to-late 19th century...

1,012 0.02%
Judaism 818 0.02%
Other religions 950 0.02%
Non-religious and unknown 643,520 13.2%
Humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

82,890 1.7%
Total 4,858,199 100.0%

Education




Higher education in Norway
Higher education in Norway
Higher education in Norway is offered by a range of eight universities, nine specialised universities, 24 university colleges as well as a range of private university colleges...

 is offered by a range of seven universities, five specialized colleges, 25 university college
University college
The term "university college" is used in a number of countries to denote college institutions that provide tertiary education but do not have full or independent university status. A university college is often part of a larger university...

s as well as a range of private colleges. Education follows the Bologna Process
Bologna process
The purpose of the Bologna Process is the creation of the European Higher Education Area by making academic degree standards and quality assurance standards more comparable and compatible throughout Europe, in particular under the Lisbon Recognition Convention...

 involving Bachelor
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 (3 years), Master
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 (2 years) and PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 (3 years) degrees. Acceptance is offered after finishing upper secondary school
Education in Norway
Education in Norway is mandatory for all children aged 6–16. The school year in Norway runs from mid August to late June the following year. The Christmas holiday from mid December to early January historically divides the Norwegian school year into two terms...

 with general study competence.

Public education is virtually free, regardless of nationality, with an academic year with two semester
Academic term
An academic term is a division of an academic year, the time during which a school, college or university holds classes. These divisions may be called terms...

s, from August to December and from January to June. The ultimate responsibility for the education lies with the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research
Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research
Royal Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research is a Norwegian responsible for education, research and kindergartens. The ministry was established in 1814, and since October 18, 2007 led by Tora Aasland and Kristin Halvorsen in 2009. The department reports to the legislature...

.

Languages


The North Germanic
North Germanic languages
The North Germanic languages or Scandinavian languages, the languages of Scandinavians, make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages, a sub-family of the Indo-European languages, along with the West Germanic languages and the extinct East Germanic languages...

 Norwegian language has two official written forms, Bokmål
Bokmål
Bokmål is one of two official Norwegian written standard languages, the other being Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 85–90% of the population in Norway, and is the standard most commonly taught to foreign students of the Norwegian language....

and Nynorsk
Nynorsk
Nynorsk or New Norwegian is one of two official written standards for the Norwegian language, the other being Bokmål. The standard language was created by Ivar Aasen during the mid-19th century, to provide a Norwegian alternative to the Danish language which was commonly written in Norway at the...

. Both of them are recognized as official languages, in that they are both used in public administration, in schools, churches, and media, but Bokmål is used by the vast majority, about 85–90%. Around 95% of the population speak Norwegian as their native language, although many speak dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s that may differ significantly from the written language. In general, most Norwegian dialects are inter-intelligible, although some may require significant efforts on the part of a listener to understand. Several Uralic
Uralic languages
The Uralic languages constitute a language family of some three dozen languages spoken by approximately 25 million people. The healthiest Uralic languages in terms of the number of native speakers are Hungarian, Finnish, Estonian, Mari and Udmurt...

 Sami languages are spoken and written throughout the country, especially in the north, by the Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

. Speakers have a right to get education in Sami language no matter where they are living and receive communication from the government in various Sami languages. The Kven minority speak the Uralic Kven language
Kven language
The Kven language is a Finnic language spoken in Northern Norway by the Kven people. For political and historical reasons it received the status of a minority language in 2005 within the framework of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

/Finnish. There is advocacy for making Norwegian Sign Language
Norwegian Sign Language
Norwegian Sign Language, or NSL , is the principal deaf sign language Norway. There are many sign language organizations and some television programs broadcast in NSL in Norway...

 an official Norwegian language.

In the 19th and 20th century, Norwegian language was subject to strong political and cultural controversy, which led to the creation of Nynorsk in the 19th century and to the formation of alternative spelling standards in the 20th century, notably the Riksmål
Bokmål
Bokmål is one of two official Norwegian written standard languages, the other being Nynorsk. Bokmål is used by 85–90% of the population in Norway, and is the standard most commonly taught to foreign students of the Norwegian language....

 standard, which is more conservative (that is, more similar to Danish) than Bokmål.

Norwegian is similar to the other languages in Scandinavia, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

. All three languages are mutually intelligible and can be, and commonly are, employed in communication between inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the cooperation within the Nordic Council
Nordic Council
The Nordic Council is a geo-political, inter-parliamentary forum for co-operation between the Nordic countries. It was established following World War II and its first concrete result was the introduction in 1952 of a common labour market and free movement across borders without passports for the...

, inhabitants of all Nordic countries, including Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, have the right to communicate with the Norwegian authorities in their own language.

Any Norwegian student who is a child of immigrant parents is encouraged to learn the Norwegian language. The Norwegian government offers language instructional courses for immigrants wishing to obtain Norwegian citizenship. From 1 September 2008, an applicant for Norwegian citizenship must also give evidence of proficiency in either the Norwegian or Sami language or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language requirements for university studies in Norway (which is met by being proficient in one of the Scandinavian languages).

The main foreign language taught in Norwegian elementary school is English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. The majority of the population are fluent in English, especially those born after World War II. German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 are also commonly taught as a second or, more often, third language. Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 and rarely Chinese (Mandarin)
Standard Mandarin
Standard Chinese or Modern Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin or Putonghua, is the official language of the People's Republic of China and Republic of China , and is one of the four official languages of Singapore....

 are available in some schools, mostly in the cities. Traditionally, English, German and French were considered the main foreign languages in Norway. These languages, for instance, had been used on Norwegian passports until the 1990s, and university students have a general right to use these languages when submitting their theses.

Culture




The unique Norwegian farm culture
Norwegian farm culture
The Norwegian farm culture was a rural movement unique in values and practices which assumed a form in Viking Age Norway, and continued with little change into the age of firearms - and in many respects even to the early 20th century...

, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws
Ancient Norwegian property laws
Two Norwegian property laws, which are so ancient that the time of their enactment is lost, govern Norwegian property. These are the Åsetesrett , and the Odelsrett ....

. In the 18th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic
Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism was a movement in Norway between 1840 and 1867 in art, literature, and popular culture that emphasized the aesthetics of Norwegian nature and the uniqueness of the Norwegian national identity...

 movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

 and media. In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued 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, in many regards, an early adopter of women's rights, minority rights, and LGBT rights. For example, in 1990 Norway was the first country to recognize the ILO-convention 169
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 is an International Labour Organization Convention, also known as ILO-convention 169, or C169. It is the major binding international convention concerning indigenous peoples, and a forerunner of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.It...

 on indigenous people, and in 1913 become one of the first countries to grant women universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

 (without conditions on civil status). It was also the first independent nation to allow women to run for elected office.

In regards 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 legalize civil union
Civil union
A civil union, also referred to as a civil partnership, is a legally recognized form of partnership similar to marriage. Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in many developed countries in order to provide same-sex couples rights,...

 partnerships for same-sex couples, and on January 1, 2009, Norway became the sixth country
Same-sex marriage in Norway
Same-sex marriage became legal in Norway on January 1, 2009 when a gender neutral marriage bill was enacted after being passed by the Norwegian legislature in June 2008...

 to grant full marriage equality
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

 to same-sex couples.

However, only in 1990 was the Norwegian constitution altered to grant absolute primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. This was not done retroactively, meaning that even now the current successor to the throne is not the eldest child to the King, but the eldest son. 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.”

An ardent promoter of human rights, Norway is home to the annual Oslo Freedom Forum
Oslo Freedom Forum
Oslo Freedom Forum is a conference about human rights first held in May 2009 in Oslo, Norway. Founded by the Human Rights Foundation. According to Thor Halvorssen , "the Oslo Freedom Forum is an intimate gathering where leaders who are transforming the world present effective solutions and...

 conference, a gathering described by The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

 as “on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum.”

Cinema



Not until fairly recently has the Norwegian cinema received international recognition, but as early as 1951 a documentary film of the Kon-Tiki
Kon-Tiki (film)
Kon-Tiki is a Norwegian documentary about the Kon-Tiki expedition led by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947, released in 1950. The movie, which was directed by Thor Heyerdahl and edited by Olle Nordemar, received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 24th Academy...

expedition won an Oscar Academy Award. In 1959, Arne Skouen's Nine Lives was nominated, but failed to win. Another notable film is Flåklypa Grand Prix
Flåklypa Grand Prix
Flåklypa Grand Prix is a Norwegian stop motion-animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino. It was released in 1975 and is based on characters from a series of books by Norwegian cartoonist and author Kjell Aukrust...

(English: Pinchcliffe Grand Prix), an animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino
Ivo Caprino
Ivo Caprino was a Norwegian film director and writer, best known for his puppet films. His most famous film is Flåklypa Grand Prix , made in 1975.- Early career :...

. The film was released in 1975 and is based on characters from Norwegian cartoonist Kjell Aukrust
Kjell Aukrust
Kjell Aukrust was a Norwegian author, poet and artist. He was the nephew of Olav Aukrust. He is most famous for his memoirs of his childhood in Alvdal in the books Simen, Bonden and Bror Min, and his creation of the fictional Norwegian village of Flåklypa and its cast of idiosyncratic characters...

. It is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time.

There was however a real breakthrough in 1987 with Nils Gaup
Nils Gaup
-Career:Gaup was born in Kautokeino, Finnmark County in Northern Norway. He first intended to become an athlete but from 1974 to 1978 he went to drama school and studied at the Beaivváš Sámi Theatre in Kautokeino...

's Pathfinder which told the story of the Sami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

. It was nominated for an Oscar and was a huge international success. Berit Nesheim
Berit Nesheim
Berit Nesheim is Norwegian film director. Nesheim graduated from the University of Oslo in foreign languages, literature and psychology to go on to a career as a director of television films. Her first feature-film was Frida - Straight from the Heart in 1991, which was the Norwegian entry to the...

's The Other Side of Sunday
The Other Side of Sunday
The Other Side of Sunday is a Norwegian film from 1996 directed by Berit Nesheim, starring Marie Theisen and Bjørn Sundquist....

was also nominated for an Oscar in 1997.

Since the 1990s, the film industry has thrived with up to 20 feature films each year. Particular successes were Kristin Lavransdatter
Kristin Lavransdatter
Kristin Lavransdatter is the common name for a trilogy of historical novels written by Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset. The individual novels are Kransen , first published in 1920, Husfrue , published in 1921, and Korset , published in 1922...

, The Telegraphist
The Telegraphist
The Telegraphist is a 1993 Norwegian film directed by Erik Gustavson. It is based on the novel "The Dreamers" by Knut Hamsun. It stars Bjørn Floberg and Marie Richardson, as well as Kjersti Holmen, who won an Amanda for her role...

and Gurin with the Foxtail. Knut Erik Jensen
Knut Erik Jensen
Knut Erik Jensen is a Norwegian film director, best known for his documentary Cool and Crazy. After studying French, Russian and history, he attended the London Film School. In 1978, he joined the staff of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation , and has since then made documentaries and short...

 was among the more successful new directors together with Erik Skjoldbjærg
Erik Skjoldbjærg
Erik Skjoldbjærg is a Norwegian director and writer best known for co-writing and directing the film Insomnia and directing Prozac Nation-External links:...

 remembered for Insomnia
Insomnia (1997 film)
Insomnia is a 1997 Norwegian thriller film about a police detective investigating a murder in a town located above the Arctic Circle. The investigation goes horribly wrong when he mistakenly shoots his partner and subsequently attempts to cover up his bungle...

.

In late 2008, the movie Max Manus
Max Manus (film)
Max Manus is a Norwegian 2008 biographic war film based on the real events of the life of resistance fighter Max Manus . The story follows Manus from the Winter War against the Soviet Union, through the outbreak of World War II and the German occupation of Norway until peacetime in 1945...

opened at Norwegian theatres. The movie was a WW2 drama, telling the story of the Norwegian resistance hero Max Manus
Max Manus
Maximo Guillermo "Max" Manus DSO, MC & Bar was a Norwegian resistance fighter during World War II.Manus was born in Bergen to a Norwegian father and a Danish mother...

 who led many successful sabotage operations against the German occupation. The movie became the highest grossing Norwegian movie ever.

Other notable successful Norwegian films, include Orion's Belt (film)
Orion's Belt (film)
Orion's Belt is a Norwegian feature film from 1985, directed by Ola Solum.The film is based on the novel of the same name by Jon Michelet from 1977. The film is a classic thriller from the time of the Cold War, and deals with the events on Svalbard. It is regarded as one of the most powerful...

, Cold Prey, Cold Prey 2
Cold Prey 2
Cold Prey 2: Resurrection is a 2008 Norwegian horror film, directed by Mats Stenberg. It is the sequel to the highly successful Cold Prey , and premiered in Norway on 10 October 2008. It was directed by Roar Uthaug and starred Ingrid Bolsø Berdal in the leading role. The film picks up where the...

, Cold Prey 3
Cold Prey 3
Cold Prey Beginning is a 2010 Norwegian horror film, it is the prequel to the highly successful Cold Prey , and Cold Prey 2 . It is directed by Mikkel Brænne Sandemose and starred Nils Johnson in the leading role....

 and The Troll Hunter
The Troll Hunter
The Troll Hunter is a 2010 Norwegian dark fantasy film, made in the form of a "found footage" mockumentary. It is written and directed by André Øvredal, and features a mixed cast of relatively unknown actors and well-known Norwegian comedians, including Otto Jespersen. The Troll Hunter received...



In adittion to the many Norwegian films that has been shot in Norway, several international productions has made use of Norway as location, either for historic reasons, as part of the story or as background. Some of these includes: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back is a 1980 American epic space opera film directed by Irvin Kershner. The screenplay, based on a story by George Lucas, was written by Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan...

, The Golden Compass (film), You Only Live Twice (film)
You Only Live Twice (film)
You Only Live Twice is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and loosely based on Ian Fleming's 1964 novel of the same name...

, The Witches (1990 film), Pippi Longstocking (1969 film)
Pippi Longstocking (1969 film)
Pippi Longstocking is a 1969 film, based on the eponymous children's books by Astrid Lindgren with the cast of the 1969 TV series. This movie is collection of some episodes of the original TV series and was released in the U.S...

, Die Another Day
Die Another Day
Die Another Day is the 20th spy film in the James Bond series, and the fourth and last film to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond; it is also the last Bond film of the original timeline with the series being rebooted with Casino Royale...

, The Call of the Wild (1972 film)
The Call of the Wild (1972 film)
The Call of the Wild is a 1972 British family adventure film directed by Ken Annakin and starring Charlton Heston, Michèle Mercier, Raimund Harmstorf, George Eastman, and Maria Rohm....

, Ransom (1975 film)
Ransom (1975 film)
Ransom is a 1975 film starring Sean Connery and Ian McShane and directed by Finnish director Caspar Wrede. The plot concerned a group of terrorists who try and extract a large sum of money from two governments...

, Superman II
Superman II
Superman II is the 1980 sequel to the 1978 superhero film Superman and stars Gene Hackman, Christopher Reeve, Terence Stamp, Ned Beatty, Sarah Douglas, Margot Kidder, and Jack O'Halloran. It was the only Superman film to be filmed by two directors...

, Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us
Spies Like Us is a 1985 American comedy film directed by John Landis and starring Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Forrest, and Donna Dixon...

, Eight Below
Eight Below
Eight Below is a 2006 American adventure film directed by Frank Marshall and written by David DiGilio. It stars Paul Walker, Jason Biggs, Bruce Greenwood and Moon Bloodgood...

, It's All About Love
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is a 2003 film written and directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Its narrative can be classified as apocalyptic science fiction, but Vinterberg prefers to call it "a dream". Unlike the director's earlier Danish-language films, It's All About Love is entirely in English and stars...

, Scott of the Antarctic (film), The Heroes of Telemark
The Heroes of Telemark
The Heroes of Telemark is a 1965 war film directed by Anthony Mann based on the true story of the Norwegian heavy water sabotage during World War II...

 and The Vikings (1958 film)

Music


Along with the classical music
Music of Norway
Music based on traditional Norwegian form usually includes minor or modal scales , making a sober and haunting sound. Pure major key dance music forms also exist. Prior to the 18th century, there is scant written record of what kind of music was played in Norway, but there is a large aural tradition...

 of romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 composers Edvard Grieg
Edvard Grieg
Edvard Hagerup Grieg was a Norwegian composer and pianist. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt , and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.-Biography:Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in...

; Rikard Nordraak
Rikard Nordraak
Rikard Nordraak was a Norwegian composer. He is best known as the composer of the Norwegian national anthem.-Biography:...

 and Johan Svendsen
Johan Svendsen
Johan Severin Svendsen was a Norwegian composer, conductor and violinist. Born in Christiania , Norway, he lived most his life in Copenhagen, Denmark....

, and the modern music of Arne Nordheim
Arne Nordheim
Arne Nordheim was a Norwegian composer who had since 1982 been living in the Norwegian State's honorary residence, Grotten, next to the Royal Palace in Oslo. Nordheim received numerous prizes for his compositions, and was elected an honorary member of the International Society for Contemporary...

, Norwegian black metal has become something of an export article in recent years.

Norway's classical performers include Leif Ove Andsnes
Leif Ove Andsnes
Leif Ove Andsnes is a Norwegian pianist and an ardent champion of the works of Edvard Grieg.-Biography:He studied with Jiří Hlinka at the Bergen Music Conservatory and made his debut in Oslo in 1987, in Britain at the Edinburgh Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic in 1989, and in the United States...

, one of the world's more famous pianists, Truls Mørk
Truls Mørk
Truls Olaf Otterbech Mørk is a Norwegian cellist.Mørk was born in Bergen, Norway, the son of two professional musicians, his father a cellist and his mother a pianist. His mother began teaching him the piano when he was seven...

, an outstanding cellist, and the great Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Flagstad
Kirsten Målfrid Flagstad was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano...

.

The jazz scene in Norway is also thriving. Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek
Jan Garbarek is a Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist, active in the jazz, classical, and world music genres. Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway, the only child of a former Polish prisoner of war Czesław Garbarek and a Norwegian farmer's daughter...

, Terje Rypdal
Terje Rypdal
Terje Rypdal is a Norwegian guitarist and composer. Most of his music has been released on albums of the German record label ECM. Rypdal has collaborated both as a guitarist and as a composer with other ECM artists such as Ketil Bjørnstad and David Darling...

, Mari Boine
Mari Boine
Mari Boine, previously known as Mari Boine Persen, is a Norwegian Sami musician known for having added jazz and rock to the yoiks of her native people...

, Arild Andersen
Arild Andersen
Arild Andersen is a Norwegian bass player.Born in Lillestrøm, Norway, he started out as a member of the Jan Garbarek Quartet , with Terje Rypdal and Jon Christensen...

, and Bugge Wesseltoft
Bugge Wesseltoft
Jens Christian Bugge Wesseltoft is a Norwegian jazz musician, pianist, composer and producer. He has his own label named Jazzland Records. In the 1990s, Bugge has made a transition from Nordic jazz traditions exemplified by the ECM record label to a style sometimes referred to as "future jazz" or...

 are internationally recognized while Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love
Paal Nilssen-Love is a Norwegian drummer active in the jazz and free jazz genres.Nilssen-Love was raised at a jazz club in Stavanger, run by his mother, and his father, who was also a drummer...

, Supersilent
Supersilent
Supersilent is a Norwegian avant-garde/improvisational music group formed in Bergen in 1997 and signed on Rune Grammofon. They are known for making only improvised music and for the distinctive uniformity of their album covers....

, Jaga Jazzist
Jaga Jazzist
Jaga Jazzist is an experimental jazz band from Norway that rose to prominence when the BBC named their first album, A Livingroom Hush , the best jazz album of 2002. The core of the band are brothers and main songwriters Lars and Martin Horntveth...

 and Wibutee
Wibutee
Wibutee is a jazz band from Norway, mixing influences from electronic music and improvisation.Members are:*Håkon Kornstad...

 are becoming world-class artists of the younger generation.

Norway has a strong folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 tradition which remains popular to this day. Among the most prominent folk musicians are Hardanger fiddlers
Hardingfele
A Hardanger fiddle is a traditional stringed instrument used originally to play the music of Norway. In modern designs, the instruments are very similar to the violin, though with eight or nine strings and thinner wood...

 Andrea Een
Andrea Een
Andrea Een is a violist/violinist and Associate Professor of Music at St Olaf College. She is a founding member of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America and, in 2002, was awarded the St. Olav's Medal by H.M. Harald V of Norway for helping to reintroduce the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle...

, Olav Jørgen Hegge
Olav Jørgen Hegge
Olav Jørgen Hegge was a Norwegian Hardanger fiddler and folk dancer with American ties.He was raised in Øystre Slidre, Valdres, Norway. Many members of his family included fiddlers and dancers. Considered a leading tradition bearer of the Hardanger fiddle and the dance style from his home...

 and Annbjørg Lien
Annbjørg Lien
Annbjørg Lien is a Norwegian musician. She plays the hardingfele , violin, and nyckelharpa....

, vocalists Agnes Buen Garnås
Agnes Buen Garnås
Agnes Buen Garnås is a Norwegian folk singer from the county of Telemark. She comes from a famous musical family from the town of Jondalen, and is known particularly for her singing of ancient unaccompanied Norwegian ballads, as well as her updated arrangements of these songs in collaboration with...

, Kirsten Bråten Berg
Kirsten Bråten Berg
Kirsten Marie Bråten Berg is a Norwegian folk singer and silversmith currently living in Valle in the Setesdal area of southern Norway. She trained as a silversmith at the Torleiv H. Bjørgums Vocational College Kirsten Marie Bråten Berg (born 7 January 1950 in Arendal, Norway) is a Norwegian folk...

 and Odd Nordstoga
Odd Nordstoga
Odd Nordstoga is a musician, actor and editor from Vinje in Telemark, Norway. In 2004, he went from relative obscurity to becoming the country's biggest selling recording artist, with the phenomenal success of his first solo album proper, "Luring"...

.

Since the 1990s, Norway's biggest cultural export is black metal
Black metal
Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. Common traits include fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, raw recording, and unconventional song structure....

. The lo-fi, dark and raw form of heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 exploded in Norway during the 90s and launched the careers of bands such as Gorgoroth
Gorgoroth
Gorgoroth is a Norwegian black metal band based in Bergen. Formed in 1992 by Infernus , the band is named after the dead plateau of evil and darkness in the land of Mordor from J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings. The group is currently signed to Regain Records and have released...

, Mayhem
Mayhem (band)
Mayhem is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1984 in Oslo, Norway and regarded as one of the pioneers of the influential Norwegian black metal scene...

, Burzum
Burzum
Burzum is a musical project by Varg Vikernes . It began during 1991 in Bergen, Norway and quickly became prominent within the early Norwegian black metal scene...

, Emperor
Emperor (band)
Emperor was a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1991. They dissolved in 2001, but reunited in 2006 and again in 2007 for a few festival dates and brief US tours. The group was founded by Samoth and Ihsahn .-Biography:...

, Darkthrone
Darkthrone
Darkthrone is a Norwegian black metal band. They formed in 1987 as a death metal band, but after embracing the black metal style in 1991, they became a driving force in the Norwegian black metal scene. For most of this period Darkthrone has consisted of just two musicians, Nocturno Culto and...

 and Immortal
Immortal (band)
Immortal is a black metal band from Bergen, Norway, founded in 1990 by current frontman/guitarist Abbath Doom Occulta and former guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta...

, as well as later bands such as Dimmu Borgir
Dimmu Borgir
Dimmu Borgir is a Norwegian black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. Dimmu borgir means "dark cities" or "dark castles/fortresses" in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The name is derived from a volcanic formation in Iceland, Dimmuborgir...

. This development has since become an important part of extreme metal
Extreme metal
Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. The term usually refers to a more abrasive, harsher, underground, non-commercialized style or sound nearly always associated with genres like black metal,...

, but many events that took place in the early 1990s related to the black metal movement such as several church burnings and a prominent murder case caused some concern amongst the Norwegian citizens at large.

Other internationally recognized bands are a-ha
A-ha
A-ha were a Norwegian pop band formed in Oslo in 1982. The band was founded by Morten Harket , Magne Furuholmen , and Pål Waaktaar...

 and Röyksopp
Röyksopp
Röyksopp is a Norwegian electronic music duo from Tromsø, formed in 1998. Since their inception, the band's line-up has included Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland....

. The group a-ha
A-ha
A-ha were a Norwegian pop band formed in Oslo in 1982. The band was founded by Morten Harket , Magne Furuholmen , and Pål Waaktaar...

 initially rose to fame during the mid 1980s after being discovered by musician and producer John Ratcliff and has had continued global success in the 1990s and 2000s.

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
Extreme sport
An extreme sport is a popular term for certain activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger...

 festivals with music; Ekstremsportveko
Ekstremsportveko
Ekstremsportveko , or "Veko" as it is commonly called by the locals, is a festival held annually in Voss, Norway. Established in 1998 by Einar Raa Nilsen, Frode Solbakk, Oyvind Kindem and Even Rokne, has grown to become one of the world's largest extreme sports festivals.-Disciplines:The week...

 – a festival held annually in Voss
Voss
is a municipality in Hordaland county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Voss. The administrative center of the municipality is the village of Vossevangen....

. Oslo is the host of many festivals, such as: Øyafestivalen
Øyafestivalen
Øyafestivalen is an annual Norwegian music festival held in Middelalderparken , Oslo. It has grown quickly since its modest start in 1999 with an audience of 1000 people in one day, and has now become one of Norway's biggest festivals....

 and by:Larm
By:Larm
by:Larm is a music festival and conference held annually at different locations in Norway since 1998. Since 2008 the festival has been held in Oslo....

. Oslo used to have a summerparade similar to the German Love Parade
Love Parade
The Love Parade was a popular electronic dance music festival and parade that originated in 1989 in West Berlin, Germany. It was held in Germany annually between 1989 and 2003 in Berlin, and then from 2006 to 2010 in the Ruhr region...

. In 1992 the city of Oslo wanted to adopt the French music festival “Fête de la Musique”. Fredrik Carl Størmer
Fredrik Carl Størmer
Fredrik Carl Stormer is a jazz drummer and entrepreneur based in Oslo, Norway. Based on his music and business experience, he has developed the JazzCode – a term describing the guiding principles used by jazz musicians in particular and professional teams in general to create a successful...

 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.
Norway also have a festival named trænafestivalen each year on the island Træna.

Literature


History of Norwegian literature starts with the pagan
Norse paganism
Norse paganism is the religious traditions of the Norsemen, a Germanic people living in the Nordic countries. Norse paganism is therefore a subset of Germanic paganism, which was practiced in the lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes across most of Northern and Central Europe in the Viking Age...

 Eddaic poems
Poetic Edda
The Poetic Edda is a collection of Old Norse poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius. Along with Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology and Germanic heroic legends, and from the early 19th century...

 and skaldic verse
Skald
The skald was a member of a group of poets, whose courtly poetry is associated with the courts of Scandinavian and Icelandic leaders during the Viking Age, who composed and performed renditions of aspects of what we now characterise as Old Norse poetry .The most prevalent metre of skaldic poetry is...

 of the 9th and 10th centuries with poets such as Bragi Boddason
Bragi Boddason
In his Edda Snorri Sturluson quotes many stanzas attributed to Bragi Boddason the old , a court poet who served several Swedish kings, Ragnar Lodbrok, Östen Beli and Björn at Hauge who reigned in the first half of the ninth century...

 and Eyvindr skáldaspillir
Eyvindr Skáldaspillir
Eyvindr Finnsson skáldaspillir was a 10th century Norwegian skald. He was the court poet of king Hákon the Good and earl Hákon of Hlaðir. His son Hárekr later became a prominent chieftain in Norway.His preserved works are:...

. 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 was to flower into an active period of literature production in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Major works of that period include Historia Norwegiæ, Þiðrekssaga and Konungs skuggsjá
Konungs skuggsjá
Konungs skuggsjá is a Norwegian educational text from around 1250, an example of speculum literature that deals with politics and morality...

.

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
Petter Dass
Petter Dass was a Lutheran clergyman and the foremost Norwegian poet of his generation, writing both baroque hymns and topographical poetry. -Biography:He was born at Northern Herøy , Nordland, Norway...

 and Ludvig Holberg
Ludvig Holberg
Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, during the time of the Dano-Norwegian double monarchy, who spent most of his adult life in Denmark. He was influenced by Humanism, the Enlightenment and the Baroque...

. In his play Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

, Ibsen characterized this period as "Twice two hundred years of darkness/brooded o'er the race of monkeys", although the latter line is not as frequently quoted as the former. During the union with Denmark, written Norwegian was replaced by Danish.


Two major events precipitated a major resurgence in Norwegian literature. In 1811 a Norwegian university was established in Christiania
Oslo
Oslo is a municipality, as well as the capital and most populous city in Norway. As a municipality , it was established on 1 January 1838. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by fire in 1624. The city was moved under the reign of Denmark–Norway's King...

. Seized by the spirit of revolution following the American
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

s, the Norwegians signed their first Constitution
Constitution of Norway
The Constitution of Norway was first adopted on May 16, 1814 by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly at Eidsvoll , then signed and dated May 17...

 in 1814. Soon, the cultural backwater that was Norway brought forth a series of strong authors recognized first in Scandinavia, and then worldwide; among them were Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Wergeland
Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland was a Norwegian writer, most celebrated for his poetry but also a prolific playwright, polemicist, historian, and linguist...

, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen was a Norwegian writer and scholar. He and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe were collectors of Norwegian folklore...

, Jørgen Moe
Jørgen Moe
right|thumb|Norske Folkeeventyr Asbjørnsen and Moe Jørgen Engebretsen Moe was a Norwegian bishop and author...

 and Camilla Collett
Camilla Collett
Jacobine Camilla Collett was a Norwegian writer, often referred to as the first Norwegian feminist. She was also the younger sister of Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland, and is recognized as being one of the first contributors to realism in Norwegian literature...

.

By the late 19th century, in the Golden Age
Golden Age
The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology and legend and refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is first, followed in sequence, by the Silver, Bronze, and Iron Ages, and then the present, a period of decline...

 of Norwegian literature, the so-called Great Four emerged: Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

, Alexander Kielland
Alexander Kielland
Alexander Lange Kielland was one of the most famous Norwegian realistic writers of the 19th century. He is one of the so-called "The Four Greats" in Norwegian literature, along with Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Jonas Lie.-Background:Born in Stavanger, Norway, he grew up in a rich...

, and Jonas Lie
Jonas Lie
Jonas Lauritz Idemil Lie was a Norwegian novelist, poet, and playwright who is considered to have been one of the Four Greats of 19th century Norwegian literature, together with Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson and Alexander Kielland.-Background:Jonas Lie was born at Hokksund in Øvre Eiker, in...

. Bjørnson's "peasant novels", such as "En glad gutt" (A Happy Boy) and "Synnøve Solbakken" are typical of the national romanticism of their day, whereas Kielland's novels and short stories are mostly realistic. Although an important contributor to early Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism
Norwegian romantic nationalism was a movement in Norway between 1840 and 1867 in art, literature, and popular culture that emphasized the aesthetics of Norwegian nature and the uniqueness of the Norwegian national identity...

 (especially the ironic Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, loosely based on the fairy tale Per Gynt. It is the most widely performed Norwegian play. According to Klaus Van Den Berg, the "cinematic script blends poetry with social satire and realistic scenes with surreal ones"...

), Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

's fame rests primarily on his pioneering realistic dramas such The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck
The Wild Duck is an 1884 play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.-Plot:The first act opens with a dinner party hosted by Håkon Werle, a wealthy merchant and industrialist. The gathering is attended by his son, Gregers Werle, who has just returned to his father's home following a self-imposed...

and A Doll's House
A Doll's House
A Doll's House is a three-act play in prose by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. It premièred at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 21 December 1879, having been published earlier that month....

, many of which caused moral uproar because of their candid portrayals of the middle classes.

In the 20th century, three Norwegian novelists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Bjørnstjerne Martinius Bjørnson was a Norwegian writer and the 1903 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. Bjørnson is considered as one of The Four Greats Norwegian writers; the others being Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland...

 in 1903, Knut Hamsun
Knut Hamsun
Knut Hamsun was a Norwegian author, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920. He was praised by King Haakon VII of Norway as Norway's soul....

 for the book "Markens grøde
Growth of the Soil
The Growth of the Soil is the novel by Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun which won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920.-Theme:...

" ("Growth of the Soil") in 1920, and Sigrid Undset
Sigrid Undset
Sigrid Undset was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928.-Biography:Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism and became a lay Dominican...

 in 1928.
Further important contributions to Norwegian literature were made by writers like Dag Solstad
Dag Solstad
Dag Solstad is a Norwegian novelist, short-story writer, and dramatist whose work has been translated into several languages. He has written nearly 30 books and is the only author to have received the Norwegian Literary Critics’ Award three times...

, Jon Fosse
Jon Fosse
Jon Fosse is a Norwegian author and dramatist.Fosse was born in Haugesund, Norway and currently lives in Bergen. He debuted in 1983 with the novel Raudt, svart . His first play, Og aldri skal vi skiljast, was performed and published in 1994. Jon Fosse has written novels, short stories, poetry,...

, Cora Sandel
Cora Sandel
Cora Sandel was the pen name of Sara Cecilia Görvell Fabricius, a Norwegian writer and painter who lived most of her life abroad. Her most famous works are the novels now known as the Alberta Trilogy.-Biography:Sara Cecilia Görvell Fabricius was born in Kristiania...

, Olav Duun
Olav Duun
Olav Duun was a noteworthy author of Norwegian fiction. He is generally recognized to be one of the more outstanding writers in Norwegian literature. He once lacked only one vote to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature...

, Olav H. Hauge
Olav H. Hauge
Olav Håkonson Hauge was a Norwegian poet. He was born in Ulvik and lived his whole life there, working as a gardener in his own orchard....

, Gunvor Hofmo
Gunvor Hofmo
Gunvor Hofmo was a Norwegian writer, often considered one of Norway's most influential modernist poets.-Literary career:...

, Stein Mehren
Stein Mehren
Stein Mehren is a Norwegian poet, author, essayist and playwright. He made his literary debut as lyricist with Gjennom stillheten en natt...

, Kjell Askildsen
Kjell Askildsen
Kjell Askildsen is a Norwegian writer. He is probably best known for his minimalistic short stories.-Personal life:He was born in Mandal as a son of bailiff and politician Arne Askildsen and Aasta Håverstad...

, Hans Herbjørnsrud
Hans Herbjørnsrud
Hans Herbjørnsrud is a Norwegian author of short stories. His works frequently play with the differences between Norwegian languages Bokmål and Nynorsk and the various Norwegian dialects...

, Aksel Sandemose
Aksel Sandemose
Aksel Sandemose was a novelist, born in Nykøbing, Mors Island, Denmark to a Danish father and a Norwegian mother....

, Bergljot Hobæk Haff
Bergljot Hobæk Haff
Bergljot Hobæk Haff is a Norwegian novel writer. Upon completing her education, she traveled to Denmark, and taught there for 24 years before returning to Oslo. She made her debut with the novel Raset in 1956...

, Jostein Gaarder
Jostein Gaarder
Jostein Gaarder /ˈju:staɪn ˈgɔːrdər/ is a Norwegian intellectual and author of several novels, short stories and children's books. Gaarder often writes from the perspective of children, exploring their sense of wonder about the world. He often uses metafiction in his works, writing stories within...

, Erik Fosnes Hansen
Erik Fosnes Hansen
Erik Fosnes Hansen is a Norwegian writer.He was born in New York, and made his debut at age twenty with the novel Falketårnet. His most famous work is his second novel, Psalm at Journey's End, which in separate but steadily more interwoven stories follows the individual musicians that end their...

, Jens Bjørneboe
Jens Bjørneboe
Jens Ingvald Bjørneboe was a Norwegian writer whose work spanned a number of literary formats. He was also a painter and a waldorf school teacher. Bjørneboe was a harsh and eloquent critic of Norwegian society and Western civilization on the whole...

, Kjartan Fløgstad
Kjartan Fløgstad
Kjartan Fløgstad is a Norwegian author. Fløgstad studied literature and linguistics at the University of Bergen. Subsequently he worked for a period as an industrial worker and as a sailor before he debuted as a poet with his collection of poems titled Valfart in 1968...

, Lars Saabye Christensen
Lars Saabye Christensen
Lars Saabye Christensen, born 21 September 1953 in Oslo, is a Norwegian author.Saabye Christensen was raised in the Skillebekk neighbourhood of Oslo, but lived for many years in Sortland in northern Norway; both places play a major role in his work...

, Johan Borgen
Johan Borgen
Johan Collett Müller Borgen was a Norwegian author, journalist and critic. He was married to Annemarta Borgen. Under the pseudonym of Mumle Gåsegg he wrote shorter articles in the newspaper Dagbladet, particularly during World War II...

, Herbjørg Wassmo
Herbjørg Wassmo
Herbjørg Wassmo is a Norwegian author. She worked as a teacher in northern Norway until her debut as an author. Her debut work was a collection of poems, "Vingeslag"...

, Jan Erik Vold
Jan Erik Vold
Jan Erik Vold is a Norwegian lyric poet, translator and author. He was a core member of the so-called "Profil generation", the circle attached to the literary magazine Profil. Throughout his career as an artist, he has had the ability to reach the public, both with his poetry and his political views...

, Rolf Jacobsen, Olaf Bull
Olaf Bull
Olaf Jacob Martin Luther Breda Bull or Olaf Bull was a Norwegian poet. He was born on November 10, 1883 in Kristiania , Norway, and died on June 29, 1933.-His life:...

, Jan Kjærstad
Jan Kjærstad
Jan Kjærstad is a Norwegian author. Kjærstad is a theology graduate from MF Norwegian School of Theology and the University of Oslo . He has written a string of novels, short stories and essays and was editor of the literary magazine Vinduet...

, Georg Johannesen
Georg Johannesen
Georg Johannesen was a Norwegian author and professor of rhetoric.He was born in Bergen. His dissertation was on the spring motif in the poetry of Olaf Bull. He drowned while on vacation in Egypt....

, Tarjei Vesaas
Tarjei Vesaas
[Tarjei Vesaas was a Norwegian poet and novelist. Born in Vinje, Telemark, Vesaas is widely considered to be one of Norway's greatest writers of the twentieth century and perhaps its most important since World War II....

, Sigurd Hoel
Sigurd Hoel
Sigurd Hoel was a Norwegian author and publishing consultant, born in Nord-Odal. He debuted with the collection of short stories Veien vi gaar in 1922...

, Arnulf Øverland
Arnulf Øverland
Ole Peter Arnulf Øverland was a Norwegian author born in Kristiansund and raised in Bergen. His works include Berget det blå and Hustavler .-Life:...

 and Johan Falkberget
Johan Falkberget
Johan Falkberget, born Johan Petter Lillebakken, was a Norwegian author.-Life and career:Johan Falkberget was born on the Falkberget farm in the Rugldal valley in the Norwegian copper mining municipality of Røros.In 1891, he began to write his Christianus Sextus trilogy, though it was not...

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Architecture




Norway has always had a tradition of building in wood. Indeed, 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.

Norway's conversion to Christianity some 1,000 years ago led to the introduction of stonework architecture, beginning with the construction of Nidaros Cathedral
Nidaros Cathedral
Nidaros Cathedral is a Church of Norway cathedral located in the city of Trondheim in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It was the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nidaros from its establishment in 1152 until its abolition in 1537. Since the Reformation, it has been the cathedral of the...

 in Trondheim
Trondheim
Trondheim , historically, Nidaros and Trondhjem, is a city and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. With a population of 173,486, it is the third most populous municipality and city in the country, although the fourth largest metropolitan area. It is the administrative centre of...

.

In the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, stave church
Stave church
A stave church is a medieval wooden church with a post and beam construction related to timber framing. The wall frames are filled with vertical planks. The load-bearing posts have lent their name to the building technique...

es were constructed throughout Norway. Many of them remain to this day and represent Norway’s most important contribution to architectural history. A fine example is Urnes Stave Church
Urnes stave church
Urnes Stave Church is a stave church at the Ornes farm, along the Lustrafjord in the municipality of Luster in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway, about east of the village of Hafslo....

 which is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Another notable example of wooden architecture is the Bryggen Wharf
Bryggen
Bryggen , also known as Tyskebryggen is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen, Norway. Bryggen has since 1979 been on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites. The name has the same origin as the Flemish city of Brugge.The city...

 in Bergen, consisting of a row of narrow wooden structures along the quayside.

In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities such as Kongsberg
Kongsberg
is a town and municipality in Buskerud county, Norway. It is located at the southern end of the traditional region of Numedal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Kongsberg....

 with its Baroque church and Røros
Røros
is a town and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Gauldalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Røros. Other villages include Brekken, Glåmos, Feragen, Galåa, and Hitterdalen....

 with its wooden buildings were established.

After Norway’s union with Denmark was dissolved in 1814, Oslo became the capital. Architect Christian H. Grosch
Christian Heinrich Grosch
Christian Heinrich Grosch was a Norwegian architect.He was born in Halden and educated by his father, Heinrich August Grosch and in Germany and Copenhagen....

 designed the oldest parts of the University of Oslo
University of Oslo
The University of Oslo , formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin...

, the Oslo Stock Exchange
Oslo Stock Exchange
The Oslo Stock Exchange serves as the main market for trading in the shares of Norwegian companies. It opens at 9:00am and closes 5:30pm local time...

, and many other buildings and churches.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Ålesund
Ålesund
is a town and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county, Norway. It is part of the traditional district of Sunnmøre, and the center of the Ålesund Region. It is a sea port, and is noted for its unique concentration of Art Nouveau architecture....

 was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 style. The 1930s, when functionalism dominated, became a strong period for Norwegian architecture, but it is only in recent decades that Norwegian architects have truly achieved international renown. One of the most striking modern buildings in Norway is the Sami Parliament
Sami Parliament of Norway
The Sami Parliament of Norway is the representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway. It acts as an institution of cultural autonomy for the indigenous Sami people....

 in Kárášjohka
Karasjok
Kárášjohka or is a village and municipality in Finnmark county, Norway. The administrative centre of the municipality is the village of Karasjok.-Name:Karasjok is a Norwegianized form of the Sámi name Kárášjohka...

 designed by Stein Halvorson and Christian Sundby. Its debating chamber is an abstract timber version of a Lavvo, the traditional tent used by the nomadic Sami people
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

.

Art


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 even more 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 new-found independence from Denmark encouraged painters to develop their Norwegian identity, especially with landscape painting by artists such as Kitty Kielland
Kitty Lange Kielland
-Early life and training:Kielland was born to an affluent family in Stavanger, the older sister of Alexander Kielland. Kielland's mutual interactions with her brother would be important to shaping her as an artist. Although she received some training in drawing and painting, it was not until she...

, a female painter who studied under Hans Gude
Hans Gude
Hans Fredrik Gude was a Norwegian romanticist painter and is considered along with Johan Christian Dahl to be one of Norway's foremost landscape painters...

; Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer
Harriet Backer was a Norwegian painter who achieved recognition in her own time and was a pioneer among female artists both in the Nordic countries and in Europe generally...

, 1845–1932, another pioneer among female artists, influenced by impressionism
Impressionism
Impressionism was a 19th-century art movement that originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s...

. Frits Thaulow
Frits Thaulow
Frits Thaulow was a Norwegian impressionist painter, best known for his naturalistic depictions of landscape.-Biography:...

, an impressionist, was influenced by the art scene in Paris as was Christian Krohg
Christian Krohg
Christian Krohg , was a Norwegian naturalist painter, illustrator, author and journalist.-Life and career:...

, a realist painter, famous for his paintings of prostitutes.

Of particular note is Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker and an important forerunner of expressionist art. His best-known composition, The Scream, is part of a series The Frieze of Life, in which Munch explored the themes of love, fear, death, melancholia, and anxiety.- Childhood :Edvard Munch...

, a symbolist/expressionist painter who became world famous for The Scream
The Scream
Scream is the title of Expressionist paintings and prints in a series by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, showing an agonized figure against a blood red sky...

 which is said to represent the anxiety of modern man.

Other artists of note include Harald Sohlberg
Harald Sohlberg
Harald Oskar Sohlberg was a Norwegian Neo-romantic painter, particularly known for his depictions of the mountains of Rondane and the town of Røros. His perhaps most well-recognized painting is his 'Winter's Night in Rondane' from 1913-14....

, a neo-romantic painter remembered for his paintings of Røros
Røros
is a town and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Gauldalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Røros. Other villages include Brekken, Glåmos, Feragen, Galåa, and Hitterdalen....

; and Odd Nerdrum
Odd Nerdrum
Odd Nerdrum , is a Norwegian figurative painter. Themes and style in Nerdrum's work reference anecdote and narrative, while primary influences by the painters Rembrandt and Caravaggio place his work in direct conflict with the abstraction and conceptual art considered acceptable in much of his...

, a figurative painter who maintains his work is not art but kitsch
Kitsch
Kitsch is a form of art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value. The concept is associated with the deliberate use of elements that may be thought of as cultural icons while making cheap mass-produced objects that...

.