Travel Guides: Norway
Norway, officially called the Kingdom of Norway, is located in the western part of the Scandinavian Peninsula and its capital is Oslo.
Norway area is 385,639 sq km and the number of inhabitants is 4.5 million, according to the 2004 census. Other major cities beside Oslo are Bergen, cultural and tourism center, Trondheim, where is found the majestic Nidaros cathedral, built in the eleventh century, and Tromso, which makes Norway’s access to the Arctic Ocean. Norway’s history is very spectacular because of the famous Viking who roamed on their famous ships, the world’s seas. Towards the middle of ninth century Viking settlements existed in the British Isles and Iceland. One hundred years later, Erik the Red led the Vikings in Greenland and around the year 1000 under the leadership of Leif Eriksson, the Vikings reached North America. Norway’s rich folk culture still draws its lifeblood from the Viking period, an example of this being the impressive medieval saga.
Among Norwegian writers of the modern and contemporary period playwright Henrik Ibsen and Nobel Prize winners Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset have an international reputation. The most important Norwegian composer is Edvard Grieg, known in particular by Peer Gynt, musical transposition of Ibsen work with the same title. Norwegian tourism has grown steadily in recent years, especially in the mountain resorts. For those who want a different destination than exotic countries, warm and full of the same stories and pictures that certainly had already heard from those who got there first, the Nordic countries could be an interesting option. After all, who would choose the Scandinavian lands, frozen and seemingly always so unfriendly, if they have the opportunity to get in a hot land? But these countries unknown for many tourists have a lot to offer to tourists who want to know them, Norway being only one of them, but it is the most interesting and fascinating one.
It is no accident that Norway is among the countries considered true treasures of the world through the large number of sites full of history, marking the role they played in the world history. There are countless sights to be visited in this country. One of the most important is the wooden church of Urnes, located in beautiful natural setting of Sogn og Fjordane. It was built in XII-XII centuries and is an extraordinary example of traditional Scandinavian architecture, bringing together elements of Celtic art, Viking traditions and Roman structures. Bryggen, the old wharf in Bergen, is a testament to the importance that the city had in the commercial empire of the Hanseatic League from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Many fires, the last taking place in 1955, partially or totally destroyed the old wooden houses, but miraculously a good part of the town has been preserved. Most of the 58 buildings are currently used as workshops by local artists.
The history of Roros town, surrounded by mountains, is closely connected with the exploitation of copper mines opened in the seventeenth century and used for 333 years, until 1977. Entirely rebuilt after being destroyed in 1679 by Swedish troops, the city has about 80 houses, most surrounding inner courts. Many retained their facades of thick trunks, dark, giving the town a medieval appearance. Cave Drawings of Alta Fjord, near the Arctic Circle, are the latest evidence of a settlement that existed there between 4200-500 BC. The thousands of paintings and engravings in stone help us understand today how people were living in the Northern provinces thousands of years ago. Geirangerfjord and Neroyfjord fjords from western Norway separated by 120 km are the combination of fjords that extend from Stavanger to Andalsnes. The two fjords, two of the longest and deepest in the world, are considered by experts and tourists who have had the chance to view some of the most beautiful landscapes.
Those who wish to visit Norway have to purchase a travel guide, and the Norwegian government, aware of the country’s tourism potential, has given so much attention to this area, that such a guide can have several hundred pages, surprisingly many for a country still quite small. We must not forget that for a tourist prices may seem quite large, but for a vacation such a sacrificial material should be easy to accept. Not to get lost, it helps a Norwegian plane trip. You can start from Bergen, the best city for those who have just walked the earth of fjords. The Port and Old Town are fascinating, and the history of the places can be relived through the collections of local museums. From Bergen you can travel by bus or train, having the chance to admire beautiful landscapes. It is best to choose a sea voyage, during which you can see much better the fjords. Arrived in Oslo you will find that although it is the country’s capital and the most populous city, it offers little attractions.
Notable exceptions and not to be missed are: the Edvard Munch Museum and Vikinskiphuset (Viking boat museum). Then you can go to Stavanger, a modern city which has preserved a portion of the old city, where a walk will bring you past hundreds of years, then Trondheim and finally Tromso. The nature of the country’s impressive tourism is very important for Norway, because it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Geiranger Fjord and Northern Cape are among the most visited tourist attractions of the country. Norway is greatly appreciated by winter sports opportunities to impressive heights, as well as the west coast, Hurtigruten, many cruises being organized in this area. The country is impressive also from a cultural standpoint, because of the famous wooden churches that unique in the world and some impressive cities.
Norway is called the “Land of Fjords”, because some of the most spectacular and most beautiful fjords in the world are met here, cruises on the fjords being very popular with tourists. Among the most famous Norwegian fjords are: Sognefjord – the longest (204 m) fjord in Europe and second in the world after Scoresby Sund in Groendlanda and deepest (maximum depth 1309 m) fjord in the world. From this fjord start several side branches, such as Aurlandsfjord, Nærøyfjord (the narrowest in the world, included in UNESCO) and Lustrafjord; Geirangerfjord – also included in the UNESCO heritage is at the same time one of the most famous fjord in Norway, with lovely views offered by two of the most beautiful waterfalls: Brudesloret (Bridal Veil) and Desyvsostrene (the seven sisters); Lysefjord, famous for its mountain scenery; Hardangerfjord – the second largest in Europe, third in the world. It is famous for spring and glacier landscapes and Folgefonna where you can ski throughout the summer; Stavangerfjord.
Winter sports: Lillehammer – is one of the oldest winter sports destinations in Norway, known for the fact that in 1994 there were held the Winter Olympics; At 13 km from Lillehammer is found is the first winter park in Europe, Hunderfossen Vinterpark, where you can practice many kinds of winter activities and sports for all ages; Holmenkollen – a part of the city of Oslo, very famous for ski jumping taking place there. On the Holmenkollen ski arena were expandable competitions since 1892, when 10,000 people were present. Currently, the arena has a capacity of over 50,000 people. The tower from where the jumps are made is 60 meters high. The tower is in demolition because they want to build one that will meet the standards required to host the 2011 Nordic World Ski Championships; Ice Hotels.
Northern Cape: It is often mistakenly considered the northernmost point of Europe, but it is the northernmost point of mainland Europe (71 ° 08 ’02 835 “N), because in Europe there is a point in the North (71 ° 11′ 08 “N), namely Knivskjellodden also situated in Norway. These limits are valid but only if it is not taken into account the distant islands. If we include these islands, the northernmost point Cape Fligeli as Rudolf Island, Franz Josef Land, Russia (81 ° 48 ’24 “N). North Cape is located at approximately 2100 km from North Pole and 520 miles above the Arctic Circle. North Cape is known as “The place where the sun never sets” or “Land of the Midnight Sun” because from the end of May to late July the sun stays above the horizon. The period during which you can see the most beautiful scenery is generated by boreal aureoles between September and April, although the phenomenon occurs throughout the year.
Because of its remote distance, until the mid-twentieth-century, North Cape was visited only by people with a very good material situation. Now the means of communication and infrastructure were improved and became one of main world tourist attractions, visited annually by about 200,000 tourists from around the world. West Coast: Few places in the world offer spectacular views like the fjords of western Norway. Many of them are deep and narrow, with rocks that rise and fall as the water falling from great heights. You can find fjords more “friendly”, where strong and prosperous communities formed the rich fisheries. You can enjoy the diversity of the Norwegian fjords in other ways. In the summer, you can start your day skiing on the glacier Folgefonna and you can conclude swimming in the sea. There are places where fruit trees are budded or filled with snow.
You can admire the art of nature in the waterfall known as the Bridal Veil together with the art of engineering in the turns on winding roads or Trollstigen Ørneveien. You may also want to visit the cities of Bergen and Stavanger, where charming coexists in harmony with wooden houses and a modern shipping or a petroleum industry. Central Norway: Central Norway has played a key role in history. The Stiklestad battle in 1030 was a turning point in the Christianization of Norway. Nidaros as it was then called the city of Trondheim, was for four centuries in the Middle Ages, the political, religious and commercial heart of the country and an important place of pilgrimage. Nidaros Cathedral is the largest medieval building in Scandinavia, endowed with magnificent sculptures and stained special glass. The original church was built on the site where St. Olav was buried after the Battle of Stiklestad.
Trondheim is famous for its wooden buildings, the oldest of which are strung along the harbor and along the river, providing for long commercial history of the city. To the east lies the mining town of Røros, very well preserved. The city with a unique wooden church and a few hundred houses is inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. North Norway: In northern Norway, the midnight sun sheds its clear light on spectacular islands, deep fjords, snow-capped mountains, vast grasslands and rich wetlands. Magical quality of light in this region has inspired many writers, musicians and artists. This province has much to offer. Whether you choose to travel along the coast in a boat or walk through the coastal roads in the region, you’ll encounter charming villages and ancient squares where you know people and culture. You can meet the Sámi, the indigenous people of the north, and learn about the traditions and way of life.
Despite its location, the northern region of Norway has a mild climate thanks to the temperate waters of the Gulf Stream, which covers the coast. If you want to know the nightlife and cultural life, the city of Tromsø is often called the “Paris of the North” and it is the ideal choice – or visit the North Cape to enjoy the views from the edge of Europe. South Norway: Besides the beautiful summer weather, this region offers everything from charming coastal resorts vibrant exceptional landscapes and cultural activities of the continental area. Towns and villages are strung along the coast like pearls in a necklace and are often well protected by the rocky offshore islands. Secure ports were once very important commercial and fishing vessels were gradually turned into vital commercial and cultural centers. In the summer, local markets are full of fruit and vegetables and fresh fish course.
On the continent, although not far from the coast, there are mountains and valleys, lakes for freshwater fish, tranquil forests and swamp lands. As all ski enthusiasts know, the cradle of skiing is Morgedal in Telemark County. Not far away, you can surf on the coast towards the rural areas along the Telemark Canal, aboard the venerable Victoria vessel. The Channel won the Europa Nostra for restoration and conservation. Eastern Norway: East Norway has a varied landscape ranging from flat farmland, spread by dramatic mountains with heights. In this region you will find the capital, Oslo and Norway’s oldest town, Tønsberg, the largest lake, Lake Mjøsa, and the highest mountain Galdhopiggen (2469 m). Eastern Norway is the most populated region and offers a rich selection of cultural and outdoor activities. Much of this area is covered with forests and many lakes and rivers offer excellent fishing opportunities.
A unique cultural and architectural experience is visiting the cathedral ruins at Hamar on Lake Mjøsa, from nearly 1000 years. At the end of the Oslo fjord is the capital city with its rich programs, concerts, theater and opera, museums and galleries. Oslo is famous for its night life, located on picturesque street cafes, restaurants and shops very varied. Not far from Oslo is Numedal winding valleys, Hallingdal, and Gudbrandsdalen Eggedal. Also within walking distance of the capital are amazing landscapes, picturesque coastal villages and large areas of wild mountains. The land of the “Midnight Sun” will offer unique experiences. Norway is a land of tradition, represented by rustic wooden churches and folk dances. The children grew up listening to stories about trolls and fairies, and some adults, although not recognize, still believe in these fabulous creatures. Norway is also a land of waterfalls, rapid rivers, majestic mountains and glaciers, crystalline lakes, fjords and quiet fishing village. Its northern coast is dotted with houses painted in bright colors that contrast with the sobriety of fjords and mountains.
Norway is a blend of ancient and modern. It is really strange and also a Sámi common to see a grandmother, dressed in a suit in bright colors and reindeer leather loafers, with the tips turned, Tromso airport waiting plane. The midnight sun is famous – Tromsø lies above the Arctic Circle where the sun never rises in the winter, and never sets in the summer. Each of the four major cities offers a unique charm – Oslo is the capital and financial center, Bergen is the former Hanseatic port and gateway to the land of fjords, Stavanger is a central point of the oil industry, and Trondheim is an ancient center of Christianity and, recently, technical research. In the wilds of the great urban centers are rare beauties, and Jostedalsbreen, is the largest glacier in Europe. Activities that can be held outdoors: skiing, fishing and climbing.
Main attractions: When visiting the capital, do not miss the excellent collection of museums including the Museum Thor Heyerdahl Kontiki Museum, Munch Museum and Viking boat. Also in Oslo, visit the Royal Palace (Konegelige Slott), opened to visitors from early June to mid August. At a short distance from downtown is Akershus Castle, where you can explore the city’s military past. Above the town, the Holmenkollen ski center is a major attraction throughout the year, with a museum and a ski simulator that offers a virtual experience of jumping. Walk through the wooden warehouses in Bruggen, Bergen’s historic center and a place on UNESCO‘s world heritage list. Go with the cable car or funicular to the top of the mountains surrounding Bergen, former hanseatic port. Explore nearby fish market or take a trip to Troldhaugen, former residence of composer Edvard Grieg. Discover the city’s former glory days of Trondheim, the capital of Norway when it was in Nidaros Cathedral and visit Ringve Museum, which holds a collection of historical musical instruments.
Do not miss one of the 28 planks of medieval churches, scattered in the south of the country. Urnes is the oldest church, dating from 1130. If you are interested in literary enjoyment, Skien is where Ibsen was born, the childhood home giving you an insight into his life and a multimedia exhibition. Roros is a small but picturesque mountain town, located near the border with Sweden and the seventeenth century until the 1980s was a mining settlement. Discover the historic, old wooden church and Mining Museum. Observe Saltstraumen, the strongest maelstrom (whirlpool of water). There is a multimedia visitor center dedicated to this phenomenon. Saltstraumen is a strong current, which is about 30 km from the town of Bodo. Admire Vøringfossen waterfall, the most famous in Norway, located near the main road between Oslo and Bergen. Another waterfall, Mardalsfossen, is the highest waterfall in northern Europe, nearly 300 m.
Admire the midnight sun in the Arctic region, the Northern Cape and enjoy the comfort of cruise ship Coastal Express, which landed in several ports in the voyage in north. In Tromsø you can visit the most northern brewery, university and cathedral, two hours by plane from Oslo. Climb on Jostedalsbreen Glacier, the largest in Europe and the centerpiece of a national park. Admire the traditions, folklore, music, dance and traditional Norwegian dishes at events taking place at the Norske Folkemuseum outdoor museum on the island Bygdoy near Oslo. Learn more about semi-nomadic Sámi culture in Northern Lapland, the Sami museum in Varangerbotn Muse.
Gastronomy: Norwegian cuisine is hard to define in the same way as the French, in a country that has no history of aristocratic and bourgeois classes, to develop a culinary tradition. Outside the hotel, some traditions are still preserved in mountain huts. Today, however, Norwegian cuisine can certainly boast a great diversity. As in other countries, tourism has created a process of internationalization of the dishes – you can easily find international restaurant chains. In reaction to this process, it has started a trend of return to tradition. In rural areas, people have started to consult their grandmother cook book and some national dishes such as fermented fish (rakfisk), cheese (gammelost) and salted lamb ribs (pinnekjott) began to be popular again. The new generations of Norwegian chefs are turning to specifics, applying classic French cooking methods. Typically, breakfast is huge and consists of a variety of fish, meat, cheese and bread, served as a cold buffet with coffee and fried eggs. Alcohol tends to be limited and expensive, although beer and wine continues to be popular. Aquavit is the national drink Aquavit.
Norway is a modern, civilized country, with very hospitable people. Norway fjords land, an exotic and ultra-modern at the same time, is a monarchy situated in Northern Europe, the sixth country in the area, with a population of 4,525,000 inhabitants. Today, after a long period of demographic growth, there is a decrease in birth rate. Norway continues with suburban cities, and so is much lower than other European cities. They have few commercial buildings and lack pace high pace of life found in other cities with developed industrial countries. If you are invited to dinner, be sure to leave your shoes in the hall, especially in winter and early spring. Also it is a habit that guests do not drink or eat until they are invited by the host. Courtesy in Norway is more than a matter of linguistic behavior. For example “please” is a phrase rarely used in Norwegian. Do not speak loudly and keep your temper which is an essential sign of virtue. Norwegians are generally people directly and speakers addressed by first name, even in formal situations.
It might seem expensive to you living in Norway. Remember though that the average income of residents is very high compared with other developed countries. The national day is full of flags across the country. Also during the other holidays, like Christmas, it uses very much the national flag. Local time is GMT +1. Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe have ended after the passing of King Olav Tryggvason to Christianity in 994. Between 1319 and 1905, Norway was part of other state entities, although it retained the identity: between 1319 and 1380, Norway was linked by a personal union with Sweden, then, between 1380 and 1840, with Denmark. In 1814, the Danish-Norwegian personal union was dissolved, Norway was ceded to Sweden. In 1905, the Swedish-Norwegian personal union is terminated, and Norway proclaimed its independence. Neutral in World War Norway was occupied in World War II by Germany. NATO member since 1949, Norway has refused entry into the EU after the two referendums held in 1972 and 1994.
Location: Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, Russia, Finland, Sweden. Area: Total: 324,220 sq km, Land: 307,880 sq km, Water: 16,360 sq km. Climate: It is influenced by latitude and relief, but moderated by warm waters of the Norwegian Current (Gulf Stream part of the system). Extreme points: The deepest point: Norwegian Sea 0 m. Highest point: 2469 m Galdhopiggen. Population: 4,546,123 (July 2003 estimate). Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.9% (male 465,320, female 439 095), 15-64 years: 65.2% (male 1,501,608; female 1,462,590), over 65 years: 14.9% (male 281,554, female 395,956) (2003 estimate). Ethnic groups: Norwegian, Finnish Lapland. Religion: 88% Protestantism, Catholicism and other religions. Languages spoken: Norwegian (official). Capital: Oslo. Independence Day: May 17 (Constitution Day – 1814). Coin: Norwegian Krown (NOK). Means of communication: Telephones: 2.735 million (1999), Mobile: 2080408 (1998), TV stations: 360, Internet country code: .no, Internet users: 2.68 million (2001 estimate). Airports: 102 (2002 estimate).
A third of Norway (north side) is located above the Arctic Circle. Oslo, Norway’s capital and largest city, is located in the south of the country. Most Norwegians live near or along the coast. High winds warmed the coast give much milder winters than those in northern regions, and snow melts faster here. Even north of the Arctic Circle, almost all Norwegian ports are ice-free all year round. Inland areas have a much colder climate, and snow is present almost all year round. For thousands of years people used to go skiing on snow-covered ground. Today, Norway’s national sport is skiing site. Most Norwegians learn to ski even before going to school. Norway, with Denmark and Sweden is one of the Scandinavian countries. Vikings lived in three countries a thousand years ago. Vikings from Norway were those who sailed to Iceland and Greenland establishing colonies there. Around the year 1000 AC., Leif Ericson who was sailing from Greenland to the west has reached U.S. shores. It was the first European expedition to America.
Since the time of Vikings, Norwegians were skilled navigators. The coast of Norway is famous for its many notches called fjords (narrow inlets and slotted), which provides very good ports. Important banks of fish are found over the west coast, representing a major export dry fish since the 1200s. Norway began to develop its naval fleet during 1600. Today, naval and fishing industry of Norway is among the largest in the world. Forestry has played traditionally an important role in the economy. Forestry is another important industry. Trees grown for marketing cover large sections of the plain. Norway is made up largely of mountain plateaus, with bare rocks, and has relatively little land. But rapid rivers coming from mountains provide very cheap electricity. Norway generates more hydroelectric power per capita than any other country.
Norway’s major products include chemicals, metals, petroleum, foods, wood and paper. Norway is one of the largest oil producers because of the huge reserves in the North Sea. This has led Norway to become one of the richest people in the world. Constitution: Monarchy (King Harald V of 1991). Population: 1998 – 4400000 estimated population density 11 persons per square kilometer, distribution: 74% urban, 26% rural. National anthem: “Ja, vi elsker Dette Landete” (“Yes, we love this land”). Government: Prime Minister, parliament (Storting) with 165 members elected for a term of four years. The whole country is divided into 19 provinces, each with its own local government. All Norwegian citizens aged 18 years can vote. Area: 386,958 km², including Svalbard and Jan Mayen. The greater distance: from the northeast to 1752 km south-west, north-west to south-east: 430 km. Length of coastline: 2650 km.
Basic Products: Agriculture – barley, oats, hay, potatoes, livestock, milk, fish – cod, herring, mackerel, logging – timber, industrial products – aluminum, chemicals, foods, refined petroleum products, ships, timber and paper, mining – iron ores, lead, molybdenum, pyrites, zinc, oil and natural gas. Army: Norwegian men between 19 and 44 years are required to fulfill an internship between 12 and 15 months in the country’s army. It is a NATO member. GDP: 177.7 billion USD (2000). GDP per capita: 39.400 USD (2000). GDP growth: 2.2% Inflation: 2.2% (2000). The Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first man to reach the North Pole (1911). Norway has the fourth largest fleet in the world (after Greece, Japan and U.S.) and one of the largest fishing industries (after Japan). Norway generates most electric power per capita in the world. Norwegians are in 2nd place in the world per capita income in the world (after Sweden). Norway has the highest percentage of mobile phone subscribers, 45%, after Finland, 48%.
Norwegians invented the famous clip papers. Norwegians invented ski. Norway has been nominated many times in polls tourism as one of the most beautiful places in the world. What makes it so beautiful are the fjords with the tall mountains, with sharp rocks that end abruptly in the sea. Nowhere in the world is such a spectacular coast and increases as the one in Norway, and became famous for it. In Norway there are several museums with some of the best remnants of the Vikings. Among others – the famous Gokstadskeppet Osebergsskepet – two Viking ships very well preserved in 850 AC, and a boat for the funeral, can be seen in the capital Oslo, Vikingskiphuset (Bygdoy area). Another remarkable monument is the famous Stavkirche Vågåmo, a wooden church built in 1100-1200 with incredible wood decorations. In the north there is Nordkap, the northernmost point of Europe. Not far from the Lofoten islands Nordkap is where tourists can go to hunt whales.
Norway has a population of about 4.4 million. Norwegians are Scandinavian, being unrelated with the Danes and Swedes. Norwegians have strong ties with Americans. In the late 1800s and early 1900s more than 600,000 Norwegians immigrated to the United States in search for better jobs. No other country except Ireland, the United States did not give more immigrants in proportion to the population. About 20,000 Sami live in northern Lapland. That region also has about 10,000 people with Finnish ancestry. Norway has about 135,000 immigrants from Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Africa, USA, South East Asia and other European countries. Most of Norway is a high mountain plateau. Its average height is 457 meters above sea level, making it one of the most mountainous countries in the world (Switzerland is the rocky country of the world). Only a fifth of Norway has a lower altitude of 150 meters. Norway has three main regions: Mountainous Plateau, East and South Plains and Plains of Trondheim.
Mountainous plateau is covered by bare rocks that have been smoothed and rounded by glaciers. Glaciers have also formed many lakes, especially the Hardanger plateau. In the highlands of Norway, over 1980 meters, permanent snow and ice cover approximately 3110 km square. Jostedal Glacier with an area of 487 square kilometers is the largest area covered by ice in Europe, except Iceland. South-eastern plains zone consists mainly of river valleys Glam, which is 598 km, and from those of several other rivers. The rivers are used for timber transport and water mills. They provide falls hydroelectric power. Trondheim includes lowland plains of the broad valleys. In addition to land suitable for crops, the valleys also serve the important railway routes to other important parts of Norway and to Sweden. Fjords, narrow rocky coast of Norway make one of the most indented coasts of the world.
Almost 150 000 islands lie along the Norwegian coast. Some are just rocks that do show the storm on the sea shore. Norway’s climate is much milder than other countries at the same latitude, especially in the west coast. Near the Lofoten Islands, for example, temperatures in January are up to 25 degrees Celsius. Snow falling along the coast melts almost immediately. North Atlantic Current and the warm Gulf Stream keep almost all the ports open, not allowing the formation of ice floes. In winter regions within Norway are colder because of the mountains stop the warm winds from the sea. Snow covers the country nearly three months of the year. During the summer, when the sea is colder than the coast, cool winds from the west coast more than territory within the country. The summers are hot in the valleys of south-east. Rain falls less than in internal regions on the coast.
Northern Norway is the land of “Midnight Sun” so all summer is almost continuous daylight. The numbers of days of continuous daylight increase as you go further north. In the northernmost areas of Norway remains the sun in the sky about 2.5 months. Southern Norway never has days with continuous light, although in summer the sun shines 19 hours. In winter, Norway has similar periods, but in the dark. In the northernmost parts of the country the sun never rises at all for almost two months. Southern Norway has the light every day, even in the middle of winter just 6 hours. Continue during the night sky – especially in northern areas of Norway – often animated aurora borealis, or as it is commonly called the Northern Lights. Norway has a well developed economy. Since 1940 the nation’s income from the production of goods has increased greatly. Unemployment has been all this time, very low.
Rapid economic growth has resulted from government programs to promote investment and industries, and of high foreign demand for Norwegian goods and services. Norwegian waters provide the most valuable resources. Important resources of oil and natural gas are found in North Sea. Norway’s major rivers are rich in fish. Numerous rivers that rush in Norway are used to produce hydroelectric power. Norwegian land is poor in natural resources. Almost 60% of Norway is made up of mountains and plains covered largely by bare rock. Only 3% of Norway is agricultural land. Forests cover more than 20% of the territory. Like other industrialized nations, the service industry is growing. The service industry represents 64% of Norway’s GDP, which was 165.3 billion USD (1998).
Industry represents 32% of GDP, while agriculture, forestry and fishing, taken together, represent 4% of GDP. In 1960, employees in the service industry accounted for 44% of the workforce. In the late 1980s, services accounted for 69% of the workforce. Goods-producing industry has developed much later in Norway than in other large industrial countries. Those countries had their own coal deposits with which provide fuel for machines. In the early nineteenth century Norway had to import coal for its plants, which makes its production expensive, hindering the development industry. Until the twentieth century, Norway had managed to develop cheaper production of electricity (hydropower). The factories have turned to hydropower to ensure its electrical power requirements. As a result, the manufacturing industry has developed rapidly becoming today one of the most important. Almost half of the factories are located in Oslo. The most important products are petroleum products, chemicals, metals such as aluminum and magnesium products, foods, wood and paper materials.
Norway is a leading producer of alumina. This metal is imported and processed from bauxite for aluminum and cheap electricity is produced more cheaply. Norway also produces clothing, electrical equipment, furniture and small vessels. Forced to become a major economic activity in the 1970s, the country began falling to extract oil and natural gas in the North Sea. Today, oil and natural gas provide more than 50% income for the country. Iron ores and pyrite, which are extracted and copper sulfides, are also present in Norway, where otherwise removed. Other minerals include lead, molybdenum and zinc. Coal is extracted only from Svalbard, an island located north of Norway. Forestry has been an important industry in Norway for hundreds of years. Timber exports began to intensively since the sixteenth century. Today wood is widely used as material for paper. Norway is a very important country in terms of fishing.
In Norway fish is on average 1.8 million tones of fish per year. Norwegian fish with vessels with large quantities of cod, herring, mackerel and haddock. Most fish is processed for export. Whaling died suddenly in 1960. The large number of whales caught by Norway and other nations has led to the threat of extinction of several species of whales. In the early twentieth century the hydro-energetic plants produced electricity required by the majority population and industry. But the discovery of oil and natural gas in the North Sea petroleum and transport industry has expanded. Norway is highly dependent on foreign trade to maintain their standard of living at a high level. Norway, with its limited natural resources imported a variety of foods and minerals as well as finished products. Oil and natural gas are the main products exported from Norway. Other exports include chemicals, fish, machinery, metals, transport equipment and paper wood.
Norway’s merchant fleet, one of the largest in the world, is an important source of revenue for the country. The fleet provides transportation services all over the world. Norway’s main trading partners are: Sweden, Germany and Britain. Norway has extensive commercial relations with other European countries, especially Denmark, Holland and France and the United States. Norway is not an EU member. During the Second World War nearly half of Norway’s merchant fleet was sunk while transporting goods for the Allies. After the war, the fleet has grown so it has become one of the largest in the world. Several hundred vessels connect cities and towns on the coast of Norway. The state owns and operates nearly all railroads. It also owns a part of Scandinavian Air System, which flies all over the world. Several other airlines provide scheduled services to all parts of Norway. The main airports in Norway are Oslo, Bergen and Stavanger.
Norway has about 80 newspapers. Most major daily newspapers are: Aftenposten, Arbeiterbladet, Verdens Gang and Dagbladet. The state owns the national television and radio, telegraph system, and most telephone services. Almost all Norwegian adults know how to read and write. Norwegian law requires from 7 to 16 years children to attend school. Primary school lasts six years and is followed by three years of secondary school followed by another 3 years of high school. School provides courses for those who want to continue with university studies. Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim and Tromso each have one university. High schools also include a regional network of colleges and several other technical or specialized institutions. Norwegians have contributed greatly to the development of art. The songs written by Henrik Ibsen in the late nineteenth century brought fame as the father of modern drama.
Three Norwegian writers have received the Nobel rize for literature. The painter Edvard Munch was a strong influence on the Expressionist style of the early twentieth century. Statues by Gustav Vigeland, Norwegian sculptor perhaps the greatest, can be seen in Frogner Park in Oslo. Edvard Grieg, Norwegian composer used folk melodies for his orchestral pieces. Outdoor sports are an important part of Norwegian life. Recreation areas are located at small distances from their homes. Ski, Norway’s national sport may have been invented as a way to travel here since the country was and is covered by snow. Many Norwegians go skiing trips across the country to reach the mountains in wooded hills. Almost every town has a ski jumping hill and second in popularity is the winter sport ice skating.11