NorwayÂ (Norwegian:Â NorgeÂ (BokmÃ¥l) orÂ NoregÂ (Nynorsk);Â Northern Sami:Â Norga;Â Lule Sami:Â Vuodna;Â Southern Sami:Â NÃ¶Ã¶rje), officially theÂ Kingdom of Norway, is aÂ Nordic countryÂ inÂ Northern EuropeÂ whoseÂ mainlandÂ territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of theÂ Scandinavian Peninsula; Mainland Norway and the remote island ofÂ Jan MayenÂ as well as theÂ archipelagoÂ ofÂ SvalbardÂ form Metropolitan Norway.[note 2]Â TheÂ subantarcticÂ Bouvet IslandÂ is aÂ dependent territoryÂ of the Kingdom of Norway. Norway alsoÂ lays claimÂ to theÂ AntarcticÂ territories ofÂ Queen Maud LandÂ andÂ Peter I Island.
Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres (148,729Â sqÂ mi)Â and a population of 5,312,300 (as of August 2018).Â The country shares a long eastern border withÂ SwedenÂ (1,619 kmÂ or 1,006Â mi long). Norway is bordered byÂ FinlandÂ andÂ RussiaÂ to the north-east, and theÂ SkagerrakÂ strait to the south, withÂ DenmarkÂ on the other side. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and theÂ Barents Sea. The maritime influence also dominates Norway’s climate with mild lowland temperatures on the sea coasts, whereas the interior, while colder, is also a lot milder than areas elsewhere in the world on such northerly latitudes. Even duringÂ polar nightÂ in the north, temperatures above freezing are commonplace on the coastline. The maritime influence brings high rainfall and snowfall to some areas of the country.
Harald VÂ of theÂ House of GlÃ¼cksburgÂ is the currentÂ King of Norway.Â Erna SolbergÂ has been prime minister since 2013 when she replacedÂ Jens Stoltenberg. As aÂ unitaryÂ sovereign stateÂ with aÂ constitutional monarchy, NorwayÂ divides state powerÂ between theÂ parliament, theÂ cabinetÂ and theÂ supreme court, as determined by theÂ 1814 constitution. The kingdom was established in 872 as a merger of manyÂ petty kingdomsÂ and has existed continuously for 1,148 years. From 1537 to 1814, Norway was a part of the Kingdom ofÂ Denmarkâ€“Norway, and from 1814 to 1905, it was in aÂ personal unionÂ with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during theÂ First World War. Norway remained neutral until April 1940 when the country wasÂ invadedÂ andÂ occupiedÂ by Germany until the end ofÂ Second World War.
Norway has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels:Â countiesÂ andÂ municipalities. TheÂ SÃ¡mi peopleÂ have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through theÂ SÃ¡mi ParliamentÂ and theÂ Finnmark Act. NorwayÂ maintains close tiesÂ with both theÂ European UnionÂ and theÂ United States. Norway is also a founding member of theÂ United Nations,Â NATO, theÂ European Free Trade Association, theÂ Council of Europe, theÂ Antarctic Treaty, and theÂ Nordic Council; a member of theÂ European Economic Area, theÂ WTO, and theÂ OECD; and a part of theÂ Schengen Area. In addition, the Norwegian languages shareÂ mutual intelligibilityÂ withÂ DanishÂ andÂ Swedish.
Norway maintains theÂ Nordic welfare modelÂ withÂ universal health careÂ and a comprehensiveÂ social securityÂ system, and its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals.Â The Norwegian state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. TheÂ petroleum industryÂ accounts for around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).Â On aÂ per-capitaÂ basis, Norway is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of theÂ Middle East.
The country has theÂ fourth-highestÂ per-capita income in the world on theÂ World BankÂ andÂ IMFÂ lists.Â On theÂ CIA‘s GDP (PPP) per capita list (2015 estimate) which includes autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven.Â It has the world’s largestÂ sovereign wealth fund, with a value of US$1Â trillion.Â Norway has had the highestÂ Human Development IndexÂ ranking in the world since 2009, a position also held previously between 2001 and 2006;Â it also has the highestÂ inequality-adjusted rankingÂ per 2018.Â Norway ranked first on theÂ World Happiness ReportÂ for 2017Â and currently ranks first on theÂ OECD Better Life Index, theÂ Index of Public Integrity, and theÂ Democracy Index.Â Norway also has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Norway has two official names:Â NorgeÂ inÂ BokmÃ¥lÂ andÂ NoregÂ inÂ Nynorsk. The English name Norway comes from theÂ Old EnglishÂ wordÂ NorÃ¾wegÂ mentioned in 880, meaning “northern way” or “way leading to the north”, which is how theÂ Anglo-SaxonsÂ referred to the coastline ofÂ AtlanticÂ NorwayÂ similar to scientific consensus about the origin of the Norwegian language name.Â The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 asÂ NorÃ°manna land.
There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway originally had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was originallyÂ norÃ°r, aÂ cognateÂ of EnglishÂ north, so the full name wasÂ NorÃ°rÂ vegr, “the way northwards”, referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting withÂ suÃ°rvegarÂ “southern way” (fromÂ Old NorseÂ suÃ°r) for (Germany), andÂ austrvegrÂ “eastern way” (fromÂ austr) for theÂ Baltic. In the translation ofÂ OrosiusÂ for Alfred, the name isÂ NorÃ°weg, while in younger Old English sources the Ã° is gone.Â In the 10th century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area that was later calledÂ NormandyÂ fromÂ norÃ°mannÂ (Norseman or Scandinavian), although not a Norwegian possession.Â InÂ FranceÂ normanniÂ orÂ northmanniÂ referred to people of Norway, Sweden or Denmark.Â Until around 1800 inhabitants ofÂ Western NorwayÂ were referred to asÂ nordmennÂ (northmen) while inhabitants ofÂ Eastern NorwayÂ were referred to asÂ austmennÂ (eastmen).
According to another theory, the first component was a wordÂ nÃ³r, meaning “narrow” (Old EnglishÂ nearu) or “northern”, referring to the inner-archipelagoÂ sailing route through the land (“narrow way”). The interpretation as “northern”, as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to laterÂ folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen TrÃ¸nnes in 1847; since 2016 it as also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted byÂ philologyÂ professorÂ Michael Schulte.Â The formÂ NoreÂ is still used in placenames such as the village ofÂ NoreÂ and lakeÂ NorefjordenÂ inÂ BuskerudÂ county, and still has the same meaning.Â Among other arguments in favour of the theory, it is pointed out that the word has a long vowel in Skaldic poetry and is not attested with <Ã°> in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic attestations have the spellingsÂ nuruiakÂ andÂ nuriki). This resurrected theory has received some pushback by other scholars on various grounds, e.Â g. the uncontroversial presence of the elementÂ norÃ°rÂ in the ethnonymÂ norÃ°rmaÃ°rÂ “Norseman, Norwegian person” (modern NorwegianÂ nordmann), and the adjectiveÂ norrÇ¿nnÂ “northern, Norse, Norwegian”, as well as the very early attestations of the Latin and Anglo-Saxon forms with ! .
In a Latin manuscript of 849, the nameÂ NorthuagiaÂ is mentioned, while a French chronicle of c. 900 uses the namesÂ NorthwegiaÂ andÂ Norwegia.Â WhenÂ Ohthere of HÃ¥logalandÂ visited KingÂ Alfred the GreatÂ in England in the end of the ninth century, the land was calledÂ NorÃ°wegrÂ (lit. “Northway”) andÂ norÃ°manna landÂ (lit. “Northmen’s land”).Â According to Ohthere,Â NorÃ°mannaÂ lived along the Atlantic coast, the Danes around Skagerrak og Kattegat, while the SÃ¡mi people (the “Fins”) had a nomadic lifestyle in the wide interior.Â Ohthere told Alfred that he was “the most northern of all Norwegians”, presumably atÂ SenjaÂ island or closer toÂ TromsÃ¸. He also said that beyond the wide wilderness in Norway’s southern part was the land of the Swedes, “Svealand”.
After Norway had become Christian,Â NoregrÂ andÂ NoregiÂ had become the most common forms, but during the 15th century, the newer formsÂ Noreg(h)Â andÂ Norg(h)e, found in medieval Icelandic manuscripts, took over and have survived until the modern day.
The first inhabitants were theÂ Ahrensburg cultureÂ (11th to 10th millennia BC), which was a lateÂ Upper PaleolithicÂ culture during the Younger Dryas, the last period of cold at the end of theÂ Weichselian glaciation. The culture is named after the village ofÂ Ahrensburg, 25Â km (15.53Â mi) north-east ofÂ HamburgÂ in theÂ German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where wooden arrow shafts and clubs have been excavated.Â The earliest traces of human occupation in Norway are found along the coast, where the huge ice shelf of theÂ last ice ageÂ first melted between 11,000 and 8,000 BC. The oldest finds are stone tools dating from 9,500 to 6,000 BC, discovered inÂ FinnmarkÂ (Komsa culture) in the north andÂ RogalandÂ (Fosna culture) in the south-west. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of theÂ Arctic CircleÂ being one and the Fosna culture fromÂ TrÃ¸ndelagÂ toÂ OslofjordÂ being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.
More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to different types of tools and not to different cultures. Coastal fauna provided a means of livelihood for fishermen and hunters, who may have made their way along the southern coast about 10,000 BC when the interior was still covered with ice. It is now thought that these so-called “Arctic” peoples came from the south and followed the coast northward considerably later.
In the southern part of the country are dwelling sites dating from about 5,000 BC. Finds from these sites give a clearer idea of the life of the hunting and fishing peoples. The implements vary in shape and mostly are made of different kinds of stone; those of later periods are more skilfully made.Â Rock carvingsÂ (i.e. petroglyphs) have been found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game such asÂ deer,Â reindeer,Â elk, bears, birds,Â seals, whales, and fish (especiallyÂ salmonÂ andÂ halibut), all of which were vital to the way of life of the coastal peoples. TheÂ rock carvings at AltaÂ in Finnmark, the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level from 4,200 to 500 BC and mark the progression of the land as the sea rose after the last ice age ended.
Between 3000 and 2500 BC, new settlers (Corded Ware culture) arrived inÂ eastern Norway. They wereÂ Indo-EuropeanÂ farmersÂ who grew grain and kept cows and sheep. The hunting-fishing population of the west coast was also gradually replaced by farmers, though hunting and fishing remained useful secondary means of livelihood.
From about 1500 BC,Â bronzeÂ 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 asÂ HarstadÂ and also inland in the south are characteristic of this period. The motifs of the rock carvings differ slightly from those typical of theÂ Stone Age. Representations of the Sun, animals, trees, weapons, ships, and people are all strongly stylised.
Thousands ofÂ rock carvingsÂ from this period depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known asÂ stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The depicted ships most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by theÂ Hjortspring boat.
Little has been found dating from the earlyÂ Iron AgeÂ (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-occupiedÂ Gaul. About 70 Roman bronze cauldrons, often used as burial urns, have been found. Contact with the civilised countries farther south brought a knowledge ofÂ 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 ofÂ topography,Â archaeology, and place-names. The oldest root names, such as nes, vik, and bÃ¸ (“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 BjÇ«rgvin (Bergen) or SÇ¿heim (Seim), usually date from the 1st century AD.
Archaeologists first made the decision to divide the Iron Age of Northern Europe into distinct pre-Roman andÂ Roman Iron AgesÂ after Emil Vedel unearthed a number of Iron Age artefacts in 1866 on the island ofÂ Bornholm.Â They did not exhibit the same permeating Roman influence seen in most other artefacts from the early centuries AD, indicating that parts of northern Europe had not yet come into contact with the Romans at the beginning of theÂ Iron Age.
The destruction of theÂ Western Roman EmpireÂ by theÂ Germanic peoplesÂ in the 5th century is characterised by rich finds, includingÂ tribal chiefs‘ graves containing magnificent weapons and gold objects.Â Hill forts were built on precipitous rocks for defence. Excavation has revealed stone foundations of farmhouses 18 to 27 metres (59 to 89Â ft) longâ€”one even 46 metres (151 feet) longâ€”the roofs of which were supported on wooden posts. These houses were family homesteads where several generations lived together, with people and cattle under one roof.
These states were based on either clans or tribes (e.g., theÂ HorderÂ ofÂ HordalandÂ inÂ western Norway). By the 9th century, each of these small states hadÂ thingsÂ (local or regional assemblies) for negotiating and settling disputes. TheÂ thingÂ meeting places, each eventually with aÂ hÃ¶rgrÂ (open-air sanctuary) or aÂ heathen hofÂ (temple; literally “hill”), were usually situated on the oldest and best farms, which belonged to the chieftains and wealthiest farmers. The regionalÂ thingsÂ united to form even larger units: assemblies of deputy yeomen from several regions. In this way, theÂ lagtingÂ (assemblies for negotiations and lawmaking) developed. The Gulating had its meeting place byÂ SognefjordÂ and may have been the centre of an aristocratic confederationÂ along the western fjords and islands called the Gulatingslag. The Frostating was the assembly for the leaders in theÂ TrondheimsfjordÂ area; theÂ Earls of Lade, nearÂ Trondheim, seem to have enlarged the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland fromÂ RomsdalsfjordÂ toÂ Lofoten.
From the 8th to the 10th century, the wider Scandinavian region was the source ofÂ Vikings. The looting of the monastery atÂ LindisfarneÂ in Northeast England in 793 byÂ Norse peopleÂ has long been regarded as the event which marked the beginning of theÂ Viking Age.Â This age was characterised by expansion and emigration by VikingÂ seafarers. TheyÂ colonised, raided, and traded in all parts of Europe. Norwegian Viking explorers discoveredÂ IcelandÂ by accident in the 9th century when heading for theÂ Faroe Islands, and eventually came acrossÂ Vinland, known today asÂ Newfoundland, in Canada. The Vikings from Norway were most active in the northern and westernÂ British IslesÂ and eastern North America isles.
According to tradition,Â Harald FairhairÂ unified them into one in 872 after theÂ Battle of HafrsfjordÂ inÂ Stavanger, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway.Â Harald’s realm was mainly a South Norwegian coastal state. Fairhair ruled with a strong hand and according to the sagas, many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, theÂ Faroe Islands,Â Greenland, and parts ofÂ BritainÂ and Ireland. The modern-day Irish cities ofÂ Dublin,Â LimerickÂ andÂ WaterfordÂ were founded by Norwegian settlers.
Norse traditionsÂ were replaced slowly byÂ Christian onesÂ in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. One of the most important sources for the history of the 11th century Vikings is the treaty between the Icelanders and Olaf Haraldsson, king of Norway circa 1015 to 1028.Â This is largely attributed to the missionary kingsÂ Olav TryggvassonÂ andÂ St. Olav.Â Haakon the GoodÂ was Norway’s first Christian king, in the mid-10th century, though his attempt to introduce the religion was rejected. Born sometime in between 963â€“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 inÂ Moster. There he built a church which became the firstÂ Christian churchÂ ever built in Norway. From Moster, Olav sailed north toÂ TrondheimÂ where he was proclaimed King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995.
FeudalismÂ never really developed in Norway or Sweden, as it did in the rest of Europe. However, the administration of government took on a very conservative feudal character. TheÂ Hanseatic LeagueÂ 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 realÂ burgherÂ class existed in Norway.
Civil war and peak of power
From the 1040s to 1130, the country was at peace.Â In 1130, theÂ civil war eraÂ broke out on the basis ofÂ unclear succession laws, which allowed all the king’s sons to rule jointly. For periods there could be peace, before a lesser son allied himself with a chieftain and started a new conflict. TheÂ Archdiocese of NidarosÂ was created in 1152 and attempted to control the appointment of kings.Â The church inevitably had to take sides in the conflicts, with the civil wars also becoming an issue regarding the church’s influence of the king. The wars ended in 1217 with the appointment ofÂ HÃ¥kon HÃ¥konsson, who introduced clear law of succession.
From 1000 to 1300, the population increased from 150,000 to 400,000, resulting both in more land being cleared and the subdivision of farms. While in the Viking Age all farmers owned their own land, by 1300, seventy percent of the land was owned by the king, the church, or the aristocracy. This was a gradual process which took place because of farmers borrowing money in poor times and not being able to repay. However, tenants always remained free men and the large distances and often scattered ownership meant that they enjoyed much more freedom than continental serfs. In the 13th century, about twenty percent of a farmer’s yield went to the king, church and landowners.
The 14th century is described as Norway’sÂ Golden Age, with peace and increase in trade, especially with the British Islands, although Germany became increasingly important towards the end of the century. Throughout theÂ High Middle Ages, the king established Norway as a sovereign state with a central administration and local representatives.
In 1349, theÂ Black DeathÂ spread to Norway and had within a year killed a third of the population. Later plagues reduced the population to half the starting point by 1400. Many communities were entirely wiped out, resulting in an abundance of land, allowing farmers to switch to moreÂ animal husbandry. The reduction in taxes weakened the king’s position,Â and many aristocrats lost the basis for their surplus, reducing some to mere farmers. HighÂ tithesÂ to church made it increasingly powerful and the archbishop became a member of theÂ Council of State.
TheÂ Hanseatic LeagueÂ took control over Norwegian trade during the 14th century and established a trading center inÂ Bergen. In 1380,Â Olaf HaakonssonÂ inherited both the Norwegian and Danish thrones, creating a union between the two countries.Â In 1397, underÂ Margaret I, theÂ Kalmar UnionÂ was created between the three Scandinavian countries. She waged war against the Germans, resulting in a trade blockade and higher taxation on Norwegian goods, which resulted inÂ a rebellion. However, the Norwegian Council of State was too weak to pull out of the union.
Margaret pursued a centralising policy which inevitably favoured Denmark, because it had a greater population than Norway and Sweden combined.Â Margaret also granted trade privileges to the Hanseatic merchants ofÂ LÃ¼beckÂ in Bergen in return for recognition of her right to rule, and these hurt the Norwegian economy. The Hanseatic merchants formed a state within a state in Bergen for generations.Â Even worse were the pirates, the “Victual Brothers“, who launched three devastating raids on the port (the last in 1427).
Norway slipped ever more to the background under theÂ Oldenburg dynastyÂ (established 1448). There was one revolt underÂ Knut AlvssonÂ in 1502.Â Norwegians had some affection forÂ King Christian II, who resided in the country for several years. Norway took no part in the events which led to Swedish independence from Denmark in the 1520s.
Upon the death ofÂ Haakon VÂ (King of Norway) in 1319,Â Magnus Erikson, at just three years old, inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of Norway. At the same time, a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful, and both the kings of Sweden and of Denmark were elected to the throne by their respective nobles, Thus, with his election to the throne of Sweden, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.
In 1349, theÂ Black DeathÂ radically altered Norway, killing between 50% and 60% of its populationÂ and leaving it in a period of social and economic decline.Â 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.Â Even before the plague, the population was only about 500,000.Â After the plague, many farms lay idle while the population slowly increased.Â However, the few surviving farms’ tenants found their bargaining positions with their landlords greatly strengthened.
King Magnus VII ruled Norway until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne asÂ Haakon VI.Â In 1363, Haakon VI marriedÂ Margaret, the daughter of KingÂ Valdemar IV of Denmark.Â Upon the death of Haakon VI, in 1379, his son,Â Olaf IV, was only 10 years old.Â Olaf had already been elected to the throne of Denmark on 3 May 1376.Â Thus, upon Olaf’s accession to the throne of Norway, Denmark and Norway enteredÂ personal union.Â 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.Â However, Denmark made Margaret temporary ruler upon the death of Olaf. On 2 February 1388, Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret.Â 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 onÂ Eric of Pomerania, grandson of her sister. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Erik of Pomerania was crowned king of all three Scandinavian countries. Thus, royal politics resulted in personal unions between theÂ Nordic countries, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway,Â Denmark, andÂ SwedenÂ under the control of Queen Margaret when the country entered into theÂ Kalmar Union.
Union with Denmark
After Sweden broke out of theÂ Kalmar UnionÂ in 1521, Norway tried to follow suit,Â but the subsequent rebellion was defeated, and Norway remained in a union with Denmark until 1814, a total of 434 years. During theÂ national romanticismÂ of the 19th century, this period wasÂ by someÂ referred to as the “400-Year Night”, since all of the kingdom’s royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centred inÂ CopenhagenÂ in Denmark. In fact, it was a period of great prosperity and progress for Norway, especially in terms of shipping and foreign trade, and it also secured the country’s revival from the demographic catastrophe it suffered in theÂ Black Death. Based on the respective natural resources, Denmarkâ€“Norway was in fact a very good match since Denmark supported Norway’s needs for grain and food supplies, and Norway supplied Denmark with timber, metal, and fish.
With theÂ introduction of ProtestantismÂ in 1536, the archbishopric in Trondheim was dissolved, and Norway lost its independence, and effectually became a colony of Denmark. The Church’s incomes and possessions were instead redirected to the court in Copenhagen. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics ofÂ St. OlavÂ at theÂ NidarosÂ shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe.
Eventually restored as a kingdom (albeit in legislative union with Denmark) in 1661, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provincesÂ BÃ¥huslen,Â Jemtland, andÂ HerjedalenÂ to Sweden, as the result of a number of disastrous wars with Sweden. In the north, however, its territory was increased by the acquisition of the northern provinces ofÂ TromsÂ andÂ Finnmark, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.
Union with Sweden
After Denmarkâ€“Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom at the 1807Â Battle of Copenhagen, it entered into an alliance withÂ Napoleon, with the war leading to dire conditions and massÂ starvationÂ in 1812. As the Danish kingdom found itself on the losing side in 1814, it was forced, under terms of theÂ Treaty of Kiel, to cede Norway to the king of Sweden, while the old Norwegian provinces of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands remained with the Danish crown.Â Norway took this opportunity to declare independence, adopted a constitution based onÂ AmericanÂ andÂ FrenchÂ models, and elected the Crown Prince of Denmark and Norway,Â Christian Frederick, as king on 17 May 1814. This is the famousÂ Syttende MaiÂ (Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans alike.Â Syttende MaiÂ is also calledÂ Norwegian Constitution Day.
Norwegian opposition to the great powers’ decision to link Norway with Sweden caused theÂ Norwegianâ€“Swedish WarÂ 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,Â the belligerents were forced to negotiate theÂ Convention of Moss. According to the terms of the convention, Christian Frederik abdicated the Norwegian throne and authorised theÂ Parliament of NorwayÂ to make the necessary constitutional amendments to allow for theÂ personal unionÂ that Norway was forced to accept. On 4 November 1814, the Parliament (Storting) electedÂ Charles XIII of SwedenÂ as king of Norway, thereby establishing theÂ union with Sweden.Â Under this arrangement, Norway kept its liberal constitution and its own independent institutions, though it shared a common monarch and common foreign policy with Sweden. Following the recession caused by theÂ Napoleonic Wars, economic development of Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.
This period also saw the rise of theÂ Norwegian romantic nationalism, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik WergelandÂ [1808â€“1845],Â BjÃ¸rnstjerne BjÃ¸rnsonÂ [1832â€“1910],Â Peter Christen AsbjÃ¸rnsenÂ [1812â€“1845],Â JÃ¸rgen MoeÂ [1813â€“1882]), painting (Hans GudeÂ [1825â€“1903],Â Adolph TidemandÂ [1814â€“1876]), music (Edvard GriegÂ [1843â€“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:Â BokmÃ¥lÂ andÂ Nynorsk.
King Charles III John, who came to the throne of Norway and Sweden in 1818, was the second king following Norway’s break from Denmark and the union with Sweden. Charles John was a complex man whose long reign extended to 1844. He protected the constitution and liberties of Norway and Sweden during the age ofÂ Metternich. As such, he was regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless in his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press to put down public movements for reformâ€”especially the Norwegian national independence movement.
TheÂ Romantic EraÂ that followed the reign of King Charles III John brought some significant social and political reforms. In 1854, women won the right to inherit property in their own right, just like men. In 1863, the last trace of keeping unmarried women in the status of minors was removed. Furthermore, women were then eligible for different occupations, particularly the common school teacher.Â By mid-century, Norway’s democracy was limited by modern standards: Voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders and burghers of incorporated towns.
Still, Norway remained a conservative society. Life in Norway (especially economic life) was “dominated by the aristocracy of professional men who filled most of the important posts in the central government”.Â There was no strong bourgeosie class in Norway to demand a breakdown of this aristocratic control of the economy.Â Thus, even while revolution swept over most of the countries of Europe in 1848, Norway was largely unaffected by revolts that year.
Marcus ThraneÂ was a Utopian socialist. He made his appeal to the labouring classes urging a change of social structure “from below upwards.” In 1848, he organised a labour society inÂ Drammen. In just a few months, this society had a membership of 500 and was publishing its own newspaper. Within two years, 300 societies had been organised all over Norway, with a total membership of 20,000 persons. The membership was drawn from the lower classes of both urban and rural areas; for the first time these two groups felt they had a common cause.Â In the end, the revolt was easily crushed; Thrane was captured and in 1855, after four years in jail, was sentenced to three additional years for crimes against the safety of the state. Upon his release, Marcus Thrane attempted unsuccessfully to revitalise his movement, but after the death of his wife, he migrated to the United States.
Dissolution of the union
Christian Michelsen, a shipping magnate and statesman, and Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden on 7 June 1905. A national referendum confirmed the people’s preference for a monarchy over a republic. However, no Norwegian could legitimately claim the throne, since none of Norway’s noble families could claim descent from medieval royalty. In European tradition,Â royalÂ or “blue” blood is a precondition for laying claim to the throne.
The government then offered the throne of Norway to Prince Carl of Denmark, a prince of the Dano-German royalÂ house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-GlÃ¼cksburgÂ and a distant relative of several of Norway’s medieval kings. After centuries of close ties between Norway and Denmark, a prince from the latter was the obvious choice for a European prince who could best relate to the Norwegian people. Following the plebiscite, he was unanimously elected king by the NorwegianÂ Parliament, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 508 years (1397:Â Kalmar Union); he took the nameÂ Haakon VII. In 1905, the country welcomed the prince from neighbouring Denmark, his wifeÂ Maud of WalesÂ and their young son to re-establish Norway’s royal house.
First and Second World Wars
Throughout theÂ First World War, Norway was in principle a neutral country. In reality, however, Norway had been pressured by the British to hand over increasingly large parts of its large merchant fleet to the British at low rates, as well as to join the trade blockade against Germany. Norwegian merchant marine ships, often with Norwegian sailors still on board, were then sailing under the British flag and at risk of being sunk by German submarines. Thus, many Norwegian sailors and ships were lost. Thereafter, the world ranking of the Norwegian merchant navy fell from fourth place to sixth in the world.
Norway also proclaimed its neutrality during theÂ Second World War, but despite this, it wasÂ invaded by German forcesÂ on 9 April 1940. Although Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack (see:Â Battle of DrÃ¸bak Sound,Â Norwegian Campaign, andÂ Invasion of Norway), military and naval resistance lasted for two months. Norwegian armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German forces in theÂ Battles of Narvik, until they were forced to surrender on 10 June after losing British support which had been diverted to France during theÂ German invasion of France.
King HaakonÂ and the Norwegian government escaped toÂ RotherhitheÂ in London. Throughout the war they sent inspirational radio speeches and supported clandestine military actions in Norway against the Germans. On the day of the invasion, the leader of the small National-Socialist partyÂ Nasjonal Samling,Â Vidkun Quisling, tried to seize power, but was forced by the German occupiers to step aside. Real power was wielded by the leader of the German occupation authority,Â ReichskommissarÂ Josef Terboven. Quisling, asÂ minister president, later formed aÂ collaborationist government under German control. Up to 15,000 Norwegians volunteered to fight in German units, including theÂ Waffen-SS.
The fraction of the Norwegian population that supported Germany was traditionally smaller than in Sweden, but greater than is generally appreciated today.Â It included a number of prominent personalities such as the Nobel-prize winning novelistÂ Knut Hamsun. The concept of a “Germanic Union” of member states fit well into their thoroughly nationalist-patriotic ideology.
Many Norwegians and persons of Norwegian descent joined the Allied forces as well as theÂ Free Norwegian Forces. In June 1940, a small group had left Norway following their king to Britain. This group included 13 ships, five aircraft, and 500 men from the Royal Norwegian Navy. By the end of the war, the force had grown to 58 ships and 7,500 men in service in the Royal Norwegian Navy, 5 squadrons of aircraft (including Spitfires, Sunderland flying boats and Mosquitos) in the newly formed Norwegian Air Force, and land forces including theÂ Norwegian Independent Company 1Â and 5 Troop as well as No. 10Â Commandos.
During the five years ofÂ German occupation, Norwegians built aÂ resistance movementÂ which fought the German occupation forces with both civil disobedience and armed resistance including the destruction ofÂ Norsk Hydro‘sÂ heavy waterÂ plant and stockpile of heavy water atÂ Vemork, which crippled the German nuclear programme (see:Â Norwegian heavy water sabotage). More important to theÂ AlliedÂ war effort, however, was the role of the NorwegianÂ Merchant Marine. At the time of theÂ invasion, Norway had the fourth-largest merchant marine fleet in the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping companyÂ NortrashipÂ under the Allies throughout the war and took part in every war operation from theÂ evacuation of DunkirkÂ to theÂ Normandy landings. Every December Norway gives aÂ Christmas treeÂ to the United Kingdom as thanks for the British assistance during the Second World War. A ceremony takes place to erect the tree in London’sÂ Trafalgar Square.Â SvalbardÂ was not occupied by German troops. Germany secretlyÂ established a meteorological stationÂ in 1944. The crew was stuck after the general capitulation in May 1945 and were rescued by a Norwegian seal hunter on 4 September. They surrendered to the seal hunter as the last German soldiers to surrender in WW2.
Post-World War II history
From 1945 to 1962, theÂ Labour PartyÂ held an absolute majority in the parliament. The government, led by prime ministerÂ Einar Gerhardsen, embarked on a program inspired byÂ Keynesian economics, emphasising state financed industrialisation and co-operation between trade unions andÂ employers’ organisations. Many measures of state control of the economy imposed during the war were continued, although theÂ rationingÂ of dairy products was lifted in 1949, while price control and rationing of housing and cars continued until 1960.
The wartime alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States was continued in the post-war years. Although pursuing the goal of a socialist economy, the Labour Party distanced itself from the Communists (especially after the Communists’ seizure of power inÂ CzechoslovakiaÂ in 1948), and strengthened its foreign policy and defence policy ties with the US. Norway receivedÂ Marshall PlanÂ aid from the United States starting in 1947, joined theÂ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and DevelopmentÂ (OECD) one year later, and became a founding member of theÂ North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationÂ (NATO) in 1949.
The first oil was discovered at the small Balder field in 1967, production only began in 1999.Â In 1969, theÂ Phillips Petroleum CompanyÂ discovered petroleum resources at theÂ EkofiskÂ field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian government founded the State oil company,Â Statoil. Oil production did not provide net income until the early 1980s because of the large capital investment that was required to establish the country’s petroleum industry. Around 1975, both the proportion and absolute number of workers in industry peaked. Since then labour-intensive industries and services like factory mass production and shipping have largely been outsourced.
Norway was a founding member of theÂ European Free Trade AssociationÂ (EFTA). Norway was twice invited to join theÂ European Union, but ultimately declined to join after referendums that failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994.
In 1981, a Conservative government led byÂ KÃ¥re WillochÂ replaced the Labour Party with a policy of stimulating theÂ stagflated economyÂ with tax cuts, economic liberalisation, deregulation of markets, and measures to curb record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).
Norway’s first female prime minister,Â Gro Harlem BrundtlandÂ of the Labour party, continued many of the reforms of her conservative predecessor, while backing traditional Labour concerns such asÂ social security, high taxes, the industrialisation of nature, and feminism. By the late 1990s, Norway had paid off its foreign debt and had started accumulating aÂ sovereign wealth fund. Since the 1990s, a divisive question in politics has been how much of the income from petroleum production the government should spend, and how much it should save.
In 2011, Norway sufferedÂ two terrorist attacksÂ on the same day conducted byÂ Anders Behring BreivikÂ which struck theÂ government quarterÂ in Oslo and a summer camp of the Labour party’sÂ youth movementÂ atÂ UtÃ¸yaÂ island, resulting in 77 deaths and 319 wounded.
Norway’s core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of theÂ Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island ofÂ Jan MayenÂ and the archipelago ofÂ SvalbardÂ are also part of the Kingdom of Norway.[note 2]Â The AntarcticÂ Peter I IslandÂ and the sub-AntarcticÂ Bouvet IslandÂ areÂ dependent territoriesÂ and thus not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section ofÂ AntarcticaÂ known asÂ Queen Maud Land.Â From the Middle Ages to 1814 Norway was part of theÂ Danish kingdom. Norwegian possessions in the North Atlantic,Â Faroe Islands,Â Greenland, andÂ Iceland, remained Danish when Norway was passed to Sweden at theÂ Treaty of Kiel.Â Norway also comprisedÂ BohuslÃ¤nÂ until 1658,Â JÃ¤mtlandÂ andÂ HÃ¤rjedalenÂ until 1645,Â ShetlandÂ andÂ OrkneyÂ until 1468,Â and theÂ HebridesÂ andÂ Isle of ManÂ until theÂ Treaty of PerthÂ in 1266.
Norway comprises the western and northernmost part ofÂ ScandinaviaÂ in Northern Europe.Â Norway lies between latitudesÂ 57Â°Â andÂ 81Â° N, and longitudesÂ 4Â°Â andÂ 32Â° E. Norway is the northernmost of theÂ Nordic countriesÂ and if Svalbard is included also the easternmost.Â VardÃ¸Â at 31Â° 10′ 07″ east of Greenwich lies further east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul.Â Norway includes the northernmost point on the European mainland.Â The rugged coastline is broken by hugeÂ fjordsÂ and thousands of islands. The coastalÂ baselineÂ is 2,532 kilometres (1,573Â mi). The coastline of the mainland including fjords stretches 28,953 kilometres (17,991Â mi), when islands are included the coastline has been estimated to 100,915 kilometres (62,706Â mi).Â Norway shares a 1,619-kilometre (1,006Â mi) land border withÂ Sweden, 727 kilometres (452Â mi) withÂ Finland, and 196 kilometres (122Â mi) withÂ RussiaÂ to the east. To the north, west and south, Norway is bordered by theÂ Barents Sea, theÂ Norwegian Sea, theÂ North Sea, andÂ Skagerrak.Â TheÂ Scandinavian MountainsÂ form much of the border with Sweden.
At 385,207 square kilometres (148,729Â sqÂ mi) (includingÂ SvalbardÂ andÂ Jan Mayen) (and 323,808 square kilometres (125,023Â sqÂ mi) without),Â much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoricÂ glaciersÂ and variedÂ topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age.Â SognefjordenÂ is the world’s second deepest fjord, and the world’s longest at 204 kilometres (127Â mi).Â HornindalsvatnetÂ is the deepest lake in all Europe.Â Norway has about 400,000 lakes.Â There are 239,057 registered islands.Â PermafrostÂ can be found all year in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark county.Â Numerous glaciersÂ are found in Norway.
The land is mostly made of hardÂ graniteÂ andÂ gneissÂ rock, butÂ slate,Â sandstone, andÂ limestoneÂ are also common, and the lowest elevations contain marine deposits. Because of theÂ Gulf StreamÂ 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 maritimeÂ Subarctic climate, while Svalbard has anÂ ArcticÂ tundraÂ climate.
Because of the large latitudinal range of the country and the varied topography and climate, Norway has a larger number of differentÂ habitatsÂ than almost any other European country. There are approximately 60,000 species in Norway and adjacent waters (excluding bacteria and viruses). The Norwegian Shelf large marine ecosystem is considered highly productive.
The southern and western parts of Norway, fully exposed to Atlantic storm fronts, experience more precipitation and have milder winters than the eastern and far northern parts. Areas to the east of the coastal mountains are in aÂ rain shadow, and have lower rain and snow totals than the west. The lowlands around Oslo have the warmest and sunniest summers, but also cold weather and snow in wintertime.
Because of Norway’s highÂ latitude, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic Circle (hence Norway’s description as the “Land of theÂ Midnight sun“), and the rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very short in the rest of the country.
The coastal climate of Norway is exceptionally mild compared with areas on similar latitudes elsewhere in the world, with theÂ Gulf StreamÂ passing directly offshore the northern areas of the Atlantic coast, continuously warming the region in the winter. Temperature anomalies found in coastal locations are exceptional, withÂ RÃ¸stÂ andÂ VÃ¦rÃ¸yÂ lacking a meteorological winter in spite of being north of the Arctic Circle. The Gulf Stream has this effect only on the northern parts of Norway, not in the south, despite what is commonly believed. The northern coast of Norway would thus be ice-covered if not for the Gulf Stream.Â As a side-effect, the Scandinavian Mountains prevent continental winds from reaching the coastline, causing very cool summers throughout Atlantic Norway. Oslo has more of a continental climate, similar to Sweden’s. The mountain ranges have subarctic and tundra climates. There is also very high rainfall in areas exposed to the Atlantic, such as Bergen. Oslo, in comparison, is dry, being in aÂ rain shadow.Â SkjÃ¥kÂ in Oppland county is also in the rain shadow and is one of the driest places with 278 millimetres (10.9 inches) precipitation annually.Â FinnmarksviddaÂ and the interior valleys ofÂ TromsÂ andÂ NordlandÂ also receive less than 300 millimetres (12 inches) annually. Longyearbyen is the driest place in Norway with 190 millimetres (7.5 inches).
Parts of southeastern Norway including parts ofÂ MjÃ¸saÂ have warm-summerÂ humid continental climatesÂ (KÃ¶ppenÂ Dfb), while the more southern and western coasts are mostly of theÂ oceanic climateÂ (Cfb). Further inland in southeastern and northern Norway, theÂ subarctic climateÂ (Dfc) dominates; this is especially true for areas in the rain shadow of theÂ Scandinavian Mountains. Some of the inner valleys ofÂ OpplandÂ get so little precipitation annually, thanks to the rain shadow effect, that they meet the requirements for dry-summer subarctic climates (Dsc). In higher altitudes, close to the coasts of southern and western Norway, one can find the rare subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc). This climate is also common in Northern Norway, usually in lower altitudes, all the way down to sea level. A small part of the northernmost coast of Norway has theÂ tundra/alpine/polar climateÂ (ET). Large parts of Norway are covered by mountains and high altitude plateaus, many of which also exhibit theÂ tundra/alpine/polar climateÂ (ET).
|showClimate data for Oslo-Blindern (KÃ¶ppen Dfb) (1961â€“1990), Norway|
|showClimate data for Bergen (KÃ¶ppen Cfb), 1961â€“1990|
|showClimate data for BrÃ¸nnÃ¸ysund (KÃ¶ppen Cfc), 1960â€“1990|
|showClimate data for Rena-Haugedalen (KÃ¶ppen Dfc) (1961â€“1990), Norway|
The total number of species include 16,000 species of insects (probably 4,000 more species yet to be described), 20,000 species ofÂ algae, 1,800 species ofÂ lichen, 1,050 species ofÂ mosses, 2,800 species ofÂ vascular plants, up to 7,000 species ofÂ fungi, 450 species of birds (250 species nesting in Norway), 90 species of mammals, 45 fresh-water species of fish, 150 salt-water species of fish, 1,000 species of fresh-waterÂ invertebrates, and 3,500 species of salt-water invertebrates.Â About 40,000 of these species have been described by science. TheÂ red listÂ of 2010 encompasses 4,599 species.
Seventeen species are listed mainly because they are endangered on a global scale, such as theÂ European beaver, even if the population in Norway is not seen as endangered. The number of threatened and near-threatened species equals to 3,682; it includes 418 fungi species, many of which are closely associated with the small remaining areas of old-growth forests,Â 36 bird species, and 16 species of mammals. In 2010, 2,398 species were listed as endangered or vulnerable; of these were 1250 listed as vulnerable (VU), 871 as endangered (EN), and 276 species as critically endangered (CR), among which were theÂ grey wolf, theÂ Arctic foxÂ (healthy population on Svalbard) and theÂ pool frog.
The largest predator in Norwegian waters is theÂ sperm whale, and the largest fish is theÂ basking shark. The largest predator on land is theÂ polar bear, while theÂ brown bearÂ is the largest predator on the Norwegian mainland. The largest land animal on the mainland is the elk (American English:Â moose). The elk in Norway is known for its size and strength and is often calledÂ skogens konge, “king of the forest”.
Attractive and dramatic scenery and landscape are found throughout Norway.Â The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries in the world.Â National GeographicÂ has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world’s top tourist attraction.Â The country is also home to the natural phenomena of the Midnight sun (during summer), as well as theÂ Aurora borealisÂ known also as the Northern lights.
The 2016Â Environmental Performance IndexÂ fromÂ Yale University,Â Columbia UniversityÂ and theÂ World Economic ForumÂ put Norway in seventeenth place, immediately below Croatia and Switzerland.Â The index is based on environmental risks to human health, habitat loss, and changes in CO2 emissions. The index notes over-exploitation of fisheries, but notÂ Norway’s whalingÂ orÂ oil exports.
Politics and government
Norway is considered to be one of the most developed democracies andÂ states of justiceÂ in the world. From 1814, c. 45% of men (25 years and older) had the right to vote, whereas the United Kingdom had c. 20% (1832), Sweden c. 5% (1866), and Belgium c. 1.15% (1840). Since 2010, Norway has been classified as the world’s most democratic country by theÂ Democracy Index.
According to theÂ Constitution of Norway, which was adopted on 17 May 1814Â and inspired by theÂ United States Declaration of IndependenceÂ andÂ French RevolutionÂ of 1776 and 1789, respectively, Norway is aÂ unitaryÂ constitutional monarchyÂ with aÂ parliamentary systemÂ of government, wherein theÂ King of NorwayÂ is theÂ head of stateÂ and theÂ prime ministerÂ is theÂ head of government. Power is separated among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country’s supreme legal document.
TheÂ monarchÂ officially retains executive power. But following the introduction of a parliamentary system of government, the duties of the monarch have since become strictly representative and ceremonial,Â such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch isÂ commander-in-chiefÂ of theÂ Norwegian Armed Forces, and serves as chief diplomatic official abroad and as a symbol of unity.Â Harald VÂ of theÂ House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-GlÃ¼cksburgÂ was crowned King of Norway in 1991, the first since the 14th century who has been born in the country.Â Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, is the legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
In practice, the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers. Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme legislature and aÂ unicameralÂ body.Â Norway is fundamentally structured as aÂ representative democracy. The Parliament can pass a law by simple majority of the 169 representatives, who are elected on the basis ofÂ proportional representationÂ from 19 constituencies for four-year terms.
150 are elected directly from the 19 constituencies, and an additional 19 seats (“levelling seats”) are allocated on a nationwide basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with the popular vote for the political parties. A 4% election threshold is required for a party to gain levelling seats in Parliament.Â There are a total of 169 members of parliament.
The Parliament of Norway, called theÂ StortingetÂ (meaning Grand Assembly), ratifies nationalÂ treatiesÂ developed by the executive branch. It canÂ impeachÂ members of the government if their acts are declared unconstitutional. If an indicted suspect is impeached, Parliament has the power to remove the person from office.
The position ofÂ prime minister, Norway’s head of government, is allocated to the member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political party or, more effectively, through a coalition of parties. A single party generally does not have sufficient political power in terms of the number of seats to form a government on its own. Norway has often been ruled by minority governments.
The prime minister nominates the cabinet, traditionally drawn from members of the same political party or parties in the Storting, making up the government. The PM organises the executive government and exercises its power as vested by the Constitution.Â Norway has a state church, the LutheranÂ Church of Norway, which has in recent years gradually been granted more internal autonomy in day-to-day affairs, but which still has a special constitutional status. Formerly, the PM had to have more than half the members of cabinet be members of the Church of Norway, meaning at least ten out of the 19 ministries. This rule was however removed in 2012. The issue ofÂ separation of church and stateÂ in Norway has been increasingly controversial, as many people believe it is time to change this, to reflect the growing diversity in the population. A part of this is the evolution of the public school subject Christianity, a required subject since 1739. Even the state’s loss in a battle at theÂ European Court of Human RightsÂ atÂ StrasbourgÂ in 2007 did not settle the matter. As of 1 January 2017, the Church of Norway is a separate legal entity, and no longer a branch of the civil service.
Through theÂ Council of State, aÂ privy councilÂ presided over by the monarch, the prime minister and the cabinet meet at theÂ Royal PalaceÂ and formally consult the Monarch. All government bills need the formal approval by the monarch before and after introduction to Parliament. The Council reviews and approves all of the monarch’s actions as head of state. Although all government and parliamentary acts are decided beforehand, the privy council is an example of symbolic gesture the king retains.
Members of the Storting are directly elected fromÂ party-listsÂ proportional representationÂ in nineteenÂ plural-memberÂ constituencies in a nationalÂ multi-party system.Â Historically, both theÂ Norwegian Labour PartyÂ andÂ Conservative PartyÂ have played leading political roles. In the early 21st century, the Labour Party has been in power since theÂ 2005 election, in aÂ Redâ€“Green CoalitionÂ with theÂ Socialist Left PartyÂ and theÂ Centre Party.
Since 2005, both the Conservative Party and theÂ Progress PartyÂ have won numerous seats in the Parliament, but not sufficient in theÂ 2009 general electionÂ to overthrow the coalition. Commentators have pointed to the poor co-operation between the opposition parties, including theÂ LiberalsÂ and theÂ Christian Democrats.Â Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Labour Party, continued to have the necessary majority through his multi-party alliance to continue as PM until 2013.
In national elections in September 2013, voters ended eight years of Labor rule. Two political parties,Â HÃ¸yreÂ andÂ Fremskrittspartiet, elected on promises of tax cuts, more spending on infrastructure and education, better services and stricter rules on immigration, formed a government. Coming at a time when Norway’s economy is in good condition with low unemployment, the rise of the right appeared to be based on other issues.Â Erna SolbergÂ became prime minister, the second female prime minister afterÂ BrundtlandÂ and the first conservative prime minister sinceÂ Syse. Solberg said her win was “a historic election victory for the right-wing parties”.
Norway, aÂ unitary state, is divided into eleven first-level administrativeÂ countiesÂ (fylke). The counties are administered through directly elected county assemblies who elect the County Governor. Additionally, theÂ KingÂ and government are represented in every county by aÂ fylkesmann, who effectively acts as a Governor.Â As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level through the County Governors’ offices. The counties are then sub-divided into 356 second-level municipalities (kommuner), which in turn are administered by directly elected municipal council, headed by a mayor and a small executive cabinet. The capital ofÂ OsloÂ is considered both a county and a municipality.
Norway has two integral overseas territories:Â Jan MayenÂ andÂ Svalbard, the only developed island in the archipelago of the same name, located miles away to the north. There are threeÂ AntarcticÂ andÂ SubantarcticÂ dependencies:Â Bouvet Island,Â Peter I Island, andÂ Queen Maud Land. On most maps, there had been an unclaimed area between Queen Maud Land and theÂ South PoleÂ until 12 June 2015 when Norway formally annexed that area.
96 settlements haveÂ cityÂ status in Norway. In most cases, the city borders are coterminous with the borders of their respective municipalities. Often, Norwegian city municipalities include large areas that are not developed; for example, Oslo municipality contains large forests, located north and south-east of the city, and over half of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.
The counties of Norway are:
|Number||County (fylke)||Administrative centre||Most populous municipality||Geographical region||Total area||Population||Official language form|
|03||Â Oslo||City of Oslo||Oslo||Eastern Norway||454 km2||673,469||Neutral|
|11||Â Rogaland||Stavanger||Stavanger||Western Norway||9,377 km2||473,526||Neutral|
|15||Â MÃ¸re og Romsdal||Molde||Ã…lesund||Western Norway||14,355 km2||266,856||Nynorsk|
|18||Â Nordland||BodÃ¸||BodÃ¸||Northern Norway||38,154 km2||243,335||Neutral|
|30||Â Viken||Oslo,Â Drammen,Â SarpsborgÂ andÂ Moss||BÃ¦rum||Eastern Norway||24,592 km2||1,234,374||Neutral|
|34||Â Innlandet||Hamar||Ringsaker||Eastern Norway||52,072 km2||370,994||Neutral|
|38||Â Vestfold og Telemark||Skien||Sandefjord||Eastern Norway||17,465 km2||415,777||Neutral|
|42||Â Agder||Kristiansand||Kristiansand||Southern Norway||16,434 km2||303,754||Neutral|
|46||Â Vestland||Bergen||Bergen||Western Norway||33,870 km2||631,594||Nynorsk|
|50||Â TrÃ¸ndelag||Steinkjer||Trondheim||TrÃ¸ndelag||42,201 km2||458,744||Neutral|
|54||Â Troms og Finnmark||TromsÃ¸||TromsÃ¸||Northern Norway||74,829 km2||243,925||Neutral|
Largest populated areas
Largest cities or towns in Norway
According toÂ Statistics Dec. 2018
|9||Ã…lesund||MÃ¸re og Romsdal||52,163||19||Larvik||Vestfold||24,208|
Judicial system and law enforcement
Norway uses aÂ civil law systemÂ where laws are created and amended in Parliament and the system regulated through theÂ Courts of justice of Norway. It consists of theÂ Supreme CourtÂ of 20 permanent judges and aÂ Chief Justice,Â appellate courts, city andÂ district courts, andÂ conciliation councils.Â The judiciary is independent of executive and legislative branches. While the Prime Minister nominates Supreme Court Justices for office, their nomination must be approved by Parliament and formally confirmed by the Monarch in the Council of State. Usually, judges attached to regular courts are formally appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Courts’ strict and formal mission is to regulate the Norwegian judicial system, interpret the Constitution, and as such implement the legislation adopted by Parliament. In its judicial reviews, it monitors the legislative and executive branches to ensure that they comply with provisions of enacted legislation.
TheÂ law is enforced in NorwayÂ by theÂ Norwegian Police Service. It is a Unified National Police Service made up of 27 Police Districts and several specialist agencies, such asÂ Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, known asÂ Ã˜kokrim; and theÂ National Criminal Investigation Service, known asÂ Kripos, each headed by a chief of police. The Police Service is headed by theÂ National Police Directorate, which reports to the Ministry of Justice and the Police. The Police Directorate is headed by a National Police Commissioner. The only exception is theÂ Norwegian Police Security Agency, whose head answers directly to the Ministry of Justice and the Police.
Norway abolished the death penalty for regular criminal acts in 1902. The legislature abolished the death penalty for high treason in war and war-crimes in 1979.Â Reporters Without Borders, in its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, ranked Norway at a shared first place (along with Iceland) out of 169 countries.
In general, the legal and institutional framework in Norway is characterised by a high degree of transparency, accountability and integrity, and the perception and the occurrence of corruption are very low.Â Norway has ratified all relevant international anti-corruption conventions, and its standards of implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption legislation are considered very high by many international anti-corruption working groups such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group. However, there are some isolated cases showing that some municipalities have abused their position in public procurement processes.
Norwegian prisons are humane, rather than tough, with emphasis on rehabilitation. At 20%, Norway’s re-conviction rate is among the lowest in the world.
Norway maintains embassies in 82 countries.Â 60 countries maintain an embassy in Norway, all of them in the capital, Oslo.
Norway is a founding member of the United Nations (UN), theÂ North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationÂ (NATO), theÂ Council of EuropeÂ and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Norway issued applications for accession to the European Union (EU) and its predecessors in 1962, 1967 and 1992, respectively. While Denmark, Sweden and Finland obtained membership, the Norwegian electorate rejected the treaties of accession in referenda in 1972 and 1994.
After the 1994 referendum, Norway maintained its membership in theÂ European Economic AreaÂ (EEA), an arrangement granting the country access to theÂ internal marketÂ of the Union, on the condition that Norway implements the Union’s pieces of legislation which are deemed relevant (of which there were approximately seven thousand by 2010)Â Successive Norwegian governments have, since 1994, requested participation in parts of the EU’s co-operation that go beyond the provisions of the EEA agreement. Non-voting participation by Norway has been granted in, for instance, the Union’sÂ Common Security and Defence Policy, theÂ Schengen Agreement, and theÂ European Defence Agency, as well as 19 separate programmes.
The Norwegian Armed Forces numbers about 25,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to 2009 mobilisation plans, full mobilisation produces approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway hasÂ conscriptionÂ (including 6â€“12 months of training);Â in 2013, the country became the first in Europe and NATO to draft women as well as men. However, due to less need for conscripts after theÂ Cold WarÂ ended with the break-up of the Soviet Union, few people have to serve if they are not motivated.Â The Armed Forces are subordinate to theÂ Norwegian Ministry of Defence. The Commander-in-Chief isÂ King Harald V. The military of Norway is divided into the following branches: theÂ Norwegian Army, theÂ Royal Norwegian Navy, theÂ Royal Norwegian Air Force, theÂ Norwegian Cyber Defence ForceÂ and theÂ Home Guard.
In response to its being overrun by Germany in 1940, the country was one of the founding nations of theÂ North Atlantic Treaty OrganizationÂ (NATO) on 4 April 1949. At present, Norway contributes in theÂ International Security Assistance ForceÂ (ISAF) inÂ Afghanistan.Â Additionally, Norway has contributed in several missions in contexts of the United Nations, NATO, and theÂ Common Security and Defence PolicyÂ of the European Union.
Norwegians enjoy the second-highestÂ GDP per-capitaÂ among European countries (afterÂ Luxembourg), and the sixth-highestÂ GDP (PPP) per-capitaÂ 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.Â According to the CIA World Factbook, Norway is a net external creditor of debt.Â Norway maintained first place in the world in theÂ UNDPÂ Human Development IndexÂ (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001â€“2006), and then reclaimed this position in 2009.Â The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world.Â Foreign PolicyÂ magazine ranks Norway last in itsÂ Failed States IndexÂ for 2009, judging Norway to be the world’s most well-functioning and stable country. TheÂ OECDÂ ranks Norway fourth in the 2013 equalisedÂ Better Life IndexÂ and third in intergenerational earnings elasticity.
The Norwegian economy is an example of aÂ mixed economy; a prosperous capitalistÂ welfare stateÂ it features a combination ofÂ free marketÂ activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors, influenced by bothÂ liberalÂ governments from the late 19th century and later byÂ social democraticÂ governments in the postwar era.Â Public health care in NorwayÂ is free (after an annual charge of around 2000Â kronerÂ for those over 16), and parents have 46 weeks paidÂ parental leave. The state income derived from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production. Norway has an unemployment rate of 4.8%, with 68% of the population aged 15â€“74 employed.Â People in the labour force are either employed or looking for work.Â 9.5% of the population aged 18â€“66 receive a disability pensionÂ and 30% of the labour force are employed by the government, the highest in theÂ OECD.Â The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway, are among the highest in the world.
TheÂ egalitarianÂ values of Norwegian society have kept the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies as much less than in comparable western economies.Â This is also evident inÂ Norway’s low Gini coefficient.
The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminium production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DNB), and telecommunication provider (Telenor). Through these big companies, the government controls approximately 30% of the stock values at the Oslo Stock Exchange. When non-listed companies are included, the state has even higher share in ownership (mainly from direct oil licence ownership). Norway is a major shipping nation and has the world’s 6th largestÂ merchant fleet, with 1,412 Norwegian-owned merchant vessels.
By referendums in 1972 andÂ 1994, Norwegians rejected proposals to join the European Union (EU). However, Norway, together withÂ IcelandÂ andÂ Liechtenstein, participates in the European Union’s single market through theÂ European Economic AreaÂ (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the European Union countries and the EFTA countriesâ€”transposed into Norwegian law via “EÃ˜S-loven”â€”describes the procedures for implementing European Union rules in Norway and the other EFTA countries. Norway is a highly integrated member of most sectors of the EU internal market. Some sectors, such as agriculture, oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty. Norway has also acceded to theÂ Schengen AgreementÂ and several other intergovernmental agreements among the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum,Â hydropower, fish,Â forests, and minerals. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s, which led to a boom in the economy. Norway has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. In 2011, 28% of state revenues were generated from the petroleum industry.
Norway is the first country which banned cutting of trees (deforestation), in order to prevent rain forests from vanishing. The country declared its intention at the UN Climate Summit in 2014, alongside Great Britain and Germany. Crops, that are typically linked to forests’ destruction are timber, soy, palm oil and beef. Now Norway has to find a new way to provide these essential products without exerting negative influence on its environment.
- Oil industry
Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to over 40% of total exports and constitute almost 20% of the GDP.Â Norway is the fifth-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the world, but it is not a member ofÂ OPEC. In 1995, the Norwegian government established the sovereign wealth fund (“Government Pension Fund â€“ Global”), which would be funded with oil revenues, including taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees. This was intended to reduce overheating in the economy from oil revenues, minimise uncertainty from volatility in oil price, and provide a cushion to compensate for expenses associated with the ageing of the population.
The government controls its petroleum resources through a combination of state ownership in major operators in the oil fields (with approximately 62% ownership inÂ StatoilÂ in 2007) and the fully state-ownedÂ Petoro, which has a market value of about twice Statoil, andÂ SDFI. Finally, the government controls licensing of exploration and production of fields. The fund invests in developed financial markets outside Norway. Spending from the fund is constrained by the budgetary rule (Handlingsregelen), which limits spending over time to no more than the real value yield of the fund, originally assumed to be 4% a year, but lowered in 2017 to 3% of the fund’s total value.
- Oil fields
Between 1966 and 2013, Norwegian companies drilled 5085 oil wells, mostly in theÂ North Sea.Â Of these 3672 areÂ utviklingsbrÃ¸nnerÂ (regular production);Â 1413 areÂ letebrÃ¸nnerÂ (exploration); and 1405 have been terminated (avsluttet).
Oil fields not yet in production phase include:Â Wisting Centralâ€”calculated size in 2013, 65â€“156Â million barrels of oil and 10 to 40Â billion cubic feet (0.28 to 1.13Â billion cubic metres), (utvinnbar) of gas.Â and theÂ Castberg Oil FieldÂ (Castberg-feltet)â€”calculated size 540 million barrels of oil, and 2 to 7Â billion cubic feet (57 to 198Â million cubic metres) (utvinnbar) of gas.Â Both oil fields are located in theÂ Barents Sea.
- Fish industry
Norway is also the world’s second-largest exporter of fish (in value, after China).Â Fish from fish farms and catch constitutes the second largest (behind oil/natural gas) export product measured in value.
- Mineral resources
Norway contains significant mineral resources, and in 2013, its mineral production was valued at US$1.5Â billion (Norwegian Geological Survey data). The most valuable minerals are calcium carbonate (limestone), building stone,Â nepheline syenite,Â olivine, iron,Â titanium, andÂ nickel.
- Norwegian Pension Fund
In 2017, the Government Pension Fund controlled assets surpassed a value of US$1 trillion (equal to US$190,000 per capita),Â about 250% of Norway’s 2017 GDP. It is the largestÂ sovereign wealth fundÂ in the world.Â The fund controls about 1.3% of all listed shares in Europe, and more than 1% of all the publicly traded shares in the world. The Norwegian Central Bank operates investment offices in London, New York, and Shanghai. Guidelines implemented in 2007 allow the fund to invest up to 60% of the capital in shares (maximum of 40% prior), while the rest may be placed in bonds and real-estate. As the stock markets tumbled in September 2008, the fund was able to buy more shares at low prices. In this way, the losses incurred by the market turmoil was recuperated by November 2009.
Other nations with economies based on natural resources, such as Russia, are trying to learn from Norway by establishing similar funds. The investment choices of the Norwegian fund are directed byÂ ethical guidelines; for example, the fund is not allowed to invest in companies that produce parts for nuclear weapons. Norway’s highlyÂ transparentÂ investment schemeÂ is lauded by the international community.Â The future size of the fund is closely linked to the price of oil and to developments in international financial markets.
In 2000, the government sold one-third of the state-owned oil company Statoil in anÂ IPO. The next year, the main telecom supplier,Â Telenor, was listed onÂ Oslo Stock Exchange. The state also owns significant shares of Norway’s largest bank,Â DnB NORÂ and the airlineÂ SAS. Since 2000, economic growth has been rapid, pushing unemployment down to levels not seen since the early 1980s (unemployment in 2007: 1.3%). The international financial crisis has primarily affected the industrial sector, but unemployment has remained low, and was at 3.3% (86,000 people) in August 2011. In contrast to Norway, Sweden had substantially higher actual and projected unemployment numbers as a result of the recession. Thousands of mainly young Swedes migrated to Norway for work during these years, which is easy, as the labour market and social security systems overlap in the Nordic Countries. In the first quarter of 2009, the GNP of Norway surpassed Sweden’s for the first time in history, although its population is half the size.
Due to the low population density, narrow shape and long coastlines of Norway, its public transport is less developed than in many European countries, especially outside the major cities. The country has long-standing water transport traditions, but theÂ Norwegian Ministry of Transport and CommunicationsÂ has in recent years implemented rail, road, and air transport through numerous subsidiaries to develop the country’s infrastructure.Â Under discussion is development of a new high-speed rail system between the nation’s largest cities.
Norway’s main railway network consists of 4,114 kilometres (2,556Â mi) ofÂ standard gaugeÂ lines, of which 242 kilometres (150Â mi) isÂ double trackÂ and 64 kilometres (40Â mi)Â high-speed railÂ (210Â km/h) while 62% is electrified atÂ 15Â kV â€Š16.7Â Hz AC. The railways transported 56,827,000 passengers 2,956 millionÂ passenger-kilometresÂ and 24,783,000 tonnes of cargo 3,414 millionÂ tonne-kilometres.Â The entire network is owned by theÂ Norwegian National Rail Administration.Â All domestic passenger trains except theÂ Airport Express TrainÂ are operated byÂ Norges StatsbanerÂ (NSB).Â Several companies operate freight trains.Â Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is financed through the state budget,Â and subsidies are provided for passenger train operations.Â NSB operates long-haul trains, includingÂ night trains, regional services and fourÂ commuter trainÂ systems, aroundÂ Oslo,Â Trondheim,Â BergenÂ andÂ Stavanger.
Norway has approximately 92,946 kilometres (57,754Â mi) of road network, of which 72,033 kilometres (44,759Â mi) are paved and 664 kilometres (413Â mi) are motorway.Â The four tiers of road routes are national, county, municipal and private, with national and primary county roads numbered en route. The most important national routes are part of theÂ European routeÂ scheme. The two most prominent are theÂ E6Â going northâ€“south through the entire country, and theÂ E39, which follows the West Coast. National and county roads are managed by theÂ Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Norway has the world’s largest registered stock ofÂ plug-in electric vehicles per capita.Â In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the roads is a plug-in electric.Â The plug-in electric segmentÂ market shareÂ of new car sales is also the highest in the world.Â According to a report byÂ Dagens NÃ¦ringslivÂ in June 2016, the country would like to ban sales of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles as early as 2025.Â In June 2017, 42% of new cars registered were electric.
Of the 98 airports in Norway,Â 52 are public,Â and 46 are operated by the state-ownedÂ Avinor.Â Seven airportsÂ have more than one million passengers annually.Â A total of 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian airports in 2007, of whom 13,397,458 were international.
The central gateway to Norway by air isÂ Oslo Airport, Gardermoen.Â Located about 35 kilometres (22Â mi) northeast of Oslo, it isÂ hubÂ for the two major Norwegian airlines:Â Scandinavian AirlinesÂ andÂ Norwegian Air Shuttle,Â and for regional aircraft from Western Norway.Â There are departures to most European countries and some intercontinental destinations.Â A direct high-speed train connects to Oslo Central Station every 10 minutes for a 20 min ride.
|Source: Statistics Norway.|
Norway’s population was 5,096,300 people in October 2013.Â NorwegiansÂ are an ethnic NorthÂ GermanicÂ people. Since the late 20th century, Norway has attracted immigrants from southern and central Europe, the Mideast, Africa, Asia and beyond.
TheÂ total fertility rateÂ (TFR) in 2018 was estimated at 1.56 children born per woman,Â below the replacement rate of 2.1, it remains considerably below the high of 4.69 children born per woman in 1877.Â In 2018 theÂ median ageÂ of the Norwegian population was 39.3 years.
In 2012, an official study showed that 86%Â of the total population have at least one parent who was born in Norway. More than 710,000 individuals (13%)Â are immigrants and their descendants; there are 117,000 children of immigrants, born in Norway.
Of these 710,000 immigrants and their descendants:
- 323,000 (39%)Â have aÂ WesternÂ background (Australia, North America, elsewhere in Europe)
- 505,000 (61%)Â have a non-Western background (primarilyÂ Pakistan,Â Somalia,Â Morocco,Â Iraq, andÂ Iran).
In 2013, the Norwegian government said that 14% of the Norwegian population were immigrants or children of two immigrant parents. About 6% of the immigrant population come from EU, North America and Australia, and about 8.1% come from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In 2012, of the total 660,000 with immigrant background, 407,262 had Norwegian citizenship (62.2%).
Immigrants have settled in allÂ NorwegianÂ municipalities. The cities or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants in 2012 wereÂ OsloÂ (32%) andÂ DrammenÂ (27%).Â The share in Stavanger was 16%.Â According toÂ Reuters, Oslo is the “fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration”.Â In recent years, immigration has accounted for most of Norway’s population growth. In 2011, 16% of newborn children were of immigrant background.
TheÂ SÃ¡mi peopleÂ are indigenous to the Far North and have traditionally inhabited central and northern parts of Norway and Sweden, as well as areas in northern Finland and in Russia on theÂ Kola Peninsula. Another national minority are theÂ Kven people, descendants of Finnish-speaking people who migrated to northern Norway from the 18th up to the 20th century. From the 19th century up to the 1970s, the Norwegian government tried to assimilate both the SÃ¡mi and the Kven, encouraging them to adopt the majority language, culture and religion.Â Because of this “NorwegianizationÂ process”, many families of SÃ¡mi or Kven ancestry now identify as ethnic Norwegian.
Particularly in the 19th century, when economic conditions were difficult in Norway, tens of thousands of people migrated to the United States and Canada, where they could work and buy land in frontier areas. Many went to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. In 2006, according to the US Census Bureau, almost 4.7Â million persons identified asÂ Norwegian Americans,Â which was larger than the population of ethnic Norwegians in Norway itself.Â In the 2011 Canadian census, 452,705 Canadian citizens identified as havingÂ Norwegian ancestry.
On 1 January 2013, the number of immigrants or children of two immigrants residing in Norway was 710,465, or 14.1% of the total population,Â up from 183,000 in 1992. Yearly immigration has increased since 2005. While yearly net immigration in 2001â€“2005 was on average 13,613, it increased to 37,541 between 2006 and 2010, and in 2011 net immigration reached 47,032.Â This is mostly because of increased immigration by residents of the EU, in particular from Poland.
In 2012, the immigrant community (which includes immigrants and children born in Norway of immigrant parents) grew by 55,300, a record high.Â Net immigration from abroad reached 47,300 (300 higher than in 2011), while immigration accounted for 72% of Norway’s population growth.Â 17% of newborn children were born to immigrant parents.Â Children of Pakistani, Somali andÂ VietnameseÂ parents made up the largest groups of all Norwegians born to immigrant parents.
|Country of origin||Population|
|Iraq inc.Â Kurdistan region||33,924|
Pakistani NorwegiansÂ are the largest non-European minority group in Norway. Most of their 32,700 members live in and around Oslo. TheÂ IraqiÂ andÂ SomaliÂ immigrant populations have increased significantly in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, a wave of immigrants arrived from Central and Northern Europe, particularly Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The fastest growing immigrant groups in 2011 in absolute numbers were from Poland, Lithuania and Sweden.Â The policies of immigration and integration have been the subject of much debate in Norway.
This sectionÂ may beÂ too longÂ to read and navigate comfortably. Â (January 2018)
Separation of church and stateÂ happened significantly later in Norway than in most of Europe, and remains incomplete. In 2012, the Norwegian parliament voted to grant theÂ Church of NorwayÂ greater autonomy,Â a decision which was confirmed in a constitutional amendment on 21 May 2012.
Until 2012 parliamentary officials were required to be members of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway, and at least half of all government ministers had to be a member of the state church. As state church, the Church of Norway’s clergy were viewed as state employees, and the central and regional church administrations were part of the state administration. Members of the Royal family are required to be members of the Lutheran church. On 1 January 2017, Norway made the church independent of the state, but retained the Church’s status as the “people’s church”.
Most Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of theÂ Church of Norway, which has been Norway’sÂ state churchÂ since its establishment. In recent years the church has been granted increasing internal autonomy, but it retains its special constitutional status and other special ties to the state, and the constitution requires that the reigning monarch must be a member and states that the country’s values are based on its Christian and humanist heritage. Many remain in the church to participate in the community and practices such asÂ baptism,Â confirmation, marriage and burial rites. About 70.6% of Norwegians were members of the Church of Norway in 2017. In 2017, about 53.6% of all newborns were baptised and about 57.9% of all 15-year-old persons wereÂ confirmedÂ in the church.
In 2010, 10% of the population wasÂ religiously unaffiliated, while another 9% were members of religious communities outside the Church of Norway.Â Other Christian denominations total about 4.9%Â of the population, the largest of which is theÂ Roman Catholic Church, with 83,000 members, according to 2009 government statistics.Â TheÂ AftenpostenÂ (Norwegian, The Evening Post) in October 2012 reported there were about 115,234 registered Roman Catholics in Norway; the reporter estimated that the total number of people with a Roman Catholic background may be 170,000â€“200,000 or higher.
Others includeÂ PentecostalsÂ (39,600),Â theÂ Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of NorwayÂ (19,600),Â MethodistsÂ (11,000),Â BaptistsÂ (9,900),Â Eastern OrthodoxÂ (9,900),Â Brunstad Christian ChurchÂ (6,800),Â Seventh-day AdventistsÂ (5,100),Â Assyrians and Chaldeans, and others. The Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic Lutheran congregations in Norway have about 27,500 members in total.Â Other Christian denominations comprise less than 1% each, including 4,000 members inÂ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsÂ and 12,000Â Jehovah’s Witnesses.Â Among non-Christian religions,Â IslamÂ is the largest, with 166,861 registered members (2018), and probably fewer than 200,000 in total.Â It is practised mainly byÂ Somali,Â Arab,Â Bosniak,Â KurdishÂ andÂ TurkishÂ immigrants, as well asÂ Norwegians of Pakistani descent.
Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including 819 adherents ofÂ Judaism.Â Indian immigrants introducedÂ HinduismÂ to Norway, which in 2011 has slightly more than 5,900 adherents, or 1% of non-Lutheran Norwegians.Â SikhismÂ has approximately 3,000 adherents, with most living in Oslo, which has twoÂ gurdwaras. Sikhs first came to Norway in the early 1970s. The troubles in Punjab afterÂ Operation Blue StarÂ and riots committed against Sikhs in India after theÂ assassination of Indira GandhiÂ led to an increase in Sikh refugees moving to Norway. Drammen also has a sizeable population of Sikhs; the largest gurdwara in north Europe was built inÂ Lier. There are elevenÂ BuddhistÂ organisations, grouped under theÂ BuddhistforbundetÂ organisation, with slightly over 14,000 members,Â which make up 0.2% of the population. TheÂ Baha’iÂ religion has slightly more than 1,000 adherents.Â Around 1.7% (84,500) of Norwegians belong to the secularÂ Norwegian Humanist Association.
From 2006 to 2011, the fastest-growing religious communities in Norway wereÂ Eastern Orthodox ChristianityÂ andÂ Oriental Orthodox Christianity, which grew in membership by 80%; however, their share of the total population remains small, at 0.2%. It is associated with the huge immigration fromÂ EritreaÂ andÂ Ethiopia, and to a lesser extent fromÂ CentralÂ and Eastern European and Middle Eastern countries. Other fast-growing religions wereÂ Roman CatholicismÂ (78.7%),Â HinduismÂ (59.6%),Â IslamÂ (48.1%), andÂ BuddhismÂ (46.7%).
As in other Scandinavian countries, the ancient Norse followed a form of nativeÂ Germanic paganismÂ known asÂ Norse paganism. By the end of the 11th century, when Norway had beenÂ Christianised, the indigenous Norse religion and practices were prohibited. Remnants of the native religion and beliefs of Norway survive today in the form of names, referential names of cities and locations, the days of the week, and other parts of everyday language. Modern interest in the old ways has led to a revival of pagan religious practices in the form ofÂ Ã…satru.Â The NorwegianÂ Ã…satrufellesskapet BifrostÂ formed in 1996; in 2011, the fellowship had about 300 members.Â Foreningen Forn SedÂ was formed in 1999 and has been recognised by the Norwegian government.
The SÃ¡mi minority retained theirÂ shamanistic religionÂ well into the 18th century, when most converted to Christianity under the influence of Dano-Norwegian LutheranÂ missionaries. Although some insist that “indigenous SÃ¡mi religion had effectively been eradicated,’Â athropologistÂ Gutorm Gjessing‘sÂ Changing LappsÂ (1954) argues that the SÃ¡mi’s “were outwardly and to all practical purposes converted to Christianity, but at the subconscious and unconscious level, the shamistic frenzy survived, more or less latent, only awaiting the necessary stimulus to break out into the open.”Â Today there is a renewed appreciation for the SÃ¡mi traditional way of life, which has led to a revival ofÂ Noaidevuohta.Â Some Norwegian and SÃ¡mi celebrities are reported to visitÂ shamansÂ for guidance.
According to the 2010 Eurobarometer Poll, 22% of Norwegian citizens responded that “they believe there is a God”, 44% responded that “they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force” and 29% responded that “they don’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God or life force”. Five percent gave no response.
Norway was awarded first place according to the UN’sÂ Human Development IndexÂ (HDI) for 2013.Â In the 1800s, by contrast, poverty andÂ communicable diseasesÂ dominated in Norway together withÂ faminesÂ and epidemics. From the 1900s, improvements in public health occurred as a result of development in several areas such as social andÂ living conditions, changes in disease and medical outbreaks, establishment of the health care system, and emphasis on public health matters.Â VaccinationÂ and increased treatment opportunities with antibiotics resulted in great improvements within the Norwegian population. Improved hygiene and better nutrition were factors that contributed to improved health.
The disease pattern in Norway changed from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases and chronic diseases asÂ cardiovascular disease. Inequalities and social differences are still present in public health in Norway today.
In 2013 the infant mortality rate was 2.5 per 1,000 live births among children under the age of one. For girls it was 2.7 and for boys 2.3, which is the lowest infant mortality rate for boys ever recorded in Norway.
Higher education in NorwayÂ is offered by a range of sevenÂ universities, five specialised colleges, 25Â university collegesÂ as well as a range of private colleges. Education follows theÂ Bologna ProcessÂ involvingÂ BachelorÂ (3 years),Â MasterÂ (2 years) and PhD (3 years) degrees.Â Acceptance is offered after finishingÂ upper secondary schoolÂ with general study competence.
Public education is virtually free, regardless of nationality.Â The academic year has twoÂ semesters, from August to December and from January to June. The ultimate responsibility for the education lies with theÂ Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
TheÂ North GermanicÂ Norwegian language has two official written forms,Â BokmÃ¥lÂ andÂ Nynorsk. Both are used in public administration, schools, churches, and media. BokmÃ¥l is the written language used by a large majority of about 80â€“85%. Around 95% of the population speak Norwegian as their first or native language, although many speak dialects that may differ significantly from the written languages. All Norwegian dialects are mutually intelligible, although listeners with limited exposure to dialects other than their own may struggle to understand certain phrases and pronunciations in some other dialects.
SeveralÂ UralicÂ SÃ¡mi languages are spoken and written throughout the country, especially in the north, by some members of the SÃ¡mi people. (Estimates suggest that about one third of the Norwegian SÃ¡mi speak a SÃ¡mi language.) Speakers have a right to be educated and to receive communication from the government in their own language in a specialÂ forvaltningsomrÃ¥deÂ (administrative area) for SÃ¡mi languages.Â TheÂ KvenÂ minority historically spoke the UralicÂ Kven languageÂ (considered a separate language in Norway, but generally perceived as a Finnish dialect in Finland). Today the majority of ethnic Kven have little or no knowledge of the language. According to theÂ Kainun institutti, “The typical modern Kven is a Norwegian-speaking Norwegian who knows his genealogy.”Â As Norway has ratified theÂ European Charter for Regional or Minority LanguagesÂ (ECRML) the Kven language together withÂ RomaniÂ andÂ Scandoromani languageÂ has become officially recognised minority languages.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Norwegian language was subject toÂ strong political and cultural controversies. This led to the development of Nynorsk in the 19th century and to the formation of alternative spelling standards in the 20th century.
Norwegian is similar to its neighbourÂ Scandinavian languages;Â SwedishÂ andÂ Danish. All three languages are to a degree mutually intelligible and can be, and commonly are, employed in communication among inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the co-operation within theÂ Nordic Council, inhabitants of all Nordic countries, includingÂ IcelandÂ andÂ Finland, have the right to communicate with Norwegian authorities in their own language.
Students who are children of immigrant parents are encouraged to learn the Norwegian language. The Norwegian government offers language instructional courses for immigrants wishing to obtain Norwegian citizenship. With increasing concern about assimilating immigrants, since 1 September 2008, the government has required that an applicant for Norwegian citizenship give evidence of proficiency in either Norwegian or in one of the SÃ¡mi languages, or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language requirements for university studies in Norway (that is, by being proficient in one of the Scandinavian languages).
The primary foreign language taught in Norwegian schools is English, considered an international language since the post-WWII era. The majority of the population is fairly fluent in English, especially those born after World War II. German, French and Spanish are also commonly taught as second or, more often, third languages. Russian, Japanese, Italian,Â Latin, and rarelyÂ Chinese (Mandarin)Â are offered in some schools, mostly in the cities. Traditionally, English, German and French were considered the main foreign languages in Norway. These languages, for instance, were used onÂ Norwegian passportsÂ until the 1990s, and university students have a general right to use these languages when submitting their theses.
The Norwegian farm culture continues to play a role in contemporary Norwegian culture. In the 19th century, it inspired a strongÂ romantic nationalisticÂ movement, which is still visible in theÂ Norwegian languageÂ andÂ media. Norwegian culture blossomed with nationalist efforts to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.
Norway has been considered a progressive country, which has adopted legislation and policies to support women’s rights, minority rights, andÂ LGBT rights. As early as 1884, 171 of the leading figures, among them five Prime Ministers for the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, co-founded theÂ Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights.Â They successfully campaigned for women’sÂ right to education,Â women’s suffrage, theÂ right to work, and other gender equality policies. From the 1970s, gender equality also came high on the state agenda, with the establishment of a public body to promote gender equality, which evolved into theÂ Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud. Civil society organisations also continue to play an important role, and the women’s rights organisations are today organised in theÂ Norwegian Women’s LobbyÂ umbrella organisation.
In 1990, the Norwegian constitution was amended to grantÂ absolute primogenitureÂ to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. As it was not retroactive, the current successor to the throne is the eldest son of the King, rather than his eldest child. The Norwegian constitution Article 6 states that “For those born before the year 1990 it shall…be the case that a male shall take precedence over a female.”
The SÃ¡mi people have for centuries been the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures in Scandinavia and Russia, those countries claiming possession of SÃ¡mi lands.Â The SÃ¡mi people have never been a single community in a single region ofÂ SÃ¡pmi.Â Norway has been greatly criticised by the international community for the politics ofÂ NorwegianizationÂ of and discrimination against the indigenous population of the country.Â Nevertheless, Norway was, in 1990, the first country to recogniseÂ ILO-convention 169Â onÂ indigenous peopleÂ recommended by the UN.
In regard to LGBT rights, Norway was the first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. In 1993, Norway became the second country to legaliseÂ civil unionÂ partnerships for same-sex couples, and on 1 January 2009Â Norway became the sixth countryÂ to grant fullÂ marriage equalityÂ to same-sex couples. As a promoter of human rights, Norway has held the annualÂ Oslo Freedom ForumÂ conference, a gathering described byÂ The EconomistÂ as “on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum.”
The Norwegian cinema has received international recognition. The documentary filmÂ Kon-TikiÂ (1950) won anÂ Academy Award. In 1959,Â Arne Skouen‘sÂ Nine LivesÂ was nominated, but failed to win. Another notable film isÂ FlÃ¥klypa Grand PrixÂ (English:Â Pinchcliffe Grand Prix), an animated feature film directed byÂ Ivo Caprino. The film was released in 1975 and is based on characters from Norwegian cartoonistÂ Kjell Aukrust. It is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time.
Since the 1990s, the film industry has thrived, producing up to 20 feature films each year. Particular successes wereÂ Kristin Lavransdatter, based on a novel by a Nobel Prize winner;Â The TelegraphistÂ andÂ Gurin with the Foxtail.Â Knut Erik JensenÂ was among the more successful new directors, together withÂ Erik SkjoldbjÃ¦rg, who is remembered forÂ Insomnia.
The country has also been used as filming location for several Hollywood and other international productions, includingÂ The Empire Strikes BackÂ (1980), for which the producers usedÂ HardangerjÃ¸kulenÂ glacierÂ as a filming location for scenes of the ice planet Hoth. It included a memorable battle in the snow. The filmsÂ Die Another Day,Â The Golden Compass,Â Spies Like UsÂ andÂ Heroes of Telemark,Â as well as the TV seriesÂ LilyhammerÂ andÂ VikingsÂ also had scenes set in Norway.Â A short film,Â The Spirit of NorwayÂ was featured atÂ MaelstromÂ atÂ NorwayÂ Pavilion atÂ EpcotÂ located withinÂ Walt Disney World ResortÂ in Florida in the United States. The attraction and the film ceased their operations on 5 October 2014.
The classicalÂ musicÂ of theÂ romanticÂ composersÂ Edvard Grieg,Â Rikard NordraakÂ andÂ Johan SvendsenÂ is internationally known, as is the modern music ofÂ Arne Nordheim. Norway’s classical performers includeÂ Leif Ove Andsnes, one of the world’s more famous pianists;Â Truls MÃ¸rk, an outstanding cellist; and the great Wagnerian sopranoÂ Kirsten Flagstad.
Norwegian black metal, a form ofÂ rock music in Norway, has been an influence in world music since the late 20th century. Since the 1990s, Norway’s export ofÂ black metal, a lo-fi, dark and raw form ofÂ heavy metal, has been developed by such bands asÂ Emperor,Â Darkthrone,Â Gorgoroth,Â Mayhem,Â BurzumÂ andÂ Immortal. More recently, bands such asÂ Enslaved,Â Kvelertak,Â Dimmu BorgirÂ andÂ SatyriconÂ have evolved the genre into the present day while still garnering worldwide fans. Controversial events associated with the black metal movement in the early 1990s included severalÂ church burningsÂ and two prominentÂ murder cases.
The jazz scene in Norway is thriving.Â Jan Garbarek,Â Terje Rypdal,Â Mari Boine,Â Arild AndersenÂ andÂ Bugge WesseltoftÂ are internationally recognised whileÂ Paal Nilssen-Love,Â Supersilent,Â Jaga JazzistÂ andÂ WibuteeÂ are becoming world-class artists of the younger generation.
Norway has a strongÂ folk musicÂ tradition which remains popular to this day.Â Among the most prominent folk musicians areÂ Hardanger fiddlersÂ Andrea Een,Â Olav JÃ¸rgen HeggeÂ andÂ AnnbjÃ¸rg Lien, and the vocalistsÂ Agnes Buen GarnÃ¥s,Â Kirsten BrÃ¥ten BergÂ andÂ Odd Nordstoga.
Other internationally recognised bands areÂ A-ha,Â RÃ¶yksoppÂ andÂ Ylvis.Â A-ha initially rose to global fame during the mid-1980s. In the 1990s and 2000s, the group maintained its popularity domestically, and has remained successful outside Norway, especially in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Brazil.
Some of the most memorable female solo artists from Norway areÂ Susanne SundfÃ¸r,Sigrid,Â Astrid S,Â AdelÃ©n,Â Julie Bergan,Â Maria Mena,Â Tone Damli,Â Margaret Berger,Â Lene Marlin,Â Christel Alsos,Â Maria Arredondo,Â Marion RavenÂ andÂ Marit LarsenÂ (both former members of the defunct pop-rock groupÂ M2M),Â Lene NystrÃ¸mÂ (vocalist of the Danish eurodance groupÂ Aqua) andÂ Anni-Frid LyngstadÂ (vocalist of the Swedish pop groupÂ ABBA).
In recent years, various Norwegian songwriters and production teams have contributed to the music of other international artists. The Norwegian production teamÂ StargateÂ has produced songs forÂ Rihanna,Â BeyoncÃ©,Â Shakira,Â Jennifer LopezÂ andÂ Lionel Richie, among others.Â Espen LindÂ has written and produced songs for BeyoncÃ©, Lionel Richie andÂ Leona Lewis, among others.Â Lene MarlinÂ has written songs for Rihanna andÂ Lovebugs.Â Ina WroldsenÂ has written songs for artists such asÂ Demi Lovato,Â Shakira,Â Inna,Â Sophie Ellis-Bextor,Â One DirectionÂ andÂ The Saturdays, among others.
Norway enjoys many music festivals throughout the year, all over the country. Norway is the host of one of the world’s biggestÂ extreme sportÂ festivals with music,Â Ekstremsportvekoâ€”a festival held annually inÂ Voss. Oslo is the host of many festivals, such asÂ Ã˜yafestivalenÂ andÂ by:Larm. Oslo used to have a summer parade similar to the GermanÂ Love Parade. In 1992, the city of Oslo wanted to adopt the French music festivalÂ FÃªte de la Musique.Â Fredrik Carl StÃ¸rmerÂ 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 renamedÂ Musikkfest Oslo.
The history of Norwegian literature starts with theÂ paganÂ Eddaic poemsÂ andÂ skaldicÂ verse of the 9th and 10th centuries, with poets such asÂ Bragi BoddasonÂ andÂ Eyvindr skÃ¡ldaspillir. The arrival of Christianity around the year 1000 brought Norway into contact with European medieval learning,Â hagiographyÂ and history writing. Merged with native oral tradition and Icelandic influence, this influenced the literature written in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Major works of that period includeÂ Historia NorwegiÃ¦,Â ÃžiÃ°rekssagaÂ andÂ Konungs skuggsjÃ¡.
Little Norwegian literature came out of the period of the Scandinavian Union and the subsequent Dano-Norwegian union (1387â€“1814), with some notable exceptions such asÂ Petter DassÂ andÂ Ludvig Holberg. In his playÂ Peer Gynt, Ibsen characterised this period as “Twice two hundred years of darkness/brooded o’er the race of monkeys.” The first line of this couplet is frequently quoted. During the union with Denmark, the government imposed using only written Danish, which decreased the writing of Norwegian literature.
Two major events precipitated a major resurgence in Norwegian literature: in 1811 a Norwegian university was established inÂ Christiania. Secondly, seized by the spirit of revolution following theÂ AmericanÂ andÂ FrenchÂ revolutions, the Norwegians created their firstÂ ConstitutionÂ in 1814. Strong authors were inspired who became recognised first in Scandinavia, and then worldwide; among them wereÂ Henrik Wergeland,Â Peter Christen AsbjÃ¸rnsen,Â JÃ¸rgen MoeÂ andÂ Camilla Collett.
By the late 19th century, in theÂ Golden AgeÂ of Norwegian literature, the so-called “Great Four” emerged:Â Henrik Ibsen,Â BjÃ¸rnstjerne BjÃ¸rnson,Â Alexander Kielland, andÂ Jonas Lie. BjÃ¸rnson’s “peasant novels”, such asÂ Ein glad gutÂ (A Happy Boy) andÂ SynnÃ¸ve Solbakken, are typical of theÂ Norwegian romantic nationalismÂ of their day. Kielland’s novels and short stories are mostly naturalistic. Although an important contributor to early romantic nationalism, (especiallyÂ Peer Gynt),Â Henrik IbsenÂ is better known for his pioneering realistic dramas such asÂ The Wild DuckÂ andÂ A Doll’s House.Â They caused an uproar because of his candid portrayals of the middle classes, complete with infidelity, unhappy marriages, and corrupt businessmen.
In the 20th century, three Norwegian novelists were awarded theÂ Nobel Prize in Literature:Â BjÃ¸rnstjerne BjÃ¸rnsonÂ in 1903,Â Knut HamsunÂ for the bookÂ Markens grÃ¸deÂ (“Growth of the Soil”) in 1920, andÂ Sigrid UndsetÂ (known forÂ Kristinlavransdatter) in 1928. Writers such as the following also made important contributions:Â Dag Solstad,Â Jon Fosse,Â Cora Sandel,Â Olav Duun,Â Olav H. Hauge,Â Gunvor Hofmo,Â Stein Mehren,Â Kjell Askildsen,Â Hans HerbjÃ¸rnsrud,Â Aksel Sandemose,Â Bergljot HobÃ¦k Haff,Â Jostein Gaarder,Â Erik Fosnes Hansen,Â Jens BjÃ¸rneboe,Â Kjartan FlÃ¸gstad,Â Lars Saabye Christensen,Â Johan Borgen,Â HerbjÃ¸rg Wassmo,Â Jan Erik Vold,Â Rolf Jacobsen,Â Olaf Bull,Â Jan KjÃ¦rstad,Â Georg Johannesen,Â Tarjei Vesaas,Â Sigurd Hoel,Â Arnulf Ã˜verland,Â Karl Ove KnausgÃ¥rdÂ andÂ Johan Falkberget.
Internationally recognised Norwegian scientists include the mathematiciansÂ Niels Henrik Abel,Â Sophus LieÂ andÂ Atle Selberg, physical chemistÂ Lars Onsager, physicistÂ Ivar Giaever, chemistsÂ Odd Hassel,Â Peter Waage, andÂ Cato Maximilian Guldberg.
In the 20th century, Norwegian academics have been pioneering in manyÂ social sciences, includingÂ criminology, sociology andÂ peace and conflict studies. Prominent academics includeÂ Arne NÃ¦ss, a philosopher and founder ofÂ deep ecology;Â Johan Galtung, the founder ofÂ peace studies;Â Nils ChristieÂ andÂ Thomas Mathiesen, criminologists;Â Fredrik Barth, a social anthropologist;Â Vilhelm Aubert,Â Harriet HolterÂ andÂ Erik GrÃ¸nseth, sociologists;Â Tove Stang Dahl, a pioneer of women’s law;Â Stein Rokkan, a political scientist; and economistsÂ Ragnar Frisch,Â Trygve Haavelmo, andÂ Finn E. Kydland.
In 2014, the two Norwegian scientistsÂ May-Britt MoserÂ andÂ Edvard MoserÂ won theÂ Nobel Prize in Physiology or MedicineÂ along withÂ John O’Keefe. They won the prize for their groundbreaking work identifying the cells that make up a positioning system in the human brain, our “in-built GPS”.
With expansive forests, Norway has long had a tradition of building in wood. Many of today’s most interesting new buildings are made of wood, reflecting the strong appeal that this material continues to hold for Norwegian designers and builders.
With Norway’s conversion to Christianity some 1,000 years ago, churches were built. Stonework architecture was introduced from Europe for the most important structures, beginning with the construction ofÂ Nidaros CathedralÂ inÂ Trondheim. In the earlyÂ Middle Ages, woodenÂ stave churchesÂ were constructed throughout Norway. Some of them have survived; they represent Norway’s most unusual contribution to architectural history. A fine example,Â Urnes Stave ChurchÂ in innerÂ Sognefjord, is onÂ UNESCO‘sÂ World Heritage List. Another notable example of wooden architecture is the buildings atÂ BryggenÂ Wharf in Bergen, also on the list for World Cultural Heritage sites, consisting of a row of tall, narrow wooden structures along the quayside.
In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities and villages such asÂ KongsbergÂ andÂ RÃ¸rosÂ were established. The city Kongsberg had a church built in the Baroque style. Traditional wooden buildings that were constructed in RÃ¸ros have survived.
After Norway’s union with Denmark was dissolved in 1814, Oslo became the capital. The architectÂ Christian H. GroschÂ designed the earliest parts of theÂ University of Oslo, theÂ Oslo Stock Exchange, and many other buildings and churches constructed in that early national period.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city ofÂ Ã…lesundÂ was rebuilt in theÂ Art NouveauÂ style, influenced by styles of France. The 1930s, when functionalism dominated, became a strong period for Norwegian architecture. It is only since the late 20th century that Norwegian architects have achieved international renown. One of the most striking modern buildings in Norway is theÂ SÃ¡mi ParliamentÂ inÂ KÃ¡rÃ¡Å¡johka, designed byÂ Stein HalvorsonÂ andÂ Christian Sundby. Its debating chamber, in timber, is an abstract version of aÂ lavvo,Â the traditional tent used by the nomadicÂ SÃ¡mi people.
For an extended period, the Norwegian art scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of Copenhagen. It was in the 19th century that a truly Norwegian era began, first with portraits, later with impressive landscapes. Johan Christian Dahl (1788â€“1857), originally from the Dresden school, eventually returned to paint the landscapes of western Norway, defining Norwegian painting for the first time.”
Norway’s newly found independence from Denmark encouraged painters to develop their Norwegian identity, especially with landscape painting by artists such asÂ Kitty Kielland, a female painter who studied underÂ Hans Gude, andÂ Harriet Backer, another pioneer among female artists, influenced byÂ impressionism.Â Frits Thaulow, an impressionist, was influenced by the art scene in Paris as wasÂ Christian Krohg, a realist painter, famous for his paintings of prostitutes.
Other artists of note includeÂ Harald Sohlberg, a neo-romantic painter remembered for his paintings ofÂ RÃ¸ros, andÂ Odd Nerdrum, a figurative painter who maintains that his work is not art, butÂ kitsch.
Norway’s culinary traditionsÂ show the influence of long seafaring and farming traditions, withÂ salmonÂ (fresh and cured),Â herringÂ (pickled or marinated),Â trout,Â codfish, and other seafood, balanced by cheeses (such asÂ brunost), dairy products, and breads (predominantly dark/darker).
LefseÂ is a Norwegian potato flatbread, usually topped with large amounts of butter and sugar, most common around Christmas. Some traditional Norwegian dishes includeÂ lutefisk,Â smalahove,Â pinnekjÃ¸tt,Â raspeball, andÂ fÃ¥rikÃ¥l.Â Some quirky Norwegian speciality is rakefisk, which is a fermented trout, consumed with thin flatbread (flatbrÃ¸d, not lefse) and sour cream. And the most popular pastry among all population is vaffel. It is different from Belgian in taste and consistency and is served with sour cream, brown cheese, butter and sugar, or strawberry or raspberry jam, which can all be mixed or eaten separately.
Sports are a central part of Norwegian culture, and popular sports include association football,Â handball,Â biathlon,Â cross-country skiing,Â ski jumping,Â speed skating, and, to a lesser degree,Â ice hockey.
Association football is the most popular sport in Norway in terms of active membership. In 2014â€“2015 polling, football ranked far behindÂ biathlonÂ andÂ cross-country skiingÂ in terms of popularity as spectator sports.Â Ice hockeyÂ is the biggest indoor sport.Â TheÂ women’s handball national teamÂ has won several titles, including twoÂ Summer OlympicsÂ championships (2008,Â 2012), threeÂ World ChampionshipsÂ (1999,Â 2011,Â 2015), and sixÂ European ChampionshipÂ (1998,Â 2004,Â 2006,Â 2008,Â 2010,Â 2014).
In association football, theÂ women’s national teamÂ has won theÂ FIFA Women’s World CupÂ inÂ 1995Â and theÂ Olympic Football TournamentÂ inÂ 2000. The women’s team also has twoÂ UEFA European Women’s ChampionshipÂ titles (1987,Â 1993). TheÂ men’s national football teamÂ has participated three times in theÂ FIFA World CupÂ (1938,Â 1994, andÂ 1998), and once in theÂ European ChampionshipÂ (2000). The highest FIFA ranking Norway has achieved is 2nd, a position it has held twice, in 1993 and in 1995.
BandyÂ is a traditional sport in Norway and the country is one of the four founders ofÂ Federation of International Bandy. In terms of licensed athletes, it is the second biggest winter sport in the world.Â As of January 2018,Â the men’s national teamÂ has captured one silver and one bronze, whileÂ the women’s national teamÂ has managed five bronzes atÂ the World Championships.
Norway first participated at theÂ Olympic GamesÂ in 1900, and has sent athletes to compete in every Games since then, except for the sparsely attendedÂ 1904 GamesÂ and theÂ 1980 Summer OlympicsÂ in Moscow when they participated in theÂ American-led boycott. Norway leadsÂ the overall medal tablesÂ at theÂ Winter Olympic GamesÂ by a considerable margin. Famous Norwegian winter sport athletes includesÂ biathleteÂ Ole Einar BjÃ¸rndalen, speed skatersÂ Johan Olav KossÂ andÂ Hjalmar Andersen, figure skaterÂ Sonja HenieÂ andÂ cross-country skiersÂ Marit BjÃ¸rgenÂ andÂ BjÃ¸rn DÃ¦hlie.
Norway has hosted the Games on two occasions:
It also hosted theÂ 2016 Winter Youth OlympicsÂ in Lillehammer, making Norway the first country to host both Winter regular and Youth Olympics.
As of 2008, Norway ranks 17th in theÂ World Economic Forum‘sÂ Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.Â Tourism in Norway contributed to 4.2% of the gross domestic product as reported in 2016.Â Every one in fifteen people throughout the country work in the tourism industry.Â Tourism is seasonal in Norway, with more than half of total tourists visiting between the months of May and August.
The main attractions of Norway are the varied landscapes that extend across theÂ Arctic Circle. It is famous for its fjord-indented coastline and its mountains, ski resorts, lakes and woods. Popular tourist destinations in Norway includeÂ Oslo,Â Ã…lesund,Â Bergen,Â Stavanger,Â TrondheimÂ andÂ TromsÃ¸. Much of the nature of Norway remains unspoiled, and thus attracts numerous hikers and skiers. The fjords,
mountains and waterfalls inÂ WesternÂ andÂ Northern NorwayÂ attract several hundred thousand foreign tourists each year. In the cities, cultural idiosyncrasies such as theÂ Holmenkollen ski jumpÂ attract many visitors, as do landmarks such as Bergen’sÂ BryggenÂ and Oslo’sÂ Vigeland Sculpture Park.