About Norway [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Norway; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.


Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden


Temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior with increased precipitation and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast


Glaciated; mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys; small, scattered plains; coastline deeply indented by fjords; arctic tundra in north


lowest point: Norwegian Sea 0 m
highest point: Galdhopiggen 2,469 m

Geo Notes

About two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much-indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of the most rugged and longest coastlines in the world

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Kingdom of Norway
conventional short form: Norway
local long form: Kongeriket Norge
local short form: Norge

Capital City

name: Oslo
geographic coordinates: 59 55 N, 10 45 E
time difference: UTC+1
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative Divisions

19 counties (fylker, singular - fylke); Akershus, Aust-Agder, Buskerud, Finnmark, Hedmark, Hordaland, More og Romsdal, Nordland, Nord-Trondelag, Oppland, Oslo, Ostfold, Rogaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Sor-Trondelag, Telemark, Troms, Vest-Agder, Vestfold

Natuaral Hazards

Rockslides, avalanches
volcanism: Beerenberg (elev. 2,227 m, 7,306 ft) on Jan Mayen Island in the Norwegian Sea is the country's only active volcano

Environmental Issues

Water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions

Life Expectancy

total population: 80.08 years
male: 77.42 years
female: 82.89 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.054 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; note - Sami is official in six municipalities

Religions Practiced

Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)

Legal System

Mixture of customary law, civil law system, and common law traditions; Supreme Court renders advisory opinions to legislature when asked; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Dependent Areas

Bouvet Island, Jan Mayen, Svalbard

National Holiday

Constitution Day, 17 May (1814)

Telephone System

general assessment: modern in all respects; one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Europe
domestic: Norway has a domestic satellite system; the prevalence of rural areas encourages the wide use of mobile-cellular systems
international: country code - 47; 2 buried coaxial cable systems; submarine cables provide links to other Nordic countries and Europe; satellite earth stations - NA Eutelsat, NA Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Norway shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden) (1999)

Broadcast Media

State-owned public radio-TV broadcaster operates 3 nationwide television stations, 3 nationwide radio stations, and 16 regional radio stations; roughly a dozen privately-owned television stations broadcast nationally and roughly another 25 local TV stations are available; nearly 75% of households have access to multi-channel cable or satellite TV systems; 2 privately-owned radio stations broadcast nationwide and another 240 stations operate locally (2008)


Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive welfare system and planning for the time when petroleum reserves are depleted. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU.

Economy Overview

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state-majority-owned enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for nearly half of exports and over 30% of state revenue. Norway is the world's third-largest gas exporter; its position as an oil exporter has slipped to seventh-largest as production has begun to decline. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves almost all state revenue from the petroleum sector in a sovereign wealth fund. After lackluster growth of less than 1.5% in 2002-03, GDP growth picked up to 2.5-6.2% in 2004-07, partly due to higher oil prices. Growth fell to 2.1% in 2008, and the economy contracted by 1% in 2009 as a result of the slowing world economy and the drop in oil prices.

National Anthem

name: "Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Yes, We Love This Country)
lyrics/music: Bjornstjerne BJORNSON/Rikard NORDRAAK
note: adopted 1864; in addition to the national anthem, "Kongesangen" (Song of the King), which uses the tune of "God Save the Queen," serves as the royal anthem

Norway location map

total: 323,802 sq km
land: 304,282 sq km
water: 19,520 sq km

Norway flag

4,676,305 (July 2010 est.)


noun: Norwegian(s)
adjective: Norwegian

Ethnic Groups

Norwegian 94.4% (includes Sami, about 60,000), other European 3.6%, other 2% (2007 estimate)


0.1% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

7 June 1905 (Norway declared the union with Sweden dissolved); 26 October 1905 (Sweden agreed to the repeal of the union)

Government Type

Constitutional monarchy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

3.935 million (2008)

Internet Hosts

3.352 million (2010)

Internet Country Code


Number Airports

98 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 67
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 25 (2010)

Number Heliports

1 (2010)


total: 4,114 km
standard gauge: 4,114 km 1.435-m gauge (2,552 km electrified) (2009)


total: 92,946 km
paved: 72,033 km (includes 664 km of expressways)
unpaved: 20,913 km (2007)

Inland Waterways

1,577 km (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Bergen, Haugesund, Maaloy, Mongstad, Narvik, Sture

National Budget

revenues: $212.9 billion
expenditures: $175.9 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

$53.53 billion (2009 est.)
$88.34 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar - 6.3988 (2009), 5.6361 (2008), 5.86 (2007), 6.418 (2006), 6.445 (2005)

Inflation Rate

2.1% (2009 est.)
3.8% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textiles, fishing

Agricultural Products

Barley, wheat, potatoes; pork, beef, veal, milk; fish

Labor Force

2.59 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 21.1%
services: 76% (2008)

Unemployment Rate

3.2% (2009 est.)
2.6% (2008 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$268.3 billion (2009 est.)
$272.1 billion (2008 est.)
$267.3 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$57,600 (2009 est.)
$58,600 (2008 est.)
$57,700 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 23.4% (2000)

Family Income Gini

25 (2008)
25.8 (1995)

Below Poverty