50 Fascinating Facts about Norway

The Kingdom of Norway is a country in northern Europe. It is the 68th largest country in the world, covering about 385,000 square kilometres of the Scandinavian peninsula. Its population in 2017 was 5.27 million, most of whom live in its cities, including its capital and largest city, Oslo. The Norwegian Krone is its currency, and it has a very stable, prosperous economy. There are two official languages, Norwegian and Sami. The Church of Norway is a Christian denomination and the country's State Church. The national flag is a blue Nordic Cross bordered by white on a red background.

Norway Facts

1
As well as its mainland, Norway includes the Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard.
2
Norway has over 25,000 kilometres of coastline. The mainland has the North Sea to the west and the Barents Sea to the north.
3
Norway has 1,190 fjords. These are steep sided lakes formed by glaciers.
4
Norway's export trade is over $90 billion, the vast majority of which is products made from exploitation of the North Sea, such as petroleum and its products.
5
Norway's national dish is Fårikål. This is a stew made by layering mutton and cabbage in a large pot and cooking very slowly.
6
The name Norway derives from a term for “the way North,” as used by Anglo Saxon or Norse sea traders.
7
Biathlon and cross-country skiing are the most popular overall spectator sports in Norway. Ice hockey is the most popular indoor sport.
8
The Norwegian national association football team is unique because it has never lost a game to Brazil. It has won twice and drawn twice.
9
Traditional folk dance music in Norway is characterized by the sound of the Hardanger fiddle, or hardingfele. This looks like a violin but has eight or nine strings, only four of which are fingered; the remaining strings vibrate in sympathy with the played strings and are called sympathetic strings.
10
The most popular holiday destination for Norwegians is the Alicante area of Spain. Norwegians tend to holiday abroad because the price of food and drink, especially alcoholic drink, is considerably less than in Norway.
11
Cape Nordkinn in north Norway is the most northerly point of Continental Europe.
12
Norwegian Roald Amundsen, an explorer, led the first expedition to reach the South Pole, in December 1911. He reached the North Pole in 1926, the first person ever to have been present at both ends of the Earth.
13
Norway is famous for being the home of the Vikings. In fact, the term Viking in Old Norse comes from the word for “creek.”
14
Norway is known as the Land of the Midnight Sun. This is because, in northern parts of the country, there are times in mid summer when the sun never actually sets. In these places, the sun never rises during mid winter. Many Norwegians travel to more southern parts of their country at this time.
15
Norway has one active volcano. It is called Beerenberg and is on the island of Jan Mayen.
16
Norway was occupied by Germany between 1940 and 1945. This was despite declaring neutrality in World War II.
17
In the UK, Christmas trees from Norway are erected in prominent public places during the festive period. The most famous is in Trafalgar Square, London, but there is also a tree donated by the people of Bergen to the City of Newcastle upon Tyne as a gesture of thanks for the City's support for Norway during World War II.
18
Winter sports are very important to Norway. It hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics, in the central town of Lillehammer.
19
Norway has the world's highest priced gasoline. Although it exports petroleum products from the North Sea to countries around the world, its government is a keen advocate of public transport, which is more efficient in terms of producing pollutants.
20
Norway's patron saint is Saint Olaf. He was the first King of Norway, uniting the country in the 11th Century. He had been a pagan but was baptized in France after fighting for the King of England.
21
One of the world's most iconic works of art, “The Scream,” was painted by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch in 1893.
22
In Norway, a lake cannot be called a fjord if it is broader than it is long.
23
The Sami language officially spoken in Norway belongs to the people of that name. They are traditionally reindeer herders, but this way of life is very rare today. They are ethnically and culturally part of a people, sometimes known as Lapps, who inhabit the northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, as well as the area around Murmansk in the Russian Federation.
24
One of the world's best known and widely played classical composers was Edvard Grieg. He was a major figure in the Romantic movement of the 19th Century and incorporated traditional Norwegian folk motifs into his compositions.
25
In 1928, Norway's Crown Prince Olav won a sailing gold medal at the 1926 Olympic Games in Paris. He later became King Olav V.
26
Norway has land borders with Sweden, Finland and the Russian Federation. Its border with Sweden is 1,666 kilometres long.
27
During its history, Norway has been part of national unions with both Denmark and Sweden.
28
The Norwegian language has two official forms. It is divided into Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is the written form of the language and means “book tongue.” Nynorsk is the language as it is spoken and means “New Norwegian.”
29
Norwegian culture is heavily influenced by the notion of humility. This is known as Jante Law, as expressed by Norwegian poet Aksel Sandemose. Norwegians do not see material wealth as something to flaunt, or even value in itself.
30
Norwegian women are entitled to either one year's maternity leave at 80% of their wages, or 10 months at their full salary.
31
Norway has a very formal set of table manners. Social etiquette is very important when accepting an invitation. Norwegian society is very egalitarian and expects all people to respect each other fully at all times.
32
Norway's national symbol is the lion. It appears on the country's coat of arms, and there was an order of chivalry called the Order of the Norwegian Lion.
33
The term Quisling is used to mean traitor or collaborator. It refers to Vidkun Quisling, a politician who headed a collaborationist government of Norway with Nazi occupiers of his country during World War II.
34
The Scandinavian Mountains are a vast range covering the northern part of Norway. They form most of its border with neighbouring Sweden.
35
Norway has 18 counties called fylke. Each of these has a directly elected assembly which in turn elects a County Governor. Each county also has a representative of the monarchy called a fylkesmann.
36
Norwegian governments are strongly committed to environmental protection. The country has huge pine forests which are vulnerable to acid rain, which also damages fish stocks.
37
Norway is one of only three countries which hunt and kill whales for commercial profit. The other two are Iceland, with which Norway shares a sea border, and Japan.
38
Whale meat used to be a part of the Norwegian diet. Very few people eat it as a rule in Norway today.
39
Norway has the world's longest road tunnel. Called the Lærdal Tunnel, it is 24.51 kilometres long.
40
The state of Minnesota in the northern USA has 16.5% of its population made up of Norwegian Americans. This is the biggest proportion of this grouping in the country and has led to the widespread use of the term Norwegian Minnesotan.
41
Norway is the largest exporter of salmon in the world.
42
Norway has an ongoing dispute over territory in Antarctica. It claims dominion over Queen Maud Land, which is also partly claimed by Denmark and Russia.
43
Norway was a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, and the European Free Trade Association. It is not a member of the European Union.
44
Kirkenes in north eastern Norway is on the same line of longitude as Cairo.
45
If offering flowers to a Norwegian host, do not give them in even numbers.
46
The longest fjord in Norway is the Sognefjorden. It is 205 kilometres long and is the longest ice free fjord in the world.
47
The Ostehøvel cheese slicer, a particularly useful tool for slicing hard cheeses, was invented by the Norwegian Thor Bjørklund. He patented his invention in 1925.
48
Norway has obligatory military service. This lasts for 19 months and applies to men and women. It is the only European country to enforce national service on women and men.
49
The term Norman refers to men from the North. This was how Viking raiders from the 8th Century were known. These raiders eventually founded Normandy in northern France.
50
Norway has the lowest re-conviction rate (20%) of released prisoners in the world.

Norway is one of the world's most extraordinary countries in many ways. Its landscape is unlike that of any other stretching well into the Arctic Circle in the north but a ferry ride away from the UK in the south. Its history is synonymous with brutal raiders who colonized much of Europe and some of America; conversely, its current reputation is as one of the most egalitarian and peace loving of any world nation.

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