Introduction    Norway Top of Page
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.
   Geography    Norway Top of Page
Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden
Geographic coordinates:
62 00 N, 10 00 E
Map references:
total: 323,802 sq km
land: 307,442 sq km
water: 16,360 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries:
total: 2,542 km
border countries: Finland 727 km, Sweden 1,619 km, Russia 196 km
25,148 km (includes mainland 2,650 km, as well as long fjords, numerous small islands, and minor indentations 22,498 km; length of island coastlines 58,133 km)
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 10 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
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
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Norwegian Sea 0 m
highest point: Galdhopiggen 2,469 m
Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, titanium, pyrites, nickel, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 2.7%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 97.3% (2005)
Irrigated land:
1,270 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources:
381.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 2.4 cu km/yr (23%/67%/10%)
per capita: 519 cu m/yr (1996)
Natural hazards:
rockslides, avalanches
Environment - current issues:
water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
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 most rugged and longest coastlines in the world
   People    Norway Top of Page
4,660,539 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18.5% (male 441,508/female 422,050)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 1,564,482/female 1,522,519)
65 years and over: 15.2% (male 305,120/female 404,860) (2009 est.)
Median age:
total: 39.4 years
male: 38.5 years
female: 40.2 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.341% (2009 est.)
Birth rate:
11.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate:
9.33 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.71 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 3.58 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 3.92 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.22 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.95 years
male: 77.29 years
female: 82.74 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.78 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
noun: Norwegian(s)
adjective: Norwegian
Ethnic groups:
Norwegian 94.4% (includes Sami, about 60,000), other European 3.6%, other 2% (2007 estimate)
Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)
Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; note - Sami is official in six municipalities
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 100%
male: 100%
female: 100%
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 17 years
male: 17 years
female: 18 years (2006)
Education expenditures:
7.2% of GDP (2005)
   Government    Norway Top of Page
Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Norway
conventional short form: Norway
local long form: Kongeriket Norge
local short form: Norge
Government type:
constitutional monarchy
name: Oslo
geographic coordinates: 59 55 N, 10 45 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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
Dependent areas:
Bouvet Island, Jan Mayen, Svalbard
7 June 1905 (Norway declared the union with Sweden dissolved); 26 October 1905 (Sweden agreed to the repeal of the union)
National holiday:
Constitution Day, 17 May (1814)
17 May 1814; amended many times
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
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King HARALD V (since 17 January 1991); Heir Apparent Crown Prince HAAKON MAGNUS, son of the monarch (born 20 July 1973)
head of government: Prime Minister Jens STOLTENBERG (since 17 October 2005)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the monarch with the approval of parliament
elections: the monarch is hereditary; following parliamentary elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch with the approval of the parliament
Legislative branch:
modified unicameral Parliament or Storting (169 seats; members are elected by popular vote by proportional representation to serve four-year terms); note - in 2009 the number of seats will change to 165
elections: last held 12 September 2005 (next to be held in September 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - Labor Party 32.7%, Progress Party 22.1%, Conservative Party 14.1%, Socialist Left Party 8.8%, Christian People's Party 6.8%, Center Party 6.5%, Liberal Party 5.9%, other 3.1%; seats by party - Labor Party 61, Progress Party 38, Conservative Party 23, Socialist Left Party 15, Christian People's Party 11, Center Party 11, Liberal Party 10
note: for certain purposes, the parliament divides itself into two chambers and elects one-fourth of its membership in the Lagting and three-fourths of its membership in the Odelsting
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Hoyesterett (justices appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Center Party [Liv Signe NAVARSETE]; Christian People's Party [Dagfinn HOYBRATEN]; Conservative Party [Erna SOLBERG]; Labor Party [Jens STOLTENBERG]; Liberal Party [Lars SPONHEIM]; Progress Party [Siv JENSEN]; Socialist Left Party [Kristin HALVORSEN]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Norwegian Aid Committee or NORWAC; Norwegian Association of the Disabled; Pure Salmon Campaign; The Consumer Council (consumer advocacy group)
other: environmental groups; media; reform movements
International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNITAR, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Wegger C. STROMMEN
chancery: 2720 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-6000
FAX: [1] (202) 337-0870
consulate(s) general: Houston, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Benson K. WHITNEY
embassy: Henrik Ibsens gate 48, 0244 Oslo; note - the embassy will move to Huseby in the near future
mailing address: PSC 69, Box 1000, APO AE 09707
telephone: [47] (22) 44 85 50
FAX: [47] (22) 44 33 63, 56 27 51
Flag description:
red with a blue cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
   Economy    Norway Top of Page
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 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 anticiipation of eventual declines in oil and gas prodution, 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 2.3% in 2008 as a result of the slowing world economy and the drop in oil prices.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$256.5 billion (2008 est.)
$252 billion (2007)
$243 billion (2006)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$481.1 billion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
1.8% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$55,200 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.4%
industry: 40.7%
services: 56.8% (2008 est.)
Labor force:
2.59 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 21.1%
services: 76% (2008)
Unemployment rate:
2.6% (2008 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 23.4% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
25 (2008)
Investment (gross fixed):
20.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
revenues: $283.7 billion
expenditures: $197 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt:
52% of GDP (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
2.5% (1st quarter 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
3.5% (1st quarter 2009)
Stock of money:
Stock of quasi money:
Stock of domestic credit:
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$142.5 billion (31 December 2008)
Agriculture - products:
barley, wheat, potatoes; pork, beef, veal, milk; fish
petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textiles, fishing
Industrial production growth rate:
0.2% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production:
142.7 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - consumption:
128.8 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - exports:
17.3 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
3.45 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
2.565 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption:
224,500 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports:
2.31 million bbl/day (2007)
Oil - imports:
92,650 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - proved reserves:
6.865 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production:
99.3 billion cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
6.5 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
85.7 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
2.241 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance:
$84.35 billion (2008 est.)
$177.6 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, ships, fish
Exports - partners:
UK 26.3%, Germany 12.3%, Netherlands 10.2%, France 8%, Sweden 6.5%, US 6.2% (2007)
$93.21 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Sweden 14.7%, Germany 13.6%, UK 6.9%, Denmark 6.4%, China 6.1%, US 4.8%, Canada 4.3% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$60.84 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$469.1 billion; note - Norway is a net external creditor (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$69.04 billion (2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$142.3 billion (2008 est.)
Exchange rates:
Norwegian kroner (NOK) per US dollar - 5.6361 (2008), 5.86 (2007), 6.418 (2006), 6.445 (2005), 6.7327 (2004)
   Communications    Norway Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
1.988 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
5.192 million (2007)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern in all respects; one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Europe
domestic: Norway has a domestic satellite system; moreover, the prevalence of rural areas encourages the wide use of cellular-mobile systems instead of fixed-wire 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 5, FM 160, shortwave 1 (2008)
Television broadcast stations:
69 (2008)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
2.995 million (2008)
Internet users:
3.8 million (2007)
   Transportation    Norway Top of Page
98 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 67
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 29 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 31
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 25 (2007)
1 (2007)
condensate 31 km; gas 64 km (2008)
total: 4,114 km
standard gauge: 4,114 km 1.435-m gauge (2,552 km electrified) (2008)
total: 92,946 km
paved: 72,033 km (includes 664 km of expressways)
unpaved: 20,913 km (2007)
1,577 km (2008)
Merchant marine:
total: 688
by type: bulk carrier 46, cargo 141, carrier 3, chemical tanker 137, combination ore/oil 12, container 4, liquefied gas 65, passenger/cargo 117, petroleum tanker 85, refrigerated cargo 14, roll on/roll off 13, specialized tanker 1, vehicle carrier 50
foreign-owned: 199 (Canada 10, Chile 2, China 36, Denmark 25, Estonia 1, Finland 1, France 3, Germany 1, Greece 3, Hong Kong 20, Iceland 3, Italy 4, Japan 29, Lithuania 1, Malaysia 1, Monaco 5, Poland 3, Saudi Arabia 3, Singapore 1, Sweden 34, UK 5, US 8)
registered in other countries: 923 (Antigua and Barbuda 8, Australia 1, Bahamas 189, Barbados 38, Belize 3, Bermuda 5, Brazil 5, Canada 3, Cayman Islands 1, China 1, Comoros 1, Cook Islands 5, Cyprus 18, Denmark 3, Dominica 1, Estonia 2, Faroe Islands 4, Finland 3, France 5, Gibraltar 33, Hong Kong 40, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 20, Italy 2, South Korea 2, Liberia 40, Libya 1, Malta 93, Marshall Islands 66, Netherlands 12, Netherlands Antilles 3, Panama 89, Philippines 10, Russia 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13, Singapore 143, Spain 5, Sweden 7, Tuvalu 1, UK 31, US 9, unknown 4) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Bergen, Borg Havn, Haugesund, Maaloy, Mongstad, Narvik, Oslo, Sture
   Military    Norway Top of Page
Military branches:
Norwegian Army (Haeren), Royal Norwegian Navy (Kongelige Norske Sjoeforsvaret, RNoN; includes Coastal Rangers and Coast Guard (Kystvakt)), Royal Norwegian Air Force (Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret, RNoAF), Home Guard (Heimevernet, HV) (2007)
Military service age and obligation:
18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months; although all males between ages of 18 and 44 are liable for service, in practice they are seldom called to duty after age 30; reserve obligation to age 35-60; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard, who serve 6-month duty tours (2006)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,078,181
females age 16-49: 1,046,550 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 888,219
females age 16-49: 863,255 (2009 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 31,980
female: 30,543 (2009 est.)
Military expenditures:
1.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Norway Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Norway asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Queen Maud Land and its continental shelf); despite dialogue, Russia and Norway continue to dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone

This page was last updated on 9 April 2009


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