The country has no official motto, but the oath from the 1814 Norwegian Constituent Assembly can be regarded as the closest unofficial equivalent: Enige og tro inntil Dovre faller (Bokmål) Einige og tru inntil Dovre fell (Nynorsk) "United and loyal until Dovre falls"
Includes the mainland, Svalbard and Jan Mayen. (Without the integral territories, it is the 67th largest country at 323,802 square kilometres)
This percentage is for the mainland, Svalbard, and Jan Mayen. This percentage counts glaciers as "land". It's calculated as 19,940.14/(365,246.17+19,940.14).
Two more TLDs have been assigned, but are not used: .sj for Svalbard and Jan Mayen; .bv for Bouvet Island.
Norway has a total area of 385,207 square kilometres (148,729 sq mi)
1,619 km (1,006 mi). It is bordered by Finland and Russia to the northeast and the Skagerrak strait to the south, on the other side of which are Denmark and the United Kingdom. Norway has an extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea. The maritime influence dominates Norway's climate, with mild lowland temperatures on the sea coasts; the interior, while colder, is also significantly milder than areas elsewhere in the world on such northerly latitudes. Even during polar night
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.
account, translated: "Ohthere told his lord Ælfrede king that he lived northmost of all Norwegians…"
Norway has two official names: Norge in
Anglo-Saxons referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to leading theory about the origin of the Norwegian language name. The Anglo-Saxons of Britain also referred to the kingdom of Norway in 880 as Norðmanna land.
There is some disagreement about whether the native name of Norway originally had the same etymology as the English form. According to the traditional dominant view, the first component was originally norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" (from Old Norsesuðr) for (Germany), and austrvegr "eastern way" (from austr) for the Baltic. In the translation of Orosius for Alfred, the name is Norðweg, while in younger Old English sources the ð is gone. In the tenth century many Norsemen settled in Northern France, according to the sagas, in the area that was later called Normandy from norðmann (Norseman or Scandinavian), although not a Norwegian possession. In France normanni or northmanni referred to people of Norway, Sweden or Denmark. Until around 1800, inhabitants of Western Norway were referred to as nordmenn (northmen) while inhabitants of Eastern Norway were referred to as austmenn (eastmen).
According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow" (Old English nearu), referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land ("narrow way"). The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to later folk etymology. This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; since 2016 it is also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted by philology professor Michael Schulte. The form Nore is still used in placenames such as the village of Nore and lake Norefjorden in Buskerud county, and still has the same meaning. Among other arguments in favour of the theory, it is pointed out that the word has a long vowel in Skaldic poetry and is not attested with <ð> in any native Norse texts or inscriptions (the earliest runic attestations have the spellings nuruiak and nuriki). This resurrected theory has received some pushback by other scholars on various grounds, e. g. the uncontroversial presence of the element norðr in the ethnonym norðrmaðr "Norseman, Norwegian person" (modern Norwegian nordmann), and the adjective norrǿnn "northern, Norse, Norwegian", as well as the very early attestations of the Latin and Anglo-Saxon forms with <th>.
In a Latin manuscript of 840, the name Northuagia is mentioned. King Alfred's edition of the Orosius World History (dated 880), uses the term Norðweg. A French chronicle of c. 900 uses the names Northwegia and Norwegia. When Ohthere of Hålogaland visited King Alfred the Great in England in the end of the ninth century, the land was called Norðwegr (lit. "Northway") and norðmanna land (lit. "Northmen's land"). According to Ohthere, Norðmanna lived along the Atlantic coast, the Danes around Skagerrak og Kattegat, while the Sámi people (the "Fins") had a nomadic lifestyle in the wide interior. Ohthere told Alfred that he was "the most northern of all Norwegians", presumably at Senja island or closer to Tromsø. He also said that beyond the wide wilderness in Norway's southern part was the land of the Swedes, "Svealand".
The adjective Norwegian, recorded from c. 1600, is derived from the
latinisation of the name as Norwegia; in the adjective Norwegian, the Old English spelling '-weg' has survived.
Fosna culture) in the southwest. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslofjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.
More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to different types of tools and not to different cultures. Coastal fauna provided a means of livelihood for fishermen and hunters, who may have made their way along the southern coast about 10,000 BC when the interior was still covered with ice. It is now thought that these so-called "Arctic" peoples came from the south and followed the coast northward considerably later.
In the southern part of the country are dwelling sites dating from about 5,000 BC. Finds from these sites give a clearer idea of the life of the hunting and fishing peoples. The implements vary in shape and mostly are made of different kinds of stone; those of later periods are more skilfully made.
Rock carvings (i.e. petroglyphs) have been found, usually near hunting and fishing grounds. They represent game such as deer, reindeer, elk, bears, birds, seals, whales, and fish (especially salmon and halibut), all of which were vital to the way of life of the coastal peoples. The rock carvings at Alta
in Finnmark, the largest in Scandinavia, were made at sea level from 4,200 to 500 BC and mark the progression of the land as the sea rose after the last ice age ended.
who grew grain and kept cows and sheep. The hunting-fishing population of the west coast was also gradually replaced by farmers, though hunting and fishing remained useful secondary means of livelihood.
From about 1500 BC, bronze was gradually introduced, but the use of stone implements continued; Norway had few riches to barter for bronze goods, and the few finds consist mostly of elaborate weapons and brooches that only chieftains could afford. Huge burial cairns built close to the sea as far north as Harstad and also inland in the south are characteristic of this period. The motifs of the rock carvings differ slightly from those typical of the Stone Age. Representations of the Sun, animals, trees, weapons, ships, and people are all strongly stylised.
Thousands of rock carvings from this period depict ships, and the large stone burial monuments known as stone ships, suggest that ships and seafaring played an important role in the culture at large. The depicted ships most likely represent sewn plank built canoes used for warfare, fishing and trade. These ship types may have their origin as far back as the neolithic period and they continue into the Pre-Roman Iron Age, as exemplified by the Hjortspring boat.
Little has been found dating from the early Iron Age (the last 500 years BC). The dead were cremated, and their graves contain few burial goods. During the first four centuries AD, the people of Norway were in contact with Roman-occupied Gaul. About 70 Roman bronze cauldrons, often used as burial urns, have been found. Contact with the civilised countries farther south brought a knowledge of runes; the oldest known Norwegian runic inscription dates from the third century. At this time, the amount of settled area in the country increased, a development that can be traced by coordinated studies of topography, archaeology, and place-names. The oldest root names, such as nes, vik, and bø ("cape," "bay," and "farm"), are of great antiquity, dating perhaps from the Bronze Age, whereas the earliest of the groups of compound names with the suffixes vin ("meadow") or heim ("settlement"), as in Bjǫrgvin (Bergen) or Sǿheim (Seim), usually date from the first century AD.
Archaeologists first made the decision to divide the Iron Age of Northern Europe into distinct pre-Roman and
Roman Iron Ages after Emil Vedel unearthed a number of Iron Age artefacts in 1866 on the island of Bornholm. They did not exhibit the same permeating Roman influence seen in most other artefacts from the early centuries AD, indicating that parts of northern Europe had not yet come into contact with the Romans at the beginning of the Iron Age
The destruction of the Western Roman Empire by the Germanic peoples in the fifth century is characterised by rich finds, including tribal chiefs' graves containing magnificent weapons and gold objects. Hill forts were built on precipitous rocks for defence. Excavation has revealed stone foundations of farmhouses 18 to 27 metres (59 to 89 ft) long—one even 46 metres (151 feet) long—the roofs of which were supported on wooden posts. These houses were family homesteads where several generations lived together, with people and cattle under one roof.
These states were based on either clans or tribes (e.g., the Horder of
Haakon the Good was Norway's first Christian king, in the mid-10th century, though his attempt to introduce the religion was rejected. Born sometime in between 963 and 969, Olav Tryggvasson set off raiding in England with 390 ships. He attacked London during this raiding. Arriving back in Norway in 995, Olav landed in Moster. There he built a church which became the first Christian church ever built in Norway. From Moster, Olav sailed north to Trondheim where he was proclaimed King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995.
Håkon Håkonsson, who introduced clear law of succession.
From 1000 to 1300, the population increased from 150,000 to 400,000, resulting both in more land being cleared and the subdivision of farms. While in the Viking Age all farmers owned their own land, by 1300, seventy percent of the land was owned by the king, the church, or the aristocracy. This was a gradual process which took place because of farmers borrowing money in poor times and not being able to repay. However, tenants always remained free men and the large distances and often scattered ownership meant that they enjoyed much more freedom than continental serfs. In the 13th century, about twenty percent of a farmer's yield went to the king, church and landowners.
The 14th century is described as Norway's Golden Age, with peace and increase in trade, especially with the British Islands, although Germany became increasingly important towards the end of the century. Throughout the High Middle Ages, the king established Norway as a sovereign state with a central administration and local representatives.
The Hanseatic League took control over Norwegian trade during the 14th century and established a trading centre in Bergen. In 1380, Olaf Haakonsson inherited both the Norwegian and Danish thrones, creating a union between the two countries. In 1397, under Margaret I, the Kalmar Union was created between the three Scandinavian countries. She waged war against the Germans, resulting in a trade blockade and higher taxation on Norwegian goods, which resulted in a rebellion. However, the Norwegian Council of State was too weak to pull out of the union.
Margaret pursued a centralising policy which inevitably favoured Denmark, because it had a greater population than Norway and Sweden combined. Margaret also granted trade privileges to the Hanseatic merchants of Lübeck in Bergen in return for recognition of her right to rule, and these hurt the Norwegian economy. The Hanseatic merchants formed a state within a state in Bergen for generations. Even worse were the pirates, the "Victual Brothers", who launched three devastating raids on the port (the last in 1427).
Norway slipped ever more to the background under the Oldenburg dynasty (established 1448). There was one revolt under Knut Alvsson in 1502. Norwegians had some affection for King Christian II, who resided in the country for several years. Norway took no part in the events which led to Swedish independence from Denmark in the 1520s.
Haakon V (King of Norway) in 1319, Magnus Erikson, at just three years old, inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of Norway. At the same time, a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful, and both the kings of Sweden and of Denmark were elected to the throne by their respective nobles, Thus, with his election to the throne of Sweden, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.
In 1349, the Black Death radically altered Norway, killing between 50% and 60% of its population and leaving it in a period of social and economic decline. The plague left Norway very poor. Although the death rate was comparable with the rest of Europe, economic recovery took much longer because of the small, scattered population. Even before the plague, the population was only about 500,000. After the plague, many farms lay idle while the population slowly increased. However, the few surviving farms' tenants found their bargaining positions with their landlords greatly strengthened.
King Magnus VII ruled Norway until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne as
Haakon VI. In 1363, Haakon VI married Margaret, the daughter of King Valdemar IV of Denmark. Upon the death of Haakon VI, in 1379, his son, Olaf IV, was only 10 years old. Olaf had already been elected to the throne of Denmark on 3 May 1376. Thus, upon Olaf's accession to the throne of Norway, Denmark and Norway entered personal union. Olaf's mother and Haakon's widow, Queen Margaret, managed the foreign affairs of Denmark and Norway during the minority of Olaf IV.
Margaret was working toward a union of Sweden with Denmark and Norway by having Olaf elected to the Swedish throne. She was on the verge of achieving this goal when Olaf IV suddenly died. However, Denmark made Margaret temporary ruler upon the death of Olaf. On 2 February 1388, Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret. Queen Margaret knew that her power would be more secure if she were able to find a king to rule in her place. She settled on Eric of Pomerania, grandson of her sister. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Erik of Pomerania was crowned king of all three Scandinavian countries. Thus, royal politics resulted in personal unions between the Nordic countries, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden under the control of Queen Margaret when the country entered into the Kalmar Union.
After Sweden broke out of the Kalmar Union in 1521, Norway tried to follow suit, but the subsequent rebellion was defeated, and Norway remained in a union with Denmark until 1814, a total of 434 years. During the national romanticism of the 19th century, this period was by some referred to as the "400-Year Night", since all of the kingdom's royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centred in Copenhagen in Denmark. In fact, it was a period of great prosperity and progress for Norway, especially in terms of shipping and foreign trade, and it also secured the country's revival from the demographic catastrophe it suffered in the Black Death. Based on the respective natural resources, Denmark–Norway was in fact a very good match since Denmark supported Norway's needs for grain and food supplies, and Norway supplied Denmark with timber, metal, and fish.
With the introduction of Protestantism in 1536, the archbishopric in Trondheim was dissolved, and Norway lost its independence, and effectually became a colony of Denmark. The Church's incomes and possessions were instead redirected to the court in Copenhagen. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav at the Nidaros shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe.
Eventually restored as a kingdom (albeit in legislative union with Denmark) in 1661, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provinces Båhuslen, Jemtland, and Herjedalen to Sweden, as the result of a number of disastrous wars with Sweden. In the north, however, its territory was increased by the acquisition of the northern provinces of Troms and Finnmark, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.
The famine of 1695–1696 killed roughly 10% of Norway's population. The harvest failed in Scandinavia at least nine times between 1740 and 1800, with great loss of life.
After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom at the 1807
(Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans alike. Syttende mai is also called Norwegian Constitution Day.
Norwegian opposition to the great powers' decision to link Norway with Sweden caused the
Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway, thereby establishing the union with Sweden. Under this arrangement, Norway kept its liberal constitution and its own independent institutions, though it shared a common monarch and common foreign policy with Sweden. Following the recession caused by the Napoleonic Wars, economic development of Norway remained slow until economic growth began around 1830.
Metternich.[neutrality is disputed] As such, he was regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless in his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press to put down public movements for reform—especially the Norwegian national independence movement.
The Romantic Era that followed the reign of King Charles III John brought some significant social and political reforms. In 1854, women won the right to inherit property in their own right, just like men. In 1863, the last trace of keeping unmarried women in the status of minors was removed. Furthermore, women were then eligible for different occupations, particularly the common school teacher. By mid-century, Norway's democracy was limited; voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders and burghers of incorporated towns.
family in Norway, c. 1900
Still, Norway remained a conservative society. Life in Norway (especially economic life) was "dominated by the aristocracy of professional men who filled most of the important posts in the central government". There was no strong bourgeosie class in Norway to demand a breakdown of this aristocratic control of the economy. Thus, even while revolution swept over most of the countries of Europe in 1848, Norway was largely unaffected by revolts that year.
Marcus Thrane was a Utopian socialist. He made his appeal to the labouring classes urging a change of social structure "from below upwards." In 1848, he organised a labour society in Drammen. In just a few months, this society had a membership of 500 and was publishing its own newspaper. Within two years, 300 societies had been organised all over Norway, with a total membership of 20,000 persons. The membership was drawn from the lower classes of both urban and rural areas; for the first time these two groups felt they had a common cause. In the end, the revolt was easily crushed; Thrane was captured and in 1855, after four years in jail, was sentenced to three additional years for crimes against the safety of the state. Upon his release, Marcus Thrane attempted unsuccessfully to revitalise his movement, but after the death of his wife, he migrated to the United States.
Christian Michelsen, a shipping magnate and statesman, and Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden on 7 June 1905. A national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic. However, no Norwegian could legitimately claim the throne, since none of Norway's noble families could claim descent from medieval royalty. In European tradition, royal 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 royal
Parliament, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 508 years (1397: Kalmar Union); he took the name Haakon VII. In 1905, the country welcomed the prince from neighbouring Denmark, his wife Maud of Wales
and their young son to re-establish Norway's royal house.
Norway once more proclaimed its neutrality during the
Norwegian Campaign, and Invasion of Norway), military and naval resistance lasted for two months. Norwegian armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German forces in the Battles of Narvik, until they were forced to surrender on 10 June after losing British support which had been diverted to France during the German invasion of France
The fraction of the Norwegian population that supported Germany was traditionally smaller than in Sweden, but greater than is generally appreciated today. It included a number of prominent personalities such as the Nobel-prize winning novelist Knut Hamsun. The concept of a "Germanic Union" of member states fit well into their thoroughly nationalist-patriotic ideology.
Norwegian fighter pilots in the United Kingdom during World War II
Many Norwegians and persons of Norwegian descent joined the Allied forces as well as the
Merchant Marine. At the time of the invasion, Norway had the fourth-largest merchant marine fleet in the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping company Nortraship under the Allies throughout the war and took part in every war operation from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the Normandy landings. Every December Norway gives a Christmas tree to the United Kingdom as thanks for the British assistance during the Second World War. A ceremony takes place to erect the tree in London's Trafalgar Square.
Svalbard was not occupied by German troops, but Germany secretly established a meteorological station there in 1944; the crew was stranded after the general capitulation in May 1945 and were rescued by a Norwegian seal hunter on 4 September. They were the last German soldiers to surrender in WW2.
Post-World War II history
From 1945 to 1962, the
employers' organisations. Many measures of state control of the economy imposed during the war were continued, although the rationing
of dairy products was lifted in 1949, while price controls and rationing of housing and cars continued until 1960.
Since the 1970s oil production has helped to expand the Norwegian economy and finance the Norwegian state (Statfjord oil field
The wartime alliance with the United Kingdom and the United States was continued in the post-war years. Although pursuing the goal of a socialist economy, the Labour Party distanced itself from the Communists, especially after the Communists' seizure of power in
The first oil was discovered at the small Balder field in 1967, but production only began in 1999. In 1969, the Phillips Petroleum Company discovered petroleum resources at the Ekofisk field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian government founded the State oil company, Statoil (now Equinor). 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.
Town Hall Square in Oslo filled with people with roses mourning the victims of the Utøya massacre
of 22 July 2011.
In 1981, a Conservative Party government led by Kåre Willoch replaced the Labour Party with a policy of stimulating the stagflated economy with tax cuts, economic liberalisation, deregulation of markets, and measures to curb record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).
Norway's first female prime minister
social security, high taxes, the industrialisation of nature, and feminism. By the late 1990s, Norway had paid off its foreign debt and had started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund
. Since the 1990s, a divisive question in politics has been how much of the income from petroleum production the government should spend, and how much it should save.
Norway comprises the western and northernmost part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. Norway lies between latitudes 57° and 81° N, and longitudes 4° and 32° E. Norway is the northernmost of the Nordic countries and if Svalbard is included also the easternmost.Vardø at 31° 10' 07" east of Greenwich lies further east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul. Norway includes the northernmost point on the European mainland. The rugged coastline is broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands. The coastal baseline is 2,532 kilometres (1,573 mi). The coastline of the mainland including fjords stretches 28,953 kilometres (17,991 mi), when islands are included the coastline has been estimated to 100,915 kilometres (62,706 mi). Norway shares a 1,619-kilometre (1,006 mi) land border with Sweden, 727 kilometres (452 mi) with Finland, and 196 kilometres (122 mi) with Russia to the east. To the north, west and south, Norway is bordered by the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea, and Skagerrak. The Scandinavian Mountains form much of the border with Sweden.
At 385,207 square kilometres (148,729 sq mi) (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen) (and 323,808 square kilometres (125,023 sq mi) without), much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age. Sognefjorden is the world's second deepest fjord, and the world's longest at 204 kilometres (127 mi). Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest lake in all Europe. Norway has about 400,000 lakes. There are 239,057 registered islands.Permafrost can be found all year in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark county. Numerous glaciers are found in Norway.
The land is mostly made of hard granite and gneiss rock, but slate, sandstone, and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations contain marine deposits. Because of the Gulf Stream and prevailing westerlies, Norway experiences higher temperatures and more precipitation than expected at such northern latitudes, especially along the coast. The mainland experiences four distinct seasons, with colder winters and less precipitation inland. The northernmost part has a mostly maritime Subarctic climate, while Svalbard has an Arctictundra climate.
Because of the large latitudinal range of the country and the varied topography and climate, Norway has a larger number of different habitats than almost any other European country. There are approximately 60,000 species in Norway and adjacent waters (excluding bacteria and viruses). The Norwegian Shelf large marine ecosystem is considered highly productive.
types of Norway 1980–2016 with 0C as winter threshold. Note: the map is lacking some areas with Dfb climates (shown as Dfc).
Map of Norway showing the normal precipitation (annual average). Period 1961–1990.
The southern and western parts of Norway, fully exposed to Atlantic storm fronts, experience more precipitation and have milder winters than the eastern and far northern parts. Areas to the east of the coastal mountains are in a rain shadow, and have lower rain and snow totals than the west. The lowlands around Oslo have the warmest summers, but also cold weather and snow in wintertime. The sunniest weather is along the south coast, but sometimes even the coast far north can be very sunny – the sunniest month with 430 sun hours was recorded in Tromsø.
Because of Norway's high latitude, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic Circle (hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight sun"), and the rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very short in the rest of the country.
The coastal climate of Norway is exceptionally mild compared with areas on similar latitudes elsewhere in the world, with the Gulf Stream passing directly offshore the northern areas of the Atlantic coast, continuously warming the region in the winter. Temperature anomalies found in coastal locations are exceptional, with southern Lofoten and Bø having all monthly means above freezing (lacking a meteorological winter) in spite of being north of the Arctic Circle. The very northernmost coast of Norway would thus be ice-covered in winter if not for the Gulf Stream. The east of the country has a more continental climate, and the mountain ranges have subarctic and tundra climates. There is also higher rainfall in areas exposed to the Atlantic, especially the western slopes of the mountain ranges and areas close, such as Bergen. The valleys east of the mountain ranges are the driest; some of the valleys are sheltered by mountains in most directions. Saltdal (81 m) in Nordland is the driest place with 211 millimetres (8.3 inches) precipitation annually (1991–2020). In southern Norway, Skjåk in Innlandet get 295 millimetres (11.6 inches) precipitation. Finnmarksvidda and some interior valleys of Troms receive around 400 millimetres (16 inches) annually, and the high Arctic Longyearbyen 217 millimetres (8.5 inches).
Parts of southeastern Norway including parts of Mjøsa have a humid continental climates (Köppen Dfb), while the southern and western coasts and also the coast north to Bodø have a oceanic climate (Cfb), while the outer coast further north almost to North Cape have a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc). Further inland in the south and at higher altitudes, and also in much of Northern Norway, the subarctic climate (Dfc) dominates. A small strip of land along the coast east of North Cape (including Vardø) earlier had tundra/alpine/polar climate (ET), but this is mostly gone with the updated 1991–2020 climate normals, making this also subarctic. Large parts of Norway are covered by mountains and high altitude plateaus, and about one third of the land is above the treeline and thus exhibit tundra/alpine/polar climate (ET).
The largest predator in Norwegian waters is the sperm whale, and the largest fish is the basking shark. The largest predator on land is the polar bear, while the brown bear is the largest predator on the Norwegian mainland. The largest land animal on the mainland is the elk (American English: moose). The elk in Norway is known for its size and strength and is often called skogens konge, "king of the forest".
Attractive and dramatic scenery and landscape are found throughout Norway. The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries in the world. National Geographic has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world's top tourist attraction. The country is also home to the natural phenomena of the Midnight sun (during summer), as well as the Aurora borealis known also as the Northern lights.
, is the legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
In practice, the Prime Minister exercises the executive powers. Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme legislature and a unicameral body. Norway is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy. The Parliament can pass a law by simple majority of the 169 representatives, who are elected on the basis of proportional representation from 19 constituencies for four-year terms.
150 are elected directly from the 19 constituencies, and an additional 19 seats ("levelling seats") are allocated on a nationwide basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with the popular vote for the political parties. A 4% election threshold is required for a party to gain levelling seats in Parliament. There are a total of 169 members of parliament.
The Parliament of Norway, called the
Storting (meaning Grand Assembly), ratifies national treaties developed by the executive branch. It can impeach
members of the government if their acts are declared unconstitutional. If an indicted suspect is impeached, Parliament has the power to remove the person from office.
The position of prime minister, Norway's head of government, is allocated to the member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political party or, more effectively, through a coalition of parties. A single party generally does not have sufficient political power in terms of the number of seats to form a government on its own. Norway has often been ruled by minority governments.
The prime minister nominates the cabinet, traditionally drawn from members of the same political party or parties in the Storting, making up the government. The PM organises the executive government and exercises its power as vested by the Constitution. Norway has a state church, the Lutheran Church of Norway, which has in recent years gradually been granted more internal autonomy in day-to-day affairs, but which still has a special constitutional status. Formerly, the PM had to have more than half the members of cabinet be members of the Church of Norway, meaning at least ten out of the 19 ministries. This rule was however removed in 2012. The issue of separation of church and state in Norway has been increasingly controversial, as many people believe it is time to change this, to reflect the growing diversity in the population. A part of this is the evolution of the public school subject Christianity, a required subject since 1739. Even the state's loss in a battle at the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg in 2007 did not settle the matter. As of 1 January 2017, the Church of Norway is a separate legal entity, and no longer a branch of the civil service.
Council of State, a privy council presided over by the monarch, the prime minister and the cabinet meet at the Royal Palace and formally consult the Monarch. All government bills need the formal approval by the monarch before and after introduction to Parliament. The Council reviews and approves all of the monarch's actions as head of state. Although all government and parliamentary acts are decided beforehand, the privy council is an example of symbolic gesture the king retains.
Since 2005, both the Conservative Party and the Progress Party have won numerous seats in the Parliament, but not sufficient in the 2009 general election to overthrow the coalition. Commentators have pointed to the poor co-operation between the opposition parties, including the Liberals and the Christian Democrats. Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Labour Party, continued to have the necessary majority through his multi-party alliance to continue as PM until 2013.
In national elections in September 2013, voters ended eight years of Labour rule. Two political parties,
Høyre and Fremskrittspartiet, elected on promises of tax cuts, more spending on infrastructure and education, better services and stricter rules on immigration, formed a government. Coming at a time when Norway's economy is in good condition with low unemployment, the rise of the right appeared to be based on other issues. Erna Solberg became prime minister, the second female prime minister after Gro Harlem Brundtland and the first conservative prime minister since Jan P. Syse. Solberg said her win was "a historic election victory for the right-wing parties". Her centre-right government won re-election in the 2017 Norwegian parliamentary election. Norway's new centre-left cabinet under Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, the leader the Labour Party, took office on 14 October 2021.
A municipal and regional reform: "On 8 June 2017, the Storting decided the following merger of counties."
King and government are represented in every county by a fylkesmann, who effectively acts as a Governor. As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level through the County Governors' offices. The counties are then sub-divided into 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 of Oslo is considered both a county and a municipality. Norway has two integral overseas territories out of mainland: Jan Mayen and Svalbard, the only developed island in the archipelago of the same name, located far to the north of the Norwegian mainland.
96 settlements have city status in Norway. In most cases, the city borders are coterminous with the borders of their respective municipalities. Often, Norwegian city municipalities include large areas that are not developed; for example, Oslo municipality contains large forests, located north and southeast of the city, and over half of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.
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.
National Police Directorate, which reports to the Ministry of Justice and the Police. The Police Directorate is headed by a National Police Commissioner. The only exception is the Norwegian Police Security Agency
, whose head answers directly to the Ministry of Justice and the Police.
Norway abolished the death penalty for regular criminal acts in 1902. The legislature abolished the death penalty for high treason in war and war-crimes in 1979. Reporters Without Borders, in its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, ranked Norway at a shared first place (along with Iceland) out of 169 countries.
In general, the legal and institutional framework in Norway is characterised by a high degree of transparency, accountability and integrity, and the perception and the occurrence of corruption are very low. Norway has ratified all relevant international anti-corruption conventions, and its standards of implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption legislation are considered very high by many international anti-corruption working groups such as the OECD Anti-Bribery Working Group. However, there are some isolated cases showing that some municipalities have abused their position in public procurement processes.
Norwegian prisons are humane, rather than tough, with emphasis on rehabilitation. At 20%, Norway's re-conviction rate is among the lowest in the world.
Norway has been considered a progressive country, which has adopted legislation and policies to support women's rights, minority rights, and LGBT rights. As early as 1884, 171 of the leading figures, among them five Prime Ministers for the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, co-founded the Norwegian Association for Women's Rights. They successfully campaigned for women's right to education, women's suffrage, the right to work, and other gender equality policies. From the 1970s, gender equality also came high on the state agenda, with the establishment of a public body to promote gender equality, which evolved into the Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud. Civil society organisations also continue to play an important role, and the women's rights organisations are today organised in the Norwegian Women's Lobby umbrella organisation.
In 1990, the Norwegian constitution was amended to grant
absolute primogeniture to the Norwegian throne, meaning that the eldest child, regardless of gender, takes precedence in the line of succession. As it was not retroactive, the current successor to the throne is the eldest son of the King, rather than his eldest child. The Norwegian constitution Article 6 states that "For those born before the year 1990 it shall...be the case that a male shall take precedence over a female."
The Sámi people have for centuries been the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures in Scandinavia and Russia, those countries claiming possession of Sámi lands.
recommended by the UN.
In regard to LGBT rights, Norway was the first country in the world to enact an anti-discrimination law protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. In 1993, Norway became the second country to legalise civil union partnerships for same-sex couples, and on 1 January 2009 Norway became the sixth country to legalise same-sex marriage. As a promoter of human rights, Norway has held the annual Oslo Freedom Forum conference, a gathering described by The Economist as "on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum."
Norway maintains embassies in 82 countries. 60 countries maintain an embassy in Norway, all of them in the capital, Oslo.
Norway is a founding member of the United Nations (UN), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Council of Europe and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Norway issued applications for accession to the European Union (EU) and its predecessors in 1962, 1967 and 1992, respectively. While Denmark, Sweden and Finland obtained membership, the Norwegian electorate rejected the treaties of accession in referendums in 1972 and 1994.
After the 1994 referendum, Norway maintained its membership in the
internal market of the Union, on the condition that Norway implements the Union's pieces of legislation which are deemed relevant (of which there were approximately seven thousand by 2010) Successive Norwegian governments have, since 1994, requested participation in parts of the EU's co-operation that go beyond the provisions of the EEA agreement. Non-voting participation by Norway has been granted in, for instance, the Union's Common Security and Defence Policy, the Schengen Agreement, and the European Defence Agency, as well as 19 separate programmes.
The Norwegian Armed Forces numbers about 25,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to 2009 mobilisation plans, full mobilisation produces approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has
In response to its being overrun by Germany in 1940, the country was one of the founding nations of the
A proportional representation of Norway exports, 2019
Norwegians enjoy the second-highest
Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. The OECD ranks Norway fourth in the 2013 equalised Better Life Index and third in intergenerational earnings elasticity.
Norway's claimed economic zones
The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy; a prosperous capitalist welfare state, it features a combination of free market activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors, influenced by both liberal governments from the late 19th century and later by social democratic governments in the postwar era. Public health care in Norway is free (after an annual charge of around 2000 kroner for those over 16), and parents have 46 weeks paid parental leave. The state income derived from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production. Norway has an unemployment rate of 4.8%, with 68% of the population aged 15–74 employed. People in the labour force are either employed or looking for work. 9.5% of the population aged 18–66 receive a disability pension and 30% of the labour force are employed by the government, the highest in the OECD. The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway, are among the highest in the world.
The egalitarian values of Norwegian society have kept the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies as much less than in comparable western economies. This is also evident in Norway's low Gini coefficient.
The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Equinor), hydroelectric energy production (
By referendums in 1972 and 1994, Norwegians rejected proposals to join the European Union (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participates in the European Union's single market through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the European Union countries and the EFTA countries—transposed into Norwegian law via "EØS-loven"—describes the procedures for implementing European Union rules in Norway and the other EFTA countries. Norway is a highly integrated member of most sectors of the EU internal market. Some sectors, such as agriculture, oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty. Norway has also acceded to the Schengen Agreement and several other intergovernmental agreements among the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s, which led to a boom in the economy. Norway has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. In 2011, 28% of state revenues were generated from the petroleum industry.
Norway is the first country which banned cutting of trees (deforestation), in order to prevent rain forests from vanishing. The country declared its intention at the UN Climate Summit in 2014, alongside Great Britain and Germany. Crops that are typically linked to forests' destruction are timber, soy and palm oil, while beef is also damaging. Now Norway has to find a new way to provide these essential products without exerting negative influence on its environment.
Agriculture is a significant sector, in spite of the mountainous landscape (Øysand
Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to over 40% of total exports and constitute almost 20% of the GDP.
"Government Pension Fund – Global"
), which would be funded with oil revenues, including taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees. This was intended to reduce overheating in the economy from oil revenues, minimise uncertainty from volatility in oil price, and provide a cushion to compensate for expenses associated with the ageing of the population.
The government controls its petroleum resources through a combination of state ownership in major operators in the oil fields (with approximately 62% ownership in Equinor in 2007) and the fully state-owned Petoro, which has a market value of about twice Equinor, and 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.
Between 1966 and 2013, Norwegian companies drilled 5,085 oil wells, mostly in the North Sea. Of these, 3,672 are utviklingsbrønner (regular production); 1,413 are letebrønner (exploration); and 1,405 have been terminated (avsluttet).
Oil fields not yet in the production phase include: Wisting Central—calculated size in 2013 at 65–156 million barrels of oil and 10 to 40 billion cubic feet (0.28 to 1.13 billion cubic metres), (utvinnbar) of gas. and the Castberg Oil Field (Castberg-feltet)—calculated size at 540 million barrels of oil, and 2 to 7 billion cubic feet (57 to 198 million cubic metres) (utvinnbar) of gas. Both oil fields are located in the Barents Sea.
Norway is also the world's second-largest exporter of fish (in value, after China). Fish from fish farms and catch constitutes the second largest (behind oil/natural gas) export product measured in value. Norway is the world's largest producer of salmon, followed by Chile.
Norway contains significant mineral resources, and in 2013, its mineral production was valued at US$1.5 billion (Norwegian Geological Survey data). The most valuable minerals are calcium carbonate (limestone), building stone, nepheline syenite, olivine, iron, titanium, and nickel.
In 2017, the Government Pension Fund controlled assets surpassed a value of US$1 trillion (equal to US$190,000 per capita), about 250% of Norway's 2017 GDP. It is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. The fund controls about 1.3% of all listed shares in Europe, and more than 1% of all the publicly traded shares in the world. The Norwegian Central Bank operates investment offices in London, New York, and Shanghai. Guidelines implemented in 2007 allow the fund to invest up to 60% of the capital in shares (maximum of 40% prior), while the rest may be placed in bonds and real-estate. As the stock markets tumbled in September 2008, the fund was able to buy more shares at low prices. In this way, the losses incurred by the market turmoil was recuperated by November 2009.
Other nations with economies based on natural resources, such as Russia, are trying to learn from Norway by establishing similar funds. The investment choices of the Norwegian fund are directed by ethical guidelines; for example, the fund is not allowed to invest in companies that produce parts for nuclear weapons. Norway's highly transparent investment scheme is lauded by the international community. The future size of the fund is closely linked to the price of oil and to developments in international financial markets.
Due to the low population density, narrow shape and long coastlines of Norway, its public transport is less developed than in many European countries, especially outside the major cities. The country has long-standing water transport traditions, but the
Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications has in recent years implemented rail, road, and air transport through numerous subsidiaries to develop the country's infrastructure. Under discussion is development of a new high-speed rail system between the nation's largest cities.
Norway's main railway network consists of 4,114 kilometres (2,556 mi) of
Norges Statsbaner (NSB). Several companies operate freight trains.
Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is financed through the state budget,
Norway has approximately 92,946 kilometres (57,754 mi) of road network, of which 72,033 kilometres (44,759 mi) are paved and 664 kilometres (413 mi) are motorway. The four tiers of road routes are national, county, municipal and private, with national and primary county roads numbered en route. The most important national routes are part of the European route scheme. The two most prominent are the European route E6 going north–south through the entire country, and the E39, which follows the West Coast. National and county roads are managed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Norway has the world's largest registered stock of plug-in electric vehicles per capita. In March 2014, Norway became the first country where over 1 in every 100 passenger cars on the roads is a plug-in electric. The plug-in electric segment market share of new car sales is also the highest in the world. According to a report by Dagens Næringsliv in June 2016, the country would like to ban sales of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles as early as 2025. In June 2017, 42% of new cars registered were electric.
Of the 98 airports in Norway,
Seven airports have more than one million passengers annually. A total of 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian airports in 2007, of whom 13,397,458 were international.
In 2008, Norway ranked 17th in the World Economic Forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report. Tourism in Norway contributed to 4.2% of the gross domestic product as reported in 2016. Every one in fifteen people throughout the country work in the tourism industry. Tourism is seasonal in Norway, with more than half of total tourists visiting between the months of May and August.
The main attractions of Norway are the varied landscapes that extend across the
Norway's population was 5,384,576 people in the third quarter of 2020.Norwegians are an ethnic North Germanic people. Since the late 20th century, Norway has attracted immigrants from southern and central Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and beyond.
of the Norwegian population was 39.3 years.
In 2012, an official study showed that 86% of the total population have at least one parent who was born in Norway. In 2020 approximately 980,000 individuals (18.2%) were immigrants and their descendants. Among these approximately 189,000 are children of immigrants, born in Norway.
has the largest concentration of ethnic Norwegians outside Norway, at 470,000.
Of these 980,000 immigrants and their descendants:
485,500 (49.5%) have a Western background (Europe, USA, Canada and Oceania).
493,700 (50.5%) have a non-Western background (Asia, Africa, South and Central America).
In 2013, the Norwegian government said that 14% of the Norwegian population were immigrants or children of two immigrant parents. About 6% of the population are immigrants from EU, North America and Australia, and about 8.1% come from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
In 2012, of the total 660,000 with immigrant background, 407,262 had Norwegian citizenship (62.2%).
Immigrants have settled in all Norwegian municipalities. The cities or municipalities with the highest share of immigrants in 2012 were Oslo (32%) and Drammen (27%). The share in Stavanger was 16%. According to Reuters, Oslo is the "fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration". In recent years, immigration has accounted for most of Norway's population growth. In 2018, immigrants accounted for 14.1% of Norway's population.
Sámi people are indigenous to the Far North and have traditionally inhabited central and northern parts of Norway and Sweden, as well as areas in northern Finland and in Russia on the Kola Peninsula. Another national minority are the Kven people, descendants of Finnish-speaking people who migrated to northern Norway from the 18th up to the 20th century. From the 19th century up to the 1970s, the Norwegian government tried to assimilate both the Sámi and the Kven, encouraging them to adopt the majority language, culture and religion. Because of this "Norwegianization process", many families of Sámi or Kven ancestry now identify as ethnic Norwegian.
Norwegians of two Norwegian parents, either born abroad or in Norway as a percentage proportionally and nationally in Norway as of 2021
Particularly in the 19th century, when economic conditions were difficult in Norway, tens of thousands of people migrated to the United States and Canada, where they could work and buy land in frontier areas. Many went to the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. In 2006, according to the US Census Bureau, almost 4.7 million persons identified as Norwegian Americans, which was larger than the population of ethnic Norwegians in Norway itself. In the 2011 Canadian census, 452,705 Canadian citizens identified as having Norwegian ancestry.
On 1 January 2013[update], the number of immigrants or children of two immigrants residing in Norway was 710,465, or 14.1% of the total population, up from 183,000 in 1992. Yearly immigration has increased since 2005. While yearly net immigration in 2001–2005 was on average 13,613, it increased to 37,541 between 2006 and 2010, and in 2011 net immigration reached 47,032. This is mostly because of increased immigration by residents of the EU, in particular from Poland.
In 2012, the immigrant community (which includes immigrants and children born in Norway of immigrant parents) grew by 55,300, a record high. Net immigration from abroad reached 47,300 (300 higher than in 2011), while immigration accounted for 72% of Norway's population growth. 17% of newborn children were born to immigrant parents. Children of Pakistani, Somali and Vietnamese parents made up the largest groups of all Norwegians born to immigrant parents.
Pakistani Norwegians are the largest non-European minority group in Norway. Most of their 32,700 members live in and around Oslo. The Iraqi and Somali immigrant populations have increased significantly in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, a wave of immigrants arrived from Central and Northern Europe, particularly Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The fastest growing immigrant groups in 2011 in absolute numbers were from Poland, Lithuania and Sweden.
The policies of immigration and integration have been the subject of much debate in Norway.
Separation of church and state happened significantly later in Norway than in most of Europe, and remains incomplete. In 2012, the Norwegian parliament voted to grant the Church of Norway greater autonomy, a decision which was confirmed in a constitutional amendment on 21 May 2012.
Until 2012 parliamentary officials were required to be members of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Norway, and at least half of all government ministers had to be a member of the state church. As state church, the Church of Norway's clergy were viewed as state employees, and the central and regional church administrations were part of the state administration. Members of the Royal family are required to be members of the Lutheran church. On 1 January 2017, Norway made the church independent of the state, but retained the Church's status as the "people's church".
Most Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of the Church of Norway, which has been Norway's
state church since its establishment. In recent years the church has been granted increasing internal autonomy, but it retains its special constitutional status and other special ties to the state, and the constitution requires that the reigning monarch must be a member and states that the country's values are based on its Christian and humanist heritage. Many remain in the church to participate in the community and practices such as baptism, confirmation, marriage and burial rites. About 70.6% of Norwegians were members of the Church of Norway in 2017. In 2017, about 53.6% of all newborns were baptised and about 57.9% of all 15-year-old persons were confirmed in the church.
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. In the early 1990s, studies estimated that between 4.7% and 5.3% of Norwegians attended church on a weekly basis. This figure has dropped to about 2%.
In 2010, 10% of the population was
Roman Catholic Church, with 83,000 members, according to 2009 government statistics. The Aftenposten (Norwegian, The Evening Post) in October 2012 reported there were about 115,234 registered Roman Catholics in Norway; the reporter estimated that the total number of people with a Roman Catholic background may be 170,000–200,000 or higher.
Among non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest, with 166,861 registered members (2018), and probably fewer than 200,000 in total. It is practised mainly by Somali, Arab, Bosniak, Kurdish and Turkish immigrants, as well as Norwegians of Pakistani descent.
Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including 819 adherents of Judaism. Indian immigrants introduced Hinduism to Norway, which in 2011 has slightly more than 5,900 adherents, or 1% of non-Lutheran Norwegians.Sikhism has approximately 3,000 adherents, with most living in Oslo, which has two gurdwaras. Sikhs first came to Norway in the early 1970s. The troubles in Punjab after Operation Blue Star and riots committed against Sikhs in India after the assassination of Indira Gandhi led to an increase in Sikh refugees moving to Norway. Drammen also has a sizeable population of Sikhs; the largest gurdwara in north Europe was built in Lier. There are eleven Buddhist organisations, grouped under the Buddhistforbundet organisation, with slightly over 14,000 members, which make up 0.2% of the population. The Baháʼí Faith religion has slightly more than 1,000 adherents. Around 1.7% (84,500) of Norwegians belong to the secular Norwegian Humanist Association.
From 2006 to 2011, the fastest-growing religious communities in Norway were
Norway was awarded first place according to the UN's
living conditions, changes in disease and medical outbreaks, establishment of the health care system, and emphasis on public health matters. Vaccination
and increased treatment opportunities with antibiotics resulted in great improvements within the Norwegian population. Improved hygiene and better nutrition were factors that contributed to improved health.
The disease pattern in Norway changed from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases and chronic diseases as cardiovascular disease. Inequalities and social differences are still present in public health in Norway today.
In 2013 the infant mortality rate was 2.5 per 1,000 live births among children under the age of one. For girls it was 2.7 and for boys 2.3, which is the lowest infant mortality rate for boys ever recorded in Norway.
Public education is virtually free for citizens from EU/EEA and Switzerland, but other nationalities need to pay tuition fees. Higher education has historically been free for everyone regardless of nationality, but tuition fees for all students from outside EU/EEA and Switzerland was implemented in 2023.
The map shows the division of the Norwegian dialects within the main groups.
Norwegian in its two forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk, is the main national official language of all of Norway. Sámi, a group which includes three separate languages, is recognised as a minority language on the national level and is a co-official language alongside Norwegian in the Sámi administrative linguistic area (Forvaltningsområdet for samisk språk) in Northern Norway.Kven language is a minority language and is a co-official language alongside Norwegian in one municipality, also in Northern Norway.
Norwegian is a North Germanic language descended from Old Norse. It is the main national language of Norway and is spoken throughout the country. Norwegian is spoken natively by over 5 million people mainly in Norway, but is generally understood throughout Scandinavia and to a lesser degree other Nordic countries. It has two official written forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Both are used in public administration, schools, churches, and media. Bokmål is the written language used by a large majority of about 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.
Norwegian is closely related to and generally mutually intelligible with its neighbour Scandinavian languages; Danish and Swedish, and the three main Scandinavian languages thus form both a dialect continuum and a larger language community with about 25 million speakers. All three languages are commonly employed in communication among inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the co-operation within the Nordic Council, inhabitants of all Nordic countries always have the right to communicate with Norwegian authorities in Danish or Swedish as equal alternatives to Norwegian. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Norwegian language was subject to strong political and cultural controversies. This led to the development of Nynorsk in the 19th century and to the formation of alternative spelling standards in the 20th century.
Sámi and Kven
Scandoromani language has become officially recognised minority languages.
Norwegian woman in local geographic environment at Voss near Gudvangen
Students who are children of immigrant parents are encouraged to learn the Norwegian language. The Norwegian government offers language instructional courses for immigrants wishing to obtain Norwegian citizenship. With increasing concern about assimilating immigrants, since 1 September 2008, the government has required that an applicant for Norwegian citizenship give evidence of proficiency in either Norwegian or in one of the Sámi languages, or give proof of having attended classes in Norwegian for 300 hours, or meet the language requirements for university studies in Norway (that is, by being proficient in one of the Scandinavian languages).
The primary foreign language taught in Norwegian schools is English, considered an international language since the post-WWII era. The majority of the population is fairly fluent in English, especially those born after World War II. German, French and Spanish are also commonly taught as second or, more often, third languages. Russian, Japanese, Italian,
Chinese (Mandarin) are offered in some schools, mostly in the cities. Traditionally, English, German and French were considered the main foreign languages in Norway. These languages, for instance, were used on Norwegian passports
until the 1990s, and university students have a general right to use these languages when submitting their theses.
Traditional Norwegian farmer's costumes, known as folkedrakt, and modern costumes inspired by those costumes, known as bunad
, are widely used on special occasions.
The Norwegian farm culture continues to play a role in contemporary Norwegian culture. In the 19th century, it inspired a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media. Norwegian culture blossomed with nationalist efforts to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.
Ylvis rose to international stardom with the song What Does the Fox Say?, which received over 1 billion views on YouTube. 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. A-ha's most memorable song and music video Take On Me has currently over 1.3 billion views
Some of the most memorable female solo artists from Norway are
Norway enjoys many music festivals throughout the year, all over the country. Norway is the host of one of the world's biggest extreme sport festivals with music, Ekstremsportveko—a festival held annually in Voss. Oslo is the host of many festivals, such as Øyafestivalen and by:Larm. Oslo used to have a summer parade similar to the German Love Parade. In 1992, the city of Oslo wanted to adopt the French music festival Fête de la Musique. Fredrik Carl Størmer established the festival. Even in its first year, "Musikkens Dag" gathered thousands of people and artists in the streets of Oslo. "Musikkens Dag" is now renamed Musikkfest Oslo.
Little Norwegian literature came out of the period of the Scandinavian Union and the subsequent Dano-Norwegian union (1387–1814), with some notable exceptions such as Petter Dass and Ludvig Holberg. In his play Peer Gynt, Ibsen characterised this period as "Twice two hundred years of darkness/brooded o'er the race of monkeys." The first line of this couplet is frequently quoted. During the union with Denmark, the government imposed using only written Danish, which decreased the writing of Norwegian literature.
With expansive forests, Norway has long had a tradition of building in wood. Many of today's most interesting new buildings are made of wood, reflecting the strong appeal that this material continues to hold for Norwegian designers and builders.
With Norway's conversion to Christianity some 1,000 years ago, churches were built. Stonework architecture was introduced from Europe for the most important structures, beginning with the construction of
World Heritage List. Another notable example of wooden architecture is the buildings at Bryggen
Wharf in Bergen, also on the list for World Cultural Heritage sites, consisting of a row of tall, narrow wooden structures along the quayside.
In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities and villages such as Kongsberg and Røros were established. The city Kongsberg had a church built in the Baroque style. Traditional wooden buildings that were constructed in Røros have survived.
For an extended period, the Norwegian art scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of Copenhagen. It was in the 19th century that a truly Norwegian era began, first with portraits, later with impressive landscapes. Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857), originally from the Dresden school, eventually returned to paint the landscapes of western Norway, defining Norwegian painting for the first time."
Norway's newly found independence from Denmark encouraged painters to develop their Norwegian identity, especially with landscape painting by artists such as Kitty Kielland, a female painter who studied under Hans Gude, and Harriet Backer, another pioneer among female artists, influenced by impressionism. Frits Thaulow, an impressionist, was influenced by the art scene in Paris as was Christian Krohg, a realist painter, famous for his paintings of prostitutes.
Norway's culinary traditions show the influence of long seafaring and farming traditions, with salmon (fresh and cured), herring (pickled or marinated), trout, codfish, and other seafood, balanced by cheeses (such as brunost, Jarlsberg cheese, and gamalost), dairy products, and breads (predominantly dark/darker).
Lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread, usually topped with large amounts of butter and sugar, most commonly eaten around Christmas. Traditional Norwegian dishes include lutefisk, smalahove, pinnekjøtt, raspeball, and fårikål. A Norwegian speciality is rakefisk, which is fermented trout, consumed with thin flatbread (flatbrød, not lefse) and sour cream. The most popular pastry is vaffel; it is different from the Belgian vaffel 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.
^ ab"Offisiell status for samisk". Language Council of Norway. Retrieved 19 August 2021. Samisk har status som minoritetsspråk i Noreg, Sverige og Finland, og i alle tre landa har samisk status som offisielt språk i dei samiske forvaltningsområda. [Sámi is recognised as a minority language in Norway, Sweden and Finland, and is an official language within the Sámi administrative areas in all three countries.]
^Nicolson, Harold (1946). The Congress of Vienna; a study in allied unity, 1812–1822. Constable & co. ltd. p. 295. The British Government sought to overcome this reluctance by assisting Russia in blockading the coast of Norway
^Rapp, Ole Magnus (21 September 2015). "Norge utvider Dronning Maud Land helt frem til Sydpolen". Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Oslo, Norway. Retrieved 22 September 2015. …formålet med anneksjonen var å legge under seg det landet som til nå ligger herreløst og som ingen andre enn nordmenn har kartlagt og gransket. Norske myndigheter har derfor ikke motsatt seg at noen tolker det norske kravet slik at det går helt opp til og inkluderer polpunktet.
^The Sámi of Northern EuropeArchived 5 April 2019 at the Wayback Machine 'However, as with many indigenous peoples, the Sámi in Norway have suffered a past dominated by discrimination, particularly regarding religion and language.' United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
^Hannisdahl, Ole Henrik (9 January 2012). "Eventyrlig elbilsalg i 2011" [Adventurous electric vehicle sales in 2011] (in Norwegian). Grønn bil. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012. See table "Elbilsalg i 2011 fordelt på måned og merke" (Electric vehicle sales in 2011, by month and brand) to see monthly sales for 2011.