Norwegia, Królestwo Norwegii (bokmal Norge, Kongeriket Norge, nynorsk Noreg, Kongeriket Noreg) – państwo położone w Europie Północnej na Półwyspie Skandynawskim. Administracyjnie podlegają Norwegii też Jan Mayen, archipelag Svalbard, Wyspa Bouveta, Wyspa Piotra I i Ziemia Królowej Maud na Antarktydzie (dwie ostatnie zgodnie z Traktatem Antarktycznym). Nazwa kraju pochodzi od Nordvegen co znaczy droga na północ.
Norwegia jest monarchią konstytucyjną. Według konstytucji, król ma bardzo szeroką władzę, m.in. wybiera Radę Państwa, w skład której wchodzi premier i co najmniej siedmiu członków, egzekwuje podatki, mianuje wszystkich urzędników cywilnych, kościelnych i wojskowych, jest naczelnym dowódcą sił lądowych i morskich, ma też prawo łaski.
W rzeczywistości władza wykonawcza spoczywa jednak w rękach rządu, na czele którego stoi premier. Władza ustawodawcza jest w rękach Stortingu (jednoizbowy parlament), w którym zasiada łącznie 169 deputowanych. Składa się z dwóch wydziałów: Lagtingu (1) i Odelstingu (3). Wybierany jest na kadencję czteroletnią. Projekty ustaw wnoszone są do Odelstingu przez jego członków lub rząd za pośrednictwem członka Rady Państwa. Konstytucja Norwegii obowiązuje od 17 maja 1814 roku, z późniejszymi zmianami.
System prawny Norwegii stanowi swoiste połączenie sytemu common i civil law. Występuje tu zarówno prawo ustawowe co jest typowe dla systemów kontynentalnych jak i prawo precedensowe typowe dla systemów anglosaskich.
Norwegia jest najmniej, po Islandii, zaludnionym krajem europejskim. Średnia gęstość zaludnienia wynosi 14,7 mieszkańca na 1 km2. Ludność jest skupiona głównie w południowej części kraju, w regionie Oslofjord oraz na wybrzeżach. W miastach mieszka 3,3 mln osób (73% ludności, dane z roku 2001). Największą aglomeracją jest Oslo. Średnia gęstość zaludnienia aglomeracji wynosi 3787 osób na km2. Inne duże miasta Norwegii to Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim, Tromso, Drammen, Fredrikstad, Molde, Lillestrom, Kristiansand, Narwik.
Norwegia graniczy z:
Finlandią na odcinku 727 km
Szwecją na odcinku 1619 km
Rosją na odcinku 196 km
Południowa i środkowa Norwegia jest położona w strefie klimatu umiarkowanego morskiego, a północ (za kołem polarnym) w zakresie umiarkowanego chłodnego morskiego, graniczącego na północnych wybrzeżach z subpolarnym. W niektórych rejonach kraju śniegi utrzymują się cały rok, a temperatura dochodzi do -30 °C
Najstarsze jak dotąd ślady działalności człowieka w Norwegii odkryto koło Komsa w okręgu Finnmark i niedaleko Fosna w Nordmore. Datuje się je na około 9000 p.n.e. – 8000 p.n.e.
W 793 r. atakiem na klasztor w Lindisfarne rozpoczęła się epoka wikingów. Od tego roku skandynawscy najeźdźcy na długich łodziach często widziani byli w portach Europy Północno-Zachodniej. Norwescy wikingowie dotarli do Islandii, Irlandii (założyli tam miasto Dublin), Grenlandii a także do Ameryki.
We wczesnym średniowieczu kraj podzielony był pomiędzy lokalnych władców. Jednym z pierwszych, którzy podjęli próbę zjednoczenia, był Harald Pięknowłosy (nor. Harald Harfagre). On to właśnie w roku 872, po bitwie pod Harsfjorden założył pierwszą w Norwegii siedzibę królewską – Avaldsnes.
Pierwszy kościół powstał w Norwegii w Moster w 995 r. za sprawą króla Olava Tryggvasona. Jako symboliczny moment chrystianizacji kraju uznaje się jednak bitwę pod Stiklestad, gdzie poległ władca Norwegii Olav Haraldsson, uznany później świętym. XIII wiek to czas świetności Norwegii: pod panowaniem Hakona IV w skład terytorium norweskiego wchodziły także Jämtland, Islandia, Wyspy Owcze, Orkady, Szetlandy i Grenlandia. W XIV wieku kraj został osłabiony przez zwiększające się wpływy Hanzy, epidemię czarnej śmierci w 1349 r. i walki o tron. Po śmierci Hakona VI w 1380 r. tron objął jego syn Olav IV, a następnie żona zmarłego króla, Małgorzata I, która była także królową Danii, a później i Szwecji. W 1397 Norwegia, Szwecja i Dania zawarły unię, zwaną kalmarską. Szwecja wyłamała się z unii w 1523 r. Norwegia, coraz bardziej zależna od Danii, pozostała w unii do 1814 r. Wtedy to, zwycięzcy w wojnach napoleońskich podpisali traktat w Kilonii, na podstawie którego Norwegia miała stać się częścią Szwecji, jako odszkodowanie dla tej ostatniej za stratę Finlandii na rzecz Rosji. Uchwalona 17 maja 1814 w Eidsvoll konstytucja była próbą odzyskania przez kraj całkowitej suwerenności. Skończyło się jednak na unii personalnej ze Szwecją. Pełną niepodległość odzyskali Norwegowie w 1905 r.
W I wojnie światowej kraj zachował neutralność. W II wojnie światowej również próbował pozostać neutralny, jednak zaatakowany przez wojska hitlerowskie 9 kwietnia 1940, przystąpił do antyhitlerowskiej koalicji. Pierwsze lata powojenne to lata rządów Norweskiej Partii Pracy. Odbudowano Norweskie Siły Zbrojne. W 1949 r. po długich debatach nad kierunkiem polityki zagranicznej kraj przystąpił do NATO. W sprawie przystąpienia do Unii Europejskiej odbyły się w Norwegii dwa plebiscyty: w 1972 i 1994 r. Oba zakończyły się niewielką przewagą strony opowiadającej się przeciw członkostwu w Unii. Wskutek odkrycia złóż ropy naftowej i gazu ziemnego pod dnem Morza Północnego w latach 60. i 70. XX wieku, Norwegia jest obecnie jednym z najbogatszych krajów świata.
Norwegia jest wysoko rozwiniętym krajem. Norweski PKB wynosił w 2006 roku nominalnie 335,2 mld dolarów, a po zmierzeniu parytetem siły nabywczej 191,7 mld dolarów amerykańskich. PKB per capita wynosił nominalnie 72306 dolarów (2. miejsce po Luksemburgu), a po zmierzeniu parytetem siły nabywczej 43574 dolarów (3. miejsce na świecie). Podatki stanowią 46% PKB, przy czym dużą cześć dochodów budżetowych stanowią dochody z państwowych firm wydobywczych. Wskaźnik Giniego, czyli poziom rozpiętości w dochodach, wynosi 0,26 i należy do niższych na świecie. W 1993 norweskie rezerwy złota wynosiły: 1,20 mln uncji, dewizowe 11,9 mld dolarów. W 1. połowie lat 80. przyrost produktu krajowego brutto wynosił średnio rocznie 3,4%, w 2. połowie obniżał się średnio rocznie o 2,2%. Wskutek ograniczenia inwestycji nastąpił wzrost inflacji i bezrobocia, szczególnie wyraźnie zaznaczyła się stagnacja w budownictwie i produkcji rolnej, której wskaźnik przyrostu 1986-1990 wynosił zaledwie 0,9%. Stopniowy rozwój następował w usługach, transporcie i łączności i w mniejszym stopniu w przemyśle. W 1992 przemysł łącznie z górnictwem i energetyką wytworzył 30,8% produktu krajowego brutto, budownictwo – 3,9%, transport i łączność – 10,5%, handel i usługi – 15,9%, finanse i ubezpieczenia – 13,7%, rolnictwo, leśnictwo i rybołówstwo – 2,9%.
Najważniejszymi surowcami mineralnymi są ropa naftowa, wydobywana w 70% przez państwową firmę StatoilHydro, i gaz ziemny wydobywane z norweskiego sektora szelfu na Morzu Północnym i Morzu Norweskim, poza tym eksploatuje się rudy żelaza (głównie okręg Kirkenes), miedzi – koło Lokken, Sulitjelma i Roros, tytanu, niklu i molibdenu – w Knaben (jedno z najważniejszych złóż w Europie), także rudy cynku i ołowiu oraz srebro, siarkę, surowce skalne – wapienie i granity.
Norwegia ma dobrze rozwiniętą energetykę. Produkcja energii elektrycznej w przeliczeniu na 1 mieszkańca wyniosła 27 562 kWh – 1995 i jest najwyższa w świecie. Moc zainstalowana w elektrowniach wynosi netto 27 281 MW, 99,6% produkcji energii pochodzi z elektrowni wodnych (1991). Według danych z 2005 roku, roczna produkcja energii w tym kraju wynosiła 137,8 TWh z czego 136 TWh pochodziło z elektrowni wodnych. Jednocześnie zużycie energii w tym czasie kształtowało się na poziomie 125,8 TWh.
Głównymi gałęziami przemysłu przetwórczego są: przemysł elektrochemiczny z produkcją m.in. ciężkiej wody, amoniaku, chloru i karbidu, środków transportowych, zwłaszcza stocznie (w tym także budowa platform wiertniczych do wydobywania ropy naftowej i gazu), tradycyjny, oparty na bogatych zasobach leśnych, przemysł drzewny i celulozowo-papierniczy, hutnictwo żelaza, aluminium i cynku, rafinacja miedzi oraz przemysł: maszynowy, metalowy, włókienniczy, elektrotechniczny, spożywczy (zwłaszcza rybny), porcelanowy i rafineryjny.
Ośrodki przemysłowe skupione są w południowej części kraju oraz na jego wybrzeżach, a największym jest Oslo.
Ważnym działem gospodarki Norwegii pozostaje, między innymi dzięki obfitości ryb w wodach przybrzeżnych, rybołówstwo, mimo rzeczywistego zmniejszania się połowów. 1980 – 2409 tys. t, 1985 – 2119 tys. t, 1989 – 1909 tys. t, 1991 – 2096 tys. t. W przeliczeniu na 1 mieszkańca – 488 kg (2000), co daje Norwegii 2. miejsce w świecie (po Islandii). Łowi się głównie śledzie, makrele i dorsze (do 1987 również wieloryby). Wyporność floty rybackiej 1991 wynosiła 281 tys. BRT. Największymi portami rybackimi są Bergen i Stavanger.
Ważnym działem gospodarki Norwegii pozostaje, m.in. dzięki obfitości ryb w wodach przybrzeżnych, rybołówstwo, mimo rzeczywistego zmniejszania się połowów. Duże znaczenie w gospodarce odgrywa leśnictwo, lasy zajmują 26% powierzchni kraju. Norwegia ma jeden z najniższych w Europie odsetek użytków rolnych – 3% ogólnej powierzchni kraju. Grunty orne i sady zajmują 0,9 mln ha, łąki i pastwiska – 0,1 mln ha. Rolnictwo charakteryzuje wysoki stopień mechanizacji (1 ciągnik przypada na 6,3 ha użytków) oraz zużycia nawozów sztucznych – 199 kg na 1 ha (2000). Podstawą produkcji rolnej jest hodowla bydła (1011 tysięcy sztuk – 1992), głównie typu mlecznego i owiec (2,3 mln sztuk), a na północy – reniferów. Powszechna jest hodowla zwierząt futerkowych, zwłaszcza lisów. Ze względu na krótki okres wegetacyjny w Norwegii uprawia się: ze zbóż głównie jęczmień (zbiory 2000) – 590 tys. t oraz owies – 450 tys. t, poza tym ziemniaki – 450 tys. t i rośliny pastewne. Coraz większe znaczenie gospodarcze zyskuje uprawa warzyw i drzew owocowych, głównie w południowej części kraju.
Norwegia podzielona jest na 5 regionów (landsdeler) i 19 województw (norw. fylker), które dalej dzielą się na 433 gminy.
Miasto i okręg Oslo; Oslo;
Sogn og Fjordane; Leikanger;
More og Romsdal; Molde;
Nordland (Norwegia); Bodo;
Luteranizm – 83,1%
Zielonoświątkowcy – 1,7%
Islam – 1%
Katolicyzm – 0,9%
Kongregacjonalizm – 0,5%
Bergen – Bryggen
Norwegia należy do państw o najwyższym poziomie rozwoju gospodarczego.
80% Norwegów to niebieskoocy blondyni.
Norwegia została uznana krajem, w którym żyje się najlepiej.
PAWEŁ PŁOŃCZAK PHOTOGRAPHY
norway, norwegia, norge, photography, photo, gallery, fotografia, zdjęcia, foto, płończak, plonczak, stock, bank zdjęć
PAWEŁ PŁOŃCZAK PHOTOGRAPHY
Norway (pronounced /'n?rwe?/ Norwegian: Norge (Bokmal), Noreg (Nynorsk) or Norga (North Sami)), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic country in Northern Europe occupying the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as Jan Mayen and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of about 4.8 million. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland to the south and Russia to the east; and Denmark lies south of its southern tip across the Skagerrak Strait. The capital city of Norway is Oslo. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords.
After World War II, Norway experienced rapid economic growth, with the first two decades due to the Norwegian shipping and merchant marine and domestic industrialization, and from the early 1970s, a result of exploiting large oil and natural gas deposits that had been discovered in the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea. Today, Norway ranks as the wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation. Norway is the world’s seventh largest oil exporter, and the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of its GDP. Following the ongoing financial crisis of 2007–2010, bankers have deemed the Norwegian krone to be one of the most solid currencies in the world.
Norway has rich resources of oil, natural gas, hydroelectric power, forests, and minerals, and was the second largest exporter of seafood (in value, after the People’s Republic of China) in 2006. Other major industries include shipping, food processing, shipbuilding, the metal industry, chemicals, mining, fishing, and the pulp and paper products from forests. Norway maintains a Scandinavian welfare model with universal health-care, subsidized higher education, and a comprehensive social security system. Norway was ranked highest of all countries in human development from 2001 to 2007, and then again in 2009. It was also rated the most peaceful country in the world in a 2007 survey by Global Peace Index.
Norway is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with King Harald V as its Head of State. It is a unitary state with administrative subdivisions on two levels known as counties (fylker) and municipalities (kommuner). The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Although having rejected European Union membership in two referenda, Norway maintains close ties with the union and its member countries, as well as with the United States. Norway remains one of the biggest financial contributors to the UN, and participates with UN forces in international missions, notably in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Sudan. Norway is a founding member of the UN, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the Nordic Council, and is a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD.
Norway is officially called Kongeriket Norge in the Bokmal written norm, and Kongeriket Noreg in the Nynorsk written norm.
The usual Old Norse form of Norway is Noregr, and the usual medieval Latin form Nor(th)vegia, though the earliest known written occurrence of the name is English (in the late-ninth-century account of the travels of Ohthere of Halogaland), in the form nor?weg. Although some medieval texts attribute the name to a mythical King Nórr, it is conventionally derived today from Old Norse *nor?vegr, meaning "the northern route" (the way northwards). There is, however, some possibility that medieval forms in nor?-, north- are folk-etymologizations and that the name has other origins.
Archaeological findings indicate the area currently constituting Norway has been inhabited since at least the 10th millennium BC. The indigenous people of Northern Norway and Central Norway are the Sámi people, though Norse culture arrived very early also. The current monarch of Norway has stated that the kingdom was founded upon the territories of two peoples – the Norwegians and the Sámi.
In the first centuries CE, Norway consisted of a number of petty kingdoms.
According to Jared Diamond, around AD 600 the Norse obtained the knowledge of sailing.
The Viking Age, 8–11th centuries CE, was characterized by expansion and emigration by Viking seafarers. According to tradition, Harald Fairhair (Harald Harfagre) unified them into one in 872 CE after the Battle of Hafrsfjord in Stavanger, thus becoming the first king of a united Norway. (The date of 872 may be somewhat arbitrary. In fact, the actual date may be just prior to 900 CE. Harald's realm was mainly a South Norwegian coastal state. Harald Fairhair ruled with a strong hand and, according to the sagas, many Norwegians left the country to live in Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and parts of Britain and Ireland. The modern-day Irish cities of Limerick, Dublin, and Waterford were founded by Norwegian settlers. Norse traditions were slowly replaced by Christianity in the 10th and 11th centuries. This is largely attributed to the missionary kings Olav Tryggvasson and St. Olav. Haakon the Good was Norway's first Christian king, in the mid tenth century, though his attempt to introduce the religion was rejected. Born sometime in between 963–969 CE, Olav Tryggvasson set off raiding in England with 390 ships. He even attacked London during this raiding. Arriving back in Norway, Olav landed in Moster, In 995 CE. in Moster, Olav built a church which became the first Christian church ever built in Norway. From Moster, Olav sailed north to Trondheim were he has acclaimed King of Norway by the Eyrathing in 995 CE.
Just as in Sweden, feudalism never really developed in Norway, as it did in the rest of Europe. However, the administration of government took on a very conservative feudal character. The Hanseatic League forced the royalty to cede to them greater and greater concessions over foreign trade and the economy. The League had this hold over the royalty because of the loans the Hansa had made to the royalty and the large debt the kings were carrying. The League's monopolistic control over the economy of Norway put the squeeze on all classes, especially the peasantry, to the degree that no real burgher class existed in Norway.
Upon the death of Haakon V, King of Norway, in 1319, three year-old Magnus Erickson inherited the throne as King Magnus VII of Norway. At the same time a movement to make Magnus King of Sweden proved successful. (At this time both the kings of Sweden and of Denmark were elected to the throne by their respective nobles.) Thus, with his election to the throne of Sweden, both Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus VII.
Meanwhile, in 1349, the Black Death radically altered the landscape of Norway killing between 50% and 60% of the population, resulting in a period of decline, both socially and economically. The plague left Norway in a very poor economic condition. What is more, although the death rate among the population of Norway was not more than Europe at large, economic recovery following the plague took much longer in Norway than the rest of Europe because of the small thinly scattered population. Even before the plague, the population of Norway was only about 500,000 people. After the plague, many farms lay idle for years while the population slowly recovered. The few tenants that were working on farms suddenly found their bargaining position with the landlord much more secure than previous to the plague.
King Magnus VII, noted above, ruled Norway until 1350, when his son, Haakon, was placed on the throne as Haakon VI. In 1363, Haakon VI married Margaret, the daughter of Danish King Valdemar. Upon the death of Haakon VI, in 1379, his son, Olaf V was only 10 years-old. Olaf had already been elected to the throne of Denmark on May 3, 1376. Thus, upon his ascension to the throne of Norway, Olaf united Denmark and Norway under a single throne. Olaf's mother and widow of Haakon VI, Queen Margaret, managed the foreign affairs of Denmark and Norway during the minority of Olaf V. Margaret was working toward a union of Sweden with Denmark and Norway by having Olaf elected to the Swedish throne. She was on the verge of achieving this goal when Olaf V suddenly died. It looked as though Queen Margaret's plans were permanently ended. However, Denmark made her temporary ruler upon the death of Olaf. On February 2, 1388, Norway followed suit and crowned Margaret. Queen Margaret knew that her power would be more secure if she were able to find a king to rule in her place. She settled on Erik of Pomerania, grandson of her sister. Thus at an all-Scandinavian meeting held at Kalmar, Erik of Pomerania was crowned king of all three Scandinavian countries—four countries in actuality because Finland was part of Sweden at this time. Thus, royal politics resulted in personal unions between the Nordic countries, eventually bringing the thrones of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden under the control of Queen Margrethe I of Denmark when the country entered into the Kalmar Union.
After Sweden broke out of the Kalmar Union in 1521, Norway remained with Denmark until 1814, a total of 436 years. During the national romanticism of the 19th century, this period was by some referred to as the "400-Year Night", since all of the kingdom's royal, intellectual, and administrative power was centered in Copenhagen in Denmark.
With the introduction of Protestantism in 1536, the archbishopric in Trondheim was dissolved, and Norway effectually became a tributary to Denmark, and the church's incomes were distributed to the court in Copenhagen instead. Norway lost the steady stream of pilgrims to the relics of St. Olav at the Nidaros shrine, and with them, much of the contact with cultural and economic life in the rest of Europe. Additionally, Norway saw its land area decrease in the 17th century with the loss of the provinces Bahuslen, Jemtland, and Herjedalen to Sweden, as a result of numerous wars between Denmark–Norway and Sweden. To the north, however, its territory was increased by the acquisition of the northern provinces of Troms and Finnmark, at the expense of Sweden and Russia.
Union with Sweden (19th century)
After Denmark–Norway was attacked by the United Kingdom, it entered into an alliance with Napoleon, with the war leading to dire conditions and mass starvation in 1812. As the Danish kingdom found itself on the losing side in 1814, it was forced, under terms of the Treaty of Kiel, to cede Norway to the king of Sweden, while the old Danish-Norwegian provinces of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands remained with the Danish crown. Norway took this opportunity to declare independence, adopted a constitution based on American and French models, and elected the crown prince of Denmark-Norway Christian Frederik as king on 17 May 1814. This is the famous Syttende Mai (Seventeenth of May) holiday celebrated by Norwegians and Norwegian-Americans alike. Syttende Mai is also called Norwegian Constitution Day. However, the decision to link Norway with Sweden caused the Norwegian-Swedish War to break out between Sweden and Norway, but as Sweden's military was not strong enough to defeat the Norwegian forces outright and Norway's treasury was not large enough to support a protracted war, and as British and Russian navies blockaded the Norwegian coast, both Norway and Sweden were forced to negotiate a settlement. Accordingly, on November 4, 1814, Norway was forced into entering the union with Sweden. Under this arrangement, Norway did, however, keep its liberal constitution and kept control of its own independent institutions, except for the foreign service. Following the Union with Sweden economic development of Norway remained slow.
This period also saw the rise of the Norwegian romantic nationalism, as Norwegians sought to define and express a distinct national character. The movement covered all branches of culture, including literature (Henrik Wergeland [1808–1845], Bjornstjerne Bjornson [1832–1910], Peter Christen Asbjornsen [1812–1845], Jorgen Moe [1813–1882]), painting (Hans Gude [1825–1903], Adolph Tidemand [1814–1876]), music (Edvard Grieg [1843–1907]), and even language policy, where attempts to define a native written language for Norway led to today's two official written forms for Norwegian: Bokmal and Nynorsk.
King Karl XIV Johan who came to the throne of Norway/Sweden in 1818 was the first king following Norway's break from Denmark and the union with Sweden. Karl Johan was a complex man whose long reign extended to 1844. King Karl Johan protected the constitution and liberties of Norway/Sweden during the age of Metternich. As such he was regarded as a liberal monarch for that age. However, he was ruthless in his use of paid informers, the secret police and restrictions on the freedom of the press to put down public movements for reform—especially the Norwegian national independence movement.
During the Romantic Era that followed the reign of King Karl Johan brought some significant social/political reforms. In 1854 women were given the right to inherit property in their own right just like men. In 1863, the last trace of keeping unmarried women in the status of minors was removed. Furthermore, different occupations were opened up to women—in particular teaching in common schools. However, by mid-century Norway was still far from a "democracy." Voting was limited to officials, property owners, leaseholders, and burghers of incorporated towns. There was some dissatisfaction with this backwardness. Still Norway remained a conservative society. Life in Norway (especially economic life) was "dominated by the aristocracy of professional men who filled most of the important posts in the central government." There was no strong bourgeosie class in Norway to press for a breakdown of this aristocratic control of the economy. Thus, even while revolution swept over most of the countries of Europe in 1848, Norway was pretty much unaffected by revolts that year. Most revolts broke themselves on the granite conservativism of the Norwegian society. Indeed the Thrane movement was the only "revolt" that broke out in Norway in 1848.
Marcus Thrane was a utopian socialist. Marcus Thrane made his appeal to the laboring classes urging a change of social structure "from below upwards." In 1848, he organized a labor society in Drammen. In just a few months this society had a membership of five hundred and the society was publishing its own newspaper. Within two years 300 societies had been organized all over Norway with a total membershiop of 20,000 persons. The membership was drawn form the lower classes of both the town and country. For the first time these two groups felt they had common cause with each other. In the end, the revolt was easily crushed, Thrane was captured and sentenced to three years in jail for crimes against the safety of the state. Upon his release from jail, after serving his sentence, Marcus Thrane immigrated to the United States of America.
Christian Michelsen, a shipping magnate and statesman, Prime Minister of Norway from 1905 to 1907, played a central role in the peaceful separation of Norway from Sweden on 7 June 1905. After a national referendum confirmed the people's preference for a monarchy over a republic, the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to the Danish Prince Carl, and Parliament unanimously elected him king, the first king of a fully independent Norway in 586 years. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the medieval kings of independent Norway.
In 1898, all men were granted universal suffrage, followed by all women in 1913.
World Wars I and II
During World War I, Norway was a neutral country. In reality, however, Norway had been pressured by Great Britain to hand over increasingly large parts of its massive merchant fleet to Britain at low rates, as well as to join the trade blockade against Germany. Norwegian merchant marines ship with Norwegian sailors were then required to sail under the British flag and risk being sunk by German U-boats. Many Norwegian sailors and ships were, thus, lost. Thus, the world ranking of the Norwegian merchant marine fell from fourth place in the world to sixth place in the world.
Norway also proclaimed its neutrality during World War II, but Norway was invaded by German forces on 9 April 1940. Norway was unprepared for the German surprise attack, so military and naval resistance only lasted for two months. The armed forces in the north launched an offensive against the German forces in the Battles of Narvik, until they were forced to surrender on June 10 after losing British help following the Fall of France. King Haakon and the Norwegian government escaped to Rotherhithe, London, England, and they supported the fight through inspirational radio speeches from London and by supporting clandestine military actions in Norway against the Nazis. On the day of the invasion, the collaborative leader of the small National-Socialist party Nasjonal Samling — Vidkun Quisling — tried to seize power but was forced by the German occupiers to step aside. Real power was wielded by the leader of the German occupation authority, Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a collaborationist government under German control.
There were also many Norwegians, and those of Norwegian descent, that joined the allied forces as well as the Free Norwegian Forces. From the small group that had left Norway in June 1940 consisting of 13 ships, five aircraft and 500 men from the Royal Norwegian Navy who followed the King to the United Kingdom the force had grown by the end of the war to 58 ships and 7,500 men in service in the Norwegian Navy; 5 Squadrons of aircraft (including Spitfires, Sunderland flying boats and Mosquitos) in the newly formed Norwegian Air Force; and land forces including the Norwegian Independent Company 1 & 5 Troop as well as No.10 Commandos.
During the five years of Nazi occupation, Norwegians built a resistance movement which fought the German occupation forces with both armed resistance and civil disobedience. More important to the Allied war effort, however, was the role of the Norwegian Merchant Marine. At the time of the invasion, Norway had the fourth largest merchant marine fleet in the world. It was led by the Norwegian shipping company Nortraship under the Allies throughout the war and took part in every war operation from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the Normandy landings. Each December Norway gives a Christmas tree to the United Kingdom as thanks for the British assistance during World War II. A ceremony takes place to erect the tree in London's famous Trafalgar Square.
From 1945 to 1961, the Labour Party held an absolute majority in the parliament. The government, led by prime minister Einar Gerhardsen, embarked on a program inspired by Keynesian economics, emphasizing state financed industrialization, cooperation between trade unions and employers' organizations. Many measures of state control of the economy imposed during the war were continued, although the rationing of dairy products was lifted in 1949, while price control and rationing of housing and cars continued as long as until 1960.
The wartime alliance with Great Britain and the United States was continued in the post-war years. Although pursuing the goal of a socialist economy, the Labour Party distanced itself from the communists (especially after Soviet seizure of power in Czechoslovakia in 1948), and strengthened its foreign policy and defence policy ties with the U.S. Norway received Marshall Plan aid from the United States starting in 1947, joined the OEEC one year later and became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949.
Around 1975, both the proportion and absolute number of workers in industry peaked. Since then labour intensive industries and services like factory mass production and shipping have largely been off sourced. In 1969, the Phillips Petroleum Company discovered petroleum resources at the Ekofisk field west of Norway. In 1973, the Norwegian government founded the State oil company, Statoil. Oil production did not become a net income before the early 1980s because of the large capital investment that was required to establish a petroleum industry.
Norway was a founding member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA). Two referendums on joining the European Union failed by narrow margins in 1972 and 1994. In 1981, a Conservative government led by Kare Willoch replaced the Labour Party with a policy of stimulating the stagflated economy with tax cuts, economic liberalization, deregulation of markets, and measures to curb the record-high inflation (13.6% in 1981).
Norway's first female prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland of the Labour party, continued many of the reforms of her right-wing predecessor, while backing traditional Labour concerns such as social security, high taxes, the industrialization of nature, and feminism. By the late 1990s, Norway had paid off its foreign debt and had started accumulating a sovereign wealth fund. Since the 1990s, a divisive question in politics has been how much petroleum income the government should spend, and how much it should save.
Geography, climate, and environment
Norway comprises the western part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. The rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands, stretches 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) and 83,000 kilometres (52,000 mi) including fjords and islands. Norway shares a 1,619-kilometre (1,006 mi) land border with Sweden, 727 kilometres (452 mi) with Finland and 196 kilometres (122 mi) with Russia at the east. To the west and south, Norway is bordered by the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea and Skagerak.
At 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen), much of the country is dominated by mountainous or high terrain, with a great variety of natural features caused by prehistoric glaciers and varied topography. The most noticeable of these are the fjords: deep grooves cut into the land flooded by the sea following the end of the Ice Age. The longest is Sognefjorden at 204 kilometres (127 mi). Sognefjorden is the world's second deepest fjord, and Hornindalsvatnet is the deepest lake in Europe. Frozen ground all year can be found in the higher mountain areas and in the interior of Finnmark county. Numerous glaciers are found in Norway.
The land is mostly made of hard granite and gneiss rock, but slate, sandstone and limestone are also common, and the lowest elevations contain marine deposits. Because of the Gulf Stream and prevailing westerlies, Norway experiences higher temperatures and more precipitation than expected at such northern latitudes, especially along the coast. The mainland experiences four distinct seasons, with colder winters and less precipitation inland. The northernmost part has a mostly maritime Subarctic climate, while Svalbard has an Arctic tundra climate. The southern and western parts of Norway experience more precipitation and have milder winters than the southeastern part. The lowlands around Oslo have the warmest and sunniest summers but also cold weather and snow in wintertime (especially inland). Average temperatures have risen the last decades, decreasing the amount of days with snow cover in the lowlands.
Because of the large latitudinal range of the country and the varied topography and climate, Norway has a larger number of different habitats than almost any other European country. There are approximately 60,000 species in Norway and adjacent waters (excluding bacteria and virus). The Norwegian Shelf large marine ecosystem is considered highly productive.
The total number of species include 16,000 species of insects (probably 4,000 more species yet to be described), 20,000 species of algae, 1,800 species of lichen, 1,050 species of mosses, 2,800 species of vascular plants, up to 7,000 species of fungi, 450 species of birds (250 species nesting in Norway), 90 species of mammals, 45 fresh-water species of fish, 150 salt-water species of fish, 1,000 species of fresh-water invertebrates and 3,500 species of salt-water invertebrates. About 40,000 of these species have been described by science. The red list of 2006 encompasses 3,886 species. Seventeen species are listed mainly because they are endangered on a global scale, such as the European Beaver, even if the population in Norway is not seen as endangered. There are 430 species of fungi on the red list, many of these are closely associated with the small remaining areas of old-growth forests. There are also 90 species of birds on the list and 25 species of mammals. 1,988 current species are listed as endangered or vulnerable as of 2006; of these are 939 listed as vulnerable (VU), 734 species are listed as endangered (EN), and 285 species are listed as critically endangered (CR) in Norway, among these are the gray wolf, the arctic fox (healthy population on Svalbard) and the pool frog.
The largest predator in Norwegian waters is the sperm whale, and the largest fish is the basking shark. The largest predator on land is the polar bear, while the brown bear is the largest predator on the Norwegian mainland, where the common moose is the largest animal.
Because of Norway's high latitude, there are large seasonal variations in daylight. From late May to late July, the sun never completely descends beneath the horizon in areas north of the Arctic Circle (hence Norway's description as the "Land of the Midnight Sun"), and the rest of the country experiences up to 20 hours of daylight per day. Conversely, from late November to late January, the sun never rises above the horizon in the north, and daylight hours are very short in the rest of the country.
Throughout Norway, one will find stunning and dramatic scenery and landscape. The west coast of southern Norway and the coast of northern Norway present some of the most visually impressive coastal sceneries in the world. National Geographic has listed the Norwegian fjords as the world's top tourist attraction. The 2008 Environmental Performance Index put Norway in second place, after Switzerland, based on the environmental performance of the country's policies.
Government and politics
According to the Constitution of Norway, which was adopted on 17 May 1814 and inspired by the United States Declaration of Independence and French revolution of 1776 and 1798, respectively, Norway is a unitary constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government, wherein the King of Norway is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government. Power is separated between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as defined by the Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document.
The Monarch officially retains executive power, however, following the introduction of a parliamentary system of government, the duties of the Monarch have since become strictly representative and ceremonial, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other ministers in the executive government. Accordingly, the Monarch is commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces, supreme authority in the Church of Norway, and serves as chief diplomatic representative abroad and a symbol of unity. In practice, it is the Prime Minister who is responsible for the exercise of executive powers. Since his accession in 1991, Harald V of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg has been King of Norway, the first in many years who has actually been born in the country. Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway is the legal and rightful heir to the throne and the Kingdom.
Constitutionally, legislative power is vested with both the government and the Parliament of Norway, but the latter is the supreme legislature and a unicameral body. A proposition can become a law or an act by simple majority amongst the 150 representatives, whom are elected on the basis of proportional representation from 19 constituencies for four-year terms. An additional 19 seats ("levelling seats") are allocated on a nationwide basis to make the representation in parliament correspond better with the popular vote. As a result, there are currently 169 Members of Parliament altogether. There is also a 4% election threshold to gain levelling seats in Parliament. As such, Norway is fundamentally structured as a representative democracy. Effectively called the Storting, meaning Grand Assembly, members of Parliament ratify treaties and can impeach members of the government if their acts are declared unconstitutional, and as such have the power to remove them from office in case of an impeachment trial.
The position of Prime Minister, Norway's head of government, is allocated to the Member of Parliament who can obtain the confidence of a majority in Parliament, usually the current leader of the largest political party or more effectively through a coalition of parties, as a single party normally don't have the support to form a government on its own. However, Norway has often been ruled by minority governments. The Prime Minister nominates the Cabinet, traditionally drawn from members of the same political party in the Storting, to which they are responsible, and as such forms the executive government and exercises power vested to them by the Constitution. In order to form a government, however, more than half the membership of the Cabinet is required to belong to the Church of Norway. Currently, this means at least ten out of the 19 ministries. This has sparked controversy regarding an ongoing debate of separation of church and state in Norway. The current Prime Minister is Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party (AP).
Through the Council of State, a privy council presided over by the Monarch, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet meet at the Royal Palace and formally consult the Monarch. Besides enacting parliamentary bills, all government bills need the formal approval by the Monarch before and after introduction to Parliament. Approval is also given by the Council to all of the Monarch's actions as head of state. Although all government and parliamentary acts are decided beforehand, the privy council is an example of another symbolic gesture the King obtains. Members of the Storting are directly elected from party-lists proportional representation in nineteen plural-member constituencies in a national multi-party system. Historically, both the Norwegian Labour Party and Conservative Party have played leading political roles, while the former has remained in power since the 2005 election, in a Red-Green coalition with the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party. Since then, both the Conservative Party and the Progress Party have won great amount of seats in the Parliament, however, as of the 2009 general election, not sufficient enough to overthrow the coalition. This has been the result of poor cooperation with the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party. As such, Jens Stoltenberg, the leader of the Labour Party, remains Prime Minister of Norway with the necessary majority attributed to the alliance with the Socialist Left and Centre parties.
Judicial system and law enforcement
Norway uses a civil law system where laws are created and amended in Parliament and the system regulated through the Courts of Justice of Norway. It consists of the Supreme Court of 19 permanent judges and a Chief Justice, appellate courts, city and district courts, and conciliation councils. The judiciary, although traditionally a third branch of government, is independent of executive and legislative branches. While the Prime Minister nominates Supreme Court Justices for office, their nomination must be approved by Parliament and formally confirmed by the Monarch in the Council of State. Usually, judges attached to regular courts are formally appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Courts' strict and formal mission is to regulate the Norwegian judicial system, interpret the Constitution, and as such implement the legislation adopted by Parliament and monitor the legislative and executive powers to ensure that they themselves comply with the acts of legislation that have been previously adopted.
Law enforcement in Norway is carried out by several government entities and agencies. It is the direct responsibility of the Norwegian Police Service and other agencies subordinate to the Ministry of Justice and the Police, such as the National Security Authority, Norwegian Police Security Agency, Norwegian National Authority for the Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime and Kripos, to protect the constitution, provide for the maintenance and development of the basic guarantees of the rule of law and ensure the security of society and of individual citizens. The National Police Directorate are specially charged with police matters and operated by the Ministry of Justice and the Police.
In its 2007 Worldwide Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Norway at a shared 1st place (with Iceland) out of 169 countries. The death penalty was abolished in Norway in 1902. Death penalty for high treason in war and war-crimes was also abolished in 1979. Currently, Norway has the lowest homicide rate in the world.
Foreign relations and military
Norway maintains embassies in 86 countries. 60 countries maintain an embassy in Norway, all of them in the capital, Oslo.
Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO and the Council of Europe. The Norwegian electorate has twice rejected treaties of accession to the European Union (EU), although most legislation made by the EU is implemented in the country because of Norway's membership in the European Economic Area (EEA). This ensures Norway's access to the EU's internal market. Norway has been considered a prominent participant in international development, having been heavily involved diplomatically with the failed Oslo Accords regarding the longtime conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Middle East. Norway maintains close diplomatic relations with the United States.
The Norwegian Armed Forces currently numbers about 23,000 personnel, including civilian employees. According to the current (as of 2009) mobilization plans, the strength during full mobilization is approximately 83,000 combatant personnel. Norway has conscription for males (6–12 months of training) and voluntary service for females. The Armed Forces are subordinate to the Norwegian Ministry of Defence and the Commander-in-Chief is King Harald V. The military of Norway is divided into the following branches: the Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Home Guard.
Partly due to Norway's failure to maintain its traditional policy of neutrality in World War II (surrendered to Nazi Germany in June 1940), the country was one of the founding nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on 4 April 1949. At present, Norway contributes in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Notable international missions in recent years with Norwegian participation include the following:
Kosovo: Kosovo Force (KFOR) and United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
Afghanistan: International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
Bosnia: (in NATO/EUFOR HQ and Liaison Observer Team in Cazin)
Sudan: United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS)
Lebanon: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
Norway, a unitary state, is effectively divided into five regions, although this is for strategic geographical purposes only. The regions do not have their own administrative form of local government, nor a directly elected assembly. The regions are further divided into nineteen first-level administrative counties (fylker). The counties are administrated through directly elected county assemblies who elect the County Governor. Additionally, the King and government are represented in every county by a fylkesmann, who effectively acts as a Governor. As such, the Government is directly represented at a local level through the County Governors’ offices. The counties are then sub-divided into 430 second-level municipalities (kommuner), which in turn are administrated by directly elected municipal council, headed by a mayor and a small executive cabinet. The capital of Oslo is considered both a county and a municipality. Norway also has two integral overseas territories, Jan Mayen and Svalbard. There are three Antarctic and Subantarctic dependencies: Bouvet Island, Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land.
In addition, there are 96 settlements with city status in Norway. In most cases, the city borders are coterminous with the borders of their respective municipalities. Often, Norwegian city municipalities include large non-built up areas; for example, Oslo municipality contains large forests, located north and southeast of the city, and over half of Bergen municipality consists of mountainous areas.
The counties of Norway are:
County (Fylke); Prefecture
Ostfold; Moss (county seat is Sarpsborg)
Oslo; City of Oslo
Sogn og Fjordane; Leikanger
More og Romsdal; Molde
Core city; County
Alesund; More og Romsdal
Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita (after Luxembourg) and third highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Norway maintained first place in the world in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001–2006), and then reclaimed this position in 2009.
The Norwegian economy is an example of a mixed economy, a prosperous capitalist welfare state featuring a combination of free market activity and large state ownership in certain key sectors. The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminum production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR), and telecommunication provider (Telenor). Through these big companies, the government controls approximately 30% of the stock values at the Oslo Stock Exchange. When non-listed companies are included, the state has even higher share in ownership (mainly from direct oil license ownership). Norway is a major shipping nation and has the world's 6th largest merchant fleet, with 1,412 Norwegian-owned merchant vessels.
Referendums in 1972 and 1994 indicated that the Norwegian people wished to remain outside the European Union (EU). However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participates in the European Union's single market via the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. The EEA Treaty between the European Union countries and the EFTA countries– transposed into Norwegian law via "EOS-loven"– describes the procedures for implementing European Union rules in Norway and the other EFTA countries. This makes Norway a highly integrated member of most sectors of the EU internal market. However, some sectors, such as agriculture, oil and fish, are not wholly covered by the EEA Treaty. Norway has also acceded to the Schengen Agreement and several other intergovernmental agreements between the EU member states.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. Large reserves of petroleum and natural gas were discovered in the 1960s, which led to a boom in the economy. Norway has obtained one of the highest standards of living in the world in part by having a large amount of natural resources compared to the size of the population. The Norwegian welfare state makes public health care free, and parents have 12 months paid parental leave. The income that the state receives from natural resources includes a significant contribution from petroleum production and the substantial and well-managed income related to this sector. Norway has a very low unemployment rate, currently 3.1%. The hourly productivity levels, as well as average hourly wages in Norway are among the highest in the world. The egalitarian values of the Norwegian society ensure that the wage difference between the lowest paid worker and the CEO of most companies is much smaller than in comparable western economies. This is also evident in Norway's low Gini coefficient.
Cost of living is about 30% higher in Norway than in the United States and 25% higher than the United Kingdom. The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy Magazine ranks Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. Continued oil and gas exports coupled with a healthy economy and substantial accumulated wealth lead to a conclusion that Norway will remain among the richest countries in the world in the foreseeable future.
Export revenues from oil and gas have risen to 45% of total exports and constitute more than 20% of the GDP. Norway is the seventh largest oil exporter and third largest gas exporter in the world, but it is not a member of the OPEC. To reduce over-heating in economy from oil revenues and minimize uncertainty from volatility in oil price, and to provide cushion for the effect of aging of the population, the Norwegian government in 1995 established the sovereign wealth fund ("Government Pension Fund — Global"), which would be funded with oil revenues, including taxes, dividends, sales revenues and licensing fees.
The government controls its petroleum resources through a combination of state ownership in major operators in the oil fields (with approximately 62% ownership in Statoil in 2007) and the fully state-owned Petoro, which has a market value of about twice Statoil, and SDFI. Finally, the government controls licensing of exploration and production of fields. The fund invests in developed financial markets outside Norway. The budgetary rule ("Handlingsregelen") is to spend no more than 4% of the fund each year (assumed to be the normal yield from the fund ).
By January 2006, the Government Pension Fund of Norway controlled assets valued at US$200 billion. During the first half of 2007, the pension fund became the largest fund in Europe, with assets of about US$300 billion (equivalent to over US$62,000 per capita). The savings equal the Norwegian GDP and are the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation as of April 2007. Projections indicate that the Norwegian pension fund may become the largest capital fund in the world. Currently it is the second-largest state-owned sovereign wealth fund, second only to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority; Conservative estimates tell that the fund may reach US$800–900 billion by 2017. As of November 2009, the size of the fund is approximately US$455 billion, and it controls approximately 1.25% of all listed shares in Europe and more than 1% of the all the publicly traded shares in the world. The Norwegian Central Bank operates investment offices in London, New York and Shanghai. New guidelines (implemented in 2007) allow the fund to invest up to 60% of the capital in shares (maximum of 40% prior), while the rest may be placed in bonds and real-estate. As the stock markets tumbled in September 2008, the fund was able to buy more shares at low prices. In this way, the losses incurred by the market turmoil was recuperated by November 2009.
Other natural resource-based economies, such as Russia, are trying to learn from Norway by establishing similar funds. The investment choices of the Norwegian fund are directed by ethical guidelines; for example, the fund is not allowed to invest in companies that produce parts for nuclear weapons. The highly transparent investment scheme is lauded by the international community.
The future size of the fund is of course closely linked to the price of oil and to developments in international financial markets. The Norwegian trade surplus for 2008 reached approximately US$80 billion. With an enormous amount of cash invested in international financial markets, Norway has financial muscles to avert many of the worst effects of the financial crisis that hit most countries in the fall of 2008. As most western countries struggle with burgeoning foreign debt, Norway remains an island of stowed-away wealth, financial stability and economic power to meet the challenges of the worldwide economic crisis. In spite of the crisis, Norway still runs a 9% state budget surplus, being the only western country to run a surplus as of July 2009.
In 2000, the government sold one-third of the state-owned oil company Statoil in an IPO. The next year, the main telecom supplier, Telenor, was listed on Oslo Stock Exchange. The state also owns significant shares of Norway's largest bank, DnB NOR and the airline SAS. Since 2000, economic growth has been rapid, pushing unemployment down to levels not seen since the early 1980s (unemployment in 2007: 1.3%). The international financial crisis has primarily affected the industrial sector, but it is unlikely that unemployment will surpass 3,5% in 2009–2010. Norway is among the least affected countries of the international economic downturn. Neighbouring Sweden is experiencing substantially higher actual and projected unemployment numbers as a result of the ongoing recession, and in the 1st quarter of 2009 the GNP of Norway surpassed Sweden's for the first time in history, despite a population numbering about half of Sweden's.
Norway is also the world's second largest exporter of fish (in value, after China). Hydroelectric plants generate roughly 98–99% of Norway's electric power.
Due to the low population density, narrow shape and long coastlines, public transport in Norway is less built out than in many European countries, especially outside the cities. As such, Norway has old water transport traditions, but the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications has in recent years implemented rail, road and air transport through numerous subsidiaries in order to develop the country's infrastructure.
Norway's main railway network consists of 4,114 kilometres (2,556 mi) of standard gauge lines, of which 242 kilometres (150 mi) is double track and 64 kilometres (40 mi) high-speed rail (210 km/h) while 62% is electrified at 15 kV 16? Hz AC. The railways transported 56,827,000 passengers 2,956 million passenger kilometers and 24,783,000 tonnes of cargo 3,414 million tonne kilometers. The entire network is owned by the Norwegian National Rail Administration, while all domestic passenger trains except the Airport Express Train are operated by Norges Statsbaner (NSB). Several companies operate freight trains.
Investment in new infrastructure and maintenance is financed through the state budget, and subsidies are provided for passenger train operations. NSB operates long-haul trains, including night trains, regional services and four commuter train systems, around Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen and Stavanger.
There are approximately 92,946 kilometres (57,754 mi) of road network in Norway, of which 72,033 kilometres (44,759 mi) are paved and 664 kilometres (413 mi) are motorway. There are four tiers of road routes; national, county, municipal and private, with only the national roads numbered en route. The most important national routes are part of the European route scheme, and the two most prominent are the E6 going north-south through the entire country, while E39 follows the West Coast. National and county roads are managed by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Of the 98 airports in Norway, 51 are public, and 46 are operated by the state-owned Avinor. Seven airports have more than one million passengers annually. 41,089,675 passengers passed through Norwegian airports in 2007, of which 13,397,458 were international.
The central gateway by air to Norway is Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, located about 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Oslo with departures to most European countries and some intercontinental destinations. It is hub for the two major Norwegian airlines Scandinavian Airlines System and Norwegian Air Shuttle, and for regional aircraft from Western Norway.
Higher education in Norway is offered by a range of seven universities, five specialized colleges, 25 university colleges as well as a range of private colleges. Education follows the Bologna process involving Bachelor (3 years), Master (2 years) and PhD (3 years) degrees. Acceptance is offered after finishing upper secondary school with general study competence.
Public education is virtually free, with an academic year with two semesters, from August to December and from January to June. The ultimate responsibility for the education lies with the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.
Norway's population numbers roughly 4.8 million. Most Norwegians are ethnic Norwegians, a North Germanic people. The Sami people traditionally inhabit central and northern parts of Norway and Sweden, as well as in northern Finland and in Russia on the Kola Peninsula. Another national minority are the Kven people who are the descendants of Finnish speaking people that moved to northern Norway in the 18th up to the 20th century. Both the Sami and the Kven were subjected to a strong assimilation policy by the Norwegian government from the 19th century up to the 1970s. Because of this "Norwegianization process", many families of Sami or Kven ancestry now self-identify as ethnic Norwegian. This, combined with a long history of co-habitation of the Sami and North Germanic peoples on the Scandinavian peninsula, makes claims about ethnic population statistics less straightforward than is often suggested[original research?] — particularly in central and northern Norway. Other groups recognized as national minorities of Norway are Jews, Forest Finns, Roma/Gypsies and Romani people/Travellers.
In recent years, immigration has accounted for more than half of Norway's population growth. According to Statistics Norway (SSB), a record 61,200 immigrants arrived in the country in 2007 — 35% higher than 2006. At the beginning of 2008, there were 459,600 persons in Norway with an immigrant background (i.e. immigrants, or born of immigrant parents), comprising 9.7% of the total population. 350,000 of these were from a non-Western background, which includes the formerly Communist countries according to the definition used by Statistics Norway. The largest immigrant groups by country of origin, in order of size, are Pakistanis, Swedes, Iraqis, Somalis, Vietnamese, Poles, Danes, and Germans. Norwegians of Pakistani descent are the largest visible minority group in Norway, and most of their 30,000 members living around Oslo. The Iraqi immigrant population has shown a large increase in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, there has also been an influx of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe, particularly Poland. The largest increase in 2007 was of immigrants from Poland, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania and Russia.
There are almost 4.7 million Norwegian Americans according to the 2006 U.S. census. The number of Americans of Norwegian descent living in the U.S. today is roughly equal to the current population of Norway. In the 2006 Canadian census, 432,515 Canadian citizens claimed Norwegian ancestry, making up 1.4% of the population of Canada.
Religion; ; percent;
Roman Catholicism; 4.79%
80.7 % of Norwegians were members of the state Church of Norway as of January 1, 2009, a 1 % drop compared to the year before and down 2% from two years earlier. Norwegians are registered at baptism as members of the Church of Norway, many remain in the state church to be able to use services such as baptism, confirmation, marriage and burial, rites which have strong cultural standing in Norway. However, only 20% of Norwegians say that religion occupies an important place in their life (according to a recent Gallup poll), making Norway one of the most secular countries of the world (only in Estonia, Sweden and Denmark were the percentage of people who considered religion to be important lower). In the early 1990s, it was estimated that between 4.7% – 5.3% of Norwegians attended church on a weekly basis. Up to 40% of the membership attends church or religious meetings at least once annually.
According to the most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2005, 32% of Norwegian citizens responded that "they believe there is a god," whereas 47% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 17% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, god, or life force." According to Gustafsson and Pettersson(2002), 72% of Norwegians do not believe in a 'personal God.'
Just above 10% of the population is unaffiliated as per 1 January 2009 (as 80.7 % were members of the Church of Norway and another 9 % or 431 000, were members of religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway). Other Christian denominations total about 4.9% of the population, including the Evangelical Lutheran Free Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptists, Pentecostal congregations, the Methodist Church, and Adventists, and others. Among non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest, representing about 1.5% of the population. It is practiced mainly by Somali, Arab, Albanian, and Turkish immigrants, as well as Norwegians of Pakistani descent. Other religions comprise less than 1% each, including Judaism as well as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Indian immigrants introduced Hinduism to Norway but account for fewer than 5,000 people, or 1% of non-Lutheran Norwegians. There are eleven Buddhist organizations, grouped under the Buddhistforbundet organization, which make up 0.42% of the population. Around 1.5% of Norwegians adhere to the secular Norwegian Humanist Association.
Like other Scandinavian countries, the Norse followed a form of native Germanic paganism known as Norse paganism. By the end of the eleventh century, when Norway had been Christianized, the indigenous Norse religion and practices were prohibited. Remnants of the native religion and beliefs of Norway survive today in the form of names, referential names of cities and locations, the days of the week, and other parts of the everyday language.
Parts of the Sami minority retained their shamanistic religion well into the 18th century when they were converted to Christianity by Dano-Norwegian missionaries.
Orthodoxy is the fastest-growing religion in Norway with a rate from 2000 to 2009 of 231.1% compared to Islam's 64.3%.
The North Germanic Norwegian language has two official written forms, Bokmal and Nynorsk. Both of them are recognized as official languages, in that they are both used in public administration, in schools, churches, and media, but Bokmal is used by the vast majority, about 85–90%. Around 95% of the population speak Norwegian as their native tongue, although many speak dialects that may differ significantly from the written language. In general, most Norwegian dialects are inter-intelligible, although some may require significant efforts on the part of a listener to understand. Several Finno-Ugric Sami languages are spoken and written throughout the country, especially in the north, by the Sami people. Speakers have a right to get education in Sami language no matter where they are living and receive communication from the government in various Sami languages. The Kven minority speak the Finno-Ugric Kven language/Finnish. There is advocacy for making Norwegian Sign Language an official Norwegian language.
In the 19th and 20th century, Norwegian language was subject to strong political and cultural controversy, which led to the creation of Nynorsk in the 19th century and to the formation of alternative spelling standards in the 20th century, notably the Riksmal standard, which is more conservative (that is, more similar to Danish) than Bokmal.
Norwegian is similar to the other languages in Scandinavia, Swedish and Danish. All three languages are mutually intelligible and can be– and commonly are– employed in communication between inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries. As a result of the cooperation within the Nordic Council, inhabitants of all Nordic countries, including Iceland and Finland, have the right to communicate with the Norwegian authorities in their own language.
Any Norwegian student who is a child of immigrant parents is encouraged to learn the Norwegian language. The Norwegian government offers language instructional courses for immigrants wishing to obtain Norwegian citizenship.
The main foreign language taught in Norwegian elementary school is English. The majority of the population is fluent in English, especially those born after World War II. German, French and Spanish are also commonly taught as a second or, more often, third language. Russian, Japanese, Italian, Latin and rarely Chinese (Mandarin) are available in some schools, mostly in the cities. Traditionally, English, German and French were considered the main foreign languages in Norway. These languages, for instance, had been used on Norwegian passports until the 1990s, and university students have a general right to use these languages when submitting their theses.
Norwegian culture is closely linked to the country's history and geography. The unique Norwegian farm culture, sustained to this day, has resulted not only from scarce resources and a harsh climate but also from ancient property laws. In the 18th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media. In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.
Norway is an early adopter of women's rights, minority rights, and LGBT rights. For example, in 1990 Norway was the first country to recognize the ILO-convention 169 about indigenous people, in 1993 Norway became the second country to legalize civil union partnerships for same-sex couples, and on January 1, 2009, Norway became the sixth country to grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples.
Norway's culinary traditions show the influence of long seafaring and farming traditions with salmon (fresh and cured), herring (pickled or marinated), trout, codfish and other seafood balanced by cheeses, dairy products and breads (predominantly dark/darker). Lefse is a common Norwegian potato flatbread, common around Christmas. Some traditional Norwegian dishes include lutefisk, smalahove, pinnekjott, Krotekaker and farikal.
Not until fairly recently has the Norwegian cinema received international recognition, but as early as 1951 a documentary film of the Kon-Tiki expedition won an Oscar Academy Award. In 1959, Arne Skouen's Nine Lives was nominated, but failed to win. Another Norwegian Oscar winner is Flaklypa Grand Prix (English: Pinchcliffe Grand Prix), an animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino. The film was released in 1975 and is based on characters from Norwegian cartoonist Kjell Aukrust. It is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time.
There was however a real breakthrough in 1987 with Nils Gaup's Pathfinder which told the story of the Sami. It was nominated for an Oscar and was a huge international success. Berit Nesheim's The Other Side of Sunday was also nominated for an Oscar in 1997.
Since the 1990s, the film industry has thrived with up to 20 feature films each year. Particular successes were Kristin Lavransdatter, The Telegraphist and Gurin with the Foxtail. Knut Erik Jensen was among the more successful new directors together with Erik Skjoldbjaerg remembered for Insomnia.
In late 2008, the movie Max Manus opened at Norwegian theatres. The movie was a WW2 drama, telling the story of the famous Norwegian resistance hero Max Manus who lead many successful sabotage operations against the German occupation. The movie became the highest grossing Norwegian movie ever.
Along with the classical music of romantic composer Edvard Grieg and the modern music of Arne Nordheim, Norwegian black metal has become something of an export article in recent years.
Norway's classical performers include Leif Ove Andsnes, one of the world's more famous pianists, and Truls Mork, an outstanding cellist.
The jazz scene in Norway is also thriving. Jan Garbarek, Mari Boine, Arild Andersen, and Bugge Wesseltoft are internationally recognized while Paal Nilssen-Love, Supersilent, Jaga Jazzist and Wibutee are becoming world-class artists of the younger generation.
Norway has a strong folk music tradition which remains popular to this day. Among the most prominent folk musicians are Hardanger fiddlers Andrea Een, Olav Jorgen Hegge, Vidar Lande and Annbjorg Lien, violinist Susanne Lundeng, and vocalists Agnes Buen Garnas, Kirsten Braten Berg and Odd Nordstoga.
Since the 1990s, Norway's biggest cultural export is Black Metal. The lo-fi, dark and raw form of heavy metal exploded in Norway during the 90s and launched the worldwide acclaimed careers of bands such as Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone and Immortal. This development has been somewhat well-received for the musical value, but many events that took place in the early 1990s as a result of the Black Metal movement caused quite a panic amongst the Norwegian citizens at large.
History of Norwegian literature starts with the pagan Eddaic poems and skaldic verse of the 9th and 10th centuries with poets such as Bragi Boddason and Eyvindr Skáldaspillir. The arrival of Christianity around the year 1000 brought Norway into contact with European medieval learning, hagiography and history writing. Merged with native oral tradition and Icelandic influence this was to flower into an active period of literature production in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Major works of that period include Historia Norwegie, Thidreks saga and Konungs skuggsjá.
Little Norwegian literature came out of the period of the Scandinavian Union and the subsequent Dano-Norwegian union (1387—1814), with some notable exceptions such as Petter Dass and Ludvig Holberg. In his play Peer Gynt, Ibsen characterized this period as "Twice two hundred years of darkness/brooded o'er the race of monkeys", although the latter line is not as frequently quoted as the former. During the union with Denmark, written Norwegian was replaced by Danish.
Two major events precipitated a major resurgence in Norwegian literature. In 1811 a Norwegian university was established in Christiania. Seized by the spirit of revolution following the American and French Revolutions, the Norwegians signed their first Constitution in 1814. Soon, the cultural backwater that was Norway brought forth a series of strong authors recognized first in Scandinavia, and then worldwide; among them were Henrik Wergeland, Peter Asbjornsen, Jorgen Moe and Camilla Collett.
By the late 19th century, in the Golden Age of Norwegian literature, the so-called Great Four emerged: Henrik Ibsen, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Alexander Kielland, and Jonas Lie. Bjornson's "peasant novels", such as "En glad gutt" (A Happy Boy) and "Synnove Solbakken" are typical of the national romanticism of their day, whereas Kielland's novels and short stories are mostly realistic. Although an important contributor to early Norwegian romanticism (especially the ironic Peer Gynt), Henrik Ibsen's fame rests primarily on his pioneering realistic dramas such The Wild Duck and A Doll's House, many of which caused moral uproar because of their candid portrayals of the middle classes.
In the 20th century, three Norwegian novelists were awarded the Nobel prize in literature: Bjornstjerne Bjornson in 1903, Knut Hamsun for the book "Markens grode" ("Growth of the Soil") in 1920, and Sigrid Undset in 1928. Further important contributions to Norwegian literature were made by writers like Dag Solstad, Jon Fosse, Cora Sandel, Olav Duun, Olav H. Hauge, Gunvor Hofmo, Stein Mehren, Kjell Askildsen, Hans Herbjornsrud, Aksel Sandemose, Bergljot Hobak Haff, Jostein Gaarder, Erik Fosnes Hansen, Jens Bjorneboe, Kjartan Flogstad, Lars Saabye Christensen, Johan Borgen, Herbjorg Wassmo, Jan Erik Vold, Rolf Jacobsen, Olaf Bull, Jan Kjarstad, Georg Johannesen, Tarjei Vesaas, Sigurd Hoel, Arnulf Overland and Johan Falkberget.
Norway has always had a tradition of building in wood. Indeed, many of today's most interesting new buildings are made of wood, reflecting the strong appeal that this material continues to hold for Norwegian designers and builders.
Norway's conversion to Christianity some 1,000 years ago led to the introduction of stonework architecture, beginning with the construction of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim.
In the early Middle Ages, stave churches were constructed throughout Norway. Many of them remain to this day and represent Norway’s most important contribution to architectural history. A fine example is The Stave Church at Urnes which is now on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Another notable example of wooden architecture is the Bryggen Wharf in Bergen, consisting of a row of narrow wooden structures along the quayside.
In the 17th century, under the Danish monarchy, cities such as Kongsberg with its Baroque church and Roros with its wooden buildings were established.
After Norway’s union with Denmark was dissolved in 1814, Oslo became the capital. Architect Christian H. Grosch designed the oldest parts of the University of Oslo, the Oslo Stock Exchange, and many other buildings and churches.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city of Alesund was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. The 1930s, when functionalism dominated, became a strong period for Norwegian architecture, but it is only in recent decades that Norwegian architects have truly achieved international renown. One of the most striking modern buildings in Norway is the Sami Parliament in Kárášjohka designed by Stein Halvorson and Christian Sundby. Its debating chamber is an abstract timber version of a Lavvo, the traditional tent used by the nomadic Sami people.
For an extended period, the Norwegian art scene was dominated by artwork from Germany and Holland as well as by the influence of Copenhagen. It was in the 19th century that a truly Norwegian era began, first with portraits, later with even more impressive landscapes. Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857), originally from the Dresden school, eventually returned to paint the landscapes of western Norway, defining Norwegian painting for the first time."
Norway’s new-found independence from Denmark encouraged painters to develop their Norwegian identity, especially with landscape painting by artists such as Kitty Kielland, a female painter who studied under Gude; Harriet Backer, 1845–1932, another pioneer among female artists, influenced by impressionism. Frits Thaulow, an impressionist, was influenced by the art scene in Paris as was Christian Krohg, a realist painter, famous for his paintings of prostitutes.
Of particular note is Edvard Munch, a symbolist/expressionist painter who became world famous for The Scream which is said to represent the anxiety of modern man.
Other artists of note include Harald Sohlberg, a neo-romantic painter remembered for his paintings of Roros; and Odd Nerdrum, a figurative painter who maintains his work is not art but kitsch.
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