Flag of Norway

Population: 4,752,735

Calling code: +47

Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)


Description of Norway

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a sovereign State of northern Europe, whose form of government is the parliamentary democratic monarchy. Its territory is organized in eighteen provinces or fylker and its capital is Oslo. Together with Sweden, Finland and a part of Russia, it forms the Scandinavian peninsula. On the other hand, Norway, Sweden and Denmark make up Scandinavia. The islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are also part of the Norwegian national territory. The sovereignty over Svalbard was established by the Treaty of Svalbard, signed in 1920, and has its capital in Longyearbyen. The island of Bouvet, in the South Atlantic, and the island of Pedro I, in the south of the Pacific Ocean, are considered dependencies and therefore do not make up part of the Kingdom as such. Norway is one of the countries that claims Antarctic territory: the Land of Queen Maud.

Its territory, located between the parallels 57 ° and 71 ° north latitude and between the meridians 4 ° and 31 ° east longitude, has borders to the north with the Barents Sea, to the northeast with Russia and Finland, to the east with Sweden, to the south with the Strait of Skagerrak and to the west with the Atlantic Ocean. Along its extensive Atlantic coast, Norway has numerous fjords, glacial valleys that are an icon of the country.

Since the Second World War, the country has experienced rapid economic growth and is currently one of the richest countries in the world, ranked third according to its GDP per capita. Due to the Scandinavian model of welfare, its system is qualified as a socialist state, since despite its level of economic freedom the state owns the key industrial sectors such as oil (Statoil) or hydroelectric power (Statkraft) and is involved in the organization and financing of social welfare available to citizens to a greater extent than other European countries, accompanied by a broad-based progressive tax system aimed at the redistribution of income from the richest sectors of society to the poorest .

The social equity values ​​of Norwegian society have kept the pay gap between the lowest paid worker and the CEOs of most companies much smaller compared to Western economies possessing one of the lowest crime rates in the world.


Travel Destinations in Norway


Southern towns and suburbs


Western Suburbs
















Kvitfjell Alpinanlegg
























Stjørdal (Stjørdalshalsen)


Northern Norway
















Mo i Rana









Western Norway

Møre og Romsdal



Geiranger Fjord


Sogn og Fjordane

















Barentsburg (Баренцбург)




Norway has experienced several territorial reforms in recent years, the last of which took place on January 1, 2020. The traditional division into five parts of the country (landsdel) was retained, the previous 19 fylke (provinces) were merged into just 11 fylke, and of the previous 428 municipalities, 356 municipalities remained after the reform. There are additional regulations for the capital Oslo and the archipelago of Svalbard (Spitsbergen), which as a special territory has extensive self-government rights. The Norwegian island areas of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are traditionally not assigned to any fylke, but form territories with special status. In mid-2022, however, a new territorial reform was decided, after which the number of provinces should rise again to 15.

Administrative divisions in Norway:
North Norway



The 20 largest cities and municipalities in the country
1 Oslo - the capital and also the country's largest city, with numerous museums of national and international importance, seat of the Norwegian Parliament, the King and the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize every year on December 10th in Oslo City Hall.
2 Bergen - old trading center of the Hanseatic League, whose old wooden houses the tyskebrygge are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. In addition, the second largest city offers a rich cultural and breathtaking natural landscape. Bergen is also the port of departure for the legendary Hurtigruten, the Norwegian mail service.
3 Stavanger - Fish and oil have made this city rich. Stavanger has overtaken Trondheim as the third largest city in recent years. Despite the unmistakable influence of the oil industry around the new port facilities, Stavanger shows itself in the old town center, in Gamle Stavanger, with its white-painted wooden houses, the narrow streets and the historic ambience of 200 years ago as extremely worth seeing.
4 Trondheim - once the capital of Norway and now a major technology hub. The city has the largest and most important cathedral in Scandinavia, the Nidarosdomen.
5 Drammen, an industrial and mining town that is part of the metropolitan area of Oslo - together the two cities represent the largest contiguous settlement area in Norway. Despite its proximity to the capital, Drammen, located at the mouth of the Drammenselva in the Drammensfjord, has retained its independence (and the oldest still producing brewery in Norway). Like almost every Norwegian city, Drammen is also a winter sports resort.
6 Fredrikstad
8 Porgrunn/Skien
9 Kristiansand
10 Tonsberg
11 Ålesund - The city of Art Nouveau.
12 Moss
13 Sandefjord
14 Arendal
15 Haugesund
16 Bodø
17 Tromsø with the world's northernmost university.
18 Hamar
19 Halden
20 Larvik - Port city on the south coast, birthplace of important shipbuilders and adventurers: Colin Archer and Thor Heyerdahl
21 Aksøy

Other notable cities:
22 Hammerfest - long the world's northernmost city, was replaced by Honningsvåg in the 1990s.
23 Narvik - End point of the "ore railway" from Sweden and thus the northernmost city in Norway that can be reached by rail.
24 Sandefjord - town of whaling
25 Harstad
26 Lillehammer - picturesque winter sports town. Venue of the Winter Olympics.
27 Molde
28 Mo i Rana
29 hoards


More destinations

The fjords of western Norway, such as the Geirangerfjord and the Nærøyfjord, together represent the fjord landscape as part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Other well-known fjords are the Sognefjord, the longest fjord in Europe, the Trollfjord with its only 100 m wide estuary into the Raftsund and the Hardangerfjord, whose slopes are among the largest fruit-growing areas in Norway.
Hardangervidda - the largest plateau in Europe with the Hardangervidda National Park, with the two highest mountains, Sandfloeggi and Hårteigen, as well as the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in northern Hardangervidda. The Bergen Railway traverses northern Hardangervidda, giving travelers who don't want to lace up their hiking boots a glimpse of this pristine landscape, which is snow-covered for most of the year.
Jotunheimen - a magical landscape with the highest mountains in the country.
Lofoten - an archipelago located about 100 to 300 km north of the Arctic Circle and traditionally characterized by fishing.
North Cape Magerøya
Trollveggen - mountain massif with the highest drop-off in Europe, a popular spot for BASE jumpers
Hessdalen - 12 km long valley where strange light phenomena can be observed in the sky
The Telemark in Southern Norway with the Telemark Canal.
The bird island Runde is located in Herøy Municipality.
The former industrial facilities of the Vemork power station in Rjukan and Notodden in Telemark have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015



Norway is particularly known for its amazing and varied nature. The many fjords on the west coast reach far inland and are bordered by high mountains. The country was once a Viking kingdom. Economically, it is best known for its oil and fish exports.

Norway is geographically very extensive. The straight line from the southern tip at Cape Lindesnes near Mandal to the North Cape is a good 1700 km, 2518 km by road. At its narrowest point, south of Narvik, the width is only 6 km. In this country, which is comparable in area to Germany or the United Kingdom, only 5 million people live, around 1 million of them in the metropolitan area around the capital Oslo alone. This means that one inhabitant has an average of 65,000 m². Due to the topology of the country, however, only a good 3% of the area can be used for agriculture; 44.4% consists of mountains and plateaus, 38.2% are forest, 13% inland water and swamps (source: Statistisk Sentralbyrå, March 2006). In many of these unpopulated areas, national parks with comprehensive nature conservation provisions have been established.

Downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding are popular in the winter, while hiking and cycling are popular in the summer months. For adventure seekers, nature offers kayaking, rafting, paragliding, or exploring caves and glaciers. Drivers will like the long drives along the fjords and mountains in the west or the midnight sun in the north. In short, Norway has a long list of outdoor activities.


Getting here

Border controls reintroduced: Border controls have been temporarily reintroduced in Norway. This is temporarily limited to May 11, 2023.[obsolete]- Shipping companies are also obliged to check the entry documents before the start of the journey. For EU citizens, this means that if you forget your ID card or passport, you will currently be turned away at the ferry terminal or other entry points. It is therefore currently absolutely necessary to carry the identification papers with you. Current information can be found at

Norway is a member of both the Schengen Agreement and the Nordic Passport Union. Entries from the Schengen area are only subject to passport and customs controls in exceptional cases. Norway is not a member of the EU, so customs regulations also apply to private goods traffic (even if it is rarely checked). It is possible to arrive by car from Sweden, Finland or Russia, by ferry from Denmark, Germany or the UK and by plane.


Duty-free amounts

100 cigarettes or 125g of tobacco products (snuff, cigars) and 100 sheets of rolling paper (from 18; also applies to duty-free purchases upon arrival at Oslo Airport) (as of Jan 2023)
one of the following combinations (over 22% from 20 years; alcohol over 60% is completely forbidden):
1 liter of liquor (23-60% alc.) and 2 bottles of wine (1.5 liters) and 2 liters of beer, or
3 liters of wine (4 bottles) and 2 liters of beer, or
5 liters of beer (max. 4.7% alc.).
Goods up to 6000 nkr., including
Bring a total of 10 kg of meat and meat products, cheese (only from EFTA countries, otherwise after an official veterinary inspection) and animal feed. Dog and cat food are not affected by this restriction.
Cash over 25000 nkr is to be declared.

For stays abroad of less than 24 hours, the exemption only applies if goods that have been taxed in an EFTA state are carried along. There is a simplified customs procedure for private individuals who carry comparatively small quantities but more than the allowances. This includes up to 27 liters of beer or alcoholic beverages up to 22% (duty 22-121 nkr/l), 4 liters of schnapps (duty 385 nkr/l) and tobacco products up to 500 g (duty 353 nkr/100).



A pet ID card must be presented at customs (red passage) for each of the maximum five animals. This is standardized in the EU/EFTA. From other countries, you can only enter the country with animals via the Oslo Airport Gardermoen and Storskog border crossings (at least 48 hours in advance). Pets born since 2011 must be microchipped and have a valid rabies vaccination. Dogs including puppies must have been treated for tapeworm infestation (fox tapeworm, Echinococcus multilocularis). Fighting dog breeds and mixed-breed wolves are generally prohibited.



The quickest way to travel to Norway from Germany is by plane. The flight time from Munich to Oslo is about 2¼ hours, from Hamburg about an hour. Prices have come down drastically thanks to competition from budget airlines, but vary significantly depending on the day of the week and the month. Airlines with regular scheduled flights to Norway are Norwegian, Lufthansa, SAS and KLM (no direct flights).

There are numerous smaller airports along the long coastline, but most international flights are to Oslo, Torp (Sandefjord), Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø and Trondheim.

At some Norwegian airports it is not possible to exchange money. You should therefore make sure you have enough cash (NOK) before you travel.



Travelers from Copenhagen usually have to change trains in Gothenburg or Stockholm. Some connections also go via Helsingør (by boat). The travel time for this route is a little more than 9 hours, but if booked in good time it is much cheaper than the plane, and there are also no disadvantages that are typical of airports, such as baggage checks. You can also bring as much luggage as you can/want to carry yourself. Likewise, the often long journey to and from the airport, which is often far away from the destination, especially with low-cost airlines, is eliminated (low-cost airlines often use special airports that usually only have the name in common with the destination - e.g. Frankfurt-Hahn) .



There are a number of companies offering tourist trips to Norway.

Various international bus routes run from Sweden to Oslo. The most important providers are Eurolines, Swebus Express and Säfflebussen. There are connections from Gothenburg and Copenhagen almost every hour. The bus density from Stockholm is also far higher than that of the train connections. Those who want to travel cheaply should visit for bus tickets between the major cities of Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

Other express bus lines run from Sweden to Bodø and Mo i Rana, but also from Denmark to Stavanger.



In addition to the ferries, there are various ways to get here by car. Depending on personal preference, a shorter ferry passage (Vogelfluglinie) can be taken, or it goes over the new bridges in Denmark to Sweden. Depending on the travel destination in Norway, there are now different routes. Travelers to the south of Norway, to Trondheim and to the Lofoten use the E 6 from Malmö/Helsingborg, which leads to Oslo via Gothenburg. This road, which opens up almost all of Norway, continues from Oslo in the direction of Trondheim. Travelers who want to get to the North Cape quickly should take the Swedish E 4, which is much faster and leads to Finland via Stockholm.

From Germany
From Germany, the two Colorline ferries commute daily from Kiel to Oslo. Departs Kiel at 2 p.m., arrives in Oslo the next morning at 10 a.m. Directly upon arrival at the ferry terminal, there is a bus to the city center. It then returns at 2 p.m. Arrival in Kiel the next morning again at 10 a.m. The Color Fantasy has been operating this route since 2004 and the Color Magic since 2007, both of which are among the largest RoPax ferries currently in service.

The ships of the Colorline have increasingly experienced a change from ferry to cruise ship, a large part of the guests make up guests on the so-called mini cruise. Low-budget travelers can no longer book cheap single beds, and there are no longer any lounge chairs available. While the mini-cruise is advertised as having very reasonable prices, a one-way crossing usually costs double or more than an entire mini-cruise (although you can't book vehicles for it). The change is also evident inside the ship: there are no seating areas without gastronomic service, in the evening people in evening dress often dominate life on board, most passengers populate the gastronomy and shops rather than the outer decks soon after the ship has cast off.

Colorline Terminal Oslo, Terminalen Hjortnes, 0250 Oslo. Tel.: +49 431 73 00 100 (service number in Germany). Simple cafe on the 4th floor, check-in on the 1st floor. Open: Open Mon-Fri: 8am-3pm, Sat-Sun: 9am-3pm.
Colorline Terminal Kiel, Norwaykai, 24143 Kiel-Gaarden. Tel.: +49 431 73 00 100 (daily 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.), e-mail: Open: Open daily 8am - 3pm.

From the Netherlands
New ferry connection from Netherlands Eemshaven to Norway Kristiansand with Holland Norway Lines.

From Denmark
Copenhagen - Oslo (16½ h) with DFDS Seaways.
Hirtshals - Kristiansand (3¼ hours) with Colorline and in 2¼ hours with Fjord Line's catamaran.
Hirtshals - Larvik (3¼ h) with Colorline.
Hirtshals - Langesund (4½ h) with Fjord Line.
Hirtshals - Stavanger (11½ h) - Bergen (+ 8 h) Fjord Line.

In the high season, on the usual changeover days for holiday homes, the ferries are often fully booked. On these days you should have booked a seat or cabin if you don't want to sit on the floor.

From Sweden
Strömstad - Sandefjord with Colorline.


Getting around

Norway has a well-developed local and long-distance transport system. It is mostly served by buses and ferries. Most timetables are available online via websites (e.g. or using apps for Android or iOS devices.


By plane

Domestic flights are a matter of course in Norway, a dense network of small regional airports covers the country and is indispensable for business travelers, especially in central and northern Norway, where the rail network is becoming thinner and thinner. In addition to Norway's largest airport, Oslo-Gardermoen Airport, each county usually has several regional airports that are served by international airports (see Arrival). The following are some important airports, especially in the northern Fylke, where most of the places where Hurtigruten docks also have an airfield:
Finnmark: Alta, Båtsfjord, Berlevåg, Hammerfest, Honningsvåg, Kirkenes, Vadsø, Vardø
More and Romsdal: Kristiansund, Molde, Alesund
Nord-Trøndelag: Rørvik, Trondheim
Nordland: Bodø, Brønnøysund, Leknes, Mo i Rana, Narvik, Stokmarknes, Svolvær


By boat

Regionally, many coastal towns can be reached most quickly by ferries, and many places on the fjords can also be reached by ferries. However, in the land of tunnel and bridge engineers, tunnels are increasingly being used to connect islands to the mainland and spanning fjords with gigantic bridge constructions. Ferry connections are therefore becoming fewer and fewer, which is good for the speedy connection, but is detrimental to nostalgia - the latter bothers locals less than tourists. However, the tendency to build bridges and tunnels is unfavorable for cyclists, for whom most tunnels and some bridges are closed.

Among the supra-regional ship connections, the Hurtigruten, the mail ship line (literally translated as "the fast line"), is particularly worth mentioning. In seven days, the line connects Bergen with Kirkenes in the very north, calling at numerous small ports as the main task of the ships, which are increasingly adapted to cruise standards, is the supply of goods and mail.


By train

The Norwegian State Railways (NSB) connects the main cities up to Bodø. Narvik can also be reached via the Swedish rail network. However, due to the many fjords, there are no direct rail lines between the major cities on the west coast; the network is mainly focused on Oslo. However, traveling by train offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. With the InterRail ticket you can travel through Scandinavia very cheaply. Most long-distance connections are served several times a day. Seats on long-distance trains require a paid (60 NOK) reservation. The InterRail ticket is not valid in couchette compartments.

Important railway routes in Norway:
Bergen Railway from Oslo to Bergen, the journey goes straight through the northern Hardangervidda.
Dovre Railway from Oslo via Lillehammer and Dombås to Trondheim, passing through both Gudbrandsdalen and Dovrefjell.
Flåm Railway from Flåm to Myrdal, the route connects the Aurlandsfjord and thus the region around the Sognefjord with the Bergen Railway. The train is mainly used by tourists.
Nordland Railway from Trondheim to Bodø.
Rauma Railway from Dombås to Åndalsnes, a 114 km branch of the Dovre Railway.
Røros Railway, a non-electrified branch of the Dovre Railway, which connects Røros with Trondheim and Hamar.
Sørland Railway from Oslo via Kristiansand to Stavanger.

There are also regional routes such as the Kongsvinger Railway from Oslo to Kongsvinger and the Hoved Railway from Oslo to Eidsvoll

Norwegian State Railways NSB tickets can be booked in advance online or by telephone. On most trains except local trains (lokaltog) a prior (free) seat reservation is obligatory, which is purchased with the ticket. If you spontaneously want a ride, ask the conductor (conductor) if there is still room, which is usually not a problem. When booking online, you have the option of choosing your own seat using a compartment plan that shows the number of seats still available. There are (limited) MiniPris tickets on all routes. A standard ticket can be canceled until the train departs, while MiniPris tickets cannot. A journey in the comfort area costs NOK 90 in addition to the ticket price, with the night train you can choose from various overnight accommodation options (sove). Children aged 5-15 travel for free on a parent's Standard ticket, while a parent's MiniPris ticket requires a separate ticket purchase. Children from 0 - 4 years generally travel free of charge. With small children it is advisable to book a place in the family compartment when booking. Seniors receive a 50% discount on the price of a standard ticket. Bicycles can be taken on all trains, but there are quotas in some cases, so that prior reservation is strongly recommended, especially on routes heavily frequented by tourists, such as the Bergen Railway. An extra ticket is required for a bicycle, which is the same price as a children's ticket on the booked route (50% of the standard price), but no more than 179 NOK.


In the street

With your own car you are always the fastest! This phrase may apply to getting to the ferry terminals in Frederikshavn and Hirtshals - the speed limit on Danish motorways has recently been raised to 130 km/h and congestion is a problem in Aalborg - but not in Norway. Here you can drive at a maximum of 80 km/h on country roads and 90 km/h, sometimes at least 110 km/h on the motorway. On the European roads, however, one is regularly warned of stationary speed cameras (automatic traffic control), mobile radar controls are rarely carried out (well hidden and without warning), radar cars (civilian police vehicles with travel time measurement) are more common. Meanwhile, there are also some 'double' speed cameras, i. H. even if you keep to the maximum speed at both speed cameras, the second speed camera recognizes through time measurement whether you were too fast in between and flashes anyway. Nevertheless, you should comply with the speed limit, the penalties are similar to those in Switzerland (e.g. +5 km/h 600 NOK), but probably not enforceable in German-speaking countries (i.e.: possible penalties are not mandatory unless you are Norwegian police officers in the country are asked to pay) - unless you use a rented car from a car rental company with Swedish or Norwegian license plates. Many 50 km/h zones, roundabouts, signposts and creeping mobile homes make driving on the transit routes a torture for some - others enjoy the overall smooth ride, which allows for breathtaking views from the car window.

In many places, especially on tunnels and upgraded routes as well as city passages, you have to pay a toll, when you arrive primarily on the motorway in the direction of Oslo and on this first before Drammen (30 NOK for cars). Otherwise the car toll is 10 to 25 NOK for cars. There are three different types of toll booths (called TOLL or BOMSTASJON). The toll is payable in NOK at the machine. Attention: never drive on red - video registration. Sometimes there are also euro-compatible and human-manned stations. As a tourist, you can also register online in advance with a credit card; the amount is then conveniently debited and you lose no time at the toll stations. As a foreigner, you can simply drive through these automatic toll stations, you will receive the fee bill without surcharges at the owner's address and can then simply be transferred. It should be noted that if you rent a car, the car rental company's fee for the invoice transfer will be added. This does not apply to manually manned toll stations.

Important: Dipped headlights are mandatory 24 hours a day, i.e. also during the day. Banning smoking at the wheel was discussed, but this proposal was rejected. General: The fines, especially for exceeding the speed limits, are among the highest in Europe, which, if you don't comply with the rules, tear holes in the holiday budget. Even small upward deviations (from 4 km/h) are penalized.

When driving, the following circumstances should be observed:
The right-before-left rule is omnipresent.
Some mountain roads are not wide enough for two cars to pass each other. Passing points are marked with a large M.
Winter tires are required by law in the cold season.
The dipped headlights must also be switched on during the day.
Sheep or cattle can be expected on the roads at any time, particularly in late summer and autumn (downturn).


By bicycle

Long-distance cycling in Norway is naturally a challenge - flat stages on Norway's numerous cycle routes are few and far between. But if you are a touring cyclist and have stamina and, if necessary, a certain endurance for the many climbs, you will be rewarded with lonely routes through nature, spectacular views and rapid descents after challenging climbs.

The main cycling routes in Norway are the ten National Cycle Routes:
Route 1: Kystruta with the North Sea Coast Cycle Route Norway and further from Bergen up to the North Cape
Route 2: Porsgrunn - Stavanger
Route 3: Kristiansand - Ålesund
Route 4: Oslo - Bergen (including Rallarvegen)
Route 5: Numedalsruta (Larvik - Molde)
Route 6: Roros - Leirvik
Route 7: Pilgrimsruta (Halden - Trondheim via Lillehammer)
Route 8: Oppdal - Molde
Route 9: Halden - Trondheim via Kongsvinger
Route 10: North Cape - Lindesnes
These and other cycling routes in Norway can be found on this map with lots of information about the route. Important sources of information are still the pages of cyclingnorway and the pages of the Norwegian Cyclists' Union. A database maintained by touring cyclists provides assistance in route selection with regard to clearance and usability by cyclists of the countless tunnels in Norway.



The official language in Norway is Norwegian. The language comes in two written variants, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Various dialects of Norwegian are also spoken. About 85% of the population writes in Bokmål, 15% in Nynorsk. Bokmål corresponds most closely to the dialects of Eastern Norway, while Nynorsk corresponds to those of Western Norway and the Trondheim area. Knowledge of Danish is sufficient to understand these languages.

Norwegians tend to speak good to very good English, which (as in the rest of Scandinavia) is due to the fact that American films are not dubbed but only subtitled in Norwegian - learning the language is therefore almost inevitable, at least for the younger generations given. German or French are much less common, but it is not uncommon to find German-speaking staff in tourist information offices or on large campsites.

The letters å, æ and ø come at the end of the alphabet. This should be taken into account when using dictionaries or similar directories.



The local currency is the Norwegian Krone (NOK). At the moment 1 € equals about 10.94kr. One kroner is equal to 100 øre, but there are no øre coins in circulation anymore, the smallest coin is the 1 kroner piece. Prices are still marked with Øre, but the purchase amount is rounded at checkout.

There is no uniform shop closing time law in Norway, but the opening hours are usually as follows:

Retailers: Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 16:00 Sat: 09:00 - 13:00
Supermarkets: Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 20:00 (21:00) Sat: 09:00 - 18:00 (19:00)
Banks: Mon-Fri: 08:15 - 15:00 Sat: -
Post: Mon-Fri: 08:30 - 16:00 Sat: 08:30 - 13:00

It is customary in many shops, banks and post offices to take a number. These numbers are then displayed on a board with instructions on which counter to go to, or the number is called out. If you haven't drawn a number, it's not your turn.

The prices for groceries are on the same level as in Switzerland, i.e. higher than in Germany, but the prices in the shops are very different, so that a price comparison can be very worthwhile.

Norway is often considered a "dry country" because alcohol prices are very high. A glass of beer or wine can be had in restaurants for around NOK 60 (€9). Beer is available in supermarkets, but like in Sweden and Finland, wines and hard liquors are only available in state shops (Vinmonopolet). You must be at least 18 years old to purchase beer and wine. You can only buy high-proof (more than 22%) from the age of 21.

You can get cash in Norway with the EC card at all ATMs that are available in every town.

Tax-free shopping: In about 3,000 shops, you can have a "tax-refund cheque" issued for goods worth more than NOK 300. This means that when you leave Norway, you get back part of the Norwegian VAT, which is currently (February 2013) 25%. You get a refund of approx. 11-19%, but you have to have the goods still in their original packaging when you leave the country and be out of the country at the latest four weeks after the purchase. When leaving the country, you go to the relevant counters at the airport, the ferry or the border crossing with the tax-refund check and the purchased items as well as a valid ID.


Food and cuisine

Typical Norwegian food was made up of whatever could thrive in the harsh climate. The produce was bunkered for a year until the next harvest and contained enough energy for harder work tasks. Typical examples were porridge, soups, imaginative preparations made from potatoes, salted and smoked meat and fresh, salted or smoked fish. However, the regional differences were sometimes very large, so that some Norwegians find it difficult to answer the question of which dish is traditionally Norwegian.

Today, higher-quality traditional dishes are often based on wild game and fresh fish. Steaks and meatballs from reindeer or elk have an international reputation, as do fresh, smoked or breaded salmon and other fish products. Bakery products such as Lukket valnøtt (cream cake with marzipan icing) have also made a contribution to international cuisine.

When out and about in the country's small cafés, you'll find vafler on the dining table very often - Norwegians prefer rømme og syltetoy with their waffles, sour cream and strawberry jam. It takes a little getting used to for the palate, which expects (sweetened) whipped cream from the cream on the waffle, but it is definitely worth trying.

Another specialty that is somewhat unusual for Central European tastes is brunost (brown cheese), also known as geitost (goat's cheese). However, while there is a wide variety of geitost varieties in Norway, with different consistencies and all sorts of spices, all forms of brunost are characterized by the sweet, caramel-like taste, the caramel-like appearance, and even the consistency is almost as sticky as caramel. There is hardly a breakfast buffet in a hotel without a brunost that can certainly be considered a typical Norwegian dish - it is even served as an accompaniment to the vafler med rømme.



In larger cities there is usually a very wide range. In the summer, when the weather permits, Norwegians party outside. Norwegians visit pubs consciously and not just because. They are therefore usually dressed to match the venue, although a casual style of dress is common.

Alcohol prices are much higher than in Central Europe. In bars and restaurants, for example, a 0.3 liter glass of beer can easily cost the equivalent of 10 euros. The same applies to a glass of wine, which costs around 11.50 euros.



A single room in a mid-range hotel costs NOK 900 and up. It is worth booking the hotel room in advance via the websites of the major providers (e.g. Rica, Thon, Choice, Quality). The price is then considerably cheaper than on site. Low budget hotels are very rare. There are also cheap options such as camping cabins (400 to 800 NOK, with space for 4 to 8 people), mountain huts (150 to 300 NOK per person), youth hostels (150 to 250 NOK per person) etc. Most of these options are self-catering, that is Bringing your own bed linen and cleaning the room before departure.

Camping is the cheapest way to stay overnight. A parking space usually costs 120 to 160 NOK, in cities more. There are around 1200 campsites. Most are equipped with a camping kitchen. As a result of the right of public access, wild camping is allowed for one or two nights, but only if nobody is disturbed and private property, such as meadows and fields, is not used. Disposing of rubbish in rubbish bins should be a matter of course. Note: There will be few camping opportunities in the valleys. In the mountains, on the other hand, it gets very cold at night. There are also guesthouses (Gjestegård) that rent rooms (some with breakfast). These are slightly cheaper than the hotels. Single rooms are rarely offered (usually a fixed price per room, regardless of whether all beds are used).



Norway generally has a low crime rate. Crime is mostly limited to theft and vandalism, although property crime has at least increased in recent years, increasingly due to gang crime.

In Norway, warning signs are only put up for a real reason, i.e. H. where there are warning signs, caution is urgently required. Every year tourists are injured or even killed in the mountains for ignoring such warnings, e.g. B. because they have entered a crevasse without sufficient knowledge or have approached glacier tongues too far.

In general, there is a tendency for vacationers to go on mountain tours without adequate equipment, especially without weather protection, and with insufficient physical condition, which they are not up to. The time recommendations of the Norwegian hiking associations are basically for experienced, trained local hikers and should be observed with a lot of respect by inexperienced holidaymakers - including a generous time supplement for your own stage planning. Wind and weather protection should always be carried along, as well as a tent, mat and sleeping bag for longer hikes in the mountains.



The healthcare system (helsevesen) in Norway cannot be compared to that in Germany, so travelers to Norway should be warned in the event of illness or injury on a trip to Norway:

Norwegian GP surgeries are generally only open from 8am-2.30pm and are underrepresented in number - long waits for an appointment (a week is not uncommon) are normal. Regulated working hours also apply in the hospitals, as in the rest of Norway's working life, which means that, except in absolute emergencies, no operations or treatment are performed after 4 p.m. Waiting times of up to 8 months for a new hip are not uncommon.

Holidaymakers don't travel to Norway for a new hip, but they don't want to wait a week for an appointment if they have an illness that requires treatment. Therefore, like the Norwegians, people turn to a legevakt, an emergency practice, for all non-life-threatening but urgent illnesses and emergencies. These are - at least in the cities - usually staffed around the clock (døgnvakt), but the same applies here as elsewhere in Norway: take a number (kjølapp) and wait, often for several hours. In addition, a treatment fee is generally due. The European Health Insurance Card applies.


Climate and travel time

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the climate in Norway is warmer than would be expected for similar latitudes. Almost half of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle. Summers can get quite warm (around 30°C) even in the north, but only for a short time. The length of winter and the amount of snow varies from year to year. Of course, more snow falls in the north; it's also decidedly darker. In the south and on the far west coast (especially in the Stavanger region) winters are fairly mild and rainy, while inland temperatures can reach -25°C. Some mountains have permanent glaciers.


Rules and respect

In theory, it is illegal to drink alcohol in public. The associated law even forbids drinking alcohol on your own garden terrace, as you could be seen by other people. In practice, this law is rarely applied and many Norwegians even pick up a beer in public parks. There is debate about changing the outdated law and recent media debates: most Norwegians seem to agree that drinking in public parks is fine as long as the time of day is right, no one is bothered and people are stay peaceful. However, if you start harassing other people or appear too drunk, you may be asked by the police to throw the alcohol away. In the worst case, you have to pay a fine. The situation on a street is different. This is more likely to attract the attention of a police officer than a picnic in the park.

post and telecommunications
The Norwegian Post does not distinguish between a letter and a postcard, neither in national nor in international mail.
A postcard or a letter (up to 20 g) to other European countries costs NOK 26. (from 01/2020).

Telecommunications and Wifi

Norway is a pioneer when it comes to telecommunications. That's why there are only about 500 phone booths left in Norway, and the trend is falling. Some have even been listed as historical monuments. With 66% of Norwegians having their own internet connection, internet cafes are hard to find. It is increasingly common for hotels and campsites, restaurants and cafés to offer their customers WiFi, some for a fee, some for free. Even in the high mountains you can easily access the Internet in some places - provided you have your own mobile access device.

Cell phone coverage is surprisingly high - you can even make cell phone calls in many supposedly deserted mountain regions, at least near the road. However, one should not rely on the cell phone in emergency situations in the high mountains, cell phone reception is very uncertain in the middle of Hardangervidda or Jotunheimen. It should therefore be a matter of course for every hiker to leave the planned hiking route and a time at the starting point, not only in their own interest, but also to save possible rescue workers a long search.

Since Norway is part of the EEA, the EU roaming rules have also applied here since June 2017, so that your own tariff from Germany or Austria can be used without additional costs.

Even in the most remote mountain huts it is possible to send postcards.


Country name

The meaning and origin of the Norwegian country name have not been clarified with certainty. There are mainly two theories. One posits a descent from Old Norse norðrvegr, meaning "way north" or "land north". As a second possibility, a derivation from norvegr is considered. The first syllable would not go back to the cardinal point north, but to the word nor, which means "narrow or narrow sound". According to this interpretation, the overall name of the country should mean "land along the narrow fjords".

The earliest mentions of the country name come from English sources, such as Latin Nortuagia around 840, Nort(h)wegia around 900 and Norwegia around 950 and Old English Norðweg around 880. The oldest Scandinavian mentions are nuruiak (accusative, read as Norwægh) on one of the Rune stones from Jelling around 980, nuriki (dative, to be read as Noregi on the Kulistestein) around 1034 and Nóregr in five skaldic stanzas from the period 970–1070. It is disputed among linguists whether the older sources, which originated outside of Scandinavia, are closer to the original form or whether they were influenced by a foreign worldview when they were produced.

In total, Norway has had six official names since a decision by the Norwegian national parliament, Storting, in 2021. In short, these are Norge in the language form Bokmål, Noreg in the language form Nynorsk, Norga in North Sami, Nöörje in South Sami, Vuodna in Lule Sami and Norja in Kveni. The official long forms for the kingdom are in Bokmål Kongeriket Norge, in Nynorsk Kongeriket Noreg, in North Sami Norgga gonagasriika, in South Sami Nöörjen gånkarïjhke, in Lule Sami Vuona gånågisrijkka and in Kvenian Norjan kuninkhaanvaltakunta.



Extent and boundaries

Norway is located in the western and northern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. The territory of the kingdom covers an area of 385,207 km². In addition to the continental "mainland" (Norwegian Hovedland), the Kingdom of Norway includes the archipelago of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) in the North Atlantic or in the Arctic Ocean with Bear Island (Bjørnøya) and the island of Jan Mayen. The mainland without Spitsbergen and Jan Mayen has an area of 323,810 km².

The mainland is long and narrow and also has a very long coastline. The width of the Norwegian mainland varies between 431 and 1.7 km, the linear extension is about 1748 km as the crow flies. Cape Kinnarodden represents the northernmost point of mainland Norway and Europe. Norway has three land borders, the border with Sweden in the east and the Finnish-Norwegian border and the border with Russia in the north-east. Overall, the Norwegian border reaches a length of about 2564 km. The country is surrounded by sea to the north, west and south, with the Barents Sea to the north-east, the Norwegian Sea to the north-west, the North Sea to the west and south-west and the Skagerrak connecting the North and Baltic Seas to the south-east. The Norwegian Economic Zone borders Denmark to the south and the United Kingdom to the west in the North Sea.

Areas under Norwegian administration but not part of the Kingdom of Norway are called Biland in Norwegian. One of these is the uninhabited Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya) in the South Atlantic. Furthermore, Peter I Island (Peter I Øy) in the Southern Ocean and Queen Maud Land (Dronning Maud Land), a sector of the continent of Antarctica, are claimed by Norway. The sovereignty over the areas classified as Biland, unlike the areas belonging to the kingdom, can be relinquished without changing the Norwegian constitution.


Geology and landscape structure

Norway is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. In the area statistics for 2021, 1.7% of the total area was reported as built-up area. 37.4% were considered forest areas and 3.5% agricultural areas. More than 50% of the total area was classified as mountains, plateaux or moorland, another 7% as freshwater or glaciers. In terms of landscape, Norway is characterized by the Scandinavian mountains with mountain massifs and barren high plateaux, the fells. About 20% of mainland Norway lies at an altitude of at least 900 moh. The highest point in Norway is Galdhøpiggen, in the Jotunheimen mountain range, at 2469 moh. The Beerenberg on the island of Jan Mayen is the only active volcano in the kingdom.

The subsoil of Norway is roughly divided into four areas. Thus, the Baltic Shield includes the Norwegian basement, formed during the Precambrian period. In the northeast Norwegian municipality of Sør-Varanger, the country's oldest rocks are dated to be up to 2,900 million years old. Another area is the Caledonian mountain belt, formed at the end of the Silurian period. In the regions of Vestlandet and Trøndelag in particular, there is subsoil created during the Devonian geochronological period. The fourth and youngest area is the Oslograben (Norwegian: Oslofeltet).

Today's surface geology is shaped by glaciation during the cold periods. The glaciers intensified erosion and created u-shaped trough valleys, among other things, and river valleys on the coast were deepened into fjords. Especially on the west coast, narrow valleys and fjords were formed. In eastern Norway, on the other hand, wider valleys were formed. Many inland lakes were also created by glaciers or ice sheets (see list), so they are fjord lakes. With an area of approximately 369 km², Lake Mjøsa is Norway's largest lake and has cities such as Lillehammer and Hamar on its shores. The deepest lake is Hornindalsvatnet in Møre og Romsdal with a depth of 514 meters.

The longest rivers in Norway are the Glomma, Tana and Pasvikelva rivers. The Glomma is about 620 km long and flows into the Oslofjord at Fredrikstad. The river's catchment area is over 41,000 km², covering over 12% of mainland Norway. Compared to other European countries, the catchment areas of the Norwegian rivers are mostly relatively small. The reason for this is that Norway has the highest elevations on the Scandinavian Peninsula and thus the main watershed near the Atlantic coast. The rivers west of the watershed are accordingly mostly shorter and steeper than those east of it.



The coast of the Norwegian mainland consists of many narrow and deep bays, the fjords, with which the salty sea reaches far inland in many places. The 200 km long and 1300 m deep Sognefjord in Fylke Vestland is Norway's longest and deepest fjord. Taking the fjords into account, the length of the coastline on the mainland is given as around 29,000 km. If the coastlines of the approximately 239,000 islands are included, the coastline of the mainland reaches a length of over 100,000 km. The base line of the coast without the fjords and islands is only about 2500 km long. Since the length of the coast depends heavily on the selected measurement accuracy, the exact length cannot be determined. With an area of 2204 km², Hinnøya is the largest island in the mainland. The coastal areas are the most densely populated and around 80% of Norwegians live less than ten kilometers from the sea.

The coastal areas are characterized by various factors and differ regionally. Large parts of the coast are rocky, sometimes steep cliffs drop off like at the North Cape. There is some sandy beach in more sheltered places, such as in Fylke Rogaland. In some parts of the coast there are rocky skerries that barely rise above the waves. The Norwegian Continental Shelf is used primarily by the oil and gas industry.

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



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

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

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

Northern Norway is affected by the consequences of global warming in the Arctic.


Cities and metropolitan areas

The Norwegian statistical authority Statistisk sentralbyrå (SSB) publishes figures for so-called tettsteder, i.e. urban settlements independent of the municipal boundaries, in addition to the population figures for the municipalities. A Tettsted has at least 200 inhabitants. Most of the larger Tettsteder have official city status. A Tettsted is sometimes made up of several settlements with city status. In 2022, a total of 82.67% of Norway's population lived in a tetsted.

By far the largest Tettsted in the country is the urban area of Oslo, which extends far beyond the borders of Oslo Municipality. As of January 1, 2022, Oslo Municipality had 699,827 inhabitants, Tettsted Oslo had 1,064,235 inhabitants. Among other things, 127,577 inhabitants of the municipality of Bærum and 69,702 inhabitants of the municipality of Asker were counted for Tettsted Oslo.



Except for a narrow strip on the southern and western coasts, the vast majority of Norway lies in the vegetation zone of the boreal coniferous forests, which in the mountains pass over subalpine fell birch forests into the treeless alpine mountain tundra. In the extreme north, above the climatic tree line (roughly on the Varanger Peninsula) begins the arctic tundra, which continues on the Spitsbergen archipelago. The south coast lies up to the edge of the highlands in the mixed forest zone, which leads to the deciduous forests of Central Europe. The mixed forests continue to the west and north in an increasingly narrow strip.

In the rainiest areas of Vestlandet, this mixed forest was originally defined as a temperate rain forest, in which very tall spruces towered over the canopy of the deciduous forest as emergents. Only marginal remnants of these forests remain.

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

Norway has over 40,000 lakes and many bogs and swamps in forested areas. Sites that provide sufficient nutrients and are rich in minerals have a high biodiversity. In other areas with few nutrients only a few species thrive, but these are all the more numerous. The swamp forests vary in appearance and ecology. Most of the forest lakes with no inflow or outflow are dystrophic waters with few nutrients and little oxygen. The water is brown in color and the bottom is muddy. There is often peat on the edges of the banks. Other lakes are shallow and get all their nutrients from rainwater. Peat often develops there, since no plant residues can rot in the oxygen-poor moorland.

When water seeps in steadily from the mountains, lush vegetation develops. Such areas were popularly called Heumoore, since the population used to harvest the grass. The large lakes in Norway are mostly oligotrophic. The water is clear, with great depth of visibility and also poor in nutrients. The ground consists of stones, gravel and sand. The flora here is different from that in the forest lakes.

There are over 800 species of moss in Norway. The majority of these are found in forested areas. They also inhabit bogs and wetlands as well as slow-flowing, rocky streams and rivers. The moss most commonly found in water is spring moss (Fontinalis antipyretica), which can grow up to 20 cm long. Peat mosses dominate in bogs and wetlands, of which 25 species are known in Norway. In the past they were used as insulating material for building houses. In Vestlandet, where a humid climate allows for a long growth phase, layers of peat moss over three meters thick are known. Because of its large size and slow growth, mosses in the forest are relegated to locations with little competition, such as rocks, wood, sandy slopes and dark wooded areas.

There are 10,000 species of fungus (fungi) in Norway, of which around 6000 are native to the forest. Only around 2,500 species produce fruiting bodies in autumn. The peduncle relatives (Polyporaceae) represent the most important group of wood-degrading fungi, of which there are over 300 species in Norway. These fungi cause a lot of damage in forestry.

Due to the large extent of the country, the difference in wildlife between the south and the north of the country is marked. In the north, where reindeer, mountain lemmings, arctic foxes and wolverines live, among other things, it has an arctic character. The arctic fox is a critically endangered species and has been under protection since the 1930s. The animals living in the south often have their origins in central Europe and displaced the arctic animals as the climate became milder.

In total there are about 90 species of mammals in Norway. The largest mammals on land are the moose that live in the forests. Deer live mainly in western Norway, further north they cannot find food in the deeper snow. Both domesticated and wild reindeer live in Norway. Among the predators in the country are bears, wolves and lynxes. Furthermore, polar bears are native to Svalbard. American mink spread across the country after escaping from farms. Musk oxen have been successfully resettled on Dovrefjell. Norway's bird life is rich in species. In 2020, the number of bird species was given as 519. On the other hand, the biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles is relatively poor. There are three species of snakes found in Norway: the adder, the grass snake and the smooth snake. There are some toad, frog and newt species.

44 species of freshwater fish live in Norwegian waters. Vestlandet is home to mainly species that can survive in salt water. These include salmon and trout. The fish stocks in Østlandet and Northern Norway are richer in species. Carp fish live mainly in the warmer lakes and rivers in the southeast of the country. Common species in northern Norway include perch and pike. There are a few species of whales off the Norwegian coast.

National parks
There are 40 national parks and over 3100 nature reserves in mainland Norway. At the end of 2020, around 17.5% of the area of mainland Norway was under protection. The kingdom's other seven national parks are located on the Spitsbergen archipelago, where over 64% of the land area had a protected status at the same time. On the island of Jan Mayen, the figure was 99.5%.




The median age in Norway in 2020 was 39.5 years. The median age for women was 40.2 years and for men 38.8 years. According to an estimate for 2022, there were around 12 births and 7.96 deaths per 1000 inhabitants. The population grew at about 0.8% per year. The fertility rate was 1.48 children per woman in 2020, the lowest it has ever been. The average age of women giving birth for the first time was 29.9 years. The proportion of people aged 67 and over increased from 8% in 1950 to 16% in 2020. In the same period, the average number of people in households fell from 3.3 to 2.1.

In the 20th century, the country's population more than doubled: the number of inhabitants rose from 2.22 million (1900) to 4.48 million (2000). The mark of five million inhabitants was exceeded in 2012. In the first years after the end of the Second World War, the population grew by about one percent per year, with the high birth rate being the main factor. Over time, the number of births fell and population growth reached 0.3% per year in the 1970s. As of 2004, immigration contributed a larger share of population growth than births. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a drop in the number of immigrants, the number of births once again became the most important factor in population growth.

About 82.7% (as of 2022) of the state's population is divided among areas classified as Tettsteder and about 18.6% among the remaining areas. In 2020 there were a total of 991 Tettsteder. One of the most densely populated regions of the country is the area around the Oslofjord. In 2020, 44% of Norwegians lived in the fylkern Oslo, Viken and Vestfold og Telemark bordering the fjord. In Northern Norway it was 9% at the same time. The interior of the country is sparsely populated and most of the population lives in the valleys through which the main communication arteries pass. A total of around 80% of the country's inhabitants live less than ten kilometers from the sea, in Northern Norway 90% of the people live less than four kilometers from the sea.

As of January 1, 2021, 800,100 foreign-born immigrants were living in Norway. This made up 14.8% of the population. In Oslo at that time, the proportion of immigrants in all districts was above the national average. Immigrants from Poland made up the largest group. On January 1, 2021, 197,000 people, or about 3.7% of the population, were among the Norwegian-born residents who had two parents born outside the country and four grandparents born abroad. The proportion of this group is 8.4% in Oslo. Overall, 24% of Norway's immigrants or children of immigrants lived in Oslo and 27% in neighboring Fylke Viken.



Norway is home to what is probably the largest group of the Sami, an indigenous people living in northern Fennoscandia. Estimates range from 60,000 to 100,000 seeds in Norway, but there is no exact data. In Norway, the Sami are divided into the group of the South Sami, the Pite and Lule Sami and the North Sami. The Norwegian Sami population has its own parliamentary representation in the Sameting, which is based in Karasjok Municipality. While the Sami are legally regarded as indigenous people, the Forest Finns, the Kvenen, the so-called Tatere, the Roma and the Jews have national minority status.

In the 2021 Freedom in the World country list, Norway received a score of 100 out of a possible 100 and was named one of the most robust democracies in the world. However, it was noted that discrimination against Roma and other minorities remained a problem.



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

The languages spoken by the Sami from the Sami language family are legally equal to Norwegian. Since the Sami have the status of Norway's indigenous people, the Sami languages are more heavily protected than the other minority languages. The Sami language family is divided into the languages Northern, Lule, Southern, Pite and Ume Sami. In the course of the Norwegianization policy, the use of these languages was pushed back for a long time from the mid-19th century. Other minority languages are Kvenish, brought to the country by Finnish immigrants, and Romani. Norwegian Sign Language was recognized as a full language in 2009. Norwegian students usually learn English as their first foreign language and later as an optional subject, German, Spanish or French.


Religions and worldviews

In the 1814 constitution, the Evangelical Lutheran religion was declared the public religion of the state. Persons of Jewish faith were forbidden to settle in Norway. The relevant paragraph was repealed in 1851 and all residents of Norway were given the right to practice their religion freely. The number of Jewish citizens in 1940 was about 2170, of whom 767 were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp during the German occupation of Norway (see main article: History of the Jews in Norway).

Even after the introduction of religious freedom, the largest religious community remained the Evangelical-Lutheran People's Church (Norwegian Church), led by the President of the Bishops' Conference. A constitutional amendment in 2012 loosened the link between state and church, but the national church retained a special role compared to other religious communities. For example, the payment of salaries for church employees is supported by the state. 64.9% of the total population belonged to the Norwegian Churches in 2021.

Discrimination based on religious affiliation is prohibited by law. From the age of 15, every person has the right to join or leave religious communities.[69] In 2020, according to Statistics Sentralbyrå (SSB), 47% of people over the age of 16 said they belonged to a religion or belief.

The SSB stated the following membership figures for 2021 (in brackets the development of the respective number of members compared to 2016):
Church of Norway: 3,526,133 people (-6%)
Christianity (excluding the Norwegian Church): 370,997 people (+ 6%)
Islam: 169,605 people (+ 14%)
Members of belief communities: 97,260 people (+ 8%)
Buddhism: 21,567 people (+ 15%)
Hinduism: 11,970 people (+ 35%)
Sikhism: 4208 people (+ 19%)
Baha'i faith: 1085 people (-6%)
Judaism: 761 people (– 1%)

Of the Christians outside the Norwegian Church, around 165,000 belonged to the Catholic Church in 2020, 41,000 Pentecostal communities, 29,000 Orthodox churches, 19,000 different free churches, 13,000 each to the Church of Sweden and Jehovah’s Witnesses, 11,000 each to the evangelical Norwegian Missionary Association and the Norwegian Baptist Union, 10,000 to the United Methodist Church and 9,000 Christian Church.

The majority of those who belong to a religious group outside the Church of Norway are immigrants. This group includes those who immigrated to Norway themselves or who have two foreign-born parents. Depending on their country of origin, these people are mostly of Catholic or Muslim faith. Muslims are over-represented in the Oslo region. The Jewish communities have the majority of their members in the cities of Oslo and Trondheim.

worldview communities
In Norway there is a humanist association, the Human-Etisk Forbund, a worldview community of non-religious and non-denominational people. The association was founded in 1956 and had around 100,000 members in 2020, making it the largest association of its kind in Norway.



In Norway, education is compulsory for children from the age of six until the end of the tenth grade. All children have the right to attend a public school free of charge. Attendance at private schools and home schooling is also permitted. Furthermore, all students have the right to go to secondary school (videregående skole) after primary school. Compulsory schooling was introduced in 1739. In 1889 it was established that compulsory education lasted seven years. The duration of the obligation was later extended: in 1969 it was set to nine years and in 1997 to ten years. Sami students have the right to education in a Sami language. For school-age immigrant children, the Norwegian state must offer language courses in every municipality.

In addition to the schools, the kindergartens are also subject to the Ministry of Education. They are run by municipalities or privately. In 2021, 93.4% of children between the ages of one and five attended kindergarten, and the figure for children between the ages of three and five was 97.4%. The ten-year primary school (grunnskole) is divided into a seven-year stage for children (barnetrinn) and a three-year stage for young people (ungdomstrinn). The majority of students go to secondary school after completing primary school. This is divided into preparatory school branches, which correspond to the upper level of the Gymnasium, and school branches that prepare for a job. Technical schools (fagskoler) offer vocational training following the post-secondary level.

There are ten universities and several state colleges in Norway. The largest private university is Handelshøyskolen BI. The proportion of the population over 16 years with university and college degrees increased between 2016 and 2021 from 32.9% to 36.0%. Among women, the proportion of university or college graduates was 40.7% in 2021. In addition, 3.1 percent of Norwegians over the age of 16 had a technical college degree and 36.7 percent had a secondary school degree as their highest qualification. In the 2015 PISA ranking, Norwegian students ranked 19th out of 72 countries in mathematics, 24th in science and 9th in reading. Norway is thus in the top third among the OWZE countries.


Standard of living

The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world, and the country has ranked first in the Human Development Index almost consistently since 1996 (as of 2020).



According to statistics agency Statistisk sentralbyrå, a total of 2,762,175 were employed in the fourth quarter of 2021. This corresponded to a share of about 68.1% of the population between 15 and 74 years. The NAV authority set the average number of people registered as unemployed in 2020 at 141,939.


Women's rights

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

Women were allowed to vote in regional elections as early as 1901. The prerequisite, however, was that they owned land or were married to landowners. In the 1906 election, pro-women suffrage supported the Radicals, and a Radical victory meant that in 1907 those women who already had regional suffrage gained national suffrage. In 1913 all restrictions were lifted. Norway was the fourth country in the world to introduce women's suffrage in 1913, after New Zealand, Australia and Finland.

In 1978, Eva Kolstad became the world's first Ombud for Equality.

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



Human settlement of today's territory began after the last cold period around the 8th millennium BC. when hunter-gatherers followed the melting ice north. Neolithic finds are the first to indicate agriculture in present-day Norway. With the gradual advent of agriculture, more people could be fed. In the north, the hunter-gatherer culture lasted longer. The Alta rock carvings show motifs from this period.[ The Neolithic was followed by the Bronze Age, although there are few bronze finds in Norway. During the Bronze Age, the interior of the country was increasingly populated. The Iron Age followed the Bronze Age. Findings of larger graves from the Iron Age testify that people lived in one place for several generations at that time.

The Viking Age lasted from about 800 to 1050. Harald Hårfagre, who ruled from around 900, is considered the first king of Norway. However, his sphere of influence probably only extended over part of the country and not over a closed kingdom over all parts of the country, as was often depicted in older sources. The exact founding date of the Kingdom of Norway is disputed, as many central sources are influenced by myth and are unreliable. During the Viking Age Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland were settled from Norway. Some Vikings - led by e.g. Bjarni Herjúlfsson, Thorvald Eiriksson and Leif Eriksson - even reached Newfoundland on several voyages around 1000 AD, off the north-east coast of the continent known about 500 years later as America. Normandy, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were also settled by Vikings.[89][96] Under the reigns of Kings Håkon I, Olav I Tryggvason and Olav II Haraldsson, Christianity became more widespread. The latter declared Christianity to be the official religion around the year 1020.

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

91 years of personal union with Sweden followed. This was dissolved on August 13, 1905, after an overwhelming majority of Norwegians voted in a referendum to end this union. On November 12-13, 1905, a plebiscite was held on whether Norway should be a monarchy; 78.9% of voters voted in favour. King of Norway became Prince Carl of the House of Glücksburg; he took the name Haakon VII.

During World War I, Norway, Denmark and Sweden declared their neutrality. In 1920 the country joined the League of Nations.

In the spring of 1940, during World War II, neutral Norway came under German occupation in Operation Weserübung. Josef Terboven was appointed Reichskommissar for Norway. The occupation was militarily justified with the imminent landing of British troops and the strategically important ports on the Norwegian coast, which were important for the supply of iron ore from Kiruna in Sweden. Above all, the importance of Narvik for the German war economy is disputed, because the Third Reich was less dependent on Swedish iron ore deliveries than commonly assumed. This is confirmed by Hitler's instruction to make the port facilities unusable for the enemy. More important for the German war economy were the Norwegian raw materials, mainly aluminum, molybdenum and pyrites (pyrite and marcasite), with the creation of a "European Greater Economic Area" under German hegemony being planned as part of the National Socialist Europe plans. Norway put up military resistance for six weeks, but was defeated by the German Navy. Norwegian National Socialists (Vidkun Quisling) allied themselves with the Germans and came to power as a result. Since most of the Norwegian population was hostile to them, resistance organizations became important.

One consequence of the German occupation was the so-called tyskerbarna, the "German children" fathered by German soldiers with Norwegian women. Their mothers were referred to pejoratively as tyskertøser (roughly "German hussy"). The approximately 10,000-12,000 children were exposed to massive discrimination in Norwegian post-war society and were sometimes abused. It was not until 1998 that Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik asked the tyskerbarn to apologize for the injustice done to them. The disenfranchisement and deportation of Norwegian Jews remained unexplored for a long time. Almost 800 of the approximately 2,100 Jews who lived mainly in Oslo and Trondheim were transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp and murdered there. The victims included Ruth Maier and 15-year-old schoolgirl Kathe Lasnik, whose fate was worked up by the philosopher Espen Søbye.

The years after the Second World War were politically dominated above all by the social democratic party Arbeiderpartiet (Ap). From 1945 she had the absolute majority in the national parliament for 16 years and she provided the prime minister until 1965 with an interruption of only three weeks. After 1945, an attempt was initially made to adopt a neutral position in foreign policy in order to prevent conflicts with the opposing major powers. In 1948, however, Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen turned his back on this position and the Soviet Union. In April 1949, Norway was one of the founding members of NATO. The Norwegian government initially planned to form a Scandinavian military alliance. However, since Sweden did not want to take part in this, Denmark and Norway entered the NATO negotiations.

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

On July 22, 2011, two devastating attacks took place in Oslo and on the island of Utøya, killing a total of 77 people. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg described the attack as a "national tragedy" and the worst act of violence since World War II.




The Norwegian constitution of May 17, 1814 is inspired by the French constitution of 1791. Montesquieu's principle of the separation of powers was a fundamental principle. Despite the liberal orientation of state law, Jews were forbidden to enter the Reich until 1851. The constitutional text, originally written in Danish and only carefully modernized until 2012, was translated into two official Norwegian versions for the bicentenary of the constitution, one in Bokmål and one in Nynorsk.

The separation of powers enshrined in the constitution led in the course of the 19th century to several trials of power between the government bureaucracy (executive), which was largely controlled by the Swedish royal family, and the Storting (Norwegian National Assembly; legislature). The Crown attempted to expand its privileges as an executive power and to largely exclude the Storting from government business, invoking the constitution. The conflict came to a head as the class differences between the official power elite and the rising bourgeoisie in Norway widened in the course of industrialization. The rejection of the royal bureaucratic state grew in society. In local politics, the national government apparatus was already practically disempowered by the introduction of local self-government in 1837. Accordingly, the Swedish nobility made vigorous efforts to maintain its influence at the national level.

Tensions escalated until 1884, the year that marked the introduction of parliamentarism in Norway. Against the opposition of King Oskar II, the bourgeois-liberal Storting MP Johan Sverdrup pushed through the constitutional principle that a government needs the support of the Storting to stay in power. Due to this dependency, the political sovereignty of the monarchy, which was enshrined in the separation of powers, was effectively abolished in favor of a strengthening of parliament. The king had to appoint Sverdrup as the new prime minister to form the government. In 2007, with an amendment to Article 15 of the constitution, the system of parliamentarism that had been practiced under customary law since 1884 was finally recorded in the Basic Law.


Legislative branch

The Norwegian national parliament is the Storting (literally "Big Thing", "Grand Assembly"). The Storting is based in Oslo and consists of 169 MPs. These are elected every four years (until 1938 every third year). In contrast to many nations, there is no possibility in Norway to call for early elections. Of the 169 members of Parliament, 150 are directly elected in the constituencies. The 19 other seats will be allocated as compensatory mandates. Only parties that have achieved at least 4% of the votes nationwide are considered for the equalization mandates. The Storting is headed by a Presidium consisting of a President and five Vice-Presidents. Since 2009, Parliament has been held exclusively in one chamber. The division into an Odelsting and a Lagting that previously existed for the deliberation of bills (but not for other parliamentary responsibilities) was abolished with the constitutional amendment of 2007 per 2009.

The Storting has the character of a working parliament and is divided into twelve standing committees. Norway is a nation with negative parliamentarism: the parliament primarily controls the government and has the right of veto. New governments are installed without the King's approval of Parliament. The Storting is able to force a government to resign through a vote of confidence.

Referendums in Norway are only consultative. They can be carried out at both national and local level. In Norway there have been six national referendums so far:
1905 about the dissolution of the union with Sweden (result: yes).
1905 on the installation of Prince Carl of Denmark as King Haakon VII (result: yes).
1919 on the prohibition of alcohol (result: yes).
1926 about the lifting of this ban (result: yes).
1972 on joining the European Community (result: no).
1994 on joining the European Union (result: no).
Local self-government is guaranteed regardless of Norway's unitary state structure.



The head of state in Norway is King Harald V. He plays a ceremonial and representative role in the political system: he appoints the prime minister and ministers, chairs the Council of State, annually opens Parliament and accredits foreign ambassadors. He was also the head of the country's Lutheran church until a constitutional change in 2012. The constitution of 1814 granted him only a limited right of objection (veto) against laws passed by Parliament, which Parliament can reject. No king has exercised this right since Norway separated from Sweden in 1905.

The king appoints the prime minister and, on his suggestion, the ministers, whereby the parliament is not formally involved in the process (“negative parliamentarianism”). However, the appointment of the Prime Minister is based on the majorities in Parliament and Parliament has the option of forcing a resignation via a negative vote of confidence. The Council of State, to which all ministers belong and where the head of state signs the laws and ordinances, is formally involved in the actions of the government through the regular meetings of the Council of State, which are chaired by the king.

Prime Minister (Norwegian Statsminister) is Jonas Gahr Støre from the social democratic party Arbeiderpartiet (Ap). His Støre government, which has been in power since October 14, 2021, succeeded the government of Høyre politician Erna Solberg, who has governed in various constellations since October 2013: after the 2013 general election, she formed a minority government with the Fremskrittspartiet (FrP), after the 2017 general election a minority government with the FrP and the social-liberal party Venstre. In January 2019, the Christian Democratic Kristelig Folkeparti (KrF) joined the coalition. The FrP left the government in January 2020. Before Solberg, the Ap politician Jens Stoltenberg ruled from 2005 to 2013.

After the Second World War, the Social Democratic Workers' Party under Einar Gerhardsen had an absolute majority from 1945 to 1961. After that, minority governments were usually formed. In the recent past there has been a tendency to form coalition governments with a firm majority in parliament and to act on the basis of a coalition agreement. So far there have been no grand coalitions between the Social Democrats and the Conservatives.



The Supreme Court of Norway (Norwegian Norges Høyesterett or Noregs Høgsterett) is the country's highest court. There is no court exclusively responsible for constitutional law.


Administrative division

Since January 1, 2020, the Norwegian mainland has been divided into eleven administrative provinces (Fylker), which are traditionally grouped into five parts of the country (landsdel). Except for Oslo, all Fylker are divided into several municipalities. As of January 1, 2020, there are a total of 356 municipalities in Norway. In June 2017, a comprehensive administrative area reform was decided, which was completed on January 1, 2020. It included a regional and a municipal reform. As part of its implementation, the number of Fylker and the municipalities fell. In June 2022, the Storting decided that as of January 1, 2024, parts of the reforms from the period up to 2020 should be reversed and the number of Fylker should increase to 15.

The people's representatives at the level of the municipalities and the Fylker are elected every four years. The elections are held two years after the Storting elections. The parliaments at Fylkes level are called Fylkesting. Each fylke also has a government representative who takes on administrative tasks for the country's ministries. This is called the Statsforvalter and reports to the local government. The Spitsbergen archipelago, which does not form its own fylke, has a special administrative role. There, instead of a statsforvalter, there is, among other things, the post of sysselmester, which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice.



In Norway, around 1.97 million workers were union members in 2021. Of these, around 978,000 belonged to the umbrella organization Landsorganisasjonen i Norge (LO), 388,000 to Unio, 230,000 to the Yrkesorganisasjonenes Sentralforbund (YS) and 243,000 to Akademikerne.


Foreign policy

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

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

Before the February Revolution of 1917, there had been lively trade with Russia, which had produced its own mixed language (Russenorsk). After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, cooperation increased again. In 2010, Norway and Russia were able to agree on a border for their respective sovereign territories in the Barents Sea. A visa-free zone of about 30 kilometers on both sides of the border was established in 2012 for border residents of Russia and Norway. From the mid-2010s, relations between the countries deteriorated again. An annual risk analysis by Norwegian intelligence services, published in February 2023, cited Russia as the top threat to Norway.


Environmental policy

Norway is pursuing the goal of not allowing any new vehicles with internal combustion engines in the passenger car and light commercial vehicle sector from 2025. The purchase of electric cars is subsidized by the state, among other things, through lower taxation. In 2020, Norway was the first country in the world with an electric car registration rate of over 50%.



The Norwegian Army (Forsvaret) consists of four branches: the Army (Hæren), the Navy (Sjøforsvaret), the Air Force (Luftforsvaret) and the Homeland Security (Heimevernet). Norway is a founding member of NATO and the country was the first NATO member state to remove eligibility restrictions for women in all positions in the military. There is a twelve-month conscription for both men and women. Norway spent around 2% of its economic output on its armed forces in 2020.

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


Fire department

In 2019, the fire service in Norway had more than 3,700 professional and around 8,100 part-time firefighters working in 597 fire stations and fire stations, where 963 fire engines and 70 turntable ladders and telescopic masts were available. The proportion of women is two percent. The national fire brigade organization Norsk brannvernforening represents the Norwegian fire brigade in the world fire brigade association CTIF.



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

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

The unemployment rate was 3.72% in 2019 and was therefore rather low. Youth unemployment was estimated at 9.7% in 2018. In 2016, 2.1% of all workers worked in agriculture and forestry, 19.3% in industry and 78.6% in the service sector. The total number of employees was given as 2.82 million at the end of 2022, of which about 1.33 million people were women.

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

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


Foreign trade

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



Energy in general

Electrical power is an important source of energy for Norway, with hydropower playing a significant role in energy production. There are no nuclear or coal-fired power plants on the Norwegian mainland, which is partly due to a decision by the national parliament in 1979. In this it was decided to continue to focus on the expansion of hydropower. About 90% of the electricity is produced in plants owned by municipalities, county councils or the Norwegian state. The state owns about 35% of production through state-owned power company Statkraft.

In 2018, Norway had the second highest electricity consumption in the world after Iceland with 24,047 kWh per capita. The OECD average was around 8000 kWh. Electrical energy is rather cheap compared to other European countries. The proportion of households in which the heating system is based on it is high in a European comparison. In 2020, the final energy requirement was 211 TWh. In the previous year, around 32% of the total energy demand was distributed among industrial companies, 22% among private households and 17% among the service sector. Petroleum-based fuels are the most common in the transport sector. In the heating sector, Norway is the country in Europe that is most heavily heated with heat pump heating. As of 2022, 60% of Norwegian households are using heat pumps to meet their heating needs. After a ban on the installation of new gas heating systems was decided in 2017, which came into force in 2020, the country relies entirely on heat pumps in the heating sector.


Power sector

A large part of the country's electricity requirements is covered by domestic hydroelectric power plants. In 2021 there were around 1690 hydroelectric power plants in Norway, which accounted for around 88% of Norway's electricity generation. The storage capacity of the Norwegian storage power plants is around 70% of the annual energy requirement. The use of hydropower has a long tradition in Norway and was the basis of the country's industrialization. Simple water mills were followed by water-driven generators and later smaller and larger hydroelectric power stations for generating electrical energy.

wind energy
At the end of 2021, wind turbines with a capacity of 4655 MW were installed in Norway. In 2020, around 6.4% of the electricity produced was covered by wind. The first wind farm was Smøla vindpark, which started operating in 2002. The use of wind energy is being expanded: in 2014 wind turbines with a capacity of 819 MW were installed, at the end of 2017 it was 1,188 MW and in 2019 2,444 MW. The largest onshore wind farm in Europe is the Fosen Vind wind farm, which has been supplying electricity since test operations ended in March 2021.

The first tender for offshore wind farm projects began in 2023. Offshore wind farms with a capacity of 30 GW are to be installed off the Norwegian coast by 2040.

Interstate electricity transport
With its electricity generated to a large extent from hydroelectric power plants, Norway participates in the electricity exchange with other European countries. During times when the hydroelectric power plants can generate a lot of electricity, Norway sells electricity to other countries. On the other hand, if electricity production is not favored by high levels of precipitation or snowmelt and electricity is cheaper in other countries, Norway buys electricity. Water is then stored in the Norwegian reservoirs for later use.

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


Fossil Energy Resources

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

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

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

After the collapse in oil prices in the second half of 2014, both production and development activities for oil production at deeper depths were halted due to high costs. In Norway, around ten percent of the approximately 100,000 jobs in the oil industry are said to be up for grabs. In 2014, the state-owned energy company Statoil went into the red for the first time since going public.

Stavanger is the economic center of the Norwegian petroleum industry and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum.



Norway is the destination of several million tourists every year. In 2019, 5.88 million tourists visited the country, spending about 4.9 billion US dollars. In 2017, tourism accounted for about 6.9% of jobs and tourism revenue accounted for 4.3% of total revenue. For some areas, such as Svalbard, tourism is an essential source of income. In 2018, 33.8 million overnight stays were recorded, around 10.1 million were attributed to foreigners. The most important countries of origin were Germany, Sweden and the United States. In addition to hotels and hotel-like establishments, which accounted for around 70% of overnight stays, camping and so-called huts were the most common types of overnight stays. Furthermore, cruises, such as with the mail ship line Hurtigruten, are widespread. The summer season is the time with the most visitors. In 2019, 52% of overnight stays were spread over the months of May to August. Significant factors for holiday trips to Norway outside of the summer are primarily winter sports and the Northern Lights.

The semi-public company Innovasjon Norge is responsible for Norway's tourism strategy. For 2006, this indicated that the Holmenkollbakken ski jump and its museum, the historic district and world heritage site Bryggen in Bergen, the Kristiansand Dyrepark animal park and the TusenFryd amusement park were among the most visited facilities. According to estimates, Vigelandspark in Oslo was the busiest with over a million people. Popular excursion destinations were also the waterfalls Vøringsfossen, Kjosfossen, Låtefossen and Steinsdalsfossen, the Trollstigen pass road and the fjords Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord. The most popular holiday destinations include the Oslo region, the Tromsø area, the Lofoten archipelago and the Bergen area. So-called scenic routes were designed by the Norwegian road traffic authority Statens vegvesen.

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


Food economy

Agriculture in Norway is heavily dependent on the country's geography. Only 3.5% of the country's area is classified as agricultural area by the statistical office Statistisk sentralbyrå (SSB). This area is mainly distributed along the coast and in the lower-lying areas inland. Due to the influence of the Gulf Stream, grassland can be used as a basis for animal husbandry in Northern Norway. Grain, on the other hand, is grown almost exclusively in the south of the country. Since a large part of the area can only be used as meadow or pasture due to the terrain and climate, animal husbandry has a larger share of the income generated in the agricultural sector.

The number of farms is declining, in 2021 it was around 38,000. Within ten years, the number had declined by about 16.5%. In 1969 there were almost 155,000 companies. The average cultivated area has meanwhile risen sharply: while in 1969 an average of around 6.2 hectares belonged to a farm, in 2020 the figure was around 25.5 hectares. Compared to many countries, this average size is small. In 2020, around 11,400 farmers worked primarily in crop production and around 23,600 in livestock farming. In addition, around 1,500 farmers combined the two areas.

fishing and whaling
Norway is one of the world's largest fishing nations and fishing is one of the country's oldest industries. In 2018, Norway ranked eleventh in the world in terms of the amount of fish caught, according to the World Bank. According to this report, Norway landed about 4.0 million tons in 2018. In 2018, 1.36 million tonnes of Norway's total catch came from aquaculture, ranking Norway ninth in this area.

In 2019, fish worth around 104 billion kroner was exported, with salmon exports being the most important source of income, with a value of around 72 billion kroner, ahead of cod. Other important fish species included herring and mackerel.

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

Norway operates a restrictive alcohol policy that began with taxes and production restrictions in the 19th century. During Prohibition in Norway, which started in 1914, the sale of alcohol was restricted and partially banned. In 1936, Norway was the first country in the world to introduce a blood alcohol limit for driving. In 2001 it fell from 0.5 to 0.2 per thousand. Alcoholic beverages up to 4.7% volume can be sold in grocery stores. Drinks with a higher alcohol content can only be purchased at Vinmonopolet and licensed establishments. The first wine monopolies were opened in 1922 as part of a relaxation of prohibition. In addition to taxed sales, there are also non-taxed sales, which can be practiced primarily at airports and on ferries. Compared to other European countries, little alcohol is bought in Norway. In 2017, alcohol sales per citizen aged 15 and over were reported as about 6.72 liters of pure alcohol spread over the year. The part of this not taxed in Norway, which also includes alcohol imported in border trade, was set at 0.78 litres.



The 2021 edition of the Central Bureau of Statistics' media report Norsk mediebarometer found that 98% of the population has access to the internet. 99% of people between the ages of nine and 79 owned a mobile phone and 96% a smartphone. 93% of the population used the internet on an average day in 2021, the most popular social medium was Facebook. As early as 2004, 90% owned their own mobile phone and 66% had Internet access. The country's largest telecommunications provider is Telenor.


Transport and traffic

Due to the country's length and geological conditions, the construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure is complex and expensive. Seafaring therefore formed the basis for transport in many places up until the second half of the 19th century. Only then could part of the traffic be relocated to the countryside through the construction of railway lines. In the 20th century, the importance of air and road transport for passenger transport grew, and goods transport also shifted from sea to road. The Logistics Performance Index 2018 compiled by the World Bank lists Norway in 21st place.

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

rail transport
The first railway line was opened in 1854, connecting Oslo with Eidsvoll. In 1861, the first purely state railway line was put into operation. In the years that followed, the network was further expanded, and the Bergensbanen line was completed in 1909. From about 1957, the overall track length decreased due to the hiring of smaller side lines. Because of the increased number of automobiles from the 1960s, the railway continued to lose importance.

In 2020, the rail network covered around 4200 kilometers, of which 2541 kilometers are electrified. Most passenger trains are operated by the company Vy. The Oslo Sentralstasjon (Oslo S) is the largest railway station in the country. Other important train stations include Bergen train station and the train stations in Trondheim, Bodø, Stavanger and Kristiansand. Fylke Troms og Finnmark has no train connection. The implementation of the Nord-Norgebanen railway project, which envisages a connection to Tromsø, was rejected by the Storting in May 2020. (for history see Norsk Hoved-Jernbane)

In 1894, Oslo became the first Norwegian city to have an electric tram, followed by Bergen in 1897 and Trondheim in 1901. A subway system only exists in Oslo (Oslo T-bane).

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

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

ship traffic
Norway's geography gives special importance to shipping and Norway is one of the largest shipping nations in the world. In 2021, the Norwegian merchant fleet consisted of 1,603 vessels over 100 gross tonnage (GT). Of these vessels, 682 were registered in the country's international ship register, NIS.

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



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


Fine arts and architecture

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

Since Norway was a rather poor country for a long time, hardly any monumental buildings were built until the Middle Ages. Wood was the dominant building material until the Christianization of Norway and the construction of the first church buildings made of stone, but it was still used frequently afterwards. From the middle of the 14th century, the plague epidemics led to a decline in building activity, which only ended in the 16th century with new Renaissance buildings. From around 1700, the wealthiest townsfolk began to build more lavish private houses, such as Stiftsgården in Trondheim.

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

Well-known Norwegian buildings include the wooden stave churches. Of the 28 surviving stave churches, Borgund Stave Church and Urnes Stave Church are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the best-known modern churches is the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø.




An important part of the library system in Norway is the fact that library use is free for all residents of Norway, although every municipality is obliged to have a library. Norway has one of the most comprehensive legal deposit systems in the world.



The public broadcaster Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK) offers national TV and radio programs as well as regional offers. Larger private TV stations are TV 2 and TVNorge. In 2020, 48% of the population watched television on an average day, 39% without taking online offers into account. The most popular TV channels were NRK1 and TV 2. 49% of Norwegians listened to the radio every day in 2020, down from 71% in 1991. The radio stations with the largest audiences were NRK P1 and P4 Radio Hele Norge.



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

The country’s top-circulation titles in 2019 were Aftenposten, the tabloids Verdens Gang (VG), Dagbladet and the Bergen daily newspaper Bergens Tidende. Digital leaders have been the websites of VG, Norwegian broadcaster NRK, Dagbladet and TV 2. There are also numerous regional newspapers. At the end of 2010, 226 newspapers were published in Norway, compared to 218 at the end of 2019. The two largest newspaper groups in 2019 were Schibsted and Amedia, which together published 86 newspapers.



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

One of the most important playwrights was the national poet Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) with dramas that were still often performed, such as Peer Gynt or The Wild Duck. Another influential figure in Norwegian theater is Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.



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

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

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


World heritage

To date, eight World Heritage sites in Norway have been recognized by UNESCO. Most recently, in 2015, the industrial towns of Rjukan and Notodden were added to the list of World Heritage Sites.

The eight World Heritage Sites are:
the Hanseatic district of Bryggen in the city of Bergen
the stave church of Urnes
the former copper mining town of Røros in central Norway
the stone carvings at Alta in Northern Norway
the Vega Archipelago, a uniquely open cultural landscape
the Struve arc, a geodetic measuring point
the western Norwegian fjords Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord
the Rjukan-Notodden industrial heritage sites with the Rjukanbanen



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

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

For a long time, women were not allowed to practice many sports or were not allowed to compete. After the gradual opening, which brought access to top-class sport in many disciplines, especially in the 1970s, the national teams of soccer and handball players were able to win international titles. In 1983, runner Grete Waitz won the first women's world championship in marathon running. From the 1990s, ski jumping eventually became a more widespread sport for women as well.