Norway Destinations Travel Guide


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

East 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)


Jan Mayen



The name of the country comes from the Old Norse Norreweg - the “northern route”, which originally referred to the coastal sea route through which the Normans went to the northern seas. Subsequently, this name began to designate the western coast of the Scandinavian peninsula along the sea route, and then the state that arose here. The country has two names, on both versions of the Norwegian language.



Geographical position
The mainland of Norway is located between 57° and 72° north latitude and 4° and 31° east longitude and extends for 1770 km. Its territory stretches in a narrow strip (the widest part is less than 420 km) along the northwestern coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula and includes all the islands, islets and rocks located in its territorial waters.

From the east and southeast, Norway borders on Sweden (for 1630 km), Finland (736 km) and Russia (196 km). From the northwest it is washed by the Norwegian Sea, from the northeast by the Barents Sea, and from the south by the North Sea. The length of the coastline is 25,148 km.

Some of the islands belonging to this state are located at a great distance from the Scandinavian Peninsula:

the Svalbard archipelago in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea, sovereignty over which has been internationally recognized since July 17, 1925;
Jan Mayen between the Greenland and Norwegian seas;
Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean;
Norway also claims territories that fall under the Antarctic Convention of 1961:

Peter I Island off the coast of Antarctica;
Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.
However, these territories are not part of Norway by the law of February 27, 1930, the parliamentary resolution of April 23, 1931, and the monarch's decree of January 14, 1939.

Physical and geographical conditions
The whole country is extremely mountainous; it forms a huge upland, consisting of gneiss, granite and other formations of the Archean and Paleozoic periods; in the eastern part it is cut by large valleys, and in the western and northern parts by deep sea fjords protruding into the land. In many places the mountains are rounded, and the landscape is chiefly the appearance of a great undulating plateau, in which the valleys and bays appear to be but very slight fissures.

Of the entire area occupied by the country, 39,000 km² lie above 1000 m above sea level, 91,000 km² lie at an altitude of 500 to 1000 m. The average height of the entire territory of Norway above sea level is about 490 m. In view of all this, the area cultivated or in general, land suitable for agriculture makes up a very small part of the whole territory: only 2,400 km² is occupied by arable land, while uninhabited mountains, swamps, etc. occupy 235,000 km², and glaciers - 7,000 km².

The northernmost area of ​​Norway is called Finnmark (also see Barents Region), the eastern part of which, bordering Russia, does not present any significant uplands and is filled only with rounded hills and highlands; washed by the stormy waves of the Arctic Ocean. Inside the country, the valleys irrigated by large rivers (especially the Tana), covered with rich vegetation in summer, give the impression of more southern countries, but due to the long and harsh winter they are not of great importance for agriculture.

To the west of the North Cape, the mountains take on an almost completely flat appearance, and at an altitude of 200-400 m descend almost sheer to the sea. There are also significant rivers and, above all, a wide river. Alta (Alta), like the river. Tana, known for centuries for its excellent salmon fishing. On the banks of this river lies a fertile region bearing the same name, with beautiful forests and well-cultivated fields; it is the northernmost point where rye is grown. While the eastern part of Finnmark with its large fjords (Tana, Lakse, Porsanger and Varanger, or Varangian) is not at all protected from the sea by any islands, a number of islands begin from the North Cape, covering the coast of Norway from the sea and representing a characteristic for Norway, a line in terms of orography. The closest are the larger islands (like Mageroy with the North Cape, etc.); farther south, large and small islands intermingle, and here they already take on the peculiar character of the Scandinavian Skjærgård', as this series of islands protecting the mainland is called here, of which the smallest is called Skjær (skerries). The wide Altafjord lies nearby, and the Lingenfjord reaching almost 100 km in length, which is limited from the west by a mighty (alpine) snow and ice chain, reaching up to 1500-2000 m in height (Goatzapaise, Golzevarre, Jiehkkivarre, Nialavarre, etc.) . This chain represents the orographic limit of the Finnmark Highlands.

From Lingen begins the so-called "northern country" Nordland, whose political borders almost coincide with the geographical ones. The ethnographic northern border in the Middle Ages was located a little south of Lingen. This rugged country extends over a space of several degrees of latitude to the south, retaining everywhere the same character. The mountains here are mostly 1000-1800 m high; their highest peak Sulitjelma (1880 m) is on the Swedish border, with a large glacier.


Closer to the coast lies the large Svartisen glacier (Svartisen, 65 km long, over 1000 km², 1097 m high). Only the western slope of the mountain belongs to Norway, the rest, on the other side of the highest mountain range, is Swedish. From the inner corners of the sea bays, the border of the kingdom runs in places only 20-30 km, and in one place even 15 km. The most important fjords on this coast are Bals (below Lingen), Malangen, Ofoten, Salten, Rana and Vefsen. In front of the mainland are numerous and mostly large mountainous islands; to the north of the others lies the large group of islands of Vesterålen, of which the Lofoten group of islands extends far into the sea.

Below Vefsenfjord, the strip of solid land becomes wider, the mountains are lower and the wide valley of Naumudal (passing through which the Namsen River flows into Namsenfjord) is a transition to the plains; behind it they diverge into the wide, beautiful pool of Trondheimsfjord. Here lie fertile and well-cultivated areas (Trøndelag, in ancient times the core of Norway), which, however, largely still retain the character of the valleys of Norway. The terrain on the western side of this fjord, deeply and widely cut into the mainland, is unattractive. Approximately at 63°, near the mountainous city of Røros lying at an altitude of 600 m, the highlands are torn apart, with significant mountains going south between both states and pp. Dahl-elv and Klar-elv go around the watershed, following the direction of the sea coast to the south-west and along this entire length, up to a wonderful descent at Lesjewerkswand (a lake lying at an altitude of 620 m, the waters of which flow southeast to the Skagerrak and northwest to Atlantic Ocean) are usually called Dovrefjell, although this name of the neighborhood is actually applied by the inhabitants to only that part through which the main high road from Oslo to Trondheim passes. This part of the mountains in the east is lower and less wild. But towards the west, the terrain becomes wilder and the absolute marks increase and reach the highest height in the form of the peak of Snøhetta, which was previously considered the highest mountain in Norway for a long time, according to the latest measurements, its height is 2286 m. The northern spur of Dovrefjell is quite large and is crossed by two large valleys (Orkdal and Geuldal). To the west, the Driva, running from Snøhetta, forms the Sunndal valley, the surroundings of which represent the transition from Trøndelag to the western, coastal surface structure. The main mountain range here suddenly turns south at right angles and is further called Langfjella. From here, the western spur is cut by a large spur, which protrudes for 209 km into the mountain mass and forms one of the most magnificent and picturesque areas in Europe.

Then, to the south of Trondheimsfjord, there are Stangviksfjord and Sundalsfjord with a remarkably majestic view and surrounded by the charming alpine terrain of Romsdalsfjord, the innermost spur of which receives the waters of the Rauma River, which flows through the harsh and wild Romsdal Valley (from Troldtind and Romsdalshorn, 1600-1900 m ).

Then comes the complex system of fjords in the Sunnmöre area, surrounded by mountains, the height of which reaches 1500-2300 m; the coasts and islands here are wild. To the south lies the Nordfjord, separated by a long mountain range that ends at Cape Stadt. Individual side bays of this fjord are especially wild, while Førdefjord and Dalsfjord in the southern part of Sundfjord are less majestic and wild.

Then comes the large Sognefjord, which got its name from the area adjacent to it, Sogn. Within this area, in an area of ​​about 15,000 km², are the highest and wildest mountain ranges of N., which have been given the name Giant Land (Jotunheimen). Here, the average height of the highlands, on which sharp teeth of rocks rise, reaches almost 1300 m. Since the snow limit here passes at an altitude of 1400 m, the tops of the mountains should have been covered with eternal snow, if this were not prevented by the smooth slopes of the mountains; but on the other hand, every cleft or crevice, every inconspicuous sloping, not quite steep rise of the mountain is completely covered with a mass of snow, and in many places glaciers (Jøkler) are seen through the clefts quite often and at a fairly large depth. All this space is a mountain desert, on which only occasionally a human foot steps. More than 60 peaks of the Giant Land (Jotunheimen) have been measured and almost all showed heights above 2000 m. ) parish in the Gudbrandsdal Valley, the highest of all known points in northern Europe, surrounded by a whole mass of almost the same high rocky peaks.


In the western part of the Giant Land (Jotunheimen) rises a group of Prodigal Children (Norwegian Hurrungane, German Hurenkinder), reaching 2000-2400 m in height. From the side of the Sognefjord, several valleys cut into this kingdom of mountains, and above all Ordal (Norwegian Årdal) is an extremely wild, rocky valley, the inhabitants of which are constantly threatened by avalanches.

To the west, between Sogn, Sundfjord and Nordfjord, lies a glacier 90 km long and 80 km wide. This snowy area, which covers about 1600 km², is called Jostedalsbreen (Jostedalsbreen) and reaches a height of 1600 m, while the lower edge of the glacier descending into the valleys (glacier) in places rises only 130 m above the sea surface and lies only 3 km from it. These glaciers (including 24 can be attributed to the first category) fill the valleys of Sogn, Nordfjord and Sondfjord.

South of Jotunheimen is an inland mountain plateau with numerous high peaks rising above it called Fillefjell. Sognefjord itself is divided into several smaller bays, of which especially Nærøfjord, Fjerlandsfjord and Listerfjord are distinguished by the majesty of the surrounding nature.

To the south of the Sognefjord lies a wide mountainous country, the interior of which consists of the fertile Foss area, and the coast from the south is washed by the waters of the Hardangerfjord. The places lying along the coast of this fjord are called Hardangera and are of the same character as Sogn. Inside this country lies a large flat upland called Hardangervidda, bounded on the north by the Hardangerjøkulen glacier and the high wall-like rocks of Hallingskarven. It occupies a space of 12-15 thousand km².

In the western part of the Hardangerfjord, on a flat top elevation of one peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Hardangerfjord and its arms Serfjord and Aakrefjord, lies the Folgefon glacier, 60 km long and 12–46 km wide, covering a space of 150 km² and presenting a majestic spectacle from the sea. Its highest points reach 1654 m, the lower limit of the eternal ice has a very diverse height, from 300 to 1000 m.

Outside all these fjords lies, with short breaks, a number of islands that protect the Ryfylke area, located south of Hardanger along one of the bays of the Bömlofjord. Ryfylke, in general, is lower than Hardanger, but off its coast in the Lysefjord (Lysefjord) lies one of the most terrible reefs of the Norwegian coast.

After Bömlofjord, the terrain changes completely. A series of islands is interrupted and the waves of the sea rush with full force to the unprotected coast of Jæren (Jæren). Jaren, like Lister following him, is a long but narrow plain, within which mountains again rise, but do not reach any significant height. The valleys lying between them are generally very poorly endowed with nature, and only the Setesdal (Setesdal) valley is of considerable length and is irrigated by the large river Otra (Otra), which originates in the mountains south of Hardangervidda. In this area lies Lindesnes, the southernmost point in Norway.

Telemark mountains
To the east of here, a series of islands protecting the land begins again, while the mountains remain low and bare for a long time. These plateaus are called Heier, and none of them rises above 1500 m. Gradually, this series of flat hills passes into the torn mountains of Telemark (Telemark), forming, as it were, a tangled mountain knot, in which Mount Gausta rises in an isolated cone (Gausta), reaching a height of 1890 m. Between the mountains, large valleys stretch in different directions, filled with rivers, streams and lakes. Mona (Måna), one of these rivers, forms in its course a large waterfall Rjukan (Rjukan), 245 ft. height.

Telemark is followed one after another by five large main valleys, which direct all their waters into the Oslofjord, surrounded by low and fertile areas. First, starting from the west, is Numedal, whose river Lågen originates in a small lake on Hardangervidda; then Hallingdal (Hallingdal), also starting on this flat hill, and Valdres (Valdres) with the river flowing from Fillefjeld. Begna; next comes Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen, which forms the border with Sweden, both leaving Dovrefjell. All these valleys have many similarities with each other: from the watershed they stretch in the form of small furrows between the mountains compressing them on both sides, then gradually expand and, finally, as they approach the coast and the mountains disappear, they take on the character of a valley. These eastern valleys, whose nature is completely different from the western ones, are collectively called "eastern mountainous", or "lying east of the mountains" of Norway (Østafjeldske Norge), and together with the western areas up to Lindesnes (and earlier to the eastern border of Jären ( Jæren)), make up the so-called Søndafjeldske Norge ("south-mountainous", or "lying south of the mountains") Norway.

The remaining parts (originally from Jären) were called "Nordafjeldske Norge" in ancient times, the southern parts of which (starting from the city) are now called "Vestafjeldske Norge". This division of the country is based on the natural conditions of the landscape; such a fragmentation of the country into parts by extremely high and inaccessible mountain masses causes great diversity in the character and customs of the population.

In southern mountainous Norway, the rivers, of which the largest is the Glomma in Österdalen, are of considerable length and often form large lakes, which, however, should be considered only extensions of the river channel. Such, for example, is the largest of all lakes in eastern (and all) Norway, Mjøsa, which receives the waters of the Logen River emerging from Gudbrandsdalen and, in turn, gives them to Glomma through Vorma: with a length of 117 km, it covers an area of ​​\u200b\u200bonly 364 km². Its shores are partly low and fertile, especially the southeastern shore, on which the plain of Hedemarken (Hedemarken) spreads widely. These rivers form numerous waterfalls, for example, on the Glomma River - Sarpsfossen waterfall (Sarpfossen) 20 m high; in Telemark and in the western regions, waterfalls of 150-190 m are not uncommon (Vettisfossen in Sogn, Vöringsfossen and Ringedalsfossen in Hardanger).


With a population of 5,265,158 (July 2016, estimate), Norway is one of the least populated countries in Europe. The population density is 16 people/km². However, the distribution of the population is extremely uneven. Over 1⁄5 of the population is concentrated in the south of Norway, on a narrow coastal strip around the Oslo Fjord (1⁄2) and Trondheims Fjord. More than 80% of the population is concentrated in Southern, Western and Eastern Norway, with almost half in the latter. Urban population - 78%, including over 1⁄5 - in the metropolitan agglomeration. Urban areas are understood to mean such settlements that have a population of more than 200 people and consist of houses remote from each other at a distance not exceeding 50 meters. About a third of the country's population is concentrated in the Oslofjord region, so this is the region with its highest density - 1404 people / km². Moreover, 673,469 people live in the Oslo urban agglomeration proper (as of January 1, 2018). Other major cities are Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, Fredrikstad, Tromsø and Drammen.

Sex and age structure
Norway has a predominantly working-age population between the ages of 16 and 67. The numerical superiority of men is small and is replaced by the predominance of women from 55-59 years old. This factor is typical for a number of northern states.

Ethnic composition
As of 2021, 74.77% of the Norwegian population was ethnic Norwegian, and 1,360,175 people (25.23%) were immigrants and their descendants (first-generation immigrants or with one or two parents of foreign origin). Among foreigners, 40% were immigrants from Europe (most of all Poles, Lithuanians, Albanians), North America and Australia. The remaining 60% are from Asia and Africa (Somalis, Arabs, Pakistanis, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Sri Lankans). Also in Norway live the Sami (about 40 thousand people, accurate calculations are difficult), Kvens (Norwegian Finns) and gypsies.

Foreign citizens immigrating to Norway annually, 1967-2019
Source: Statistics Norway (SSB)
Modern Norwegians

The current Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of Norway, in (2012-2013) - the Minister of Culture of Norway, the youngest (29 years) minister in the history of Norway, Hadia Tayik.

28th Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.
Throughout almost its entire history, Norwegian society has been ethnically homogeneous. By the 1980s, in order to slow down the negative economic consequences of the demographic aging of the population, a liberal immigration policy was adopted in Norway. By the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, refugees and immigrants from the economically backward countries of Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America began to actively move to Norway. Thus, as of 2021, Norway is a multinational state with a wide ethno-cultural, religious, racial and national diversity. As of 2021, 74.77% of the Norwegian population was ethnic Norwegian, and 1,360,175 people (25.23%) were immigrants and their descendants (first-generation immigrants or with one or two parents of foreign origin).

A large influx of migrants is observed in the northern provinces, which is associated with the government's policy of attracting labor force to these climatically unfavorable regions. The balance of migration is positive, despite the fact that the number of emigrants is increasing every year and already in 2010 reached 31,506 people.

In addition to external, there is also internal migration in Norway both between municipalities and districts, the former of which is twice as developed as the latter. In 2010, the number of people who moved to another municipality reached a record high of 214,685 people. Migration does not depend on sex and mainly occurs in the direction from the north and northwest to the southeast.

Pakistani Norwegians are the largest non-European minority in Norway. Most of the 32,700 Norwegians of Pakistani origin live in and around Oslo. The number of immigrants from Iraq and Somalia has increased significantly in recent years. After the enlargement of the EU in 2004, a wave of immigrants arrived from Central and Northern Europe, especially from Poland, Sweden and Lithuania. The fastest growing immigrant groups in 2011 in absolute terms were from Poland, Lithuania and Sweden.

The first mass appearance of Russians in Norway was in 1920 as a result of the Great Russian Exodus in northern Russia. On steamboats led by the icebreaker Kozma Minin, at the end of February, Russian refugees arrived in the city of Tromsø to obtain the necessary documents. At the beginning of March, the Government of Norway allocated a camp for them in the barracks near the city of Trondheim, in the area of ​​the modern airport. In the summer of 1920, the camp was closed, and the refugees were partially relocated to another camp near the city of Lillehammer, and partially dispersed throughout the country.



The official language is Norwegian. In a number of communes of Troms and Finnmark, the Sami has an equal status with him. The classical literary Norwegian language - Bokmål (Norwegian bokmål - "book language"), or Riksmol (Norwegian riksmål - "state language") - developed on the basis of the Danish language during the rule of Denmark over Norway (1397-1814). At the end of the 19th century, in opposition to Bokmål, a new literary language was created on the basis of rural Norwegian dialects with an admixture of medieval Old Norse - Lannsmol (Nynorsk landsmål - "country language" or "rural language"), or Nynorsk (Nynorsk nynorsk - "New Norwegian"). Lannsmol received formal recognition in the 19th century. Its creator was the linguist Ivar Osen. Both Bokmål and Nynorsk are considered equal literary languages, but the former is much more common and is the main language for approximately 85-90% of the inhabitants of Norway. Nynorsk is most common in Westland, where about 87% of its speakers live, and it is widely used in rural areas. In the first half of the 20th century, the “policy of rapprochement” (Nor. tilnærmingspolitikken) between Nynorsk and Bokmål was officially pursued with the aim of creating a “common Norwegian” norm (samnoshk, Norwegian samnorsk) in the future, but in 1966 it was decided to abandon this policy. A royal decree in 2005 gave Kven the status of a national minority language.



According to 2020 estimates, 68.1% of the population of Norway belong to the State Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran); Muslims - 3.4%; Catholics - 3.1%; other Christians, 3.8%; other religions - 9.6%; not religious - 15.4%.

Only from 05/21/2012 the church of Norway is separated from the state, which is surprising for Europe. See Church of Norway.

Article 2 section A of the Norwegian Constitution guarantees every citizen of the country the right to freedom of religion. At the same time, the same article still states that Evangelical Lutheranism is the state religion of Norway. By law, the King of Norway and at least half of the ministers must be Lutheran. As of 2006, according to official statistics, 3,871,006 people or 82.7% of the population belong to the State Church of Norway (Norwegian: Den norske kirke). As of January 1, 2014, according to the church itself, 75% of the country's population belonged to the Church of Norway. However, only about 2% of the population attend church regularly. Many Norwegians are "registered" as parishioners of the Church of Norway "by default". If at least one of the parents in the family is a member of this official church, then the child automatically "receives" the faith of the registered parent, so the vast majority of members of the Norwegian church did nothing to join this religion.

Christianity is the most widespread religion in the country.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2010 there were 4.21 million Christians living in Norway, which accounted for 86.2% of the population of this country. The Encyclopedia "Religions of the World" by J. G. Melton estimates the proportion of Christians in 2010 at 91.4% (4.37 million believers).

Protestantism is the largest branch of Christianity in the country. In 2000, there were 2,700 Christian churches and places of worship in Norway belonging to 70 different Christian denominations.

In addition to Norwegians, most of the Poles, Sami, Swedes, Germans, Lithuanians, Danes, Russians, Serbs, Finns, etc. living in the country are also Christians.

The Christian Council of Norway was established in 1992 and brings together Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants. The Church of Norway is a member of the World Council of Churches. The country's conservative evangelical churches are united in the Norwegian Council for Mission and Evangelism, affiliated with the World Evangelical Alliance.

In Norway, there are 403,909 people, or 8.6% of the population as of 2007, belonging to other faiths and teachings.

Among them, the most numerous are adherents of Islam (43,068 people or 1.09% of the population), the Roman Catholic Church (51,508 people or 1.1%) and the Pentecostal Movement of Norway (40,398 people or 0.86%).

The community of neo-pagans Foreningen Forn Sed is officially registered in the country.



Prehistoric period
In the era of the early Mesolithic, two related cultures of hunters and gatherers, subsequently named after the main monuments of Fosna and Komsa, entered the territory of Norway after the glacier retreating north. The climate in Norway after the end of the ice age was extremely favorable, and Norway was one of the most densely populated areas at that time in Earth's history.

During the Neolithic period in the south of Norway there was a megalithic, presumably pre-Indo-European culture of funnel-shaped goblets, and in the east there was a culture of dimple-comb ceramics (the latter was supposedly Finno-Ugric).

Ancient history
The ancestors of modern Norwegians, pushing the nomadic Finnish tribes to the north, belonged to a separate Scandinavian tribe, related to the Danes and Angles.

It is not completely clear how exactly Norway was settled. According to one version, Norway was settled from the north, but then settlers settled on the west bank and in the center. Some historians, by contrast, suggest that settlement occurred from south to north - an opinion confirmed by archaeological excavations. It is even possible that the settlement occurred on several sides at once, as the migrant tribes spread very quickly throughout Norway. It is reliably known that the very first people came to Norway more than 10,000-9,000 years ago, having settled in the area of ​​the village of Komsa in Finnmark and Fosna in Nurmör. These places gave the name to the first Norwegian cultures of hunters and gatherers. According to the sagas, the Norwegians occupied the area from the southern part of the Vike Gulf to Drontheim, (formerly Nidarose), but, like the Goths and Swedes, did not have a centralized authority. The population was divided into 20-30 separate groups called Fylk (Nor. Fylke, people). Each fylka had its own king, or jarl. In order to create a single state, several fülks were combined into one general assembly - Thing. Ting convened in a particular place, and all the free members of society attended, but the affairs were handled by the commissioners appointed by each king, who made up the supreme assembly, or the supreme court. Persons dependent on the king were not allowed into the ranks of the commissioners.

Later, the country was divided into four large districts, each with its own separate thing, with its own separate laws and customs; namely: Frosting, which included a fülke located north of Sognefjord; Goulating, encompassing the southwestern fühlke; The Oppland and Wick tings, located south and east of the Central Mountain Range, first gathered together in Eizating, but later Wiek County separated and became a separate ting.

Inside the fülk there was a division into hundreds (herad); at the head of the herad was hersir, who held this position under the law of succession. He was in charge of the civil and religious affairs of the district. The kings, called yngling, were considered descended from God and were representatives of the fülks in foreign affairs and the leaders of the troops during the wars, but their rights were determined by their personal qualities and the size of their personal possessions; the most important matters were decided by the people themselves on the ting.

The peasants paid the king a virus in case of violation of the world and brought him voluntary gifts. If the king “promoted violence instead of law”, then an arrow was sent to all inhabitants of the fulka in a sign that the king should be captured and killed. If it was not possible to kill, the king was forever banished from the country. The right to the throne was, along with the legitimate, and illegitimate children, whose origin was proved by a test of iron.

Thus, the ancient Norwegian society consisted of two classes: princes and free villagers, or peasants. Non-free people, or slaves with whom they were treated, were, however, severely dependent on them. These were, for the most part, captives. The two free estates did not constitute separate castes. The title of peasant was considered honorable. Joining the king was considered shameful for the peasants and was imposed in some cases in the form of punishment.

The king was the largest landowner and managed his lands with the help of persons called armadr. At the court of the king lived a detachment of warriors - hirdmanns. They were dependent on the king, although they enjoyed complete personal freedom. The activities of the warriors were wars, predatory raids, military exercises and hunting. They had banquets, which were attended by women, loved to have fun, but at the same time longed to die a heroic death. Faith in fate, which no one can escape, exalted the courage of the Norwegians. They believed that Odin gives victory, and therefore boldly went into battle.


Viking age
Due to the scarcity of soil, with a thirst for fame and fortune, the passion for expeditions to foreign lands increased, so that already in the VIII century, the Norwegians began to terrify neighboring countries with their raids. When at the end of the 9th century, large states began to form in Norway, the kings of which constrained the freedom of individual districts, the number of those who went on long voyages increased even more. Sometimes they went on a campaign, for conquest or robbery, the kings themselves, wanting to glorify their name. Only those expeditions that were undertaken under the command of the princes who were called sea kings were called honorary. Two periods of Viking expeditions are distinguished: in the first, the Norwegians sail overseas in small units, attack only the shores and islands, and retire when winter comes; in the second period they gather with large troops, go far from the coast, stay in the country for the winter, which they rob, take control of it, build fortifications there, settle in them. This period begins in some of the lands visited by the Vikings earlier, in others later - in Ireland in 835, at the mouth of the Loire - about the same time, in England and the lower Seine - in 851.

Norwegians even attacked the territory of present-day Turkey, where they were attracted by the riches of Constantinople, which they called Mücklgård. At the end of the 9th century, Norway rallied into one kingdom, and since then there is more reliable information about its fate. On the west bank of Vic, the present-day Christiansfjord, there was a small area of ​​Westerfield, ruled by the descendants of the kings, who, according to popular tradition, once reigned in Uppsala. The first king of Westerfjord, who left a memory of himself, was Halvdan the Black, who, partly due to family ties, partly through conquest, annexed to his kingdom all the areas near the upper tip of the bay and stretching inland to Lake Miezen. Halvdan died early, leaving his ten-year-old son, Harald (c. 860). The latter continued the work begun by his father, subordinating neighboring jarls and kings to his power and establishing autocracy in Norway. He succeeded, but the proud ancestors reluctantly obeyed the king, whom they had previously been equal to; so many noble people were expelled by Harald for resisting him and sailed to seek new lands. Later, the area lying south of Sognefjord was subordinated. Her leaders gathered a significant army, but Harald defeated (872) in the fierce battle of Havrsfjord. Harald made a complete revolution in the economic and social system of the country. Masses dissatisfied with the destruction of old liberties left for Iceland, on the Shetland, Hebrides and Orkney islands. From there, they often raided the shores of Norway, but Harald defeated them and placed Norwegian jarls on the islands. Harald at the end of his life changed the principle of autocracy: he divided the country between his sons, each having a kingdom, and gave the descendants of the female line the county along with the title of jarl. Only 16 kingdoms were formed, the relationship between which Harald was thinking of preserving, declaring his eldest son Eirik the elder king. Harald was still alive when Eirik made an attempt to reaffirm the unified monarchy and received the nickname Bloody Ax for exterminating his brothers. His stern, tyrannical character revived the reaction excited by the strict management of Harald. In the year of the death of the latter (934), his youngest son, Hakon the Good, returned from Norway to England and was brought up for education to Ethelstan the English. Haakon was elected king after he solemnly promised the peasants to restore their ancient rights and return their tribal lands. Eirik was forced to flee to England. Hakon the Good kept his promises. Baptized at the court of Ethelstan, Hakon made an attempt to introduce Christianity to Norway, too, but the peasants sharply refused and persistently insisted that the king consistently perform pagan rites, so that there was almost a gap between him and the people. Hakon died in the battle of Fityar, after which power passed to the son of Eirik the Bloody Ax, Harald II, and then became dependent on the kings of Denmark.


After Hakon, a number of kings, of whom the most famous — Olaf I Tryggvason (995-1000) and Olaf II the Fat (1015-1028), tried to introduce Christianity, enduring a stubborn struggle with the people. Due to his personal qualities, Olaf Tryggvason became a favorite hero of Norwegian history. Olaf II the Fat, nicknamed the Saint after his death and regarded as the patron of Norway, was the great-great-grandson of Harald the fair-Haired. He United all Norway under his rule, rebuilt Nidaros, founded by Olaf Tryggvason and then destroyed, and made it the capital of the state. He was a devout Christian; the age-old resistance of the people to the new faith was suppressed. Having established Christianity, Olaf changed the laws of the country according to the new conditions of life and made the Church code. The powerful families, who had enjoyed complete independence under his ancestors, had to submit to him. He abolished the hereditary posts of Linderman and bersirov. Even the title of Jarl was abolished; Jarl became the name of the king's closest aide in war and peace. Under other kings, jarls came into conflict with the Royal power and received great importance, which most often happened in the infancy of kings. The neighboring kings, Swedish and Danish, did their best to harm the king of Norway. Although king Olaf of Sweden, the Beloved, was finally forced to reconcile with him at the insistence of his peasants, and even to give him his daughter, but Knud of Denmark constantly stirred up rebellions against him and supported the insurgents. Olaf took advantage of Knud's departure for Rome to attack his state, but Knud returned, drove the enemies away, and the following year sailed himself to Norway. The people, exasperated against Olaf for his high-handed government, swore an oath to Knud. Olaf was forced to flee and found shelter with Yaroslav in Kievan Rus. In 1029 he gathered an army and sailed to Norway, but at Stiklestad he was met by a Norwegian army, three times as numerous, and he was killed. Knud appointed his son Sven as Governor in Norway; but the intolerable oppression which the Norwegians had to endure under the Danish yoke excited their irritation, and all remembered Olaf with bitter regret. The very people who killed Olaf brought his ten-year-old son Magnus from Russia and proclaimed him king. Sven fled to Denmark, with which a Treaty was made: Magnus was to become king of Denmark after Hardeknud's death. When the latter died, Magnus ' power was indeed recognized in Denmark. He appointed Sven as his Deputy, but after a year Sven refused to obey him. Magnus won in several battles, but, after victory in big battle on the island Zealand (1047) was assassinated. His successor, Harald the Stern, waged incessant wars with the Danes: he was called the Northern lightning, the destroyer of the Danish Islands. He was carried away by the hope of conquering England, sailed thither, and perished. After this came the more peaceful reign of Olaf the Calm, who ruled Norway peacefully for 27 years. During his reign, Norway achieved considerable prosperity. After the death of Olaf, in 1095, Norway again divided into two States, and again began strife, until one of the kings, Magnus Barfud, did not again become the sovereign of the United Norway. He made expeditions to foreign lands, conquered The Hebrides and Orcades and the English Isle of man, and fell in Ireland in 1103. He was succeeded by his sons, Erich and Sigurd. The first wise management contributed to the peaceful accession of new areas to Norway, built churches, monasteries, etc., D. Sigurd on the contrary, was distinguished by the brave, restless spirit of the ancient Vikings. In 1107-1111 he undertook a crusade to the Holy Land and returned with many looted treasures. In Jerusalem he undertook to the Patriarch to establish a bishopric in Norway and to establish a Church tithe, which he did. After his death (1130) begins a long period of internecine wars. The state was sometimes divided between several sovereigns, sometimes United under the rule of one. The clergy were able to take advantage of the time of troubles to expand their rights and privileges. This greatly weakened the Royal power, which in Norway could never have gained so much importance as in the rest of Europe, because the rights of the Norwegian people were very extensive, and they stubbornly defended them against all attempts to subjugate them. The aristocracy of Norway became more and more distant from the people, and after the introduction of Christianity began to draw near to the clergy, seeking, together with them, to concentrate in their hands the government of the country. In 1161, in the reign of Haakon II the broad-Shouldered, Norway was visited by the papal legate, who forced the prohibition of marriages of priests to be recognized and introduced various other reforms. In Bergen, he anointed the reign of 8-year-old Magnus, elected king in 1162 Magnus descended from Harald the Fair-haired on his mother; the Church, having consecrated his hereditary rights, enabled a number of descendants of the Royal daughters to make claims to the Norwegian throne. King Magnus in 1174, according to Archbishop Eystein of Nidaros, promulgated a law called the Charter of the Golden pen and granted the Norwegian clergy very great rights. Magnus, who called himself in this Charter the king of God's grace, promised to establish tithes in favor of the Church, refused all interference in the election of bishops and other Church dignitaries, and gave the Archbishop of Nidaros and his spiritual advisers the predominant influence in deciding which of the sons or relatives of the king should be given the crown. Thus the appointment of the king by the people's Assembly was replaced in Norway by the influence of the clergy and the coronation. This was explained by the fact that each king received Norway as if in flax from St. Olaf. Such a violation of their rights the people could not quietly endure and rebelled under the leadership of Eystein Moyle, who called himself the grandson of one of the Norwegian kings, Harald Gille. There was a struggle between two parties, of which one was called the Birchbills (birkebeiners) and the other the crooked Rod (baglers), from the crooked Bishop's rod. Berezhnoye opposed the empowerment of the clergy and championed the rights of the people, and krivousova were clerics. The struggle lasted more than a century and caused a number of coups. The birkebeiners were about to die when they were led by the ex-priest Sverrir, an Icelander by birth who posed as the son of king Sigurd Munds. In 1184 Magnus was assassinated and Sverrir elected king. His reign is a new era in the history of Norway; he dealt a decisive blow to both allies-the clergy and the aristocracy - and established the democratic principles on which the Norwegian state was based. He destroyed the power of the nobility, appointing to govern the country new persons who depended solely on him; the titles remained, but they were now nothing more than empty words. He also destroyed the preponderance of the clergy, on the ground that the king received his title from God, and held sway over all his subjects. The clergy rebelled against him, Pope innocent III excommunicated him, all the bishops left Norway, but Sverrir remained adamant. If he did not succeed in carrying the centralization to the end, it was because he had to fight all the time not only internal but also external enemies. The struggle continued after his death (1202), both under his son Haakon III and during the ensuing interregnum, when the birkebakers appointed one king and the ecclesiastical party appointed the other, until Sverrir's collateral grandson, Haakon, was recognized as king by both parties at a meeting in Bergen attended by the high clergy, jarls and peasants. A period of peaceful development has come for Norway. Haakon did not agree to accept the Golden pen's letters, but at the same time he acted as a conciliator between the peasants and the clergy. In the matter of jurisdiction, the clergy were granted complete independence from the civil court; they elected their dignitaries without Royal interference, and the ecclesiastical estates were declared free from military service. In gratitude for that, the clergy helped Haakon conquer almost all of Iceland and Greenland. His son Magnus VI ascended the throne (1263), no longer at the request of ting, but at the desire of his father, who proposed to the people to swear allegiance to him before the proposed campaign in Denmark and promulgated in 1257 the law of succession, destroying the influence of bishops in this matter and preventing the fragmentation of the state into parts. Magnus maintained tranquillity within the state and peace with his neighbors, and earned the title of law Improver (Laegebaetr); he established a General law for the whole Kingdom, laying in its Foundation the old legislation of the country, gulating, frostating, etc. The penalties were mitigated, more precise rules of succession were established, completely eliminating the election of the king. The essential changes effected in the state system consisted in the increase of the importance of the Royal servants and the elevation of the power of the king himself.


King Hakon V the Saint (1319) completely destroyed the title of Lendermen, without meeting any resistance: the Lendermen ceased to be the leaders of the people, representing only large free landowners. Norway remained a country of peasants - small landowners. Hakon died without male heirs, and since the minor Swedish king Magnus Eriksson was Hakon's grandson by his mother, the Norwegians elected him their king: the throne of Norway passed to the Swedish line, and both countries retained their laws and their supreme councils. In Norway there were 4 local councils (Orething) and one general council, which met mostly in Bergen. Larger cities had their own self-government.

Union with Denmark and Sweden
Since the election of Magnus Eriksson, the history of Norway is inseparably linked with the history of other Scandinavian states and is losing its independent significance. Norway is being towed by Sweden, participating, among other things, in the wars between Sweden and the Hansa, which strengthened the latter's domination and delayed the development of Norwegian trade for a long time. In Norway, all power was concentrated in the hands of officials; there was no aristocracy, no permanent assembly of the people that could resist them, although the peasants and cities retained their primordial liberties. In 1349, a plague broke out, claiming more than a third of the country's population. The Norwegians insistently demanded the presence of the king, and Magnus sent his youngest son Gakon, 12 years old, as king in 1350. In 1376, the Swedish State Council, after the termination of the male line of the reigning dynasty, elected four-year-old Olaf, the son of the Norwegian king Gakon and his wife Margarita, as king, and Margaret was appointed regent. Following this, the Hansa recognized Olaf as the Danish king. Thus, all 3 Scandinavian states merged into one. When Gakon of Norway died in 1380, Margaret of Denmark was recognized as the Norwegian regent. But her power in Denmark and Norway was very weak. In 1387, Olaf died, and both the Danish and Norwegian Seimas elected Margaret queen, and in 1388 the Swedes also elected her queen of Sweden. When electing Margarita, the Norwegian Sejm recognized her as the heir to her sister's grandson, Erich Pomeranian. In July 1396, the Danish and Swedish Sejms promised that Erich, upon reaching adulthood, would be given control of their states and that the Scandinavian states would not wage war among themselves. To strengthen the position of her heir, Margarita convened the councils of state of all three kingdoms in Kalmar; in June 1397 they worked out a law called the squid union. On the basis of it, Denmark, Norway and Sweden were to have always one king, elected from the Erich dynasty along the line of the primogeniture; the Scandinavian states should not fight among themselves, but should defend each other when attacked by enemies; treaties with foreign states must be common to all three states; declared a rebel in one of them should be prosecuted in the other two, but each of the three Scandinavian states retains its own special laws.


The Kalmar Union brought little benefit to the Scandinavian states; they were involved in the conquest policy that the reigning dynasty adhered to and which did them much harm. Norway had to make sacrifices for several decades for purposes completely unknown to it, to pay huge taxes for the costs of wars that were foreign to its interests. The Norwegians never saw the king, and his officials oppressed the people, pulled all the juices out of the country, forced them to take a bad coin at a nominal price. Norwegians asked to send them the governor if the king could not come by himself; having neither an aristocracy, nor a general Sejm, they needed the king’s immediate concern for their state affairs - but they did not pay attention to their requests. “We are ruled by foreign cruel fochts, we have no coin order, no governor, or even a seal, so the Norwegians must run abroad to get their stamp,” the Norwegians complained in 1420. From here came a hostile attitude towards the dominion of foreign kings and a whole series of unrest arose; the people refused to obey the strangers and energetically resisted all kinds of attempts at local laws and customs. The unrest in Denmark gave the Norwegians the opportunity to defend their independence and turn the union into a personal and equal (1450). Each state retained its separate name and its laws, was governed by its compatriots, had its own separate finances and treasury. Karl Knudson, chosen by the Norwegians as king, ceded his rights to King Danish Christian I. It was decided that Norway would always have a king in common with Denmark; the choice of the king should take place in Halmstad, and if the king of Christians leaves behind his sons, then they must first be subjected to election. From then until 1814, Norway and Denmark shared kings.

Throughout the 15th century and until 1536, when the liberties of Norway were finally suppressed, the Norwegians did not cease to worry and resent against any encroachment on their rights. They recognized Danish kings only after much hesitation and resistance. The Norwegians were particularly indignant at the fact that their most important and oldest colonies, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, were pledged by the Christian I in 1468 to the Scottish king and have not been redeemed since, so they remained in Scotland. Constantly there were armed uprisings against strangers.


After the Danish King Christian II, expelled from Denmark and supported by Norway, was captured by the Danes and deposed, the Danish Rigdsdag in 1536, contrary to the Union of Kalmar, turned Norway from an equal member of the union into a subject province. A separate Norwegian Sejm, separate army and navy, separate finances, etc. were destroyed. The Supreme Norwegian court was destroyed; all processes were decided in Copenhagen by Danish judges; bishops ordained there, youth studied there, who devoted themselves to state and church services. Norwegian soldiers and sailors joined the ranks of the Danish fleet and troops. The administration of Norway was entrusted to the Danish Vogts, sent by the Danish government and completely independently disposed of it. The only thing that the Danes did not dare to touch upon was the rights to the land of the peasants, “odelsret”. The loss of political independence had a depressing effect on the development of Norway. It seemed to freeze in place, especially after the reformation, which was introduced in Norway in almost the same violent ways as Christianity. Norwegian trade was destroyed by the almighty Hansa; industry has not developed. Both the country's finances and its population suffered from constant wars with Sweden, whose soldiers devastated its border regions. At the same time, Sweden captured three Norwegian regions: Jämtland, Herjedalen and Bohuslän. In mental life, complete stagnation took place. Even the rewriting of ancient manuscripts has ceased; one might have thought that the Norwegians even forgot to read, says one writer. But if in these respects the domination of Denmark had an adverse effect on Norway, then in others it acted beneficently, directing the life of Norway along the line in which it began to go, and strengthening the democratic principles underlying its political system. The last vestiges of feudalism disappeared in the XVII century, and a new aristocracy could not be formed due to the absence of a court, the absence of a king and the constant change of officials, who were an alien element and could not take strong roots in the country. After the abolition of dependence on the Hansa, in 1613, Norwegian trade developed rapidly, as well as shipping, fishing and forestry, and the population increased significantly, with all the population growth rushing to the cities, contributing to their prosperity. At the end of the XVIII century, when Norway had to suffer a lot during the wars of Denmark with England, the spirit of nationality and a love of freedom awoke from the Norwegians. The British cruisers and the fleet interrupted the communication between Denmark and Norway for whole years, and the latter would have separated from Denmark if it had not been for the attachment to the staffler, Prince Augustus Christian Holstein-Glucksburg, who managed to win popular love with his management. After his death, in 1809, the idea of ​​restoring independence manifested itself again. A society was formed for the benefit of Norway, actively working in this direction. He succeeded in 1811, after long resistance from the Danes, to establish a university in Christiania, thanks to which Copenhagen ceased to be the center of Norwegian culture. The spirit of national independence spoke with particular force when the Norwegians learned that the Danish king, forced by Sweden, after a bitter struggle, had ceded his rights to Norway to the Swedish king under the Kiel treaty of 1814.

XIX century
The Kiel Treaty was signed in 1814. He decided the following: "Norway must belong to the king of Sweden and make up the kingdom united with Sweden, and the new king is obligated to rule Norway as an independent state, according to its own laws, liberties, rights and privileges." Norwegian historians pay particular attention to the fact that Denmark did not cede its rights to Norway to Sweden, because the Danish state did not have any rights to Norway that it could cede: Norway and Denmark were twin brothers, legally constituted equal parts of the same monarchy. The King of Denmark ruled in Norway not by someone else's will, but by virtue of the ancient inheritance law of Norway. He could dispose of it as her legitimate sovereign, but only within the limits of legality, therefore, he did not have the right to transfer it to anyone without her consent. He could do only one thing - to abandon the throne, and then Norway received the right to independently control its fate. For such reasons, the Norwegians opposed the Kiel Treaty. In 1814, thus, Norway entered into a personal union with Sweden.


The ruler of Norway at that time was Prince Christian-Friedrich, a 28-year-old man who was distinguished, according to his contemporaries, with determination and energy. Convinced of the Norwegians' unshakable determination to prevent the country from going to the Swedish province, the prince convened the highest dignitaries of Norway, provided them with all the documents regarding the Swedish-Danish agreement, declared himself regent for the period of the interregnum, and invited the Norwegians to elect representatives to the Eidswold Diet, authorized to draft a new constitution. After that, the troops and the civil guard in the square solemnly vowed to defend the independence of Norway: this oath was repeated by the people and the Prince Regent, who swore allegiance to the churches. Elections to the national constituent assembly were held. On April 10, the meeting was opened, and a 15-member committee, chaired by Falsen, drafted a constitutional bill, which was then adopted by the general meeting. As its main provisions, the following can be distinguished:

Norway forms a free, independent and inseparable kingdom. Legislative power belongs to the people, who send it through representatives.
Taxation is the exclusive right of representatives of the people.
The right to declare war and make peace belongs to the king.
The judiciary is separate from the legislative and executive.
Freedom of the press.
The Evangelical Lutheran faith is recognized as the state religion, but complete freedom of religion is allowed; only Jesuits are not allowed to enter the state; monastic orders and Jews are also not allowed.
The king may, for outstanding services to the state, give orders, but he does not have the right to elevate himself to any rank or rank unrelated to the position held by that person. No personal and hereditary benefits can be provided to anyone. This was a preparation for the complete destruction of the nobility, since the hereditary nobility turned into a personal one. Falsen said at the same time that, not wanting to have, even by name, any advantage over his fellow citizens, he for himself and his descendants renounced his nobility and all the advantages associated with it.
The king is given veto suspensivum, but not absolutum.
The king does not have the right to accept any other crown without the consent of the ⅔ Storting.
The king must live within the present borders of the state.


On May 19, 1814, Prince Regent Christian-Friedrich was unanimously elected king of Norway. The Swedish government did not obey the decision of the Norwegian people; Swedish troops were ordered to march to take control of Norway. On the part of foreign powers, attempts were made to settle the matter through diplomatic means, but they did not lead to anything. Inexperienced people led the Norwegian forces, as a result of which the Norwegian soldiers soon began to lose confidence in victory and talk about treason. On the other hand, the Swedish Crown Prince Karl John acted with extreme caution and, after much hesitation, agreed to enter into direct relations with the Norwegian people, to negotiate with him, as with a completely independent nation. The offer was accepted; The Maritime Convention was signed on August 14, and the Kiel Treaty was destroyed by the Swedish government itself. The King of Christians convened the Storting on October 7, 1814. During the debate, the need for unification became increasingly clear, as Norway was unable to continue the costly struggle. The King of Christ gave the assembly a message in which he finally renounced his authority and freed Norway from the oath. Swedish commissioners were sent to negotiate with the Storting regarding the connection between Norway and Sweden, with instructions to show the greatest possible courtesy and compliance. The following agreement was worked out: Norway forms a free and independent kingdom, which has a king in common with Sweden. In all its own affairs, Norway should be governed independently, and in general should have equal influence with Sweden. The same idea lay at the basis of the structure of external relations. Norway should have had its own management of external affairs, but external affairs concerning both states should have been decided in a joint Norwegian and Swedish state council, according to the principle: equal influence or complete equality. Norway could, in the person of two members of the state council, who were attached to the king, participate in the Swedish state council whenever a question of national importance was discussed in it. In this case, to resolve it, the consent of the Norwegian government was also required. Only when the commissioners agreed on behalf of the king to the terms of the connection set by the Storting did the Storting accept the resignation of King Christian and elect Charles XIII as constitutional king of Norway, not by virtue of the Kiel Treaty, but by virtue of the Norwegian constitution. The Crown Prince handed over the king's written oath to “govern Norway in accordance with its constitution and its laws”; the Storting members, for their part, took an oath of allegiance to the constitution and the king, and the debate ended in dignity with a speech by the president in which he expressed the hope that the sacred bonds connecting the two nations would increase common good and security and that “the day of unity will be celebrated by our descendants. "


Beautiful hopes were not to be realized. Sweden began to pursue its favorite idea-the conquest of Norway, and Norway-to defend its independence. At first the Swedes were fervently glad of an agreement with Norway; most were convinced that Norway had already been conquered, others hoped for a voluntary merger of the two nationalities. But as things did not go well, discontent and disappointment began to arise in Sweden. Norway's first clash with Sweden broke out in 1815, when the Storting destroyed the nobility and hereditary privileges. Karl-John did not agree with the decision of the Storting. The law has passed through three Waterhouse and become binding without the sanction of the king, that scary resented the latter. One threatening rescript was sent to the Storting after another; even an attempt was made to restrict the freedom of the press, foreign powers were threatened with interference, but democratic Norway insisted. The Norwegian people's representatives continued to act in the same spirit. The king proposed, in 1824, a series of restrictive changes to the Constitution. All these proposals were rejected by the Storting. The question of Norway's external representation posed great difficulties. After a series of increasingly heated negotiations in 1836, it was established that a Norse member of the Council of state was "present" whenever General diplomatic Affairs were discussed; in discussing purely Norwegian Affairs, he expressed his opinion, but his voice was not decisive. This concession satisfied no one. Several unionskomité were convened to discuss the matter and revise the act of Union; but the revision met with unfavorable treatment in the Norwegian Storting. The July revolution had earlier had a reviving effect on Norway's democratic aspirations. In 1836 the last land tax was abolished. In 1838, the rural self-government was transformed, the influence of the administration on it was eliminated. The government's proposals to replace the Royal veto with an absolute one were rejected in 1839, to limit the Storting's right to naturalization, 1842, the Storting decided that the naturalization of foreigners in Norway did not require the sanction of the king. In the 1840s, the same years arose and the struggle for statalist. § 14 of the Constitution determined that the stadtholder in Norway could be indifferently Norwegian or Swedish. Soon the Norwegians felt all the inconvenience of this decree and began to ask for the abolition of the post of stadtholder. Charles XV, on his accession to the throne in 1859, promised to grant their wish, but the Swedish rigsdag opposed this, and the king confirmed the decision of the rigsdag. This greatly angered the Norwegians; the Storting protested against the interference of the Swedish rigsdag in purely Norwegian Affairs. Since the rigsdag in its address to the king proposed to revise the Constitution, in order to expand the scope of issues considered by the General Council, and therefore increase the Supreme power of Sweden, the Storting protested against this kind of revision of the Constitution, violating its basic principle-equality. Nevertheless, the unionskomité was convened and decided to establish a new Union Council, and with it General Ministers for both States, with a General Constitution superior to the separate constitutions of either Kingdom, and with a General circle of action very extensive and embracing the most significant issues concerning both Nations. The Storting continued to stand for the former state of Affairs, but 17 votes were in favor of the new one: this was the first indication that Norwegian officials, so staunch in the old days, could no longer be relied upon during the struggle with the government for independence. On his accession to the throne in 1872, king Oscar II was able to arrange in his favor the Norwegian Storting different concessions, so that the latter agreed to the transformation of customs (1874), the introduction of a common Scandinavian coin (1875) , 1880, the struggle again broke out. As early as 1872, a bill was introduced in the Storting that Ministers, at its first request, should appear in its meetings. In 1880, the Storting began to insist on the implementation of this law; the Stang Ministry did not agree and was forced to resign. Then new reasons for dissent came on the scene: the government demanded an increase in the Navy and army, the Storting rejected this demand and adopted a project to establish a militia like the Swiss. The king did not approve the project. The Storting was subjected to trial of Ministers, and they were convicted, but the king annul the sentence. After the resignation of the Ministry of Selmer, the radical Ministry of Sverdrup was formed, which, yielding to the king questions about the absolute veto, etc., achieved the adoption by the king of the law on the right of the Storting to demand Ministers in its meetings, the reorganization of the army, the expansion of electoral rights, etc. The question of Union resurfaced again in 1885, when Sweden independently changed its Department of foreign Affairs, without seeking the consent of Norway. The king has ceased to be the head of Sweden's foreign policy: it is governed by the Minister of foreign Affairs, who has constitutional responsibility. But as the Swedish foreign Minister was at the same time the head of Norwegian foreign Affairs, the right of the Norwegian king to direct the foreign policy of Norway thus passed to Sweden. In addition to its ideological significance, the issue seemed very important from a practical point of view: an awkward step in foreign policy could threaten the political and national existence of the country. Foreign policy was particularly important for Norway, as a predominantly commercial country, as opposed to Sweden, a predominantly agricultural country. Negotiations began between the Norwegian Ministry of Sverdrup and the Swedish. The result was a Protocol of 15 may 1885: it was decided that the Ministerial Council should consist of as many Norwegian officials as Swedish; Norwegian would participate in the decision of Affairs and be responsible to the Storting, but in return Norway must recognize that the leadership of foreign policy belongs to Sweden. The Storting became so indignant that Sverdrup was forced to resign, and negotiations ceased. At the next election, both the right and left parties of the Norwegian Storting introduced the question of foreign policy to the house. The left won, but as its two groups, the pure and the moderate, could not come to an agreement, the right took charge of the administration, forming The Stang Ministry, and negotiations with Sweden were resumed, but to no avail. The fruitlessness of all negotiations and all kinds of joint political action became more and more apparent and things moved to a new stage, expressed in the program for the elections of January 30, 1891: "a new order of management of diplomatic Affairs, which would place a more thorough constitutional responsibility on the Norwegian state authorities." The left won the election, and the office was headed by the Minister of Finance, who made a direct demand for the appointment of a separate Norwegian Minister of foreign Affairs. The Storting, not wishing to act too harshly, confined itself for the present to the establishment of separate Norwegian consulates, of great practical importance to a country living almost exclusively in shipping and trade. On 10 June 1892, the Storting appointed money to effect the required changes, but the king refused to approve the decision and dismissed the Ministry of Finance, which had a majority of 64 votes; Stang was appointed Minister, which was in itself a violation of the parliamentary regime. The radicals passed a decree in 1893 to reduce the civil list of the king and the maintenance of Ministers; the majority of the Storting appointed a period for the separation of the Norwegian consulates from the Swedish on January 1, 1895, and determined on the maintenance of their 340 450 crowns. The government replied by refusing to separate the consulates, and used for the General consulates the money assigned to the separate ones. The country is divided between two parties: the right and the left. The right wants the principle of equality within the limits of the existing agreement, but this from the point of view of the left is nothing more than a Chimera; the left sees only one way out of the humiliating and unsatisfactory state of Affairs for Norway — the separation of the two countries, the abolition of the Union with respect to everything that did not enter into the Treaty.


The hope of Stang’s conservative cabinet to achieve a majority in the Storting elections in 1894 was in vain: the left lost a few seats, but still had a majority of 59 in the new Storting against 55 moderates and conservatives. The Stang cabinet filed a resignation letter on January 31, 1895. The king entered into negotiations with the left side of the parliament, demanding from her some obligations regarding her further course of action, and when such obligations were not given, categorically refused to accept Stang's resignation (April 3, 1895). As a result, the opposition of the left side of the Storting has become extremely aggravated; speeches were so harsh in tone and content that had never been heard in it before. However, Stang’s cabinet succeeded in obtaining the Storting’s agreement to negotiate with Sweden, for which an agreement committee of 7 Swedes and 7 Norwegians was elected by parliaments (in November 1895). Even earlier, in October, the Stang ministry finally resigned, giving way to the Gagerup coalition cabinet, which consisted of representatives of all the Storting parties. However, the cause of reconciliation went badly. In 1896, the Storting, by an insignificant majority of votes (41 versus 40), decided to replace the Swedish-Norwegian flag with an exclusively Norwegian one. The decision was made a second time, and the king again refused his sanction. In response to this, the Storting, again, by an insignificant majority (58 against 56) rejected the proposal made by the conservatives to again raise the civil sheet of the king and crown prince to the previous level of 326,000 crowns to the first and 88,000 crowns to the second, on which he stood until 1893. The participation of Norway in the Stockholm exhibition, proposed by the Swedish government, was also accepted by an insignificant majority (58 vs. 56). The discussion of the Swedish-Norwegian trade agreement with Japan gave rise to sharp attacks against Gagerup, who, according to the radicals, neglected the interests of Norway in favor of Sweden; nevertheless, the agreement was approved, albeit by an insignificant majority of votes. At a time when conservatives usually supported the strengthening of the army in other European countries, while liberals and radicals were fighting against it, the opposite happened in Norway: the reinforcement and rearmament of the army proposed by the Gagerup government was not only accepted by the Storting, but even reform costs were significantly increased in comparison with the demand of the government, because Norway seriously considered the possibility of war with Sweden. In the years 1896-1897, the Storting held several important bills in the field of constitutional and social legislation. The right to vote in elections to the Storting is granted to persons outside Norway. Significantly expanded suffrage in elections to local governments. The demand of the radicals to extend the right to vote on women was rejected. A law of 1897 imposed a criminal sanction in addition to the constitutional order, by virtue of which the Storting has the right to call every person on state affairs, with the exception of the king and members of the royal family. Persons thus summoned and not appearing to call the Storting are subject to a fine of 1,000 to 10,000 kroons; any statement made by the summoned is, by its legal consequences, equal to a statement made under oath. This law was already voted in 1894, but then the king refused his sanction; this time he gave it. In 1897, it was decided to close a significant number of commercial and industrial enterprises during the holidays. In the same 1897, a novel was developed for the law of 1894 on insurance of workers against accidents.


The Storting elections in 1897 gave the left a triumph, which held 79 of its representatives, while the number of members of the right fell from 55 to 35. Thus, the left had a sufficient majority for both a constitutional review and a guilty verdict against members of the state council (ministry) . The first result of the election was the resignation of the Gagerup Ministry. On February 18, 1898, a radical cabinet was formed, chaired by former Prime Minister Steen. In 1898, a reform of the electoral law was carried out. The number of voters, which did not exceed 6% of the population in the 1880s, rose to 11% by 1897; this reform immediately raised to 20%. In March 1898, the Swedish-Norwegian agreement committee submitted its report to the parliaments of both countries, from which it turned out that the agreement did not follow. The Swedes insisted on maintaining the common Swedish-Norwegian foreign minister. Disagreements were revealed among the Norwegian members; the majority (moderate) agreed to the temporary preservation of general consuls, so that after a few years separate Norwegian consuls were appointed; the minority (radical), which was influenced by the triumph of the radicals in the elections, insisted on the immediate appointment of the Norwegian Foreign Minister and the Norwegian consuls. In November 1898, the Storting for the third time adopted a resolution to replace the Swedish-Norwegian flag with the Norwegian flag. The king again refused to authorize this law, and the project became law without its authorization, as adopted in a row by three Storting. The members of the Norwegian State Council (ministry) strongly advised the king not to undermine his authority by refusing to sanction this project, which was practically completely useless; but the king stubbornly stood his ground, referring to the fact that the Swedish-Norwegian flag was received at one time by the Norwegian people with enthusiasm and that it waved with honor on all the oceans. On February 15, Gustav announced that at the Hague Peace Conference, Sweden and Norway would be represented by one joint delegate, and not two delegates, as the Norwegian Storting wishes. This decision was one of the immediate reasons that at the entrance of Gustav to Christiania he was greeted by a hostile manifestation on the part of the people; on the contrary, upon returning to Stockholm, he was enthusiastically received by the Swedish people. Sharper than ever, it was here that the struggle between Sweden and Norway is waged not only by governments, but also by peoples, of which each was almost unanimous on this issue. In May 1899, the Storting without debate unanimously voted for an extraordinary loan of 11.5 million kroons for the army and navy. On May 11, King Oscar again took control of the country.

XX century

In early 1905, Hagerup retired and was replaced by Mickelsen. In may 1905, a new electoral law passed through the Storting, which introduced direct elections, established individual election by district and increased the number of members of the Storting from 114 to 123. The division into districts, however, is not made with complete correctness, owing to the desire to give as much as possible to each city (over 2,000 inhabitants) a separate Deputy; consequently, towns with 2,000 inhabitants have a Deputy, and Christiania with a population of over 200,000-only 5 deputies. In early 1905, king Oscar, through illness, ceded the Royal power to his heir Gustav, an anti-Norwegian. A law passed through the Storting to divide the Swedish-Norwegian Ministry of foreign Affairs into two special ones and to create special Norwegian consulates; Gustav refused to sanction it; Michelsen's Ministry responded by resigning. The Regent, after unsuccessful attempts to form a new Cabinet, refused to accept it. Then the Storting unanimously, on June 7, 1905, adopted a resolution on the dissolution of the Union with Sweden. Not wishing, however, to bring the matter to war, the Storting, by a vote of 4 against the social Democrats, decided to ask Oscar II to allow one of his younger sons to take the place of king of Norway; the social Democrats, who voted against this proposal, wished to seize the opportunity to proclaim Norway a Republic. The resolution adopted by the Storting read: "in view of the fact that all the members of the Ministry have resigned their offices; in view of the king's Declaration that he is unable to form a new government; due to the fact that the constitutional Royal authority thereby ceased to perform their functions, the Parliament appoints members of the Ministry who filed is now retired, temporarily clothed with power belonging to the king and called the Norwegian government to rule the country based on the Constitution of Norway and the existing laws, making them the changes that inevitably are caused by the rupture of the Union linking Norway with Sweden under one king, who ceased to fulfill the functions of the Norwegian king". At the same time as this resolution, the Storting resolved to write an address to king Oscar, insisting that the character of the Union was misinterpreted by Sweden. Solidarity of interests and direct Union are more valuable than political ties; the Union has become a danger to this Union; the destruction of the Union is not connected with a dislike of either the Swedish people or the dynasty. In conclusion, Storting expressed the hope that the new choice of king would prepare for Norway a new era of quiet work and truly friendly relations with the people of Sweden and its king, for whose personality the Norwegian people would always retain a sense of respect and loyalty. The Storting's proclamation to the Norwegian people expressed the hope that the Norwegian people would live in peace and harmony with all peoples, especially the Swedish, with whom they were bound by numerous natural ties. The Ministry made an address to the king, in which, mentioning his decision not to accept their resignation, declared that by virtue of the Constitution the king was obliged to give the country a constitutional government. From the moment the king forbids the formation of a responsible Cabinet, the Norwegian Royal authority ceases to function. The king's policy on the reorganization of consular legislation is incompatible with the constitutional regime; no other government can take responsibility for this policy, and the present Cabinet cannot participate in it. King Oscar protested against the Storting's course of action and did not agree to the accession of one of his sons to the Norwegian throne, citing the Storting's violation of the Constitution. From a formal point of view, such a violation undoubtedly took place, since the act of Union with Sweden is a constitutional act in Norway and as such could only be amended or repealed by double adoption in two successive stortings and the consent of the crown. On the Norwegian side, it was answered that the king was the first to take the road of violating the Constitution, refusing to sanction the law adopted by the Storting, resigning the Ministry and failing to form a new one, so that all his activities took place without countersigning the Ministry responsible to the Storting. In response to this statement, the king addressed a message to the President of the Norwegian Storting, in which he argued that he had not gone beyond the rights granted to him by the Constitution, and the Norwegian Storting had committed a revolutionary act. At first, after these negotiations, the king was evidently preparing for war; in turn, the Norwegian provisional government, headed by Michelsen, was vigorously preparing for it. The name of the king was no longer mentioned in the services of the churches; justice was administered in the name of the provisional government, to which the whole army was unanimously sworn. All Norwegians in the diplomatic service of Sweden and Norway retired; only the envoy in Washington, Griep, remained in office. A Ministry of foreign Affairs was organized by the provisional government, but it could not appoint consuls until it was recognized by the European powers. On June 20, the Swedish Riksdag opened its session. The President of the Swedish Council of Ministers said that it was not in Sweden's interests to resort to violence and spoke in favour of negotiations with Norway. The danger of war was averted. The Norwegian provisional government, wanting to find support among the people, turned to a referendum, until then not practiced in Norway. On 13 August 1905 a popular vote was held to break the Union with Sweden; the referendum was preceded by passionate campaigning. The result exceeded the most ardent expectations: 321,197 votes were cast in favor of breaking with Sweden, only 161 votes against; 81% of all eligible voters took part in the vote. On August 31, a conference of Swedish and Norwegian delegates elected by the parliaments of both countries opened. At the conference, the two sides came to an agreement, on the basis of which Norway undertook to dig fortifications located near the border. In the Storting this caused discontent on the extreme left, but by a majority of votes the Karlstadt Convention was ratified and, after ratification by the Swedish Riksdag, came into force. This was followed by the question of whether Norway should be a monarchy or a Republic. There was a lively agitation in the country; the establishment of the Republic was supported by the social Democrats and radicals. The whole right, on the contrary, insisted on a monarchical form of government, pointing out that the Norwegian Constitution is the most Republican in the world and even as the Kingdom of Norway will remain in reality a Republic, only with a hereditary President whose power is more limited than that of the English king or the French President of the Republic. A Republic can seclude Norway politically, while a king, especially if Prince Charles of Denmark is elected king, will bring with him an Alliance with a number of powers. This consideration seems to have had a decisive influence; both the Storting and the people by referendum established a monarchical form of government and elected Charles, Prince of Denmark, as king, who ascended the throne under the name of Haakon VII. In November 1905, Michelsen made a proposal to the Storting to set the civil list of the Norwegian king at 700,000 kronor for the duration of his reign (until now, the civil list was set for a year). The extreme left protested both against doubling the size of the civil sheet and against fixing it for a long time. However, both measures were passed by a majority of 100 votes to 11.

In international relations, the independence of Norway was finally fixed in the Christian Convention, signed by the representatives of the four great powers, who pledged to respect the borders of the new Kingdom and gave their guarantees of its territorial integrity.


Administrative-territorial division

Norway is subdivided from January 1, 2020 into 11 counties (counties, regions or provinces), which in turn are divided into 356 municipalities.

The counties are grouped into 5 main unofficial regions:
Nur-Norge (Northern Norway):
county Nordland - administrative center: Bodø;
county Troms og Finnmark - administrative center: Tromsø;

Trøndelag (Central Norway):
fylke Trøndelag - administrative center: Steinkjer;

Vestland (Western Norway):
county Möre-o-Romsdal - administrative center: Molde;
county Sogn-og-Fiurane - administrative center: Leikanger;
fylke Hordaland - administrative center: Bergen;
county Rugaland - administrative center: Stavanger;

Ostland (Eastern Norway):
5 unofficial regions of Norway.
fylke Oslo - the administrative center: Oslo;
county Akershus - administrative center: Oslo;
county Østfold - administrative center: Moss;
county Buskerud - administrative center: Drammen;
county Vestfold - administrative center: Tønsberg;
county Telemark - administrative center: Skien;
county Hedmark - administrative center: Hamar;
county Oppland - administrative center: Lillehammer;

Sørland (Southern Norway):
county of Aust-Agder - administrative center: Arendal;
fylke Vest-Agder - the administrative center: Kristiansand.

Each county corresponds to a county commune, which is subdivided in turn into communes (until 1992 - into city communes and county communes). The total number of communes in Norway is 422. The total area of ​​the continental part of Norway is 323,786 km², and including the Svalbard archipelago and Jan Mayen Island - 385,207 km².

The king in the province is represented by a governor. The representative bodies of the provinces are the provincial assemblies (formerly the amtstings), elected by the population, the executive bodies of the provinces are the provincial councils, consisting of provincial advisers.

The representative bodies of cities are city boards elected by the population, the executive bodies of cities are city councils (until 1922 - magistrates), consisting of a burgomaster and ratmans, each of which consists of councilors (until 1938 - burgomasters).

The representative bodies of communes are communal boards (until 1992 - county boards) elected by the population, the executive bodies of communes are communal councils consisting of ratmans (until 1938 - burgomasters).

overseas territories
The overseas territories of Norway are not included in the number of provinces and are not divided into communes. The archipelago of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) with its administrative center in Longyearbyen, as well as the island of Jan Mayen, are the possessions of Norway; Jan Mayen is administered by the Nordland administration. Bouvet Island is a dependent territory of Norway. Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, territorial claims to which Norway makes, are also among its dependent territories.


State structure

Norway is a unitary state based on the principles of constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The country has a constitution of 1814 with a number of later amendments and additions. The King is the head of state and executive power. Harald V has been the King of Norway since 1991.

The country's supreme legislative body is the unicameral parliament, the Storting. According to the basic law of the country, Norway was proclaimed a "free, independent and indivisible state", having a "monarchical, limited and hereditary form of government", and initially the king had very wide powers, which gradually decreased along with the reforms of the constitution. Initially, the king had the right to appoint members of the Council, who were responsible only to him, but with the establishment of parliamentarism in 1884, that is, the responsibility of the government, based on a parliamentary majority, to the Storting, he lost this right. The establishment of such an order was very long, the beginning was laid back in 1859 by the introduction of a bill on the admission of government members to meetings of the Storting with an advisory vote, and was complicated by inter-party contradictions between Venstre and Höyre, in which the left forces won. It was during these years that the two main political forces "finally formed as national, with their representation in parliament." The victory of the left forces led to their coming to power and the ensuing split due to differences in reform programs.

The suffrage was not immediately universal, initially it was owned by males who had reached the age of 25 and had lived in Norway for more than 5 years, citizens who still had to meet the property and professional qualifications, which were gradually reduced, and by 1898, voting was already the entire male population of the country was admitted. Women received voting rights in stages, at first only the propertied part and only in the communal elections (1901), and then participation in the parliamentary elections became possible for all women. The expansion of suffrage was facilitated by the birth and organization of the labor movement, which led to the strengthening of the influence of the Norwegian Workers' Party, but all reforms were mainly initiated by Venstre.

Prior to the separation of church and state in May 2012, the king and at least half of the Council of State were required to be Lutheran, and only the latter had the right to discuss matters relating to the state church. The king is a symbol of the Norwegian nation, he transfers his real power to the State Council. And although under the current version of the Constitution, he still has fairly broad powers, they "are of a purely ceremonial nature." The power of the king is not regarded as an anachronism, therefore the role of the republican forces in the party spectrum is extremely small, although they are represented in it and even constituted into new parties, such as the Norwegian Republican Alliance (2005).

Parliament and government
The supreme legislative power in the country belongs to the parliament - the Storting, consisting of 169 deputies. In addition to the main parliament, there is the Sameting - the highest body of the Sami people, in which elections are also held. The main tasks of the Storting are the already mentioned control over the work of the government, the adoption of the budget and the issuance of laws. To facilitate the organization of work, deputies unite in factions, membership in which is optional, which is one of the manifestations of the absence of an imperative mandate. The Storting is elected every four years by universal democratic secret ballot under a proportional electoral system. Parliament is divided into two chambers - upper and lower, Lagting and Odelsting, but in practice this division became a mere formality and was canceled on February 20, 2007 in order to cease to operate from the next composition of the Storting after the 2009 elections.

The executive power in the country belongs to the Government. The head of government is the prime minister, who becomes the leader of the party that won the parliamentary elections. Since 2019, the Conservative Party, the Progress Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian People's Party have formed a government coalition, with the Conservative leader Erna Solberg as Prime Minister.


Representation in Parliament

In the last elections in 2017, the seats in Parliament were distributed as follows:
Labor Party - 49 seats
Conservative Party - 45 seats
Party of Progress - 27 seats
Christian People's Party - 8 seats
Center Party - 19 seats
Liberal Party - 8 seats
Socialist Left Party - 11 seats
Green Party - 1st place
Reds - 1st place

Political parties
Progress Party (Nor. Fremskrittspartiet) - right-wing populist
Conservative Party (Norwegian Høyre) - liberal-conservative

Christian People's Party (Norwegian Kristelig Folkeparti) - Christian Democratic
Liberal Party (Norwegian Venstre) - liberal
Center Party (Norwegian Senterpartiet) - agrarian

Workers' Party (Norwegian Arbeiderpartiet) - social democratic
The Green Party is an environmentalist
Socialist Left Party (Norwegian Sosialistisk Vensterparti) - leftist socialist
"Reds" (Nor. Rødt) - Marxist (including Maoist and Trotskyist traditions), association of the Red Electoral Alliance (Nor. Rød Valgallianse) and the Workers' Communist Party

Legal system
The highest court is the Supreme Court of Norway, founded in 1815, consists of twenty judges, the courts of appeal are the courts of law speakers (in 1797-1936 - the highest courts, overrett), the courts of first instance are the courts of the Thing, until 2002 - county courts) and city courts, the court of impeachment is a state court.



Norway is the largest oil and gas producer in Northern Europe. The share of the oil and gas sector in GDP is 23% in 2015. Geological exploration of oil on the shelf of the country began only in 1962 by Phillips Petroleum (USA). The first large deposit was discovered only in 1969. The first commercial oil production began in 1970, shortly before the 1973 oil crisis. Prior to this, Norway's economy was based on fishing and ship chartering.

65% of energy needs are covered by hydroelectric power plants (2013), which makes it possible to export most of the oil. Oil funds serve to accumulate surplus revenues for subsequent government spending. The country has significant mineral reserves, a large merchant fleet. Low inflation (3%) and unemployment (3%) compared to the rest of Europe. The population of all of Norway is comparable in size to Singapore, which provides one of the highest GDP (PPP) per capita in the world.

In terms of GDP, it currently ranks 26th in the world (2006). To a large extent, well-being depends on the gas and oil refining industries. Since the mid-1990s, Norway has become the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia. This industry employs 74,000 people, many of them work in industries related to oil and gas production. About half of export and 1/10 of government revenue comes from oil and gas trade, which is one third of government revenue in general (according to 2005 data). More than a quarter of all Norwegian investments are in the construction of drilling platforms in the North Sea, west of Bergen, where one of the largest natural gas fields is located. The Norwegians built the world's largest drilling platform, with a displacement of 1 million tons and a height of 465 meters. The cost of the remaining hydrocarbon resources on the Norwegian continental shelf is estimated in the state budget at 4210 billion kroons (for 2006). At present, less than a third of the explored hydrocarbon reserves belonging to Norway have been produced. At the same time, Norway is a world leader in technologies that ensure the safety of oil and gas production. The main achievement of the country is the adoption of measures to create a system for the prevention of carbon dioxide emissions. Today, the leading deposits are Snow White (Snevit) and Ormen Lange.

The country has large forest reserves, deposits of iron, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, titanium, molybdenum, silver, marble, and granite. Norway is Europe's largest producer of aluminum and magnesium. Europe's largest titanium ore deposit is located in southwestern Norway.

In the chemical industry, Norsk Hydro stands out as a leading European supplier of nitrate and complex fertilizers, urea and saltpeter. Norway is also a supplier of vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are used as raw materials for the production of synthetic paints. Norway also produces other technical goods. Paints, adhesives, detergents and fine chemicals make up another sector of the Norwegian chemical industry.

Mechanical engineering specializes in the production of equipment for the oil and gas production and oil refining industries. Platforms are also delivered to other countries. Another important branch of engineering is shipbuilding. The main part of the industrial potential of Norway is concentrated in the south of the country (4/5 industrial products); about 9/10 of the country's industrial enterprises are concentrated in port cities.

The fish processing industry is almost as important to Norway as the extraction of oil and gas. The main fish processing centers are Stavanger, Bergen, Alesund, Trondheim. A significant part of Russian fishermen gives their catch for processing to Norway. Russia is also one of the largest consumers of finished fish products. Over the past three decades, Norwegian aquaculture has developed rapidly. The country has accumulated rich experience in the production of equipment for fish rearing (including feeding and breeding), monitoring and various production technologies in the field of fish processing.

Forests cover 27% of the country's area. And forestry is a small but very important industry for local farmers.

Rich forest resources and the availability of affordable electricity have given Norway a leading role in the global pulp and paper market. About 90% of pulp and paper produced in the country is exported. Norwegian mills produce various types of pulp, including short and long staple sulphate pulp, which is an important component of newsprint and magazine paper.


The Norwegian maritime economy comprises a highly developed network of shipping and aquaculture industries providing an ever-increasing variety of goods and services. As of 2018, the average salary in Norway is 45,600 kr (€4,760.95 gross) and 33,400 kr (€3,486.63 net) per month.

The share of agriculture in the Norwegian economy has declined with the development of the manufacturing industry; in 1996, agriculture and forestry accounted for only 2.2% of the country's total production. The development of agriculture in Norway is hampered by natural conditions - the high latitude of the country, a relatively short growing season, cool summers and low soil fertility.

Agriculture in Norway is in a difficult state, despite the subsidies provided by the state. As of 1996, the share of cultivated land did not exceed 3% of the total area of ​​the country, and 5.6% of the country's able-bodied population was employed in agriculture and forestry. The number of farms reaches 200,000, and most of them are small: about half of all farms have plots of no more than 10 hectares, and only 1% of farmers own more than 50 hectares of land. The main agricultural regions are Trøndelag and the Oslofjord region.

The leading industry is intensive animal husbandry, which provides about 80% of all agricultural products, mainly meat and dairy. In this regard, as well as with climatic conditions, mainly fodder crops are grown. Sheep breeding is developed. In the second half of the 20th century, wheat production increased many times over, from 12,000 tons in 1970 to 645,000 tons in 1996. Despite this, Norway provides itself with agricultural products of its own production only by 40% and is forced to import grain crops.

In terms of electricity production per capita, Norway ranks first in the world. At the same time, despite the presence of large hydrocarbon reserves, 99% of electricity is generated at hydroelectric power plants, due to the presence of significant hydro resources in Norway. A third of the electricity produced in Norway is consumed by the steel industry.

There is no nuclear power in Norway. However, the laws of the country leave the possibility of building nuclear power plants. Since the 2000s, the idea of ​​using nuclear energy has been seriously considered and has the support of most of the country's industrial leaders. Statkraft, Vattenfall, Fortum and Scatec are considering building a nuclear power plant with thorium fuel cells. The involvement of Russian partners in the project is not excluded.

Wind power plants are widely used.

Norwegian State Pension Fund
The Norwegian State Pension Fund, also known as the Oil Fund, was established in 1990 to invest excess earnings from the Norwegian oil sector. As of 2021, the fund owns stakes in 9,202 companies in 74 countries around the world, with a value of just over $1.3 trillion in assets, which is approximately equal to 1.5% of the global stock market, making it the world's largest national wealth fund. As of January 16, 2021, the market value of the Norwegian State Pension Fund was 11,037,467,761,112 kr or $1,289,998,525,846. As of November 2020, about 2,030,000 kr or $237,255 came from the fund for every Norwegian citizen.

Human Resources
Standard of living
In 2011, the average monthly salary in Norway was 38,100 kroons, which is an average of 3.8% more than in 2010. On average, men earned 6,000 crowns more than women - 40,800 and 34,800 crowns, respectively. The share of women's wages for the year increased from 85% to 85.3%. In the public sector, the gap between women's and men's salaries remained practically unchanged and the increase was mainly due to the private sector. Unemployment in Norway is only 3.9% (as of September 2019), which is significantly lower than in neighboring Finland and Sweden. The largest trade union center - the Central Organization of Trade Unions of Norway (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge), almost 900 thousand members, is associated with the Norwegian Workers' Party.

International trade
Norway is the 36th country in terms of exports in the world: in 2017, the country exported goods worth $106 billion, and imported $84.8 billion, with a positive foreign trade balance of $21.2 billion.

The main export commodities: oil (26%), natural gas (26%), fish and fish products (up to 10.5%), products of metallurgy, chemical industry and engineering. The main buyers are the UK ($21.4 billion), Germany ($16.4 billion), Sweden ($9 billion), the Netherlands ($7.88 billion) and France ($7.5 billion).

Main imports: machinery, equipment and electronics (21.1%), vehicles (19.4%), metallurgical raw materials and semi-finished products (13%), clothing, footwear, food products (fruits, vegetables, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks) , packaged drugs. Top suppliers: Sweden ($10.1 billion), Germany ($9.6 billion), China ($8.17 billion), South Korea ($5.71 billion) and the US ($5.5 billion).



Railway transport
The railway network of Norway consists of several highways radiating from Oslo, connecting it with the main cities of the country - Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Bodø, as well as with Sweden. The main highway Oslo - Bergen has a length of 500 km. Another line, short in length in Norway, connects Narvik with Sweden. Norway's main railway network as of 2017 consists of 4,114 km of track (of which 2,528 km are electrified), of which 242 km are double-track and 64 km high-speed railway (with a maximum speed of 210 km/h).

Automobile transport
The total length of roads in Norway as of 2007 is 92,946 km, of which 27,343 km are national roads, 27,075 km are regional roads and 38,528 km are local roads. Of these, 74% have a hard coating.

Norway's total vehicle fleet as of 2006 consisted of 2,599,712 vehicles, including 2,084,193 cars, 26,954 buses and 488,655 trucks and others.

Air Transport
There are 53 airports in Norway with regular flights, of which 8 have international status - Gardermoen (Oslo), Flesland (Bergen), Sula (Stavanger), Värnes (Trondheim), Torp (Sannefjord), Tromsø (formerly Langnes), Rygge (Moss ), Vigra (Ålesund). The civil aviation fleet of the country as of 2005 is 888 aircraft and 168 helicopters. The total volume of external and internal passenger traffic in 2005 amounted to 34,803,987 people, with almost half of this number, 15,895,722 people, accounted for Oslo Airport.



Mass media
Schibsted Media Concern
Among the largest newspapers in Norway, the daily Verdens Gang (365,000 copies), Aftenposten (250,000), Dagbladet (183,000), which widely publishes foreign policy materials, and others stand out. Norway occupies one of the world's leading places in terms of the number of printed periodicals per capita. The Norwegian Newspaper Union united 152 newspapers in 1998. Most of the publications are supported or controlled by the Conservative Party - 44 publications, with a total circulation of 800 thousand copies.

National News Agency - Norwegian Telegraph Bureau - NTB (joint stock company). Founded in 1867. NTB is the main news provider for Norwegian newspapers, radio and TV stations. Public radio and television broadcasting in Norway (except for cable and commercial television) is conducted by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (Norsk Rikskringkasting, NRK), which includes radio channels NRK P1, NRK P2, NRK P3, TV channels NRK1, NRK2 and NRK3. The commercial television channel TV2 in Bergen, which began broadcasting on September 5, 1992, rivals NRK in terms of popularity. Then TV channels TVNorge and TV3 follow. A new Norwegian TV channel, MEtropol, has recently opened, specializing in films and entertainment.

Rejection of analogue broadcasting in the FM band
Norway has become the first country in the world to completely phase out analogue FM broadcasting. The outage began on January 11, 2017. According to the plan, all-Norwegian radio stations will have to switch to a digital signal (DAB) by the end of the year; local broadcasters are given five years to complete this procedure.

January 1 New Year Nyttårsdag public holiday
21 January Birthday of Princess Ingrid Alexandra HKH Prinsesse Ingrid Alexandras fødselsdag
February 6 Day of the Sami people Samefolkets dag
21 February King Harald's Birthday HM Kong Haralds fødselsdag
varies Palm Sunday Palmesøndag public holiday
Maundy Thursday Skjærtorsdag public holiday varies
varies Good Friday Langfredag ​​public holiday
varies 1st day of Easter 1. påskedag day off
varies 2nd day of Easter 2. påskedag day off
May 1 Public holiday Offentlig høytidsdag day off
8 May Liberation Day 1945 Frigjøringsdag 1945
May 17 Constitution Day Grunnlovsdag public holiday
varies Ascension of Christ Kristi himmelfartsdag day off
varies 1st day of Trinity 1. pinsedag day off
varies 2nd day of Trinity 2. pinsedag day off
June 7 Day of termination of the union with Sweden in 1905 Unionsoppløsningen 1905
July 4 Queen Sonja's birthday HM Dronning Sonjas fødselsdag
July 20 Birthday of Crown Prince Haakon HKH Kronprins Haakons fødselsdag
July 29 Death of King Olaf St. Olsok
19 August Birthday of Crown Princess Mette-Marit HKH Kronprinsesse Mette-Marits fødselsdag
December 24 Christmas
December 25 1st day of Christmas 1. juledag day off
December 26 2nd day of Christmas 2. juledag day off



Norway has competed in almost every Summer Olympics since Paris in 1900 and every Winter Olympics since Chamonix in 1924. With around 150 total (including more than 50 gold) medals at the Summer Games and over 300 (including over 100 gold) medals at the Winter Games, in the overall medal standings of the Olympic Games, Norway rounds out the top 20 countries in the Summer Games and is third in the Winter Games.

Norway has twice hosted the Winter Olympics. In 1952, the Olympics were held in Oslo, and in 1994 - in Lillehammer.

The Norwegian National Olympic Committee was formed in 1900.

Winter species are predominantly developed. Norwegians won the most medals in cross-country skiing and speed skating competitions. The biathlon team, along with Russia and Germany, is one of the strongest in the world. The most outstanding contemporary biathlete is Ole Einar Björndalen, the world's only eight-time Olympic champion in biathlon and a multiple winner of other competitions. Hockey, however, is underdeveloped and inferior to the more popular football. The highest achievement of the football team is reaching the 1/8 finals of the 1998 World Cup in France. Most of the players in the national team are in the championship of England. In the Norwegian championship, Rosenborg (20-time champion), Brann, Valerenga, Viking and others are traditionally leaders. In the 1990s, Rosenborg successfully played in the Champions League, reaching 1/4 finals, and in 2008 won the Intertoto Cup. Famous football players - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Toure Andre Flo, John Carew, Jon Arne Riise, Erling Braut Haaland and others.

Norwegian chess player Magnus Carlsen has been the world champion since 2013 and has the highest Elo rating in history.



Archaeological excavations in the country allow us to judge the ancient origin of Norwegian music. There are many folk instruments - various types of violins, harps and flutes. The ethnic music of Norway is extremely diverse. In particular, it includes lyrical-epic motifs created in the time of the Vikings.

Norwegian academic music began to develop somewhat later than in most other countries of Western Europe, which is largely due to more than 400 years of dependence on Denmark. At the end of the 18th century, the family of organist-composers Linnemann (“Norwegian Bachs”) gained fame. The founders of the national music school are often called Halfdan Hjerulf, the creator of the Norwegian romance; Ole Bull, composer-improviser and virtuoso violinist; Rikard Nurdroka, promoter of national music, author of the national anthem. The most significant Norwegian composer can be called Edvard Grieg, who laid the foundation for the main traditions of Norwegian romanticism. In addition, a significant contribution to the development of Norwegian music was made by Christian Sinding, officially called "the largest national composer after Grieg"; F. Valen (a student of Arnold Schoenberg), who used the principles of dodecaphony in his work; Alf Hurum, Harald Severud and others. Birthplace of composer and performer Ketil Bjornstad and Axel Kolstad.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a "new wave" was born in Norway, represented by such bands as Kjøtt, De Press, The Aller Værste!, Blaupunkt.

The most popular and recognizable Norwegian musical group is the group a-ha, created in 1983 in the city of Oslo. A-ha is one of the leading synth-pop (electropop) bands that appeared at the end of the "new wave".

Norwegian electronic music is represented by artists such as Kygo, Röyksopp, Susanne Sunnfør and others.

Sissel Hyrhjebø, an operatic and popular performer known primarily for her participation in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics held in Norway and for her vocals in James Cameron's film Titanic, has been dubbed the "songbird from Norway" by the American press.

Norway has a developed metal scene, especially the black metal and viking metal scene. A large number of black metal bands, including the founders of this style, come from Norway. Among the most famous it is worth noting: Antestor, Burzum, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Immortal, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Gorgoroth, The Kovenant, Satyricon, Storm, Windir. In addition, symphonic metal and gothic metal are very popular in Norway: Theater of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes, Tristania, Sirenia, Mortemia, etc.

The most significant musician in Norwegian jazz can be called saxophonist Jan Garbarek, who works in a huge stylistic range: free jazz, ethno-jazz, symphonic music.

Roy Khan, owner of a unique velvety voice and former vocalist of the power metal band Kamelot, is also from Norway. In 2014, the attention of music critics was attracted by the young jazz performer Angelina Jordan.

Among musical groups that combine several styles, Katzenjammer can be distinguished.

Norway has won the Eurovision Song Contest three times (1985, 1995, 2009).



Norwegian literature traces its rich history back to the Old Icelandic sagas created by settlers from Norway. However, after the conclusion of the union with Denmark, the written Norwegian language was gradually replaced by Danish, and until the beginning of the 20th century, Norwegian writers created their works in a language that was practically indistinguishable from Danish. The revival of the Norwegian literary language was largely promoted by Henrik Wergeland, who fought for the cultural independence of Norway. His work influenced the great writers of the second half of the 19th century - Henrik Ibsen and Bjornstjerne Bjornson.

At the end of the 19th century, Norwegian modernists began to assert themselves. Knut Hamsun and Sigbjorn Obstfeller became prominent representatives of modernism. Modernism reached its peak in the 1960s. Profil, a student magazine published at the University of Oslo, gathered around itself a group of young authors who experimented with different literary forms. Many of them subsequently made outstanding contributions to Norwegian literature: Dag Sulstad[no], Thor Obrestad, Eldrid Lunden and others. A prominent representative of modernism is the playwright Jun Fosse.

Among the outstanding Norwegian writers of the 20th century, one can also note Johan Borgen and Axel Sandemuse. In the coming millennium, Lars Soubi Christensen, Nikolai Frobenius and Erlend Lu are very popular, including in Russia.

Three of the Norwegian writers received the Nobel Prize in Literature: Bjornstjerne Bjornson in 1903, Knut Hamsun in 1920 and Sigrid Undset in 1928.

Norway is also famous for its children's literature. In 1874, Peter Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moo published a collection of folk tales Norske Folkeeventyr based on the Norwegian folklore they had collected and processed, earning the fame of the “Norwegian Brothers Grimm”. Contemporary children's writers such as Anne-Katharina Vestli and the rising star of Norwegian children's literature Maria Parr have gained immense popularity all over the world.



Norwegian cuisine is primarily due to the cold Scandinavian climate. The main components of Norwegian cuisine are fish, meat, cereals, bread and dairy products.

To preserve stocks for the winter, canning of products is widely used, such as: drying, pickling, fermentation. The most typical dishes include lutefisk (dried fish soaked in an alkaline solution and then soaked in water), forikol (lamb meat with cabbage and potatoes), rakfisk (fermented trout), smörbrød (open sandwiches). Akvavit is a traditional Norwegian alcoholic drink.


Armed forces

The Norwegian Armed Forces (Norges Forsvar) consist of four branches of service:
Norwegian Army (Norwegian Hæren)
Royal Norwegian Navy (Norwegian: Sjøforsvaret)
Norwegian Coast Guard (Norwegian Kystvakten)
Royal Norwegian Air Force (Norwegian Luftforsvaret)
Norwegian Inner Guard (Norwegian Heimevernet)
On April 4, 1949, Norway joined NATO.


Famous travelers and explorers

Norway is famous for its numerous travelers. The most famous of them, who made the greatest contribution to geographical and other sciences, are:

Eric the Red (950-1003) - navigator and discoverer who founded the first settlement in Greenland. The nickname "red" was due to the color of his hair and beard. Father of Leif and Thorvald Eriksson, discoverers of America;
Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) - polar explorer, zoologist, founder of a new science - physical oceanography, politician, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1922;
Roald Amundsen (1872-1928), polar explorer and explorer. First person to reach the South Pole (December 14, 1911). The first explorer who made a sea passage through both the Northeast (along the coast of Siberia) and the Northwest sea route (along the straits of the Canadian archipelago). He died in 1928 during the search for the expedition of Umberto Nobile;
Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) - one of the most famous travelers of the 20th century, made a number of expeditions on ships built using the technologies of the ancient world. Heyerdahl's first major expedition was sailing on the Kon-Tiki raft. The next achievement of the Norwegian was expeditions on papyrus boats "Ra" and "Ra-II". The success of "Ra-II" was regarded as evidence that even in prehistoric times, Egyptian navigators could travel to the New World. The Soviet TV presenter and traveler Yuri Senkevich took part in both expeditions. In addition to these projects, Tur, together with like-minded people, conducted research on about. Easter, Maldives and Canary Islands, in the USSR and other regions of the world. His research has made a significant contribution to history, ethnography and other sciences.
Lars Monsen (born April 21, 1963, Oslo) is a Norwegian traveler and journalist, known throughout the world for his grandiose expeditions into the wild. He has behind him the conquest of Alaska, the Klondike and Scandinavia.