Norway | Wikipedia audio article
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Norway | Wikipedia audio article

October 8, 2019


Norway (Norwegian: Norge (Bokmål) or Noreg
(Nynorsk); Northern Sami: Norga), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country
in Northwestern Europe whose core territory comprises the western and northernmost portion
of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of
Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter I Island and the sub-Antarctic
Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered part of the kingdom. Norway
also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land.
Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population
of 5,312,300 (as of August 2018). The country shares a long eastern border with Sweden (1,619
km or 1,006 mi long). Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and
the Skagerrak strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. Norway has an extensive
coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea.
King Harald V of the Dano-German House of Glücksburg is the current King of Norway.
Erna Solberg became prime minister in 2013 and was reelected in September 2017. Erna
Solberg replaced Jens Stoltenberg who was the prime minister between 2000 and 2001 and
2005–2013. A unitary sovereign state with a constitutional monarchy, Norway divides
state power between the Parliament, the cabinet and the Supreme Court, as determined by the
1814 Constitution. The kingdom was established as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms.
By the traditional count from 872, the kingdom has existed continuously for 1,145 years,
and the list of Norwegian monarchs includes over sixty kings and earls. From 1537 to 1814,
Norway was a part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, and from 1814 to 1905, it was in a personal
union with the Kingdom of Sweden. Norway was neutral during the first World War. Norway
remained neutral until April 1940 when the country was invaded and occupied by Germany
until the end of World War II. Norway has both administrative and political
subdivisions on two levels: counties and municipalities. The Sámi people have a certain amount of
self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and
the Finnmark Act. Norway maintains close ties with both the European Union and the United
States. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade
Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of
the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area.
Norway maintains the Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive
social security system, and its values are rooted in egalitarian ideals. The Norwegian
state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, having extensive reserves
of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, and fresh water. The petroleum industry
accounts for around a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). On a per-capita
basis, Norway is the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas outside of the Middle
East.The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world on the World Bank
and IMF lists. On the CIA’s GDP (PPP) per capita list (2015 estimate) which includes
autonomous territories and regions, Norway ranks as number eleven. It has the world’s
largest sovereign wealth fund, with a value of USD 1 trillion. Norway has had the highest
Human Development Index ranking in the world since 2009, a position also held previously
between 2001 and 2006. It also had the highest inequality-adjusted ranking until 2018 when
Iceland moved to the top of the list. Norway ranked first on the World Happiness Report
for 2017 and currently ranks first on the OECD Better Life Index, the Index of Public
Integrity, and the Democracy Index. Norway has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.==Etymology==Norway has two official names: Norge in Bokmål
and Noreg in Nynorsk. The English name Norway comes from the Old English word Norþweg mentioned
in 880, meaning “northern way” or “way leading to the north”, which is how the Anglo-Saxons
referred to the coastline of Atlantic Norway similar to scientific consensus 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 Norse suðr) 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 10th 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 where referred
to as nordmenn (northmen) while inhabitants of Eastern Norway where referred to as austmenn
(eastmen).According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning “narrow”
(Old English nearu) or “northern”, 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 as 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 within 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

.In a Latin manuscript of 849,
the name Northuagia is mentioned, while 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 Sami 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.After
Norway had become Christian, Noregr and Noregi had become the most common forms, but during
the 15th century, the newer forms Noreg(h) and Norg(h)e, found in medieval Icelandic
manuscripts, took over and have survived until the modern day.==History=====
Prehistory===The first inhabitants were the Ahrensburg
culture (11th to 10th millennia BC), which was a late Upper Paleolithic culture during
the Younger Dryas, the last period of cold at the end of the Weichselian glaciation.
The culture is named after the village of Ahrensburg, 25 km (15.53 mi) north-east of
Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where wooden arrow shafts and clubs have been
excavated. The earliest traces of human occupation in Norway are found along the coast, where
the huge ice shelf of the last ice age first melted between 11,000 and 8,000 BC. The oldest
finds are stone tools dating from 9,500 to 6,000 BC, discovered in Finnmark (Komsa culture)
in the north and Rogaland (Fosna culture) in the south-west. 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.===Bronze Age===Between 3000 and 2500 BC, new settlers (Corded
Ware culture) arrived in eastern Norway. They were Indo-European farmers 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 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.===Iron Age===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 3rd century. At this time,
the amount of settled area in the country increased, a development that can be traced
by coordinated studies of topography, 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 1st 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.===Migration period===The destruction of the Western Roman Empire
by the Germanic peoples in the 5th 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 Hordaland in western Norway). By the 9th century, each
of these small states had things (local or regional assemblies) for negotiating and settling
disputes. The thing meeting places, each eventually with a hörgr (open-air sanctuary) or a heathen
hof (temple; literally “hill”), were usually situated on the oldest and best farms, which
belonged to the chieftains and wealthiest farmers. The regional things united to form
even larger units: assemblies of deputy yeomen from several regions. In this way, the lagting
(assemblies for negotiations and lawmaking) developed. The Gulating had its meeting place
by Sognefjord and may have been the centre of an aristocratic confederation along the
western fjords and islands called the Gulatingslag. The Frostating was the assembly for the leaders
in the Trondheimsfjord area; the Earls of Lade, near Trondheim, seem to have enlarged
the Frostatingslag by adding the coastland from Romsdalsfjord to Lofoten.===Viking Age===From the 8th to the 10th century, the wider
Scandinavian region was the source of Vikings. The looting of the monastery at Lindisfarne
in Northeast England in 793 by Norse people has long been regarded as the event which
marked the beginning of the Viking Age. This age was characterised by expansion and emigration
by Viking seafarers. They colonised, raided, and traded in all parts of Europe. Norwegian
Viking explorers first discovered Iceland by accident in the 9th century when heading
for the Faroe Islands, and eventually came across Vinland, known today as Newfoundland,
in Canada. The Vikings from Norway were most active in the northern and western British
Isles and eastern North America isles.According to tradition, Harald Fairhair unified them
into one in 872 after the Battle of Hafrsfjord in Stavanger, thus becoming the first king
of a united Norway. 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, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day
Irish cities of Dublin, Limerick and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers. Norse traditions were slowly replaced by Christian
ones 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. This is largely attributed to the missionary kings
Olav Tryggvasson and St. Olav. 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 963–969, 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.Feudalism 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.
The Hanseatic League forced the royalty to cede to them greater and greater concessions
over foreign trade and the economy. The League had this hold over the royalty because of
the loans the Hansa had made to the royalty and the large debt the kings were carrying.
The League’s monopolistic control over the economy of Norway put pressure on all classes,
especially the peasantry, to the degree that no real burgher class existed in Norway.===Civil war and Norway at its greatest extent
===From the 1040s to 1130, the country was at
peace. In 1130, the civil war era broke out on the basis of 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. The Archdiocese
of Nidaros was created in 1152 and attempted to control the appointment of kings. 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
of 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.In 1349, the Black Death 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 more animal husbandry.
The reduction in taxes weakened the king’s position, and many aristocrats lost the basis
for their surplus, reducing some to mere farmers. High tithes to church made it increasingly
powerful and the archbishop became a member of the Council of State. The Hanseatic League took control over Norwegian
trade during the 14th century and established a trading center 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.===Kalmar Union===Upon the death of 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.===Union with Denmark===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.===Union with Sweden===After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the
United Kingdom at the Battle of Copenhagen, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon,
with the war leading to dire conditions and mass starvation in 1812. As the Danish kingdom
found itself on the losing side in 1814, it was forced, under terms of the 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. Norway took this opportunity to declare
independence, adopted a constitution based on American and French models, and elected
the Crown Prince of Denmark and Norway, Christian Frederick, as king on 17 May 1814. This is
the famous Syttende Mai (Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans
alike. Syttende Mai is also called Norwegian Constitution Day.
Norwegian opposition to the great powers’ decision to link Norway with Sweden caused
the Norwegian–Swedish War to break out as Sweden tried to subdue Norway by military
means. As Sweden’s military was not strong enough to defeat the Norwegian forces outright,
and Norway’s treasury was not large enough to support a protracted war, and as British
and Russian navies blockaded the Norwegian coast, the belligerents were forced to negotiate
the Convention of Moss. According to the terms of the convention, Christian Frederik abdicated
the Norwegian throne and authorised the Parliament of Norway to make the necessary constitutional
amendments to allow for the personal union that Norway was forced to accept. On 4 November
1814, the Parliament (Storting) elected 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, except for the foreign service. Following
the recession caused by the Napoleonic Wars, economic development of Norway remained slow
until economic growth began around 1830. This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian
romantic nationalism, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national
character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland
[1808–1845], Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson [1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbjørnsen [1812–1845],
Jørgen Moe [1813–1882]), painting (Hans Gude [1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand [1814–1876]),
music (Edvard Grieg [1843–1907]), and even language policy, where attempts to define
a native written language for Norway led to today’s two official written forms for Norwegian:
Bokmål and 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 of Metternich.
As such, he was regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless in
his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press
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
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”. 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.In 1898, all men were granted universal suffrage, followed by all
women in 1913.===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. No Norwegian could legitimately
claim the throne because none was able to prove relationship to medieval royalty and
in European tradition royal or “blue” blood is a precondition for laying claim to the
throne. The government offered the throne of Norway
to a prince of the Dano-German royal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.
Prince Carl of Denmark was unanimously elected king by the Norwegian 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. Following
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.===First and Second World Wars===Throughout the 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 the
Second World War, but despite this, it was invaded by German forces on 9 April 1940.
Although Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack (see: Battle of Drøbak Sound,
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.
King Haakon and the Norwegian government escaped to Rotherhithe 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
party Nasjonal Samling, 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,
Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a collaborationist
government under German control. Up to 15,000 Norwegians volunteered to fight in German
units, including the Waffen-SS. 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 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 the 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 the Norwegian Independent Company 1 and 5 Troop as well
as No. 10 Commandos.During the five years of German occupation, Norwegians built a resistance
movement which fought the German occupation forces with both civil disobedience and armed
resistance including the destruction of Norsk Hydro’s heavy water plant and stockpile of
heavy water at Vemork, which crippled the German nuclear programme (see: Norwegian heavy
water sabotage). More important to the Allied war effort, however, was the role of the Norwegian
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. Each 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.
Germany secretly established a metrological station 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 surrundered to the seal hunter as the last german soldiers to surrender in WW2.===Post-World War II history===
From 1945 to 1962, the Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament. The government,
led by prime minister Einar Gerhardsen, embarked on a program inspired by Keynesian economics,
emphasising state financed industrialisation and co-operation between trade unions and
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 control and rationing of housing and cars continued as long as 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 in Czechoslovakia in 1948), and strengthened its foreign policy
and defence policy ties with the US. Norway received Marshall Plan aid from the United
States starting in 1947, joined the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OEEC) one year later, and became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) in 1949. The first oil was discovered at the small
Balder field in 1967, 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. 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 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Norway was
twice invited to join the European Union, but ultimately declined to join after referendums
that failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994. In 1981, a Conservative 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, Gro
Harlem Brundtland of the Labour party, continued many of the reforms of her conservative predecessor,
while backing traditional Labour concerns such as 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. In 2011, Norway suffered two terrorist attacks
on the same day conducted by Anders Behring Breivik which struck the government quarter
in Oslo and a summer camp of the Labour party’s youth movement at Utøya island, resulting
in 77 deaths and 319 wounded. The 2013 Norwegian parliamentary election
brought a more conservative government to power, with the Conservative Party and the
Progress Party winning 43% of the electorate’s votes.==Geography==Norway’s core territory comprises the western
and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula; the remote island of Jan Mayen
and the archipelago of Svalbard are also part of the Kingdom of Norway. The Antarctic Peter
I Island and the sub-Antarctic Bouvet Island are dependent territories and thus not considered
part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen
Maud Land. From the Middle ages to 1814 Norway was part of the Danish kingdom. Norwegian
possessions in the North Atlantic, Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland, remained Danish when
Norway was passed to Sweden at the Treaty of Kiel. Norway also comprised Bohuslän until
1658, Jämtland and Härjedalen until 1645, Shetland and Orkney until 1468, and the Hebrides
and Isle of Man until the Treaty of Perth in 1266. 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 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi)
(including Svalbard and Jan Mayen) (and 323,802 square kilometres (125,021 sq mi) without),
much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural
features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of
these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the
end of the Ice Age. Sognefjorden is the world’s second deepest fjord, and the world’s longest
at 204 kilometres (127 mi). Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest lake in all Europe. Norway
has about 400,000 lakes. There are registred 239,057 islands. Permafrost can be found all
year in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark county. Numerous glaciers
are found in Norway. The land is mostly made of hard granite and
gneiss rock, but slate, sandstone, and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations
contain marine deposits. Because of the Gulf Stream and prevailing westerlies, Norway experiences
higher temperatures and more precipitation than expected at such northern latitudes,
especially along the coast. The mainland experiences four distinct seasons, with colder winters
and less precipitation inland. The northernmost part has a mostly maritime Subarctic climate,
while Svalbard has an Arctic tundra climate. Because of the large latitudinal range of
the country and the varied topography and climate, Norway has a larger number of different
habitats than almost any other European country. There are approximately 60,000 species in
Norway and adjacent waters (excluding bacteria and virus). The Norwegian Shelf large marine
ecosystem is considered highly productive.===Climate===The southern and western parts of Norway,
fully exposed to Atlantic storm fronts, experience more precipitation and have milder winters
than the eastern and far northern parts. Areas to the east of the coastal mountains are in
a rain shadow, and have lower rain and snow totals than the west. The lowlands around
Oslo have the warmest and sunniest summers, but also cold weather and snow in wintertime.Because
of Norway’s high latitude, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. From late
May to late July, the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north
of the Arctic Circle (hence Norway’s description as the “Land of the Midnight sun”), and the
rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late
November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight
hours are very short in the rest of the country. The coastal climate of Norway is exceptionally
mild compared with areas on similar latitudes elsewhere in the world, with the Gulf Stream
passing directly offshore the northern areas of the Atlantic coast, continuously warming
the region in the winter. Temperature anomalies found in coastal locations are exceptional,
with Røst and Værøy lacking a meteorological winter in spite of being north of the Arctic
Circle. The Gulf Stream has this effect only on the northern parts of Norway, not in the
south, despite what is commonly believed. The northern coast of Norway would thus be
ice-covered if not for the Gulf Stream. As a side-effect, the Scandinavian Mountains
prevent continental winds from reaching the coastline, causing very cool summers throughout
Atlantic Norway. Oslo has more of a continental climate, similar to Sweden’s. The mountain
ranges have subarctic and tundra climates. There is also very high rainfall in areas
exposed to the Atlantic, such as Bergen. Oslo, in comparison, is dry, being in a rain shadow.
Skjåk in Oppland county is also in the rain shadow and is one of the driest places with
278 millimetres (10.9 inches) precipitation annually. Finnmarksvidda and the interior
valleys of Troms and Nordland also receive less than 300 millimetres (12 inches) annually.
Longyearbyen is the driest place in Norway with 190 millimetres (7.5 inches).Parts of
southeastern Norway including parts of Mjøsa have warm-summer humid continental climates
(Köppen Dfb), while the more southern and western coasts are mostly of the oceanic climate
(Cfb). Further inland in southeastern and northern Norway, the subarctic climate (Dfc)
dominates; this is especially true for areas in the rain shadow of the Scandinavian Mountains.
Some of the inner valleys of Oppland get so little precipitation annually, thanks to the
rain shadow effect, that they meet the requirements for dry-summer subarctic climates (Dsc). In
higher altitudes, close to the coasts of southern and western Norway, one can find the rare
subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc). This climate is also common in Northern Norway, but there
usually in lower altitudes, all the way down to sea level. A small part of the northernmost
coast of Norway has the tundra/alpine/polar climate (ET). Large parts of Norway are covered
by mountains and high altitude plateaus, many of which also exhibit the tundra/alpine/polar
climate (ET).===Biodiversity===The total number of species include 16,000
species of insects (probably 4,000 more species yet to be described), 20,000 species of algae,
1,800 species of lichen, 1,050 species of mosses, 2,800 species of vascular plants,
up to 7,000 species of fungi, 450 species of birds (250 species nesting in Norway),
90 species of mammals, 45 fresh-water species of fish, 150 salt-water species of fish, 1,000
species of fresh-water invertebrates, and 3,500 species of salt-water invertebrates.
About 40,000 of these species have been described by science. The red list of 2010 encompasses
4,599 species. Seventeen species are listed mainly because
they are endangered on a global scale, such as the European beaver, even if the population
in Norway is not seen as endangered. The number of threatened and near-threatened species
equals to 3,682; it includes 418 fungi species, many of which are closely associated with
the small remaining areas of old-growth forests, 36 bird species, and 16 species of mammals.
In 2010, 2,398 species were listed as endangered or vulnerable; of these were 1250 listed as
vulnerable (VU), 871 as endangered (EN), and 276 species as critically endangered (CR),
among which were the grey wolf, the Arctic fox (healthy population on Svalbard) and the
pool frog.The largest predator in Norwegian waters is the sperm whale, and the largest
fish is the basking shark. The largest predator on land is the polar bear, while the brown
bear is the largest predator on the Norwegian mainland. The largest land animal on the mainland
is the elk (American English: moose). The elk in Norway is known for its size and strength
and is often called skogens konge, “king of the forest”.===Environment===
Attractive and dramatic scenery and landscape are found throughout Norway. The west coast
of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive
coastal sceneries in the world. National Geographic has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world’s
top tourist attraction. The country is also home to the natural phenomena of the Midnight
sun (during summer), as well as the Aurora borealis known also as the Northern lights.The
2016 Environmental Performance Index from Yale University, Columbia University and the
World Economic Forum put Norway in seventeenth place, immediately below Croatia and Switzerland.
The index is based on environmental risks to human health, habitat loss, and changes
in CO2 emissions. The index notes over-exploitation of fisheries, but not Norway’s whaling or
oil exports.==Politics and government==Norway is considered to be one of the most
developed democracies and states of justice 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 the Democracy Index.According to the Constitution
of Norway, which was adopted on 17 May 1814 and inspired by the United States Declaration
of Independence and French Revolution of 1776 and 1789, respectively, Norway is a unitary
constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of
Norway is the head of state and the prime minister is the 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.
The monarch 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, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other
ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch is commander-in-chief of the Norwegian
Armed Forces, and serves as chief diplomatic official abroad and as a symbol of unity.
Harald V of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was crowned King of Norway in 1991, the first
since the 14th century who has been born in the country. 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 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 Stortinget
(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.Through the 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.Members of the Storting are directly
elected from party-lists proportional representation in nineteen plural-member constituencies in
a national multi-party system. Historically, both the Norwegian Labour Party and Conservative
Party have played leading political roles. In the early 21st century, the Labour Party
has been in power since the 2005 election, in a Red–Green Coalition with the Socialist
Left Party and the Centre Party.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 Labor 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 Brundtland and the first conservative prime minister since Syse. Solberg said her
win was “a historic election victory for the right-wing parties”.===Administrative divisions===Norway, a unitary state, is divided into eighteen
first-level administrative counties (fylke). The counties are administrated through directly
elected county assemblies who elect the County Governor. Additionally, the 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 422-second-level municipalities (kommuner),
which in turn are administrated 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:
Jan Mayen and Svalbard, the only developed island in the archipelago of the same name,
located miles away to the north. There are three Antarctic and Subantarctic dependencies:
Bouvet Island, Peter I Island, and Queen Maud Land. On most maps, there had been an unclaimed
area between Queen Maud Land and the South Pole until 12 June 2015 when Norway formally
annexed that area. 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 south-east of the city,
and over half of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas. The counties of Norway are:===Largest cities======
Judicial system and law enforcement===Norway uses a civil law system where laws
are created and amended in Parliament and the system regulated through the Courts of
justice of Norway. It consists of the Supreme Court of 20 permanent judges and a Chief Justice,
appellate courts, city and district courts, and conciliation councils. 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.The law is enforced in Norway by the Norwegian
Police Service. It is a Unified National Police Service made up of 27 Police Districts and
several specialist agencies, such as Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and
Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, known as Økokrim; and the National
Criminal Investigation Service, known as Kripos, each headed by a chief of police. The Police
Service is headed by the 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.===Foreign relations===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 referenda in 1972 and 1994.
After the 1994 referendum, Norway maintained its membership in the European Economic Area
(EEA), an arrangement granting the country access to 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.Norway contributes
to international development. In addition, it participated in the 1990s brokering of
the Oslo Accords, an attempt to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. These were
unsuccessful.===Military===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 conscription (including 6–12
months of training); 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 the Cold War ended
with the break-up of the Soviet Union, few people have to serve if they are not motivated.
The Armed Forces are subordinate to the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. The Commander-in-Chief
is King Harald V. The military of Norway is divided into the following branches: the Norwegian
Army, the Royal Norwegian Navy, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Norwegian Cyber Defence
Force and the Home Guard. In response to its being overrun by Germany
in 1940, the country was one of the founding nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) on 4 April 1949. At present, Norway contributes in the International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Additionally, Norway has contributed in several missions
in contexts of the United Nations, NATO, and the Common Security and Defence Policy of
the European Union.==Economy==Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per-capita
among European countries (after Luxembourg), and the sixth-highest GDP (PPP) per-capita
in the world. Today, Norway ranks as the second-wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with
the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation. According to the CIA World Factbook,
Norway is a net external creditor of debt. Norway maintained first place in the world
in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001–2006), and
then reclaimed this position in 2009, through 2015. The standard of living in Norway is
among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy magazine ranks Norway last in its 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. The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed
economy, a prosperous capitalist welfare state and social democracy country featuring a combination
of free market activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors. 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 (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 largest merchant fleet, with 1,412 Norwegian-owned
merchant vessels. 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, palm oil and beef. Now Norway has to find new way to provide these essential products
without exerting negative influence on its environment.===Resources===Fish industryNorway 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.
ElectricityHydroelectric plants generate roughly 98–99% of Norway’s electric power, more
than any other country in the world. Mineral resourcesNorway 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.
Oil industry Export revenues from oil and gas have risen
to almost 50% of total exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP. Norway is the fifth-largest
oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the world, but it is not a member of OPEC.
In 1995, the Norwegian government established the sovereign wealth fund (“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 Statoil in 2007) and the
fully state-owned Petoro, which has a market value of about twice Statoil, and SDFI. Finally,
the government controls licensing of exploration and production of fields. The fund invests
in developed financial markets outside Norway. The budgetary rule (Handlingsregelen) is to
spend no more than 4% of the fund each year (assumed to be the normal yield from the fund).
In March 2017, the Government Pension Fund controlled assets were valued at approximately
US$913 billion (equal to US$182,000 per capita), which is about 178% of Norway’s current 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.
In 2000, the government sold one-third of the state-owned oil company Statoil in an
IPO. The next year, the main telecom supplier, Telenor, was listed on Oslo Stock Exchange.
The state also owns significant shares of Norway’s largest bank, DnB NOR and the airline
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. Oil fieldsBetween 1966 and 2013, Norwegian
companies drilled 5085 oil wells, mostly in the North Sea. Of these 3672 are utviklingsbrønner
(regular production); 1413 are letebrønner (exploration); and 1405 have been terminated
(avsluttet).Oil fields not yet in production phase include: Wisting Central—calculated
size in 2013, 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 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.===Transport===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 standard gauge lines, of which 242 kilometres (150 mi) is double track and
64 kilometres (40 mi) high-speed rail (210 km/h) while 62% is electrified at 15 kV ​16
2⁄3 Hz AC. The railways transported 56,827,000 passengers 2,956 million passenger-kilometres
and 24,783,000 tonnes of cargo 3,414 million tonne-kilometres. The entire network is owned
by the Norwegian National Rail Administration. All domestic passenger trains except the Airport
Express Train are operated by Norges Statsbaner (NSB). Several companies operate freight trains.
Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is financed through the state budget, and
subsidies are provided for passenger train operations. NSB operates long-haul trains,
including night trains, regional services and four commuter train systems, around Oslo,
Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger. 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 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 all gasoline and diesel powered vehicles as early as 2025. In June
2017, 42% of new cars registered were electric.Of the 98 airports in Norway, 52 are public,
and 46 are operated by the state-owned Avinor. 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.The central gateway to Norway by air is Oslo Airport,
Gardermoen. Located about 35 kilometres (22 mi) northeast of Oslo, it is hub for the two
major Norwegian airlines: Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle, and for regional
aircraft from Western Norway. There are departures to most European countries and some intercontinental
destinations. A direct high-speed train connects to Oslo Central Station every 10 minutes for
a 20 min ride.==Demographics=====
Languages===Norwegian and Sami are the two official languages
of Norway.The North Germanic Norwegian language 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 80–85%. 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.
Several Uralic Sami languages are spoken and written throughout the country, especially
in the north, by some members of the Sami people. (Estimates suggest that about one
third of the Norwegian Sami speak a Sami language.) Speakers have a right to be educated and to
receive communication from the government in their own language in a special forvaltningsområde
(administrative area) for Sami languages. The Kven minority historically spoke the Uralic
Kven language (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 the Kainun institutti, “The typical modern Kven is a Norwegian-speaking
Norwegian who knows his genealogy.” As Norway has ratified the European Charter for Regional
or Minority Languages (ECRML) the Kven language together with Romani and Scandoromani language
has become officially recognised minority languages.Some supporters have also advocated
making Norwegian Sign Language an official language of the country.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. Norwegian is similar to the other languages
in Scandinavia: Swedish and 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 the Nordic Council, inhabitants of
all Nordic countries, including Iceland and 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 Sami 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, Latin, and rarely 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.===Population===
Norway’s population was 5,096,300 people in October 2013. Norwegians are an ethnic North
Germanic people. Since the late 20th century, Norway has attracted immigrants from southern
and central Europe, the Mideast, Africa, Asia and beyond.
In 2012, an official study showed that 86% of the total population have at least one
parent who was born in Norway. More than 710,000 individuals (13%) 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%) have a Western background (Australia,
North America, elsewhere in Europe) 505,000 (61%) have a non-Western background
(primarily Morocco, Somalia, Iraq and Kurdistan federal region, Pakistan and Iran including
Kurdistan Province). 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 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 2011, 16%
of newborn children were of immigrant background. The Sami 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 Sami and the Kven, encouraging them to adopt the
majority language, culture and religion. Because of this “Norwegianization process”, many families
of Sami or Kven ancestry now identify as ethnic Norwegian.===Migration===
Emigration 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. Immigration
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, 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.===Religion===Separation of church and state happened significantly
later in Norway than in most of Europe and is not yet complete. 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.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 religiously unaffiliated, while another 9%, were members of religious communities
outside the Church of Norway. Other Christian denominations total about 4.9% of the population,
the largest of which is the 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.Others include Pentecostals (39,600), the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church of Norway
(19,600), Methodists (11,000), Baptists (9,900), Eastern Orthodox (9,900), Brunstad Christian
Church (6,800), Seventh-day Adventists (5,100), Assyrians and Chaldeans, and others. The Swedish,
Finnish and Icelandic Lutheran congregations in Norway have about 27,500 members in total.
Other Christian denominations comprise less than 1% each, including 4,000 members in The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and 12,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses. Among non-Christian religions, Islam is the
largest, with 132,135 registered members (2014), 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 Baha’i 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 Eastern Orthodox
Christianity and 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 from Eritrea and Ethiopia, and to a lesser extent from Central and Eastern
European and Middle Eastern countries. Other fast-growing religions were the Roman Catholic
Church (78.7%), Hinduism (59.6%), Islam (48.1%), and Buddhism (46.7%).As in other Scandinavian
countries, the ancient Norse followed a form of native Germanic paganism known as Norse
paganism. By the end of the 11th century, when Norway had been 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 of Åsatru. The Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet
Bifrost formed in 1996; in 2011, the fellowship had about 300 members. Foreningen Forn Sed
was formed in 1999 and has been recognised by the Norwegian government.
The Sami minority retained their shamanistic religion well into the 18th century, when
most converted to Christianity under the influence of Dano-Norwegian Lutheran missionaries. Although
some insist that “indigenous Sami religion had effectively been eradicated,’ athropologist
Gutorm Gjessing’s Changing Lapps (1954) argues that the Samis “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.” Today there is a renewed appreciation for the Sami traditional
way of life, which has led to a revival of Noaidevuohta. Some Norwegian and Sami celebrities
are reported to visit shamans 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.===Health===Norway was awarded first place according to
the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) for 2013. In the 1800s, by contrast, poverty and
communicable diseases dominated in Norway together with famines and epidemics. From
the 1900s, improvements in public health occurred as a result of development in several areas
such as social and 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.===Education===Higher education in Norway is offered by a
range of seven universities, five specialised colleges, 25 university colleges as well as
a range of private colleges. Education follows the Bologna Process involving Bachelor (3
years), Master (2 years) and PhD (3 years) degrees. Acceptance is offered after finishing
upper secondary school with general study competence.
Public education is virtually free, regardless of nationality. The academic year has two
semesters, from August to December and from January to June. The ultimate responsibility
for the education lies with the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.==Culture==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.===Human rights===
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 Sami people
have for centuries been the subject of discrimination and abuse by the dominant cultures in Scandinavia
and Russia, those countries claiming possession of Sami lands. The Sami people have never
been a single community in a single region of Lapland. Norway has been greatly criticised
by the international community for the politics of Norwegianization of and discrimination
against the indigenous population of the country. Nevertheless, Norway was, in 1990, the first
country to recognise ILO-convention 169 on indigenous people 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 grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. 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.”===
Cinema===The Norwegian cinema has received international
recognition. The documentary film Kon-Tiki (1950) won an Academy Award. In 1959, Arne
Skouen’s Nine Lives was nominated, but failed to win. Another notable film is Flåklypa
Grand Prix (English: Pinchcliffe Grand Prix), an animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino.
The film was released in 1975 and is based on characters from Norwegian cartoonist Kjell
Aukrust. It is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time.
Nils Gaup’s Pathfinder (1987), the story of the Sami, was nominated for an Oscar. Berit
Nesheim’s The Other Side of Sunday was nominated for an Oscar in 1997.
Since the 1990s, the film industry has thrived, producing up to 20 feature films each year.
Particular successes were Kristin Lavransdatter, based on a novel by a Nobel Prize winner;
The Telegraphist and Gurin with the Foxtail. Knut Erik Jensen was among the more successful
new directors, together with Erik Skjoldbjærg, who is remembered for Insomnia.The country
has also been used as filming location for several Hollywood and other international
productions, including The Empire Strikes Back (1980), for which the producers used
Hardangerjøkulen glacier as a filming location for scenes of the ice planet Hoth. It included
a memorable battle in the snow. The films Die Another Day, The Golden Compass, Spies
Like Us and Heroes of Telemark, as well as the TV series Lilyhammer and Vikings also
had scenes set in Norway. A short film, The Spirit of Norway was featured at Maelstrom
at Norway Pavilion at Epcot located within Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in the
United States. The attraction and the film ceased their operations on 5 October 2014.===Music===The classical music of the romantic composers
Edvard Grieg, Rikard Nordraak and Johan Svendsen is internationally known, as is the modern
music of Arne Nordheim. Norway’s classical performers include Leif Ove Andsnes, one of
the world’s more famous pianists; Truls Mørk, an outstanding cellist; and the great Wagnerian
soprano Kirsten Flagstad. Norwegian black metal, a form of rock music
in Norway, has been an influence in world music since the late 20th century. Since the
1990s, Norway’s export of black metal, a lo-fi, dark and raw form of heavy metal, has been
developed by such bands as Emperor, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Mayhem, Burzum, and Immortal. More
recently bands such as Enslaved, Kvelertak, Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon 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 several church burnings and
two prominent murder cases. The jazz scene in Norway is thriving. Jan
Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Mari Boine, Arild Andersen, and Bugge Wesseltoft are internationally
recognised while Paal Nilssen-Love, Supersilent, Jaga Jazzist and Wibutee are becoming world-class
artists of the younger generation. Norway has a strong folk music tradition which
remains popular to this day. Among the most prominent folk musicians are Hardanger fiddlers
Andrea Een, Olav Jørgen Hegge and Annbjørg Lien, and the vocalists Agnes Buen Garnås,
Kirsten Bråten Berg and Odd Nordstoga. Other internationally recognised bands are
A-ha, Röyksopp, Ylvis. 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 are Astrid S, Adelén, Julie Bergan,
Maria Mena, Tone Damli, Margaret Berger, Lene Marlin, Christel Alsos, Maria Arredondo, Lene
Nystrøm vocalist of the popular Danish dance band Aqua and Marion Raven & Marit Larsen
both former members of the defunct pop-rock band M2M.
In recent years, various Norwegian songwriters and production teams have contributed to the
music of other international artists. The Norwegian production team Stargate has produced
songs for Rihanna, Beyoncé, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie, among others. Espen
Lind has written and produced songs for Beyoncé, Lionel Richie and Leona Lewis, among others.
Lene Marlin has written songs for Rihanna and Lovebugs. Ina Wroldsen has written songs
for artists such as Demi Lovato, Shakira, Inna, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, One Direction and
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 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.===Literature===The history of Norwegian literature starts
with the pagan Eddaic poems and skaldic verse of the 9th and 10th centuries, with poets
such as Bragi Boddason and Eyvindr skáldaspillir. The arrival of Christianity around the year
1000 brought Norway into contact with European mediaeval learning, hagiography and history
writing. Merged with native oral tradition and Icelandic influence, this influenced the
literature written in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Major works of that period
include Historia Norwegiæ, Þiðrekssaga and Konungs skuggsjá.
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. Two major events precipitated a major resurgence
in Norwegian literature: in 1811 a Norwegian university was established in Christiania.
Secondly, seized by the spirit of revolution following the American and French revolutions,
the Norwegians created their first Constitution in 1814. Strong authors were inspired who
became recognised first in Scandinavia, and then worldwide; among them were Henrik Wergeland,
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Jørgen Moe and Camilla Collett.
By the late 19th century, in the Golden Age of Norwegian literature, the so-called “Great
Four” emerged: Henrik Ibsen, Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Alexander Kielland, and Jonas Lie.
Bjørnson’s “peasant novels”, such as Ein glad gut (A Happy Boy) and Synnøve Solbakken,
are typical of the Norwegian romantic nationalism of their day. Kielland’s novels and short
stories are mostly naturalistic. Although an important contributor to early romantic
nationalism, (especially Peer Gynt), Henrik Ibsen is better known for his pioneering realistic
dramas such as The Wild Duck and A Doll’s House. 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 the Nobel Prize in Literature: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1903, Knut Hamsun
for the book Markens grøde (“Growth of the Soil”) in 1920, and Sigrid Undset (known for
Kristinlavransdatter) in 1928. Writers such as the following also made important contributions:
Dag Solstad, Jon Fosse, Cora Sandel, Olav Duun, Olav H. Hauge, Gunvor Hofmo, Stein Mehren,
Kjell Askildsen, Hans Herbjørnsrud, Aksel Sandemose, Bergljot Hobæk Haff, Jostein Gaarder,
Erik Fosnes Hansen, Jens Bjørneboe, Kjartan Fløgstad, Lars Saabye Christensen, Johan
Borgen, Herbjørg Wassmo, Jan Erik Vold, Rolf Jacobsen, Olaf Bull, Jan Kjærstad, Georg
Johannesen, Tarjei Vesaas, Sigurd Hoel, Arnulf Øverland, Karl Ove Knausgård and Johan Falkberget.===Research===
Internationally recognised Norwegian scientists include the mathematicians Niels Henrik Abel,
Sophus Lie and Atle Selberg, physical chemist Lars Onsager, physicist Ivar Giaever, chemists
Odd Hassel, Peter Waage, and Cato Maximilian Guldberg.
In the 20th century, Norwegian academics have been pioneering in many social sciences, including
criminology, sociology and peace and conflict studies. Prominent academics include Arne
Næss, a philosopher and founder of deep ecology; Johan Galtung, the founder of peace studies;
Nils Christie and Thomas Mathiesen, criminologists; Fredrik Barth, a social anthropologist; Vilhelm
Aubert, Harriet Holter and Erik Grønseth, sociologists; Tove Stang Dahl, a pioneer of
women’s law; Stein Rokkan, a political scientist; and economists Ragnar Frisch, Trygve Haavelmo,
and Finn E. Kydland. In 2014, the two Norwegian scientists May-Britt
Moser and Edvard Moser won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with 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”.===Architecture===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 Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.
In the early Middle Ages, wooden stave churches were constructed throughout Norway. Some of
them have survived; they represent Norway’s most unusual contribution to architectural
history. A fine example, Urnes Stave Church in inner Sognefjord, is on UNESCO’s 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. After Norway’s union with Denmark was dissolved
in 1814, Oslo became the capital. The architect Christian H. Grosch designed the earliest
parts of the University of Oslo, the Oslo Stock Exchange, and many other buildings and
churches constructed in that early national period.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Ålesund was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau
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 the Sami Parliament in Kárášjohka, designed by Stein Halvorson and Christian
Sundby. Its debating chamber, in timber, is an abstract version of a lavvo, the traditional
tent used by the nomadic Sami people.===Art===For an extended period, the Norwegian art
scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of
Copenhagen. It was in the 19th century that a truly Norwegian era began, first with portraits,
later with 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.Of particular note is Edvard Munch, a symbolist/expressionist painter who
became world-famous for The Scream which is said to represent the anxiety of modern man.
Other artists of note include Harald Sohlberg, a neo-romantic painter remembered for his
paintings of Røros, and Odd Nerdrum, a figurative painter who maintains that his work is not
art, but kitsch.===Cuisine===Norway’s culinary traditions show the influence
of long seafaring and farming traditions, with salmon (fresh and cured), herring (pickled
or marinated), trout, codfish, and other seafood, balanced by cheeses (such as brunost), dairy
products, and breads (predominantly dark/darker). Lefse is a Norwegian potato flatbread, usually
topped with large amounts of butter and sugar, most common around Christmas. Some traditional
Norwegian dishes include lutefisk, smalahove, pinnekjøtt, raspeball, and fårikål. Some
quirky Norwegian speciality is rakefisk, which is a fermented trout, consumed with thin flatbread
(flatbrød, not lefse) and sour cream. And the most popular pastry among all population
is vaffel. It is different from Belgian in taste and consistency and is served with sour
cream, brown cheese, butter and sugar, or strawberry or raspberry jam, which can all
be mixed or eaten separately.===Sports===Sports are a central part of Norwegian culture,
and popular sports include association football, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping,
speed skating, and, to a lesser degree, ice hockey and handball.
Association football is the most popular sport in Norway in terms of active membership. In
2014–2015 polling, football ranked far behind biathlon and cross-country skiing in terms
of popularity as spectator sports. Ice hockey is the biggest indoor sport. The women’s handball
national team has won several titles, including two Summer Olympics championships (2008, 2012),
three World Championships (1999, 2011, 2015), and six European Championship (1998, 2004,
2006, 2008, 2010, 2014). In association football, the Norwegian women’s
national team has won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1995 and the Olympic Football Tournament
in 2000. The women’s team also has two UEFA European Women’s Championship titles (1987,
1993). The Norwegian men’s national football team has participated three times in the FIFA
World Cup (1938, 1994, 1998), and once in the European Championship (2000). The highest
FIFA ranking Norway has achieved is 2nd, a position it has held twice, in 1993 and in
1995.Chess is also gaining popularity in Norway. Magnus Carlsen is the current world champion.
There are about 10 Grandmasters and 29 International Masters in Norway. Bandy is a traditional sport in Norway and
the country is one of the four founders of Federation of International Bandy. In terms
of licensed athletes, it is the second biggest winter sport in the world. As of January 2018,
the men’s national team has captured one silver and one bronze, while the women’s national
team has managed five bronzes at the World Championships.
Norway first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, and has sent athletes to compete
in every Games since then, except for the sparsely attended 1904 Games and the 1980
Summer Olympics in Moscow when they participated in the American-led boycott. Norway leads
the overall medal tables at the Winter Olympic Games with considerable margin. Famous Norwegian
winter sport athletes includes biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen, speed skaters Johan Olav
Koss and Hjalmar Andersen, figure skater Sonja Henie and cross country skiers Marit Bjørgen
and Bjørn Dæhlie. Norway has hosted the Games on two occasions: 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo
1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer==International rankings==
The following are international rankings of Norway, including those measuring life quality,
health care quality, stability, press freedom, and income.==See also==Outline of Norway
Aristocracy of Norway Historical capitals of Norway==Notes

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