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Kongeriket Norge ( Bokmål )
Kongeriket Noreg ( Nynorsk )
Norgga gonagasriika ( North Sami )
Vuona gånågisrijkka ( Lule )
Nöörjen gånkarïjhke ( South Sami )
Kingdom of Norway
Flag of norway
National coat of arms of Norway
flag coat of arms
Motto : Alt for Norge ("Everything for Norway")
Official language Official languages :

National minority language : Kvenisch , Scandinavian Romani , Romanes

Capital Oslo
State and form of government parliamentary monarchy
Head of state King Harald V.
Head of government Prime Minister Erna Solberg
surface 385,207 1 ( 60th ) km²
population 5,391,369 ( 117th ) (January 1, 2021)
Population density 14 2 ( 211th ) inhabitants per km²
Population development + 0.4% (2020) per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
2019 (estimate)
  • $ 403 billion ( 31. )
  • $ 355 billion ( 52nd )
  • 75,294 USD ( 5. )
  • 66,214 USD ( 7. )
Human Development Index 0.957 ( 1st ) (2019)
currency Norwegian Krone (NOK)
independence August 13, 1905 (by Sweden )
National anthem Yes, vi elsker dette lands ( de facto )
National holiday 17th of May
Time zone UTC + 1 CET
UTC + 2 CEST (March to October)
License Plate N
ISO 3166 NO , NOR, 578
Internet TLD .no
Phone code +47
1Area: with Spitzbergen (61,022 km²) and Jan Mayen (377 km²), but without the biland ( neighboring countries ): Bouvetøya ( Bouvet Island ) with 49 km², Peter I Øy ( Peter I Island ) with 156 km² and the Dronning- Maud Land ( Queen Maud Land ) in Antarctica with 2,800,000 km²
2 16.5 E./km² without Spitzbergen and Jan Mayen
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Territory of the Kingdom of Norway
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Norway ( Norwegian : Norge ( Bokmål ) or Noreg ( Nynorsk ); Northern Sami : Norga; Lule : Vuodna; South Sami : Nöörje ), officially Kingdom of Norway or Kongeriket Norge / Noreg is a country in northern Europe . In addition to the mainland, the Kingdom of Norway also includes the Spitzbergen archipelago and the island of Jan Mayen . The capital and seat of government is Oslo . The country is located in the west of the Scandinavian Peninsula and borders Sweden in the east and Finland and Russia in the northeast . Norway is one of the largest countries in Europe , but sparsely populated with only 5,391,369 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2021). Much of the population is concentrated in the south of the country.

As a result of the agreement concluded between Sweden and Denmark as part of the Peace of Kiel in 1814, Norway passed from the Denmark-Norway union into a union with Sweden. On May 17, 1814, Norway received its own constitution . Norway finally achieved its present independence when the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905. Norway's form of state and government is a parliamentary monarchy . The kingdom is organized as a decentralized unitary state and the main country is divided into eleven Fylker . Norway is a member of NATO , the Nordic Council , the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the United Nations , among others . Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU), but a member of the European Economic Area (EEA).

The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) has ranked Norway as the most developed country in the world for many years. In addition, it is the most democratic state in the world according to the democracy index of the British magazine The Economist . Norway is a very wealthy country; its per capita gross domestic product was the third highest in the world in 2016. The country also has one of the most generous and best social systems in the world.

Country name

The meaning and origin of the Norwegian country name is not clear. There are two main theories. One postulates a descent from the Old Norse norðrvegr, which means "way to the north" or "country to the north". A derivation of norvegr is considered as a second possibility . The first syllable would not refer to the north, but to the word nor , which means "narrow or narrow sound ". According to this interpretation, the country's name as a whole should mean “land along the narrow fjords ”.

The earliest mentions of the country name come from English sources, such as Latin Nortuagia around 840, Nort (h) wegia around 900 and Norwegia around 950 and Old English Norðweg around 880. The oldest Scandinavian mentions are nuruiak (accusative, to be read as Norwægh ) on one of the Jelling stones about 980, nuriki (read dating as Noregi on the Kulistein ) by 1034 and Noregr in five Skaldic verses from the period 970-1070. It is disputed among linguists whether the older sources are closer to the original form or whether they were influenced by a foreign view of the world when they were created.


Expansion and Limits

Norway lies in the western and northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula . The territory of the kingdom covers an area of ​​385,207 km². The Kingdom of Norway include (Norwegian: next to the continental "main land" Hovedland ) in the North Atlantic or the Arctic Ocean located archipelago of Spitsbergen ( Svalbard ) with the Bear Island ( Bjørnøya ) and the island of Jan Mayen . Without Spitzbergen and Jan Mayen, the mainland is 323,808 km².

Map of the so-called Biland

The mainland is long and narrow and also has a very long coastline. The width of the Norwegian mainland varies between 431 and 1.7 km, the linear extension is about 1748 km as the crow flies. The Cape Kinnarodden presents the Norwegian and the European continent is the most northern point. Norway has three land borders, the Swedish border in the east and the Finnish-Norwegian border and the border with Russia in the northeast. Overall, the Norwegian national border reaches a length of about 2564 km. To the north, west and south the country is surrounded by sea, and in the northeast of the Barents Sea , in the north-west, the Norwegian Sea , the west and southwest the North Sea and in the southeast with the Skagerrak , the connection between the North and Baltic Sea is. The Norwegian Economic Zone borders Denmark in the south and the United Kingdom in the west in the North Sea .

Territories that are under Norwegian administration but do not become part of the Kingdom of Norway are called Biland in Norwegian . These include the uninhabited Bouvet Island ( Bouvetøya ) in the South Atlantic. Furthermore, the Peter I Island ( Peter I Øy ) in the Southern Ocean and the Queen Maud Land ( Dronning Maud Land ), a sector of the continent of Antarctica , are claimed by Norway. In contrast to the areas belonging to the kingdom, sovereignty over the areas classified as Biland can be given up without changing the constitution .

Geology and landscape structure

Norway is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. In the area statistics for 2020, 1.7% of the total area was shown as built-up area. 37.4% were classified as forest area and 3.5% as agricultural area. Over 50% of the total area was classified as mountains , plateaus or moorland , another 7% as bodies of water or glaciers . The landscape of Norway is characterized by the Scandinavian mountains with mountain ranges and barren plateaus, the fells . About 20% of mainland Norway is at an altitude of at least 900  moh. The highest point on the mainland is Galdhøpiggen , located in the Jotunheimen mountain range , at 2469  moh.

The Norwegian subsurface is roughly divided into four areas. The Baltic Shield covers the Norwegian basement that was formed during the Precambrian period . In the municipality of Sør-Varanger , the oldest rocks in the country are given as being up to 2900 million years old. Another area is the Caledonian mountain belt that emerged at the end of the Silurian period . In the Vestlandet and Trøndelag regions in particular, there is a subsurface created during the Devonian geochronological period . The fourth and youngest area is the Oslograben (Norwegian Oslofeltet ).

The surface modeling was mainly done by the glaciation in the cold ages . The glaciers increased the erosion and created, among other things, U-shaped trough valleys and on the coast river valleys were deepened to fjords . Many inland lakes were also created by glaciers or ice sheets (see list ), so they are fjord lakes . The largest lake in Norway is Lake Mjøsa with an area of ​​around 369 km², the deepest is Lake Hornindalsvatnet with a depth of 514 meters.

The longest rivers in Norway are the Glomma , Tana and Pasvikelva rivers . The Glomma is about 620 km long and flows into the Oslofjord at Fredrikstad . The catchment area of the river makes up over 12 percent of the area of ​​mainland Norway. Compared to other European countries, the catchment areas of the Norwegian rivers are usually relatively small. The reason for this is that the highest peaks of the Scandinavian Peninsula and thus also the main watershed are near the Atlantic coast.


Coast at Lindesnes
Coastline in Nordland

The approximately 29,000 km long coast of mainland Norway consists of many narrow and deep bays, the fjords , with which the salty sea extends far into the country in many places. The 200 km long Sognefjord in Fylke Vestland is the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. If the coastlines of the approximately 239,000 islands are counted, the coast of the mainland reaches a length of over 100,000 km. The baseline of the coast without the fjords and islands is only about 2500 km long. With an area of ​​2204 km², the island of Hinnøya is the largest in the mainland. The coastal areas are the most densely populated and around 80% of Norwegians live less than ten kilometers from the sea.

The coastal areas are shaped by various factors and differ regionally. Large parts of the coastline are rocky, with steep cliffs dropping off in places like the North Cape . There is some sandy beach in more protected places, for example in Fylke Rogaland . In some parts of the coast there are rocky archipelagos that barely rise above the waves. The Norwegian continental shelf is particularly used by the oil and gas industries.

The behavior of the tides differs significantly from that on the southern and western coasts of the North Sea . To the west of the southwestern Norwegian city of Egersund is an amphidromic center , which is why there is no tidal range there. Accordingly, the tidal range is low on the south-east and south-west coast of Norway. However, further away from this center, i.e. on the more northerly west coast, the tidal range is greater.


The climate in Norway is characterized by great differences within the country. The Scandinavian mountains separating the narrow, humid dominated coastal strip to the west from the continental stamped climate in the east. Norway's west coast has a mild and humid climate for its northern latitude. The reason for this is the North Atlantic Current , which allows relatively warm water to flow far to the north. The softening effect of the sea can be felt in the air temperatures due to the onshore winds.

The moisture in the air absorbed by the sea rains down on the west side of the mountains. On the coast there are places with over 3000 mm of rainfall in an average year. In the lee of the mountains, the amount of precipitation is rather low. The amount of precipitation along the entire coastal strip is significantly lower in spring than in autumn.

Further inland, the climate is more continental . This is due to the shielding effect of the mountains, since the actual distance to the coast itself would not make such a big difference. In the interior of the country, precipitation decreases, temperatures are higher there in summer, but significantly lower in winter than on the coast.

Cities and metropolitan areas

In addition to the population figures for the municipalities , the Norwegian statistical office Statistisk sentralbyrå also publishes figures for so-called Tettsteder , i.e. more densely populated areas regardless of the municipality boundaries. As of January 1, 2020, the Oslo municipality had 693,494 inhabitants, while Tettsted Oslo had 1,036,059 inhabitants. For Tettsted Oslo, 115,134 inhabitants of the municipality of Bærum and 68,132 inhabitants of the municipality of Asker were counted.

Most populous Tettsted (as of January 1, 2020)

Oslo Bergen Stavanger


Tettsted Fylke Residents Area (km²)

Trondheim Fredrikstad Drammen


01 Oslo Oslo , Viken 1,036,059 269.8
02 Mountains Vestland 259,958 87.6
03 Stavanger / Sandnes Rogaland 228.287 79.7
04th Trondheim Trøndelag 189,271 58.3
05 Fredrikstad / Sarpsborg Viken 116,373 59.1
06th Dramming Viken 109,416 47.3
07th Porsgrunn / Skien Vestfold and Telemark 93,778 53.5
08th Kristiansand Agder 64,596 25.0
09 Ålesund Møre and Romsdal 53.905 28.4
10 Tonsberg Vestfold and Telemark 53,018 26.1

Flora and fauna

National parks

Pine and birch trees in the Øvre Dividal National Park

There are 40 national parks and over 3100 nature reserves in mainland Norway . This means that at the end of 2019, around 17.5% of the area of ​​main Norway was placed under protection. The other seven national parks of the kingdom are located on the Svalbard archipelago, where at the same time over 64% of the land area had a protection status. On the island of Jan Mayen the value was 99.5%.

Seed plants and ferns

More than 1300 species of seed plants and ferns live in Norway , with over half of the plant species thriving in forest areas. In the deciduous forest , the incidence of light on the forest floor changes significantly with the season . Therefore there are many spring bloomers in the deciduous forest . In the coniferous forest, plants live under constant light conditions, since conifers do not lose their needles seasonally. This means that the plants on the ground are constantly exposed to different degrees of shade. In addition, there are two different types of coniferous forests in Norway, the spruce forest and the pine forest. More arctic species grow in the more humid climate of the spruce forest than in the dry pine forest.

Nature on Austvågøya

In Norway there are over 40,000 lakes and many moors and swamps in forest areas . Places that provide sufficient nutrients and are rich in minerals have a high level of biodiversity . In other areas with few nutrients, only a few species thrive, but these are all the more numerous. The swamp forests change in appearance and ecology . Most of the forest lakes with no inflow or outflow are dystrophic bodies of water with few nutrients and little oxygen. The water is brown in color and the bottom is muddy. Often there is peat on the banks' edges. Other lakes are shallow and get all of their nutrients from rainwater. Often peat is formed there, as no plant remains can rot in the oxygen-poor peatland.

Ripening cloudberry

If water seeps in steadily from the mountains, a lush vegetation develops. Such areas were popularly called Heumoore because the people used to harvest the grass. The great lakes in Norway are mostly oligotrophic . The water is clear with great depth of view and also poor in nutrients. The soil consists of stones, gravel and sand. The flora here is different from that in the forest lakes.


Mosses and lichens on the Hardangervidda

There are over 800 species of moss in Norway . The majority of them are found in forest areas. They also colonize bog and wetlands as well as slow flowing, stony brooks and rivers. The most common moss in the water is the common spring moss ( Fontinalis antipyretica ), which can be up to 20 cm long. In bog and wetlands, peat moss dominates , of which 25 species are known in Norway. They were previously used as insulating material for house construction. In Vestlandet, where a humid climate enables a long growth phase, layers of peat moss over three meters thick are known. Because of their size and slow growth, mosses in the forest have been pushed to locations with little competition, such as stones, wood, sandy slopes and dark forest areas.


There are 10,000 species of mushrooms (Fungi) in Norway, of which around 6,000 are native to the forest. Only around 2500 species develop fruiting bodies in autumn. The stem porling relatives (Polyporaceae) represent the most important group of wood-degrading fungi, of which there are over 300 species in Norway. These fungi cause a lot of damage in forestry.


Polar bears on Svalbard

Due to the large extent of the country, the difference in wildlife between the south and the north of the country is clearly pronounced. In the north, where reindeer , mountain lemmings , arctic foxes and wolverines live, it is arctic. The arctic foxes are an endangered species and have been under protection since 1930. The animals living in the south often have their origin in Central Europe and displaced the arctic animals when the climate became milder.

In total there are around 90 species of mammals in Norway . The largest mammals on land are the moose , which live in the forests. Deer live mainly in western Norway, further north they cannot find any food in the deeper snow. Reindeer live in Norway in both domesticated and wild forms. The country's predators include bears , wolves and lynxes . Furthermore, polar bears on Svalbard home. American minks spread across the country after breaking out of farms. Musk oxen were successfully settled on Dovrefjell . Norway's bird life is rich in species. In 2020 the number of bird species was given as 519. On the other hand, the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles is relatively poor . There are three types of snake found in Norway : the adder , the grass snake and the smooth snake . There are also some species of toads , frogs and newts .

There are 44 species of freshwater fish in Norwegian waters . In the Vestlandet there are mainly species that can survive in salt water. These include salmon and trout . The fish population in Østlandet and Northern Norway is richer in species . Carp fish live mainly in the warmer lakes and rivers in the southeast of the country. Perch and pike , among others, are common in Northern Norway . There are also some species of whales off the Norwegian coast.



The median age in Norway in 2020 was 39.5 years. For every 1000 inhabitants there were 12.09 births and 8.01 deaths in the same year and the population grew by about 0.8% per year. The fertility rate was 1.84 children per woman. In the 20th century, the country's population more than doubled: from 2.22 million (1900) the number of inhabitants rose to 4.48 million (2000). The five million inhabitant mark was exceeded in 2012. The main reason for the strong population increase after 2000 is the increasing number of immigrants.

Population pyramid Norway 2016
Countries of origin of immigrants and persons with immigrant parents (January 1, 2021)
rank Country people
1. PolandPoland Poland 117,331
2. LithuaniaLithuania Lithuania 48,564
3. SomaliaSomalia Somalia 43,593
4th PakistanPakistan Pakistan 39,257
5. SwedenSweden Sweden 39,031
6th SyriaSyria Syria 37,581
7th IraqIraq Iraq 34,671
8th. EritreaEritrea Eritrea 30,213
9. GermanyGermany Germany 28,639
10. PhilippinesPhilippines Philippines 26,337
Population development
year population
1950 3,250,000
1960 3,568,000
1970 3,863,000
1980 4,079,000
1990 4,233,000
2000 4,478,000
2010 4,858,000
2020 5,368,000

Population and ethnicities

Approximately 82% of the country's population (as of 2020) is distributed among areas classified as Tettsteder and 18% among the remaining areas. One of the most densely populated regions in the country is the area around the Oslofjord . The interior of the country, on the other hand, has a low population density and the population there lives mainly in the valleys through which the main communication arteries run. A total of around 80% of the country's inhabitants live less than ten kilometers from the sea, in northern Norway 90% of the people live less than four kilometers from the sea.

Probably the largest group of the Sami , an indigenous people living in the north of Fennos Scandinavia , lives in Norway . Estimates put between 60,000 and 100,000 seeds in Norway, but no precise data is available. In Norway the seeds are divided into the group of the southern seeds, the pite seeds and the lule seeds as well as those of the northern seeds. In the municipality of Karasjok , the Sami population has its own parliamentary representation with the Sameting . While the seeds are legally considered indigenous people who Forest Finns who Kvens , called Tatere , the Roma and the Jews held a status as a national minority. In the Freedom-in-the-World list of countries for 2019 , Norway received 100 out of a possible 100 points, but it was noted that discrimination against Roma and other minorities was still a problem.

On January 1, 2021, 800,100 immigrants were living in Norway, which was 14.8% of the population. In Oslo at that time the proportion of immigrants in all parts of the city was above the national average. The largest group was made up of immigrants from Poland. 197,000 people, or around 3.7% of the population, were among those born in Norway on January 1, 2021, with two parents born outside the country and four grandparents born abroad. The share of this group is 8.4% in Oslo.


Official written language in the municipalities (status: 2007):
  • Bokmål / Riksmål
  • Nynorsk
  • neutral
  • Norwegian is a North Germanic language closely related to Danish and Swedish . The written language is divided into two legally equivalent varieties: About 85-90% of the locals write a language form called Bokmål (literally: "book language") or until 1929 as Riksmål ("Reich language"), the variant influenced by the urban dialects of Norway of Danish is to be seen. By contrast, around 10–15% write Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”). This language, which was called Landsmål ("national language") until 1929 , has been recognized as the second official written language since 1885; it was created by Ivar Aasen on the basis of the Norwegian dialects and later developed further. In the spoken language, the dialects play a bigger role than in many other countries.

    The languages ​​spoken by the Sami from the Sami language family are legally equated with Norwegian. Since the Sami have the status of indigenous people in Norway, the Sami languages ​​are protected more strongly than the other minority languages . The Sami language family is divided into the languages North , Lule , South , Pite and Umesamisch . In the course of the Norwegianization policy, the use of these languages ​​was pushed back for a long time from the middle of the 19th century. Other minority languages ​​are Kven and Romani , which were brought into the country by Finnish immigrants . The Norwegian Sign Language was recognized in 2009 as a full language. Norwegian students mostly learn English as their first foreign language and later as an elective German , Spanish or French .

    Religions and worldviews


    In the constitution of 1814, the Evangelical Lutheran religion was made the state's public religion, and Jews were excluded from access to the Norwegian Empire. The relevant paragraph was repealed in 1851 and all residents of Norway were given the right to practice their religion freely. The number of Jewish citizens was around 2170 in 1940, of which 767 were deported to Auschwitz during the German occupation of Norway (see main article: History of the Jews in Norway ).

    Even after the introduction of religious freedom, the Evangelical Lutheran People's Church , led by the President of the Bishops' Conference , remained the largest religious community . In 2019 it had 3,686,715 members, which corresponded to 69% of the population, with the number of members falling. A constitutional amendment in 2012 loosened the link between state and church, but the national church continues to play a special role vis-à-vis other religious communities. For example, the payment of the salaries of church employees is supported by the state. Discrimination based on religion is prohibited by law. From the age of 15 every person has the right to join or leave religious communities.

    An estimate of the membership in religious communities by the central statistical office Statistisk sentralbyrå provided the following values ​​in 2019:

    The other religions included around 21,000 Buddhists , 11,400 Hindus , 4,000 Sikhs and 800 Jews. The majority of those who were members of a religious community outside the Church of Norway belong to the group of immigrants, that is, they immigrated to Norway themselves or have two parents who were born abroad. Depending on their country of origin, they are mostly of the Roman Catholic or Muslim faith.

    Weltanschauung communities

    In Norway there is a humanistic association, the Human-Etisk Forbund , a worldview community of non-religious and non-denominational people. The association was founded in 1956. At the end of 2019 it had around 94,000 members, which makes it the largest association of its kind in Norway.


    Subjects in primary school
    from. 1st Class
    Natural sciences
    Christianity, religion, view of life and ethics
    Arts and crafts
    Music education
    Food and health
    from 8th grade
    Second foreign language
    The commercial high school in Bergen

    In Norway there is compulsory education for children from the age of six to the end of the tenth grade. All children have the right to attend a public school free of charge. Attending private schools and home tuition is also permitted. Furthermore, all pupils have the right to attend secondary school ( videregående skole ) after primary school. The compulsory education was introduced in the 1739th In 1889 it was determined that compulsory schooling was seven years. The duration of the obligation was later extended, in 1969 it was set to nine years and in 1997 to ten years.

    In addition to the schools, the kindergartens are also subject to the Ministry of Education . They are operated by the municipalities or privately. In 2020, 92.8% of children between one and five years of age attended kindergarten, while the figure for children between three and five years of age was 97.3%.

    The ten-year elementary school ( grunnskole ) is divided into a seven-year level for children ( barnetrinn ) and a three-year level for young people ( ungdomstrinn ). The majority of the students attend secondary school after completing primary school. This is divided into preparatory school branches, which correspond to the upper level of the gymnasium, and vocational school branches. Technical schools ( fagskoler ) offer professional training following the advanced training.

    Sami students have the right to be taught a Sami language . For school-age immigrant children, the Norwegian state must offer language courses in every municipality.

    There are ten universities and six scientific colleges in Norway. In 2020, 35.3% of Norwegians over the age of 16 had a university or college degree, 3% had a technical college degree and 36.9% had a high school diploma as their highest degree. Among women, the proportion of university graduates was 39.8%. In the 2015 PISA ranking , Norwegian students ranked 19th out of 72 countries in mathematics, 24th in science and 9th in reading comprehension. Norway is thus in the top third among the OWCE countries .

    Standard of living

    The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world; in the ranking of the human development index , the country has been in first place almost consistently since 1996 (as of 2020).

    Standard of living
    Birth rate 12.09 per 1000 pop.
    Fertility rate 1.84 children per woman
    Maternal Mortality (2017) 2 per 100,000 bundles
    Infant mortality 2.34 per 1000 bundles
    mortality 8.01 per 1000 pop.
    Life expectancy 82.35 years
    Life expectancy (men) 80.21 years
    Life expectancy (women) 84.6 years
    Access to safe drinking water 100%
    Doctors (2017) 2.83 per 1000 pop.
    Hospital beds (2017) 3.6 per 1000 pop.
    HIV / AIDS infected persons (2018) 5800


    According to the statistics agency Statistisk sentralbyrå , a total of 2,681,548 people were employed in the fourth quarter of 2020. This corresponded to a share of about 66% of the population between 15 and 74 years of age. The NAV authority set the average number of people registered as unemployed in 2020 at 141,939. For May 2021, she stated the number of unemployed at 94,086, of which 45,364 belong to the group of immigrants.

    Women's rights

    Norway is considered a pioneer of women's rights . The Norwegian Women's Rights Association was founded in 1884 by many of the most prominent figures of the time, including several prime ministers.

    Women were allowed to participate in regional elections as early as 1901. The prerequisite, however, was that they owned land or were married to landowners. In the 1906 election, women advocates supported the radicals, and a radical victory in 1907 meant that those women who already had regional suffrage were given that right at the national level. In 1913 all restrictions were lifted. Norway thus introduced women's suffrage in 1913 as the fourth country in the world after New Zealand , Australia and Finland .

    In 1978 Eva Kolstad became the world's first ombud for equality .

    In the Global Gender Gap Report 2020, which measures equality between men and women in a country, Norway came second behind Iceland.


    Alta rock carvings

    Human settlement in today's national territory began after the last glacial period around the 8th millennium BC. When hunters and gatherers followed the melting ice northwards.

    The Neolithic beaker culture of Scandinavia was followed by Germanic influences in the Bronze and Iron Ages . In the time of the Vikings (800-1050) Norway was unified by King Harald Hårfagre around the year 900. During this time Norway settled Iceland , the Faroe Islands and Greenland . Some Vikings - under the leadership of Bjarni Herjúlfsson , Thorvald Eiriksson and Leif Eriksson - even reached Newfoundland off the northeast coast of the continent that was called America some 500 years later on several journeys around 1000 AD . The Normandy in France was settled by the Northern men ', but most of which came from what is now Denmark. The Orkney and Shetland Islands were also occupied by Norwegian Vikings and belonged to Norway until 1472.

    Scandinavia around 1730

    From 1380 in personal union with Denmark , Norway joined the Kalmar Union in 1397 and became a relatively insignificant member. The Kalmar Empire formally lasted until Sweden left the country (1523), with Denmark until 1814. Because of political support from France , Denmark had to cede Norway to the King of Sweden on January 14, 1814 in the Peace of Kiel after the Napoleonic Wars . However, there was no direct transfer, so that Norway became independent for a short time and a constitution was adopted in a national assembly in Eidsvoll on May 17, 1814 , which is still valid today with slight changes. The Storting arranged the first May 17th celebration in 1836; since then, May 17th is considered Norway's national holiday .

    This was followed by 91 years of personal union with Sweden , before it was dissolved on August 13, 1905 after a referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Norwegians voted in favor of ending the union. The Norwegian king became Prince Carl of the Glücksburg family as Haakon VII .

    During the First World War , Norway, along with Denmark and Sweden, declared its neutrality. In 1920 the country joined the League of Nations .

    German troops in Oslo on April 9, 1940

    On April 9, 1940, neutral Norway came under German occupation during the Second World War in the Weser Exercise Company . As Reich Commissioner for Norway was Josef Terboven appointed. Militarily, the occupation was justified with the imminent landing of British troops and the strategically important ports on the Norwegian coast, which were important for the supply of iron ore from the Swedish Kiruna . Above all, the importance of Narvik for the German war economy is controversial today, because the Third Reich was less dependent on the Swedish iron ore deliveries than is commonly assumed. This is confirmed by Hitler's instruction to make the port facilities unusable for the enemy. The Norwegian raw materials, mainly aluminum , molybdenum and pebbles , were more important for the German war economy , with the creation of a "European Greater Economic Area" under German hegemony as part of the National Socialist European plans. Norway offered military resistance for six weeks, but was inferior to the German navy . Norwegian National Socialists ( Vidkun Quisling ) allied themselves with the Germans and thereby came to power. Since the majority of the Norwegian population was hostile to them, resistance organizations gained a high status.

    One consequence of the German occupation were the so-called tyskerbarna , the "German children " conceived by German soldiers with Norwegians. Their mothers were pejoratively referred to as tyskertøser (about "German slut "). The approximately 10,000–12,000 children in Norwegian post-war society were exposed to massive discrimination and some were mistreated. It was only in 1998 that Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik asked the tyskerbarn to apologize for the injustice that had been done against them. The disenfranchisement and deportation of the Norwegian Jews remained unexplored for a long time . Almost 800 of the approximately 2,100 Jews who mainly lived in Oslo and Trondheim were transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and murdered there. Among the victims were Ruth Maier and the 15-year-old student Kathe Lasnik, whose fate was dealt with by the philosopher Espen Søbye .

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

    In 1949 Norway was one of the founding members of NATO , and in 1960 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was founded with Denmark, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom . Modern history since 1969 has been shaped by growth and wealth from oil . Accession to the European Union was rejected twice in referendums ( September 25, 1972 and November 28, 1994 ). As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Norway is on an equal footing with an EU member in many respects and, as part of the Nordic Passport Union, is also a member of the Schengen Agreement (see: Norway and the European Union ).

    On July 22, 2011, two devastating attacks were carried out in Oslo and on the island of Utøya , which killed a total of 77 people. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg described the attack as a “national tragedy” and the worst act of violence since the Second World War.



    National Assembly of 1814 in Eidsvoll

    Basics and history

    The Norwegian Constitution of May 17, 1814 is inspired by the French Constitution of 1791 . The Montesquieu principle of separation of powers was an essential principle. Despite the liberal orientation of constitutional law, Jews were prohibited from entering the Reich until 1851. The constitutional text, originally written in Danish and only cautiously modernized until 2012, was translated into two official Norwegian versions for the bicentenary of the constitution, one in Bokmål and one in Nynorsk .

    The separation of powers enshrined in the constitution led to several trials of power between the government bureaucracy ( executive ), which was largely controlled by the Swedish royal family, and the Storting (the Norwegian National Assembly; legislature ) in the course of the 19th century . The crown tried to expand its privileges as an executive power and largely to exclude the Storting from government affairs with reference to the constitution. The conflict came to a head when, in the course of industrialization, the class differences between the civil servant power elite and the rising bourgeoisie in Norway worsened. The rejection of the royal official state grew in society . In local politics , the national apparatus of government was practically disempowered as early as 1837 through the introduction of local self-government . The Swedish aristocracy made every effort to maintain its influence at the national level.

    Acting Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg ( H )

    Tensions escalated until 1884, the year that marked the introduction of parliamentarism in Norway . Against the opposition of King Oskar II, the bourgeois-liberal Storting deputy Johan Sverdrup enforced the constitutional principle that a government needs the support of Storting in order to maintain its own power. Due to this dependency, the political sovereignty of the monarchy, which was enshrined by the separation of powers, was in fact canceled in favor of a strengthening of parliament. The king had to appoint Sverdrup as the new prime minister to form a government.

    After the Second World War , the Social Democratic Labor Party under Einar Gerhardsen had an absolute majority from 1945 to 1961. After that, minority governments were usually formed. In the recent past there has been a tendency to form coalition governments with a fixed majority in parliament and to act on the basis of a coalition agreement. So far there have been no large coalitions between social democrats and conservatives. In 2007, with an amendment to Article 15 of the Constitution, the system of parliamentarism, which has been practiced under customary law since 1884, was laid down in the Basic Law.

    In the parliamentary elections on September 9, 2009 , the Arbeiderpartiet was the strongest party in Storting with 30.8% of the vote. The coalition of Arbeiderpartiet, Senterpartiet and Sosialistisk Venstreparti was replaced after the 2013 parliamentary election by a coalition of the Høyre (Conservatives) and Fremskrittspartiet (German "Progressive Party") led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg . After the parliamentary elections in 2017 , the social-liberal Venstre joined this government in January 2018 , and the Christian-democratic Kristelig Folkeparti has also been a member of the coalition since January 2019 . On January 24, 2020, the Fremskrittspartiet left the government.

    Political system

    King Harald V (2007)

    The head of state is King Harald V. He plays a ceremonial role in the political system: he formally appoints the prime minister and ministers, chairs certain meetings of the government, opens parliament and accredits foreign ambassadors; Until a constitutional amendment in 2012, he was also the head of the country's Lutheran Church. The constitution of 1814 only granted him a limited right of objection (veto) against laws passed by parliament, which parliament can reject. No king has exercised this right since Norway's separation from Sweden in 1905.

    The Storting is the parliament of Norway based in Oslo

    Executive: the king appoints the prime minister and, on his proposal, the ministers who are not allowed to have a majority in parliament against them (“negative parliamentarism”). Unlike in Germany or Great Britain, in Norway, as in the other Scandinavian countries, the principle of negative parliamentarism applies: a government does not require an express majority in parliament, but it can be overthrown by a majority in parliament. The Council of State , to which all ministers belong and within the framework of which the head of state signs the laws and ordinances, is formally involved in the activities of the government through the regular meetings of the State Council , which takes place under the direction of the king .

    Legislative branch: The parliament, the Storting , consists of 169 members who are elected every four years (until 1936 every third year). It has been meeting in a chamber since 2009. The previously existing, more formal than real division into an Odelsting and a Lagting was abolished with a constitutional amendment from 2007 to 2009.

    There have been six referendums in Norway so far :

    • 1905 about the dissolution of the union with Sweden . (Result: Yes)
    • 1905 on the appointment of Prince Carl of Denmark as King Haakon VII (result: yes)
    • 1916 on the ban on alcohol. (Result: Yes)
    • 1927 on the lifting of this ban. (Result: Yes)
    • 1972 on joining the European Community . (Result: No)
    • 1994 on joining the European Union . (Result: No)

    Local self-government is guaranteed without prejudice to the unified structure of Norway.

    Political indices

    Political indices issued by non-governmental organizations
    Name of the index Index value rank Interpretation aid year
    Fragile States Index 16.2 out of 120 177 of 178 Stability of the country: very sustainable
    0 = very sustainable / 120 = very alarming
    Democracy index 9.81 out of 10 1 of 167 Full democracy
    0 = authoritarian regime / 10 = full democracy
    Freedom in the World Index 100 out of 100 - Freedom status: free
    0 = not free / 100 = free
    Freedom of the press ranking 6.72 out of 100 1 of 180 Good situation for freedom of the press
    0 = good situation / 100 = very serious situation
    Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 84 of 100 7 of 180 0 = very corrupt / 100 = very clean 2020

    Administrative structure

    Norwegian provinces since 2020

    The Norwegian mainland is since 1 January 2020 eleven administrative provinces ( Fylker ) divided traditionally in five parts of the country (landsdel) are summarized. All Fylker except Oslo are divided into several municipalities , there are a total of 356 municipalities in Norway as of January 1, 2020. In June 2017, a comprehensive administrative area reform was decided, which was completed on January 1, 2020. It included the regional reform and local government reform and both the number of Fylker and the municipalities fell within the scope of their implementation. Every four years, representatives of the people are elected at both municipal and administrative provincial level.

    The Svalbard archipelago has a special administrative role. That is the name of the representative of the central government in a county Statsforvalter and is subordinate to the local ministry, while the Sysselmann on Spitzbergen is under the supervision of the ministry of justice .


    There are a total of eleven Fylker in Norway. Before the regional reform was implemented, the number was 19.

    coat of arms Fylke Residents
    January 1, 2021
    Area (km²) Part of the country
    Agder våpen.svg Agder 308.843 16,434 Sørlandet
    Innlandet våpen.svg Domestic 370.603 52,072 Østlandet
    More and Romsdal våpen.svg Møre and Romsdal 265,544 14,356 Vestlandet
    Nordland våpen.svg North country 240.345 38,155 North Norge
    Oslo Komm.svg Oslo 697.010 454 Østlandet
    Rogaland våpen.svg Rogaland 482,645 9,377 Vestlandet
    Coat of arms of Finnmark county and Troms county.svg Troms and Finnmark 242.168 74,830 North Norge
    Trøndelag våpen.svg Trøndelag 471.124 42.202 Trøndelag
    Vestfold and Telemark våpen.svg Vestfold and Telemark 421,882 17,466 Østlandet
    Vestland våpen.svg Vestland 638.821 33,871 Vestlandet
    Viken våpen.svg Viken 1,252,384 24,593 Østlandet


    There are a total of 356 municipalities in Norway. The list includes municipalities that had more than 50,000 inhabitants on January 1, 2021.

    Commune Fylke Residents
    January 1, 2021
    Oslo Oslo 697.010
    Mountains Vestland 285,601
    Trondheim Trøndelag 207,595
    Stavanger Rogaland 144.147
    Bærum Viken 128,233
    Kristiansand Agder 112,588
    Dramming Viken 101,859
    Asker Viken 94,915
    Lillestrøm Viken 86,953
    Fredrikstad Viken 83.193
    Commune Fylke Residents
    January 1, 2021
    Sandnes Rogaland 80,450
    Tromso Troms and Finnmark 77,095
    Ålesund Møre and Romsdal 66,670
    Sandefjord Vestfold and Telemark 64,345
    Nordre Follo Viken 60,034
    Sarpsborg Viken 57,372
    Tonsberg Vestfold and Telemark 57.026
    Skien Vestfold and Telemark 55.144
    Bodø North country 52,560


    logo Storting building on Eidsvolls plass
    logo Storting building on Eidsvolls plass
    Basic data
    Seat: Oslo
    Legislative period : 4 years
    First session: 1814
    MPs: 169
    Current legislative period
    Last choice: September 10th and 11th, 2017
    Next choice: September 13, 2021
    Chair: Storting President
    Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen ( H )
    Distribution of seats
    A total of 169 seats
    • R : 1
    • SV : 11
    • Ap : 48
    • Sp : 20
    • MDG : 1
    • V : 8
    • KrF : 8
    • H : 45
    • FrP : 26
    • Independent: 1

    In the 2017 parliamentary elections , MPs from the following nine parties moved into Storting:

    Other smaller parties, which are mainly represented in local parliaments or Fylkestingen , include the Kystpartiet , the Norges Kommunistiske Parti , the Democrats , the Folkeaksjonen nei til mer bompenger and the Pensjonistpartiet .

    State budget

    The national debt amounted to 36.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 . The state budget in 2020 comprised expenditure of NOK 1951 billion , which was offset by income of NOK 1,848 billion. According to the statistical office Statistisk sentralbyrå, government spending in 2020 was distributed as follows:

    The rating agency Standard & Poor’s has given Norway's government bonds the top AAA rating since 1990 (as of April 2021).


    In Norway, around 1.94 million workers were union members in 2020 . Of these, 970,000 belonged to the umbrella organization Landsorganisasjonen i Norge (LO), 380,000 Unio , 228,000 to the Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund (YS) and 231,000 to the academics .

    Foreign policy

    Norway is an EFTA member

    Norway is a member of the Nordic Council , a forum for the Nordic countries . Economically, it is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and part of the European Economic Area . Furthermore, Norway participates in the European single market of the European Union (EU). The population refused to join the EU in two referendums. The Foreign Office wrote in 2017 that Norway is internationally insets including for political and economic stability and expansion of international law. In addition to maintaining national sovereignty, the main goals of Norwegian foreign policy include engagement in the field of human rights and involvement in international organizations such as NATO. Norwegian economic policy is also shaped by maritime interests.

    Norway has had direct relations with Germany since independence in 1905. Germany is one of the most important cooperation partners in the EU. In 1999 the Norwegian embassy moved from Bonn to Berlin , where the Nordic states maintain the Nordic embassies complex . Austria and Norway established diplomatic relations in 1906. Over time, the embassies responsible for Austria were in Berlin, Prague and Bern . In 1960 the Norwegian embassy was opened in Vienna . Both Austria and Norway are among the founding members of EFTA. In addition to Switzerland , the Norwegian embassy in Bern is also responsible for Liechtenstein and Vatican City . Liechtenstein and Switzerland, along with Norway, are among the remaining EFTA member states. Germany, Austria and Switzerland each have embassies in Oslo.

    Before the February Revolution of 1917 there had been brisk commercial activity with Russia , which had produced its own mixed language ( Russenorsk ). After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, cooperation was intensified again. In 2010 Norway and Russia were able to agree on a border for their respective territories in the Barents Sea . For the border residents of Russia and Norway, a visa-free zone of around 30 kilometers was set up on both sides of the border in 2012. Relations between the countries deteriorated again from the mid-2010s.

    Environmental policy

    Norway's goal is not to allow any new vehicles with internal combustion engines in the passenger car or light commercial vehicle segment by 2025 . The purchase of electric cars is subsidized by the state, among other things, through lower taxation. In 2020, Norway was the first country in the world to have an electric car registration rate of over 50%.


    An F-16 of the Air Force

    The Norwegian Army (Forsvaret) consists of the four armed forces Heer (Hæren) , Navy (Sjøforsvaret) , Air Force (Luftforsvaret) and Homeland Security (Heimevernet) . Norway is a founding member of NATO, and the country was the first NATO member state to remove restrictions on women from all positions in the military. There is a twelve-month conscription period for men and women. Norway spent around 1.86 percent of its economic output on its armed forces in 2019.

    In mid-2007 the Norwegian Air Force took over the protection of neighboring Iceland from the USA , which has no armed forces of its own.



    Norway is a highly developed industrial country rich in natural resources such as fish, oil , natural gas and minerals . In terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, it is one of the richest countries in the world. Norway's economic area is considered to be a managed economy and most companies are privately owned. However, the state is the main owner of several large industrial companies such as the gas and oil production company Equinor and the aluminum producer Norsk Hydro . An important source of income is the export of oil and gas. Norway is also Europe's largest and second largest seafood exporter in the world, and fishing is of greater economic importance.

    The income from the oil industry forms the basis for the state pension fund ( Statens pensjonsfond utland or Oljefondet ). The pension fund, established in 1996, has a market value of around 10,398 billion NOK (approx. 997 billion euros). According to the so-called rule of action, a maximum of 4% of the capital stock may be withdrawn from the fund to finance the state budget annually. This upper limit is to be reduced to 3% in the future. In the 2016 financial year, a total of NOK 220 billion (around EUR 26 billion) was withdrawn from the oil fund. That's about 3% of the capital stock. There is a consensus among Norwegian politicians and the general public that the Norwegian oil and gas reserves should be exploited in compliance with strict environmental and safety standards and provided for the benefit of the general public. In the 2017 budget, the government expects revenues from the oil and gas sector to amount to NOK 164 billion (approx. EUR 18 billion), which is 14% of total expected government revenues.

    The unemployment rate was 3.72% in 2019 and was therefore rather low. The youth unemployment rate was in 2018 one estimate 9.7%. In 2016, 2.1% of all workers worked in agriculture and forestry , 19.3% in industry and 78.6% in the service sector . The total number of employees for the end of 2020 was given as 2.68 million, of which around 1.26 million were women.

    In comparison with the average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the EU expressed in purchasing power standards (EU27 = 100), Norway achieved an index of 147 in 2019. In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Norway ranks 11th out of 137 countries (status 2017-2018). In the Index for Economic Freedom in 2021, the country ranks 28th out of 178 countries. According to a study by Bank Credit Suisse from 2017, Norway ranked 23rd in the world in terms of total national assets . Total real estate, stocks, and cash holdings totaled $ 1,286 billion. The wealth per adult person is 320,475 dollars on average and 130,543 dollars in median (in Germany: 203,946 and 47,091 dollars, respectively). In terms of wealth per inhabitant, Norway was among the top 10 countries in the world. In total, 28.6% of Norway's total wealth was financial wealth and 71.4% was non-financial wealth. The Gini coefficient for wealth distribution was 80.5 in 2017, which indicates a relatively high level of wealth inequality. A total of 5% of Norwegians are wealth millionaires.

    Norway was the first country to introduce a gender quota in 2003. Since 2008, a quota of at least 40% women on the supervisory boards of listed companies has been required by law.

    Foreign trade

    Norway is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and part of the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA Agreement (Norwegian: EØS-avtalen ) is considered Norway's most important trade agreement. Most of the free trade agreements between Norway and other countries have been negotiated jointly with the other EFTA member states. Overall, foreign trade for Norway is positive, with an export surplus of NOK 10.4 billion in 2020. Compared to the previous year, exports had slumped by 15.5%, and in 2019 the surplus was still worth 156.75 billion NOK. Important import goods include machines and vehicles. The export of fuels is an important source of income and accounted for around 47% of total exports in 2019.

    Main trading partner of Norway (2016), source: GTAI
    Export (in percent) to Import (in percent) of
    United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 20.7 GermanyGermany Germany 12.0
    GermanyGermany Germany 14.3 SwedenSweden Sweden 12.0
    NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 10.6 China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China 11.1
    FranceFrance France 6.8 United StatesUnited States United States 6.5
    SwedenSweden Sweden 6.5 DenmarkDenmark Denmark 5.6
    BelgiumBelgium Belgium 4.4 United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom 5.1
    United StatesUnited States United States 4.2 NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands 4.0
    United NationsU.N. other states 32.5 United NationsU.N. other states 43.7

    Key figures

    Change in gross domestic product (GDP), real World Bank
    year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
    Change in% yoy 2.4 3.0 0.5 −1.7 0, 1.0 2.7 1.0 2.0 2.0 1.1 2.3 1.3 1.2
    Development of GDP (nominal), World Bank
    absolute (in billions of US dollars) per inhabitant (in thousands of US dollars)
    year 2015 2016 2017 year 2015 2016 2017
    GDP in billions of dollars 387 371 399 GDP per inhabitant (in € thousand) 74.5 70.8 75.5


    Energy in general

    The electric power is an important energy source is Norway, where the hydropower plays a significant role. In 2017 Norway had the second highest electricity consumption in the world with 23,695 kWh per capita , the OECD average was around 8,000 kWh. In 2019, industrial companies accounted for around 85% of the demand. The electrical energy is rather cheap in European comparison and the proportion of households in which the heating system is based on it is high in European comparison. In the area of ​​transport, however, petroleum- based fuels are particularly widespread. Around 90% of the electricity is generated in plants owned by local authorities, Fylkeskommunen or the Norwegian state. The state owns around 35% of production through the state-owned energy company Statkraft . In mainland Norway there are neither nuclear nor coal-fired power plants , which is due, among other things, to a resolution passed by the national parliament in 1979. In this it was determined to continue to focus on the expansion of hydropower.


    Hydroelectric power station at Braskereidfoss

    A large part of the country's electricity needs is met by domestic hydropower plants. At the beginning of 2021 there were around 1680 hydropower plants in Norway, which provided around 90% of Norwegian electricity generation . The storage capacity of the Norwegian storage power plants is around 70% of the annual energy requirement. The use of hydropower has a long tradition in Norway and was the basis of the country's industrialization . Simple water mills were followed by water-powered generators and later smaller and larger hydropower plants for generating electrical energy.

    Interstate electricity transport

    Map europe NORD.LINK NorGer NorNedr cable.svg

    With its electricity generated to a large extent from pumped storage power plants, Norway participates in the exchange of electricity with other European countries. In times when the hydropower plants can generate a lot of electricity, Norway sells electricity to other countries. If, on the other hand, electricity production in the hydropower plants is not favored by high levels of precipitation or snowmelt and electricity is cheaper in other countries, Norway will buy electricity. In the Norwegian pumped storage power plants, water is then stored for later.

    In addition to several lines between Norway and Sweden, there are also the Cross-Skagerrak transmission lines between Kristiansand and Denmark. In 2008, an approximately 580 kilometer long submarine cable connection between Norway and the Netherlands was put into operation with NorNed . The NordLink submarine cable between Norway and Germany has been in regular operation since 2021; it can transmit an output of 1,400 MW. Further projects are in the implementation phase. The NSN Link submarine cable connection between Norway and England agreed by National Grid and Statnett is scheduled to go into operation in 2021. In addition, a submarine cable connection NorGer is planned between Norway and Germany, the implementation of which is still unclear.

    natural gas

    LNG gas terminal on Melkøya

    In 2017 Norway was (estimated) the world's seventh largest natural gas producing country with 123.9 billion . The Norwegian natural gas fields are located in the North Sea , the European Arctic Ocean and the Barents Sea . Norway was (estimated) the third largest natural gas exporting country in the world in 2017 with 120.2 billion m³. Statoil controlled around 70% of Norwegian gas exports in 2017. Norway covers around a third of Germany's natural gas requirements (2017). The two Europipe gas pipelines connect the Norwegian natural gas field Ekofisk (Europipe 1) in the North Sea and the Norwegian mainland (Europipe 2) with Germany.


    Oil rig in the Heidrun oil field

    Norway was the fifteenth largest oil producing country in the world in 2018 with an estimated production volume of 1,517,000 barrels per day . After the first Norwegian drilling rigs were built in the North Sea, production increased from the 1970s. The activity was later expanded to include the European Arctic Sea and the Barents Sea, which, however, have been less explored compared to the North Sea. The maximum oil production was reached in the years 2000/2001, the production volumes have been declining since then.

    The strong Norwegian oil industry and the comparatively small population result in Norway's very high per capita income. In order to secure the long-term financing of the expensive, very close-knit social network , the state-run Norwegian State Pension Fund Abroad ( Statens pensjonsfond utland or Oljefondet ) was set up in 1990 . The income from the oil export is invested in it. This happens exclusively in foreign markets in order to prevent the domestic economy from overheating financially and to prevent the Norwegian krone from appreciating too much . The value of the Norwegian oil fund at the end of 2019 was approx. 949 billion euros (10,088 billion NOK), which corresponds to an amount of approx. 179,000 euros per Norwegian.

    Smøla vindpark in Nordmøre

    After the collapse of the oil price in the second half of 2014, both production and development activities for oil extraction at greater depths stalled due to the high costs. In Norway, around ten percent of the 100,000 or so jobs in the oil industry are said to be available. In 2014, the state-owned energy company Statoil fell into the red for the first time since going public.

    In Stavanger is the economic center of the Norwegian petroleum industry as well as the Norwegian Petroleum Museum .

    Wind energy

    At the beginning of 2021, there were 53 wind farms in Norway with a total capacity of 3977 MW. In 2020, around 6.4% of the electricity produced was covered by wind. The first wind farm was the Smøla vindpark , which went into operation in 2002. The use of wind energy is being expanded: In 2014 wind turbines with a capacity of 819 MW were installed, at the end of 2017 it was 1,188 MW and in 2019 it was 2,444 MW. The largest land-based wind farm in Europe is the Fosen Vind wind farm , which has been supplying electricity since testing was completed in March 2021.


    Northern lights near Tromsø

    Norway is the destination of several million tourists every year . In 2019, 5.88 million tourists visited the country, spending about $ 4.9 billion. In 2017, around 6.9% of jobs were in the tourism sector and income from tourism accounted for 4.3% of total income. Tourism is a very important source of income for individual regions such as Svalbard . In 2018, 33.8 million overnight stays were recorded, around 10.1 million were attributed to foreigners. The most important countries of origin were Germany , Sweden and the United States . In addition to hotels and hotel-like businesses, which recorded around 70% of the overnight stays, camping and the so-called Hytten were the most popular types of overnight stays. In addition, cruises , such as those with the Hurtigruten postal service , are widespread. The summer season is the time with the most visitors. In 2019, 52% of the overnight stays were spread between May and August. Winter sports and the northern lights are particularly important factors for vacation trips to Norway outside of summer .


    The semi-public company Innovasjon Norge is responsible for Norway's tourism strategy . For 2006 it stated that the Holmenkollbakken ski jump and the museum belonging to it, the historic district and world heritage site of Bryggen in Bergen, the Kristiansand Dyrepark animal park and the TusenFryd amusement park were among the most popular facilities. It is estimated that Vigeland Park in Oslo was the most visited with over a million people. Popular destinations for excursions were the waterfalls Vøringsfossen , Kjosfossen , Låtefossen and Steinsdalsfossen , the Trollstigen pass road and the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord fjords . The most popular holiday destinations today include the Oslo region, the area around Tromsø , the Lofoten archipelago and the area around Bergen. So-called landscape routes were designed by the Norwegian road traffic authority Statens Vegvesen .

    There are a total of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Norway .

    Food economy

    Fishing and whaling

    Aquaculture in Senja

    Norway is one of the largest fishing nations in the world and fishing is one of the country's oldest industries. In 2018, measured by the amount of fish caught, Norway was ranked eleventh in a global comparison, according to the World Bank . Norway brought about 4.0 million tons ashore in 2018, according to this report . In 2016, 1.33 million tonnes of all Norwegian catch came from aquaculture , placing Norway ninth in this area.

    In 2019, fish was exported to the value of around 104 billion kroner, with salmon exports being the main source of income before cod, with a value of around 72 billion kroner . Other important fish species included herrings and mackerel .

    Whaling in Norway has a long tradition. Due to legal restrictions, however, the importance decreased. Together with Iceland , Norway contradicted the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Accordingly, commercial whaling is permitted and annual catch quotas are set.


    Interior view of a Vinmonopolet store in Briskeby , Oslo

    Norway has a restrictive alcohol policy that began in the 19th century with taxes and production restrictions. During Prohibition, which began in Norway in 1914 , the sale of alcohol was restricted and partially banned. In 1936, Norway became the first country in the world to introduce a blood alcohol limit for driving a vehicle. This fell in 2001 from 0.5 to 0.2 per mille. Alcoholic beverages up to 4.7 percent by volume may be sold in grocery stores. Drinks with a higher alcohol content can only be purchased in Vinmonopolet and in licensed establishments. The first Vinmonopole were opened in 1922 as part of a relaxation of prohibition. In addition to taxed sales, there is also non-taxed sales, which can be practiced primarily at airports and on ferries. Compared to other European countries, little alcohol is bought in Norway. In 2017, the alcohol sales per citizen of at least 15 years of age were given as 6.72 liters of pure alcohol over the year. The portion not taxed in Norway, including the alcohol imported in the border trade , was set at 0.78 liters.


    In the 2020 edition of the media report Norsk mediebarometer from the Central Statistical Office , it was found that 98% of the population have access to the Internet and that 99% have a mobile phone and 96% have a smartphone . Nine out of ten people used the internet on an average day in 2020, and the most popular social medium was Facebook . As early as 2004, 90% had their own mobile phone and 66% had Internet access. The largest telecommunications provider in the country is Telenor .

    Transport and traffic

    Due to the length and geological conditions of the country, the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure is time-consuming and expensive. Until the second half of the 19th century, seafaring therefore formed the basis for transport in many places. Only then could part of the traffic be relocated to the countryside through the construction of railway lines. In the 20th century, the importance of air and road transport for passenger transport increased , and goods transport was also shifted from the sea to the road. The Logistics Performance Index 2018 compiled by the World Bank ranks Norway 21st.

    Road traffic

    In Norway, the public road network reached a total length of around 94,902 kilometers in 2018. The current division of the road network into Riksveier (German: Reichsstraßen ), Fylkesveier (German: Fylkesstraßen ) and municipal roads is largely based on a law from 1931. Due to the geographical conditions, many bridges and tunnels, some in the form of underwater tunnels, are part of the road network. Car ferries continue to be of great importance, especially in the coastal regions characterized by fjords .

    Rail transport

    View of
    Oslo Sentralstasjon train station

    The first railway line opened in 1854 and connected Oslo with Eidsvoll . In 1861 the first purely state railway line went into operation. In the following years the network was further expanded, the Bergensbanen line was completed in 1909. From around 1957, the total rail length decreased due to the setting of smaller side lines. Due to the increased number of automobiles from the 1960s onwards, the railway continued to lose importance.

    In 2020, the rail network comprised around 4,200 kilometers, of which 2,541 kilometers were electrified. Most of the passenger trains are operated by the Vy company . The Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo S) is the largest train station in the country. Other important train stations include the train station in Bergen and the train stations in Trondheim, Bodø, Stavanger and Kristiansand. The Fylke Troms og Finnmark has no train connection . The implementation of the Nord-Norgebanen railway project , which provides for a connection to Tromsø , was rejected by Storting in May 2020.

    In 1894, Oslo was the first Norwegian city to have an electric tram , followed by Bergen in 1897 and Trondheim in 1901. There is only one metro system in Oslo ( Oslo T-bane ).

    air traffic

    Due to the mountains and long fjords, large travel time savings are often achieved over relatively short distances in air traffic compared to road traffic. The first flights took place in Norway in 1912. From the 1970s and again from 2002, the number of annual air passengers in Norway began to rise sharply.

    The company Avinor , which is subordinate to the Ministry of Transport , operates 44 airports in Norway , and other airports are privately owned. The largest airport in Norway is Oslo-Gardermoen . Avinor finances the operation of the smaller airports from the profits at the largest airports. The main domestic airlines are SAS Scandinavian Airlines , Norwegian Air Shuttle and the regional airline Widerøe , whose flights in the sparsely populated north are subsidized. In addition to Oslo-Gardermoen, the other important airports are those in Bergen , Stavanger , Trondheim , Tromsø , Bodø , Ålesund , Sandefjord-Torp and Kristiansand .


    Kristiansand ferry terminal

    Norway is one of the largest shipping nations and has the fourth largest merchant fleet in the world. In 2020, 1571 ships over 1000  GRT were registered in Norway. The geography of Norway gives shipping particularly great importance. The Kystverket Authority is responsible for managing the coastal infrastructure.

    From 1893, Hurtigruten ships established the connection between Trondheim and Hammerfest , and the line was later extended. Goods, mail and passengers are still transported there today, and over time tourists have also become aware of the connection. A total of 34 ports are called for daily liner service. With the increased expansion of the infrastructure in the countryside, many ship connections lost their importance; the route between Oslo and Bergen known as Kystruta was discontinued in 1969, for example. In the provinces of Vestland, Trøndelag and Nordland in particular, speedboats such as catamarans are used in local traffic.


    In 2000 the city of Bergen was the European Capital of Culture , in 2008 it was Stavanger. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded annually in Oslo .


    Fine arts and architecture

    Edvard Munch's

    Edvard Munch is Norway's most famous painter , and most of his works can be seen in the Munch Museum in Oslo. Gustav Vigeland is considered to be the most important sculptor in the country . In the 19th century, painters such as Johan Christian Clausen Dahl , Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude became internationally known. Dahl, who specializes in landscape painting, is also known as the "father of Norwegian painting".

    Stiftsgården , Trondheim

    Since Norway was a rather poor country for a long time, hardly any monumental structures were erected until the Middle Ages. Until the Christianization of Norway and the construction of the first stone church buildings, wood was the dominant building material, but was still used frequently afterwards. As a result of the plague epidemics , there was a decline in building activity from the middle of the 14th century, which only ended in the 16th century with new Renaissance buildings. From around 1700 the richest city dwellers began to build more sumptuous private houses, such as Stiftsgården in Trondheim.

    In the 19th century, several neo-classical buildings such as the Royal Oslo Castle were built by the public . Important architects included Hans Ditlev Franciscus von Linstow and Christian Heinrich Grosch . As in many other countries, attempts were made in Norway around 1900 to develop its own architectural style, which resulted in the dragon style . In addition to the medieval stave churches, the stave rooms used as food storage were also part of typical Norwegian architecture. The period of Norwegian national romanticism was followed by periods in which neo-baroque , neoclassicism and functionalism became more widespread. Major architects in the 20th century included Henrik Bull and Sverre Fehn . In the early 2000s, the Snøhetta architecture firm began to implement international and national projects such as the Oslo Opera House .

    Well-known Norwegian buildings today include the wooden stave churches. Of the 28 preserved stave churches, Borgund stave church and Urnes stave church are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø is one of the most famous modern churches .



    First floor of the National Library

    An important part of the Norwegian library system is the fact that the use of libraries is free for all residents of Norway, with each municipality being obliged to operate a library. Norway has one of the most comprehensive systems for legal deposit worldwide.


    The public broadcaster Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK) offers nationwide television and radio programs as well as regional offers. Larger private TV channels are TV 2 and TVNorge . In 2020, 48% of the population watched television on an average day; excluding online offers, the figure was 39%. The most popular TV channels were NRK1 and TV 2. 49% of Norwegians listened to the radio every day in 2020, compared to 71% in 1991. The radio stations with the largest audience were NRK P1 and P4 Radio Hele Norge .


    In 2020, around 24% of the population read a printed newspaper on an average day, compared to 85% in 1994. The proportion of the population who read online newspapers or newspapers in printed format was 77% in 2020. In 2012, according to a representative survey for the Norsk mediebarometer, 25 percent of those surveyed used two or more newspapers; In 1991 that was 50 percent.

    The country's top-circulation titles in 2019 were Aftenposten , the tabloids Verdens Gang (VG), Dagbladet and the Bergen daily Bergens Tidende . The websites of VG, the Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Dagbladet and TV 2 were leading in the digital sector. There are still numerous regional newspapers. At the end of 2010 there were 226 newspapers in Norway , at the end of 2019 there were still 218. In 2019, the two largest newspaper groups were Schibsted and Amedia , which together published 86 newspapers.



    National Theater in Oslo

    The first professional theater in Norway was founded in 1827, although the operation was initially in private hands. The first state grants were not distributed until the 1920s. Important spoken theater stages today are the Nationaltheatret in Oslo as the largest Norwegian theater, Den Nationale Scene in Bergen as the oldest Norwegian theater and the Norske Teatret in Oslo, which plays in the language form Nynorsk . Other larger theaters are the Trøndelag Teater in Trondheim, the Rogaland Teater in Stavanger, the Agder Teater in Kristiansand, the Drammen Teater in Drammen and the Sami Beaivváš Sámi Našunálateáhter in Kautokeino. The largest music theater in Norway is Den Norske Opera & Ballet , located in the Oslo Opera House .

    One of the most important dramatists was the national poet Henrik Ibsen (1828–1906) with dramas that are still widely performed today , such as Peer Gynt and Die Wildente . Another influential figure in Norwegian theater is the Nobel laureate Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson .



    Edvard Grieg around 1900

    Folk music has a long tradition in Norway and appears in Old Norse literary sources . In Sámi folk music, joik is one of the most important elements. In modern times, the singer Mari Boine is one of the most famous representatives of Sami music in Norway. The best-known Norwegian composer is Edvard Grieg with his romantic compositions . Other important composers include: Johan Svendsen , Ole Bull , and Ludvig Mathias Lindeman .

    Jan Garbarek live in Athens (2007)

    In the field of popular music, the band a-ha is one of the most successful Norwegian representatives. Wencke Myhre is one of the most famous pop singers who also became successful in German-speaking countries in the 1960s. From the late 1990s, hip-hop became more important in youth culture, with the duo Karpe being one of the most successful players in the genre in Norway . In the field of electronic music, for example, Kygo and the duo Stargate achieved international success.

    In the metal scene , Norway is famous for its numerous black metal bands such as Enslaved . The Norwegian bands are seen as defining the genre. Norway also has a very lively jazz scene with several jazz events such as the Kongsberg Jazz Festival . Important representatives include Jan Garbarek , Knut Riisnæs , Terje Rypdal and Karin Krog . Important Norwegian music prizes are the Spellemannpris , the Kritikerpris and the Buddypris for jazz music.

    World heritage

    Bryggen with the port-side facades of the former trading offices

    So far, eight World Heritage Sites in Norway have been recognized by UNESCO . Most recently, in 2015, the industrial cities of Rjukan and Notodden were added to the list of World Heritage Sites.


    The eight world heritage sites are:


    Norway is primarily a winter sports nation and has a long tradition in Nordic skiing . Many developments in skiing, especially in ski jumping and cross-country skiing , have their origins in Norway. The country is often a leader in many winter sports disciplines in international competitions. Successful winter athletes such as Oscar Mathisen , Sonja Henie , Kjetil André Aamodt , Marit Bjørgen and the most successful biathlete of all time, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, emerged. The 1952 Winter Olympics were held in Oslo and the 1994 Winter Games were held in Lillehammer .

    Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 Chess Olympiad

    In the field of summer sports, sailing and shooting sports were of particular importance for a long time . For example, the Norwegian kings Olav V and Harald V took part in sailing in the Olympic Games and World Championships for their country. Only towards the end of the 20th century did sports such as football , athletics or cycling become more important. The branches of the sports association Norges idrettsforbund og olympiske og paralympiske komité (NIF) with the largest number of members are now football, skiing, golf and handball . The association is Norway's largest voluntary organization, and it became more important, especially from the 1970s, after sport was recognized by the state as part of the “expanded concept of culture”. Even chess is a popular sport in Norway, successful players are Simen Agdestein and Magnus Carlsen .

    As in other countries, women were not allowed to participate in many sports for a long time or were not allowed to participate in competitions. After the gradual opening, which brought access to top-class sport in many disciplines, especially in the 1970s, the national soccer and handball teams , among others, were able to win international titles. The runner Grete Waitz won the first women's marathon world championship in 1983 . From the 1990s onwards, ski jumping became a more widespread sport among women.

    See also

    Portal: Norway  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Norway


    Web links

    Commons : Norway  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
    Wiktionary: Norway  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
     Wikinews: Norway  - in the news
    Wikimedia Atlas: Norway  - geographical and historical maps
    Wikisource: Norway  - Sources and full texts
    Wikivoyage: Norway  Travel Guide

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    Coordinates: 63 °  N , 9 °  E