We call the period between the years 800 and 1050 AD the Viking Period. At the start of the Viking Period, Norway was not one united country, but many small kingdoms. Harald Fairhair (Harald Hårfagre) became king of a large portion of Norway in 872. Many Vikings travelled to other countries. Some Vikings were merchants and bought and sold goods, while others were warriors who pillaged and killed. Christianity was introduced in Norway in the 11th century and replaced the old Norse religious practices.
Union between Denmark and Norway
During the 1300s Denmark gained more and more influence over Norway and, in 1397, Norway was absorbed into a formal union with Denmark and Sweden. The union was ruled by a common king. Sweden gradually seceded from the union, but Denmark and Norway remained united until 1814.
Dissolution of union and creation of new union
The year 1814 is an important year in Norwegian history. Norway drafted its own constitution on 17 May of that year. Several wars were being waged in Europe in the early 1800s. This included a major war between England and France. Denmark/Norway took a stance on the side of France and, when France lost the war, the Danish king was forced to surrender Norway to Sweden, which had been on the side of England. The union between Denmark and Norway was dissolved in 1814. Some Norwegians hoped that Norway would become an independent nation after the dissolution of the union. Norway was forced into a union with Sweden and, in November 1814, the union between the two became a fact. The union with Sweden was less repressive than the previous union with Denmark, and Norway could maintain its own constitution and obtained internal self-government. Foreign policy was governed from Sweden and the king of both countries was Swedish.
National Romanticism and Norwegian identity
Around the middle of the 19th century, a new movement in art and culture began to emerge, which we call National Romanticism. An important part of the movement was a focus on national character and both magnifying and embellishing it. In Norway, the focus was primarily on the natural beauty of the country. During this period, Norwegians began to develop a greater sense of their own national identity. Many developed a sense of pride at being Norwegian and, as a result, a strong desire for the country to become independent. After being in a union with Denmark for several centuries, the written language of Norway was Danish. The written language we currently refer to as Bokmål is a further development of this language. During the period of National Romanticism, many believed that Norwegians should have their own written language that was not based on Danish. For this reason, linguist Ivar Aasen (1813-1896) travelled around the country gathering examples from the various dialects. He used these examples to create a new written language called nynorsk (New Norwegian). Both nynorsk and bokmål have developed considerably since the 1800s, but Norway continues to have two official variants of Norwegian, in addition to Sami.
Industrialization of Norway
In the mid-19th century, around 70 percent of the Norwegian population lived in rural areas and most engaged in agriculture and fishing-related activities. Life was hard for many. As the population increased, there was not enough land or work for everyone. Changes were taking place in the cities at the same time. More and more factories were being built and many people moved from the countryside to the cities for work. Life in the city was difficult for many working-class families. Many also tried their luck abroad and, between the years 1850 and 1920, more than 800,000 Norwegians emigrated to the United States.
A free and independent country
The union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905. There had been political disagreement for many years between the Norwegian Stortinget (parliament) and the king in Sweden and, at the start of the 20th century, more and more believed that Norway should be a free and independent country. On 7 July 1905, Stortinget declared that the Swedish king was no longer the king of Norway and, consequently, the union with Sweden was dissolved. The reactions in Sweden were fierce and war nearly broke out between Norway and Sweden. As a result of two referendums held the same year, it was determined that the union with Sweden was dissolved. Danish Prince Carl was chosen as the new king of Norway. He assumed the Norwegian royal name Haakon. King Haakon the 7th was King of Norway from 1905 until his death in 1957.
First half of 20th century
At the end of the 1800s, Norway began using hydroelectric power to produce electricity. Several industrial companies were established as a result. The demand for labor increased and the cities continued growing. A law was passed that allowed hydroelectric power to be developed further by private companies, while the resources themselves would remain public property. World War I raged in Europe during the years 1914-1918. Norway was not involved in this war, but its economic effects could be felt in the country. Europe and North America suffered a financial crisis in the 1930s.
World War II: 1939/1940-1945
The Second World War began in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland. German troops invaded Norway on 9 April 1940. The king and government escaped to England and continued the fight for a free Norway from there. At that time, Norway was governed by a pro-German, non-democratically elected government led by Vidkun Quisling. The Germans gradually began losing battles on more and more fronts and surrendered in May of 1945. Around 9,500 Norwegians died due to the war.
After the war ended, the country needed to be rebuilt. There was an enormous shortage of goods and not enough homes for people. Collaboration and solidarity were needed to reconstruct the country as quickly as possible. The United Nations (UN) was established not long after the war. The primary objective of the UN is to promote peace and justice around the world. Norway was one of the first countries to join the organization in November 1945. In 1949 Norway and eleven other countries signed the North Atlantic Treaty. This led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, better known as NATO. The close relationship between Western Europe and the United States continues to this very day. The Norwegian economy was relatively strong in the 1950s and 1960 and the government introduced numerous reforms to increase the quality of life of its inhabitants. In the 1960s, many companies wanted to start drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Norway. Oil was found in the North Sea for the first time in 1969 and, since then, Norway has transformed into an oil nation. Today, Norway is one of the countries in the world that exports the most oil and the oil industry has a significant impact on the Norwegian economy.
The Norwegian government and policy
Norway is a monarchy. The head of state in a monarchy is a king or queen. In Norway, the king has little political power, but he has a formal role in that he holds a cabinet meeting with the government every week. The current King of Norway is Harald the 5th. He is married to Queen Sonja. They have two children, Princess Märtha Louise (born in 1971) and Crown Prince Haakon Magnus (born in 1973). The actual governor in Norway is the Parliament is called Stortinget. There are 169 representatives in Parliament, who are elected by the people to a four-year term. Parliament is the highest branch of government in Norway.
The Kingdom of Norway is in Northern Europe. It covers an area of 385 170 km², and has a land border with Sweden, Finland and Russia, and sea borders with Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Iceland and Russia. It has wide coasts facing the North Atlantic (the North Sea and the Sea of Norway) and the Barents Sea in the north.
According to the World Bank Group, the Kingdom of Norway ranks twenty-eight in terms of world GDP with the United States in the first place, China in the second and Japan in the third place. Norway is one of the ten most expensive countries to live in and ranks fourth due to high rents, food prices and expensive transportation. Norway is the eighth largest oil exporter and the third largest exporter of gas. The Norwegian sovereign fund is the world's first and largest in asset size with an estimation of about 910 billion USD at the end of March 2017. Norway tops the global happiness rankings, according to the 2017 World Happiness Report.
The oil and gas industry has played a vital role for the strong growth in the Norwegian economy over the past 40 years, where oil raised the value of the government fund, investments and the welfare state. The Government's ambition is for Norway's petroleum industry to be a world leader in health, safety and environment work. The Norwegian authorities and the parties in the oil and gas industry have together developed a tool for measuring trends in risk levels in Norwegian petroleum activities.
The main objective of the Government's economic policy is high employment and a fair distribution of privileges and duties, the Government will renew and develop public welfare systems, contribute to fairer distribution and promote a labour market based on social cooperation and negotiation, in which everyone can participate. The Government will facilitate economic growth and development across the country within limits that also allow future generations to provide for their needs.
Fiscal policy is used actively to support employment, aggregate demand and necessary structural adjustments in the economy to safeguarding economy from instability and to keep the inflation at its lowest rates.
Current economic indicators point to an increase in economic growth during the beginning of 2017. The oil sector is expected to be balanced, real estate investment will grow, salaries will rise, and the low level of interest will continue in 2017.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of the country's total output, goods and services and is often used as an indicator of growth in prosperity. Norway ranked thirty in the world GDP ranking for 2016 with a GDP of 3111.7 billion NOK (380.8 billion USD). The GDP composition, by sector of origin was as follows: agriculture: 1.8%, industry: 34.7%, services: 63.5%.
Average annual earnings for all employees, excluding overtime pay were 518100 NOK in 2015 with lower gap of income based on gender.
Norwegian sovereign fund
The Norwegian government pension fund was ranked first in the world in terms of assets. The fund is estimated at about 910 billion USD at the end of March 2017.
The 20-year target of 3375 billion NOK in two decades has been exceeded. Earnings in that period amounted to 3421 billion NOK, equivalent to 395 billion USD. The Fund invests in approximately 9,000 companies around the world, accounting for 1.3 per cent of the total market value of all international exchanges. The Norwegian bank investment management unit (NORGES BANK) administers the Fund on behalf of the Ministry of Finance, and owned by the people. The fund avoids investing in hundreds of companies for reasons which the government says is "moral and environmental."
Oil revenues are the fund's only source, but due to law, government spending limit is 4 percent, while the current government is suggesting to reduce the percent to 3 percent. The fund size doubled in the last five years due to the good investment revenues.
Today, Norway has a population of about 5.5 million, which means that the wealth of every citizen is about one million NOK. The Nordic sovereign fund is the at the top in the Linaburg-Maduell Transparency Index with te points.
The Kingdom of Norway is one of the major shipping countries and relies heavily on international trade, as well as natural resources. Norway has trade relations with several countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, China and the United States of America, with a total export value of 747 billion NOK (86 billion USD) in 2016. The United Kingdom was the top trading partner in the proportion of exports followed by Germany with 14.3 percent, Netherlands with 10.6 percent and France with 6.7 percent.
The total value of imports was 606 billion NOK (70 billion USD) in 2016. Sweden topped the list with 72 billion NOK (8.3 billion USD), Germany 72 billion NOK (8.3 billion USD), China 67 NOK (7.7 billion USD), and the United States 39 billion NOK (4.5 billion USD).
The population of Norway is 5.258.000. according to the latest statistics issued on January 2017.
Norway is a secular state, Where the Norwegian Church was separated from the State from 1/1/2017, and everyone has the right to practice their religion freely according to the Norwegian low.
The official language of Norway is Norwegian (Bokmål, Nynorsk), plus The Sami languages which is used in some areas of the north.
- Oslo: Norway's capital and largest city. With a population approaching 700,000, The city is nestled between the Oslo fjord and forested hills. Oslo has become a destination for tourists looking for museums, nature, and art, while still maintaining the relaxed atmosphere of a much smaller town.
- Bergen: Norway's second largest city, and lies clambering up the mountain sides, overlooking the sea. You can roam thought living history in this modern city while exploring the loveliest fjords of Norway.
- Trondheim: Trondheim is Norway's third largest city, and it's also called the city of students, technology, culture, and food. It is considered the capital of technology because it has the largest university and research centers in the fields of engineering and technology.
- Flåm: Each year, several hundred thousand visitors arrive in this small village every year, which is included in UNESCO World Heritage list. This city is surrounded by steep mountains, thundering waterfalls and narrow valleys. It is located about three hours the northeast of the city of Bergen.
- The Lofoten islands: Lofoten is known for excellent fishing, spectacular nature attractions, and is located south of the city of Tromso across the Norwegian Sea.
- Tromsø: Tromsø is ideal for seeing the northern lights and several quality museums.
- The Stavanger region: the centre of the Norwegian oil, gas and energy industry.It has the Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) which is a famous tourist attraction.
- Geirangerfjord: Geirangerfjord is included in UNESCO World Heritage list. And is surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and green vegetation.
- Kirkenes and Eastern Finnmark: One of the most famous attractions is the Kirkenes Snowhotel, a hotel built from scratch every year. And summer activities include boat trips, diving, and fishing.
- The Ålesund and Sunnmøre area: is one of Norway's most popular tourist destinations, where they can enjoy hiking or skiing.
- Kindergartens: children enter the kindergarten from the age of 1 to 6.
- Primary and preparatory education: provides education from age 6-15 years old. The government is also required to provide pre-school and after-school care from grade 1 to grade 4.
- Secondary education: usually is 3 years of general education or 4 years of education and vocational training.
Universities and Institutes
- University of Oslo
- BI Norwegian Business School
- Bergen Academy of Art and Design
- Bergen University College
- Hedmark University College
- Lillehammer University College
- Molde University College.
- NHH - Norwegian School of Economics
- NLA University College
- Nord University
- Norwegian Academy of Music
- Norwegian University of Life Sciences
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology
- Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences
- Sogn og Fjordane University College
- Stord/Haugesund University College
- The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
- University College of Southeast Norway
- University of Agder
- University of Bergen
- University of Stavanger
- University of Tromsø The Arctic University of Norway
- Østfold University College
A general rule, all residents in Norway has the right to be members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (folketrygden). Which covers all national benefits, as the goverment covers a large part of treatment by a doctor, psychologist or expenditure on medicines. Hospitals are completely free of charge as well as surgical procedures. For children, it is considered completely free until the age of 16.
The dental treatment on the other hand covers the treatment from the age of 0 until the age of 20. and then it becomes out of the government coverage, except in some cases requiring surgical intervention.
Despite its small size, the Kingdom of Norway is full of art, culture and music. Where the government funds artists and institutions throughout the country.
The Norwegian people are known for their love of sports, but football (soccer) is the most popular sport although the national team for men is admittedly not ranked very high by FIFA. Norway is a winter sports nation, with skiing in general and cross-country as the most beloved sport. Also, Mountain climbing, sky diving, Swimming, jogging, and triathlon a sport that combines jogging, swimming and cycling.