55 Amazing Facts About Norway | Amazing Facts 4U
Land & Geography
- The name “Norway” means “path to the North”. The country of Norway is officially known as the Kingdom of Norway. Norway is one of the wealthiest and also one of the most peaceful country in the World. Norway is the 6th largest country in Europe, but only ranks 28th as far as population.
- It gained independence from Sweden in 1905. The capital and largest city in Norway is Oslo. Norway has a population of 5.08 million people. Literacy rate is 100% and life expectancy is 81.5 years.
- Norway shares a border with Russia, Finland and Sweden.
- Norway along with Sweden and Denmark make up Scandinavia. Norway is one of the members of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
- Norway has in fact over 20,000 km of coastline.
- There are amazing 450,000 lakes in Norway . In fact only about 200 or so are 4 square miles or more in size.
- Norway is often described as the “Land of the Midnight Sun”, because during the summer months of late May through to late July the sun never completely drops below the horizon in northern Arctic Circle areas of the country and other areas have around 20 hours of sunlight a day. However, it is the opposite in winter.
- Norway is home to a number of Arctic animals such as reindeer, wolverines, polar bear, the puffin bird and the Arctic fox.
- In 1251, Henry III of England was given a polar bear by the King of Norway. He kept it in the Tower of London, on a long chain so that it could swim in the Thames.
- King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love, who was the daughter of a cloth merchant. They both later married and she became the Queen of Norway.
- Norway is home to the world’s longest, the Laerdal road tunnel with a length of 24.5 km’s (15.3 miles) which has become a tourist attraction. It is an ordinary two-lane undivided highway. There is a separate ventilation tunnel to a mountain valley above. To reduce mental strain and claustrophobia and also to have turn around points the tunnel has three large caves with blue or green light. It was built from 1995 to 2000 between Oslo and Bergen.
- Norway also has the world’s deepest underwater tunnel at 287 meters deep.
- The archipelago of Lofoten in Norway is north of the Arctic Circle. Yet because of the largest positive temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude, it is teeming with life and has the largest deep water coral reef in the word.
- The Troll A gas production platform is the largest object ever moved by humans. The platform is 472 meters high (of which 369 under water) and weighs about 656 million kilograms. This huge structure is two times heavier than Empire State Building in NY City and is mostly a concrete structure that contains reinforcing steel corresponding to 10 times the entire Eiffel tower.
People Customs & Culture
- Amazingly hundreds of different dialects in Norway are so completely different to written Norwegian that even natives have difficulties understanding people from other parts of the country.
- The relative number of English speakers is higher in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands than it is in Canada.
- In total, about 1 million Norwegians left for America around 1900, when Norway had about 2 million inhabitants. There are as many Norwegian descendants living in the US as there are Norwegians living in Norway, especially the states of North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
- The Sami are an indigenous people of northern Scandinavia who have been living in the northern territories for over 10,000 years. They are known for their colorful clothes and herding of reindeer.
- As per Encyclopedia Britannica, Norwegians read more than any other population in the world.
- It’s amazing that education is completely free in Norway including college education.
- Norwegians are one of the only people in the world to hunt whales.
- Norwegians do not typically smile or start talking to a stranger on the bus. In Norway it’s not considered rude to bump into someone at the supermarket and not apologize. Equally, it’s not considered rude not to say thank you or refrain from smiling back at strangers.
- Norway has some of the world’s highest petrol prices, despite being one of biggest oil exporters in the world.
- To encourage more men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, Norwegian law states that 14 weeks of parental leave is reserved for fathers. Norway is the first country to introduce compulsory paternity leave.
- It can cost in the thousands for Norwegian teenagers to get their license (minimum age 18).
- If caught driving under the influence, there is an automatic 30 days in jail, lose your license for a year, and pay fines up to 10% of your annual income! They are allowed back on the roads after a year, provided they pass the proper driving tests, which may cost a further US$ 5000 – 7000.
- Speeding fines are often more serious than if a person is caught with drugs.
- The people of Oslo, Norway donate the official Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII.
- Food stores cannot be open on Sundays. If you need groceries then, you have to get them at the local gas station, which are allowed to sell food on Sundays. Norway’s national dish is frozen Pizza.
- Food prices are so high in Norway that many people travel to Sweden to buy their groceries. These purchases amount to over 2 billion USD every year.
- Many police stations in Norway are only manned during office hours. This is a result of inadequate funding from the Government. Many police stations are actually closed during the weekends.
- You can buy beer in grocery stores but you can only buy wine and hard liquor from stores called Vinmonopolet (It means Wine Monololy)which closes quite early . There are only one or two in each city, and none in the countryside towns.
- If you own a TV in Norway, you have to pay an annual fee of $300 USD. Failure to pay this licence could result in a hefty fine.
- It’s illegal in Norway to buy sex, but it’s not illegal to sell sex. This means that a female prostitute will not be prosecuted for selling sex, but her male customer will be prosecuted for buying sex.
- Norway has voted against membership in the EU several times, but has implemented more EU directives than any other EU member state.
- The national day of Norway is officially called ‘Norwegian Constitution Day’. It is celebrated on May 17th to commemorate Norway’s constitution of 1814.
- Infrastructure projects have not been given the go-ahead because the Government is worried that this might ‘damage the economy’ by putting upward pressure on interest rates. Amazing result is that one of the richest nations on earth has only got a total of 300 kilometres of four lane highways due to this unwillingness to spend money. This leads to traffic congestion in big cities.
- Norway has the World’s biggest sovereign fund, where it has been saving almost all the money it gets from the sale of oil and is worth almost a trillion dollars.
- Norway has a minimum security luxurious prison where inmates are almost free to do as they wish. The criminals in prison are among Norway’s worst but it has the lowest rate of reoffending in Europe, if not the world. In one of the prisons in Norway inmates can go fishing and swim at the beach. They also have TVs, computers and showers in their cells.
- Amazing Fact is that the Norwegian police force often doesn’t fire a single shot in the whole year.
- The Norwegian Government spent US$ 7 million on the construction of an underground doomsday vault (seed vault) on the arctic island of Svalbard. The purpose of the doomsday vault is to preserve plants seeds from around the world seeds from all possible threats such as war and disasters.
- Farmers are being subsidised to the tune of US$ 3 billion each year by the Government, and they are obliged to abide by Government quotas which regulates how much milk and meat they can sell on a yearly basis. The subsidies are the main factor behind the country’s exuberant food prices that Norwegian consumer are forced to pay.
- In 1999, Norway granted refuge to an U.S. drug smuggler because the Norwegian Supreme Court declared that U.S. prisons do not meet “minimum humanitarian standards.”
- Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo annually since 1901 for outstanding work in making or keeping peace. The Norwegian King Harald V is also present at the award ceremony in Oslo. Although Alfred Nobel was a Swede (1833-1896) he decided that world famous Nobel Peace Prize would be voted for by a Norwegian Committee every year. Other Nobel Prizes are awarded at ceremonies in Stockholm, sweden.
- Norway gets 98-99% of its electricity from hydroelectric power, more than any other country.
- Amazingly IKEA names sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves, media storage and doorknobs after places in Sweden; beds, wardrobes and hall furniture after places in Norway; carpets after places in Denmark and dining tables and chairs after places in Finland.
- Amazingly in Norway, income and wealth are public record, easily viewable online.
- The paper clip was invented by a Norwegian inventor called Johan Vaaler in 1899.
- The English words with Norvegian origin are ski , bag , equipment , club , sky , are, they and flat.
- Actress Marilyn Monroe was of Norwegian descent. Paris Hilton is a great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton who founded the Hilton hotel chain and he came from the Hilton farm near Oslo airport. Lance Armstrong the reputed cyclist is of Norwegian descent.
- Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole on Dec 14 ,1911 . He placed a Norwegian flag on the South Pole, a month before England’s Captain Scott died trying to do so.
- Norway is the birthplace of modern skiing. The word “ski” is Norwegian for “piece of wood”.
- A Norwegian called Sondre Norheim invented ‘modern day’ skis that allow skiers to jump and turn without losing their skis.
- Norway has won the largest number of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals of all countries in the Winter Olympics.
- The Brazilian national football team has never defeated the Norwegian national team. This is a source of great pride and joy for die hard Norwegian football fans. The two teams have only met three times, with Norway winning twice and drawing once.
By Amazing Facts 4U Team