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Norway

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The Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country west of Sweden on the Scandinavian Peninsula. It has a very elongated form and has an extensive coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean, where Norway'Fjord" title ="Fjord">fjords are found. In addition to Sweden, it borders Russia and Finland. The nearby island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen are under Norwegian sovereignty and are considered as part of the kingdom, while Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic Ocean and Peter I Island in the South Pacific Ocean are Norwegian dependencies and not considered part of the kingdom. Additionally, Norway has a claim for Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica.

Kongeriket Norge/Noreg
Flag of Norway Norway: Coat of Arms
(In Detail)
The King's motto: Alt for Norge (All for Norway)
The 1814 Eidsvoll oath: Enig og tro til Dovre faller (United and loyal until the mountains of Dovre fall)
image:LocationNorway.png
Official language Norwegian Bokmål and Nynorsk, (plus Sami in six municipalities).
Capital Oslo
King Harald V
Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik
Parliament Stortinget
Area [1]
- Total¹
- Mainland
- % water
Ranked 59th
385,199 km²
323,802 km²
6.0%
Population
- Total (2004)
Density
Ranked 115th
4,574,560
14/km²
GDP
- Total 
- Total 
- Per capita
- Per capita
Ranked 46th22nd6th2nd
149 billion USD (PPP2002)
222 billion USD (Nominal, 2003)
33,000 USD (PPP, 2002)
52,861 USD (Nominal, 2004)
Currency 1 krone = 100 øre
Time zone
 - in summer
CET (UTC+1)
CEST (UTC+2)
National day Constitution day: May 171814
National anthem Ja, vi elsker dette landet
Internet TLD .no, .sj², and .bv³
Calling Code 47
(1) including Svalbard and Jan Mayen
(2) TLD for Svalbard and Jan Mayen (not used)
(3) TLD for Bouvet Island (not used)
Contents

History

Main article: History of Norway

The Viking period (9th to 11th centuries) was one of national unification and expansion. The Norwegian royal line died out in 1387, and the country entered a long period as the weaker part of a union with Denmark, since 1450 bound by treaty. In light of national romanticism during the 19th century, this period was by some called the "400-year night".

After Denmark-Norway sided with Napoleon in the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to the king of Sweden in 1814. However, Norway declared her independence, adopted her own constitution and elected the Danish prince Christian Fredrik as king on 17 May 1814. Under threat of war, Norway was forced into a personal union with Sweden, but kept her liberal constitution and independent institutions, except for the foreign service. Growing Norwegian dissatisfaction with the union during the late 19th century spawned its dissolution 7 June 1905. The Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to Danish Prince Carl. After a plebiscite confirming the monarchy, the Parliament unanimously elected him king. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the medieval kings of independent Norway.

Norway was a nonbelligerent during World War I, a neutrality she was able to maintain mainly due to the modern state and size of her naval fleet. Norway also attempted to claim neutrality during World War II, but was invaded by German forces in 1940 (Operation Weserübung). However, it is interesting to note that documents uncovered in later time has revealed plans made by the Allies to invade Norway, in order to control her strategically important Atlantic coast. Armed resistance in Norway went on for up to two months in some regions, but the king and government continued the fight from exile in Britain. On the day of the invasion, the leader of the small nazi party Nasjonal SamlingVidkun Quisling – tried to seize power, but was forced by the German occupants to step aside. Real power was wielded by the leader of the German occupation authority, Reichskommissar Josef Terboven. Quisling, as minister president, later formed a government under German control. Parts of Northern Norway were liberated by the Red Army in 1944, and peacefully returned to Norwegian control after the war. The Germans in Norway surrendered 8 May 1945.

The occupation during World War II made Norwegians generally more skeptical of the concept of neutrality. They turned instead to collective security. Norway was one of the signers of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949 and was a founding member of the United Nations, holding its first secretary general – Trygve Lie. Norway has twice voted against joining the European Union (in 1972 and 1994), but is associated with the EU via the European Economic Area. Also, the EU-debate still rages on to this day with roughly 50% support on either side.

Politics

Politics of Norway


Main article: Politics of Norway

Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The Royal House is a branch of the princely family of Glücksburg, originally from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. [2] The functions of the King are mainly ceremonial, but he has influence as the symbol of national unity. Although the constitution of 1814 grants important executive powers to the king, these are almost always exercised by the Council of State in the name of the King (King'Government_of_Norway" title ="Government of Norway">Council of State or cabinet consists of a Prime Minister and his council, appointed by the King. Since 1884, parliamentarism has ensured that the cabinet must have the support of the parliament, so the appointment by the King is a formality.

The 165 members of the unicameral Norwegian parliament, the Storting (Norwegian: Stortinget), are elected from the 19 counties for 4-year terms according to a system of proportional representation. After elections, the Storting divides into two chambers, the Odelsting and the Lagting, which meet separately or jointly depending on the legislative issue under consideration.

The regular courts include the Supreme Court or Høyesterett (17 permanent judges and a president), courts of appeal, district courts and conciliation councils. Judges attached to regular courts are appointed by the King in council after nomination by the Ministry of Justice. The special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases.

Counties

Main article: Counties of Norway

Map of Norway

Norway is divided into 19 administrative regions, called fylker (singular fylke) and 434 kommuner (singular kommune). Fylke and kommune are officially translated to English as county and municipality, though some use province and county. The fylke is the intermediate administration between state and municipality.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Norway

The landscape is generally rugged and mountainous, topped by glaciers and its coastline of over 83,000 km [3] is punctuated by steep-sloped inlets known as fjords, as well as a multitude of islands and islets. It is also known as the Land of the Midnight Sun because of its northern location, as part of Norway lies above the Arctic Circle, where in summer the sun does not set, and in winter many of its valleys remain dark for long periods.

Norway straddles the North Atlantic Ocean for its entire length, bound by three different seas: the North Sea to the southwest and its large inlet the Skagerrak to the south, the Norwegian Sea to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. Norway'Galdh%F8piggen" title ="Galdhøpiggen">Galdhøpiggen at 2,469 m.

The Norwegian climate is fairly temperate, especially along the coast under the influence of the Gulf Stream. The inland climate can be more severe and to the north more subarctic conditions are found.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Norway

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of social capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises). The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices; in 1999, oil and gas accounted for 35% of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway, which is outside OPEC.

Norway opted to stay out of the European Union during a referendum in 1972, and again in November 1994. However, Norway, together with Iceland and Liechtenstein, participate in the EU'European_Economic_Area" title ="European Economic Area">European Economic Area (EEA) agreement.

Economic growth picked up in 2000 to 2.7%, compared with the meager 0.8% of 1999, but fell back to 1.3% in 2001. The government moved ahead with privatisation in 2000, selling one-third of the then 100% state-owned oil company Statoil.

With arguably the highest quality of life worldwide, Norwegians still worry about that time in the next two decades when the oil and gas begin to run out. Accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and at the end of the third quarter of 2004 was valued at 158 billion US dollars.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Norway

The Norwegian population is 4.6 million and increases by 0.4% per year (estimate July 2004). Ethnically most Norwegians are Nordic / North Germanic, while small minorities in the north are Sami or Quen. In recent years immigration has accounted for more than half the population growth; 7.3% of the population are immigrants as of 1 January 2003. The largest immigrant groups are Swedes, Danes and Pakistanis ([4]).

Approximately 86% of the inhabitants are members of the Evangelic Lutheran Church of Norway (state church). Other Christian societies total about 4.5% (The Evangelical Lutheran Free Church, The Catholic Church, Pentecostal congregations, The Methodist Church etc.) Among the non-Christian religions Islam is the largest in Norway with close to 2%, and other religions less than 1%. About 1.5% belong to the secular Human Ethical Union. As of 1 January 2003 approximately 5% of the population are unaffiliated ([5]).

The Norwegian language has two official written forms, called Bokmål and Nynorsk, which do not differ greatly. Generally neither is spoken except among a few, as various dialects are used orally, but Bokmål is written by the majority. Several Sami languages are spoken and written in the northern regions by the Sami people. The Germanic Norwegian language and the Finno-Ugric Sami languages are entirely unrelated.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Norway

Famous Norwegians include playwright Henrik Ibsen, explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen, expressionist painter Edvard Munch, romanticist composer Edvard Grieg and novelists Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset, winners of the 1920 and 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Norwegians celebrate their national day on May 17, the Constitution day. Many people wear bunad (traditional costumes) and most watch the May 17th Parade through the towns.

Miscellaneous topics

International rankings

External links




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