Norway

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NORWAY

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS NORWEGIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kingdom of Norway

Kongeriket Norge

CAPITAL: Oslo

FLAG: The national flag has a red field on which appears a blue cross (with an extended right horizontal) outlined in white.

ANTHEM: Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes, We Love This Country).

MONETARY UNIT: The krone (Kr) of 100 øre is the national currency. There are coins of 50 øre and 1, 5, and 10 kroner, and notes of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 kroner. Kr1 = $0.15798 (or $1 = Kr6.33) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; National Independence Day, 17 May; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Whitmonday.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Norway occupies the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula in northern Europe, with almost one-third of the country situated N of the Arctic Circle. It has an area of 324,220 sq km (125,182 sq mi). Comparatively, the area occupied by Norway is slightly larger than the state of New Mexico. Extending 1,752 km (1,089 mi) nnessw, Norway has the greatest length of any European country; its width is 430 km (267 mi) esewnw. Bounded on the n by the Arctic Ocean, on the ne by Finland and Russia, on the e by Sweden, on the s by the Skagerrak, on the sw by the North Sea, and on the w by the Norwegian Sea of the Atlantic Ocean, Norway has a land boundary length of 2,544 km (1,581 mi) and a total coastline estimated at 21,925 km (13,624 mi).

Norway's capital city, Oslo, is in the southern part of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Norway is formed of some of the oldest rocks in the world. It is dominated by mountain masses, with only one-fifth of its total area less than 150 m (500 ft) above sea level. The average altitude is 500 m (1,640 ft). The Glittertinden (2,472 m/8,110 ft, including a glacier at the summit) and Galdhøpiggen (2,469 m/8,100 ft), both in the Jotunheimen, are the highest points in Europe north of the Alpine-Carpathian mountain range. The principal river, the Glåma, 611 km (380 mi) long, flows through the timbered southeast. Much of Norway has been scraped by ice, and there are 1,700 glaciers totaling some 3,400 sq km (1,310 sq mi). In the Lista and Jaeren regions in the far south, extensive glacial deposits form agricultural lowlands. Excellent harbors are provided by the almost numberless fjords, deeply indented bays of scenic beauty that are never closed by ice and penetrate the mainland as far as 182 km (113 mi). Along many coastal stretches is a chain of islands known as the skjærgård.

CLIMATE

Because of the North Atlantic Drift, Norway has a mild climate for a country so far north. With the great latitudinal range, the north is considerably cooler than the south, while the interior is cooler than the west coast, influenced by prevailing westerly winds and the Gulf Stream. Oslo's average yearly temperature ranges from about 5°c (41°f) in January to 28°c (82°f) in July. The annual range of coastal temperatures is much less than that of the continental interior. The eastern valleys have less than 30 cm (12 in) of rain yearly, whereas at Haukeland in Masfjord the average rainfall is 330 cm (130 in).

Norway is the land of the midnight sun in the North Cape area, with 24-hour daylight from the middle of May to the end of July, during which the sun does not set. Conversely, there are long winter nights from the end of November to the end of January, during which the sun does not rise above the horizon and the northern lights, or aurora borealis, can be seen.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The richest vegetation is found in the southeast around Oslofjord, which is dominated by conifers (spruce, fir, and pine); at lower levels, deciduous trees such as oak, ash, elm, and maple are common. Conifers are seldom found at altitudes above 1,000 m (3,300 ft). Above the conifer zone extends a zone of birch trees; above that, a zone of dwarf willow and dwarf birch, and a zone of lichens and arctic plants. In areas exposed to salt sea winds, there is little tree growth. Of the larger wild animals, elk, roe deer, red deer, and badger survive, as do fox, lynx, and otter. Bird life is abundant and includes game birds such as capercaillie (cock of the woods) and black grouse. In the rivers are found trout, salmon, and char.

As of 2002, there were at least 54 species of mammals, 241 species of birds, and over 1,700 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Norway's plentiful forests, lakes, flora, and wildlife have suffered encroachment in recent years from the growing population and consequent development of urban areas, roads, and hydroelectric power. The forest floor and waterways have been polluted by Norway's own industry and by airborne industrial pollution from central Europe and the British Isles in the form of acid rain. The acid rain problem has affected the nation's water supply over an area of nearly 7,000 sq mi.

Annual particulate emissions have averaged 22 tons and hydrocarbon emissions have been about 270 tons. In 1992, Norway was among the 50 nations with the world's heaviest emissions of carbon dioxide from industrial sources, which totaled 60.2 million metric tons, a per capita level of 14.03 metric tons. In 2000, however, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 49.9 million metric tons. Transportation vehicle emissions are also a significant source of air pollution.

By the early 1980s, the government had enacted stringent regulations to prevent oil spills from wells and tankers operating on the Norwegian continental shelf. Coastal protection devices have since been installed, and new technologies to prevent oil damage have been developed. Industry, mining, and agriculture have polluted 16% of Norway's lake water. The nation has a total of 382 cu km of renewable water resource; 72% of the annual withdrawal is used for industrial activity and 8% is used for farming.

Pollution control laws operate on the premise that the polluter must accept legal and economic responsibility for any damage caused and for preventing any recurrence; the state makes loans and grants for the purchase of pollution control equipment. Municipal authorities supervise waste disposal.

Since its creation in 1972, the Ministry of the Environment has been Norway's principal environmental agency. Between 1962 and 1985, 15 national parks, with a total area of more than 5,000 sq km (2,000 sq mi), and more than 150 nature reserves were established. In 2003, about 6.8% of the total land area was protected. The West Norwegian FjordsGeirangerfjord and Naerofjordwere named as a natural UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. The country has 37 Ramsar wetland sites.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 9 types of mammals, 6 species of birds, 7 species of fish, 1 type of mollusk, 8 species of other invertebrates, and 2 species of plants. Threatened species include the Baltic sturgeon, marsh snail, and freshwater pearl mussel.

POPULATION

The population of Norway in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 4,620,000, which placed it at number 114 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 15% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 20% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 0.3%, a rate the government viewed as too low. The projected population for the year 2025 was 5,114,000. The overall population density was 14 per sq km (37 per sq mi), with most inhabitants concentrated in the southern areas of the country.

The UN estimated that 78% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.18%. The capital city, Oslo, had a population of 795,000 in that year. The only other towns with populations exceeding 100,000 were Bergen (242,158) and Trondheim (156,161). Most provincial cities are small, with only Stavanger (115,157), Kristiansand (76,066), and Drammen (56,688) having more than 50,000.

MIGRATION

From 1866 on, North America received great waves of immigration from Norway, including an estimated 880,000 Norwegian immigrants to the United States by 1910. The United States and Canada still provide residence for many of the estimated 400,000 Norwegians living abroad. Emigration in recent years has not been significant. Norwegians moving abroad numbered 23,271 in 2004; immigrants to Norway totaled 36,482. Of the over 20,000 European immigrants, 4,308 were from Sweden; of the 3,875 Africans, 1,068 were from Somalia; of the 8,848 Asian immigrants, 1,220 were from Thailand. Migrants from the United States numbered 1,405. In 2005, Norway's immigrant population numbered 364,981. Of these 301,045 were first-generation immigrants, 361,143 were foreign-born, and 213,303 were foreign citizens. In 2004, internal migration between municipalities was 190,446 and between counties it was 89,940.

Norway is an important resettlement country; as of 2001, it had an allocation of 1,300 places in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 2004, 7,950 asylum applications were submitted. Main countries of origin included Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. The estimated net migration rate for 2005 was 1.73 migrants per 1,000 population.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The Norwegians have for centuries been a highly homogeneous people of Germanic (Nordic, Alpine, and Baltic) stock, generally tall and fair-skinned, with blue eyes. Small minority communities include some 20,000 Sami (Lapps) and 7,000 descendants of Finnish immigrants.

LANGUAGES

Norwegian, closely related to Danish and Swedish, is part of the Germanic language group. In addition to the letters of the English alphabet, it has the letters æ, å, and ø. Historically, Old Norse was displaced by a modified form of Danish for writing, but in the 19th century there arose a reaction against Danish usages. Many dialects are spoken. There are two language forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk; the former (spoken by a large majority of Norwegians) is based on the written, town language, the latter on country dialects. Both forms of Norwegian have absorbed many modern international words, particularly from British and American English, despite attempts to provide indigenous substitutes.

While Norwegian is the official language, English is spoken widely in Norway, especially in the urban areas. The Sami (Lapps) in northern Norway have retained their own language, which is of Finno-Ugric origin. There is also a small Finnish-speaking minority.

RELIGIONS

Citizens are generally considered to be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, which is the state church, unless they specifically indicate other affiliations. As such, reports indicate that about 86% of the population are nominally affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. About 3.4% of the population belong to other Protestant denominations; 1.6% are Muslim and 1% are Roman Catholic. Buddhists, Jews, Orthodox Christians, Sikhs, and Hindus make up less that 1% of the population. The Norwegian Humanist Association, an organization for atheists and the nonreligious, claims about 69,652 adults as registered members.

The constitution provides for religious freedom for all faiths, even though the religion of state is designated as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. The king nominates the Lutheran bishops and the Lutheran church receives an endowment from the state. The constitution states that the king and half of the cabinet must be members of this church. There are a number of interfaith groups within the country, including the Cooperation Council for Faith and Secular Society, the Oslo Coalition for Freedom of Religious Beliefs, and the Ecumenical Council of Christian Communities.

TRANSPORTATION

In spite of Norway's difficult terrain, the road system has been well engineered, with tunnels and zigzags, particularly in the fjordlands of the west; but there are problems of maintenance because of heavy rain in the west and freezing in the east. Road transport accounts for nearly 90% of inland passenger transport. As of 2002, the total length of highway was 91,852 km (57,074 mi), of which 71,185 km (44,232 mi) were paved, including 178 km (111 mi) of expressways. As of 2003, there were 1,932,663 passenger cars and 468,500 commercial vehicles in use. The state railway operates bus routes and has been steadily increasing its activities in this field, which is heavily subsidized by the government. In 2004, there was 4,077 km (2,533 mi) of rail line in operation, all of it standard gauge, of which 2,518 km (1,564 mi) were electrified.

With a merchant fleet of 740 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 18,820,495 GRT, as of 2005, Norway possessed one of the world's largest fleets. The sale of Norwegian ships and their registration abroad, which increased considerably during the mid1980s, severely reduced the size of the fleet. In 1988, the Norwegian International Ship Register program began, whereby ships could be registered offshore, thus allowing foreign vessels to operate under the Norwegian flag while reducing costs to shipowners. Oslo and Bergen have excellent harbor facilities, but several other ports are almost as fully equipped.

Norway had an estimated 101 airports in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 67 had paved runways, and there was also one heliport. Flesland at Bergen, Sola at Stavanger, and Fornebu and Gardermoen at Oslo are the main centers of air traffic. External services are operated by the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), which is 21% Norwegian-owned. Braathens Air Transport operates most of the domestic scheduled flights. Important internal air services include that linking Kirkenes, Tromsø, and Bodø; 2,000 km (1,240 mi) long, this air route is reputed to be the most difficult to operate in western Europe. In 2003, about 12.779 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

HISTORY

Humans have lived in Norway for about 10,000 years, but only since the early centuries of the Christian era have the names of tribes and individuals been recorded. This was the period when small kingdoms were forming; the name Norge ("Northern Way") was in use for the coastal district from Vestfold to Hålogaland before ad 900. The Viking period (8001050) was one of vigorous expansion, aided by consolidation of a kingdom under Olav Haraldsson.

From the death of Olav in 1030, the nation was officially Christian. During the next two centuriesa period marked by dynastic conflicts and civil warsa landed aristocracy emerged, displacing peasant freeholders. A common legal code was adopted in 127476, and the right of succession to the crown was fixed. Shortly before, Iceland (1261) and Greenland (126164) came under Norwegian rule, but the Hebrides (Western Isles), also Norwegian possessions, were lost in 1266. Before 1300, Hanseatic merchants of the Baltic towns secured control of the essential grain imports, weakening the Norwegian economy.

Norway lost its independence at the death of Haakon V in 1319, when Magnus VII became ruler of both Norway and Sweden. The Black Death ravaged the country in the middle of the 14th century. In 1397, the three Scandinavian countries were united under Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Sweden left the union in 1523, but for nearly 300 more years Norway was ruled by Danish governors. Although the loss to Sweden of the provinces of Bohuslän (1645), Härjedalen (1658), and Jämtland (1645) was a handicap, gradual exploitation of the forest wealth improved Norwegian status. Denmark's alliance with France during the Napoleonic Wars resulted in the dissolution of the union. With the Peace of Kiel (1814), Norway was ceded to Sweden, but the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland were retained by Denmark. However, Norwegians resisted Swedish domination, adopted a new constitution on 17 May 1814, and elected the Danish Prince Christian Frederick as king of Norway. Sweden then invaded Norway, but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting union with Sweden under the rule of the Swedish king. During the second half of the 19th century, the Storting (parliament) became more powerful; an upsurge of nationalist agitation, both within the Storting and among Norway's cultural leaders, paved the way for the referendum that in 1905 gave independence to Norway. Feelings ran high on both sides, but once the results were announced, Norway and Sweden settled down to friendly relations. The Danish Prince Carl was elected king of Norway, assuming the name Haakon VII.

Although Norway remained neutral during World War I, its merchant marine suffered losses. Norway proclaimed its neutrality during the early days of World War II, but Norwegian waters were strategically too important for Norway to remain outside the war. Germany invaded on 9 April 1940; the national resistance was led by King Haakon, who in June escaped together with the government, representing the legally elected Storting, to England, where he established Norway's government-in-exile. Governmental affairs in Oslo fell to Vidkun Quisling, a Fascist leader and former Norwegian defense minister who had aided the German invasion and whose name subsequently became a synonym for collaborator; after the German surrender, he was arrested, convicted of treason, and shot. During the late 1940s, Norway abandoned its former neutrality, accepted Marshall Plan aid from the United States, and joined NATO. King Haakon died in 1957 and was succeeded by Olav V. King Harald V succeeded his father who died 17 January 1991.

The direction of economic policy has been the major issue in Norwegian postwar history, especially as related to taxation and the degree of government intervention in private industry. Economic planning was introduced, and several state-owned enterprises have been established. Prior to the mid-1970s, Labor Party-dominated governments enjoyed a broad public consensus for their foreign and military policies. A crucial development occurred in November 1972, when the Norwegian electorate voted in a referendum to reject Norway's entry into the EC despite a strong pro-EC posture adopted by the minority Labor government. After the 1973 general elections, the Labor Party's hold on government policies began to erode, and in the 1981 elections, the party lost control of the government to the Conservatives. Although the non-Socialists retained a small majority in the 1985 elections, disagreements among them permitted Labor to return to office in 1986.

Norway reconfirmed its rejection of the European Union on 28 November 1994, when the vote was cast 52% against, 47.8% for joining Europe. However, in December 2002, Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik stated a new referendum would probably be held on EU membership. Public opinion polls in June 2003 registered 51.9% of the electorate in favor of joining the EU; 38.2% were opposed and 9.9% were undecided.

Norway was forthright in its support for the US-led war on terror following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. It supported the NATO decision to invoke Article 5 of the alliance's constitution, pledging all members to collective security in the event of an attack on one. However, Norway did not support the US-led war in Iraq that began on 19 March 2003. Prime Minister Bondevik held that international weapons inspectors authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1441 to inspect Iraq's weapons programs should have been given more time to do their work, and that military action should not be taken without an express Security Council resolution authorizing it. Eight out of ten Norwegian voters agreed in March 2003 that Norway should not support the US and British decision to go to war against Iraq.

On 19 January 2004, the Norwegian cargo ship Rocknes capsized after striking rocks in a fjord off the coast of Bergen. Eighteen crew members were killed, most of them Filipinos. Nearly 1,000 animals were oiled, a concern for environmentalists. Another concern for environmentalists was Norway's rejection of the 1986 International Whaling Commission's ban on whaling. Norway began whaling on a commercial basis in 1993.

In the general election held on 12 September 2005, the centerleft led by Jens Stoltenberg's Labor Party in a "red-green alliance" with the Socialist and Center parties won more than half the seats in parliament, defeating Bondevik's center-right minority coalition. The populist far-right Progress Party increased its number of seats held in parliament by 12, to 38, and it became the nation's largest opposition party.

GOVERNMENT

Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The constitution of 17 May 1814, as subsequently amended, vests executive power in the king and legislative power in the Storting. Prior to 1990, sovereignty descended to the eldest son of the monarch. A constitutional amendment in May 1990 allows females to succeed to the throne. The amendment only affects those born after 1990. The sovereign must be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, which he heads. Royal power is exercised through a cabinet (the Council of State), consisting of a prime minister and at least seven other ministers of state (these numbered 18 in 2005). Since the introduction of parliamentary rule in 1884, the Storting has become the supreme authority, with sole control over finances and with power to override the king's veto under a specified procedure. While the king is theoretically free to choose his own cabinet, in practice the Storting selects the ministers, who must resign if the Storting votes no confidence.

The Storting was made up of 169 representatives in 2005 (an increase of four over the 2001 election) from 19 counties. Election for a four-year term is by direct suffrage at age 18, on the basis of proportional representation. After election, the Storting divides into two sections by choosing one-fourth of its members to form the upper chamber Lagting, with the rest constituting the lower chamber Odelsting. The Odelsting deals with certain types of bills (chiefly proposed new laws) after the committee stage and forwards them to the Lagting, which, after approval, sends them to the king for the royal assent; financial, organizational, political, and other matters are dealt with in plenary session. Where the two sections disagree, a two-thirds majority of the full Storting is required for passage. Constitutional amendments also require a two-thirds vote. The constitution provides that the Storting may not be dissolved.

A special parliamentary ombudsman supervises the observance of laws and statutes as applied by the courts and by public officials. His main responsibility is to protect citizens against unjust or arbitrary treatment by civil servants.

POLITICAL PARTIES

The present-day Conservative Party (Høyre) was established in 1885. The Liberal Party (Venstre), founded in 1885 as a counterbalance to the civil servant class, became the rallying organization of the Agrarian Friends' Association. The party's political program stresses social reform. Industrial workers founded the Labor Party (Arbeiderparti) in 1887 and, with the assistance of the Liberals, obtained universal male suffrage in 1898 and votes for women in 1913. The Social Democrats broke away from the Labor Party in 192122, and the Communist Party (Kommunistparti), made up of former Laborites, was established in 1923. The moderate Socialists reunited and revived the Labor Party organization in 1927. The Agrarian (Farmers) Party was formed in 1920; it changed its name to the Center Party (Senterparti) in 1958. The Christian People's Party (Kristelig Folkeparti), founded in 1933, and also known as the Christian Democratic Party, supports the principles of Christianity in public life.

For several decades, the Liberals were either in office or held the balance of power, but in 1935, as a result of the economic depression, an alliance between the Agrarian and Labor parties led to the formation of a Labor government. During World War II, the main parties formed a national cabinet-in-exile. Political differences between right and left sharpened in the postwar period. Attempts to form a national coalition among the four non-Socialist parties proved unsuccessful until the 1965 elections, when they gained a combined majority of 80 seats in the Storting. Per Borten, who was appointed in October 1965 to form a non-Socialist coalition government, retained office in the 1969 elections, although with a majority of only two seats.

In the 1973 general elections, the Labor Party received only 35.3% of the national vote; its representation in the Storting shrank to 62 seats, but with its Socialist allies, it was able to form a minority government. The Christian People's Party, meanwhile, registered gains, as did the Socialist Electoral League, a new coalition, which was able to take a number of votes away from the Labor Party. In 1975, the Socialist Electoral League was transformed into a single grouping known as the Socialist Left Party, comprising the former Socialist People's Party, the Norwegian Communist Party, and the Democratic Socialist Party (formed in 1972); the transformation, which resulted in a platform that voiced criticism neither of the former USSR nor of Leninist ideology, marked the first occasion when a Western Communist Party voted to dissolve its organization and merge into a new grouping with other parties.

In the 1977 elections, Labor expanded its representation to 76 seats, but its Socialist Left ally won only two seats, and their coalition commanded a single-seat majority in the Storting. Odvar Nordli, who became prime minister in January 1976, succeeding the retiring Trygve Bratteli, formed a new cabinet and remained in office until February 1981, when he quit because of ill health. His successor was Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway's first woman prime minister. Her term in office lasted only until September, when the non-Socialist parties obtained a combined total of more than 56% of the vote and a Conservative, Kåre Willoch, became prime minister of a minority government. In April 1983, the government was transformed into a majority coalition.

Following the loss of a vote of confidence, the coalition was replaced in May 1986 by a Labor minority government led by Brundtland, who formed a cabinet of eight female ministers out of 18. With an average age of 47, her cabinet was the youngest ever in Norway.

Labor increased its support in the 1993 election, winning 67 seats. The Center Party became the second-largest party while the Conservatives and other right-wing parties suffered a decline.

The September 1997 election brought to power a coalition of Christian People's party, Liberals, and Center party and was headed by the Lutheran minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik. The coalition claimed only 42 seats in parliament and Bondevik was forced to seek compromises with opposition parties to pass legislation. In March 1999 his government lost a vote of confidence after Bondevik refused to weaken antipollution laws to allow the construction of gas-fired power plants. Norway generates most of its power from nonpolluting hydro power and Bondevik was not ready to compromise Norway's environment for the sake of natural gas energy.

Because the next legislative elections could only be held in September 2001, Jens Stoltenberg, the elected leader of the Labor party, became prime minister at the age of 41, becoming Norway's youngest leader. Stoltenberg pledged to seek strong ties to Europe and favored European Union membership. He also announced the privatization of Statoil, the state's oil company, and Telenor, the state-owned telecommunication group. Especially, the partial sell-off of Statoil was of huge symbolic significance because of its role as the guardian of the nation's oil and gas wealth.

In the September 2001 parliamentary elections, the Labor Party came in first, although it suffered its worst defeat since 1924, taking only 24.3% of the vote, compared with 35% in 1997. Voters were disgruntled with high tax ratesin some cases 50%and inadequate public services, including hospitals, schools, and public transportation. The far-right Progress Party gained seats. Bondevik was returned to power as prime minister, putting together a coalition of the Christian People's Party, the Liberals, and the Conservatives, with support from the Progress Party. The distribution of the parties' electoral strength in the Storting following the 2001 elections was as follows: Labor Party, 24.3% (43 seats); Conservative Party, 21.2% (38 seats); Progress Party, 14.7% (26 seats); Christian People's Party, 12.5% (22 seats); Socialist Left Party, 12.4% (23 seats); Center Party, 5.6% (10 seats); the fisherman's Coastal Party, 3.9% (2 seats); and the extreme-left Red Electoral Alliance, 1.7% (1 seat).

In the September 2005 parliamentary elections, the Labor Party came in first, taking 32.7% of the vote (61 seats), an increase of 8.4% (18 seats) over the 2001 elections. The Progress Party came in second with 22.1% of the vote (38 seats), an increase of 7.4% of the vote (and 12 seats) over the 2001 elections. The distribution of the remaining parties' electoral strengths in the Storting following the elections was as follows: Conservative Party, 14.1% (23 seats); Socialist Left Party, 8.8% (15 seats); Christian People's Party, 6.8% (11 seats); Center Party, 6.5% (11 seats); and the Liberal Party, 5.9% (10 seats). Jens Stoltenberg, leader of the Labor Party, claimed he would devote more of the country's oil wealth to jobs, schools, and care for the elderly. Stoltenberg was to form a coalition government with the Socialist Left and Center parties.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Norway has 435 municipalities (kommuner ) of varying size, each administered by an elected municipal council. They are grouped into 19 counties (fylker ), each governed by an elected county council. Each county is headed by a governor appointed by the king in council. Oslo is the only urban center that alone constitutes a county; the remaining 18 counties consist of both urban and rural areas. County and municipal councils are popularly elected every four years. The municipalities have wide powers over the local economy, with the state exercising strict supervision. They have the right to tax and to use their resources to support education, libraries, social security, and public works such as streetcar lines, gas and electricity works, roads, and town planning, but they are usually aided in these activities by state funds.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Each municipality has a conciliation council (forliksråd ), elected by the municipal council, to mediate in lesser civil cases so as to settle them, if possible, before they go to court; under some conditions the conciliation councils also render judgments. The courts of first instance are town courts (byrett ) and rural courts (herredsrett ), which try both civil and criminal cases. Their decisions may be brought before a court of appeals (lagmannsrett ), which also serves as a court of first instance in more serious criminal cases. There are six such courts: Borgarting, Eidsivating, Agder, Gulating, Frostating and Hålogaland. Appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court (Høyesterett) at Oslo, which consists of a chief justice and 18 judges. Special courts include a Social Insurance Court and a Labor Disputes Court who mediates industrial relations disputes.

The judiciary is independent of both the legislative and the executive branches. In criminal cases, defendants are afforded free legal counsel. Indigent persons are granted free legal counsel in certain civil cases as well.

ARMED FORCES

Norway's armed forces in 2005 had a total strength of 25,800 active personnel with reserves numbering 219,000. The Army of 14,700 was equipped with 165 main battle tanks, 157 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 189 armored personnel carriers, and 634 artillery pieces. The Navy numbered 6,100 active personnel, including 270 in the coast guard and 160 coastal defense personnel. The Navy operated 6 tactical submarines, 3 frigates, 15 coastal and patrol vessels, and 10 mine warfare ships. The Air Force consisted of 5,000 personnel operating 61 combat capable aircraft, in addition to 15 (each) transport and training aircraft, and 12 search and rescue helicopters. The Air Force also mans air defense guns and missiles.

Norway is the host nation for the NATO Allied Forces North headquarters and provides troops or observers for eight peacekeeping operations. The nation's defense budget in 2005 totaled $4.69 billion.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Norway has been a member of the United Nations since 27 November 1945; the country participates in the ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, IAEA, the World Bank, UNSECO, UNHCR, UNIDO, and the WHO. Norwegian experts serve in many countries under the UN Technical Assistance program. Norway has participated in at least 30 UN peacekeeping operations. The Norwegian Peace Corps, launched as an experiment in 1963, was made a permanent part of Norway's program of international aid in 1965.

Norway is a member of the WTO, the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Council of Europe, EFTA, the OSCE, the Paris Club, NATO, the Nordic Council, the Nordic Investment Bank, and OECD. The country holds observer status in the OAS and is an associate member of the Western European Union. A referendum on EU membership was held in November 1994; 52% of the electorate voted against membership.

Norway is part of the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Nuclear Energy Agency, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In environmental cooperation, Norway is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Norway, with its long coastline and vast forests, is traditionally a fishing and lumbering country, but since the end of World War II it has greatly increased its transport and manufacturing activities. The exploitation since the late 1970s of major oil reserves in the North Sea has had considerable impact on the Norwegian economy.

Foreign trade is a critical economic factor. Exports bring in over 40% of the GDP. As a trading nation without a large domestic market, Norway was especially vulnerable to the effects of the worldwide recession of the early 1980s and is sensitive to fluctuations in world prices, particularly those of oil, gas, and shipping. Since the early 1980s, Norway's exports have been dominated by petroleum and natural gas, which produced 56% of commodity exports in 2003.

Norway has a mixed economy with the government owning about 32% of the listed shares on the Oslo stock exchange, and holding shares in around 1015% of Norwegian industry (as of 2005). State ownership is most dominant in the oil, hydroelectric, and mining sectors. At considerable expense, the government provides subsidies for industry, agriculture, and outlying regions. About half of the total goes to agriculture.

Norwegian competitiveness in the global economy is hampered by a small population (4.6 million), a restrictive immigration policy, and an expensive social welfare system that places high tax burdens on the population.

In the early 1980s, the nation's economy became increasingly dependent on oil revenues, which stimulated domestic consumption and, at the same time, increased costs and prices, thus hampering the competitiveness of Norway's other export industries. The drastic decline of oil prices in 1986 caused the value of Norway's exports to fall by about 20%. Recently, the service sector has grown, accounting for 61.6% of GDP (2004 est.)

From 1949 to 1989 the real GDP rose on the average by 3.9% per year. The GDP fell in 1988 for the first time in 30 years. Since 1989, however, growth resumed, averaging only 1.3% during 198991, but climbing by an annual average of 3.7% during 199294. In 1998, GDP growth was 2.4%, inflation was 2.3%, and unemployment was 2.6%. In 1999, low world oil prices helped reduce growth to 1.1%, while their recovery, in 2000 helped raise GDP growth to 2.3%. GDP growth fell to 1% by 2002 and to 0.5% in 2003, largely due to the global economic slowdown of 200102. The economy recovered strongly in 2004, with real GDP growing by 2.9%. Economic growth was forecast to peak in 2005 at 3%, before falling slightly to 2.5% in 2006.

Unemployment averaged about 3.3% 1999 to 2002, while annual price inflation was about 2.9%. The unemployment rate stood at 4.3% in 2004, and the annual CPI inflation rate was forecast at 1.8% in 2005. Government statistics show that government spending as a percent of GDP declined from 39% in 1999 to about 34.5% in 2001, down from the estimated 50% reported by the OECD in the mid-1990s. Government spending as a percent of GDP stood at approximately 40% in 2005.

Norwegian voters rejected European Union membership in 1994. However, Norway is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) which consists of the EU member countries together with Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Membership gives Norway most of the rights and obligation of the EU single market but very little ability to influence EU decisions.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Norway's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $194.7 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $42,400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 3.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 2.1%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 2.2% of GDP, industry 37.2%, and services 60.6%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $322 million or about $71 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.1% of GDP.

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Norway totaled $101.96 billion or about $22,350 per capita based on a GDP of $220.9 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.4%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 16% of household consumption was spent on food, 11% on fuel, 5% on health care, and 4% on education.

LABOR

In 2005, Norway's labor force totaled an estimated 2.4 million workers. As of 2003, services accounted for 74% of the workforce, with 22.1% in industry, and around 4% in the agricultural sector. From 196088, Norway's average unemployment rate was only 1.6%. Unemployment gradually increased during the 1970s, and decreased from 5.5% in 1991 to 3.9% in 2002. As of 2005, the unemployment rate was estimated at 4.2%.

As of 2005, about 55% of the labor force was unionized. Under Norwegian law, workers can organize and join unions, engage in collective bargaining, and strike. Government employees, including military personnel, can also organize unions and bargain collectively. Antiunion discrimination is prohibited by law.

In 1919, the eight-hour day was established, together with paid holiday periods. In 1986, the workweek was reduced to 37.5 hours, where as of 2005, it remained. There is also 25 days of paid leave, with 31 days for those 60 and older. There is no legal minimum wage. Wages scales are set through negotiations involving local government, employers and workers. Children between the ages of 13 and 18 years may engage in light work that will not negatively affect their health or education, but only on a part-time basis.

AGRICULTURE

Agricultural land in 2003 comprised 873,000 hectares (2,157,000 acres), or about 2.9% of the country's total land (excluding Svalbard and Jan Mayen). While the area under wheat and mixed grains has dropped sharply since 1949, that for rye, oats, and barley has more than doubled. The greater part of these crops is used to supplement potatoes and hay in the feeding of livestock. In 2004, the area planted with barley, oats, rye, and triticale covered 12,380 hectares (30,590 acres), while wheat covered 65,000 hectares (161,000 acres).

In 2005, Norway had 53,277 agricultural holdings, 96% held by individuals. Because of the small size of the holdings, many farm families pursue additional occupations, mainly in forestry, fishing, and handicrafts. Yields in 2004 included 1,076,000 tons of coarse grain and 340,000 tons of potatoes. Østfold county accounts for 20% of Norway's grain production; Hedmark county for one-third of potato production. Norway imports most of its grain and large quantities of its fruits and vegetables.

With steep slopes and heavy precipitation, Norway requires substantial quantities of fertilizers to counteract soil leaching. Smallholders and those in marginal farming areas in the north and in the mountains receive considerable government assistance for the purchase of fertilizers. Mechanization of agriculture is developing rapidly. In 2003, Norwegian farmers used 130,000 tractors and 13,400 combines.

Since 1928, the state has subsidized Norwegian grain production; a state monopoly over the import of grains maintains the price of Norwegian-grown grains. The Ministry of Agriculture has divisions dealing with agricultural education, economics, and other aspects. Each county has an agricultural society headed by a government official. These societies, financed half by the district and half by the state, implement government schemes for improving agricultural practices.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Norway is self-sufficient in farm animals and livestock products. In 2005, there were 2,417,000 sheep, 920,000 head of cattle, 515,000 hogs, 28,000 horses, and 3,300,000 fowl. Norway is well known for its working horses. By careful breeding, Norway has developed dairy cows with very good milk qualities; artificial insemination is now widely used. In 2005, production included 83,600 tons of beef and veal, 116,500 tons of pork, 25,400 tons of mutton and lamb, 1,721,000 tons of milk, 81,200 tons of cheese, 51,000 tons of eggs, and 13,000 tons of butter. Norwegian production of milk, cheese, and meat satisfies local demand.

The breeding of furbearing animals has been widely undertaken, and good results have been obtained with mink. In 2003, there were 320,000 farm-raised foxes, 440,000 mink, and 203,000 deer. Reindeer graze in the north and on the lichen-clad mountains. In 2004, wild game hunting yielded 36,770 moose, 3,895 wild reindeer, and 25,896 red deer.

FISHING

Seafood is Norway's third-largest export item, after petroleum products and metals. In 2004, the value of Norway's seafood exports amounted to $4.2 billion, with salmon and trout accounting for 44%. Norway's wild fish catch in 2004 amounted to 2.5 million tons, valued at $1.5 billion. The main commercial species are herring, cod, mackerel, and sardines.

Cod spawn in March and April off the Lofoten Islands. The Lofoten fisheries are coastal, permitting the use of small craft, but there has been increased use of large trawlers that fish in the waters of Greenland, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea. Cod roe and liver (yielding cod-liver oil) are valuable by-products. In recent years there has been concern about declining wild fish stocks in the sea, but for Norway the wild fish catches seem to increase almost every year. According to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, the most important fish stocks in northern Norwegian waters have stabilized, and will remain at a high level in the years to come. The traditional wage system is on a share-of-the-catch basis. In view of the seasonal nature of the fisheries, many men work also in agriculture or forestry, and the supplementary income from part-time fishing is important to small farmers.

Aquaculture is also important in Norway, with over 3,500 workers and 700 facilities located along the entire coast from the Swedish border in the south to Finnmark far north of the Arctic Circle. The production of farmed salmon reached 537,000 tons in 2004, accounting for 45% of the world's farmed salmon production.

In 2003, sealing expeditions hunting in the Arctic Ocean caught 12,870 seals. Norway was one of the four countries that did not agree to phase out whaling by 1986, having opposed a 1982 resolution of the International Whaling Commission to that effect. In 2003, 647 minke whales were reportedly caught.

FORESTRY

Norway's forestland totals 8,868,000 hectares (21,913,000 acres), of which over 80% is owned by individuals, 9% by the state, and 7% by local governments; the remainder is held by institutions, companies, and cooperatives.

The state subsidizes silviculture and the building of forest roads. In 2004, removals amounted to 8,780,000 cu m (309.9 million cu ft), of which 86% was coniferous industrial wood and 14% was fuel wood. Sawn wood production in 2004 totaled 2,230,000 cu m (78.7 million cu ft); wood pulp, 2,528,000 tons; and paper and paperboard, 2,294,000 tons. The value of forest products exported was $1.8 billion in 2004, when Norway's trade surplus in forest products amounted to $641 million. The Norwegian Forest Research Institute has centers near Oslo and Bergen.

MINING

Mining was Norway's oldest major export industry. Some working mines were established more than 300 years ago and, for a time, silver, iron, and copper were important exports. Iron pyrites and iron ore were still mined in considerable quantities. Petroleum and gas comprised Norway's leading industry in 2004, and metals, chemicals, and mining were among other leading industries. Among export commodities, petroleum and petroleum products ranked first, while metals and chemicals followed close behind. Known deposits of other minerals were small; they included limestone, quartz, dolomite, feldspar, and mica (flake). In 2004, production of iron ore and concentrate (metal content) was 408,000 metric tons, up from 340,000 metric tons in 2003. Titanium (metal content) production in 2004 was 387,000 metric tons. Norway also produced nickel, hydraulic cement, dolomite, feldspar, graphite, lime (hydrated, quicklime), limestone, flake mica, nepheline syenite, nitrogen, olivine sand, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, steatite, sulfur (as a by-product), and talc. No lead or zinc was mined from 1998 through 2004, and no copper or pyrite from 1999 through 2004. The largest titanium deposit in Europe was at Soknedal. A large plant at Thamshavn used half the Orkla mines' output of pyrites for sulfur production. Reserves of minerals generally have been depleted, except for olivine, which was abundant. There has been recent gold exploration, and a zinc exploration program in the Roros district confirmed the existence of extensive stratiform sulfide mineralization with dimensions of a type that could host commercial deposits.

ENERGY AND POWER

Norway has Western Europe's largest proven reserves of oil, which are located on the country's continental shelf. Norway is also the second-largest supplier of natural gas to continental Europe and one of the largest producers in the world. In spite of its oil and gas reserves, hydropower is the primary source of electric power for Norway.

As of 1 January 2005, Norway's proven reserves of oil amounted to 8.5 billion barrels. In 2004, Norway produced an estimated 3,183,900 barrels of oil per day, of which crude oil accounted for 88%. Domestic consumption for oil averaged 244,300,000 barrels of oil per day. In 2005, Norway's crude oil refining capacity averaged 310,000 barrels per day, according to the Oil and Gas Journal. There are two major refining facilities: the 200,000 barrelper-day Mongstad plant, which is operated by 71% government owned Statoil; and the 110,000 barrel-per-day Slagen plant, which is operated by ExxonMobil.

Norway's natural gas reserves are mainly in the North Sea, although the Barents and Norwegian Seas are known to have significant reserves. As of 1 January 2005, Norway's proven reserves of natural gas were estimated at 73.6 trillion cu ft. In 2003, natural gas production was estimated at 2.6 trillion cu ft, with domestic consumption that year estimated at 146.2 billion cu ft.

Norway's reserves of coal, unlike its reserves of oil and natural gas, are very modest. In 2003, Norway's recoverable coal reserves were estimated at 5.5 million short tons. Output and consumption that year were estimated at 3.2 million short tons and 1.4 million short tons, respectively.

Norway's installed electric power generating capacity in 2003 was estimated at 26.6 GW. In that same year, electric power output was estimated at 1205.6 billion kWh, of which hydroelectric generated power amounted to 99% of the electricity produced. Geothermal/other and conventional thermal generated power account for the remainder. Domestic consumption in 2003 was estimated at 106.1 billion kWh.

INDUSTRY

Manufacturing, mining, and crude petroleum and gas production accounted for nearly 36.3% of the GDP in 2004. The most important export industries are oil and gas extraction, metalworking, pulp and paper, chemical products, and processed fish. Products traditionally classified as home market industries (electrical and nonelectrical machinery, casting and foundry products, textiles, paints, varnishes, rubber goods, and furniture) also make an important contribution. Electrochemical and electrometallurgical productsaluminum, ferroalloys, steel, nickel, copper, magnesium, and fertilizersare based mainly on Norway's low-cost electric power. Without any bauxite reserves of its own, Norway has thus been able to become a leading producer of aluminum. Industrial output is being increasingly diversified.

About half of Norway's industries are situated in the Oslofjord area. Other industrial centers are located around major cities along the coast as far north as Trondheim. Norway has two oil refineries. Daily Norwegian offshore production in 2003 averaged 3.26 million barrels of oil. In the early 2000s, despite an improvement in world oil prices, investment in offshore oil and natural gas remained in decline, in part due to the completion of major projects, such as the Aasgard field. Norway's oil and gas reserves are declining; discovered oil reserves were projected to last 18 years in 2000, and natural gas reserves to last 95 years. The state oil company is Statoil. Norway's price support level for the oil industry is low, at around $20 per barrel of oil. Norway's oil economy employs more than 100,000 Norwegians.

Norway is also Europe's largest natural gas producer, and one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world. Natural gas reserves were measured at 1.71 trillion cu m in 2005. By 2020, natural gas production in Norway will overtake its oil output.

As Norway's economy will not be able to depend indefinitely upon oil, it must diversify. In addition to developing its knowledge-based economy (biotechnology, nanotechnology, the Internet, and knowledge-services), Norway may look to further develop its mineral resources.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

A highly advanced industrialized nation, Norway invested $2,625.414 million or 1.6% of its GDP into research and development (R&D) in 2001. Of that amount, 51.7% came from the business sector, followed by government sources at 39.8%. Foreign sources accounted for 7.1% and higher education at 1.4%. In 2002, high-tech exports were valued at $2.863 billion and accounted for 22% of manufactured exports. Public funds come either as direct grants from the central government or as proceeds from the State Football Pool, whose net receipts are divided between research and sports. In 2001 (the latest year for which data was available), there were 1,524 technicians and 4,442 scientists and engineers engaged in R&D per million people.

The four principal research councils are the Agricultural Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities, the Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Norwegian Fisheries Research Council, each attached to separate government ministries. The councils recruit researchers by means of fellowship programs and allocate research grants to universities. They are part of the Science Policy Council of Norway, an advisory board to the government on all research matters. Principal areas of current study are arctic research, specifically studies of the northern lights; oceanography, especially ocean currents; marine biology, with special attention to fish migration; and meteorology.

The Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters, founded in 1760, has a Natural Sciences section. The country has 12 other scientific and technical learned societies and 24 scientific and technical research institutes. Located in Oslo are the Botanical Garden and Museum (founded in 1814), the Norwegian Museum of Science and Industry (founded in 1914), and other museums devoted to mineralogy-geology, paleontology, and zoology. The country has six universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 26% of university enrollment. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 14.5% were in the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, engineering).

DOMESTIC TRADE

Oslo, the principal merchandising center, handles the distribution of many import products; Bergen and Stavanger are other west coast distribution centers. Trondheim is the chief northern center; Tromsø and Narvik are also important. The largest number of importers, exporters, and manufacturers' agents are in Oslo and Bergen. An 11% value-added tax (VAT) applies to many food products. A 25% VAT applies to most other goods and services, effective 2005.

Cooperative societies are an important distribution factor, with local groups operating retail stores for many kinds of consumer goods, especially in the food sector. Food market chains have developed rapidly in recent years. The Norwegian Cooperative Union and Wholesale Society represents a large number of societies, with over half a million members. Agricultural cooperatives are active in produce marketing and cooperative purchasing societies (Felleskjöp ) do much of the buying of farm equipment, fertilizer, and seed.

The Norwegian Consumer Council (established by the Storting in 1953) advances and safeguards the fundamental interests of consumers. It publishes comprehensive reports on accepted standards for key consumer goods, conducts conferences and buying courses in various parts of Norway, arranges consumer fairs, and cooperates closely with other organizations and institutions interested in consumer protection. Newspapers provide an important medium for advertisements; trade and other journals carry advertising, but the state-owned radio and television do not. However, in 1992, a national commercial television channel, TV2, was established in competition with the noncommercial Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK). TV2 currently has the sole right to broadcast advertising via Norwegian Telecom's terrestrial broadcasting network. Advertising is not permitted on NRK, but the growth of foreign-based commercial television channels broadcasting by satellite, and commercial television channels broadcasting via cable, opened the way for nationwide advertising on television. The advent of commercial television and radio advertising in Norway has led to new official control systems.

Shopping hours are usually from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays (often until 7 pm on Thursdays) and from 9 am to 1 or 3 pm on Saturdays. Banks stay open from 9 am to 3:30 pm Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and until 5 pm on Thursdays. Some manufacturers and major businesses will close for three to four weeks in July and/or August for a summer vacation.

FOREIGN TRADE

Foreign trade plays an exceptionally important role in the Norwegian economy, accounting, with exports of goods and services, for some 43% of the GDP in the mid-1990s and about 41% in 2004. Exports are largely based on oil, natural gas, shipbuilding, metals, forestry (including pulp and paper), fishing, and electrochemical and electrometallurgical products. Norway is the world's third-largest exporter of oil, after Saudi Arabia and Russia. The manufacture of oil rigs, drilling platforms, and associated equipment has developed into a sizable export industry. Norway imports

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 67,934.5 39,848.2 28,086.3
United Kingdom 14,438.1 2,853.5 11,584.6
Germany 8,845.6 5,281.6 3,564.0
Netherlands 6,525.4 1,783.9 4,741.5
United States 5,873.7 2,053.9 3,819.8
France-Monaco 5,575.6 1,728.5 3,847.1
Sweden 5,020.3 6,396.7 -1,376.4
Denmark 2,603.3 3,129.9 -526.6
Canada 2,483.0 806.5 1,676.5
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 2,397.0 1,577.3 819.7
Belgium 1,831.6 814.3 1,017.3
() data not available or not significant.

considerable quantities of motor vehicles and other transport equipment, raw materials, and industrial equipment.

Exports tripled between 1974 and 1981, largely on the strength of the petroleum sector, which accounted for a negligible percentage of exports in 1974 but half the total export value in 1981. During the same period, imports advanced by 93%. Following years of trade deficits, Norway had surpluses from 1980 through 1985. However, the drastic fall in oil prices caused a decline in export value resulting in deficits between 1986 and 1988. Since 1989, Norway has once again consistently recorded trade surpluses. In 2004, the value of Norwegian exports was $76.64 billion, and the value of imports totaled $45.96 billion, for a trade surplus of $30.68 billion. The leading markets for Norway's exports in 2004 were: the United Kingdom (22.3% of all exports), Germany (12.9%), the Netherlands (9.9%), France (9.6%), and the United States (8.4%). Norway's leading suppliers in 2004 were: Sweden (15.7% of all imports), Germany (13.6%), Denmark (7.3%) the United Kingdom (6.5%), and the United States (4.9%). In total, 78.2% of all Norwegian exports are traded with the EU, and Norway receives 70.8% of its imports from the EU.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Norway's foreign exchange reserves have been built up to meet adverse developments in the balance of payments without the necessity of a retreat from the liberalization of imports. Until the oil boom of the late 1970s, imports regularly exceeded exports, but large deficits on current account were more than offset by the capital account surplus, giving a net increase in foreign exchange reserves. As of 2005 Norway was the world's third-largest exporter of oil, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Norway's economy is less open to trade than the Western European average, with total exports and imports of goods and services equal to 41.5% and 27.3% of GDP, respectively, in 2002.

The price of oil rose sharply in 2005 (averaging $53.27 per barrel), and was forecast to remain at $50.50 per barrel in 2006. The higher oil prices were expected to boost Norway's trade surplus in both years, which means that the current account surplus will also

Current Account 28,444.0
   Balance on goods 27,910.0
      Imports -41,162.0
      Exports 69,071.0
   Balance on services 2,244.0
   Balance on income 1,367.0
   Current transfers -3,076.0
Capital Account 680.0
Financial Account -20,121.0
   Direct investment abroad -2,226.0
   Direct investment in Norway 1,958.0
   Portfolio investment assets -19,290.0
   Portfolio investment liabilities 12,629.0
   Financial derivatives -126.0
   Other investment assets -23,171.0
   Other investment liabilities 10,106.0
Net Errors and Omissions -8,706.0
Reserves and Related Items -297.0
() data not available or not significant.

widen, reaching 17.3% of GDP in 2005, before narrowing slightly in 2006. The current account balance was estimated at $30.52 billion in 2004.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The Bank of Norway was founded as a commercial bank in 1816; in 1949, all its share capital was acquired by the state. It is the central bank and the sole note-issuing authority. The bank discounts treasury bills and some commercial paper; trades in bonds, foreign exchange, and gold and silver; and administers foreign exchange regulations. The bank also receives money for deposit on current account but generally pays no interest on deposits. The head office is in Oslo, and there are 20 branches.

In 1938 there were 105 commercial banks, but mergers brought the total down to only 31 in 1974 and 21 in 1984. As of 1993, the total was down to 20. The three largestthe Norske Creditbank, Bergen Bank, and Christiania Bank og Kreditkasseaccount for more than half of the total resources of the commercial banks. In 1988, a number of small savings banks and one medium-sized commercial bank, Sunnmorsbanken, became illiquid or insolvent. Most were rescued by merging with larger banks. After a slight improvement in 1989, however, banks' positions deteriorated again in 1990 following heavy losses sustained in the securities markets. As commercial property prices continued to fall, the position of the country's second and third-largest commercial banks, Christiania and Fokus, became increasingly precarious. To prevent a loss of confidence in the banking system, the government established a Government Bank Insurance Fund in March 1991. Within months this was called upon to provide capital to support the country's three largest banks, two of whichChristiania and Fokuswere by then insolvent.

By the late 1990s, increasing pressure fell upon Norway to shed its nationalistic protection of its banking industry and allow for foreign investment, particularly from its Nordic neighbors. Throughout the fall of 1998 and into 1999, attention centered on the fate of Christiania as two attempted merger attempts fell through. In mid-October 1999, Christiania was seeking to merge with MeritaNordbanken in order to avert a hostile takeover by either Swedish Svenska Handelbanken or Danish Den Norske Bank.

Ten state banks and other financial institutions serve particular industries or undertakings, including agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, student loans, mortgages, and others. Although savings banks also have been merging in recent years, there were still 133 private savings banks and many credit associations in 1993.

A law of 1961 contains measures to implement the principle that banking policies are to be based on social as well as economic and financial considerations. The government appoints 25% of the representatives on the board of every commercial bank with funds of over Kr100 million. Guidelines for these banks are worked out cooperatively with public authorities.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $73.4 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $87.6 billion. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 8.5%.

The stock exchanges of Norway are at Oslo (the oldest, founded 1818), Trondheim, Bergen, Kristiansund, Drammen, Stavanger, Ålesund, Haugesund, and Fredrikstad. Amid the increasing consolidation among European stock exchanges in the late 1990s, calls increased for the Norwegian markets to merge. As of 2004, there were 148 companies listed on the Oslo exchange, which had a market capitalization of $141.430 billion. In 2004, the Oslo exchange rose 31.3% from the previous year to 821.6.

INSURANCE

Norwegian insurance can be undertaken only by joint-stock companies of mutual assistance associations. Foreign life insurance companies have practically ceased to operate in Norway. Life insurance policies and those for pension schemes are exempt from income tax and cannot be written by firms doing other insurance work.

The crown in 1767 initiated compulsory fire insurance in towns and this fund still exists. Workers' compensation, third-party auto liability, pharmaceutical product liability, and aircraft liability are all compulsory insurances as well.

For marine insurance, stock companies now are more important than mutual associations. While a number of foreign insurance underwriters transact business in Norway, there is considerable direct insurance of Norwegian vessels abroad, especially in London. Most other insurance, such as automobile and burglary, is underwritten by Norwegian concerns. The insurance regulatory authority is the Banking, Insurance, and Securities Commission (BISC). The insurance sector is highly regulated, deeply influenced by the failure of a nonlife insurance company, Dovre, which spurred the Insurance Activities Act of 1988, which became effective in April 1989. The Insurance Activities Act of 1988 allows the BISC to control premium rates, monitor the financial position of insurance companies, and the risks that the insurance company writes. The BISC has wide powers of intervention. Companies may engage in insurance business after special permission has been granted and a license is obtained from the government. Recent liberalization throughout Europe promises to change radically the structure of the Norwegian insurance industry as foreign firms tap into the market. Direct insurance premiums written in 2003 totaled us$11.532 billion, of which us$5.501 billion of the total was nonlife insurance premiums, and us$6.031 billion was life insurance. In 2003, Norway's top nonlife insurer was If Skadeforsikring, which had gross written nonlife premiums of us$1,436.6 million. In 2004, the country's leading life insurer was Vital, with gross written life insurance premiums of $2,344.6 million.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Norway's fiscal year coincides with the calendar year. As one of the per capita richest countries in the world, Norway has a great deal of money to spend on investment, focusing especially on the offshore oil sector. The government maintains a Petroleum Fund that reached $67 billion at the end of 2001. The Fund will be used to finance government programs once oil and gas resources are depleted.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Norway's central government took in revenues of approximately $176.1 billion and had expenditures of $131.3 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $44.8 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 36% of GDP. Total external debt was $281 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were Kr746.8 billion and expenditures were Kr605.3 billion. The value of revenues was us$105 million and expenditures us$85 million, based on an exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = Kr7.0802 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 17.5%; defense, 5.0%; public order and safety, 2.6%; economic affairs, 10.1%; environmental protection, 0.3%; housing and community amenities, 0.2%; health,

Revenue and Grants 746.8 100.0%
    Tax revenue 429.56 57.5%
    Social contributions 155.27 20.8%
    Grants 2.07 0.3%
    Other revenue 159.9 21.4%
Expenditures 605.3 100.0%
    General public services 105.64 17.5%
    Defense 30.55 5.0%
    Public order and safety 15.8 2.6%
    Economic affairs 61.43 10.1%
    Environmental protection 2.06 0.3%
    Housing and community amenities 0.94 0.2%
    Health 96.27 15.9%
    Recreational, culture, and religion 7.11 1.2%
    Education 39.13 6.5%
    Social protection 246.39 40.7%
() data not available or not significant.

15.9%; recreation, culture, and religion, 1.2%; education, 6.5%; and social protection, 40.7%.

TAXATION

Both the central government and the municipal governments levy income and capital taxes. There is also a premium payable to the National Insurance Scheme. For individual taxpayers, income taxes and premiums adhere to the pay-as-you-earn system.

Taxes on corporations are paid in the year following the income year. As of 2004, corporate income taxes are levied at a flat rate of 28% of aggregate income. Companies involved in oil or gas pay a special oil tax of 50% in addition to the standard 28%. All income from capital is taxable at 28%. Although dividends received by resident shareholders from Norwegian countries are taxed at the corporate rate, a credit for the tax already paid by the distributing company on income effectively negates the tax. Dividends paid to nonresident shareholders are taxed at 25%. Interest and royalty income are not subject to a withholding tax.

Personal income taxes are levied at progressive tax rates that have a top rate of 55.3%. However, that rate is made up of: a combined 28% rate for national and municipal taxes; a national gross income tax of rate of 19.5%; and the employee's social security contribution of 7.8% (3% for pensioners, and 10.7% for the self-employed). A number of additional deductions from taxable income are available including allowance for some travel expenses, insurance payments, mortgage interest payments, living allowances, and deductions for contributions to capital investments. A withholding tax on wages can be credited against income taxes. There is also a municipal wealth tax, ranging from 01.1% and a land tax with rates from 0.20.7%. Gifts and inheritances are taxed according to progressive schedules with a maximum rate of 30%.

The main indirect tax is Norway's value-added tax (VAT), with a standard rate that has increased from 20% in 1999 to 24% in 2004. A reduced rate of 12% is applied to basic foodstuffs, and there is an extensive list of VAT-exempt goods and services, including health and social services, education, passenger transport, hotel accommodations, travel agents, government supplies, etc. Stamp duties are charged at a rate of 2.5%.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Heavily dependent on foreign trade, Norway has traditionally supported abolition of trade barriers. During the 1950s, direct control of imports was gradually abolished. Tariff rates on industrial raw materials and most manufactured goods are low. Duties on finished textile products are levied at 1525%.

A signatory of GATT and a member of EFTA, Norway has bilateral trade agreements with many countries in every part of the world. In 1973, Norway signed a Special Relations Agreement with the European Community (now the European Union), whereby both sides abolished all tariffs on industrial goods over the 197377 period. Other trade goods receiving gradual tariff reductions were fish, agricultural products, and wine.

Although Norwegian voters rejected EU membership in a 1994 referendum, Norway, as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) maintains a free trade agreement with the European Union.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Norway welcomes foreign investment as a matter of policy and in general grants national treatment to foreign investors. Investment is encouraged particularly in the key offshore petroleum sector, mainland industry (including high-technology and other advanced areas), and in less developed regions such as northern Norway. Corporate taxation is levied at a flat rate of 28%, low by European standards.

Foreign capital has traditionally been largely centered in Norway's electrochemical and electrometallurgical industries, the primary iron and metal industry, and mining. The discovery of oil and natural gas in the North Sea area spurred foreign investments. The Ekofisk oil field was discovered in 1969 by an American Phillips Petroleum Co. consortium, including Petrofina of Belgium, ENI of Italy, and Norway's Petronord. A joint Norwegian-Phillips group company, Norpiepe, was formed in 1973 to construct the pipelines and to operate them for 30 years. Another US company, McDermott International, was awarded a $150-million contract in 1982 to lay pipe from the Statfjord gas field in the North Sea to the Norwegian mainland. In 1995, 11 international oil and gas companies announced plans for a $1.2$1.35 billion gas pipeline from Norway's North Sea production area to the European continent. That same year, Fokus, Norway's third-largest commercial bank, fell under foreign control as foreign investors captured more than half the shares for sale in the bank's privatization.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) stock in Norway totaled about $21.4 billion in 1997. FDI inflow was nearly $3 billion in 1997 and more than $3.3 billion in 1998. Annual FDI inflow peaked in 1999 and 2000, at $6.7 billion and $6.3 billion, respectively, but in the global economic slowdown of 2001 fell to $2.8 billion. In 2002, FDI inflows increased to $3.4 billion. In terms of its attractiveness for foreign investment, Norway was ranked fourth in the world on UNCTAD's list of 140 countries for the period 1998 to 2000, up from fifth place for 1988 to 1990. Total FDI stock in Norway as of 2001 was $40.2 billion, equivalent to 18.7% of GDP. Norway's share in world FDI flows has been approximately equal to its share of world GDP.

Outward FDI flows from Norway averaged $5.3 billion for the four years 1999 to 2002. More than 2,000 enterprises have foreign investors holding at least 20% of the capital. Total outward FDI stock held by Norwegians totaled $40.7 billion as of 2001.

In 2003, FDI comprised 20.4% of GDP; total FDI stock in Norway was Kr327.1 billion ($46.2 billion). Leading investors were (in order) Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Most of Norway's investment abroad goes to (in order) the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The government holds shares in a number of large enterprises: a minority of shares in most industrial establishments and all or controlling shares in some armaments factories, as well as in chemical and electrometallurgical companies, power stations, and mines. The government also participates in joint industrial undertakings with private capital, in enterprises too large or risky for private capital, and in establishments with shares formerly held by German interests. Government policy also aims at attracting foreign investment.

Rapid industrial development and exploitation of resources are major governmental goals, with special emphasis on northern Norway, where development has lagged behind that of the southern areas. The Development Fund for North Norway, established in 1952, together with a policy of tax concessions, resulted in progress there at a rate more rapid than that of the rest of the country. The exploitation of offshore oil and natural gas reserves has had a profound effect on Norway's economy. Increased oil revenues have expanded both domestic consumption and investment. The government has used oil revenues to ease taxes and increase public investment in regional development, environmental protection, social welfare, education, and communications. Although the expansion of innovative oil development projects continues (one of which was the $4.2 billion Heidrun oil project), Norway is looking to produce more natural gas than oil. The $5 billion Troll gas field was one such project.

A tax law permits industry and commerce to build up tax-free reserves for future investment, foreign sales promotion, and research. Designed to provide a flexible tool for influencing cyclical developments, the law's intent is to help ensure that total demand at any given time is sufficient to create full employment and strong economic growth. In the late 1970s, the government introduced combined price and wage agreements in an effort to restrain inflation and ensure real increases in buying power for consumers.

To stimulate industry, incentives are available for undertakings in the north as well as in other economically weak regions; companies may set aside up to 25% of taxable income for tax-free investment. Tariff incentives are available for essential imports. A Regional Development Fund grants low-interest, long-term loans to firms to strengthen the economy of low-income, high-unemployment areas anywhere in the country.

In 1991, the government introduced a three-year program to improve infrastructure and reduce unemployment. This plan was to spend nearly Kr10 billion, primarily for road and rail communications, with the money coming from budget cuts in other areas.

Although Norwegians rejected EU membership in a 1994 referendum, Norway's economy is largely integrated with that of the EU. Norway has a free trade agreement with the EU; its currency is generally kept on par with the euro. Yet despite these elements of association, Norway retains extensive control over its own economic development policies.

Norway has been active in aiding developing nations under the Norwegian Agency for International Development (Norad). The leading recipients have been Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, and Ethiopia. Norway is one of five countries meeting the UN international aid target for donor countries (0.7% of national income); Norway gave 0.87% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004, more than any other country, ahead of Luxemburg, Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

The country's Petroleum Fund reached $190 billion in 2005; the fund will be used to finance government programs once Norway's oil and gas resources run out. As of 2005, unemployment was low, wages were high, and the UN ranked Norway as the most desirable country in which to live. Non-oil business was also booming in 2005; a survey of some 114,000 non-oil companies showed an average 43.9% increase in profits. However, high taxes and a welfare system burdened by an aging population remain challenges for continued economic prosperity.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Norway has been a pioneer in the field of social welfare and is often called a welfare state. Accident insurance for factory workers was introduced in 1894, unemployment insurance in 1906, compulsory health insurance in 1909, and accident insurance for fishermen in 1908 and for seamen in 1911. In the 1930s, further social welfare schemes were introduced: an old-age pension scheme; aid for the blind and crippled; and unemployment insurance for all workers except fishermen, whalers, sealers, civil servants, domestic servants, self-employed persons, salesmen, and agents. In the postwar period, health insurance became compulsory for all employees and available to self-employed persons; coverage includes dependents, with medical treatment including hospital and other benefits. Sickness benefits, family allowances during hospitalization, and grants for funeral expenses are paid. Costs of this scheme are met by deductions from wages and contributions by employers and by state and local authorities. Public assistance, available in Norway since 1845, supplements the foregoing programs. Social welfare has long included maternity benefits with free prenatal clinics.

The National Insurance Act, which came into effect in 1967, provides old-age pensions, rehabilitation allowances, disability pensions, widow and widower pensions, and survivor benefits to children. Membership is obligatory for all residents of Norway, including noncitizens, and for Norwegian foreign-service employees. Pensions begin at the age of 67. As of 2004, the system of varying rates for employers was reformed to eliminate intermediate levels. The source of funds is divided between employees, employers, and the government funds any deficit.

Workers' compensation covers both accidents and occupational diseases. Compensation is paid to a widow until she remarries, and to children up to the age of 18 (or for life if they are unemployable). Dependent parents and grandparents also are eligible for life annuities. Family allowance coverage, in force since 1946, is provided for children under the age of 16.

The law mandates equal wages for equal work by men and women, although economic discrimination persists. An Equal Rights Ombudsman addresses complaints of sexual discrimination. A provision protecting against sexual harassment is outlined in the Working Environment Act. A resolution mandating that 40% of publicly held companies be directed by women by 2005, and noncompliance will result in removal from the stock exchange in 2007. Violence against women persisted but is seriously investigated and prosecuted by authorities. Victim's assistance programs and battered women's shelters are available.

Human rights are fully respected and protected in Norway. Provisions exist to protect the rights and cultural heritage of minority peoples. The Sami (Lapps) located in the northeast are entitled to schooling in their local language, and also receive radio and television broadcast subtitled in Sami. The Sami also have a constituent assembly that acts as a consultative body on issues that affect them.

HEALTH

Since 1971, there has been a tax-based National Insurance Scheme. The public health service and the hospitals are the responsibility of the government at the central, county, and municipal levels. There are very few private hospitals in Norway. Hospital care is free of charge, but a minor sum is charged for medicine and primary health care. As of 1984, there has been a ceiling on the total amount one must pay for medical services. There is a three-part system made up of regional hospitals serving parts of the country, central hospitals serving the various counties, and local hospitals, also run by the counties. The country is in need of more nursing homes for the elderly. Most general hospitals are public; others are owned by the Norwegian Red Cross or other health or religious organizations. As of 2004, there were an estimated 356 physicians per 100,000 people. In addition, Norway had the second most nurses per capita at an estimated 2,065 per 100,000 population, and the most dentists at 125 per 100,000 people. Total health care expenditure was estimated at 9.2% of GDP.

On the local level, health councils are responsible for public health services, including tuberculosis control and school health services, and for environmental sanitation. Only in densely populated areas are public health officers appointed on a full-time basis; otherwise they engage in private practice as well. In some areas, they are the only physicians available.

Infant mortality has been appreciably reduced and in 2005 stood at 3.70 per 1,000 live births, one of the lowest rates in the world. As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 12.4 and 9.8 per 1,000 people. About 71% of married women (ages 15 to 49) use contraception. Low birth weight was seen in 5% of all births. The maternal mortality rate was only 6 per 100,000 live births. Average life expectancy, among the highest in the world, was 79.40 years in 2005. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 2,100 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 100 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

Children up to one year of age were vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 92%; polio, 92%; and measles, 93%. Tuberculosis tests are given on a regular basis from infancy onward. Children go through a comprehensive vaccination program and also receive psychotherapy and dental care throughout their nine years of basic school.

The heart disease mortality rates were higher than the average for high human development countries. In the mid-1990s the likelihood of dying after age 65 of heart disease was 340 per 1,000 people for men and 374 per 1,000 for women.

HOUSING

Before World War II, responsibility for housing rested mainly with the municipalities, but the state has since assumed the major burden. Loans and subsidies keep rents under a certain percentage of a family's income. Cooperative housing has made great progress in such densely populated areas as Oslo, where the Oslo Housing and Savings Society pioneered the practice for Norway. With housing problems compounded by wartime destruction and postwar increases in marriages and in the birthrate, Norway built more dwellings per 1,000 inhabitants than any other European country, completing between 31,000 and 42,000 units annually from 1967 through 1981.

Home construction financing has come principally from two state loan organizations, the Norwegian Smallholdings and Housing Bank and the Norwegian State Housing Bank, but one-fourth of the nation's housing is still privately financed.

As of 2001, Norway had 1,961,548 dwelling units; 57% of them were detached houses. About 29% of the housing stock was built 19812001. About 19.5% of the housing stock was built in 1945 or earlier. About 77% of all dwellings were owner occupied. In 2002, at least 22,980 new dwellings were under construction and in 2003 about 22,677 units were started. According to estimates for 2004, about 52% of all households lived in single-family detached homes and 82% of all households were owner occupied. The rate of overcrowding (defined as having fewer rooms in the dwelling than the number of people in the household) was only at about 6%.

EDUCATION

Elementary school education has been compulsory since the middle of the 18th century. As of 1997, education is compulsory for 10 years of study, with students entering school in the year that they reach the age of six. Primary school covers seven years of study, followed by three years of lower secondary school. At this stage, students may choose to continue in a three-year general secondary school (gymnasium), which prepares students for the university. Since 1976, the upper secondary school system has also included vocational schools of various types, operated by the state, by local authorities, and by the industrial sector. A three-year trade apprenticeship program is also available for some secondary students.

Local authorities generally provide school buildings and equipment and the central government contributes funds towards teachers' salaries and covers a considerable proportion of the cost of running the schools. Although there are private schools, government authorities bear a major share of the financial responsibility for these through a system of grants.

In 2001, about 80% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 100% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 96% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about nearly all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 10:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 9:1.

Norway's institutions of higher education include 130 colleges and four universities. The four major universities include the University of Oslo (founded in 1811), the University of Bergen (1948), the University of Trondheim (1969), and the University of Tromsø (1969). Representing fields not covered by the universities, there are also specialized institutions, such as the Agricultural University of Norway (near Oslo); the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (Bergen); and the Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine (Oslo). Universities and colleges in Norway serve a dual functionboth learning and research. At the four universities, degrees are granted at three levels: Lower degree (a four-year study program); higher degree (five to seven-year course of study); and doctorate degree. There are also courses lasting from five to seven years in law, medicine, agriculture, or engineering.

With a goal of placing adults on an equal standing with the educated youth and giving them access to knowledge and job skills, a program of adult education was introduced in August 1977. An official administrative body for adult education exists in all municipalities and counties. However, the Ministry of Education and Research has the highest administrative responsibility for adult education. Folk high schools are associated with a long Scandinavian tradition of public enlightenment. There are more than 80 folk schools in Norway geared toward providing personal growth and development rather than academic achievement. In 2003, about 81% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program; 64% for men and 99% for women. The adult literacy rate has been estimated at about 99%.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 7.6% of GDP, or 16.2% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The National Library of Norway in Oslo has over two million volumes in its central library. Since 1882, copies of all Norwegian publications have had to be deposited in the national library; since 1939, copies have been deposited at Bergen and Trondheim as well. Bergen University Library has over one million volumes, largely devoted to the natural sciences. Oslo University Library (founded in 1811), has the largest academic library system in the country, with four libraries and a central administrative unit. A special collection at the Oslo University Library includes the world's largest collection of materials on the life and works of Henrik Ibsen as part of the Centre for Ibsen Studies. The library of the Scientific Society in Trondheim, founded in 1760, is the country's oldest research library and has over one million volumes, including 330,000 pictures and UNESCO and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) documents. The Tromsø Museum Library has been organized to make it the research library for the north. There are technical and specialized libraries at many research institutes and higher educational centers. State archives are kept in Oslo, and there are record offices for provincial archives at Oslo, Kristiansund, Stavanger, Bergen, Hamar, Trondheim, and Tromsø.

The first municipal libraries were founded in the late 18th century. By law every municipality and every school must maintain a library; each such library receives financial support from state and municipality. Regional libraries also have been created. A special library service is provided for ships in the merchant navy, and a floating library service provides books to fishermen-farmers living in the sparsely populated regions.

There are natural history museums in Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim, and Tromsø. Oslo, Lillehammer, and Bergen have notable art collections. A traveling "national gallery" was established in 1952. The most important museums in Norway are those dealing with antiquities and folklore, such as the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. Oslo has a unique collection of ships from the Viking period. Open-air museums in Oslo and elsewhere show old farm and other buildings, as well as objects of Norwegian historical and cultural interest. Also in Oslo are the International Museum of Children's Art; the Munch Museum, displaying the works of Edvard Munch, Norway's most famous artist; Norway's Resistance Museum, detailing the country's occupation during World War II; and the Viking Ship Museum. Among Norway's newer museums are the Astrup Fearnley Fine Arts Museum (1993), which features modern art; the National Museum of Contemporary Art (1990); and the Stenerson Museum (1994), which exhibits paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. All three museums are in Oslo. There are at least three museums in the country that are dedicated to Henrik Ibsen.

MEDIA

Most of the telecommunications network is operated by the government-owned Televerket. The state owns all telephone facilities. In 2003, there were an estimated 713 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 909 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The first private broadcasting stations launched in 1981. The public Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. continues to operate two television channels and three national radio stations, as well as a number of local radio stations. As of 1998 Norway had 5 AM and at least 650 FM radio broadcasting stations. Educational broadcasts supplement school facilities in remote districts. Radio license fees have not been required since 1977. Television programming on an experimental basis was initiated in 1958 and full-scale television transmission began in July 1960. In 2003, there were an estimated 3,324 radios and 884 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 184.5 of every 1,000 people were cables subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 528.3 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 346 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 1,130 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

The Norwegian press is characterized by a large number of small newspapers. Five regional dailies account for about 20% of the total press circulation in the country. Verdens Gang and Dagbladet, both national tabloids, account for another 20% of circulation totals. The largest dailies (with their affiliations and circulations in 2004 unless noted) are: Verdens Gang (independent, 365,000), Aftenposten, (independent, 398,000), Dagbladet (liberal, 183,000), Daens Naeringsliv (60,027 in 2002), and Arbeiderbladet (Labor Party, 51,790 in 2002). Major regional papers include: De Fire Neste (Drammen, 442,000 circulation in 2002), Hedmark (Hamar, 91,100 in 2002), Bergens Tidende (in Bergen, independent, 89,000 in 2004), Adresseavisen (Trondheim, conservative, 85,000 in 2004), Stavanger Aftenblad (Stavanger, independent, 69,000 in 2004), Faedrelandsvennen (Kristiansund, independent, 46,960 in 2002), Akershus (Lillestrom, 42,100 in 2002), Haugesunds Avis (Hauguesund, 38,490 in 2002), and Sunnmorsposten (Ålesund, independent, 37,900 in 2002).

The constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press and the government generally respects these rights.

ORGANIZATIONS

Cooperative societies are numerous and important in Norway. About 2,500 agricultural cooperatives are active; these include purchasing, processing, and marketing organizations. Some 528 retail cooperatives are affiliated with the Norwegian Cooperative Union and Wholesale Society.

Doctors are organized in the Norwegian Medical Association and in local associations. Farming organizations and agricultural cooperatives are represented in the Federation of Agriculture. There are associations of small and large forest owners, fur breeders, and employers' organizations in most sectors of industry, as well as a central Norwegian Employers' Confederation.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Royal Norwegian Society of Science and Letters, the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences, and the Society for the Advancement of Science are leading learned society. Other learned and professional organizations include the Nobel Committee of the Storting, which awards the Nobel Peace Prize; the Norwegian Research Council for Science and the Humanities; and various legal, scientific, economic, literary, historical, musical, artistic, and research societies.

National youth organizations include the Norwegian Student Union, Christian Democratic Party Youth, En Verden Youth, European Democratic Students, European Good Templar Youth Federation, Federation of Young Conservatives, Norwegian Union of Social Democratic Youth, Norwegian YWCA/YMCA, and the Norwegian Guides and Scouts Association. There are numerous sports associations and clubs.

Health and relief organizations include the Norwegian Red Cross, the Norwegian Women's Health Organization, and societies to combat a variety of conditions and diseases. Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs International, are also present. International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International and CARE Norge.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Norway's main tourist attractions are the cities of Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim, which are connected by road, rail, and daily flights; the marvelous scenery of the fjord country in the west; and the arctic coast with the North Cape and "midnight sun." In 2005, UNESCO named two Norwegian fjords, the Geirangerfjord and the Naeroyfjord to its World Heritage List.

A favorite method of tourist travel is by coastal steamer, sailing from Bergen northward to Kirkenes, near the Soviet frontier. Many cruise ships ply the Norwegian fjords and coastal towns as far north as Spitsbergen. Notable outdoor recreational facilities include the Oslomarka, a 100,000 hectare (247,000 acre) area located near Oslo, with ski trails and walking paths. To compensate for the shortness of winter days, several trails are illuminated for evening skiing. Other popular sports include ice skating, freshwater fishing, mountaineering, hunting (grouse, reindeer, and elk), and football (soccer). In 1994, Norway hosted the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, and the women's soccer team won the World Cup in 1995.

There are major theaters in Oslo and Bergen, as well as six regional theaters; Den Norske Opera in Oslo; and four symphony orchestras. International musical events include the Bergen Festival, held annually in late May or early June; and several jazz festivals in July.

No passport is required of visitors from the Nordic area, but travelers arriving in Norway directly from non-Nordic countries are subject to passport control. A visa is not required for visits of up to 90 days.

Tourist expenditure receipts totaled $3 billion when 3,146,000 tourists visited Norway in 2003. There were 67,114 hotel rooms with 143,798 beds and an occupancy rate of 35%.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Oslo at $308, and Stavanger, $304.

FAMOUS NORWEGIANS

Ludvig Holberg (16841745), the father of Danish and Norwegian literature, was a leading dramatist whose comedies are still performed. Henrik Wergeland (180845), Norway's greatest poet, was also a patriot and social reformer; his sister Camilla Collett (181395), author of the first Norwegian realistic novel, was a pioneer in the movement for women's rights. Henrik Ibsen (18271906), founder of modern dramas, placed Norway in the forefront of world literature. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (18321910), poet, playwright, and novelist, received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1903. Other noted novelists are Jonas Lie (18331908); Alexander Kielland (18491906); Knut Hamsun (18591952), Nobel Prize winner in 1920; Sigrid Undset (18821949), awarded the Nobel Prize in 1928; and Johan Bojer (18721959).

Ole Bull (181080) was a world-famous violinist. Edvard Grieg (18431907) was the first Norwegian composer to win broad popularity. His leading contemporaries and successors were Johan Svendsen (18401911), Christian Sinding (18561941), Johan Halvorsen (18641935), and Fartein Valen (18871953). Kirsten Flagstad (18951962), world-renowned soprano, served for a time as director of the Norwegian State Opera. In painting, Harriet Backer (18451932), Christian Krohg (18521925), and Erik Werenskiold (18551938) were outstanding in the traditional manner; leading the way to newer styles was Edvard Munch (18631944), an outstanding expressionist, as well as Axel Revold (18871962) and Per Krohg (18891965). Norway's foremost sculptor is Gustav Vigeland (18691943); the Frogner Park in Oslo is the site of a vast collection of his work in bronze and granite.

Outstanding scientists are Christopher Hansteen (17841873), famous for his work in terrestrial magnetism; Niels Henrik Abel (180229), noted for his work on the theory of equations; Armauer (Gerhard Henrik) Hansen (18411912), discoverer of the leprosy bacillus; Vilhelm Bjerknes (18621951), who advanced the science of meteorology; Fridtjof Nansen (18611930), an oceanographer and Arctic explorer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for organizing famine relief in Russia; Otto Sverdrup (18541930), Roald Amundsen (18721928), and Bernt Balchen (18991973), polar explorers; Johan Hjort (18691948), a specialist in deep-sea fishery research; Regnar Frisch (18951978), who shared the first Nobel Prize in Economic Science in 1969 for developing econometrics; Odd Hassel (18971981), co-winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his studies of molecular structure; and Thor Heyerdahl (19142002), explorer and anthropologist.

The first secretary-general of the UN was a Norwegian, Trygve (Halvdan) Lie (18961968), who served from 1946 to 1953. The historian Christian Louis Lange (18691938) was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1921.

Sonja Henie (191369) was the leading woman figure skater of her time, and Liv Ullmann (b.1939) is an internationally known actress. Linn Ullmann (b.1966), daughter of Liv Ullman and Ingmar Bergman, is a respected novelist and journalist. Grete Waitz (b.1953) is a champion long-distance runner.

DEPENDENCIES

Svalbard

The Svalbard group includes all the islands between 10° and 35° e and 74° and 81° n: the archipelago of Spitsbergen, White Island (Kvitøya), King Charles' Land (Kong Karls Land), Hope Island, and Bear Island (Bjørnøya), which have a combined area of about 62,700 sq km (24,200 sq mi). The largest islands are Spitsbergen, about 39,400 sq km (15,200 sq mi); North-East Land (Nordaustlandet), 14,530 sq km (5,610 sq mi); Edge Island (Edgeøya), 5,030 sq km (1,940 sq mi); and Barents Island (Barentsøya), 1,330 sq km (510 sq mi). Svalbard's population totaled 2,868 in 2002, down fromm 3,181 at the end of 1991. The population is 55.4% Norwegian and 44.3% Russian and Ukrainian.

Discovered by Norwegians in the 12th century and rediscovered in 1596 by the Dutch navigator Willem Barents, Svalbard served in the 17th and 18th centuries as a base for British, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, German, and other whalers, but no permanent sovereignty was established. Russian and Norwegian trappers wintered there, and coal mining started early in the 20th century. Norway's sovereignty was recognized by the League of Nations in 1920, and the territory was taken over officially by Norway in 1925. Much of the high land is ice-covered; glaciers descend to the sea, where they calve to produce icebergs. The west and south coasts have many fjords, while the western coastal lowland is up to 10 km (6 mi) broad.

The most important mineral, coal, occurs in vast deposits in Spitsbergen. The west coast is kept clear of ice for six months of the year by the relatively warm water of the North Atlantic Drift, but an air temperature as low as -62°c (-80°f) has been recorded. In this region there are 112 days without the sun's appearance above the horizon.

The chief official, a governor, lives at Longyearbyen; his administration is controlled by the Ministry of Industry. Coal mining is the main industry, with Norwegian-worked mines at Longyearbyen, Sveagruva, and Ny Ålesund and Russian worked mines at Barentsburg, Grumantbyen, and elsewhere. Russia has extraterritorial rights in the areas where they mine. Cod fishing takes place around Bear Island, but whaling has virtually ceased. Norwegian sealers hunt seals, polar bears, and walrus in the summer. For centuries, trappers wintered in Spitsbergen to catch fox and bear while the pelts were in the best condition, but few trappers have wintered there in recent years.

Communications are maintained during the summer months by ships from Tromsø carrying goods and passengers, while colliers put in frequently at the mine piers. There are no roads and no local ship services.

Jan Mayen

Located in the Norwegian Sea at 70°30 n and 8°30 w, 893 km (555 mi) from Tromsø, the island of Jan Mayen has an area of about 380 sq km (150 sq mi). The island is dominated by the volcano Beerenberg, 2,277 m (7,470 ft) high, which is responsible for its existence; a major eruption occurred in September 1970. Jan Mayen was discovered by Henry Hudson in 1607 and was visited in 1614 by the Dutch navigator Jay Mayen, who used it subsequently as a whaling base. In 1929, the island was placed under Norwegian sovereignty. It is the site of a meteorological station and an airfield.

Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya), situated at 54°26 s and 3°24 e in the South Atlantic Ocean, was discovered in 1739, and in 1928 was placed under Norwegian sovereignty. An uninhabited volcanic island of 59 sq km (23 sq mi), Bouvet is almost entirely covered by ice and is difficult to approach.

Peter I Island

Peter I Island (Peter I Øy), an uninhabited Antarctic island of volcanic origin, is located at 68°48 s and 90°35 w. It has an area of 249 sq km (96 sq mi), rises to over 1,233 m (4,045 ft), and is almost entirely ice-covered. The island was discovered in 1821 by a Russian admiral. In 1931, it was placed under Norwegian sovereignty, and by a parliamentary act of 1933 became a dependency.

Queen Maud Land

Queen Maud Land (Dronning Mauds land) consists of the sector of Antarctica between 20°w and 45°e, adjoining the Falkland Islands on the w and the Australian Antarctic Dependency on the e. It was placed under Norwegian sovereignty in 1939, and has been a Norwegian dependency since 1957. The land is basically uninhabited, except for several stations operated by Japan, South Africa, and Russia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Annesley, Claire (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of Western Europe. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

Berdal, Mats R. The United States, Norway and the Cold War 1954-60. New York: St. Martin's, 1997.

Charbonneau, Claudette. The Land and People of Norway. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Houben, Marc. International Crisis Management: The Approach of European States. New York: Routledge, 2005.

International Smoking Statistics: A Collection of Historical Data from 30 Economically Developed Countries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Jochens, Jenny. Women in Old Norse Society. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1995.

Kemp, Graham and Douglas P. Fry (eds.). Keeping the Peace: Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Societies Around the World. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Kiel, Anne Cohen. Continuity and Change: Aspects of Contemporary Norway. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Making a Historical Culture: Historiography in Norway. Edited by William H. Hubbard et al. Boston: Scandinavian University Press, 1995.

March, Linda Davis. Norway: A Quick Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Portland, Ore.: Graphic Arts Books, 2005.

Nelsen, Brent F. (ed.). Norway and the European Community: the Political Economy of Integration. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1993.

Norway: A History from the Vikings to Our Own Times. Boston: Scandinavian University Press, 1995.

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NORWAY

Kingdom of Norway

Major Cities:
Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Tromsø, Kristiansand

Other Cities:
Ålesund, Arendal, Bodo, Drammen, Halden, Hamar, Haugesund, Kristiansund, Lillehammer, Molde, Porsgrunn, Roros, Sandnes, Skien, Tonsberg

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 2000 for Norway. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

During the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, NORWAY , the world focused on this stunning country for two weeks. The breathtaking scenery from the Olympic coverage captivated the world's imagination. Norway is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The landscape includes spectacular fjords and mountain ranges, tranquil lakes and forests, bustling cities and quaint towns. For the lover of natural beauty and outdoor life, Norway is a virtual paradise.

Like its other Scandinavian neighbors, Norway enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. A sound industrial economy plus a powerful boost from North Sea oil gives the country a firm financial base. The government runs a comprehensive, first-class social welfare program that includes socialized education, health care, pensions, and workmen's' compensation. A combination of high taxes and an especially high tax on the oil revenues allows the government to maintain this level of service while running a budget surplus. In short, Norway has the best of both worldsa thriving capitalist economy and a heavily socialized system to take care of the population. No other country in the world manages simultaneously to succeed at both so well.

In late 1994, Norway held its second referendum on whether or not to join the European Union (EU). The first referendum in 1972 was hotly debated and Norway narrowly decided against membership. This time, the Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, led the movement in favor of joining, arguing that Norway should choose to be an active part of an ever more unified European future. An unlikely combination of the Labor Party, environmentalists and the conservative rural population joined together to oppose membership. In a very close vote, Norwegians for the second time chose not to enter the EU. The future will show the effects of this decision. Meanwhile, the government is hard at work trying to keep an active role for Norway in the EU even though Norway is not a voting member.

The U.S. and Norway have an enormous amount in common and the cultures overlap in many ways. Up to eight million Americans (especially in the Midwest and Pacific northwest) are of Norwegian descent. American movies, clothing styles, music, foods, book and magazines are available on every corner. A recent feature story in Norway's largest newspaper stated that Norway is more "American" than any other European country. It is true, and the signs are visible everywhere.

Still, Norway has a distinct national character that both delights and surprises. The Norwegians are a proud and determined people with a rich and unique history, and they are not afraid to stand alone and challenge world opinion over issues they care deeply about. Recent discussions of EU membership and of whaling both call this facet of the Norwegian spirit to mind. Right or wrong, this Norwegian independence is something one cannot help but admire.

MAJOR CITIES

Oslo

Oslo, with a population of about a half-million people, is Norway's capital as well as its largest city. In addition to being the seat of government, Oslo is also the business and cultural capital of the nation.

Oslo lies in the shape of a horseshoe at the head of the Oslo Fjord. The city covers an area of 167 square miles between the shoreline and surrounding hills. The horseshoe opens out onto the fjord which stretches about 60 miles between forested hills and farmlands down to the open sea. The city is spectacular during spring and summer when flowers blossom in parks, around public buildings and on almost every window ledge. Winter's landscape brings a crystalline beauty of its own.

Oslo is home to many Americans. The Consular Section has 15,000 Americans registered and there could be as many as 25,000 dual citizenship Norwegian-Americans in Norway.

Food

In general, food availability and variety in Norway are excellent. The economy offers a wide range of food-shopping options, from small bakeries and gourmet coffee boutiques to large American-style supermarkets. Most everything in the standard American diet is readily available, although it is likely to cost a lot more.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are largely imported and of very good quality. They are available year-round, but the selection can become more limited during the winter months. Local dairy products are always available and their quality is consistently excellent. In addition, one can easily find a large assortment of imported cheeses. Fresh, first-quality meat and fish are always available, but the cuts and selection differ from what one would find in the U.S. One can buy a variety of newly-baked, wonderful breads, rolls and cakes in the ubiquitous bakeries.

A limited assortment of canned and bottled baby food is available, but it is almost exclusively mixed dinners or blended fruit. The quality is similar to American baby food, and as with everything else, the price is much higher. Infant formula is available on the local economy in powdered form only and is the type meant for newborns. There appears to be no market in Norway for the graduated formulas, with and without iron, etc., that Americans use.

Clothing

The quality of clothing available in Oslo is excellent. Prices are 30-50 percent higher than in the U.S. for comparable "top-of-the-line" items. Very few bargains are available in children's clothing items. Sales occur in July and August and again in the spring. Shoes are often very expensive and tend to come only in wide widths. A varied selection of sturdy winter boots is available, again only in the wider widths.

Downhill and cross-country ski wear and equipment are available locally but you may not find a good fit if you need an unusual size. The quality is excellent, and frequent sales do appear for these items. Prices for skiwear and equipment are often less for European brands than in the U.S. Used ski equipment and some clothing (especially for children) are available in Oslo at various loppemarkeds (flea markets). Down jackets and coats are very expensive locally.

Dry cleaning is extremely expensive by U.S. standards. Plan to bring clothing that is machine washable and easy to iron.

Men: Men should bring wool suits, sweaters, scarves, gloves, heavy overcoats and fur-lined or other boots. Good rubber boots are available locally, but overshoes should be purchased in the U.S. Dress shirts are expensive. The local selection of ties is excellent, and prices compare with the U.S. A raincoat (preferably washable) with a zip-out liner is invaluable. Bring some lightweight apparel for warm summer days. Some people call navy blazers the "winter uniform" because so many Norwegians wear them.

Women: Women in Norway dress informally during the day but more formally for evening events than in the U.S. Winter clothes should include woolens, warm suits, sweaters, scarves, gloves, heavy overcoats and fur-lined or other boots. Slacks and pant suits are often worn, but jeans are worn only for very informal occasions. Some summer days and evenings can be cool, but you should bring light clothing for the short summer season. Women will find a raincoat with a hood (preferably washable) and a zip-out lining invaluable.

Lingerie can be purchased in Norway, but prices are much higher than in the U.S. Pantyhose and stockings are fairly priced but sizes and colors may be different than in the U.S.

Children: Locally available infant's and children's clothing is of extremely good quality and is also extremely expensive.

Norwegian winter clothing seems sturdier and warmer than U.S. brands. Children's shoes and boots are wider than in the U.S. and can cost $50-$80 per pair. Sneakers and running shoes are available, but cost more than in the U.S.

Supplies and Services

You can get everything you need, be it supplies or services, on the local economy.

You should bring a supply of prescription medicines because it may take that much time to make arrangements at a local pharmacy for a continued supply. You should also bring a supply of special or favorite cosmetics.

Most standard services are available on the economy but expensive and sometimes slow. Beauty/barber shops are plentiful. Shoe repair and radio repair are available. Local dry cleaning takes 4-7 days, is expensive and can fall below stateside standards for delicate items like silk and leather. Fur cleaning and storage can be arranged at fur stores. Laundries provide satisfactory but expensive work. Fast service increases the price. A few Laundromats can be found, but the prices ($6-$8 a wash load) are exorbitant.

Religious Services

Norway's state religion is Lutheranism, and virtually all Norwegian citizens adhere to this faith at least nominally, although regular church attendance is low.

There are also a number of churches offering services in Oslo in English, including Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, Latter Day Saints, Baptist, Christian Science, Quaker and Anglican services.

Education

The Oslo International School (OIS) offers a British-type academic program for children ages 3 to 18. OIS also offers an International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program.

Located in Bekkestua (a suburb of Oslo), enrollment is open to children of all nationalities who are in Oslo for a short period of time and are interested in English-language instruction.

The Primary and Secondary schools are comprised of three departments: Infants, Juniors and Seniors. The Infants Department offers instruction to children 3 to 7 years of age. All children are placed in classes according to their age as of September 1:

Kindergarten3 years of age
Reception4 years of age
Year 15 years of age
Year 26 years of age

This scheme is somewhat similar to the American education program of two years of preschool, a year of kindergarten, and the first grade.

The OIS kindergarten program is designed to help children mix and work happily with other children, gain control over actions and movements, and stimulate an interest in learning. The time is divided into story, music, rhythmics and free play both outdoors and indoors. Instruction is provided in hand-work, painting, modeling and physical education.

The Reception and Year 1 and 2 programs follow the normal curriculum for British schools as does the Junior program for children ages 7 to 10. The Junior program is comprised of:

Year 37 years of age
Year 48 years of age
Year 59 years of age
Year 610 years of age

Foundation subjects are English, Mathematics, Science, History, Geography, Technology, Music, Art, and Physical Education. The children also have computer studies. French is introduced from the age of 9 years. During the winter, children take cross-country ski lessons as part of the physical education program. Norwegian language instruction was recently introduced.

Students enter the Secondary School at age 11 and graduate at age 18 with an IB degree, with the program consisting of:

Senior 1 (Year 7)11 years of age
Sr 2 (Year 8)12 years of age
Sr 3 (Year 9)13 years of age
Sr 4 (Year 10)14 years of age
Sr 5 (Year 11)15 years of age
IB 1 (Year 12)16 years of age
IB 2 (Year 13)17 years of age

Curriculum subjects include: English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, French, Art, Handwork, Music, Physical Education, Computer Studies, Drama, Classical Studies, Typewriting and Norwegian. During Years 7-9, the children take a course in each subject area. In Years 10-11 students follow a two-year curriculum leading to the "International General Certificate of Secondary Education " (IGSCE) examination. IGSCE is used by schools in over 90 countries and has been recognized as a qualification for matriculation purposes by universities in the United Kingdom and in many other countries.

Years 12 and 13 are also referred to as IB 1 and IB 2. Students in these years participate in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, an international pre-university curriculum. The International Baccalaureate was created to provide international schools with both an appropriate common curriculum at the upper secondary school level and a matriculation examination which has wide acceptability.

Each year various outings and trips are arranged for the Seniors, both in Norway and abroad. The students also visit theaters and exhibitions. In the month of February, Years 6-9 spend a week at winter camp.

The Oslo International School has two campuses. The Kindergarten, Reception and Year 1 and 2 classes are collocated within close proximity to the Junior and Senior school campus. Each campus has a large play area with modern play equipment. They also both have libraries with a wide variety of British and American children's literature, reference materials and other publications. The Junior and Senior school has a gymnasium with a full basketball court and gymnastic equipment. The Infants school has a small gymnasium.

Situated between the two campuses and within short walking distance is the Nadderudhallen sports complex and the Bcerum Commune (community) soccer fields, baseball fields, track and tennis courts. The Naderudhallen sports complex has a large heated swimming pool, bowling alley, and basketball courts. Children who attend the Oslo International School are often involved in sports programs at Nadderudhallen and the Bcerum Commune playing fields.

The school year begins around the last week in August and ends in the third week of June. There is no school uniform but weather dictates that students wear clothing appropriate for outdoor play throughout the school year. Students will need boots, rain coats and rain pants during the fall and spring. Down parkas, ski pants, snow boots, ski gloves and hats are required in the winter. Students go outdoors to play everyday unless the temperature goes below minus 15 degrees Celsius (about 0 degrees Fahrenheit).

Children are required to bring a packed lunch and a pair of indoor (soft-soled) shoes.

The Oslo International School has no program for children with special needs. Sporadically, special arrangements have been made for children with special needs on a case-by-case basis and within the standard classroom environment. Some individual and small-group instruction is provided to students who have difficulty in a particular subject area.

There are French-and German-language schools located in downtown Oslo. They are considered excellent. (French, 6-18 years; German, 6-15 years). Local Norwegian schools are also available.

English-language preschool education is also available at the Frogner International Preschool located in the American Lutheran Church in downtown Oslo. The school is open to children ages 3-7. The International Montessori Preschool has an excellent preschool program. There is a waiting list for admittance.

There are two types of Norwegian preschool programs: the barnehage and barnepark. The barnehage is an indoor nursery school for children aged 1-6 with hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. A barnehage is either privately owned or operated by a commune. The barnepark is similar but is outdoors, for children aged 1-4, and usually open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is quite difficult to enter a barnehage; preference is given to Norwegian children and there is always a long waiting list. It is less difficult to find space in a barnepark. Tuition for the barnehage and barnepark are reasonable in comparison to American day-care facilities.

The American Women's Club sponsors a Moms and Tots program for preschool children. There are other informal Moms and Tots groups within the English-speaking community in Oslo.

Sports

Norway offers excellent and varied opportunities for recreation. Sports and outdoor activities can be found to fit almost any pursuit or interest. Practically all types of equipment are available in Oslo, but except for used items (skates, skis, bikes), it is fairly expensive. You should plan to bring equipment from the U.S. for all sports except skiing and skating.

Cross-country skiing is the country's major winter sport. It is also a way of life. Alpine (slalom) skiing and snow boarding are also very popular. The number of ski resorts with good lifts increases every year. Ski resorts like Geilo and Hemsedal are packed during Christmas and Easter holidays. All around Oslo you can find lighted cross-country ski trails, which make for a wonderful evening outing. Lessons taught in English or Norwegian are available for all ages and levels, including those who have no previous experience in skiing. Skis, boots, and poles are readily available on the economy and are one of the few true bargains in Norway. Many comfortable hotels, cabins and lodges in the mountains cater to winter sports enthusiasts.

Hiking and camping are very popular in Norway. Hiking trails are marked on many maps. Norwegians love to take extended hiking trips with nightly stops in tents or cabins during the summer months. Good camping areas are available throughout the country during the warmer weather, but Norwegian camping areas (like many European camping spots) are often quite crowded by American standards.

Norway offers superb areas for riding mountain bikes on dirt/gravel roads. If you like to ride, purchase a bicycle prior to arriving as bicycles in Norway can be extremely expensive.

Fishing is also a very popular summer sport. Many good streams can be found close to the Oslo area. Fishing for cod or other saltwater fish in the Oslo fjord or on the west coast of Norway does not require a license. Good equipment is available in Oslo. The national fishing license costs little, but you may encounter additional expenses since hotels or landowners control many of the best streams and may charge high fees for fishing rights. First-class trout and salmon fishing is at least a full day's travel from Oslo and very expensive.

September and October are the months for hunting game birds such as grouse, duck and mountain grouse (ptarmigan). September is also the time for hunting moose, deer, and reindeer. Many hunting areas are controlled and access can be expensive.

Sailing, rowing, and wind-surfing are popular summer sports. The Oslo fjord is painted white with sails by 4 pm. on summer afternoons. Boat rentals and sail-board rentals and lessons are available. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular. The one challenging golf course, 20 minutes from downtown Oslo, charges a membership fee. Greens fees apply for nonmembers. Nonmembers wishing to play on weekends must be members of some other golf club and have a valid membership card. An American golf club membership can be obtained at reduced rates.

Summer is usually warm enough for swimming in the fjords and nearby lakes. Indoor pools are available during all seasons. A heated outdoor pool at Frogner Park in Oslo is open from May to mid-September. Swimming instruction for children is offered throughout the year. Oslo has good indoor and outdoor tennis courts and badminton courts. Squash and racquetball courts are growing in number.

Active bowling teams are found in the American community. Several curling clubs encourage enthusiasts. Two stables are available. The cost is high, and you should bring riding clothes from the U.S. Many bicycle paths are open for Oslo's numerous cyclists. Bicycle rental is available at Aker Brygge.

Children arriving to Oslo will find local Norwegian sports clubs that sponsor soccer, basketball, ice hockey and ice bandy teams. Spectator sports include soccer, track and field competitions, figure and speed skating competitions, horse racing and the internationally famous ski jumping competitions at Holmenkollen.

Norway offers outstanding opportunities for the tourist and nature lover. The beautiful western fjord country can be reached by daily trains which connect Oslo year round with Trondheim and Bergen. Both routes traverse high mountain ranges and narrow valleys. Coastal steamers sail round trip from Bergen to the northern tip of the country at Kirkenes next to the Russian border. This relatively expensive round trip takes about 2 weeks. The ship stops at many points along the coast permitting many shorter side trips. The North Cape and Finnmark, Norway's northernmost areas (the land of the midnight sun and northern lights), are also accessible by air. Main roads are kept open for auto traffic in winter except over the high mountains, where snow blocks the roads from October to June.

The Oslo area is full of parks and museums, ancient rock carvings, old stave churches and lovely views of the countryside. Popular seaside towns along the outer fjord's west coast (Sorlandet) are only a few hours by rail or automobile from Oslo. A 3-7 hour train ride takes you to the highest mountain ranges for fishing, hiking and mountain climbing in summer or skiing in winter. Regularly scheduled buses and fjord ferries supplement train services to many towns and popular ski centers. Every Norwegian dreams of owning at least one "hytte" (cabin) in the mountains and one by the sea. They love to enjoy nature both in winter and summer. Cabins can be rented for vacations. These cabins cost fairly little and provide a rather primitive but charming way to experience the Norwegian countryside.

Norway has some 200 small hotels, private log cabins and camping sites available for those who do not have a hytte. Hotels are quite expensive and generally crowded. The Norwegian Tourist Association operates inexpensive lodges in all the principal mountain ranges for hikers. The lodges, situated a day's walk apart along well-marked trails, offer meals and overnight accommodations.

Entertainment

Oslo is a pleasant family town. Most Norwegians spend their weekends skiing, boating, hiking or relaxing with their families at home or at their cabins. This makes it difficult to entertain Norwegians on weekends. American families in Norway tend to follow the same pattern. Yet Oslo also offers a range of things to do and see for those less interested in the out-of-doors.

Sight-seeing attractions include the striking Viking ships, Thor Heyer-dahl's raft "Kon-Tiki," Nansen's vessel "Fram," the Holmenkollen ski jump and museum, and the outdoor Folk Museum. The Vigeland and Munch museums are excellent tributes to these world-famous Norwegian artists. Many other museums offer art and scientific attractions. Art exhibits in the traditional and contemporary styles can be found in several galleries. The Henie-Onstad Art Center in nearby Sandvika presents concerts, films and art exhibits.

Winter musical events include the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra's regular concerts which often feature internationally known performers. The Norwegian Opera presents a series of opera and ballet performances each season and features guest performers. The Concert Hall schedules many internationally recognized artists. Musical highlights outside Oslo include the annual Bergen International Music Festival and annual festivals in Molde and Kongsberg for jazz lovers.

Some 20 movie theaters present American, English and other foreign-language films. Films are screened with original soundtracks and Norwegian subtitles. Norwegian children under 7 are rarely admitted to movie theaters because they cannot read. Some neighborhood theaters will admit American children regardless of their ages when accompanied by their parents.

Four theaters produce modern and classical Norwegian dramas. Plays are occasionally in English. Two English-language drama groups perform several times a year. Puppet theaters for children are popular. These programs are usually in Norwegian, but most young children can follow the story.

Oslo has an ever-growing restaurant population. Restaurants tend to be very expensive by U.S. standards. An average meal for one without beer or wine will cost about 150 Norwegian kroner ($25) while a full meal without drinks at a first rate restaurant will average 400 Norwegian kroner ($60). Nevertheless, an increasing number of moderately priced restaurants are opening in the Oslo area. Some of these restaurants stay open until midnight. Oslo has three McDonald's (with typically high Oslo prices), a Burger King and a Pizza Hut. Several other similar fast-food restaurants sell hamburgers, pizzas and ribs. Typical Norwegian cuisine includes reindeer meat, pickled fish specialties, codfish or salmon dishes.

Oslo has a variety of nightclubs with dance floors. Beware though: a single beer cost between $5.00 and $7.50! Most clubs are open until 3 a.m. and many do a thriving business.

The University of Oslo offers English-language courses on Norwegian history and culture, and several local clubs sponsor more specialized courses. Many schools and local communities provide excellent Norwegian language courses and have classes in arts and crafts or sewing taught in English. The International Forum has a broad range of activities for women in the Oslo area, including lectures, concerts, courses, and tours to places of interest.

There are a few American social clubs in Oslo. The American Women's Club (AWC) was founded in 1934 as a social and philanthropic organization for American women living in Norway. AWC has approximately 300 members. The American Coordinating Council of Norway (ACCN) is a nonprofit council of American organizations founded in 1985. The Fourth-of-July celebration in Frogner Park is the main activity of ACCN. The American Club of Oslo is a 36-year-old club comprised of 300 members and structured to promote American business interests in Norway.

Bergen

Bergen, capital of the Vestlandet (West Land), is Norway's second largest city, with a population of 211,000. Nestled against steep hills on one side and facing the North Sea on the other, it is the western-most city in the country, and the major shipping and fishing center.

The original town was founded by King Olav Kyrre in 1070, but was destroyed three times by devastating fires, the most recent in 1916. During the Middle Ages, it was the northern outpost of the Hanseatic League, a powerful mercantile confederacy of German towns.

Bergen is a commercial and industrial city, providing ships, steel, textiles, electrical equipment, fish, and refined oil. It is also a fascinating city of hilly, cobbled streets; high-gabled, wooden warehouses; an ancient harbor market, called Torget; good shopping, especially for handcrafted silver and furs; extensive cultural activities; and many opportunities for sightseeing.

Its historical sites include the Bergenhus Fortress, which houses the imposing Håkonshallen (King Håkon's Hall), built in 1261. The fortress was restored after being damaged during World War II. The Mariakirkin, a 12th-century church with twin steeples, is a highlight for visitors, as is the Fantoft Stave Church, which was built during that same period. Fantoft was restored and moved here in 1833 from its original site at Fortun. Not to be forgotten is "Bryggen," Scandinavia's hanseatic trade center, now on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) list of world sights most worthy of preservation. Troldhaugen, the home of composer Edvard Grieg, is a national shrine in nearby Hop.

Bergen has much to offer the tourist. In addition to skiing, salmon and trout fishing, hiking, golf, and tennis, there are sight-seeing tours by bus or boat, and trips by coastal steamers which sail to the northern tip of the country at Kirkenes, on the Russian border.

Each year, from late May and until mid-June, the Bergen International Festival of concerts, ballet, drama, and folklore draws thousands of visitors to the city. It is a major undertaking, known for the quality of its productions and for the celebrity of the international artists who are featured. The famed Harmonien, one of the world's oldest philharmonic orchestras (more than 200 years), and Den Nationale Scene, the nation's oldest theater, are here in Bergen.

The university founded at Bergen in 1948 has become one of Norway's leading educational centers. Its school of Economics and Business Administration is the only one of its kind in Norway. There also are several scientific institutes in the city.

The Bergen airport, 12 miles south of the city center, is served by domestic and international flights.

The Bergen Tourist Board is located at Slottsgt. 1, N-5023 Bergen. An information office is open in central Bergen on Torgalmenning.

Education

The Bergen American School, located at Skolegaten 1, Laksevag, is a private institution whose enrollment is open to English-speaking children.

International School of Bergen is a coeducational, private day school founded in 1975. It offers an American/British curriculum for pre-kindergarten through ninth grade. French and Norwegian are taught as foreign languages; other elective studies include computer instruction, art, and physical education. Extracurricular activities and a variety of sports are offered.

Current enrollment at International numbers 95, with the many students from the United Kingdom. There are 14 full-time and one part-time staff members.

International School of Bergen is situated on a five-acre campus on a lake just outside of the city. Facilities include three buildings, nine classrooms, playing fields, two gymnasiums, science and computer laboratories, a swimming pool, and a 4,500-volume library. The school's address is: Vilhelm Bjerknesvei 15, 5030 Landas, Bergen, Norway.

Trondheim

Trondheim (Trondhjem), in central Norway, was known as Nidaros when it was the country's first capital. Although it is a modern industrial and agricultural center of 137,300 inhabitants, Trondheim still bears the marks of its medieval history. It was founded in 997 and, until 1380, was the national capital. The city was occupied by the Germans on the first day of the Norway invasion, April 9, 1940, and was held through the spring of 1945. Trondheim was one of the major centers of the Norwegian resistance movement.

Its 11th-century cathedral, Nidaros, restored after being damaged several times by major fires, is the finest Gothic edifice in Norway, as well as Trondheim's principal landmark. Stiftsgården, a royal palace built in the 18th century, is also located here.

Trondheim is noted for its Academy of Sciences and for its technical institute, Tekniske Hogskole. It is a busy industrial city, but still it attracts winter sports enthusiasts, and also visitors who enjoy its warm summers (unusual in northern Europe). A nine-hole golf course at Sommerseter holds an annual midnight tournament at about the time of summer solstice (June 21 or 22).

There are art galleries and museums in Trondheim, and an abundance of good hotels, restaurants, shops, and cinemas.

Several excursions are possible in the area, including trips to Munkholmen Island in the fjord, the site of an early Christian abbey and, in earlier times, a pagan place of execution; to the Trollheimen Mountains (a 225-mile drive); to Stiklestad, where an annual festival of plays takes place in late July; or to Oppdal, Norway's "alpine" town.

Information is available from the Tourist Office at Hornemannsgarden, Town Square.

Stavanger

Stavanger is Norway's fourth largest city (97,500) and the headquarters of the North Sea oil fleet. It is situated in the southwestern part of the country, on the Byfjord, and is the seat of Rogaland, the district from which Norway was made into one kingdom. It is the southernmost gateway to the fjord country.

Stavanger has several important industries, but probably is best known as the sardine canning capital of the world. It is a modern city of large buildings, bustling traffic, beaches, shops, and streets lined with churches. Its Anglo-Norman cathedral, dating to the 12th century, is among Norway's most interesting medieval buildings, as is the Utstein Kloster (cloister), located on an island just beyond the city.

Stavanger has an American population of more than 4,000, most of them connected with the oil industry. Like Trondheim, Stavanger was occupied on the first day of the German invasion of Norway, and remained under German control for more than five years.

Sola Airport is about nine miles from Stavanger, and the city terminal is in town at the SAS Royal Atlantic Hotel.

The Tourist Information Office is located on Jernbanevej.

Education

It is possible for American children to attend Norwegian public schools, where subjects are comparable to those taught in the U.S. Classes are in Norwegian, but children with language difficulty receive special assistance.

There are two English-language schools in the city. The Stavanger British School enrolls students from kindergarten to the seventh grade, while the Stavanger American School hold classes for pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

The International School of Stavanger (formerly the Stavanger American School), a coeducational, private institution, sponsored by oil companies, follows an American and British curriculum. French, Spanish, and Norwegian are offered as foreign languages; there are advanced placement, independent study, and remedial programs. Extracurricular and sports activities are numerous.

Total enrollment currently stands at 322; the teaching staff of 31 full time and four part-time is almost entirely American. Founded in 1966, it is situated on 15 acres in the western part of the city. Facilities include 36 classrooms, gymnasiums and playing fields, science and computer laboratories, an auditorium, and a 15,000-volume library. The school's address is: Treskeveien 3, 4042 Hafrsfjord, Norway.

Tromsø

Tromsø, with a population of 50,500, is the largest city above the Arctic Circle. It is situated on an island and joined to the mainland by the longest bridge in northern Europe. The island is in a spectacular fjord area, on the same latitude as northern Alaska, but its climate is tempered by the waters of the Gulf Stream. In summer, it is not unusual for the temperature to reach 77°F (25°C).

As the chief seaport of Arctic Norway, Tromsø is a base for seal hunters and a starting point for many cruise ships and exploratory expeditions. The city is justifiably proud of its designation, "Gateway to the Arctic," since it has been the starting point for many Arctic explorations. A number of herring fisheries are located here, and other important industries include shipbuilding and rope manufacturing.

The city is the site of the famed Observatory of Northern Lights, and is noted also for the excellent exhibits of regional geology, fauna, and traditional Lapp activities at the Tromsø Arctic Museum. Cultural life is limited, but Tromsø supports an enthusiastic amateur city orchestra, two movie theaters, and one dramatic theater.

Tromsø University, the world's northernmost university, has been established here. Its library has a good selection of books in English; the city library maintains a small collection of English-language children's books, as well as some current best-sellers and a sprinkling of English-language publications in several fields. Newsstands sell the International Herald Tribune and some British newspapers. There is single-channel television reception.

Tromsø has no school for English-speaking children but, as in other cities throughout the country, they are eligible to attend the local, well-regarded Norwegian schools. Some parents supplement that schooling with U.S. correspondence courses from the Calvert (kindergarten through grade eight) and University of Nebraska (high school) systems. Varied adult education classes are available in the city.

Recreational possibilities, especially for winter sports and fishing, are numerous. There are lighted cross-country and downhill ski slopes, indoor tennis courts, and swimming pools. The city has a disproportional large number of restaurants for a place of its size.

The Tourist Information Office is located on Dampskipskaia.

Kristiansand

Kristiansand, in the southernmost part of Norway, is a busy commercial center and holiday resort, set in a beautiful archipelago with sheltered coves and white beaches. Its population of more than 64,800 makes it the country's fifth largest city.

Kristiansand, as a town, dates back to 1641, when it was chartered by the Danish-Norwegian king, Christian IV. It has been ravaged several times by fire, the most severe in 1892, and few of its timber buildings remain. The town square was built by Christian IV; streets surrounding it are the same width that they were in 1641. At the northeastern part of the square is the largest section of wooden homes in Northern Europe. There also are interesting museums; old churches, including Odderness Church, built in 1040; and the Christiansholm Castle (1674). Kristiansand Dyrepark (animal park) is noted for the breeding of camelsunusual in this part of the world.

The city offers a broad range of opportunities for shopping and recreation, and a good selection of restaurants and hotels. The local specialty, kompe salted meat enveloped in boiled, grated potatoesmay be purchased at several street stalls. Kristiansand has two cinemas, a theater, and a symphony orchestra, whose season runs from September through May. An annual church festival is held in June.

Kjevik Airport is about nine miles from the center of town. Direct Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) connections are available to Copenhagen and Ålborg (both in Denmark). Kristiansand has good local bus service. As the communications center for Norway's southern region, is has daily ferry arrivals from the continent, as well as a railway line that links the eastern and western parts of the country.

The Tourist Office in Kristiansand is at 31 Gyldenlovesgate.

OTHER CITIES

ÅLESUND (or Aalesund) is Norway's principal fishing center, with a fleet operating between the Baffin Islands and the Barents Sea. Ålesund is the headquarters of the Arctic sealing fleet and the site of one of Scandinavia's largest dairies. It is situated in the western fjord area, on an island between Bergen and Trondheim. Dating from the ninth century, Ålesund is a city of 36,000, noted especially for its well-preserved Jugendstil (art nouveau) buildings. The Sunnmore Museum in the city has an interesting collection of boats and finds from Viking settlements. The municipal park, with its statue of Rollo (the first duke of Normandy), is a gift from the citizens of Rouen, France.

ARENDAL , a southern Norwegian seaport, is 125 miles south-west of Oslo on the Skagerrak (the arm of the east-central North Sea). This town of 11,500 is known for its combination of ancient and modern streets, old wooden houses, and new concrete buildings. Landmarks include the 19th-century town hall, which houses a portrait gallery today, and Trinity Church, with its towering spire. Just outside of Arendal is the 70-foot waterfall, Rykenefoss. Arendal is a departure point for ships crossing the Skagerrak to Hirtshals, Denmark.

BODO , 50 miles north of the polar circle, is a prosperous trade center with a population of 36,000. Although it is situated on the same latitude as the northern parts of Alaska and Siberia, it is warmed by the Gulf Stream, whose currents flow along the rugged Norwegian coastline. Situated at the head of the Salt Fjord in a central location in northern Norway, Bodo is the educational, administrative, and commercial center of Nordland County, and also has become a tourist resort; cruise ships and coastal steamers call here on their way to the North Cape. A new luxury hotel has been added to the accommodations. Bodo was founded in 1816, but did not begin to grow until shoals of herring were found off the coast in the 1860s, bringing trade and prosperity, and subsequent industry. The town was severely damaged in World War II, but has been spaciously and carefully rebuilt. There is a Tourist Information Office at 16 Storgaten.

DRAMMEN , the county capital of Buskerud in southern Norway, is famous for the Spiraltoppen, a steep tunnel involving six spiral turns inside Bragenesåsen Hill; at the summit are a lookout and a café. The city, whose population is approximately 51,900, has several industries, including sawmills and paper mills, and factories which produce electronic equipment.

HALDEN (formerly called Fredrikshald), 50 miles south of Oslo in the extreme southeastern tip of Norway, is an ancient city. Its modern history can be traced to the 1660s (it was referred to as Fredrikshald from 1665 to 1928), when the city repelled Swedish attacks from the ramparts of its Fredriksten Fort. King Charles XII of Sweden died here in 1718. The separation of Sweden and Norway in 1905 led to the deactivation of the fort. Halden's economy depends on light industry; adjacent quarries also provide employment. Visitors to this community of 27,600 often stop at the National War Memorial, as well as at medieval Berg Church. Svinesund Bridge connects Norway and Sweden, west of Fredriksten Fort.

HAMAR is situated on the shore of Norway's largest lake, Mjosa, 60 miles north of Oslo. The town of nearly 16,000 was founded by the English pope, Adrian IV, in 1152. It was destroyed by the Swedes in 1567, and among the ruins of that destruction is a 12th-century cathedral. Today, Hamar is the seat of a bishopric; industries include dairies and a foundry. The town is also a well-known ice skating center, boasting one of Europe's finest rinks.

Situated on a fjord in southern Norway opposite Stavanger, the seaport city of HAUGESUND is the center of a large herring fleet. In addition to exporting fish, Haugesund has shipbuilding yards, woolen mills, and an aluminum plant. The town achieved fame during Viking times when Harald I united Norway in a battle near here; numerous monuments commemorate this event, including Harald's grave. Haugesund has a small museum and art gallery. The current population is 31,000.

The city of KRISTIANSUND , 90 miles southwest of Trondheim, is built on three islands enclosing a harbor and connected by bridges and ferry boats. The seaport was inhabited in prehistoric times, and incorporated as a city in 1742. It was destroyed by World War II bombing in 1940, but has been rebuilt. Today, Kristiansund (not to be confused with Kristiansand) is a busy fishing port and the base for a large trawling fleet. It exports fish and has shipbuilding yards. The city itself has a charming appearance, with broad streets, brightly painted houses, and a lively marketplace. Kristiansund's current population is 18,000.

LILLEHAMMER is located 85 miles north of Oslo on the northern shore of Lake Mjosa. Situated in the picturesque valley of the Lagen, the city is surrounded by hills and has many spectacular gardens and parks. Norway's best known resort, Lillehammer is a favorite destination for visitors who love the outdoors. Sporting opportunities are many and varied and include fishing, swimming, horseback riding, and boating in summer, and skiing, ice skating, and curling in winter. Lillehammer is the center of a grain and potato-farming area. Industries here include sawmills, flour mills, and machinery factories. The population of Lillehammer is 25,000.

The port city of MOLDE has gained the appellation "Town of Roses" because of its superb gardens. Nestled in an inlet of the Norwegian Sea, 225 miles northwest of Oslo, this 500-year-old area endured limited destruction in a 1916 fire, and extensive damage in World War II.In April 1940, Molde served temporarily as home of the Norwegian government; after the war the city was totally rebuilt. Industries here include textile mills, furniture manufacture, and fish exports. Varden Hill (1,335 feet high), which commands a view of 87 mountain peaks, is a prime tourist stop in Molde. Also notable is Romsdalsmuseum, with its extraordinary folklore exhibit. Perhaps most outstanding of the city's attractions, however, is Tverrfjellet Mountain's Trollkyrkja. A huge cave features a 30-foot-high waterfall that ends in a marble pool. An annual summer jazz festival is held in Molde. The city has an estimated 22,300 residents.

PORSGRUNN , with roughly 35,700 inhabitants, is an industrial city at the mouth of the Skienselva River, about 70 miles southwest of Oslo. It was settled as a customs post in 1652 and today is home of the gigantic Norsk Hydro chemical factories. The varied economy includes porcelain manufacture, shipyards, and lumber mills. Rococo-styled churches of Østre Porsgrunn and Vestre Porsgrunn were built in the mid-1700s.

ROROS is a well-known and often-visited town of about 6,000 residents in central Norway. It is 35 miles west of the Swedish border and 50 miles southeast of Trondheim. Once an old mining town, Roros boasts unique 17th-century historic buildings.

SANDNES is a major port for the neighboring hinterland at the head of the Gandafjorden in the southwest. The city's fine transportation facilities allow for an industrial base including textile mills, construction materials, and ceramic tiles. Sandnes has an estimated population of 43,300.

SKIEN , with a current population of 48,000, is one of Norway's oldest towns, and the center of a coppermining area. Ores and lumber are exported from here. Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906), the dramatist and poet, was born in Skien; his childhood home, Venstop, is among the local attractions.

Founded in 871, TONSBERG is Norway's oldest town. An ancient fortress city, Tonsberg is located south of Oslo at the northern end of Notteroy Island. A shipping town for fish and lumber, it is also a home port for whaling fleets. Paper and wood and dairy products are produced here. The population of Tonsberg is currently 9,100.

The Lofoten Islands off the coast of northern Norway, are an island chain in the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle. This spectacular string of mountainous islands with abrupt peaks composed of granite and lime are estimated to be among the world's oldest. The Gulf Stream, traveling along Norway's coast, brings moderate temperatures to this area. Svolvaer (population 4,000) is the Islands' informal capital and center for commerce and codfish, its economic mainstay. Hiking and boating will allow the tourist to enjoy the wild, rugged beauty of this area. Attractions include Lofot Museum, dating from the 19th century; old Viking settlements; cave drawings dating 600 B.C.; and 180 species of birds which draw ornithologists worldwide.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Located in northwestern Europe on the Scandinavian peninsula, Norway is a picturesque country bounded on the west by the Northern Atlantic and the North Sea and on the east by Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Norway covers 150,000 square miles including Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands with landscape ranging from farms and fields to forest, lakes, plateaus, glaciers, and the highest peak in northern Europe. The jagged coastline stretches 1,625 miles when measured in a straight lineand a staggering 13,125 miles including the ins and outs of the fjords. While small in population, Norway is one of the largest European countries in area.

Many people expect Norway's climate to be bitterly cold. The latitude of the country certainly suggests this would be true. The Arctic Circle cuts through Norway about halfway up the length of the country. Oslo lies in the southern part of the country but is at the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska. Hammerfest, on the northern tip of the Norwegian mainland, is the world's most northerly town. Still, the climate of cities along the Norwegian coast is much milder than might be expected at such northerly latitudes, even during midwinter, because of the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. Winter in Oslo is typically warmer than winter in New England or Minnesota, though there is often a lot more snow.

Summer in the southern part of the country can last from early May to mid-August, or in a bad year, for only a week in late June. There are about 20 hours of daylight during June and July in Oslo. (Note: in northern Norway the midnight sun shines for nearly 2 months during this period!) Summer days rarely get warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be quite coolin the 50s and 60s.

Winter brings only about six hours of daylight in Oslo and none in areas north of the Arctic Circle. Snow brightens the landscape considerably, even during the shortest days. However, some people find the darkness oppressive. Norwegians seem to have found numerous ways to combat the depression of winter by keeping things cozy and bright inside, using lots of candle light for cheer and warmth, and getting outside during the short days to see the sun.

Population

Norway's population is just over 4.5 million. Since the area of the country is so vast, Norway has the second lowest population density in Europe; only Iceland has fewer inhabitants per square mile. Sixty-five percent of Norwegians live in the southern part of the country and along the coast. Norway's largest cities are Oslo (pop. 470,000), Bergen (216,000), Trondheim (140,000), and Stavanger (100,000).

Norway has one official languageNorwegian. However, there are two distinct forms of the language which officially have equal status. One form, Bokmaal, strongly resembles Danish. The other, Nynorsk (translated this word means New Norwegian), harkens back to old Norwegian dialects. The forms are very closely interrelated, and Norwegians understand both. Still, they are taught in Norwegian schools as separate subjects. In addition to the division between Bokmaal and Nynorsk, Norwegian encompasses many and varied local dialects. Norwegians spend a great deal of time discussing their language and trying to place each other's dialects. Their language is for them a point of national and cultural pride.

Most people from larger Norwegian cities speak some English and many speak it very well. Nevertheless, Norwegians truly appreciate any effort made by foreigners to learn their language. Knowledge of Norwegian can be essential for social and business contacts in the country's more remote areas.

History

Our knowledge of Norwegian history dates back to 9000 B.C. when the ice which had covered northern Europe receded and prehistoric peoples began to settle the Scandinavian area. The Viking Age, from 800-1030 A.D., was a period of expansion, exploration and conquest. The Viking inhabitants of Norway expanded east into what is now Sweden, south into England and France, and even across the Atlantic to the New World. During the latter part of the Viking Age, two major events took place which still have an impact upon Norway todaythe unification of the country into a single kingdom and the introduction of Christianity. Although Norway became the fully independent nation of today only in 1905, throughout the past thousand years, Norway has preserved a sense of national identity and unity which traces back to the Viking Age.

After the prominence of the Viking period, Norway lost much of its national stature and independence. In 1530, Norway became part of Denmark and was governed by the Danish monarch until 1814. In 1814, Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. However, the Norwegians rose in protest against this agreement and demanded their national right to self-determination.

The major turning point in modern Norwegian history occurred on May 17, 1814, when an assembly of delegates from all over the country met in Eidsvoll, a town north of Oslo, and adopted a Constitution for a free, independent, and democratically-governed Norway. This Constitution, which is still in force, is based on the United States Constitution and provides for three separate branches of government.

The Swedes refused to recognize Norwegian independence, and forced Norway into a union with Sweden under the rule of the Swedish king. From 1814 until 1905, Norway remained in union with Sweden, but the Constitution of Eidsvoll was in force and ensured Norway a democratic form of government. The union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved peacefully in 1905 and Norway entered the ranks of independent states.

When Norway gained its independence from Sweden, it decided by popular referendum to retain the limited monarchy as adopted in the Constitution of 1814. The Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to Danish Prince Carl, who took the name of Haakon Vll, in tribute to previous kings of Norway. Haakon Vll became a symbol of unity during the construction of independent, modern Norway. He especially symbolized Norway's fight against the German occupation during World War 11. His radio broadcasts to Norway from his exile in London encouraged his countrymen and underscored Norway's determination to regain independence.

Haakon Vll reigned until his death in 1957 and was succeeded by his son, Olav V, who was also well-loved by the Norwegian people. Olav V died in 1991 and was succeeded by his son Harald, who became King Harald V. King Harald and Queen Sonja have two children, Prince Haakon and Princess Martha Louise. Because Norway is a constitutional monarchy, the functions of the King (Chief of State) are mainly ceremonial, but his influence is felt as the symbol of national unity.

Public Institutions

Norway's parliamentthe Stortingruns the affairs of the country. The Storting is led by the Prime Minister and is a modified unicameral parliamentary structure with 165 members elected from 19 counties. In each county (fylke), a governor exercises authority on behalf of the national government. The city of Oslo constitutes a separate 19th jurisdiction, but shares a governor with Akershus Fylke.

The Norwegian Labor Movement is a strong force in modern Norwegian political and socioeconomic life. Successive Labor Party governments have created a social democratic state with extensive public welfare benefits, universal and comprehensive health insurance, and state-funded pension coverage. Non-socialist governments have also supported the evolving system, resulting in an egalitarian and generally prosperous society. Taxation is accordingly high, to pay for these programs.

North Sea oil, which was discovered off Norway's coast in the early 1970s, helps pay for the country's social welfare state. Today, Norway is Western Europe's leading oil producer, pumping nearly 2.5 million barrels per day. Norway's oil supply puts it in a unique position among European countries in terms of both domestic and foreign policies. As the European Union continues to evolve, Norway will almost certainly have to reassess its position vis-a-vis the EU. Still, the Norwegians are not afraid to stand alone, and they perceive that they have a traditional life-style and culture to preserve and protect. Norway is a proudly independent nation, not surprising when one thinks back to the Viking roots of the society.

Arts, Science, and Education

Norway has made impressive contributions to western culture. Norway's unique wooden " stave " churches have survived nearly 900 years. Music, art, and literature have been enriched by Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, Gustav Vigeland and Edvard Munch. The sculpture garden of Gustav Vigeland in Oslo's Frogner Park offers an afternoon of wonder as one contemplates Vigeland's powerful and compassionate work. An essential part of expressionist painting, Munch's varied and striking works are displayed in Oslo's National Gallery and the Munch Museum. Ibsen's plays are well-loved and are performed all over the world.

In addition to the collections exhibited in the major museums, Oslo offers a number of art galleries such as Kunstnernes Hus and the Henie-Onstad Art Center which organize exhibitions of works by American and European artists. A museum of modern art houses a select collection of works by contemporary artists of the western world. Norway is also known for its love of the performing arts. The Bergen International Music Festival sponsors a two-week cultural extravaganza of classical and contemporary music, dance, and theater each year. A number of jazz festivals are held throughout Norway, and internationally known singers perform frequently.

Education in Norway is free through college and compulsory through age 16. The literacy rate is almost 100 percent. Over 41,000 students attend Norway's four universities or other institutes of higher learning. English is mandatory in the Norwegian school system from the 4th through 9th grades. Most Norwegians speak English (this is particularly true in Oslo) and can usually understand French and German in addition to the other Scandinavian languages.

The level of scientific and technical education is high in Norway. Norwegians have made significant contributions to many fields of study. Thor Heyerdahl of Kon-Tiki fame has followed in the footsteps of the famous Norwegian Arctic explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. And, of course, Norway is home to the Nobel Institute, a world famous research institution which awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

Commerce and Industry

Offshore oil exploration and exploitation, shipping, metals, pulp and paper products, chemicals, fishing, and forestry are Norway's major industries, and Norway's merchant fleet is one of the largest in the world. Large offshore oil/gas reserves will continue to play a crucial role for Norway in the twenty-first century.

The Norwegian economy is essentially stable and harbors few surprises. Growth in gross domestic product (GDP), inflation, consumption and other basic factors strongly resemble those of other developed and prosperous European countries. Over the past 20 years, the Norwegian economy has grown steadily without heavy-handed government intervention. OECD statisticians predict continued steady growth in the near term.

Norway is a very small country, with a population of 4.3 million and a GDP of just over 700 billion Norwegian kroner or $108 billion (about 1.8 percent the size of the U.S. GDP). The economy includes a solid and growing industrial base, but the star of the Norwegian economy since the early seventies has been North Sea oil. Growth in oil production and oil price shifts have both had significant effects on the Norwegian economy in the past twenty years, mostly positive. The Norwegian government maintains control of oil production via the state-owned company Statoil and uses its revenues to fund social programs.

Norway's total export of goods and services, including shipping, equals nearly 50 percent of its GDP, with oil accounting for the lion's share. The economy is heavily influenced by world trade levels, oil prices, and currency exchange rates.

The U.S. exported approximately $1.4 billion in goods to Norway in 1999 and approximately $1.2 billion in services. Norway produces over 3 million barrels a day of crude oil and exports 94% of its production making it the second largest oil exporter in the world. The U.S. is Norway's largest foreign investor with $6.2 billion in foreign direct investment at book value (two-thirds of which is in the oil and gas sector). Norway has accumulated nearly $30 billion in the Government petroleum fund with 20 to 40 percent invested in U.S. stocks and bonds. U.S. firms are competing for over $6 billion in defense equipment acquisitions which Norway will undertake in the next few years.

The U.S. ranked fifth among Norway's trading partners in 1999. Total annual two-way trade is about $8 billion. The U.S. supplies primarily transportation equipment, oil and gas services and equipment, machinery, data processing and office equipment, chemicals, aircraft and defense-related items, and soybeans. U.S. imports from Norway are led by crude oil, nonferrous metals, fish, transport equipment, and pulp and paper.

Norway has now voted twice against membership in the EU, in 1972 and again in 1994. As in 1972, the November 1994 referendum was very close-a matter of 2 to 3 percentage points. Since Norway is still a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Association, Norway enjoys duty-free trade in manufactured products with the EU. However, the status of these organizations could change in the near future, since many of their members have now joined the EU.

Transportation

Automobiles

Norway is a beautiful country that begs to be explored, and it is possible and even desirable to drive to most places in the country or in neighboring countries. Since Norwegian roads are narrow and winter conditions can be extremely difficult, large American cars are less than ideal. Many people choose to bring 4-wheel-drive vehicles because they handle best in slippery winter conditions, especially in the mountains. Others choose front-wheel-drive vehicles for similar reasons.

A vehicle can be registered in Norway with little or no problem as long as it has been registered in the owner's name at least 24 hours prior to importation. Minor adjustments may have to be made to vehicles upon arrival, at owner's expense, unless the vehicle is a European car with European specifications. American specification cars with catalytic converters do not require removal of the converter, since unleaded fuel is readily available. The authorities inspect cars carefully for rust. Your car may not pass if excessive rust, especially on the frame, is found during inspection. Rust free cars can be undercoated after arrival in Norway.

Norwegian law requires drivers in Norway to purchase a minimum third party liability insurance package, and Norwegian companies offer the full range of insurance services as in the U.S. Certification of accident-free driving can reduce your car insurance from 10% up to 70% per year. This certification takes the form of a letter (or letters) from the insurance company (or companies) with whom you have done business prior to your arrival in Oslo. The letter (s) should state the number of years of accident-free driving to your credit.

Snow tires are a necessity during Norway's long winter. The law requires that cars are safeguarded against sliding, and if a car involved in an accident is found not to have had appropriate tires for the driving conditions, the driver of that vehicle can be held fully responsible for the accident. You may use snow tires with or without studs and/or chains, but studded snow tires face some restrictions within the Oslo city limits. The law states that the car must have the same type of tire on each axle. Although the majority of Norwegians have traditionally used studded winter tires out of habit; that is changing, and good winter tires are just as effective in most conditions. Studded snow tires are not permitted at all in Oslo between mid-April and mid-October, except when the weather remains bad.

Snow tires of all shapes and sizes, studded or nonstudded, are readily available in Oslo at fairly reasonable prices. The only exception might be snow tires for unusual, old, or very large American brand cars. Some people choose to have their snow tires mounted on an extra set of rims for quicker and easier changes. You can bring snow tires with you or buy them in Norway, but you will definitely need them.

Local

Oslo's municipal transportation system works well and includes electric trains, streetcars, buses, subways, and suburban commuter trains. Although reliable and extensive, public transportation in Oslo is quite expensive. A single trip in 1999 cost about $2.60 within the Oslo city limits. The use of monthly commuter passes or punch cards reduces the rates. Taxis ("drosjer") operate 24 hours a day. However, they rarely stop when hailed and must be obtained by going to a "taxi stand" or by calling and requesting one. Taxis are usually plentiful, but you may have to wait during bad weather or rush hour. All taxis have meters that begin calculating your fare from the point where the taxi starts its travel to answer your call. The meter continues to run until you reach your destination. Hence, if the taxi is coming to you from far away, the charges may already be quite high before you begin your ride. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip, but a small one is always appreciated.

Traffic is relatively heavy during rush hours. Narrow roads and construction can cause some congestion. Many people use public transportation to commute to and from work. Public transportation is quick, clean, safe, and convenient and eliminates the need to find a place to park. Parking spaces in downtown Oslo can be very difficult to find. Many parking lots use automated meters that can be confusing for the uninitiated to use.

Public transportation (buses and streetcars) has the right of way over private automobiles. Many traffic lanes in cities and on some sections of the highways are reserved for public transportation. These lanes are clearly marked, and private cars should not drive in them. Cars must stop for pedestrians approaching and using crosswalks. Official vehicles (such as fire and police) are marked with the same colors as in the U.S. Norwegian law requires yielding access to emergency vehicles.

At regular intersections, traffic entering from the right always has the right of way in Norway, except on major roads marked by yellow diamond-shaped road signs. All drivers must keep a watchful eye, especially in residential areas, for traffic entering from the right. Uphill traffic always has the right of way. There are also numerous traffic circles in and around Oslo. The rule for these circles is that once in the circle, a car has the right of way over cars entering the circle. In this instance, the right hand rule does not apply.

Finally, drivers should be aware that drunk driving laws in Norway are extremely strict and heavily enforced, with possible jail time as a penalty for even the first offense. Drinking anything over the equivalent of one beer will almost certainly put a person over the allowable blood alcohol level.

Regional

Oslo is connected to all major European centers by rail and air. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has direct flights between Oslo and major U.S. cities. Northwest Airlines also services Oslo through KLM via Amsterdam.

Oslo's Gardermoen Airport opened in October 1998 (replacing Fornebu) and is located about 40 minutes from downtown Oslo. Various ferries are available from Oslo to Denmark and Germany and from Kristiansand to Denmark and Holland. Well organized, sun-oriented charter flights provide excellent vacation opportunities at moderate cost, especially during winter months. Group skiing tours to the European Alps are also available.

Transportation within Norway is by bus, train, ferry, and internal airline flights. Car travel is possible in summer, but certain areas are closed by snow in winter. Road conditions vary. Mountainous areas have many narrow, winding sections of road.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone and telegraph facilities are provided by a government-operated service (Telenor). Direct dial service is available to most areas of the world, including the U.S. AT&T, MCI, and Sprint cards are available for making calls to the U.S. Use of one of these cards can result in significant savings, although Norwegian direct dial long distance rates are some of the lowest in Europe, especially during off peak hours. Basic telephone charges are high. There is a metered charge by the minute for each local call. Rates for local calls are cheapest after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

Mail

International airmail from the U.S. usually takes 4 to 7 days, but return mail can be slower. Surface shipments by international mail take 4 to 6 weeks from the U.S. and are subject to Norwegian customs.

Radio and TV

American FM radios are compatible with the Norwegian radio broadcasting system but will have to run through transformers or on batteries (assuming 110v). Commercial radio is relatively new to Norway. Until 1984, there was only a single radio channel. In 1993 NRK widened its radio activities to three parallel broadcasts: P1, which chiefly provides cultural and in-depth coverage, major news programs, documentaries and reports, and classical music and jazz programs; P2, which features regional programs, light music, and some sports programs; and P3, which caters mainly to younger listeners, leaning heavily toward entertainment, pop, rock music, and sports.

A nationwide private radio corporation-P4-began broadcasting in late 1993. Radio programs are in Norwegian and are geared toward Norwegian interests. Shortwave broadcasts in English, particularly from the BBC, offer a good source of news. VOA reception is often weak. A growing number of local commercial radio stations throughout Norway offer a variety of programming formats, including Top 40, rock, and adult contemporary music in English. Note: Use of radio transmission equipment, including CB's, is not allowed in Norway.

Norway has two national television networks. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is an independent institution responsible for general public broadcasting in Norway. NRK TV broadcasts more than 60 hours a week, featuring sports, news, drama, children's programs (which are dubbed to Norwegian), educational programs, music, and entertainment. About half of NRK's programs are original NRK productions. There are also several private television stations in Oslo. Cable TV and satellite TV are both available.

Much of the programming is produced locally, but there are a fair number of foreign programs also shown, including popular British and American series. All foreign language programs are subtitled in Norwegian except children's programs which are dubbed. Oslo area

homes equipped with cable TV have better reception of the local channels as well as the option to receive a wide variety of channels, including Sky Channel, Super Channel, FilmNet, CNN, Eurosport, BBC, MTV, and two Swedish channels.

Norwegian television uses the European PAL standard. It is not generally financially practical to modify U.S. sets to European specifications. To receive Norwegian broadcasting as well as cable broadcasts, one must have either a multi-system TV or a European PAL TV (Note: American VCRs will not record PAL signals, nor can they play PAL tapes. Again, a multisystem VCR is required for these purposes. Since PAL tapes of American movies are available for rent locally on just about every corner, a multi-system or PAL TV and VCR are desirable.)

U.S. sets designed to operate at 110v, 60 cycles can be adapted to 220v with transformers and used to play U.S. standard (NTSC) VCR tapes.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Popular American and British magazines are readily available at the newspaper stands (kiosks). British newspapers, the International Herald Tribune, and USA Today are also available locally. The cost of magazines is higher than in the U.S. Most Norwegian libraries have an English book section that often contains current children's books and adult fiction and nonfiction. Many bookstores in Oslo carry American and British books, but prices are considerably higher than in the country of origin.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Norwegian public health and medical-care facilities are extensive, reasonably priced and of excellent quality. The Norwegian health delivery system differs somewhat from that of the U.S. in that emergencies are first treated at an emergency care facility (legevakt) rather than in a hospital's emergency room. Cases needing further treatment or hospitalization are then referred to hospitals or physicians. In the Norwegian system, one cannot be directly admitted to a hospital. The style of Norwegian physician care also differs from the U.S. style. Doctors tend to be abrupt by American standards and often do not offer explanations of their procedures. They also make fewer allowances for personal modesty, e.g., they do not typically provide gowns or leave the room while a patient disrobes. Most Norwegian health care specialists speak some English.

Norwegian ophthalmologists and optometrists are comparable to their American counterparts in skill, but the prices for these services are much higher in Norway than in the U.S. Opticians fill prescriptions efficiently and promptly. Most types of glasses and contact lenses are available.

Norwegian dentists vary greatly in ability and price. Orthodontic work is good and usually costs less than in the U.S. The dental school offers routine and specialized care for both adults and children through the use of licensed professionals and dental students. Oslo also has an emergency dental clinic (tannlegevakt).

Drugstores are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and until early afternoon on Saturdays. Certain pharmacies are also open nights and Sundays. Most medicines require prescriptions, although headache remedies, vitamins, cold remedies, and other patent medicines do not. Note however that even aspirin can only be bought in small quantities (one bottle of 20 tablets at a time). If you have favorite pain relief and cold medicines, you will simplify your life by bringing a large bottle of each with you. Drug quality is well-controlled and therefore excellent, and prices are reasonable. Only Celsius thermometers are available locally. Note that the doctor will want to know the temperature of your fever in Celsius.

Community Health

Sanitary conditions in Norway are among the best in the world. Strict laws govern commercial processing, cooking, handling and serving of foods. The state-run water supply system is excellent and drinkable without filtering throughout the country. Oslo is in general much cleaner than most U.S. cities of comparable size.

Norway has not had any serious epidemics in years, although the flu season can be severe. Flus, colds, and sore throat infections may be aggravated by the lack of sunshine during winter months. The cold winter weather and the low humidity in heated homes and buildings can also contribute to discomfort during illness.

The risk of contagious disease is the same as in the U.S. Seasonal episodes of mumps and chicken pox break out each year. Large-scale outbreaks of measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) are rare because so many children have been vaccinated.

Preventive Measures

No particular vaccinations are required.

Norway's climate is generally healthy. Upper respiratory infections occur more frequently during fall, winter and spring. Norwegians consider vitamin pills and cod liver oil (available locally) essential to compensate for winter's lack of sunshine and vitamin D. The water is not fluoridated. However, fluoride tablets for children can be obtained at drug stores without prescription. Fluoride rinses are also available. Your physician can give you information on the best fluoride treatment for your family.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Feb. (2nd Sun) Mother's Day*

Feb. 21 Birthday of king Herald V

Mar/Apr.Holy Thursday*

Mar/Apr.Good Friday*

Mar/Apr.Easter*

Mar/Apr.Easter Monday*

May 1 Labor Day

May 8 Liberation Day

May 17 Independence Day

June 7Union Dissolution Day

May/JuneAscension Day*

May/JunePentecost*

May/JuneWhitmonday*

June Midsummer Night*

July 4 Birthday of Queen Sonja

July 24 Birthday of Crown Prince Haakon

July 29 St. Olav's Day

Sept. 22Birthday of Princess Martha Lousie

Nov. (2nd Sun) Father's Day*

Dec. 25 Christmas

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

Dec. 31 New Year's Eve

*variable

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

At present, there is no U.S. air carrier providing direct service from the U.S. to Oslo, although certain U.S. carriers have deals with European companies to make connecting flights into Oslo. Most individuals fly to London, Copenhagen or Amsterdam and then take a foreign air carrier to Fornebu airport, Oslo. Other transportation to Norway includes overnight car ferries from Denmark and Germany to Oslo, Amsterdam to Kristiansand (in the summer months only), Newcastle to Stavanger and Bergen, and rail links from Sweden and Copenhagen.

A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens may enter Norway for tourist or general business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days.

Since March 2001, Norwegian entry visas are governed by the rules of the Schengen Agreement. Under this agreement, a visa issued for admission to most European Union (EU) countries (including non EU members Norway and Iceland) is also valid for admission to other member countries. EU members Ireland and the United Kingdom have opted not to participate in the Schengen arrangement at this time. Under Schengen visa procedures, a tourist is only permitted to spend a total of three months in the "Schengen area" within any six month period.

Tourists who enter Norway without a visa cannot usually change status in Norway in order to reside or work there. Travelers planning a long-term stay, marriage or employment in Norway should therefore seek the appropriate visa before departing the United States.

For information concerning entry requirements, travelers can contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008-2714, tel. 1-202-333-6000, or the nearest Norwegian consulate; and on the Internet at http://www.norway.org. Norwegian consulates are located in Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco. Information can also be obtained from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration at http://www.udi.no.

Pets

Norway is a rabies-free country, and pets brought to Norway from rabies infected countries must be quarantined at the State Animal Quarantine Station in Oslo for 4 months. Total costs for bringing a dog or cat to Norway are about $2,000-$3,000 per animal (including quarantine). Please note that animals that have resided in EU countries for 1 year without intervening travel to other countries do not need to be quarantined.

There are separate and more flexible regulations for temporary or permanent importation of seeing-eye guide dogs.

Once the you receive space and import permit assurances from the State Veterinarian, you will be sent application papers, additional information, and mandatory forms (see below) provided with the import license from the Norwegian Agricultural Ministry. You must submit the requested information in the correct time frame. Have a licensed veterinarian complete an up to date health and vaccination certificate using the mandatory Certificate of Origin and Health provided by the Norwegian Quarantine Station: Annex to H 2 (dogs) or Annex to K 2 (cats). The certificate must specify that the animal shows no sign of infectious or communicable disease, that it has been vaccinated (within 3 weeks of shipment to Norway) against distemper, and that it has been blood tested for leptospirosis (L. canicola and L. icterohaemorrhagiae) with negative test results as specified on the form. Arranging for the leptospirosis test in the U.S. may take some time, since only a few labs have the facilities to analyze and evaluate the results of such tests. The certificate should also give a complete description of the animal (sex, breed, color, and age) and should bear veterinarian license confirmation, either from the Norwegian Consul or from local police authorities or government authorities.

The animal must be checked at its arrival point by veterinary inspectors (for a fee) and will be transferred to the Quarantine Station. There is only one approved quarantine facility in Norway for dogs and cats.

Vestberg Quarantine Station Nordre Linderudsvei 45 N-1816 Skiptvedt, Norway Phone: (47) 69 80 85 80 Fax: (47) 69 80 85 90 Web-site: http://home.sol.no/-vestkara/information.html

It is located in Ostfold county approximately 70 km from Oslo. The Quarantine Station recommends that dogs be vaccinated against Kennel cough and canine parvovirus infection and cats be vaccinated against feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calcivirus infection a minimum of 3 weeks before they arrive at the quarantine station.

The animal must also be identified with a readable tattoo or microchip implant. The identification number must be referred to on all vaccination certificates or vaccination book and on laboratory certificates. The identification number must also be referred to on the approved Veterinary Certificate. If the microchip is not of FECAVA or ISO standard, the animal owner must provide a compatible reader.

Additional information may be obtained by contacting: The Norwegian Animal Health Authority, Central Unit, at PO. Box 8147 Dep., N-0033 Oslo, Norway. Phone: (47) 22 24 19 40 Fax: (47) 22 24 19 45.

Since the Quarantine Station kennel has limited space, especially in the summer, you must give them 2-3 weeks notice. The Vestberg Animal Quarantine Station kennel is adequate, and veterinary care is good. Most owners have been satisfied with their pet's stay. On the other hand, an isolation period of 4 months can be a problem for very old or nervous animals. Healthy and well-balanced pets over 1 year of age usually show no ill effects, but often the owners suffer during this time. The Quarantine Station will not admit animals under 6 months old. Dogs under 12 months of age require human and family contact to develop into normal, well balanced animals. The isolation of 4 months' quarantine may be detrimental at this stage.

Visits may be made for 45 minutes, twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6-8 pm, after the first 2 weeks of isolation have been completed. You must call to make an appointment. After departure from the Quarantine Station, the animal is restricted from contact with other animals for an additional 2 months. Basic expenses for 4 month quarantining are currently over $2,400 for dogs and $1,660 for cats. This is subject to change depending upon the rate of exchange. One-half of the charges must be paid upon entry of the pet into quarantine. The remainder is due on the last day of quarantine when you pick up your pet.

Firearms and Ammunition

Under Norwegian law, a private individual must have prior written authorization from the Norwegian Government to purchase or possess firearms or ammunition in Norway.

No automatic weapons are allowed into Norway for use or sale by private citizens or visitors. Also, Norwegian law has other restrictions that pertain to types and quantities of weapons permissible in Norway.

Hunting (and fishing) licenses are required and can be obtained on payment of the proper fee to local authorities.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

Norway's basic unit of currency is the crown (krone). A crown today is worth about 12 cents (8.5 crowns = $1). Technically, each crown is broken down into 100 ore, although only the 50 ore coins are in circulation.

Local banking and exchange facilities throughout Norway are as numerous as ATMs. Norway has no regular American banks. All currencies and travelers checks are exchangeable, and full international banking services are available. No limit exists on the purchase of dollars or other foreign exchange. Banks located at airports and other terminals provide service on weekends and evenings. Normal banking hours are 8:15 am to 3:45 pm, Monday through Friday, but banks close at 3 pm in summer.

The value-added tax (known in Norwegian as "VAT") is 23% of sale price and is paid on all goods and services, including food and clothing. This tax is usually included in the marked price of the item (s) at all retail stores.

Norway uses the metric system of weights and measures, but there is one exception: one Norwegian "mile" is equivalent to 10 kilometers. American miles are not used here. If you hear a Norwegian discussing miles, he or she probably means the 10-kilometer Norwegian kind.

Special Information

Norway remains one of the safest countries in the world, with little violent crime. Travel on public transportation, for example, is safe during any time of the day or night.

However, as in most European capitals, property crimes such as home burglaries have increased recently. This seems to be largely due to the increase in drug use. In addition, high value cars (both European and American makes) have become a particular target of professional car thieves looking to ship cars to Eastern Europe at high profit. Owners of expensive vehicles may wish to take appropriate precautions, such as installing an alarm.

Americans living in or visiting Norway are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Norway. The U.S. Embassy is located in Oslo near the Royal Palace at Drammensveien 18; tel. (47) 22-44-85-50, Consular Section fax (47) 22-56-27-51. Information about consular services can be found in the Consular Section of the Embassy's home page at http://www.usa.no.

RECOMMENDED READING

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published about Norway.

General Reference Guides

Tomkinson, Michael. Alf Bjercke's Norway 1999.

Facts about Norway. [contributors:Hugo Pedersenet al.]; maps, diagrams and drawings: 24th ed. Oslo Schibsted, © 1996 (new edition expected 2000).

Living in Norway, a practical guide: Patricia Crinion Bjaaland's classic guide for new residents. 3rd edition by Michael Brady and Belinda Drabble. Palamedes Press, 1999.

Swaney, Dena. Norway. ISBN:08600384426, Lonely Planet Publications, 1999.

History

Derry, T.K. A History of Modern Norway, 1814-1972. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Jerman, Gunnar. New Norway: a country of change. Index Publishing, 1999.

Libæk, Ivar and Oivind Stenersen. A History of Norway. Grondahl 1999.

Midgaard, John. A Brief History of Norway. Tano Press, 1989.

Riiste, Olav and Berit Nokleby. Norway 1940-1945. Oslo: Tanum Forlag, 1970.

Norwegian-American Relations

Cole, Wayne. Norway and the U.S. 19051955: Two Democracies in Peace and War. Iowa State, 1989.

Skard, Sigmund. The United States in Norwegian History. Universitetsforlaget, 1976.

Skard, Sigmund. Transatlantica. Universitetsforlaget, 1978.

Norwegian Society

Gullestad, Marianne. The Art of Social Relations: Essays on Culture, Social Action and Everyday Life in Modern Norway. NYP, 1992.

Guy Peters, B. and Tom Christensen. Structure, Culture and Governance: a comparison of Norway and the United States. Rowman and Littlefield, 1999.

Hylland Eriksen. Thomas Being Norwegian in a shrinking world. Reflections on Norwegian identity.

In Anne Cohen Kiel, ed., Continuity and Change: Aspects of Modern Norway, Scandinavian University Press 1993. (this article is available on the internet at http://www.uio.no/-geirthe/Norwegian.html)

U.S.-Norwegian Relationship

Ramsoy, Natalie Rogoff, ed. Norwegian Society. Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1968. (Reprinted-Oslo: Universitets forlaget, 1974.)

Su-Dale, Elizabeth. Culture Shock Norway: a guide to customs and etiquette. Graphics Arts Center Publishing, Portland 1995.

Fiction

Asbjoernsen and Moe. Norwegian Folktales (Pat Shaw's translation).

Hamsun, Knut. Growth of the Soil.

Gaarder, Jostein. The Solitaire Mystery.

Hoel, Sigurd. Meeting at the Milestone.

Ibsen, Henrik. Peer Gynt.

Sandel, Cora. Alberte and Jacob. Ullmann, Linn. Before you Sleep (contemporary).

Undset, Sigrid. Kristin Lavansdatter.

Vesaas, Tarjei. The Birds.

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NORWAY

Kingdom of Norway

Kongeriket Norge

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Norway is situated in the western and northern parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula in northern Europe. It is bordered on the north by the Barents Sea (an arm of the Arctic Ocean), on the northeast by Finland and Russia, on the east by Sweden, on the south by Skagerrak Strait and the North Sea, and on the west by the Norwegian Sea. The Norwegian coastline extends for about 2,740 kilometers (1,700 miles) and with all its deeply cut fjords and islands it totals about 21,930 kilometers (13,620 miles) in length. These islands form an internal waterway protected from the ocean, and Norway's name, meaning "northern way," reflects the importance of that route for linking the country's large number of small isolated fjord and valley settlements separated by icy rugged mountains. Norway has a land area of 324,220 square kilometers (125,182 square miles), making it slightly larger than New Mexico. Located in the south, Oslo is Norway's capital and largest city; Bergen is the cultural center of western Norway and the second-largest city with a population of 225,439. Other important urban centers include Trondheim and Stavanger.

POPULATION.

The population of Norway was estimated at 4,481,162 in 2000; in 1998 it was 4,419,955. Due to its far northern location and mountainous landscape, the country has the lowest population density in continental Europe, with only 11 persons per square kilometer (28.5 per square mile). However, the population is very unevenly distributed across the country, with over half concentrated in the southeast, in and around the capital of Oslo. In contrast, the northernmost Finnmark and other remote districts have very small populations. The migration from the countryside and the increasing urbanization of the population, despite heavy regional governmental spending, have become a source of concern in Norway in recent years. More than three-quarters of the population live within about 16 kilometers (about 10 miles) of the sea, and some 74 percent live in urban areas.

The population of Norway is growing very slowly, with an annual rate of increase of only 0.44 percent in 1998. Norway's life expectancy was among the highest in the world in that year: 79 years for all82 years for women and 76 years for men, up from 76 years for women and 71 for men in 1965. Like much of Europe, the population is aging. One-third of the people were aged under 20 in 1971, but by 1999 the number had fallen to just over a quarter while the percentage over the age of 70 increased from 8.4 percent to 11.6 percent. In 1999, the population grew by 0.7 percent, the biggest population increase since the early 1950s. This was, however, due to a large net immigration of around 19,000 people, mostly Danes and Swedes, who filled in gaps in the employment market for medical professions and others. The fertility rate is currently around 1.8 children per woman, up from a low of 1.7 in 1985 but still far below the replacement level of 2.1. (Replacement levels help determine population growth. If one couple has 2 children, this is enough to "re-place" themselves. So if a replacement level for a society is significantly above or below 2, then the society may be growing or shrinking in overall population.) In line with the increase in the overall population size, the labor force has also expanded. In 1999, it was 2.33 million, compared to 2.19 million in 1995.

Much like the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden), the proportion of foreign citizens living in Norway is still relatively low by western European standards. The population is ethnically homogenous, and most Norwegians are Scandinavians of Germanic descent. Almost all Norwegians are fluent in English, and most of them have some cultural and family ties to the United States. Apart from about 20,000 Saami and some people of Finnish origin in the north, the country has no other significant minority groups, although there are also small numbers of Danes, Swedes, Britons, Pakistanis, Americans, Iranians, and former Yugoslavs.

At the beginning of 1999, there were 178,686 foreign citizens living in Norway (or around 4 percent of the total population), about one-third of these having come from the other Nordic states. One-sixth of all foreign citizens were registered as refugees, the largest group of them coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina's civil war in 1991-95. There were slightly more than 67,000 persons who had arrived initially with refugee status, but nearly half of them opted for Norwegian citizenship. Instances of racially and ethnically motivated violence have been growing in number in recent years despite the relatively low numbers of foreigners. Religious groups in Norway include Evangelical Lutherans, at 86 percent (state church); other Protestants and Roman Catholics, 3 percent; no religion, 10 percent; and others, 1 percent, all in 1997.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Given the country's size, Norway's economy is small by western European standards but is nevertheless considered among the healthiest in the world, largely due to its positive trade balance and lack of foreign debt . The country is widely hailed as an exemplary and prosperous combination of a social welfare state , dynamic free market activity, and active government intervention. Its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is among the world's highest, at US$28,100 in 1999, or about 18 percent higher than the western European average, ranking second only to tiny Luxembourg's in western Europe.

The country is rich in natural resources, including offshore oil and natural gas fields in the North Sea, abundant hydropower in the mountains, fish, forests, and minerals. It is a major exporter of oil and natural gas, other raw materials, and semi-processed goodsall of which make it highly dependent on international oil and gas prices for its revenues. In 2000, only Saudi Arabia exported more crude oil than Norway. But other major industries are prospering too, such as information technologies, fishing, pulp and paper products, and shipbuilding. The latter industry is under increasingly heavy competition from overseas (mostly Asian) shipyards, and fishing is heavily subsidized by the state. Norway's overall trade balance is characterized by an unusually large traditional surplus (of over US$18 billion in 1999-2000), it has no foreign debt, and is a major international net creditor and donor to the developing countries. Total foreign direct investment in Norway was estimated at about US$22.7 billion in 1998, according to the central bank of the country. The United States is Norway's leading foreign investor, followed by neighboring Sweden and other European Union (EU) members.

For quite some time, Norway was preparing for EU membership, but, contrary to its Nordic neighbors Sweden and Denmark, Norway's citizens decisively opted to stay out of the EU in 2 referenda held in 1972 and 1994. In doing so, Norway apparently hopes to preserve in relative isolation its unique economic advantages and high living standards. Norway is still linked to the EU, however, through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement that granted favorable access for most Norwegian non-agricultural products to the EU markets. Norway is improving its access to the European markets also by adopting internally most of the EU regulations. But its major focus at the turn of the century is rather on curbing extensive welfare spending and planning for the time when petroleum and natural gas reserves will be depleted. This is expected in less than 20 years for oil and less than 90 years for natural gas reserves at the present level of extraction and if no new fields are located.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Norway, like its Nordic neighbors Sweden and Denmark, has preserved its traditional political system of a constitutional hereditary monarchy. The parliament (Storting) is elected through a proportional system every 4 years in September (the most recent parliamentary elections occurred in 2001). In recent years, there have been 3 major factions of the 165-seat Storting. First is the Labor Party, historically the largest local party, with a social democratic and internationalist character, supported by the Socialist Left Party (the 2 groups have a total 74 seats). Then there are the 3 centrist parties: the Christian Democrats, the Center Party, and the Liberals (with a total of 42 seats). Finally there are 2 right-wing parties: the Conservative Party and the Progress Party (with a total of 48 seats). The centrist partieshistorically associated with particular, often contradictory, group interests and constituencies (such as the remote rural regions)have acquired greater political clout. But Norwegian parliamentary politics has a strong tradition for consensus and continuity, and minority governments usually seek and strike legislative agreements with several different opposition parties regarding the specific political issues at stake. Because of the conflicting interests their members and supporters represent, center-right parties have generally found cooperation difficult, both in government and in opposition.

The prime minister, the head of government, is selected by the majority in the parliament and is only formally appointed by the king. The prime minister appoints his cabinet, composed of 18 ministers. The most influential ministerial offices are traditionally those for finance, industry, shipping, petroleum and energy, and foreign affairs. The administrative structure of the ministries changes frequently from one administration to the next. The fact that the Labor government of Jens Stoltenberg, the ambitious young prime minister chosen in 2000, does not have a clear parliamentary majority has contributed to its centrist political course along the lines of most previous Norwegian administrations. The son of a well-known political family, Stoltenberg is a former oil and energy minister expected to accelerate the privatization of state-held offshore oil and gas concerns.

In a November 1994 referendum, Norwegians decisively rejected (for the second time) EU membership simply because the net benefit of joining appeared to the majority dubious, considering Norway's petroleum wealth and strong ties with the EU through the EEA. The majority in 1994 was of the opinion that the country had more to lose than to win from a full EU membership that would, in their view, jeopardize the heavy subsidies for the Norwegian fishing industry, agriculture, rural regions, and welfare system. EU membership, however, is attractive for the Labor government in the long term, especially given the depletion of oil and gas fields, and the membership issue may be reviewed after the September 2001 election, particularly if the party stays in power. The population remains dramatically split, as is the Labor party itself, with the national leadership more in favor of joining the EU than the rank-and-file party members and the regional bodies. Norway has already had some negative political experiences arising from not being an EU member. As a member of NATO (a military alliance of several western European countries along with the United States and Canada), it has voiced concerns after the EU's decision taken at the summit in Nice, France, in 2000, to develop the much-debated European rapid reaction force. Norway requested to be consulted on equal terms with the rest of the EU members on the issue, fearing that it might not be properly integrated into the negotiations and troop deployment process and alienated from decision-making regarding the European force.

Norway's economy remains an essentially mixed one, with economic policies and, particularly, income distribution patterns strongly influenced by government intervention. There is still a very significant state ownership component in petroleum, telecommunications, and commercial banking. The state extensively subsidizes agriculture, fishing, some large manufacturing companies, and remote northern and mountainous regions with scarce resources. An extensive government welfare system redistributing incomes through taxes remains at the core of the Norwegian economic model. The government also heavily stresses curbing unemployment and maintaining economic opportunities in remote and undeveloped areas. The private sector dominates in industries such as shipping, services outside the banking sector, and small to medium-scale manufacturing facilities. In 1999, the contribution of the private sector in GDP was one of the lowest in western Europe, at just 48.5 percent, compared to an average of 56.6 percent. There is indeed some political discussion about the future reduction of public sector ownership, and a government privatization program has been set up.

The most significant privatization deals in Norway by 2000 were probably the sale of 21 percent of the stock of the state-owned Telenor telecommunications firm, the sale of 91 percent of the equity of the state-controlled Christiania Bank (Kreditkassen) to Swedish-Finnish banking operation MeritaNordbanken, and the planned partial privatization of the government-owned oil giant Statoil. The Labor Party's plan involves the privatization of about one-third of Statoil, about 10 percent via the stock markets and about 20 percent through alliances with foreign companies, most likely with large western European utilities like Ruhrgas of Germany or Gaz de France. Norway may also offer foreign investors over half of the State Direct Financial Interest fields contributing for some 40 percent of the offshore petroleum production in the country. In 1999, Statoil was roughly estimated to be worth about 120 billion Norwegian kroner but it may be more highly valued in the future if international oil prices remain higher than the level they were at in 1999. Norsk Hydro, the second large oil company in which the government also has a controlling share, is reckoned to be worth considerably less than Statoil. The government, however, seems determined to keep the most profitable oil fields under its control.

Although a social welfare economy, Norway's tax rates are generally lower than the EU average. Companies and their branches are subject to both income and capital tax. Income tax of 28 percent applies to all forms of income of the corporate bodies and all other entities liable to taxation. The value-added tax (VAT) was increased to a 24 percent rate as of 1 January 2001, and an 11 percent dividend tax for shareholders may be introduced in 2002 to support generous domestic welfare spending. Norway has no foreign debt and is a major net external creditor.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

The quality of the Norwegian transportation infrastructure is quite good, although its high mountains and deeply cut valleys and fjords combined with a severe northern climate make inland transportation difficult during the winter months. Railroads are located mostly in the south while most of the northern regions are accessible only by ship, car, or aircraft. The importance the government attaches to regional issues and to investments in transport and communications is significant since many tunnels, bridges, and ferryboat services are indispensable in many parts of the country.

In 1999, the road network totaled 90,741 kilometers (57,000 miles), the majority being concentrated in the more populated areas, especially in and around Oslo. The 4,023 kilometer-long railroad system is also concentrated in the south of the country, connecting Oslo with the larger towns, notably Bergen and Stavanger, and leading to neighboring Sweden. A high-speed railroad connects the new international airport at Gardemoen with downtown

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Norway 588 915 579 160.1 474 50.0 373.4 754.15 2,000
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Germany 311 948 580 214.5 170 73.1 304.7 173.96 14,400
Sweden 445 932 531 221.4 464 50.9 361.4 581.47 3,666
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Oslo. The state railroad company, Norges Statsbaner, also provides local commuter services in the urbanized areas of Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim.

Air transport is very popular and there are 58 airports in the country, 22 of which are the properties of the state. In the 1990s, sizeable public investment was invested in modernizing the larger airports, and in 1998 a new international airport opened at Gardemoen, 50 kilometers north of the capital. The new air terminal, conceived as a showcase for the country's new oil prosperity, had severe financial problems in its first year of service and the plans for a second terminal have been suspended for the time being. The government (along with Sweden and Denmark) holds a 29 percent stake in the pan-Scandinavian air company Scandinavian Airline Systems (SAS). SAS is partnering with, among others, Lufthansa (Germany), New Zealand Air, and United Airlines (U.S.) to form the Star Alliance, competing successfully in the global aviation markets. There are also a number of smaller private Norwegian airlines, the best known of which is the Braathens, serving both domestic and international destinations.

Norway relies on shipping as a vital component of its transportation system. Ports are securely built, and there are many ice-free harbors on the coastline. The west and north coasts from Bergen to the Russian border form an important international shipping route for passengers and cargo from the Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean, and many ferry lines carry automobiles from Norway to Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Dependence on local ferryboat services remains very significant, including in the Oslo and Bergen urban areas.

Norway is still one of the foremost shipping nations in the world, and it offers extensive shipping and shipbuilding services, notably ship owning, brokerage, and shipyards. Norwegian merchant shipping companies own some 10 percent of the world's total fleet, and the fleet of offshore service ships is the world's second-largest in tonnage due mostly to the country's huge oil and gas industry. Norway is especially influential in the sphere of specialized and complex vessels, as Norwegian companies, among other things, control about 25 percent of the world's passenger cruise boats and close to 20 percent of all the world's chemical tankers and gas carriers.

Norway's energy production, as well as its usage per capita, ranks steadily among the highest in the world. Industry (especially the very energy-intensive aluminum and ferro-alloy industries) consumes 66 percent of all energy. Norway is one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, yet hydropower accounts for almost all electricity generation. About 60 percent of all exploitable water resources have already been utilized. Other renewable energy sources in the country are rather limited, and there is a single atomic power plant which has not yet been used for large-scale electricity generation. The domestic energy market was deregulated in 1991, boosting the already significant competition for large power consumers. Power is now sold by the utilities directly to the large-scale users or is instead traded on the NordPool, a fully developed international electricity market, covering Norway, Sweden, and Finland, the first one of its kind in Europe. Domestic electricity production, however, has been insufficient to meet rising demand, forcing Norway to import energy, mostly from Denmark. Over the 1990s, Norway planned to construct 2 new gas power plants in the west, but the debate over the increased pollution from these literally brought down one of the previous governments. The cabinet in office in 2001 supports the plans but still has to offset strong public opposition. It is also considering other possibilities, however, such as recycled and renewable energy sources, and plans to sharply curb electricity consumption.

Norway's telecommunications infrastructure is one of the most developed in the world, with a complete digitization of the telephone network. The number of fast Internet connections, such as Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) subscriptions, is rising very rapidly, reaching around 460,000 in 1999. Norway is a world leader in the development and use of mobile phone technologies. In 1999, the number of mobile phone lines surpassed that of the fixed ones, the former amounting to 2.6 million compared with 2.3 million for the latter. This rapid development comes partly from the country's liberalized telecommunications market, which has been open to foreign competition since 1998. Despite this competition, the state-owned telecommunications group, Telenor, has managed to maintain a large share of the market. Attempts to merge the group with its Swedish counterpart, Telia, were aborted in late 1999, forcing the government to consider alternative plans. In 2000, the Norwegian government said it would privatize between 15 percent and 25 percent of Telenor in 2001, reducing its holding to 51 percent of the company.

Electronic commerce and use of the Internet are also on the rise and by 2000, 63 percent of the Norwegians had access to the Internet and about 340,000 customers bought goods and services online every month.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Like most of its Western European counterparts, the Norwegian economy has undergone significant structural changes over the last decades of the 20th century. It has become increasingly services-oriented, while the once leading sectors of agriculture, forestry, fishing, and manufacturing have gradually declined in terms of contribution to GDP. In 1999, agriculture, forestry and fishing although still employing 4 percent of the labor forceaccounted for 2.2 percent of GDP in 1998. Industry as a whole accounted for 26.3 percent of GDP while services, including those provided by the government, accounted for 71.5 percent of GDP. This distribution is much like that of other Western European countries, except that the offshore oil and gas sector is much larger in Norway.

In 1995, the labor force was distributed by occupation as follows: services, 74 percent; industry, 22 percent; and agriculture, forestry, and fishing, 4 percent. The capital-intensive offshore oil sector absorbs only 3 percent of the labor force.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture in Norway accounts for about 2 percent of annual GDP, and only 3 percent of the land is cultivatedwhich seems natural, given the cold climate, thin soils, and mountainous terrain. Grains are grown only in the south while western Norway has some livestock raising and dairy farming. The leading crops in 1998 were cerealsparticularly barley, wheat, and oats (total output of 1.3 million metric tons)and potatoes (400,320 tons). In 1998, there were 2.5 million sheep, 998,400 cattle, and 768,400 hogs in the country. Norway is still a major fishing nation and is self-sufficient in many agricultural products, but fruits, vegetables, and most grains are all imported. Agriculture and fishing remain heavily protected by the Norwegian government.

INDUSTRY

MINING.

Mining was of relatively little importance in Norway before oil and natural gas fields were found in the North Sea and offshore drilling began in the early 1970s. In 2000, this sector accounted for about 13 percent of GDP (compared with a peak of 18.5 percent in 1984), and the percentage in any year depends mostly on world oil and gas prices. The sector is still largely state-owned, yet as a consequence of restructuring in the global oil industry in the late 1990s, the government has announced plans to allow some partial privatization of its assets.

Oil production started on an experimental basis in 1971, and in 1974 the first seabed pipeline was installed to bring crude oil to the United Kingdom. In 1997, annual oil output was 1.15 billion barrels and gas production was 45.3 billion cubic meters (1.6 billion cubic feet). Natural gas is now piped to Germany and Scotland. Norway also has several modern petroleum refineries. With the high world oil prices in late 2000, its external trade account remained very strong. The oil and gas sector will continue to play a leading role in the economy over the next several decades although its prominence will decline gradually with the progressive depletion of the deposits. According to the Norwegian state petroleum directorate, the remaining oil and gas resources were expected to last 19 and 87 years, respectively, from 1998 at that year's rates of extraction.

Other raw products mined and processed in Norway include iron ore, lead concentrates, titanium, iron pyrites, coal, zinc, and copper. Major iron mines are located in the far north at Sydvaranger, near the Russian border, and a large integrated iron and steel plant is situated at Mo i Rana, near the Arctic Circle. All the coal is mined in the Svalbard (Spitzbergen) archipelago beyond the Arctic Circle where a coal mining concession is also given to neighboring Russia.

MANUFACTURING.

Manufacturing accounts for 1 percent of annual GDP. The electrochemical and electro-metallurgical industries form the leading manufacturing sector. They need an abundance of inexpensive electrical power, which Norway can easily supply. Although all raw materials for the aluminum industry must be imported, Norway produces about 4 percent of the world's output of refined aluminum. It is also a major ferroalloy supplier.

Norway has traditionally been a major shipbuilding nation, but its share of the world's newly built tonnage was less than 1 percent in the mid-1980s. Shipbuilding declined dramatically in the late 1970s as the industry encountered financial problems and Asian competitors carved out larger market shares worldwide. Many shipyards have since shifted capacity to the manufacture of equipment for the oil and gas offshore drilling industries and to transportation. Other manufactures include confections and other food products, chemicals, pulp and paper, and machinery.

SERVICES

FINANCE.

The Norges Bank (the central bank) is the executive body for monetary, credit, and exchange policies. It is also the bank of issue . It is a joint-stock company with the government holding all the shares. Major players in the Norwegian banking sector include some large full-service banks active in the wholesale and retail sectors and many small private retail institutions. Commercial banks are influential and have close relationships with trade and industry, but merchant banks have not reached the prominent position they enjoy elsewhere in Europe. There is also a wide range of savings banks with a long tradition, serving a substantial part of the local credit market. The Norwegian Post Office also keeps its own banking network. There are several specialized smaller banks serving the fisheries, agriculture, shipping, industry, house building, and export trades. The government participates in all of them to various degrees. Banking in Norway is very modern, automated, and computerized. Banking activities are regulated by several pieces of legislation such as the Commercial Banking Act, the Savings Bank Act, and the Act on Financing and Finance Institutions. The liberalization of the sector in the 1990s allowed foreign banks to operate in the country.

TOURISM.

Tourism accounts for around 15 percent of total service revenues. In 1998, there were 1,176 hotels with a total capacity of over 137,000 beds, and nearly 1,000 registered campsites existed. In 1998, foreigners accounted for 32 percent of hotel guest nights, much less than in previous years. The country's main attractions are its picturesque coastline and its fjords, and it boasts a number of well-known ski resorts (Norway has hosted winter Olympic games and other major international sporting events).

RETAIL.

Mainly as a result of Norway's relatively small domestic market, retailers have been unable to develop into major international players and have remained small even by the modest Nordic standards. In retail, the best-known companies include Rimi, Rema 1000, Kiwi, and ICA. Direct marketing is gaining some ground, and e-commerce is particularly robust as almost two-thirds of the population had access to personal computers in 2000.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Norway's economy is comparatively small and highly dependent on international trade and oil and gas prices, yet it seems less open than the western European average. In 1998, its exports and imports of goods and services accounted for only 38.9 percent and 33 percent of GDP, respectively. Chief export partners include the EU countries with 77 percent of exports (United Kingdom, 17 percent; Germany, 12 percent; Netherlands, 10 percent; Sweden, 10 percent; France, 8 percent), and the United States at 7 percent. Imports were shipped mostly from the EU with 69 percent (Sweden, 15 percent; Germany, 14 percent; the UK, 10 percent; Denmark, 7 percent), the United States at

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Norway
exports Imports
1975 7.232 9.705
1980 18.562 16.926
1985 19.985 15.556
1990 34.047 27.231
1995 41.992 32.968
1998 39.645 36.193
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

7 percent, and Japan with 4 percent (1998). Norway has a strongly positive balance of trade, and its surplus increased in 1999 and 2000 due to the increase in the volume of oil exports and the higher average international oil prices. Exports in 1999 stood at US$47.3 billion while imports stood at US$38.6 billion.

Energy and raw and semi-processed goods (oil, metals, and chemicals) still account for some 80 percent of Norwegian exports. The rest consists of exports of machinery and equipment, and various manufactured goods. In 1998, petroleum accounted for some 40 percent of exports, followed by metals and metal products, chemicals, and foodstuffs (mostly fish and fish products). The bulk of imports (55 percent) consisted of machinery, automobiles, equipment, and various manufactured items, followed by industrial raw materials, notably ores for the aluminum industry (40 percent) and food and beverages (6 percent).

MONEY

Norway's financial and banking industries are following the general consolidation trend characterizing the global and the Nordic financial sector in the 1990s, yet with greater reluctance than elsewhere, largely due to its independent, somewhat insular, mindset that has kept Norway outside the EU for so long. In the late 1990s, for example, the centrist coalition government did all it could

Exchange rates: Norway
Norwegian kroner per US$1
Jan 2001 8.7784
2000 8.8018
1999 7.7992
1998 7.5451
1997 7.0734
1996 6.4498
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

to prevent the sale of the second-largest Norwegian commercial bank, Christiania Kreditkassen, to the Scandinavian (Finnish-Swedish) conglomerate MeritaNordbanken. The government preferred a domestic Norwegian solution to the problem, potentially involving the country's largest bank, Den Norske Bank, the majority of which is state-owned.

Norway's financial system is still afflicted by a banking crisis of the early 1990s. The origin of that crisis dated back to 1984, when the dropping of lending limitations combined with very low interest rates led to a vast expansion of debt among Norwegian households and businesses. Households were not able to meet their repayments, and bankruptcies among companies increased when macroeconomic policies were tightened in response to rising inflation . In 1990 Christiania Kreditkassen and the third-largest commercial bank, Fokus Bank, were almost brought to insolvency. In 1991, to prevent a confidence crisis, the government created a bank insurance fund that provided resources for the country's largest commercial banks. As a result, the state became a major shareholder in these banks.

The Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE) is still very small by international standards, with 215 listed companies and an annual turnover of US$57.1 billion (1999), but it performs well mostly due to the interest in information technology and high-tech stocks in recent years. Yet the largest companies in terms of market capitalization still originate from the "old economy": Norsk Hydro (oil), Orkla (consumer products), and Den Norske Bank and Christiania Kreditkassen (banking). Foreign investors held 31 percent of the equity listed on the OSE in 1999, and their share has been relatively constant since 1994. Equity (stock) ownership has become popular in Norwegian society, although to a lesser degree than it is in the United States, with 7 percent of the population holding shares. The OSE is a partner in the Norex alliance, consisting of stock exchanges from Denmark and Sweden, and these 3 indexesplus Iceland'splan to begin trading on a new electronic system in 2001.

Government finances and external trade balance are both in surplus, and Norwegian interest rates are higher than the euro area rates. The Norwegian krone's appreciation against the euro throughout 1999 and 2000 was largely due to these factors.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Norwegians enjoy a healthy economy with strong socialist traditions in equitable income distribution and generous welfare spending. Living standards are high, but so is the cost of living. Norway's Gini index score (which rates social equality in a country, with a score of 0 indicating perfect equality and a score of 100 indicating perfect

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Norway 19,022 23,595 27,113 28,840 36,806
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Germany N/A N/A N/A N/A 31,141
Sweden 21,157 22,283 24,168 26,397 27,705
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

inequality) in 1995 was 25.8, far below those of other affluent economies such as the United States (40.8), the United Kingdom (36.1), and Switzerland (33.1), which means that there are few very large private fortunes and virtually no blatant poverty in the country. The unemployment rate was estimated at 2.9 percent in 1999, and consumer price inflation was 2.3 percent in 1998, both much lower than the western European averages. The extensive welfare system helps keep public expenditures steady at more than one-half of GDP.

Despite high per capita income and generous welfare benefits, many Norwegians worry about the time when oil and gas begin to run out in the next 2 decades. As in other Nordic countries, many young and educated Norwegians consider moving abroad partly in pursuit of greater personal challenge.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The Norwegian economy is characterized by strong socialist and labor union traditions. The annual wage growth averaged 6.3 percent in 1998, and manufacturing workers' hourly wages were 30-40 percent higher than in the United States. Safety at work and environmental protection are among the most advanced in the world, and the average working time is 37.5 hours per week. Senior executives in Norway, however, are paid considerably less than their U.S. colleagues.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Norway
Lowest 10% 4.1
Lowest 20% 9.7
Second 20% 14.3
Third 20% 17.9
Fourth 20% 22.2
Highest 20% 35.8
Highest 10% 21.8
Survey year: 1995
Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

In 1999, unemployment dropped to 2.9 percent (from 4.1 percent in 1997) due to the continuing economic growth. While skilled and semi-skilled labor has been traditionally available, strong economic expansion since 1992 has led to shortages of some categories of professionals (mostly medical doctors and nurses) and construction workers. The government has a practice of imposing mandatory wage mediation in the event strikes threaten to disrupt the economy seriously. In 1998, for example, the cabinet ordered striking air traffic controllers' and health workers' unions to return their members to work.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

9TH CENTURY.

King Harald I the Fairhair reigns over the first Norwegian kingdom, which is later disbanded into small feudal states. Vikings begin exploration and invasions all over Europe, settling in the late 9th century in Ireland, Britain, Iceland, the Orkney Islands, the Faeroe Islands, and the Shetland Islands.

985. King Eric the Red leads an expedition to Greenland. His son, Leif Ericson, is among the first Europeans

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Norway 16 7 11 5 4 6 51
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Germany 14 6 7 2 10 7 53
Sweden 17 5 12 4 14 6 41
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

to explore North America. Other Vikings settle in France, becoming ancestors of the Normans.

995. King Olaf I, a scion of Harald I, takes to Christianizing Norway and is later canonized as Norway's patron saint.

1035. Olaf's son, Magnus I, returns from Russia to the throne and unites Denmark and Norway. For 3 centuries, native kings rule Norway, which begins to emerge as a nation, enjoying a comparative prosperity due to its merchant fleet.

1397. Norway becomes a neglected part of Denmark when Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are put into a single administrative unit. Prosperity and culture decline in Norway as the plague decimates the population. For 4 centuries under the Danish rule the country remains largely stagnant.

1799-1815. Norwegian nationalism starts to rise. In 1814 Denmark cedes Norway to Sweden. The Norwegians declare independence, but European powers force them to accept Swedish rule. They are allowed in return to retain their new constitution and have autonomy with a legislature, army, navy, and customs within their boundaries.

1905. The Norwegians vote for independence from Sweden. The new liberal Norwegian government becomes one of the most advanced in Europe in the area of unemployment, insurance benefits, old-age pensions, and liberal laws on divorce and illegitimacy.

1913. Norwegian women are given the right to vote, and the government promotes equality in the workplace and other progressive policies. Women begin to play an important role in politics.

1914. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark agree to stay neutral in World War I.

1935. The Labor Party is elected to office and continues the policies of moderation and political liberalism dominating domestic politics since 1905.

1940. Norway's traditional neutrality notwithstanding, German forces invade the country in World War II, and a resistance movement in the country cooperates with the government-in-exile in London.

1945. The Labor Party takes office (after Germany surrenders) and remains in power for 20 years. Norway develops a social democratic welfare state as the government takes over the planning of the economy, reinforcing positions in international markets, redistributing wealth more equally, and introducing social welfare legislation.

1959. Norway becomes a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

1967. Norway starts a comprehensive social security program.

1970. Norway applies for membership in the European Community (now the EU), but in a referendum in 1972 the voters reject the government's move.

1970s. Oil and gas exploitation in the North Sea fields by a state company begins.

1981. The first woman prime minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland of the Labor party, takes office.

1994. The European Parliament endorses membership for Norway in the EU, but in a referendum, Norwegians reject joining by about 52 percent to about 48 percent, fearing that it would affect farm subsidies and fishing rights.

FUTURE TRENDS

Norway will most likely preserve its healthy economy and high living standards over the next decades, although the EU membership controversy will, no doubt, continue to be a major issue in domestic politics.

Privatization will enter the oil industry as Statoil is expected to be partly privatized in 2001. The Labor government will further sell a part of the State Direct Financial Interest in offshore oil production and will continue to invite major foreign investors to the industry. Gradual liberalization of offshore oil licensing policy will attract smaller foreign companies to the sector. Foreign tradeexcept in agriculture, fishing, and energywill gradually become more and more regulated by the EU through the EEA.

Norway is seriously planning for the time when oil and gas will become depleted and is not very likely to experience significant economic disruption and social hardship once this happens. Yet a serious restructuring of the economy is expected to occur, and social welfare spending may be put to some considerable strain. The perspective of losing the oil wealth may also convince the majority of Norwegians to opt for EU membership in the long run.

DEPENDENCIES

Norway has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bjørnland, Hilde Christiane. Trends, Cycles, and Measures of Persistence in the Norwegian Economy. Oslo-Kongsvinger: Statistisk sentralbyrå, 1995.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Norway. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Galenson, Walter. A Welfare State Strikes Oil: The Norwegian Experience. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1986.

Norwegian Trade Council in North America. <http://www.ntcusa.org>. Accessed September 2001.

Royal Norwegian Embassy in the United States of America. NORWAY.org. <http://www.norway.org>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Norway. <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/norway_9905_bgn.html>. Accessed January 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Norway. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/index.html>. Accessed January 2001.

Valentin Hadjiyski

CAPITAL:

Oslo.

MONETARY UNIT:

Norwegian krone (NOK; also known as Kr). One krone equals 100 øre. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 20 krone, and 50 øre, and notes of 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 krone.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, raw materials, metals, chemicals, ships, fish.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Machinery and equipment, automobiles, chemicals, metals, foodstuffs.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$111.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$47.3 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$38.6 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

views updated

Norway

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Kingdom of Norway
Region: Europe
Population: 4,481,162
Language(s): Norwegian, Lapp, Finnish
Literacy Rate: 100%
Academic Year: August-June
Number of Primary Schools: 2,129
Compulsory Schooling: 9 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 7.4%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 11,225
Libraries: 1,108
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 320,752
  Secondary: 368,074
  Higher: 185,320
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 118%
  Higher: 62%
Teachers: Higher: 13,665
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 100%
  Secondary: 116%
  Higher: 71%



History & Background

Norway, officially known as the Kingdom of Norway, includes a large mainland, a variety of small islands, and other territories totaling 368,658 square kilometers (149,366 square miles). Located in northern Europe, Norway lies on the Scandinavian peninsula and is surrounded by three seas to the west and shares most of its eastern border with Sweden. The northern section of Norway experiences cold winters and weeks of continuous darkness, along with weeks of continuous sun in the summer. The country includes large barren and mountainous regions and has a population of just 4.4 million people. In 1999, it was estimated that 28.1 percent of Norwegians live in one of the four largest urban areas, and only these four areas have more than 100,000 inhabitants. Oslo, the capital of Norway, has approximately 500,000 inhabitants, and the next largest area, Bergen, has 220,000 inhabitants. Just 15 communities have more than 20,000 inhabitants. About 20 percent of Norwegians are under the age of 15, and 38 percent are married.

Relative to most countries, Norway's population is overwhelmingly homogenous. The vast majority are Nordic in heritage and appearance, and more than 60 percent have blue eyes. About 85 percent of Norwegians claim membership in the Lutheran Church of Norway. Most though are merely nominal members of the state-run church with less than 3 percent attending regular religious services. Freedom to practice any religion is available to all. The language of Norway is German in origin, and modern Norwegian has several dialects but all are understood across Scandinavian countries. One written language, known as Riksmal or "official language," was in place until about 1850. Landsmal or "country language" was a written form created out of rural Norwegian dialects. A struggle over these two written forms resulted in both being given equal status. Over 80 percent of schools use Riksmal, now known as Dano-Norwegian (Nynorsk ). English is a compulsory subject in school, and German and French are common third languages selected by students.

Just one hundred years ago, Norway was an agricultural society. In 2000, the 3 largest sectors of employment were public services (40 percent); commerce, hotels, and restaurants (18 percent); and industry (17 percent). Norway is one of the leaders in the world in the exportation of petroleum. With an abundance of offshore oil and peaceful political and labor relations, Norway's standard of living is one of the highest in the world. A social democracy, Norway has a parliamentary monarchy with numerous political parties. A strong sense of equality dominates social policy in Norway. National health and welfare systems provide for all Norwegians and include free medical care and full support in retirement or because of disability. Norwegians also rank among the highest in the world in projected life expectancy.

In terms of its educational history, independence from Denmark in 1814 was pivotal in the development of Norway's educational policy. Denmark had ruled Norway for the previous 400 years, but turned over control to Sweden when Napoleon was defeated. To counter this transfer of control, Norwegians quickly created a constitution that called for the most democratic political structure to date, including a parliamentary system, the abolition of any further hereditary titles, and expanded voting privileges. Although a small elite still ruled Norway, this constitution resulted in the limitation of Sweden's control and has been maintained, with the addition of amendments, to this day. With independence and a democratically based constitution, it was believed that Norway should be an open society, one in which all children have the right to be literate and all citizens should participate in decision making. A centrally organized and comprehensive school system was thought essential for this and to make a cohesive nation out of such a dispersed population. While at least a few years of religious training had been available to most children before this time, independence and the industrial revolution inspired the expansion of educational opportunities for Norwegians. National educational policy was developed through legislation over the next 150 years.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Just after independence from Denmark, the Storting committee was organized in 1815 to address all school matters. Before independence, Luther's focus on schooling was supported by ordinances in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and consequently, some schooling was available to children of all social classes for the purpose of religious development. These ordinances recognized that children needed to be literate to read scriptures and to learn specific religious knowledge for Christian confirmation into adulthood. Norway was one of the first countries in Europe to have compulsory education. With the 1739 School Ordinance, schooling was required, even of children in the countryside beginning at the age of seven. The motivation for this ordinance was the religious development of all Norwegian children, including those located away from any sizable town. The provision in this ordinance that required the creation of permanent schools was unworkable though in tiny communities that could not afford them. As a result, local parishes took responsibility for providing schooling and traveling schools were established in which teachers would spend a few weeks at a time in various locations. Mostly, children were taught to read and study religious principles. Children were rarely taught to write, and most attended school for just a few years. Schooling was widely available at this time though, and Norwegians prided themselves on their rate of literacy. By 1800, it was believed that almost all Norwegians were literate, a remarkable achievement given that the literacy rate for all of Europe did not exceed 50 percent for adults until about 1850. For the most part, higher education institutions did not exist prior to Norwegian independence. Some alternative forms of schooling were available. The developing industrial revolution in Norway at the time of independence required vocational training opportunities. Thus, traditional apprentice systems were replaced with schools focused on seamanship, handwork, drafting, and mining.

National school policy continued to be developed and refined and became more secular and extensive with time. The 1848 Folk School Law mandated the creation of a least one folk school in each town, that teachers meet certain qualifications, that 60 students per day is the maximum allowed per teacher, that children attend school from age 7 until confirmation, and that each town have a school commission consisting of town clergy and council appointees. Most important, this law expanded the educational content offered. While only reading and religious instruction were taught previously, now subjects such as writing, singing, and math were to be taught in all schools. By the end of the nineteenth century, laws establishing elementary and secondary schools were passed.

The modern school was developed in three stages of reform, each stage was established through national legislation. The compulsory school (Grunnskole ) was revised in 1969 into a nine-year mandated program. Two stages, stage 1-6 (barnesteget ) and stage 7-9 (ungdomssteget ) were created. The next step of the reform involved the upper secondary school (Videregaende skole ), which lasted from one to three years and incorporated a wide variety of courses with a focus on higher education preparation or vocational training. The last reform stage involved the development of the tertiary level of education. The University of Oslo was the only university in Norway until 1948. Three additional universities were eventually established, and in the 1970s, regional colleges grew at a tremendous rate. These colleges allowed for greater access to higher education across Norway and served local needs for education, research, and development.


Educational SystemOverview

The national school system is designed to provide a quality education to every citizen. Egalitarian values with respect to education are quite strong in Norway. In fact, the government attempts to provide the same quality education to absolutely every Norwegian, no matter how remote a community is or how few children it has. For example, the government spends twice as much per pupil in poor areas where children are scattered over a large area than in other regions of Norway. Likewise, gender differences in educational opportunities have been eliminated. The percentage of girls in upper secondary schools, for example, exceeds the percentage of boys in those schools. Gender preferences in course selection are still apparent though. The result is that parents and communities tend to regard their local school as equal to any other school. Schools do not compete against each other for students, and parents do not "shop" for schools for their children. Almost all Norwegians attend local publicly funded schools.

In 1997, the mandatory age at which children must start school was changed from seven to six years old. Now, all children are required to attend school for 10 years from the age of 6 until the age of 16. After these mandatory years, an optional eleventh year is offered. School size is limited by the Parliament. A maximum of 450 students per school is mandated by law. The philosophy behind this is that small schools function better than consolidated schools at facilitating close connections between the school, students, parents, and community. Some school subjects are required. These include Norwegian, English, mathematics, science, physical education, music, and religion. Students may elect to take courses in the arts, other foreign languages, and vocational programs, such as seamanship, office skills, or agriculture. After these mandatory school years, many students go on to three more years of upper secondary school. They may then take an examination that allows them to be considered for entrance into a university. About the same number of students attend vocational schools as attend college and universities. Because of state support, few schools charge tuition, and all interested students, no matter what their financial need, are eligible for loans from the government.

In 1998, the percentage of those 16 years of age or older whose highest level of education completed was primary/lower secondary school was 23.2 percent, whose highest level was upper secondary school was 54.5 percent, and whose highest level was tertiary education was 22.2 percent. This last percentage has doubled since 1980. Gender differences in these rates exist but are small. The percentage of males who are 16 years of age or older and have completed tertiary schooling is 22.7. The corresponding percentage for females is 21.8 percent. In 2000, the expected years of tertiary education for a 17-year-old Norwegian was 3 years. This is higher than the expected number of years for both Denmark and Sweden. Again, gender differences in these expectations are minimal. Expected years of tertiary education was 3.4 years for 17-year-old women and 2.5 years for 17-year-old men in 2000.


Preprimary & Primary Education

Kindergartens have come into popularity in Norway only recently. The number of children in kindergartens more than doubled in the 1980s, and there still are not enough schools. The dramatic increase seems to be due to a high rate of female employment outside of the home, the increase of single-parent families, and a demand by the public for more focus on basic instruction. About a third of eligible children attend kindergartens, and half of these children attend private kindergartens. The kindergarten in Norway is intended to serve both the educational and the social development of children. Consequently, kindergartens are run by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Administration, not the Ministry of Church and Education. In 1999, a total of 189,382 children were enrolled in kindergarten. The 5,991 kindergartens in Norway employ 52,898 people. Of these kindergartens, 3,013 of them are state schools.

As of 1997, compulsory education begins at the age of six. Typically, compulsory education begins with six years of primary school. A class teacher model is usual, and classes are generally held together through compulsory schooling. Moreover, it is typical for a student to have the same primary teacher for the first three years, and many have the same primary teacher for their first six years. No students repeat grades. Teachers are given materials that help them respond to different ability levels in their classrooms, but students are never divided at this level based on ability. No examinations or grades are given in primary school, although both are prevalent in lower secondary school. Parents are given a report about their child's progress at least twice a year. Primary school is followed by three years of lower secondary school, and usually all nine compulsory grades are located in a single school building.

In lower secondary school, classes are still kept together, but for some subjects, especially in the eighth and ninth grades, students are divided into three levels for courses, such as Norwegian, English, German, and mathematics, based on the students' ability in each of these areas. Parents and students are involved in the placement of students into these courses. The goal though, as determined by the Parliament, is to keep classes of students together as much as possible throughout their comprehensive school years. As in primary school, students do not repeat grades in lower secondary school. However, students do receive marks at this level and, at the end of the ninth grade year, take a formal examination.

Norway has about 3,500 compulsory schools, resulting in an average school size of 150 students. By mandate of the Parliament, no compulsory school has more than 450 students. Some schools are quite small and occasionally must accommodate more than one grade in a single class. All compulsory schools are operated by local municipalities, although they are subject to the framework and regulations of the central government. The national plan allows for numerous variations and even encourages innovations at the local level. Locally initiated and registered development projects number over 3,000. Class size is also mandated by the Parliament. In primary school, the maximum class size is 28, and for the lower secondary school, it is 30. The average class size is much lower than these mandates. For primary and lower secondary schools, the average class size was 20.2 students per class in the 2000 to 2001 school year. From 1991 to 2000, the number of students per class rose from 19.2 to 20.2. In compulsory education, the student to teacher ratio is 12.5 in full-time teacher equivalents. In 1998, school expectancy for five-year-old Norwegian girls was 18.1 years and for boys, it was 17.2 years. More than 90 percent of students go on to upper secondary school after completing their compulsory schooling.

In autumn of 2000, approximately 590,000 pupils populated Norway's primary and lower secondary schools. From the 1991 to 1992 to the 2000 to 2001 school years, the number of pupils in primary and lower secondary schools increased by a total of 117,000. Much of this change can be explained by the lowering of starting school age from six to seven years old in 1997. At the beginning of the 2000 to 2001 school year, there were 12 fewer primary schools than at the beginning of the previous school year and 150 fewer schools than there were in 1991. A wide variation in the number of primary and lower secondary schools in the various counties exists. Hordaland is the county with the most schools (350), and Nordland, More og Romsdal, Akershus, and Rogaland have more than 200 schools. The counties with the smallest number of schools are Aust-Agder (80) and Finnmark (100). Interestingly, the number of students in Nordland and More og Romsdal counties is relatively small, about half the number of students in the most populated county, yet these two counties have a large number of schools because of differences in demography and settlement patterns. While quality of primary and lower secondary schools are similar, their distribution and size is quite diverse.


Secondary Education

Three years of upper secondary education are offered to students. Classic academic and vocational training programs were combined into a single comprehensive school as a result of the 1974 Upper Secondary School Law. This law was intended to eliminate any status differences between practical and theoretical kinds of education. With both vocational and general studies offered in the same school, all students became free to choose between these kinds of programs. Students may also participate in apprenticeship programs where their training comes from a purely apprentice based experience, a combination of apprentice work and school based activities, or purely school based activities. A general studies education in upper secondary school is considered the best preparation for university attendance. The competition, however, is greatest for the vocational programs, and once students are admitted to the foundational course for a vocational program, they are not necessarily continued to the next levels of more specialized vocational training. Students must be high achievers to be selected for and to move on in their chosen practical programs. In addition, because these students learn job skills and are still eligible to go on to higher education, they are thought to have the best of both worlds. In contrast, admission standards for general studies are minimal, and fewer students seek those slots. Moreover, continuation is virtually assured. However, some of the brightest students choose this route because it leads most directly to higher education. The trend though is that many of the brightest students compete for spots in the top vocational courses, and the availability of general studies slots has lowered the status of this emphasis. A consequence of top students taking so many vocational slots that would have previously gone to students who have had difficulty in a traditional school format is that these students are forced to take a general studies program or drop out of school. A general studies program would allow them to compete more effectively for higher education admission, but few seek it and all are left with no vocational skills and three more years of the type of schooling in which they have not been successful in the past. Some have referred to students who are not motivated by traditional classroom learning techniques as "school tired youth." Of those 16- to 18-years-old, the usual age group for this level of schooling, about 57.5 percent participated in a general studies program in the 2000 to 2001 school year.

Eleven branches of study are available at the upper secondary level. These include general education, manual and industrial studies, arts and crafts, fishing and maritime studies, sports, clerical and commercial studies, domestic arts and sciences, social and health studies, media and communication, and retail and service trades. Each branch has the same structure in that students participate in one or two years of foundation courses, and then, depending on the branch and the length of the foundation courses, one or two years of concentrated training. Within each branch, more specialized courses of study are available. For example, within the Metals and Industrial Studies branch, subjects may include carpentry and metal work, plumbing, clock repair, flower decoration, and piano tuning and repair. The full range of possible vocational courses are not available at every school. In this circumstance, students and their parents may search for a school offering the specific desired courses. Grades are given at this level to reflect student's school work, and separate grades are given to reflect achievement on standardized examinations. The number and nature of examinations depend upon the area of study. Examinations may be written, oral, or some combination of the two. In general studies, students take several examinations, including one for Norwegian composition. In vocational studies, students may take an examination in each of the first two years and then two examinations in their final year. Both kinds of grades, teacher ratings and examination results, are listed on the certificate students receive upon leaving secondary school. Details about the individual student's academic record are also recorded on this certificate, including courses taken and school attendance record.

Although there are more girls, 54.4 percent, in the general areas of study than boys, girls are the vast majority of the health and social studies with 91.7 percent. Girls also account for 82.8 percent of those in arts, crafts and design and 73.2 percent of those in music, dance, and drama. These are considered "soft" areas of emphasis. In the 2000 to 2001 school year, two new areas of study, media and communication and retail and service trades, were added. These new areas have an equal distribution of male and female students. The curriculum for upper secondary schools is developed by the central government, but secondary schools are administered by each county. Although three years of upper secondary or post-basic education are typical for students, certificates are available after completing one and two year programs. Graduation from upper secondary school typically occurs at age 19. Approximately 164,000 students are registered in upper secondary education for the 2000 to 2001 school year. Vocational programs accounted for 42.5 percent of the total number of students. The number of students in secondary school age 20 and over dropped from 14.4 percent in the 1999 to 2000 academic year to 12.6 percent in the 2000 to 2001 school year.

Large differences in the social backgrounds of pupils in general studies and vocational programs in upper secondary school exist. About two percent of students in the vocational programs have parents with a post-graduate level education, while more than 65 percent have parents with an upper secondary level. Although few gender differences in the rate of attendance at upper secondary schools exist, course choices are quite gender specific. Girls choose health, social studies, and aesthetic programs more than boys do, and boys outnumber girls by far in engineering and mechanical trades. In the 2000 to 2001 school year, girls accounted for just 1.7 percent of building and construction trades, 3.8 percent of electrical trades, and 4.4 percent of engineering and mechanical trades. The gender distribution in upper secondary education and at folk high schools has changed slightly from autumn 1996 to autumn 1999. The female percentage in general studies programs has remained the same, but an increase of 3 percent in vocational programs has occurred over these three years. At folk high schools, the percentage of female students has risen by 5 percent from 1996 to 1999. In apprentice programs, 31 percent of students are female, an increase of five percent since 1996. In an effort to expand opportunities for all Norwegians, the Parliament gives priority to disabled students in admittance to upper secondary schools.

Student councils were mandated for secondary schools with the 1974 Secondary School Law. Students have worked to create more say in school affairs and have been successful in getting more power to determine what is relevant and appropriate for their education. Teachers at the upper secondary level tend to find their jobs to be difficult. They complain of conflicting objectives and too much being asked of them. They are required to teach basic subjects, along with cultural heritage, democratic values, and vocational training. Updating subjects and secondary training is done at the national level by the Upper Secondary School Council. This council also creates new initiatives and was responsible, for example, for a program that introduced computers into schools and established training in information technology for teachers in the 1980s. In 1998, there were 230,115 students in upper secondary schools in Norway. In 2000, among all Norwegians between the ages of 55- and 64-years-old, 65 percent have completed at least upper secondary education; but for Norwegians between the ages of 25- and 34-years-old, 93 percent have done so.


Higher Education

Norwegian universities offer programs of study at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Four universities and 26 state colleges, among a variety of other kinds of higher education institutions, are available to students in Norway. Smaller specialized colleges offer degree programs that are just two or three years in length, while university studies tend to be longer in duration. A small percentage of students attend college outside of the country. About 40 percent of 19-year-olds meet the formal requirements for higher education and about 25 percent of them immediately enter a college or university. Another 10 percent who do not meet the formal criteria are admitted based on other criteria. Entrance to most fields of study is limited because the number of applicants exceed the number of places available. In medicine, technological fields, teacher training, and business economics, minimum entrance regulations help to limit applicants. Unlike most other countries, high achieving students are as likely to attend district colleges as they are to attend universities in Norway, and district college students have the opportunity to transfer to universities if they desire. The student to teacher ratio is 17 in colleges and 11 in universities. Although students do not usually complete upper secondary school until 19 years of age, most put off higher education for a few years while gaining work experience. Others interrupt their higher education for paid employment. The majority of young men in Norway are drafted into military service lasting more than one year, and this delays the completion of their higher education programs. The result of these delays is that about half of the students at institutions of higher education are over the age of 25, and one-fifth are over the age of 30. In terms of gender disparity, in all higher education institutions in 1998, there were 106,711 female students compared to 77,352 male students. Females also outnumber male students at universities with 43,166 female to 37,962 male students enrolled in 1998. The difference is much larger at the state college level with 51,869 female to 28,965 male students. In 2000, nearly 59 percent of students in higher education were female. Male students are in the majority at a few universities and colleges with mostly technological or economic degree programs, such as the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norwegian School of Economics & Business, and Narvik College. At military colleges, women make up only about 10 percent of students.

Two university degrees were traditionally available in Norway. These were a first degree after four or five years of study (cand.mag ) and a higher degree with two to three more years of study (cand.philol, cand.scient, and so on). An informal doctoral degree, which followed these levels, was available to students with additional training and who worked as research associates or fellows. New doctoral degree programs, inspired by those available in the United States, were established in the 1970s and 1980s because they offered more formal, structured programs that were recognized internationally. In Norway, this Ph.D. model emphasizes structure and supervised research. Typically, these programs require 3 years of research training but distributed over 4 years with the student devoting 25 percent of their work to other duties. These degrees have become prerequisites for academic positions.

Regular higher educational programs are available to international students who are capable of funding their own education. Admission for international students though is highly competitive and criteria include academic background, plan of study, and proficiency in English. If the desired program of study is taught in the Norwegian language, international students must spend their first year in an intensive language program or must pass a Norwegian language test called Bergen-testen. During that year, the institution may or may not reserve a place for the student in their chosen department.

Higher education originally developed in Norway in order to create a more educated work force. This was the prime mission of the first university, the University of Oslo, established in 1811. In the 1960s and 1970s, higher education institutions began to differentiate themselves. A binary system was the solution to the quantity versus quality problem. District colleges served vocational needs, and universities maintained a traditional focus. The 1980s brought accusations of mediocrity in terms of both university teaching and research. The Hernes Commission Report of 1988 called for higher quality teaching and research and more integration and flexibility across institutions. A more efficient higher education system was desired by the commission. Among other things, the plan called for the "Norway Network," which merged small colleges and required more cooperation between district colleges and universities, although it was not until 1995 that the district colleges were combined into a state college system. In addition, even though the plan called for integration across district colleges and universities, universities maintained their distinct status and mission. The binary system survived the attempt at integration and increased efficiency. University teachers supported this distinction. District college teachers, on the other hand, fought to obtain university type responsibilities and rewards, including the opportunity to incorporate research into part of their workload.

To further the reform plan for higher education, in the 1990s, state run institutions were given more autonomy with fewer state imposed regulations, but higher education personnel and institutions became subject to performance control. Goal formation and achievement became imperative, with a focus on greater productivity and lower costs. Funds were tied, for example, to the production of new graduates, and incentive funds were given to faculty for publications. A pay for performance system was also put into place, although its impact was minor. Overall, the 1990s brought greater power and control over higher education by the Parliament, despite the stated goal of decentralization. District colleges and students were more powerful in achieving their goals for higher education than university affiliates due to more state support and sentiment for less expensive, more applied, and shorter programs of study.

In fact, the purpose of higher education in Norway in the year 2000 seems to have shifted back to its original goal of preparing workers. The university is no longer seen as a purely cultural institution, but rather as one that needs to be responsive to corporate and consumer demands and where efficiency is prized. Providing a more skilled work force that can help Norway compete in the international economy is the desire of many Norwegians and Parliament. District colleges have shorter and more occupational oriented programs and became available to more students in more locations across the country in the 1990s. In 2000, Norway had 26 district colleges. Faculty at district colleges are primarily responsible for teaching. Universities, on the other hand, remained traditional in their orientation and actively resisted calls to be more practically oriented in their teaching programs. In 2000, the public debate about higher education focused on whether or not the higher education system is too centered on examinations and the certification of students as opposed to learning for its own sake.

The higher education system is essentially state-owned. University teachers are civil servants, and in fact, the Parliament is responsible for establishing any new professorships. A high degree of autonomy exists, and academic institutions are important regional forces, but their budgets are fully controlled by the government. One percent of the Gross National Product (GNP) of Norway was spent on higher education in 1990, while all education costs consumed about 5.8 percent of the GNP. Higher education institutions generally regard their budgets as tight and lobby for an increase in expenditures. About 25 percent of all of the research and development done in Norway is undertaken by higher education institutions. Most of this is basic research and occurs at universities, but applied research and development has proliferated at district colleges in recent years. Research funding is provided through university budgets, along with public and private contracts.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Education is controlled and funded by the central government. Government regulations cover such issues as class size, length of school year, teaching obligations, and minimum number of lessons offered. Even teacher salaries are controlled by the central government as teachers are civil servants and, as such, must lobby public employee salary regulations to impact their pay. Of course, education is also effected by government regulations concerning safety, buildings, and work environment. On the other hand, local governments control the number and location of schools, the hiring of teachers, and the maintenance of their schools. All comprehensive and upper secondary schools are under the control of the Ministry of Church and Education. On a day to day basis, primary and lower secondary schools are administered by local community authorities, and upper secondary schools are administered by the county or region. Each of the 20 counties in Norway have a school board. Members of each board are appointed by the county council which must give each political party representation on the school board in the proportion to which that party is represented on the county council. County school boards are responsible for the teachers and principals, and the county council votes on the annual budget for the school.

The central government finances the bulk of education in Norway. About 40 percent of compulsory education, 60 percent of upper secondary education, and a full 100 percent of higher education is paid by the central government. Local municipalities cover the remaining expenses. Previously, primary and secondary schools had been funded by specific grants for clearly specified activities or projects. In 1985, in an effort to transfer decisionmaking in education from the central government to local municipalities, the financing of schools was altered. A lump sum is now given to local municipalities to fund all central government services, including education. Local governments must now decide how much to allocate to education. It is generally believed that education has received more funding from this method, not less, as education is a priority in local communities. For higher education institutions, the budgets provided by the central government are a frame for decision making.

In order to facilitate developments in education, a law in 1954 established the Council for Innovation in Education (Forsoksradet ). This was the national center for research and development in education. Concerns had been raised that previous educational reforms had not been fully informed by research or testing. This council was charged with assuring educational leaders that any future innovations would be an improvement over what already exists. Experimental forms of schools and educational techniques were advanced and tested under the direction of this council, which served as a consultant to the Department of Church and Education and was responsible for a variety of reforms as described above.


Nonformal Education


Nonformal education was widely available at the end of the nineteenth century as some young people, upon finishing folk school, wanted more yet did not want to participate in college preparatory programs. Clubs or groups revolving around literature, sports, and music developed. In 1999, adult education courses numbered 61,319, and 681,845 Norwegians participated in one of these courses. Participation was distributed by age as follows: 187,626 participated from the 14- to 29-year-old group, 240,783 participated from the 30- to 49-year-old group, and 158,793 participants in adult education courses were over 50 years of age; some of the ages of participants are unknown.

The variety of nonformal or adult education opportunities are immense. Extensive programs for employment training are provided by the Ministry of Labour and Local Affairs. These programs are usually housed at institutions of higher education. Private corporations also provide their employees with numerous training courses, as do the large local public utilities. Another source of adult education in Norway comes from volunteer organizations. These organizations may be affiliated with religious institutions, trade associations, or political parties. More formal adult education programs are offered by district colleges by universities. The government encourages the participation of the disabled in these programs by offering special appropriations for accommodating programs. More than a quarter of adult Norwegians participate in at least one adult education course each year. In recent years, adult education programs have seen budgetary cuts that have resulted in fewer offerings. The desire to participate does not seemed to have changed, but government cutbacks in education have been focused on these kinds of opportunities.


Teaching Profession


Teacher training for compulsory education occurs mainly in teacher training colleges in a program that lasts four years. Primary school teachers were qualified after three years of schooling until 1992 when the training requirements were enhanced. It was felt that compulsory education teachers needed more depth and breadth in their subject education. The fourth year then became devoted to specialized study, along with education theory. In addition, the first three years of teacher training are now more constrained with fewer optional courses. This added structure insures that teachers receive more instruction in the main subjects taught in the first few years of compulsory school. Twenty teacher education colleges provide elementary teacher preparation. Upper secondary teachers must have a full university degree or professional experience in a vocational field, along with pedagogical training. Secondary teacher training is available at four universities and eight other institutions of higher education. All teacher education programs were standardized in the mid-1990s. The emphasis was on strengthening subject education and developing reflective teachers and a cooperative mentor-focused culture for educators. This was to ensure cohesion across diverse parts of the educational system and to allow for educational content to be adjusted as needs or trends in Norway dictate.

Teachers enjoyed much public support and great respect through the 1960s. In the 1970s, the developing oil industry required more infrastructure, and the public became concerned with health care and other kinds of services. The result has been less remuneration and respect for teachers, especially in comparison to growing salaries in the private sector. Teachers also complain of diminished facilities and increasing responsibilities. In 1999, the number of teachers who worked in primary and lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools, colleges, and universities numbered 110,500. This number increased by 1,400 from the previous year. Across all schools, 30 percent of teachers worked part-time in 1999. Primary school teachers have the highest percentage of part-time teachers (33 percent), while in comparison only about 20 percent of university teachers work part-time. The average age for teachers in Norway is 44.7.

Academics in Norway were considered part of the educated class (Akademikerne ) and, for most of the nineteenth century, part of the political elite. Academics had a large role in the cultural and social development of Norway. The original pedagogical purpose of the university was to prepare students for a vocation. To become an academic before the early 1980s required a two year masters-like program called the magister degree. Increasingly academic departments developed Ph.D. programs, including more structured course requirements and research work. By 1990, the doctorate was generally considered a minimum requirement for a permanent university position. Doctoral students are paid comparable to laborers outside of academics, and unlike other countries, most in Norway stay at the same university throughout their careers. This may be a function of the small higher education system in Norway and may also lend itself to the influence of a small group of senior academics and favoritism.

In higher education, beginning in the late 1960s, the equalization of both the status and the working conditions of academics was advanced. A hierarchy consisting of the sciences (amamuensises ), medicine (prosektors ), and arts and sciences (lecturers ) had existed prior to this time. Lecturers had more teaching responsibilities than the other academic groupings. Work conditions were homogenized as duties for each grouping were moved to about half of their work activities devoted to teaching and half to research. Faculty boards also became less hierarchical. While department chairs and deans had occupied faculty boards, representation was extended to all levels of faculty.


Summary

Norway has achieved a remarkable educational system. Adult literacy exceeds 99 percent, and school expectancy for a five-year-old in Norway was 17.7 years in 1998, one of the highest school expectancy rates of any country. For Norwegians age 25- to 34-years-old, 93 percent have completed upper secondary education, a rate that compares with Japan and is among the best in the world. Norway excels in educational attainment for women as well. The percentage of Norwegian women who have a tertiary level of education is exceeded only in the United States. While many more men than women have at least an upper secondary education in the 55- to 64-year-old age group, among those aged 25 to 34, 31 percent of Norwegian women and 24 percent of Norwegian men have completed a tertiary education program.

Although a prominent goal of the national educational system in Norway is to provide the same quality education to all Norwegians, some disparity still exists. For example, parental education is an indicator of children's level of education. Of all the students enrolled at Norwegian universities and scientific colleges, 23 percent had parents with a post-graduate degree, and another 31 per cent had parents with up to a 4 year tertiary degree. Only one in three had parents with only an upper secondary school education. For the state colleges, the corresponding percentages were smaller with 8 percent of students having parents with a post-graduate degree, and 25 percent having parents with up to a 4-year tertiary degree. More than 50 percent had parents with an education at the upper secondary school level. In addition to parental education, gender also seems to play a large role in educational choices. Norway's achievement is that opportunities are available to all, even though there are still significant group differences in educational outcomes.

The school system in Norway then has come quite close to achieving its primary goal of a high quality education available to all citizens, regardless of geographical location, ethnicity, gender, social class, or any other consideration. The system is subject though to constant revision. Some of the prominent issues in education for Norway at the beginning of the twenty-first century concern the development of preschool programs, including the availability of kindergartens, the decentralization of education affairs, and the efficiency and effectiveness of such a comprehensive school system. While the state provides school funding and has a strong interest in maintaining uniformity across the system in terms of the quality and the structure of education, decision making power is being dispersed to local school administrators. This philosophy of decentralization is sought in a variety of realms, extending beyond the educational system in Norway. Likewise, efficiency and effectiveness are prized across systems in Norway as this country's economic well being is tied to oil prices, and Norway has had experience with economic recession. In the vast and complex national school system then, budget cuts are common and a source of much contention. Finally, Norwegians are especially concerned that their educational system prepare their citizens to compete in a world market. The inclusion of technology in education and the development of a highly skilled workforce are key components of future educational reforms.

Bibliography

Aamodt, Per O. "Floods, Bottlenecks and Backwaters: An Analysis of Expansion of Higher Education in Norway." Higher Education 30 (1995): 63-80.

Statistics Norway. 2000. Available from http://www.ssb.no.

Eide, Kjell. "The Future of European Education as Seen from the North." Comparative Education 28 (1992): 9-17.

Huss, Helen. The Education of Children and Youth in Norway. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1960.

Kogan, Maurice, Marianne Bauer, Ivar Bleiklie and Mary Henkel. Transforming Higher Education: A Comparative Study. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2000.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Reviews of National Policies of Education: Norway. Paris: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 1990.

Rust, Val D. The Democratic Tradition and the Evolution of Schooling in Norway. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1989.


Melanie Moore

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Norway

Culture Name

Norwegian

Alternative Names

Norsk (in Norwegian), Norse (historical)

Orientation

Identification. The name Norge ("the Northern Way") originally pertained to a region of the country before political consolidation under Harald the Fair-Haired around 900 c.e. In later use, the country's name indicates its location on the northern periphery of Europe. Some of the northerly sections of the country are home to at least two main groups (coastal and mountain) of an indigenous population of Sami (previously called Lapps) with a separate language and distinct cultural traditions. Some groups of Sami practice reindeer nomadism and range across northern Sweden and Finland. A smaller Gypsy population also was part of the otherwise homogeneous population. For humanitarian reasons, in the late twentieth century, the country welcomed asylum seekers and immigrants from other countries. Norwegians have an acute sense of identity fostered by a nineteenth century national romantic movement and by the country's emergence in 1905 as an independent constitutional monarchy. The small scale of Norwegian society, with a population of little more than four million, also promotes cultural sharing.

Location and Geography. Norway is situated on the western side of the Scandinavian peninsula, which it shares with its eastern neighbor, Sweden. The North Sea borders the country on the west, and the Barent Sea lies to the north. Spitsbergen, a group of islands four hundred miles to the north in the Arctic Ocean, is a Norwegian dependency. The country also shares borders with Finland and Russia in its northern regions. A long and narrow landmass, Norway extends more than 1,100 miles from north to south and varies in width between 270 miles and 4 miles. One-third of the country lies north of the Arctic Circle. The dominant feature of the topography is a backbone of mountains extending down the Scandinavian peninsula, with fjords, or long inlets of the sea, penetrating inland on the west and south. With a total area of 125,181 square miles (324,200 square kilometers), much of the country is dominated by rugged mountainous or coastal landscapes that have made tourism an important industry. Only about 3 percent of the land area is suitable for raising crops, and nearly half of that land is situated in the east, near Oslo, the capital, where broad, open valleys produce grain and root crops. The west coast traditionally has supported smaller farms perched along the fjords or nestled in mountain valleys. Farming and fishing have always been major occupations in this region. Trondheim, a medieval cathedral city on the west coast, also has an agricultural hinterland. The northern region constitutes the largest part of the country, with 35 percent of the land area and only 12 percent of the population. Fishing has been the major traditional occupation in this region. Oslo, which was called Kristiania before the nation gained independence, has long been associated with major governmental functions.

Demography. In January 2000, the total population was 4,478,497. Approximately thirty thousand to forty thousand of those residents self-identify as Sami. The first census which was taken in 1769, recorded 723,618 residents. For most of the nineteenth century, the population grew at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent in spite of substantial migration to the United States during the second half of that century. The postWorld War II growth rate declined to about 0.2 percent annually.

Immigrants constitute just under 6 percent of the total population. The largest number of immigrants came from Sweden and Denmark, with the third largest contingent coming from Pakistan.

In 1999, the population grew by 0.7 percent, the largest annual rate of growth since the first half of the 1950s. This unusual growth is accounted for by the arrival of 19,300 persons from abroad. Approximately 67,200 persons with a political refugee background lived in Norway at the beginning of 1999. Among the recent refugees, the largest groups are from Bosnia (11,000), Vietnam (10,500), and Iran (8,100). Refugees are concentrated in and around the largest cities, with approximately one-third living in the Oslo area.

Linguistic Affiliation. The major languages of the indigenous minority and majority populations are Samisk (Lappish), a Finnic language, and two official Norwegian languages, Bokmål and Nynorsk, both of which are Germanic languages. Bokmål, or "book language," is derived from the Danish-influenced Norwegian used in the eastern region. A product of the national romantic movement, Nynorsk, or "New Norwegian," was constructed in the nineteenth century from peasant dialects to create a genuinely Norwegian written language. Formulated by Ivar Aasen, a self-taught linguist from the west coast, Nynorsk was consciously constructed to reveal a clear relationship to Old Norse, linking contemporary Norway with the Viking age.

Symbolism. The flag, folk costumes, the land (or landscape), and the home are the major symbols of national unity. The flag (a red background with blue stripes outlined in white) is owned and flown not only by public agencies but by many private individuals. On Constitution Day (17 May), citizens appear at public celebrations carrying small flags and wearing red, white, and blue streamers pinned to their clothing. In the year 2000, there were thirteen official flag days. Folk or national costumes (bunad) are owned by large numbers of both men and women. Based on local traditional peasant apparel, women's costumes include elaborate skirts, blouses, jackets, stockings, and shoes adorned with silver pins and decorations. Because of increased affluence in recent decades, more individuals own costumes, which are considered correct attire for any festive or formal occasion. The design and colors of the costumes vary according to locality so that each large fjord or valley has a distinctive costume. Fostered by national romanticism, folk costumes are partially constructed traditions, with some historically authentic elements and some new elements. The costume for the city of Bergen, for example, was designed in 1956.

The national anthem affirms a love for the land and the importance of the home as symbols of nationhood. Festive days in this home-centered society often feature a public celebration followed by gatherings of families and relatives in people's homes. Entertaining is done at home, not at restaurants or bars. Homes are comfortable refuges and are decorated to express the identity of the family. Because there is less geographic mobility than is the case in some other countries, family members and relatives tend to live in the same region over a number of generations and identify with the local area. This attachment to place is also apparent in people's relationship to nature. Half the nation's families have access to nearby ski huts, cabins, or boats, and virtually everyone engages in outdoor pursuits such as skiing, hiking, and boating. In a variety of ways, Norwegians aim to preserve rather than transform the local natural landscape. At the same time, they attempt to preserve the cultural traditions of the locality through numerous folk museums and other specialized heritage organizations.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Norway claims the heritage of early Norse seafarers, raiders, colonizers, explorers, and merchants for whom the "Viking Age" (793 to 1050 c.e.) was named. In the ninth century Harald Fairhair became the first king of all of Norway, consolidating smaller kingdoms through alliance and conquest. Harald's descendant, Olaf Tryggvesson (Olaf I), converted to Christianity while in England and came to Norway in 995 to force conversion of the country from the Norse religion. Killed in 1030 at the Battle of Stiklestad, Olaf II (Saint Olaf) was the first king to organize an administration for church and state. His brother, Harald III, was killed invading England in 1066. The Black Death devastated the country in 13491350, killing at least one-third of the population. A weakened Norway was politically joined with Sweden and Denmark at the Union of Kalmar, in 1397. Danish kings ruled Norway until 1814.

The emergence of the nation-state can be traced to the development of a national culture, then to that of a national identity, and finally to the political events that led to the country's final emergence as an independent nation in 1905. The Napoleonic Wars resulted in the dissolution of the union between Denmark and Norway in 1814, the year in which the Norwegian constitution was established. Norway had been a province of Denmark for nearly four hundred years before it was ceded to Sweden. The union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905.

The foundation for the development of a national culture can be traced to the national romanticism of an intellectual elite. In the late eighteenth century, Norway was predominantly rural, with a tiny elite of religious and government officials under the king of Denmark. Those administrators began to collect information about the topography and landscape of the national regions and the natural history of the land. Later, the educated bourgeoisie wrote about the history of the country, tracing the connection between the present and the Icelandic sagas, the Viking period, the medieval period, and the decline of Norway in the period before the union with Denmark (13801814). Those intellectuals also began recording and describing rural culture, including folktales, architecture, customs, clothing, mythology, music, and peasant dialects. From a national romantic perspective, this information helped make the case for a distinct Norwegian land, culture, and history quite different from those of other Nordic countries. Rural culture became identified as Norwegian culture, a culture that could be traced back to Viking times.

National Identity. The idea of a distinct Norwegian culture piqued the interest of writers, painters, dramatists, musicians, and religious leaders. The culture of the rural peasants was not the culture of the intellectual elite, but the elites reinterpreted and identified with that tradition. By the middle of the nineteenth century, schoolbooks reflected the theme of a distinct, rural Norwegian culture, as did a variety of popular journals. Writers conveyed the notion that everything of true value was found close to home, in the everyday life of simple people. In the second half of the century, voluntary organizations that promoted popular enlightenment helped shape the consciousness of a common culture and history. In the national dialogues that followed, a national identity was formed, contributing to the eventual dissolution of the union with Sweden.

Ethnic Relations. Relations between the majority population and the indigenous Sami peoples have been problematic on occasion. In 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Commission asked Norway to explain the delay in giving the Sami population self-determination. Defining the population has been difficult in that many people in that population who were not engaged in reindeer nomadism chose or felt compelled to assimilate into mainstream Norwegian culture. The establishment in Karasjok, north Norway, of a Sami parliament to coordinate relations with local, regional, and national government offices has helped draw attention to the needs of that population. The Sami parliament and the governments of Norway, Sweden, and Finland are beginning to coordinate Sami issues across national boundaries.

Because immigration has been tightly controlled, immigrants from non-Scandinavian countries have not constituted a large or visible minority until recently. In the 1980s, as the attitude toward asylum seekers became somewhat less sympathetic, survey data showed that about half the respondents felt that those newcomers were given too much special treatment.

Surveys have shown that outside of business dealings, relatively few Norwegians have contact with the immigrant populations. Those who have had informal contact with immigrants tend to be sympathetic and positive toward them, but those who have not had such contact tend to be less positive. In a survey in 2000, 64 percent of residents agreed that the country should continue to take in as many immigrants and asylum seekers as it does currently. Over 90 percent of the surveyed population agreed that immigrants should have the same job opportunities as native residents, affirming a basic belief in equality of opportunity.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The national culture is informed by an anti-urban bias that idealizes the natural environment and rural life. Regional policies are aimed at providing a high level of services and amenities in less populated regions to encourage people to remain there rather than migrate to urban centers. Cities such as Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim have low population densities since they incorporate substantial areas of undeveloped "natural" forests within their boundaries that are used by the residents for recreation. In Oslo, streetcars run through the city to the edge of the forest, where they empty their cargo of hikers and skiers. While all the cities have parks for relaxation and enjoyment, those manicured urban environments are not as culturally important as the wilder and less regulated woods, mountains, and seashores. A walk in the woods on Sunday morning, either on a challenging trail or on the "family path" suitable for baby buggies and wheelchairs, is considered almost essential for coping with urban stress. In the winter, these paths become cross-country ski trails. Cities, thus, attempt to incorporate natural areas to counterbalance the built environment. Similarly, residential dwellings usually have their own mode of indoor-outdoor living. Single-family homes and apartment houses usually have a deck, balcony, or porch that gives residents convenient access to the outdoors.

While many older residences have straight sidewalks and broad, open lawns, many newer houses are nestled into their own miniature woods of closely planted trees and evergreen shrubs. The distinction between the built environment and the natural environment is often blurred as these two areas are made to interpenetrate.

Except perhaps for Oslo's City Hall, which serves as a landmark for ships coming up the fjord to the harbor, government architecture is usually less awe-inspiring and intimidating than inviting and approachable. The Storting, or parliament hall, in Oslo is built to a human scale and is embedded within a busy downtown area with considerable foot traffic. The Royal Palace, which is situated on a small hill overlooking a busy street, is the destination for thousands of cheerful marchers in the Constitution Day parade as they greet and are greeted by the royal family waving from the balcony.

Seating in parks and public places is not conducive to conversation among strangers. Acquaintances can find seating next to each other, but not in an arrangement that encourages eye contact and conversation. This configuration allows people to use public space without drawing attention to themselves or invading the personal space of others. In homes, in contrast, furniture often is arranged to encourage conversation among family members and friends. Homes should be furnished to reflect the good taste of their owners, often with the clean simplicity of Scandinavian design, using natural materials such as wood and wool.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. The food considered by many to be most typically Norwegian is brown cheese that is thinly sliced with a cheese plane (a Norwegian invention) and eaten on bread. Breakfasts (frokost) usually consists of coffee, breads (including flatbread or crisp bread), pickled or smoked fish, cold meats, perhaps boiled eggs, and milk products such as cheese, butter, yogurt, and varieties of sour milk. Breakfast may be more substantial than the noon meal (lunsj) which may consist of an open-faced sandwich of bread, cheese, paté, or cold meat, perhaps accompanied by a piece of fruit and coffee. Fish and meat (pork, beef, lamb, chicken, and whale) and boiled potatoes, usually served with gravy or melted butter, traditionally have defined the late afternoon meal (middag). Root vegetables such as carrots often supplement potatoes. Beer or wine is drunk occasionally in the evening. Pizza and hamburgers are popular occasional meals and often are served at fast-food restaurants. Cafés and cafeterias serve open-faced sandwiches with cold meats, smoked fish, or cheese as well as simple but substantial meals of meat or fish and boiled potatoes. Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic restaurants often occupy the medium-price niche, while restaurants with seafood and continental cuisine are the most expensive. In the last several decades, the cuisine has become more diversified and international. The consumption of fats has gone down in the last twenty years, the consumption of meat has never been higher, and the consumption of fish has gone down and is much lower than recommended by the Nutritional Council. The popularity of potatoes has declined, while that of rice and pasta has gone up. Cereal consumption is stable. Norway has continued to hunt minke whales along its coast. Whale meat is eaten as steaks or in a stew.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. For Constitution Day, many families traditionally eat a meal of flat bread, thinly sliced dried meats, and milk porridge, with beer or aquavit as a beverage. Christmas meal traditions vary by region and may include roast pork, other meat, or lutefisk. On festive occasions, both restaurants and family meals may feature a kaldt bord with a large array of cold meats, cheeses, shrimp, smoked or pickled fish, salads, jams, and soft and crisp breads. Cloudberries and lingonberries, both of which grow wild on mountain plateaus, are particular favorites.

Basic Economy. The country is highly dependent on international trade for manufactured consumer goods but has a trade surplus. Most employment is in highly specialized services and manufacturing, with only a small workforce in the traditional occupations of forestry, farming, and fishing. In a labor force of more than two million workers, approximately 72 percent are in services, 23 percent work in industry, and 5 percent engage in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. The currency is the Krone (Crown).

Land Tenure and Property. The allocation of farmland is regulated carefully to encourage the continuity of ownership within the family line. Farms are not divided among heirs, thus avoiding the fragmentation of farms into small, economically nonviable units. The lineal descendants of a farmer have the first right to purchase a farm. Conflicts over farm boundaries and the surreptitious movement of boundary stones are part of the folklore of most agricultural districts. Hikers have the right to walk on unplanted farmland.

Commercial Activities. Firms produce, package, distribute, and sell food products, beverages, textiles, clothing, footwear, wood products, furniture, and chemicals for domestic consumption. Printing, publishing, and media production are important enterprises for a highly literate nation that is a world leader in the consumption of newspapers, magazines, and books per capita.

Major Industries. As a consequence of the discovery and exploitation of North Sea oil in the 1970s, Norway has become the world's second largest exporter of oil and natural gas. Much of this production is managed by Statoil, a government enterprise. Since 1993 the country has exported hydroelectricity, which it produces in excess of domestic needs. Although shipbuilding has declined, Norway has one of the leading merchant fleets, with approximately 762 ships. Other exports include transportation equipment, electrometallurgical products, electrochemical products (processed with hydroelectric power), paper and pulp from the extensive forests, and fish, increasingly produced in fish farms in coastal waters. For the home market, the country produces equipment, furniture, and textiles. About half the manufacturing firms are located along the Oslo fjord. Livestock are the most important products of the subsidized agricultural sector.

Trade. Norway exports goods to its main trading partners: the European Union, Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, and the United States. Exports include petroleum and natural gas, hydroelectric power, metals, chemicals, paper pulp, and fish. The United States is a significant importer of smoked salmon. Manufactured goods, machinery, and chemicals are imported from the trading partners.

Division of Labor. Government, labor, and management are integrated into a centralized industrial planning system. Since the 1970s, the principle of codetermination has meant that labor and management increasingly share the determination of daily operations and longer-term planning. Workers typically have a great deal of autonomy. As a consequence of this trend in industrial democracy, emphasis is placed on training and the upgrading of workers' skills. In contrast to countries where labor is cheap and training is limited, decision making frequently is delegated to lower-level workers. The division of labor is based more on skills than on status and seniority.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. The ethos of egalitarianism is reflected in the highly progressive marginal tax rate on personal incomes. While income differences are relatively flat, there is a small proportion of extremely rich owners and managers of merchant fleets. Although the affluent are likely to own ski huts in the mountains, their huts may not be better furnished than those of less affluent workers. Conspicuous consumption is not admired. Leisure time is an important resource for industrial workers, who in 2002 will have five weeks of vacation annually. Counting national holidays, this brings the number of working hours in the year down to 1,703 for industrial workers. Immigrant populations have tended to move into some of the less desirable and less well-paid occupations such as cleaners and fast food workers.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Affluent individuals signal their wealth by driving a luxury car, wearing expensive clothing, and taking expensive vacations. They may have a posh Oslo accent. However, these differences in possessions and advantages do not symbolize differences in moral worth. The author Aksel Sandemose, in En Flyktning krysser sitt spor (1953), described the law of the fictional village of Jante, which warns that "you should not believe that you are better than we are." The Law of Jante expresses a widespread cultural belief in egalitarianism.

Political Life

Government. Norway is a constitutional monarchy that divides responsibility between the parliament (Storting) and the King's Council of State, which consists of a prime minister and other ministers of state. The Storting, which consists of 165 representatives, is the supreme authority and controls finances. Representatives are elected by direct vote for a four-year term. One-quarter of the representatives serve in the upper chamber (Lagting), and the rest form the lower chamber (Odelsting). Local government is represented by 450 municipalities in eighteen counties.

Leadership and Political Officials. Leaders are supposed to be articulate and dedicated spokespersons for the policies of their parties. The major parties, listed roughly in order of their popularity in recent elections, are the Norwegian Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet), a socialist party affiliated with labor unions; the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet), a nationalistic party; the Conservative Party (Høyre ); the Christian People's Party (Kristelig Folkepartiet), which supports the use of the principles of Christianity in politics; the Center Party (Senterpartiet), which originally focused on agrarian issues; the Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstrepartiet); and the Liberal Party (Venstre), a reform party. Coalition governments that rely on the cooperation of two or more parties are not uncommon. Party leaders receive considerable media attention and are supposed to be accessible to the electorate. They are not likely to respond to offers of gifts or special privileges.

Social Problems and Control. The judicial system has three levels: the district (Herredsrett) and city courts (Byrett), the High Court (Lagmannsrett) with six jurisdictions in the nation; and the Supreme Court (Høyesterett). Each municipality has a conciliation council (Forliksråd), where civil cases go first for mediation and possible out-of-court settlement. If this effort fails, the case can be taken to the district or city court. An "ombud" system has been established to hear complaints about actions by government agencies and private firms. The crime rate is about ten reported crimes per hundred thousand population. While the rate of crimes against persons is increasing, most crimes involve property.

Military Activity. National military service is required, with the option of community service for conscientious objectors. The nation has an army, navy, and air force; is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); and participates in peacekeeping operations. Norway spends 3 percent of the gross national product on defense.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

After 1945, the National Insurance Scheme was developed to manage and allocate resources for health, old age, disabilities, widows, widowers, children, and single parents. Approximately 15 percent of government expenditures are for health services. Nongovernmental organizations play an important role in supplementing this welfare system in partnership with the government. Special attention is given to organizations that support disadvantaged citizens through subsidies granted by local governments.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Approximately 62 percent of the population belonged to at least one voluntary organization in 1995. Historically, voluntary organizations were first developed in the middle of the nineteenth century as agents of change to support the social movements that were sweeping the country. Voluntary organizational life has been based on unpaid participation, personal membership, and commitment to egalitarian democratic principles. While participation in religious and temperance organizations has declined, membership has increased in organizations devoted to recreation and outdoor sports.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. In the contemporary period, Norway has followed an ideology, if not always the practice, of gender neutrality in access to economic, political, social, and religious roles. Women entered the workforce in larger numbers during the 1970s but continued to be involved in unpaid work to a greater degree than were men. There are few women in the upper levels of management of businesses and industries. According to the United Nations Development Programme, which created a "Gender-Related Development Index" to measure achievements in increased life expectancy, educational attainment, and income equality for men and women in 146 countries, Norway ranked second behind Canada and ahead of Sweden.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. The cause of gender equality was advanced by the women's movement of the 1960s. At that time, nine of ten women with small children did not work outside the home. Women began to enter the labor force in greater numbers with the increase in industrialization. Now nearly eight of ten women are employed outside the home.

Education is deliberately gender-neutral, with the goal of giving everyone an equal opportunity for self-realization. In the 1980s, women entered higher education in larger numbers, and constituted approximately 55 percent of the students at universities in 2000. In law and administration, men and women are accorded equality, with parental leaves available for both. Many of the roles traditionally reserved for men, such as the military and politics, are now integrated. In 1981, at age forty-one, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland first served as the prime minister, the youngest person and the first woman to do so. Several political parties follow the "sixty/ forty" rule in establishing committees, with women constituting at least 40 percent of the membership.

The armed services are sexually integrated, although the majority of service personnel are men. In 1998, the commander of a coastal defense submarine was a woman, with a crew of twenty men and one other woman. Some women's organizations regard this as tokenism and state that when the critical mass of 30 percent women is achieved, they will be pleased with the progress of integration of the armed forces.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Marriages are supposed to be romantic love matches between two individuals with similar values and perspectives. Marrying for economic, social, or political reasons would seem improper to most people. When King Harald, then the crown prince, wished to marry a commoner rather than seek a bride among the royal families of Europe, the nation approved.

Currently, 38 percent of residents are married, compared with 47 percent in 1978. The divorce rate has doubled in the last twenty years. In this generation, married women have worked for pay outside the household to a greater degree than was the case in earlier generations.

Domestic Unit. Currently, families usually consist of a husband, a wife, and no more than two children. Single-parent families are increasingly common. Two major urban family cultures, with a rural variant, exist. These cultures include the urban middle-class family, which may focus on a fair exchange of services and an equal sharing of tasks, and the urban working-class family, which may focus on the common good of the family rather than the needs of the individual members. Urban families often create symbolic boundaries between themselves and others; internally, they value "peace and quiet" as a theme of family life. The typical rural farm family focuses on maintaining a committed, harmonious unit. Divorce seems to be more common in the first type of family.

Inheritance. At marriage all material goods become joint property. A couple may enter into a contract specifying that, in case of divorce, each will retain the goods they brought to the marriage. This may be important in the case of farms and other significant property. Surviving spouses have a right to continue living in the family house until death. Children inherit equally from the parents.

Kin Groups. Three-generation family households exist most commonly in rural areas. Parents and children often choose to live close to each other. Relatives on both sides of a marriage are invited for life-crisis ceremonies such as baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death.

Socialization

Infant Care. With the institutionalization of parental leave from employment, both parents can be available to provide care for infants. Traditionally, infants were regarded as defenseless and in need of constant care. Infants sleep in separate beds or cribs, either in their parents' bedroom or in a separate room. Breastfeeding on demand is now usual, but in previous generations was scheduled about every four hours. Fresh air is considered important and often babies are allowed to sleep outdoors in a pram. Stimulation, exploration, and play, both indoors and outdoors, are now emphasized. Some mothers carry infants close to their breast in carrying slings, but the use of prams is more common. Many parents use day care facilities for one to six year olds, although this form of institutional care for the youngest ages is controversial. For older toddlers, the social experience of interacting with others in day care facilities is highly valued.

Child Rearing and Education. The national culture tends to be extremely child-centered. A national welfare system for children was enacted as early as 1896, and in 1981, a national ombudsperson for children was established. Ideally, children should be cooperative and independent. However, socialization tends to be permissive since children are not taught boundary-setting rules and manners early. Childhood lasts longer than it does in many European countries, with adolescence not ending before graduation from high school. Since numerous mothers are employed, many children are socialized in child care facilities, either privately or through the local authority. Paid babysitters, usually young girls, may provide child care in cities when grandmothers are not available.

Confirmation as a member of the church is an important rite of passage. The ceremony is followed by a party to which neighbors and relatives are invited. Girls usually are given a bunad, or folk costume.

In traditional rural society, children were transformed into responsible adults, participating in adult economic activities, without going through a culturally recognized stage of adolescence. In the late twentieth century, adolescence became much more important for developing an identity separate from one's parents.

Higher Education. Vocational training or higher education for the majority of citizens is emphasized. After ten years of compulsory schooling, students may go on to an upper secondary school and then to one of the four universities or many colleges. Education accounts for approximately 14 percent of government expenditures.

Etiquette

Residents tend to be egalitarian, private, and noncompetitive. Gender equality is observed in most social settings. People rarely use the polite or formal form of address; the use of the informal pronoun for personal address is almost universal. Independence and self-sufficiency are valued. Being indebted by borrowing or receiving favors makes people uncomfortable. Individuals generally do not call attention to themselves through loud speech or flamboyant behavior. Personal space is respected, and so individuals stand well apart from each other when conversing. Punctuality is expected both in business and in social life.

People may be reserved among strangers but are warm and friendly once a relationship has been established. One should not inquire about personal issues unless one is well acquainted with a person. Respect for each individual's dignity is expected.

Competition is downplayed in most settings, Even the victors in sports contests are supposed to be humble and not obviously proud. After the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, King Harald worried that perhaps the nation had not been a good host since its athletes had won so many medals.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. The Norwegian-born Viking Olav Tryggvason was baptized as a Christian in London in 994 c.e. Soon afterward, King Olav brought Christianity to his homeland, converting first the leaders and later the farmers. In 1536, the Reformation came to the area, with the consequence that a greater emphasis was placed on personal faith. In 1814, the Evangelical Lutheran religion was named the official religion of the state, but the constitution also guaranteed freedom of religion. The pietist movement, which was particularly strong in the country in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, posed an alternative to the state church and contributed to an individual sense of religious commitment unmediated by the clergy. The state church subscribes to a belief in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The main religious holidays celebrate belief in the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ. Other religious groups such as Roman Catholics, Pentecostalists, Seventh Day Adventists, Baptists, and Methodists, receive state subsidies. In recent years, immigrant populations have brought Islam to the nation.

Religious Practitioners. The king is the head of the state church, which employs a system of bishops and priests in the administrative structure. Local priests hold religious services and perform baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals. The king appointed the first woman priest in 1961 and the first woman bishop in 1993. More than seventy nationally organized Christian voluntary organizations reinforce religious beliefs and practices. Those organizations also carry out missionary work at home and abroad and help with youth work and welfare.

Rituals and Holy Places. During the medieval period, the holy shrine of Saint Olav in the cathedral at Trondheim was a destination for pilgrims. In the contemporary period, 87 percent of the population belongs to the state church. While about seven million church visits are recorded annually, many people are more likely to be found on ski slopes or hiking trails than in church on Sunday. Religious services in the state church occur weekly and on the major religious holidays, including Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Whitmonday.

Death and the Afterlife. According to the doctrine of the state church, souls reside in heaven with Jesus after death. After the funeral, the body of the deceased is cremated or interred in a graveyard, usually adjacent to a church.

Medicine and Health Care

Norway is one of the healthiest countries in the world, with an average life expectancy of nearly seventy-eight years. Modern medicine replaced folk medical beliefs in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Currently, there are over fifteen thousand doctors and nearly sixty thousand nurses. The compulsory National Insurance Scheme provides free hospital care and modest charges for medicines and primary care. Approximately 15 percent of government expenditures go for health care.

Secular Celebrations

The major holidays are New Year's Day (1 January), Labor Day (1 May), Constitution Day (17 May), Christmas (25 December), and Boxing Day (26 December). Labor Day is celebrated by the labor unions, with parades in the larger towns. The most important celebration of nationhood is on Constitution Day, which is an occasion for massive public parades by voluntary organizations, bands, unions, schools, and other civic groups. Christmas and Boxing Day are focused on family visits and gift giving.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. Because of the small population base, the artistic community is challenged to earn a living. Government subsidies coordinated by thirty nationwide artists' organizations have provided a particularly Norwegian solution. Professional artists receive a minimum income until retirement. Through a variety of cooperative arrangements with counties and municipalities, the government has sponsored the creation of touring cultural organizations, bringing concerts, theater, and art exhibitions to smaller towns.

Literature. The Icelandic sagas of Snorri Sturlusson (11781241) often are considered the beginning of Norwegian literature, followed by The King's Mirror, a thirteenth century work. Pedar Clausson Friis (15451614) wrote descriptive works about the country and translated the sagas into Norwegian. The Trumpet of the Northland (1700) by Petter Dass details life in Norway. In the early eighteenth century, Ludvig Holberg wrote in a variety of forms, including satire and comedy. Henrik Wergeland (18081845) inspired the national romantic movement. As their contribution to the discovery of a national culture, Peter Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe collected the Norwegian Folktales (18411844). In the nineteenth century, the dominant figure was Henrik Ibsen (18281906), whose psychological dramas remain important in world literature. Knut Hamsun wrote powerful novels in the twentieth century. Later writers include Sigurd Hoel, Nordal Grieg, Tarjei Vesaas, and the Nobel Prize winner Sigrid Undset. Significant postwar writers include Jens Bjørneboe, Bjorg Vik, and Kjartan Flagstad.

Graphic Arts. Painters in the nineteenth century helped establish a national romantic vision. Edvard Munch's (18631944) symbolist works have been influential internationally. In sculpture, Gustav Vigeland's Frogner Park sculptures are well known. Pottery, glass, jewelry, metalsmithing, and textiles are central to Scandinavian design.

Performance Arts. The nation's greatest musician, Edvard Grieg (18431907), was inspired by the folk themes of his homeland, as was the violinist Ole Bull. Many cities have festivals for the performing arts. Perhaps the most famous is Bergen's annual festival featuring music, drama, and dance. Molde's jazz festival is notable. The National Theater and National Opera in Oslo are important institutions.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The universities at Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Tromso have extensive science and social science departments. Many of the regional colleges are strong in one or both areas. A variety of research institutes focus on applied knowledge, in fields as diverse as fish farming and petroleum extraction.

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D. Douglas Caulkins

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Norway

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-NORWAY RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Kingdom of Norway

PROFILE

Geography

Area: (including the island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen) 385,199 sq. km.; approximately the same size as New Mexico.

Cities: (January 2007 est.) Capital—Oslo (pop. 839,423, including suburbs). Other cities—Bergen (244,620), Stavanger (181,280, including suburbs) Trondheim (152,845).

Terrain: Rugged with high plateaus, steep fjords, mountains, and fertile valleys.

Climate: Temperate along the coast, colder inland.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Norwegian(s).

Population: (July 2007 est.) 4,721,914.

Annual growth rate: (2006) 0.34%.

Population density: (2006) 15.2 per sq. km (excluding inland water).

Ethnic groups: Norwegian (Nordic, Alpine, Baltic), Sami, a racial-cultural minority of 40,000; foreign nationals (415,000) from Nordic and other countries.

Religions: (2004) Church of Norway (Lutheran), 88%; Pentecostal Christian, 1%; Roman Catholic, 1%; Other Christian, 2.4%; Muslim, 1.8%; other, none, or unknown, 8.1%.

Languages: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami-and Finnish-speaking minorities, English is widely spoken (Sami is official in six municipalities).

Education: Years compulsory—10. Literacy—100%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006)—3.2 deaths/1,000. Life expectancy (2006 est.)—men 78.1 yrs; women 82.37 yrs.

Work force: (July 2007, 2.4 million) Government, social, personal services—37.6%; wholesale and retail trade, hotels, restaurants—17.5%; manufacturing and mining—12.7%; transport and communications—7.4%; financing, insurance, real estate, business services—12%; agriculture, forestry, fishing—3.9%; construction—6.7%; oil extraction—1.4%.

Government

Type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.

Independence: 1905.

Constitution: May 17, 1814.

Government branches: Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). The Council is appointed by the monarch in accordance with the will of the Storting, to which the Council is responsible. Legislative—modified unicameral parliament (Storting, 165 members, elected for four years by universal adult suffrage). Judicial—Supreme Court, appellate courts, city and county courts.

Political parties: Labor, Progress, Conservative, Socialist Left, Christian Democratic, Center, Liberal.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

Political subdivisions: 19 fylker (counties) and 431 municipalities, and Svalbard.

National holidays: (2008) January 1 (New Year's Day); March 20 (Maundy Thursday); March 21 (Good Friday); March 24 (Easter Monday); May 1 (Labor Day, Ascension Day); May 12 (Whit Monday); May 17 (Constitution Day); December 24 (Christmas Eve); December 25-26 (Christmas); December 31 (New Year's Eve).

Economy

GDP: (2006) $347.6 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2006) 2.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2006) Purchasing power parity $47,200.

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, titanium, pyrites, nickel, fish, timber, hydropower.

Arable land: 2.7%.

Agriculture: Products—dairy, livestock, grain (barley, oats, wheat), potatoes and other vegetables, fruits and berries, furs, wool, pork, beef, veal, fish.

Industry: Types—petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, aluminum, ferroalloys, iron and steel, nickel, zinc, nitrogen, fertilizers, petrochemicals, hydroelectric power, refinery products, timber, mining, textiles, fishing, transport equipment, electronics.

Trade: (2006) Exports (f.o.b.)— $125.5 billion. Major markets: U.K. 26.8%, Germany 12.3%, Netherlands 10.2%, France 8.3%, U.S. 5.7%, Sweden 6.3%. Imports (f.o.b.)—$64.1 billion. Major suppliers: Sweden 15.0%, Germany 13.3%, Denmark 6.7%, U.K. 6.3%, China 5.5%, U.S. 5.3%, France 3.8%).

GDP by sector: (2006) Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing, and fish farming—1.3%; oil and gas extraction incl. services and mining and quarrying—25.2%; manufacturing—8.42%; electricity, gas, and water supply—2.4%; construction—4.1%; wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair, hotels and restaurants—8.8%; transport industries—4.9%; post and telecommunications, financial intermediation, dwellings, business services—17.1%; public administration and defense—3.8%; education, health and social work, and other social and personal services—13.7%.

GEOGRAPHY

Norway's northern regions lie within the Arctic Circle, where there are borders with Finland and Russia, while much of the long border with Sweden runs through the Scandinavian mountains. This range, sloping to the southeast, is 1,530 km in length and has its highest areas in the south of Norway, where Galdhøpiggen, Norway's highest point, reaches a height of 2,469 m (8,100 ft). Almost all of Norway is high ground; in the north the country becomes narrower, with mountains overlooking the fjords and the islands along the coast, and in the center and south the mountains form a high plateau, where there are permanent ice fields. The only area of low ground is around the Oslo fjord and along the coast to Stavanger. The principal rivers are the Glomma, the Lagen, and Tanaelv. Some 6% of Norway's total area is inland water—mostly long, thin lakes. Two-thirds of the country is tundra, rock, or snowfields, and one-quarter is forested, so good agricultural land is rare. Less than 3% of Norway is cultivated, and these areas are in the southeast and in the river valleys. The mountains of Norway are rich in minerals; there are deposits of iron ore, copper, titanium, coal, zinc, lead, nickel, and pyrite, and large offshore reserves of petroleum and natural gas.

Although Norway crosses the Arctic Circle, the climate is not as cold as might be expected, since the North Atlantic Drift brings warm, damp air to the whole country. The geographical conditions give rise to great climatic variation: it is cooler inland and to the north, where winters are long and dark with much snow, but where the sun shines day and night for part of the summer. It is wetter on the west coast, where about 2,000 mm (78.7 inches) of rain falls annually on Bergen; the mean annual rainfall in the capital, Oslo, is 730 mm, most of which falls during the summer. Temperatures in Oslo are highest in July, when the average is 17.3°C (64°F), and lowest in January, when the average falls to -4.7°C (24°F).

PEOPLE

Ethnically, Norwegians are predominantly Germanic, although in the far north there are communities of Sami who came to the area more than 10,000 years ago, probably from central Asia. In recent years, Norway has become home to increasing numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and asylum-seekers from various parts of the world. Immigrants now total over 400,000; some have obtained Norwegian citizenship.

Although the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church, Norway has complete religious freedom. Education is free through the university level and is compulsory from ages 6 to 16. At least 12 months of military service and training are required of every eligible male. Norway's health system includes free hospital care, physicians' compensation, cash benefits during illness and pregnancy, and other medical and dental plans. There is a public pension system.

Norway is in the top rank of nations in the number of books printed per capita, even though Norwegian is one of the world's smallest language groups. Norway's most famous writer is the dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Artists Edvard Munch and Christian Krogh were Ibsen's contemporaries. Munch drew part of his inspiration from Europe and in turn exercised a strong influence on later European expressionists. Sculptor Gustav Vigeland has a permanent exhibition in the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo. Musical development in Norway since Edvard Grieg has followed either native folk themes or, more recently, international trends.

HISTORY

The Viking period (9th to 11th centuries) was one of national unification and expansion. The unification of Viking settlements along the Norwegian coast was well advanced by the death, in 1030, of St. Olav, who had overseen the population's conversion to Christianity. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of the British Isles, Iceland, and Greenland. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, and the following year the Isle of Man and the Hebrides were ceded to Scotland. Competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country. The Norwegian royal line died out in 1387, as the country underwent a period of union with Denmark under King Olaf; union with Sweden followed in 1397. Attempts to keep all three countries united failed, with Sweden finally breaking away in 1521. By 1586, Norway had become part of the Danish kingdom.

The Napoleonic War saw Denmark side with France in 1807, following the British attack on Copenhagen. With Sweden joining the coalition against Napoleon in 1813, the Treaty of Kiel in 1814 transferred Norway to

the Swedish King following Denmark's defeat. The Norwegians ignored this international agreement and chose the Danish Prince as their king and adopted the liberal Eidsvoll Constitution. After a few months a Swedish-Norwegian union was agreed under the Swedish crown, with Norway being granted its own parliament (Storting) and government. However, the Swedish King attempted unsuccessfully to revise this constitution in the 1820s and 1830s, and parliamentary control over the executive was only obtained following a struggle during the 1870s and 1880s. Norwegian nationalism was associated with the creation of a national standard for written Norwegian based on dialects, rather than the Danish-based official language. There were numerous disputes between the Norwegian Government and Sweden, notably over requests for a Norwegian consular service to reflect the importance of Norway's expanding merchant fleet. In 1905 the union between the two countries was dissolved following two plebiscites in Norway, one opting for independence and one for a constitutional monarchy. Danish Prince Carl was unanimously elected as King by the Storting in 1905 and took the name of Haakon VII (after the kings of independent Norway) on his arrival in Norway. Haakon died in 1957 and was succeeded by his son, Olav V, who died in January 1991. Upon Olav's death, his son Harald was crowned as King Harald V.

Norway was a nonbelligerent during World War I, but as a result of the German invasion and occupation during World War II, Norwegians generally became skeptical of the concept of neutrality and turned instead to collective security. During the German occupation 736 Norwegian Jews perished; Norwegians saved more than 900 Jews by hiding them and smuggling them across the border into Sweden. Norway was one of the signers of the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949 and was a founding member of the United Nations. The first UN General Secretary, Trygve Lie, was a Norwegian. Under the terms of the will of Alfred Nobel, the Storting (parliament) elects the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who award the Nobel Peace Prize to champions of peace.

GOVERNMENT

The functions of the king are mainly ceremonial, but he has influence as the symbol of national unity. Although the 1814 constitution grants important executive powers to the king, these are almost always exercised by the Council of Ministers in the name of the king (King's Council). The Council of Ministers consists of a prime minister—chosen by the political parties represented in the Storting—and other ministers. The 169 members of the Storting are elected from 19 fylker (counties) for 4-year terms according to a complicated system of proportional representation. After elections, the Storting divides into two chambers, the Odel-sting and the Lagting, which meet separately or jointly depending on the legislative issue under consideration.

The special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases; the regular courts include the Supreme Court (17 permanent judges and a president), courts of appeal, city and county courts, the labor court, and conciliation councils. Judges attached to regular courts are appointed by the king in council after nomination by the Ministry of Justice.

Each fylke is headed by a governor appointed by the king in council, with one governor exercising authority in both Oslo and the adjacent county of Akershus.

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Until the 1981 election, Norway had been governed by majority Labor Party governments since 1935, except for three periods (1963, 1965-71, and 1972-73). The Labor Party lost its majority in the Storting in the 1981 elections.

From 1981 to 1997, governments alternated between Labor minority governments and Conservative-led coalition governments. The first government coalition, led by Christian Democrat Kjell Magne Bondevik, came to power in 1997, but fell in March 2000 over the issue of proposed gas-fired power plants, opposed by Bondevik due to their impact on climate change. The Labor Party's Jens Stoltenberg, a Brundtland protégé, took over in a minority Labor government but lost power in the September 2001 election when Labor posted its worse performance since World War I. Bondevik again became Prime Minister, this time as head of a minority government with the Conservatives and Liberals in a coalition heavily dependent upon the rightpopulist Progress Party. The September 2005 elections ended the Bondevik government, and the Labor party came back with its most substantial victory in years, securing 60 of the 169 seats in parliament. While this election result once more made Labor the undisputed heavyweight in Norwegian politics, Stoltenberg, chastened by his previous stint as the head of a minority government, reached out to the far left Socialist Left party and agrarian Center party to form a coalition government that commanded a majority of seats in parliament. The current government is the first majority government in Norway in over 20 years, but the governing coalition has had to bridge substantial policy differences to build this majority.

The new government that took office in October 2005 issued a Northern Policy that represented a compromise among petroleum, fishing, and environmental interests in the use of Norway's northern offshore area. This “High North” strategy has remained one of the constant themes of this government and encompasses many of the government's highest priorities, including environmental protection, responsible development of energy resources, maintaining a security presence in the Arctic, and developing Norway's relations with Russia.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

King: HARALD V

Prime Minister: Jens STOLTENBERG

Min. of Children & Equality: Manuela RAMIN-OSMUNDSEN

Min. of Culture & Church Affairs: Trond GISKE

Min. of Defense: Anne-Grete STROM-ERICHSEN

Min. of Education: Bard Vegar SOLHJELL

Min. of the Environment & Development Cooperation: Erik SOLHEIM

Min. of Finance: Kristin HALVORSEN

Min. of Fisheries & Coastal Affairs: Helga PEDERSEN

Min. of Food & Agriculture: Terje Riis JOHANSEN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Jonas Gahr STORE

Min. of Health & Social Care: Sylvia BRUSTAD

Min. of International Development: Erik SOLHEIM

Min. of Justice & Police: Knut STORBERGET

Min. of Knowledge: Oystein DJUPEDAL

Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: Bjarne Hakon HANSSEN

Min. of Local Govt. & Regional Development: Magnhild Meltveit KLEPPA

Min. of Modernization: Heidi Grande ROYS

Min. of Petroleum & Energy: Aslaug HAGA

Min. of Research & Higher Education:Tora AASLAND

Min. of Trade & Industry: Dag Terje ANDERSEN

Min. of Transport & Communications: Liv Signe NAVARSETE

Governor, Bank of Norway: Svein GJEDREM

Ambassador to the US: Wegger Christian STROMMEN

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Johan Ludvik LOVALD

Norway maintains an embassy in the United States at 2720 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-333-6000) and consulates in Houston, Minneapolis (may be closed in 2008), New York, and San Francisco.

ECONOMY

Norway is one of the world's richest countries in per capita terms. It has an important stake in promoting a liberal environment for foreign trade. Its large shipping fleet is one of the most modern among maritime nations. Metals, pulp and paper products, chemicals, shipbuilding, and fishing are the most significant traditional industries.

Norway's emergence as a major oil and gas producer in the mid-1970s transformed the economy. Large sums of investment capital poured into the offshore oil sector, leading to greater increases in Norwegian production costs and wages than in the rest of Western Europe up to the time of the global recovery of the mid-1980s. The influx of oil revenue also permitted Norway to expand an already extensive social welfare system. Norway has established a state petroleum fund that is expected to exceed $387 billion by the end of December 2007. The fund is primarily designed to help finance government programs once oil and gas resources become depleted. Norway is currently enjoying large foreign trade surpluses thanks to high oil prices. Unemployment remains low (3%range), and the prospects for economic growth are encouraging thanks to the government's expansionary fiscal policy and economic recovery in the United States and Europe. As yet, the country does not have a significant industrial or manufacturing base and, in banking and financial services, the country is in the process of liberalizing and consolidating the industry. Norway's restricted labor market has limited the country's ability for mainland growth, although growth in the service sector has been stronger than in manufacturing. Labor costs have increased at a rate higher than those in its major trade rivals, causing a continued loss in Norway's competitive advantage. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has applauded Norway's strong economic outlook, with high growth expected to continue.

Norway voted against joining the European Union (EU) in a 1994 referendum. With the exception of the agricultural and fisheries sectors, however, Norway enjoys free trade with the EU under the framework of the European Economic Area. This agreement aims to apply the four freedoms of the EU's internal market (goods, persons, services, and capital) to Norway. As a result, Norway normally adopts and implements most EU directives. The present government has agreed not to open the question of full membership in the EU during the 2005-2009 legislative term. Norwegian monetary policy is aimed at maintaining a stable exchange rate for the krone against European currencies, of which the euro is a key operating parameter. Norway is not a member of the EU's Economic and Monetary Union and does not have a fixed exchange rate. Its principal trading partners are in the EU; the United States ranks sixth.

Energy Resources

Offshore hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in the 1960s, and development began in the 1970s. The growth of the petroleum sector has contributed significantly to Norwegian economic vitality. Current petroleum production capacity is more than 3 million barrels per day. Production has increased rapidly during the past several years as new fields are opened. Total production in 2006 was about 248 million cubic meters of oil equivalents, over 65% of which was crude oil. This represents a slight decline in crude oil production over the past year, accompanied by sharp increases in gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. Hydropower provides nearly all of Norway's electricity, and all of the gas and most of the oil produced is exported.

Norway is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter, providing much of western Europe's crude oil and gas requirements. In 2006, Norwegian oil and gas exports accounted for nearly 60% of total merchandise exports. In addition, offshore exploration and production have stimulated onshore economic activities. Foreign companies, including many American ones, participate actively in the petroleum sector.

Petroleum resources are expected to become less abundant and less commercially exploitable over time and may be reaching a plateau. However, innovative use of extraction technologies has extended the lives of fields far beyond their expected closures. Declines in petroleum extraction revenue may be offset by increased revenue from the extraction of natural gas. New fields such as Troll and Snohvit and the new LNG plant constructed in Hammerfest will increase Norway's natural gas production. Nevertheless, given that the energy industry affects virtually every sector in the economy, diversification remains Norway's greatest challenge.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Norway supports international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of disputes, recognizing the need for maintaining a strong national defense through collective security. Accordingly, the cornerstones of Norwegian policy are active membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and support for the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Norway also pursues a policy of economic, social, and cultural cooperation with other Nordic countries—Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—through the Nordic Council and bilaterally. In addition to strengthening traditional ties with developed countries, Norway seeks to build friendly relations with developing countries and has undertaken humanitarian and development aid efforts with selected African and Asian nations. Norway also is dedicated to encouraging democracy, assisting refugees, promoting a global response to climate change, and protecting human rights throughout the world.

U.S.-NORWAY RELATIONS

The United States and Norway enjoy a long tradition of friendly association. The relationship is strengthened by the millions of Norwegian-Americans in the United States and by about 10,000 U.S. citizens residing in Norway. The two countries enjoy an active cultural exchange, both officially and privately.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

OSLO (E) Henrik Ibsens gate 48, 0244 OSLO, APO/FPO AmEmbassy Oslo, PSC 69 Box 1000, APO/AE 09707, [47]2130-8550, Fax +47-2243-0777, Workweek: 0800-1630, Website: http://oslo.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Olivia Lindenberg
AMB OMS:Linda Semere
ECO/COM:Edward Canuel
FM:Jesus Vidal
MGT:Nathan Bluhm
POL ECO:Kristen Bauer
AMB:Ben Whitney
CON:Maria Silver
DCM:Kevin Johnson
PAO:Hilary Olsin-Windecker
GSO:Michael Delauder
RSO:Colin Sullivan
AGR:Resident Stockholm
CLO:John Woynicki
DAO:CAPT James G. Stevens
EEO:Patricia Attkisson
FAA:Resident London
FMO:Nathan Bluhm
ICASS:Chair Maria Silver
IMO:Andrew Hoff
IRS:Resident London
ISSO:Donal Godfrey
LEGATT:Resident Copenhagen
State ICASS:Maria Silver

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 4, 2007

Country Description: Norway is a highly developed stable democracy with a modern economy. The cost of living in Norway is high and tourist facilities are well developed and widely available.

Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required. Norwegian entry visas are governed by the rules of the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may enter Norway for tourist or general business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days. That period begins when you enter any of the Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008-2714, tel:202-333-6000, web site: http://www.norway.org or the nearest Norwegian Consulate. Consulates are located in Houston, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco. Information can also be obtained from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration at http://www.udi.no.

Note: Although European Union regulations require that non-EU visitors obtain a stamp in their passports upon initial entry to a Schengen country, many borders are not staffed with officers carrying out this function. If an American citizen wishes to ensure that his or her entry is properly documented, it may be necessary to request a stamp at an official point of entry. Under local law, travelers without a stamp in their passports may be questioned and asked to document the length of their stay in Schengen countries at the time of departure or at any other point during their visit, and could face possible fines or other repercussions if unable to do so.

Safety and Security: Norway remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Norway's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. The U.S. government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. In the post-9/11 environment, Norway shares with the rest of the world an increased threat of international Islamic terrorism. Norway was among a list of countries named as legitimate targets in al-Qaida audiotapes released in 2003, 2004, and 2006. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the State Department's web site, where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found.

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime Information: Norway has a relatively low crime rate. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property.

Residential burglaries, auto theft, and vandalism to parked cars can also occur. Most high-end value vehicles, especially in Oslo, have visible alarm system indicators to discourage joy riders or thieves. Persons who appear affluent or disoriented may become targets of pocket-pickers and purse-snatchers, especially during the peak tourist season (May-September). Thieves frequently target tourists in airports, train stations and hotels, particularly lobby/reception and restaurant areas. Often such thieves work in pairs, and use distraction as a method to steal purses or briefcases. While passports are frequently stolen in the course of these thefts, money, credit cards, and jewelry are the actual objects of interest. In some cases stolen passports are recovered. Violent crime, although rare, occurs and appears to be increasing. Some thieves or burglars may have weapons. The emergency phone number for the police in Norway is 112.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Norway has a program to provide financial compensation to victims who suffer serious criminal injuries. Claimants can obtain application forms from the Norwegian Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority at http://www.voldsoffererstatning.no/index.php?id=10 Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Oslo for further information.

Medical Facilities And Health Information: Medical facilities are widely available and of high quality, but may be limited outside the larger urban areas. The remote and sparse populations in northern Norway, and the dependency on ferries to cross fjords of western Norway, may affect transportation and ready access to medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy in Oslo maintains a list of emergency clinics in major cities.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877FYI-TRIP (1-877394-8747) or via the CDC's web site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Medical Insurance: Healthcare in Norway is very expensive and healthcare providers sometimes require payment at time of service. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Norway is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Public transportation in Norway is generally safe, and the maintenance and condition of urban roads are generally good. Rural road conditions are fair, and the availability of roadside assistance is limited. Most roadways beyond the city limits of Oslo and other major cities tend to be simple two-lane roads. In mountainous areas of Norway, the roads also tend to be narrow and winding, with many tunnels. The northerlylatitude can also cause road conditions to vary greatly, depending on weather and time of year. Many mountain roads are closed due to snow from late fall to late spring. The use of winter tires is mandatory on all motor vehicles from November to April.

Norwegian law requires that drivers always use their vehicle headlights when driving. Norwegian law also requires drivers to yield to vehicles coming from the right. In some, but not all, instances, major roads with “right of way” are marked. Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers.

Norway has some of the strictest laws in Europe concerning driving under the influence of alcohol; those laws prescribe heavy penalties for those convicted of even a low blood alcohol level. Frequent road checks with mandatory breathalyzer tests and the promise of stiff jail sentences encourage alcohol-free driving. The maximum legal blood alcohol content level for driving a car in Norway is 0.02 per cent. Automatic cameras placed by the police along roadways help to maintain speed limits, which are often lower than in other European countries. Fines—and sometimes jail time—are imposed even for slight infractions. For specific information concerning Norwegian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Norwegian Tourist Board office at PO Box 4649, Grand Central Station, New York, New York 10163-4649 (tel.: 212-885-9700; fax: 212/ 885-9710) or visit their web site at http://www.norway.org/travel.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government ofNorway's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Norway's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.

Persons violating Norway'laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Norway are strict and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living in or visiting Norway are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Norway. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Oslo near the Royal Palace at Henrik Ibsensgate 48; tel. 47/2244-8550 (24 hours), consular fax 47/2256-2751. The Embassy's web site is http://norway.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

October 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: There are very few children eligible for intercountry adoption from Norway, with a long waiting list of Norwegian prospective adoptive parents. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Norwegian orphan by foreigners is unlikely.

Patterns of Immigration: For at least the last five years, no Norwegian orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas. Within Norway, in 2003 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 870 orphans were adopted, most of them step-children.

Adoption Authority: The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (known by the Norwegian acronym “Bufdir”), a unit of the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, is the authority on both domestic and intercountry adoptions in Norway. The Act on Adoption, which came into force on January 1, 1987, and government guidelines constitute the regulations for adoptions in Norway. Bufdir supervises the work of the Norwegian adoption organizations, maintains central adoption records and assigns a government grant to those who receive approval to adopt a child. Bufdir is also the Central Authority for the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention, which came into force for Norway January 1, 1998.

Barne-ungdoms-og familiedirektoratet
Postboks 8113 Dep
Universitetsgata 7, 0032 Oslo
Tel: 47/2404-4000
Fax: 47/2404-4001
Email: [email protected]
Web sites: www.bufdir.no

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Applications by parents who are 45 years or older than the prospective child are given additional scrutiny. There are cases, for example, in which one of the spouses is considerably younger than the other, or the family has already adopted a child. The prospective parents must show documents certifying their good health status, stable financial situation and have a clean police record. Those who apply together must be married, generally for at least two years. Persons living in registered partnership are not eligible to apply to adopt a child from outside Norway.

Residency Requirements: Temporary visitors to Norway cannot apply to adopt in Norway.

Time Frame: In general, it takes close to a year to prepare the required reports about the applying family.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and/or the licensing office of the appropriate state government agency in the U.S. state where the agency is located or licensed.

Adoption Procedures: In nearly all cases, the adoption is arranged through one of three accredited adoption organizations (specified on Bufdir web site). In intercountry adoptions, the Professional Board for Adoptions, composed of a medical doctor and two psychologists/psychiatrists, is responsible for the procedure.

If Bufdir reaches a negative conclusion about a requested adoption, the matter may be appealed to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.

Required Documents: Documentary requirements include, but are not limited to:

a social report detailing the prospective adoptive parents' background, marriage, everyday life, interests and motives for wanting to adopt a child from abroad;

  • the social worker's written impression of the applicants and their suitability to be adoptive parents;
  • birth and marriage certificates;
  • doctor's reports;
  • police certificates, and;
  • documentation of financial standing.

Royal Norwegian Embassy in
Washington

2720 34th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202/333-6000
Fax: 202/337-0870
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.norway.org/Embassy

Norway has Consulates General in New York, Houston, San Francisco and Minneapolis. See http://www.norway.org

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy
Henrik Ibsens Gate 48
0244 Oslo
Tel: 47/2244-8550
Fax: 47/2256-2751
Email: [email protected] site: www.usa.no

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Norway may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Norway. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

International Parental Child Abduction

February 2008

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

The Ministry of Justice and Police, the Department of Civil Affairs, has been designated as the Central Authority for Norway for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Being an administrative authority, the Ministry itself has no jurisdiction to make a decision on whether the child should be returned or not. This jurisdiction belongs entirely to the courts.

Immediately upon receiving an application from the Central Authority of another contracting state, the Ministry will give the application a preliminary examination, to ensure that it is in conformity with the formal conditions laid down by the Convention, and that the documents required in Article 8 are enclosed. If that is not the case, the application will immediately by returned to the requesting state for completion, or the lacking information will be asked for more informally by telephone or telefax to the requesting state. If the documents are not in English or Norwegian, the transmitting authority will be asked to provide a translation.

When all formal requirements are met, the application will immediately be sent to the competent local court for decision.

For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Appeals: A decision by the local court can be brought before the High Court (Appeals Division) by either party. A decision by the High Court (Appeals Division) can be brought before the Supreme Court if the Court agrees to hear the case.

Central Authority for Norway
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Police
Department of Civil Affairs
PO Box 8005 DEP.
N-0030 Oslo
NORWAY
Telephone: 011-47-2224 9090
Telefax: 011-47-22-242722
E-mail: [email protected]

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/family. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.

views updated

Norway

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Norwegians

35 Bibliography

Kingdom of Norway

Kongeriket Norge

CAPITAL: Oslo

FLAG: The national flag has a red field on which appears a blue cross (with an extended right horizontal) outlined in white.

ANTHEM: Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes, We Love This Country).

MONETARY UNIT: The krone (Kr) of 100 øre is the national currency. There are coins of 50 øre and 1, 5, and 10 kroner, and notes of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1, 000 kroner. Kr1 = $0.15798 (or $1 = Kr6.33) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Labor Day, 1 May; National Independence Day, 17 May; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Whitmonday.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Norway occupies the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula in northern Europe, with almost one-third of the country situated north of the Arctic Circle. It has an area of 323, 802 square kilometers (125, 020 square miles), slightly larger than the state of New Mexico. Extending 1, 752 kilometers (1, 089 miles) north-northeast to south-southwest, Norway has the greatest length of any European country. The country has a land boundary length of 2, 544 kilometers (1, 581 miles) and a total coastline (Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and North Sea) estimated at 21, 925 kilometers (13, 703 miles).

Norway’s capital city, Oslo, is in the southern part of the country.

2 Topography

Norway is formed of some of the oldest rocks in the world. It is dominated by mountain masses, with only one-fifth of its total area less than 150 meters (500 feet) above sea level. The Galdhøpiggen (2, 469 meters/8, 100 feet) mountain peak is the highest point in Norway and the

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 323, 802 sq km (125, 020 sq mi)

Size ranking: 66 of 194 Highest elevation: 2, 469 meters (8, 100 feet) at Galdhøpiggen

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Norwegian Sea

Land Use*

Arable land: 3%

Permanent crops: 0%

Other: 97%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 83.2 centimeters (32.8 inches)

Average temperature in January: (Oslo): -7°c to -2°c (19°f to 28°f)

Average temperature in July: (Oslo): 13°c to 22°c (55°f to 72°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

highest point in Europe north of the Alpine-Carpathian mountain range. The lowest point is at sea level (Norwegian Sea).

The principal river is the Glåma, with a total length of 598 kilometers (372 miles). The largest lake, Lake Mjosa, covers an area of 362 square kilometers (140 square miles). There are 1, 700 glaciers totaling some 3, 400 square kilometers (1, 310 square miles). Excellent harbors are provided by the almost numberless fjords (deeply indented bays). Along many coastal stretches is a chain of islands known as the skjærgård.

3 Climate

Because of the North Atlantic Drift, Norway has a mild climate for a country so far north. The north is considerably cooler than the south, while the interior is cooler than the west coast. Oslo’s average yearly temperature ranges from -7°c to -2°c (19°f to 28°f) in January to 13°c to 22°c (55°f to 72°f) in July. The eastern valleys have less than 30 centimeters (12 inches) of rain yearly, whereas along the west coast the average rainfall is 330 centimeters (130 inches).

Norway is the land of the midnight sun in the North Cape area, with 24-hour daylight from the middle of May to the end of July, during which the sun does not set. Conversely, there are long winter nights from the end of November to the end of January, during which the sun does not rise above the horizon and the northern lights, or aurora borealis, can be seen.

4 Plants and Animals

The richest vegetation is found in the southeast around Oslofjord, which is dominated by conifers (spruce, fir, and pine). At lower levels, deciduous trees such as oak, ash, elm, and maple are common. In areas exposed to salt sea winds, there

is little tree growth. Of the larger wild animals, elk, roe deer, red deer, and badger survive, as do fox, lynx, and otter. Bird life is abundant and includes game birds such as capercaillie (cock of the woods) and black grouse. In the rivers are found trout, salmon, and char.

5 Environment

Norway’s environment has suffered in recent years from the growing population and development of urban areas, roads, and hydroelectric power. The forest floor and waterways have been polluted by Norway’s own industry and by acid rain from central Europe and the British Isles. The acid rain problem has affected the nation’s water supply.

Between 1962 and 1985, 15 national parks, with a total area of more than 5, 000 square kilometers (2, 000 square miles), and more than 150 nature reserves were established. As of 2003, 6.8% of Norway’s total land area was protected, including 37 Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. The West Norwegian Fjords were named as natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005. In 2006, threatened species included nine types of mammals, six species of birds, seven species of fish, and two species of plants. Threatened species include the Baltic sturgeon, marsh snail, and freshwater pearl mussel.

6 Population

The population in 2005 was estimated at 4.6 million. The projection for 2025 is 5.1 million. Average density in 2005 was 15 people per square kilometer (39 per square mile). Oslo, the capital and principal city, had a population of 795, 000 in 2005.

7 Migration

Emigration in recent years has not been significant. In 2004, about 23, 271 Norwegians moved abroad. Most emigrants went to Sweden, Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Immigration was principally from the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden. In 2005, Norway’s immigrant population numbered 364, 981. The estimated net migration rate for 2005 was 1.73 migrants per 1, 000 population.

8 Ethnic Groups

The Norwegians have for centuries been a population with only one ethnic heritage. The population is nearly all of Germanic stock (Nordic, Alpine, and Baltic), generally tall and fair-skinned, with blue eyes. Small minority communities include some 20, 000 Sami (Lapps) and 7, 000 descendants of Finnish immigrants.

9 Languages

Norwegian, closely related to Danish and Swedish, is part of the Germanic language group. In addition to the letters of the English alphabet, it has the letters æ, å, and ø. Many dialects are spoken. There are two language forms, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Both forms of Norwegian have absorbed many modern international words, particularly from British and American English. While Norwegian is the official language, English is spoken widely in Norway, especially in the urban areas. The Sami (Lapps) in northern Norway have retained their own language, which is of Finno-Ugric origin. There is also a small Finnish-speaking minority.

10 Religions

The state church is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Citizens are generally considered to be members of the state church unless they specifically indicate other affiliations. Reports indicate that about 86% of the population is nominally affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. About 3.4% of the population belong to other Protestant denominations, 1.6% are Muslim, and 1% are Roman Catholic. Other groups include Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Orthodox Christians, and Sikhs. The Norwegian Humanist Association, an organization for atheists and the nonreligious, claims about 69, 652 adults as registered members.

11 Transportation

In spite of Norway’s difficult terrain, the road system has been well engineered, but there are problems of maintenance because of heavy rain in the west and freezing in the east. Road transport accounts for nearly 90% of inland passenger transport. As of 2002 the total length of highway was 91, 852 kilometers (57, 074 miles), of which 71, 185 kilometers (44, 232 miles) were paved, including 178 kilometers (111 miles) of expressways. As of 2003, there were 1, 932, 663 passenger cars and 468, 500 commercial vehicles. In 2004, 4, 077 kilometers (2, 533 miles) of rail line were operational.

With a merchant fleet of 740 vessels (18, 820, 495 gross registered tons, or GRT) as of 2005, Norway possessed one of the world’s largest fleets. Oslo and Bergen have excellent harbor facilities, but several other ports are almost as fully equipped.

Fornebu Airport (Oslo), Flesland (Bergen), and Sola (Stavanger) are the main centers of air traffic. External services are operated by the Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS). Braathens Air Transport operates most of the domestic scheduled flights. In 2003, 12.7 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

12 History

Humans have lived in Norway for about 10, 000 years. In the early centuries of the Christian era small kingdoms were formed. The name Norge (“Northern Way”) was in use for parts of the coastal district before ad 900. The Vikings were seagoing adventurers who lived from the eighth to tenth centuries. The Viking period (800–1050) was one of vigorous expansion under Olav Haraldsson. Vikings took territory by force for Norway. From the death of Olav in 1030, the nation was officially Christian.

The next two centuries were marked by dynastic conflicts and civil wars. A landed aristocracy emerged, displacing peasant farmers. A common legal code was adopted in 1274 to 1276 and the right of succession to the crown was established. Iceland came under Norwegian rule in 1261 and Greenland between 1261 and 1264. However, the Hebrides (Western Isles) near Scotland were lost in 1266.

Norway lost its independence at the death of Haakon V in 1319, when Magnus VII became ruler of both Norway and Sweden. The Bubonic Plague, known as the Black Death, swept the country in the middle of the 14th century.

In 1397 three Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, were united under Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Sweden left the union in 1523, but for nearly 300 more years Norway was ruled by Danish governors.

Denmark’s support of France during the Napoleonic Wars (1803–15) resulted in the breakup of the union. With the Peace of Kiel (1814), Norway was turned over to Sweden, but the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Greenland were kept by Denmark. However, Norwegians resisted Swedish rule. They adopted a new constitution on 17 May 1814 and elected the Danish Prince Christian Frederick king of Norway. Sweden then invaded Norway, but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting union with Sweden under the rule of the Swedish king.

Independence From Sweden During the second half of the 19th century, the Storting (parliament) became more powerful. An upsurge of nationalist feeling, both within the Storting and among Norway’s cultural leaders, paved the way for the election that in 1905 gave independence to Norway. Feelings ran high on both sides, but once the results were announced, Norway and Sweden settled down to friendly relations. The Danish Prince Carl was elected king of Norway, assuming the name Haakon VII.

World War II and the End of Neutrality Although Norway remained neutral during World War I (1914–18), its merchant marine suffered losses. Norway proclaimed its neutrality during the early days of World War II (1939–45), but Norwegian waters were strategically too important for Norway to remain outside the war. On 9 April 1940, Germany invaded. The national resistance was led by King Haakon. In June 1940 Haakon escaped, taking the government with him. Then he established Norway’s government-in exile in England.

The government that remained in Oslo fell to Vidkun Quisling, a former Norwegian defense minister who had aided the German invasion. His name afterwards became a term in the Norwegian language for one who collaborates with the enemy. After the German surrender, he was arrested, convicted of treason, and shot. During the late 1940s, Norway abandoned its former neutrality, accepted aid from the United States, and joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). King Haakon died in 1957 and was succeeded by Olav V.

Norway After World War II The direction of economic policy has been the major issue in Norway since World War II. Especially controversial have been the issues of taxation and the degree of government involvement in private industry. Economic planning has been introduced and several state-owned enterprises established. Prior to the mid-1970s, Labor Party-dominated governments enjoyed a broad public consensus for their foreign and military policies.

About 54% of the Norwegians who voted, in November 1972 rejected Norway’s entry into what was then the European Economic Community (EEC). The EEC, now the European Union (EU), is intended to make trade between European countries as easy as it is between Michigan and New York.

After the 1973 general elections, the Labor Party, which had been in favor of joining the EEC, found its control over the government had begun to weaken. The Labor Party lost control of the government to the Conservatives in the 1981 elections, but regained control in 1986. On 17 January 1991 King Harald took over the throne when his father died.

The EU issue has remained controversial. In late November 1994, Norwegians again voted to reject membership in the EU, despite the fact

that its neighbors, Sweden and Finland, would become members in January 1995. However, public opinion polls in 2003 indicated that about 51.9% of the electorate was in favor of joining the EU. Those in favor of membership are primarily from urban areas and are engaged in business. Those opposed, from coastal areas to the north and the western rural areas, feel that Norway is strong enough and rich enough in natural resources to remain independent. Of special concern is protection of the rich fishing grounds in Norway’s territorial waters.

Jens Stoltenberg of the Labor Party became the prime minister in 2005. Stoltenberg had previously serviced as been prime minister from 2000 to 2001.

13 Government

Norway is a constitutional monarchy. The constitution of 17 May 1814, as amended, places executive power in the king and legislative power in the Storting (parliament). A constitutional amendment in May 1990 allows females to take the throne. The sovereign (king or queen) must be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway, which he or she heads. Royal power is exercised through a cabinet (the Council of State), consisting of a prime minister and at least seven other ministers of state (these numbered 18 in 2005).

Since the introduction of parliamentary rule in 1884, the Storting has become the supreme

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Jens Stoltenberg

Position: Prime minister of a constitutional monarchy

Took Office: 17 October 2003

Birthplace: Norway

Birthdate: 16 March 1959

Education: University of Oslo

Spouse: Ingrid Schulerud

Children: Two children

Of interest: He was first prime minister from 2000–2001.

authority, with complete control over finances and with power to override the king’s (or queen’s) veto under a specified procedure. The monarch is theoretically free to choose his or her own cabinet. In practice the Storting selects the ministers, who must resign if the Storting votes no confidence (in their abilities).

The Storting is made up of 169 representatives from 19 counties. Election for a four-year term is by direct voting. After election, the Storting divides into two sections by choosing one-fourth of its members to form the upper chamber, Lagting, with the rest constituting the lower chamber, Odelsting. The Odelsting deals with certain types of bills (chiefly proposed new laws) after the committee stage and forwards them to the Lagting. After approving bills, the Lagting sends them to the king for the royal assent (agreement).

Norway has 435 municipalities of varying size. They are grouped into 19 counties (fylker), each governed by an elected county council. Each county is headed by a governor by the king in council.

14 Political Parties

The present-day Conservative Party (Høyre) was established in 1885. The Liberal Party (Venstre), founded in 1885, stresses social reform. Industrial workers founded the Labor Party (Arbeiderparti) in 1887 and, with the assistance of the Liberals,

obtained the universal vote for men in 1898 and for women in 1913. The Social Democrats broke away from the Labor Party in 1921–22 and the Communist Party (Kommunistparti), made up of former Laborites, was established in 1923.

The Agrarian (Farmers) Party was formed in 1920. It changed its name to the Center Party (Senterparti) in 1958. The Christian People’s Party (Kristelig Folkeparti), founded in 1933 and also known as the Christian Democratic Party, supports the principles of Christianity in public life.

In the September 2005 parliamentary elections, the Labor Party came in first, followed by the far-right Progress Party. Other parties represented in parliament that year were the Conservative Party, the Socialist Left Party, the Christian People’s Party, Center Party, and the Liberal Party.

15 Judicial System

Each municipality has a conciliation council (forliksråd), elected by the municipal council, to mediate in lesser civil cases so as to settle them, if possible, before they go to court. Cases receive their first hearing in town courts (byrett) and rural courts (herredstrett), which try both civil and criminal cases. Their decisions may be brought before a court of appeals (lagmannsrett); there are six such courts, at Borgarting, Eidsivating, Agder, Gulating, Frostating and Hålogaland.

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

Appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court (Høyesterett) at Oslo, which consists of a chief justice and seventeen judges. Special courts include a Social Insurance Court and a Labor Disputes Court that handles industrial relations disputes.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the armed forces had a total strength if 25, 800 active personnel and reserves numbering 219, 000. The army’s total strength was 14, 700 members. The navy had a total of 6, 100 active personnel. The air force numbered 5, 000. Norway is the host nation for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allied Forces North and provides troops for six peacekeeping operations. As of 2006 the government had withdrawn it small number of troops from Iraq but pledged to increase support of peacekeeping operations around the world. The defense budget in 2005 was $4.69 billion.

17 Economy

Norway, with its long coastline and vast forests, was traditionally a fishing and lumbering country. Since the end of World War I, it has greatly increased its transport and manufacturing activities. The discovery of major new oil reserves in the North Sea in the late 1970s had considerable impact on the Norwegian economy.

Foreign trade is a critical economic factor. Norway was especially sensitive to the effects of the worldwide recession of the early 1980s and is affected by variations in world prices, particularly those of oil, gas, and shipping. Since the early 1980s, Norway’s exports had been dominated by petroleum and natural gas. However, by 2005, the service sector had grown to account for 56% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2001, GDP growth was at 1.4%, but fell to 1% in 2002 and to 0.5% in 2003, largely due to the global economic slowdown. The economy recovered strongly in 2004 with a growth rate of 3.4%, rising to 4% in 2005.

18 Income

In 2005, Norway’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $194 billion, or about $42, 400 per person. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 4%. In 2002, the average inflation rate was 2.1%.

19 Industry

The most important export industries are oil and gas production, metalworking, pulp and paper, chemical products, and processed fish. Products traditionally classified as home market industries (electrical and nonelectrical machinery, casting and foundry products, textiles, paints, varnishes, rubber goods, and furniture) also make an important contribution.

Electrochemical and electrometallurgical products—aluminum, ferroalloys, steel, nickel, copper, magnesium, and fertilizers—are based mainly on Norway’s low-cost electric power. Without any bauxite reserves of its own, Norway has thus been able to become a leading producer of aluminum. Industrial output is being increasingly diversified.

About half of Norway’s industries are situated in the area of Oslo’s fjord.

20 Labor

In 2005, the labor force totaled 2.4 million workers. In 2003, 74% of the workforce was employed in the service sector, 22.1% in industry, and 4% in agriculture. Unemployment stood at 4.2% in 2005.

In 2005, Norway’s unions represented about 55% of the employed labor force.

Norwegian workers receive four weeks plus one day of annual vacation time with pay. Generally, employee representatives make up one-third of a company board of directors. Children between the ages of 13 and 18 years may engage in light work that will not negatively affect their health or education, but only on a part-time basis. There is no legal minimum wage. Wage scales are set through negotiations with local government, employers, and workers.

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

21 Agriculture

In 2005, agricultural land covered about 3% of the country’s total land (excluding Svalbard and Jan Mayen). As of 2005, about 96% of all agricultural lands were held by individuals. Because of the small size of the holdings, many farm families pursue additional occupations, mainly in forestry, fishing, and handicrafts. In 2004 major crops included 1.0 million tons of grain (barley, oats, and wheat) and 340, 000 tons of potatoes. Norway imports most of its grain and large quantities of its fruits and vegetables.

22 Domesticated Animals

Norway is self-sufficient in farm animals and livestock products. In 2005, there were 2.4 million sheep, 920, 000 head of cattle, 515, 000 hogs, 28, 000 horses, and 3.3 million fowl. Norway is well known for its work horses and dairy cows. In 2005, production included 83, 600 tons of beef and veal, 116, 500 tons of pork, 25, 400 tons of mutton and lamb, 1.7 million tons of milk, 81, 200 tons of cheese, 51, 000 tons of eggs, and

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

13, 000 tons of butter. Norwegian production of milk, cheese, and meat satisfies local demand.

In 2003 there were 320, 000 farm-raised foxes and 440, 000 mink. Nearly 200, 000 reindeer graze in the north and on the lichen-clad mountains. In 2001, exports of hides and skins amounted to $66.1 million.

23 Fishing

Fishing is of modest importance, with 2.5 million tons caught in 2004. The main commercial species are herring, cod, mackerel, and sardines. The value of fish and fishery products exported in 2004 was $1.5 billion.

Aquaculture (fish farming) is also important in Norway, with more than 3, 500 workers and 700 facilities. The production of farmed salmon reached 537, 000 tons in 2004. In 2003 seal hunting expeditions in the Arctic Ocean caught 12, 870 seals. Norway was one of the four countries that did not agree to phase out whaling by 1986. In 2006 Norway sparked controversy by increasing the annual quota of minke whales that could be killed by whalers 30%, from 797 to 1, 052.

24 Forestry

Norway’s forestland covers about 8, 868, 000 hectares (21, 913, 000 acres). In 2004 removals amounted to 8.78 million cubic meters (309.9 million cubic feet). Sawn wood production in 2004 totaled 2.23 million cubic meters (78.7 million cubic feet); wood pulp, 2.5 million tons; and paper and paperboard, 2.29 million tons. The value of forest product exports was $1.8 billion in 2004.

25 Mining

Mining is Norway’s oldest major export industry. In 2004 petroleum and gas comprised Norway’s leading industries. Known deposits of other minerals are small. They include limestone, quartz, dolomite, feldspar, and slate. In 2004, production included 449, 743 tons of iron ore and concentrate and 426, 594 tons of titanium. The largest titanium deposit in Europe is at Soknedal.

26 Foreign Trade

Foreign trade plays an exceptionally important role in the Norwegian economy. Exports are largely based on oil, natural gas, shipbuilding, metals, forestry (including pulp and paper), fishing, and electrochemical and electrometallurgical products. The manufacture of oil rigs, drilling platforms, and associated equipment has developed into a sizable export industry. Norway imports large quantities of motor vehicles and other transport equipment, raw materials, and industrial equipment.

Primary export partners include the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the United States. Primary import partners include Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

27 Energy and Power

Norway, always well supplied with waterpower, also has the advantage of vast petroleum and natural gas deposits in the North Sea. Norway has the largest proven reserves of oil in Western Europe. Altogether, the nation’s remaining reserves of oil totaled 8.5 billion barrels as of the beginning of 2005. Production in 2004 was about 3.1 million barrels per day. Natural gas reserves totaled 2 trillion cubic meters (73.6 trillion cubic feet). Production of natural gas in 2003 was estimated at 76.6 billion cubic meters (2.6 trillion cubic feet).

Electric power production in 2000 totaled 140.9 billion kilowatt hours, which was almost entirely hydroelectric. The importance of coal and other solid fuels has steadily declined in recent years. However, coal reserves were estimated at 5.5 million tons in 2003 and production the same year amounted to 3.2 million tons.

28 Social Development

Norway has been a pioneer in the field of social welfare and is often called a welfare state. Accident insurance for factory workers was introduced in 1894 and compulsory health insurance in 1909. Sickness benefits, family allowances during hospitalization, and grants for funeral expenses are paid. Public assistance, available in Norway since 1845, supplements the foregoing programs. Social welfare has long included maternity benefits with free prenatal clinics.

The National Insurance Act, which came into effect in 1967, provides old-age pensions, rehabilitation allowances, disability pensions, widow and widower pensions, and survivor benefits to children. Workers’ compensation covers both accidents and occupational diseases. Family allowance coverage, in force since 1946, is provided for children under the age of 16.

In spite of a 1978 law mandating equal wages for equal work by men and women, economic discrimination continues, and the average pay for women in industry is lower than that for men. There are legal provisions to protect the rights and cultural heritage of minority peoples, such as the Sami (Lapps).

29 Health

Since 1971, there has been a tax-based National Insurance Scheme. Hospital care is free of charge, but a minor fee is charged for medicine and primary health care. As of 2004 there were an estimated 310 physicians per 100, 000 people. In 2005, average life expectancy was 79 years and the infant mortality rate was estimated at 3.7 per 1, 000 live births.

As of 2004, the number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was estimated at 2, 100. Deaths from AIDS in 2003 were estimated at 100. The heart disease mortality rates were higher than the average compared to other high human development countries.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorNorway Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$38, 680 $2, 258$31, 009$39, 820
Population growth rate0.6% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land15 803032
Life expectancy in years: male78 587675
female82 608280
Number of physicians per 1, 000 people3.1 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)10 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)100% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1, 000 people884 84735938
Internet users per 1, 000 people394 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)5, 100 5015, 4107, 843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)8.25 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

As of 2001 Norway had 1, 961, 548 dwelling units; 57% of them were detached houses. About 29% of the housing stock was built in the period 1981–2001. In 2001, 21, 099 new dwellings were completed. In 2002 at least 22, 980 new dwellings were under construction and in 2003, about 22, 677 units were started. According to estimates for 2004, about 52% of all households lived in single-family detached dwellings and about 82% of all dwelling were owner occupied.

31 Education

A 10-year system of compulsory education is available for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. Three-year general secondary schools (gymnasiums) prepare students for the university. The upper secondary school system also includes vocational schools of various types. As of 2003, 100% of primary school-age children were enrolled in school, while about than 96% of those eligible were enrolled in secondary school. The pupil-to-teacher ratio in primary schools in 2005 was estimated at 10 to 1.

Norway’s institutions of higher education include 130 colleges and 4 universities. The four major universities include the University of Oslo (founded in 1811), the University of Bergen (1948), the University of Trondheim (1969), and the University of Tromsø (1969). There are also specialized institutions, such as the Agricultural University of Norway (near Oslo); the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (Bergen); and the Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine (Oslo).

Folk high schools are associated with a long Scandinavian tradition of public enlightenment. There are more than 80 folk schools in Norway geared toward providing personal growth and development rather than academic achievement. In 2003, about 81% of the adult population were enrolled in some type of continuing education program. As of 2005 the entire adult population was literate.

32 Media

In 2003, there were an estimated 713 mainline phones 909 mobile phones in use for every 1, 000 people. As of 1998 Norway had 5 AM and at least 650 FM radio broadcasting stations. As of 2004, there were an estimated 3, 324 radios and 884 television sets for every 1, 000 people. The same year, there were about 580 personal computers for every 1, 000 people and 394 of every 1, 000 people had access to the Internet.

The Norwegian press is characterized by a large number of small newspapers. The following are the largest dailies with their circulations in 2004: Verdens Gang, 365, 000; Aftenposten, 398, 000; and Dagbladet, 183, 000.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Norway’s main tourist attractions are the cities of Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim, which are connected by road, rail, and daily flights; the marvelous scenery of the fjord country in the west; and the arctic coast with the North Cape and “midnight sun.” In 2003, foreign visitors numbered 3.1 million and income from tourism totaled $3 billion. There were 67, 114 hotel rooms with 143, 798 beds and a 35% occupancy rate that year.

A favorite method of tourist travel is by coastal steamer, sailing from Bergen northward to Kirkenes, near the Russian frontier. Many cruise ships sail the Norwegian fjords and coastal towns. Notable outdoor recreational facilities include the Oslomarka, a 100, 000-hectare (247, 000-acre) area located near Oslo, with ski trails and walking paths. To compensate for the shortness of winter days, several trails are illuminated for evening skiing.

Other popular sports include ice skating, freshwater fishing, mountaineering, hunting (grouse, reindeer, and elk), and soccer. There are major theaters in Oslo and Bergen, as well as six regional theaters; Den Norske Opera in Oslo; and four symphony orchestras. International musical events include the Bergen Festival, held annually in late May or early June; and several jazz festivals in July. In 1994 Norway hosted the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.

34 Famous Norwegians

Ludvig Holberg (1684–1745), the father of Danish and Norwegian literature, was a leading dramatist whose comedies are still performed. Henrik Wergeland (1808–1845), Norway’s greatest poet, was a patriot and social reformer. His sister, Camilla Collett (1813–1895), author of the first Norwegian realistic novel, was a pioneer in the movement for women’s rights. Henrik Ibsen (1827–1906), founder of modern dramas, placed Norway in the forefront of world literature. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson (1832–1910), poet, playwright, and novelist, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1903. Other noted novelists are Knut Hamsun (1859–1952), Nobel Prize winner in 1920, and Sigrid Undset (1882–1949), awarded the Nobel Prize in 1928.

Ole Bull (1810–1880) was a world-famous violinist. Edvard Grieg (1843–1907) was the first Norwegian composer to win broad popularity. Kirsten Flagstad (1895–1962), world-renowned soprano, served for a time as director of the Norwegian State Opera. Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was an outstanding expressionist painter. Norway’s foremost sculptor is Gustav Vigeland (1869–1943).

Outstanding scientists are Armauer (Gerhard Henrik) Hansen (1841–1912), discoverer of the leprosy bacillus; Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930), an oceanographer and Arctic explorer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for organizing famine relief in Russia; Roald Amundsen (1872–1928), polar explorer; Regnar Frisch (1895–1978), who shared the first Nobel Prize in economics in 1969 for developing econometrics; and Thor Heyerdahl (1914–2002), explorer and anthropologist.

The first secretary-general of the United Nations was a Norwegian, Trygve (Halvdan) Lie (1896–1968), who served from 1946 to 1953. The historian Christian Louis Lange (1869–1938) was co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1921.

Sonja Henie (1913–1969) was the leading woman figure skater of her time, and Liv Ullmann (1939–) is an internationally known actress. Grete Waitz (1953–) is a champion long-distance runner.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Blashfield, Jean F. Norway. New York: Children’s Press, 2000.

Corona, Laurel. Norway. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books, 2001.

Fouberg, Erin Hogan. Norway. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003.

Hopkins, Andrea. Harald the Ruthless: the Saga of the Last Viking. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Kagda, Sakina. Norway. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 1995.

Kopka, Deborah L. Norway. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2001.

WEB SITES

Country Analysis Briefs. www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/Norway/Background.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eur/ci/no/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.dep.no/odin/engelsk/index-b-n-a.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

World Heritage List. whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/no. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

views updated

NORWAY

NORWAY , kingdom in N. Europe. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, when Norway and *Denmark were united, most general regulations concerning the Jews of Denmark also applied in Norway. However, according to the Norwegian Legal Code promulgated by King Christian v in 1687 the Jews were barred from admission to Norway without a letter of safe-conduct; without this, a Jew risked arrest, fines, and deportation. As a result of this measure the special regulations allowing free access to the so-called "Portuguese" Jews (issued by the Danish crown in 1657, renewed in 1670, 1684, and 1750) were not consistently adhered to by the Norwegian authorities. An incident which took place in 1734 became notorious: three Dutch "Portuguese" Jews were arrested on their arrival in the country and spent two months in prison. In the 17th and 18th centuries, few Jews stayed in Norway, usually only temporarily, though some Jews in other countries had business connections there, such as Manuel Teixeira from Hamburg who was co-owner of some Norwegian mines. In 1814 Norway became free of the union with Denmark and a Norwegian constitution was produced. Despite the liberal tenor of the Norwegian constitution of 1814, Article Two – stating that Lutheran Protestantism is the official state religion in which all Lutheran children must be brought up – confirmed the exclusion of Jews and Jesuits

from Norway; this was strictly enforced. A new union was immediately formed with Sweden. At first this did not interfere with Norwegian politics, but from 1884 the Swedes decided to take an active part in Norway's foreign affairs. This union lasted until 1905. In 1817 a shipwrecked Jew was thrown into jail and then deported. In the 1830s, however, a more liberal spirit gradually emerged. The government issued letters of safe conduct from time to time; one was given to Heinrich *Heine's uncle, Solomon *Heine, who was instrumental in the granting of a loan to the Norwegian state by the Copenhagen banking house of Hambro and Son. In 1844 the Ministry of Justice confirmed the free immigration rights of "Portuguese" Jews. The repeal of the ban on Jewish settlement was largely the result of the efforts of writer Henrik *Wergeland. In 1839 he submitted his first proposal to the Storting, the Norwegian parliament, accompanying his proposal with a lengthy memorandum and publishing his essay on the Jewish question, Indlaeg i Jødensagen (1841). This was followed by numerous articles in the press, several of them by Wergeland himself. In 1842 a committee on the constitution dealing with the problem made a notable proposal in which it was stated that the right to free immigration was an international one. The motion to give the Jews free access received a simple majority, i.e., more than 50% of the vote, in 1842, 1845, and 1848, but did not obtain the requisite two-thirds majority until 1851. In that year 93 votes were cast in favor of admitting the Jews with full civil rights, with ten votes against.

The First Communities

The first Jew settled in the country in 1852 and for many years he remained the only representative of his faith; in 1875 only 25 Jews had their permanent residence in Norway. After 1880 immigration increased considerably, and Eastern European Jews gradually became most numerous. In 1890 there were 214 Jews in Norway; ten years later there were 642, most of them in *Oslo, the capital, and in Trondheim. The oldest communities, called "The Mosaic Congregation" (Det Mosaiske Trossamfund), were founded in Oslo in 1892 and in Trondheim in 1905; both congregations are still in existence. (See Map: Jews in Norway). Land for a cemetery was bought in Oslo as early as 1869, and the first burial took place in 1885. For some years there were as many as four congregations in the capital, but only two continued to exist for any length of time. In the 1920s and 1930s, a Jewish orphanage and home for the aged was founded. The census of 1920 recorded 1,457 Jews, of whom 852 lived in the capital. This was the highest number of Jews recorded prior to World War ii. In 1930 there were 1,359 Jews in Norway, with 749 resident in Oslo.

In the years before and during World War i, young people's associations, women's groups, Zionist associations and charitable societies were established in Oslo and Trondheim. In the 1930s there were several Jewish theater societies, a choir and other cultural societies, a Norwegian Jewish Youth Society (juf) that expanded into a Scandinavian Jewish Youth Society (sjuf) as well as an academic society. Two Jewish periodicals were published, Israelitten from 1911 to 1927 and Hatikwoh from 1929 to 1938. The two synagogue buildings in Oslo and Trondheim, both still in use today, were consecrated in 1920 and 1925 respectively. The second synagogue in Oslo, dedicated in 1921, has not been in use since World War ii. (This building was converted into a Jewish museum that opened to the public in 2006.) For many years most Norwegian Jews engaged in trade; gradually they also moved into industry and some entered the professions. Between 1930 and 1940 immigration was comparatively slight.

It is possible to trace the rise of antisemitism in the Norwegian press during World War i and preceding World War ii. In the 1930s anti-Jewish race theories were advocated by the Norwegian police, politicians, and press.

Holocaust Period

In 1941–42 the Jewish population of Norway consisted of approximately 1,000 households, numbering a total of 2,173 individuals living mainly in Oslo and Trondheim, but also thinly spread out in other parts of the country. Among these individuals 530 were Jewish refugees from the European continent and were not Norwegian citizens. About 1,800 were registered in the various communities. The number of Jewish refugees was relatively low, Norway being even more restrictive than Denmark and Sweden in the admission of Jewish refugees.

The Jews of Norway were hard-hit during the German occupation in World War ii (April 1940–May 1945). Already in October 1940 Jews were prohibited to engage in academic and other professions. In some regions the actual persecution of the Jews began in 1941, but only in the fall of 1942 did it become countrywide. In two raids, on October 25 for all men over 16 and on November 25 for women and children, 767 Jews were seized and shipped via Stettin to *Auschwitz. About 930 Jewish inhabitants succeeded in fleeing to Sweden, while about 60 others were interned in Norway proper. A very small number of Jews managed to remain in hiding, in hospitals, sanatoria or in the Jewish old-age home. Quite a large percentage of Norwegian Jewish men who had managed to escape joined the Norwegian army encampments in Sweden or England and fought with the allied forces throughout the war. Victims of the war, 60% of whom were men (two-thirds of whom were citizens of Norway), totaled 758. Twenty persons perished either through acts of war or were shot in Norway. Of those deported 740 were murdered in extermination camps and only 29 survived. The Germans inflicted heavy damage on the synagogue in Trondheim, and planned to obliterate the Jewish cemetery there. The physical persecution of the Jews by the Germans was facilitated by orders given by *Quisling's government for the forced registration of all Jews (June 1942) and the confiscation of all Jewish property (October 1942). The final arrest was carried out by Norwegian police officers carrying out orders issued by the Nazis. The bishops of Norway sent a protest letter on Nov. 11, 1942 to Quisling. It was also signed by the other Protestant churches of Norway. The letter, in denunciation of the illegal acts, states: "God does not differentiate among people… Since the Lutheran religion is the state religion, the state cannot enact any law or decree which is in conflict with the Christian faith or the Church's confession." The letter was read from the pulpit on Dec. 6 and 13, 1942 and was quoted in the 1943 New Year message. Many Norwegians, with the guidance of the Underground movement, did their utmost to help Jews escape to Sweden, often at the risk of their own lives.

[Leni Yahil /

Lynn Claire Feinberg (2nd ed.)]

1945–1970

Most of the survivors of the Holocaust returned to Norway from Sweden after the war. Owing to the liquidation of Jewish property during wwii, most returned to homes that were emptied of all contents or valuables or homes occupied by Norwegians. The same was true of formerly Jewish-owned businesses. Miraculously, one of the synagogues in Oslo, including its Torah scrolls and contents, was untouched. The building had been used to store Nazi literature and property from Jewish homes that the Nazis had confiscated.

The Norwegian government was eager to demonstrate the sympathy of the Norwegian people toward the suffering Jewish people. About 400 Jewish dps came to Norway in 1947, but many left a while later for North America or Israel. With the abolition of the dp camps in Germany in the 1950s, Norway accepted several scores of "hardcore" cases. By the mid-1950s the Jewish population reached close to 1,000 souls, of whom over 700 resided in Oslo, about 150 in Trondheim, and the rest were scattered throughout the country.

The communities in Oslo and Trondheim were reconstituted: Orthodox services were conducted in the synagogues; a home for the aged that had been in use before the war continued to exist for a few years after the war in Oslo; social work, supported by the American Jewish *Joint Distribution Committee and the Conference on Jewish Material *Claims, was expanded; a *B'nai B'rith lodge was established in Oslo in 1952; a community center was opened in Oslo in 1960; the small community participated in all activities in support of Israel. Rabbi Zalman Aronzon was rabbi of Oslo from 1949 to 1958 and was head of the community's religious instruction. Rabbi Aronzon introduced a bat mitzvah ceremony for girls at the end of their religious instruction. At this time approximately 80 school-age children received regular religious instruction in Oslo and Trondheim; In addition to weekly religious instruction, many children also attended Bnei Akiva, a Zionist youth organization arranging gatherings of a more social nature and summer camps with children from the other Scandinavian countries as well as trips to Israel. During the 1950s and 1960s the Norwegian government, the Church, and all political parties were actively engaged in eradicating antisemitism. Pro-Israel sentiment was very strong and found expression in many actions.

[Chaim Yahil /

Lynn Claire Feinberg (2nd ed.)]

1970–2005

population

The total number of Jews in Norway in 1981 was estimated at 1,100 (0.027% of the total population). In 1992 the number of Jews in Norway was about 1,300–1,400, of which 200–300 were Israelis. More than 1,000 people (including children) were members of the Jewish congregations in the two Jewish communities in Norway: about 900 in Oslo and 135 in Trondheim. This number remained relatively stable throughout the 1990s. There has been a distinct aging process throughout the period with a high percentage of community members older than 65, which explains why there has been a relatively high rate of deaths in proportion to births since the wwii.

Over the years, a small but steady stream of Norwegians have converted to Judaism. There is general tendency among younger members to study and live in places abroad such as Israel, where there are more Jews, and not to return. The number of members of the Oslo Jewish community has traditionally stabilized around the 900 mark but in 2004 there were only about 800 members and in Trondheim only about 100 members. Quite a large percentage of Norwegian-born community members have spouses who are non-Jewish or who have converted. Due to many marriages among Scandinavian Jews, several community members were born in Sweden, Denmark, or Finland. There are also several members who come from other countries.

community

During the late 1970s and 1980s the Jewish community's activities expanded in Oslo. Starting in the 1970s there was a gradual increase in Norwegian school children and other groups visiting the synagogues and learning about Judaism and the fate of the Jews during World War ii. Several seminars on Jewish subjects were arranged at the universities of Oslo and Trondheim with Jewish and non-Jewish lecturers. In 1976 Kai Feinberg (1921–1995) became the head of the community, succeeding Harry M. Koritzinsky (1900–1989), who had held this post since 1946. In September 1980 Michael *Melchior (1954– ), son of Rabbi Bent Melchior, chief rabbi of Denmark, was inaugurated as rabbi in Oslo by his father after completing his rabbinical studies in Israel. Among those present were representatives of the Lutheran and Catholic Churches, universities, and state and municipal authorities. The community had existed without a rabbi for most of the years following World War ii.

In Trondheim religious school instruction recommenced after a break of some years owing to the lack of Jewish children aged 8–13. The community, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in May 1980, had no cantor, and services and religious education were conducted by the community leader.

Moshe Dayan, when foreign minister of Israel, visited Oslo in May 1978, as did his successor Yitzhak Shamir in November 1980. The Jewish community arranged a dinner in the community center for Prime Minister Menaḥem Begin when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1978.

With Rabbi Michael Melchior the Oslo community experienced a renaissance. Melchior helped make Judaism more visible to the Norwegian public at large and was often cited in newspapers and appeared on national tv. One of his first accomplishments was to open the Jewish kindergarten in Oslo in 1981. The kindergarten received some financial support from the city and soon became an important entry point for Jewish children and their parents into active participation in community life. In 2005 the kindergarten celebrated its 25th anniversary. In collaboration with the synagogue cantor, an Israeli, a children's choir was formed and many new melodies were introduced at the Sabbath morning services encouraging greater participation. Services were followed by a kiddush, with refreshments in the community center, also a novelty at this time. This event has since become the weekly meeting place for community members and guests. As a result of Melchior's involvement in the community the frequency of people participating in the Sabbath morning service in Oslo increased. Other services apart from Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur were not as well attended. In Trondheim the membership was too small to arrange morning services on Saturday. Services were usually held on Friday afternoons, on Rosh ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, and some of the other festivals. For many years the service was conducted by the community chairman and superintendent Jacob Kommisar (1922–1995). In recent years the Trondheim community has started holding Friday evening services every two weeks, conducted by one of the community members, often in conjunction with a communal meal. This is in addition to High Holiday services.

With Rabbi Melchior, religious school education was greatly improved; in Oslo in the 1990s the religious afternoon school was taught by the cantor and some community members. There were about 70 pupils in Oslo in the 1990s aged 7–16, and this figure has remained quite stable since. For a number of years, a young member of the Oslo community visited Trondheim every two or three weeks to teach. In recent years several of the teachers at the Trondheim weekly religious school have been recruited from Jewish youth born and raised in Oslo and currently studying at the University of Trondheim. Trondheim also offers weekly religious education for pre-school children.

Beginning in the 1980s, in addition to the ordinary religious school lessons, weekend gatherings (also for the children in the kindergarten) have been arranged once or twice a year in the community vacation home 12 miles (20 km) from Oslo. At regular intervals the community invites children and their parents to spend a weekend at a hotel some 50 miles (80 km) from Oslo and celebrate a full Sabbath. Community members from Trondheim have also participated in these events. The annual summer camps have also been attended by Jewish children from other places in Norway. Bnei Akiva continues to engage members from the ages of 7–18 with weekly gatherings, inter-Scandinavian activities, and trips to Israel.

Twenty apartments for the elderly, partly subsidized by the city of Oslo, were built alongside the synagogue and inaugurated in 1988. A new wing was later added to this building, providing a place for elderly Jews who are too poor to take care of themselves.

The Jodisk Menighetsblad, the Jewish community journal, edited by Oskar Mendelsohn, 1976–1991, was succeeded in 1992 by a new publication, Hatikwa, which is issued four times a year.

In June 1992 the Oslo Jewish community marked its centenary with various celebrations, seminars and public lectures, while the religious school arranged a walk to and over the Swedish border along one of the fall 1942 escape routes. There was also an exhibition showing the religious holidays and a survey of important events from the past 100 years, which attracted more than 5,000 schoolchildren, and for which a special publication was printed. Jewish children published a paper about Jews in Norway which was distributed to schools. The community published a 230-page jubilee book.

The jubilee, held on June 14, started with a ceremony in the Jewish cemetery at the memorial for Jewish victims of World War ii. This was followed by a festive service in the synagogue in the presence of Norwegian authorities and representatives of the other Scandinavian Jewish communities that was broadcast on Norwegian television. Rabbi Michael Melchior spoke and the cantor, the synagogue choir, and Cantor Joseph Malovany of New York conducted the service. There was also a festive concert at which the Norwegian king and queen were present. Rabbi Melchior was honored in 1993 with the Bridgebuilder Prize by the joint council of the Norwegian Church academies. He was granted this award for his significant efforts toward creating a dialogue and building bridges between people of different groups and backgrounds with the aim of counteracting the influence of hatemongers.

In Norway kosher slaughter was made illegal in the 1930s. The community has therefore had to import kosher meat ever since. In 1986 the first shop to sell frozen kosher meat and various kosher food products was opened; until then kosher meat had been sold at appointed times in the community center.

Since 1991 kosher meat has been imported from the U.S. and other kosher foods from Denmark and Israel. In more recent years kosher goods have been imported from Israel and European countries. The import of kosher meat and especially chicken is regularly an issue of concern, due to Norway's strict regulations on the import of agricultural products. The community rabbi has given several Norwegian food products a kosher certificate. The community regularly provides an updated list of kosher products obtainable in Norway.

For a few years starting in 1988, the Oslo community's leadership was divided between the head of the board (administration) and the superintendent of religious affairs. In 2005 Anne Sender was elected the first woman to head the community. Rabbi Michael Melchior, who settled in Israel in 1986, remained the religious leader of the community, spending about four months a year in Oslo until 1999. Since then he has been the chief rabbi of Norway. From 1999 to 2003 the community hired Rabbi Jason Rappoport from England and in 2003 he was replaced by Rabbi Jitzhak Rapoport from Sweden. Over the years the community has had several Israeli cantors serving for an average of two or three years doing service abroad. Services are also conducted by a young Danish Jew who has settled in Oslo and occasionally by local young men from the community.

Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism

There was more evidence of antisemitism during the 1970s and after than in the first decades after World War ii, often taking the form of increased anti-Zionism. In January 1979 the synagogue in Oslo was vandalized with swastikas and anti-Jewish slogans in Norwegian and German (Juden raus!). The police did not succeed in finding the perpetrators. In autumn 1977 the country's bishops urged a clear and fearless attitude against all forms of antisemitism and aggressive anti-Zionism.

In the 1980s there were numerous articles in the press relating to Israel. Anti-Zionism was on the increase, primarily among political leftists. Pro-Palestinian attitudes, however, were also reflected in youth organizations of the Labor Party and some of the center parties as well as in some trade unions. On the other hand, there were many pro-Israeli articles. In the 1990s there was a tendency to connect anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiments with antisemitic statements. The Norwegian press has been increasingly critical of the policy of the State of Israel and many journalists have shown growing sympathy for and bias towards the Palestinians. Many Norwegian Jews have in later years experienced an increase in antisemitic tendencies, in the guise of anti-Zionist or anti-Israel views. On several occasions newspaper headlines and caricatures have described the Israelis as Jewish aggressors in the Nazi mold. In 2003 the Norwegian head of the Labor Union urged Norwegian shops to stop buying goods from Israel. Several threats have been directed at the Jewish communities.

Renewed Interest in the Holocaust

With a new generation of historians in the 1970s, renewed interest in the Jews and their World War ii fate started to emerge. At this time there was a focus on the emergence of Norwegian neo-Nazi youth gangs and ways of taking preventive measures. Many concentration camp survivors began to tell their stories for the first time. "This Concerns You," an account from Auschwitz by Herman Sachnowitz, a Norwegian Jew, was published in 1976 and sold more than 160,000 copies in Norwegian. This was the first of several such accounts written by Norwegian Jewish survivors. In 1978 the television series Holocaust led to a whole series of questions related to the fate of the Jews of Norway during the war. Another series about how people were helped to flee to Sweden, among them the nation's Jews, was also aired. One of the questions raised was why persecution of the Jews had received such scant attention in the teaching of history, another related to the complicity of the Church throughout the ages. The Holocaust series was succeeded by many information programs on radio and television about events and persecution during the war, including interviews of several of the Norwegian Jewish survivors. Interest was revived in the diary of Anne *Frank. In March 1978 three of the people most active in the resistance movement during the war in helping to rescue Jews were invited by the Jewish community in Oslo to spend a week in Israel and to plant a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous on Har ha-Zikkaron. Several other people who helped Jews during the war have over the years been honored as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

In 1992 the Hvite Busser organization ("White Buses") was formed by Norwegian concentration camp survivors. Their aim has been to arrange field trips to Auschwitz for teenage schoolchildren in order to teach about antisemitism and the Holocaust. Accompanying the groups is a first-hand witness, a Norwegian who survived a concentration camp, and a few of the witnesses are also Jewish. At the 50th anniversary of the end of World War ii in 1995, several television programs and films appeared showing interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish Norwegian concentration camp survivors and members of the resistance. There were also several books written by Norwegians depicting the fate of the Jews and putting the role of the Norwegians during ww ii in a new light. With the passing of the legislated time period, recently released archive material from the war years was now made available and fresh pages could be written in the nation's history books.

As a result of the focus on Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis during World War ii in the Western world, renewed attention was also directed to the fate of the Norwegian Jewish population during the war and their property. In 1996 the Norwegian government formed a committee whose purpose was to ascertain what happened to Jewish property during World War ii so as to determine how and to what extent seized assets/property had been restored after the war, and their value. As a result the Norwegian government decided to pay 450,000,000 nok in restitution. One part was paid as individual compensations to Jewish individuals who had lost one or more relatives in the Shoah and who had been resident in Norway prior to the war. The rest was to be given as collective compensation to the Jewish communities in Oslo and Trondheim. However, in agreement with the Norwegian state some of these funds were to be put aside as the foundation for what has become the Center for Holocaust and Minorities Studies in Norway, a research center and Holocaust museum housed at Villa Grande, the house Vidkun *Quisling used as his home and headquarters during World War ii. The Jewish communities also decided to set apart a sum to establish the Fund for Support of Jewish Institutions or Projects outside Norway. The remainder of the restitution money was used to restore the community centers and synagogues in Trondheim and Oslo. Because of the ongoing work that led to the Norwegian restitution, the World Jewish Congress chose to hold its executive meeting in Oslo in November 1996.

As a result of extensive work done by Norwegian Jews and Christians in the former Soviet Union, the Hjelp Jødene Hjem (hjh, Help the Jews Home) organization was founded in 1990 to coordinate all Norwegian contributions to help former Soviet Jews immigrate to Israel. It is a joint venture of a number of Christian organizations in Norway and the Jewish Community of Oslo. hjh also provides information about antisemitism and its consequences. In recent years most of the money collected has been used to support humanitarian projects in Israel.

Since the 1970s Norwegian society has become more multicultural. New immigrants have arrived from many parts of the world, among them many Israelis, bringing their religion and culture with them. The Protestant Norwegian State Church had a tradition of being very homogeneous, the Jews having been one of the very first non-Christian religious minorities in the country. There was now a need to find ways to cope with a new multicultural reality. In 1990 Oslo hosted a conference called "The Anatomy of Hate: Resolving Conflict through Dialogue and Democracy," which was convened by the Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Former political prisoners and statesmen, writers and scholars from 30 countries – among them Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, Francois Mitterrand, and Jimmy Carter – discussed ways of living with ethnic and national conflict and managing regional tensions through dialogue. This conference was followed by a series of religious dialogues. The first was held in 1991, called "Common Ethics in a Multicultural Norway." Several smaller and larger interfaith groups followed throughout the country.

From 1991 to 1993 representatives of the Norwegian government were engaged in an ongoing project called "Norway as a Multicultural Society Aiming at Acquiring Knowledge about the Different Minorities' Special Needs."

The Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway was established on May 30, 1996. The main task of the council is to promote mutual respect and understanding between various religious and humanistic communities. The Council seeks to prevent differences in belief from being used as a basis for prejudice and xenophobia and has received government support for its work since 1998. Representatives from 12 different religious and life stance communities meet regularly to discuss and find resolutions to issues that involve problems arising in the interaction between religious and life stance traditions and Norwegian society at large. Several conferences and dialogue projects have been initiated by this council.

In 1997 the Norwegian government introduced a new subject into the schools: Christianity, Religion and Life Stance – a subject meant to teach different religions against a backdrop of Christian values and religious beliefs. Previously children belonging to religions other than Christianity could be exempt from religious education in school, but now all schoolchildren regardless of their faith were required to learn religion in this way. The various minority religious communities and the humanists lodged strong protests. This was one of the first issues to be dealt with by the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities in Norway. The strong protest brought about minor alterations in the curriculum and a more lenient approach towards parents who wished to avoid sending their children to these classes. However, despite the negative response to this subject, the effect has also been that all Norwegian schoolchildren regularly learn about Judaism throughout their school years. This has also resulted in a great increase in the number of schoolchildren visiting the synagogues and students contacting the communities for information. There has also been a greater demand to make Jews more visible in society at large.

In 1998 Norway ratified the Council of Europe's convention on acknowledging national minorities. As a result Norwegian Jews were granted the status of a national minority together with several other ethnic minority groups such as Roma (gypsies) and similar groups that have lived in Norway for more than 100 years. Under the new legislation, the Norwegian government is obliged to help its national minorities express, sustain, and develop their individual identities, cultures, and languages. As a result, the two Jewish communities have received government funds for the establishment of Jewish museums. In 1997 a Jewish museum was established in Trondheim and officially opened on May 12, 1997. In 2003 the Oslo Municipality agreed to accept plans to build a Jewish museum in Oslo. This museum was planned to open in 2007 in a building that used to serve as a second synagogue before World War ii.

The Restitution Fund from the Norwegian government enabled a major restoration of the synagogue and community buildings of Trondheim and Oslo. In Trondheim the newly restored community center, including a library and multimedia center, was opened in the fall of 2001.

In September 2004 the Oslo Jewish community officially reopened its newly rebuilt community center and redecorated synagogue in the presence of prominent guests from the government.

culture

Many novels and short stories with Jewish motifs and other books on Jewish matters – including the Holocaust – were translated into Norwegian during the 1970s, among them works by Bellow, Heller, Kellerman, Malamud, Potok, Roth, and Wouk. In the late 1970s most of Isaac Bashevis Singer's books were translated as were Eli Wiesel's. In the 1980s and 1990s several books by Amoz Oz and David Grossmann were published in Norwegian as were books by Yoram Kaniuk and in 2004 a book by Etgar Keret.

The Norwegian-Jewish author Eva Scheer published several Jewish folklore collections of tales and stories, with books on 19th-century Jewish life in Lithuania following in the 1970s and 1980s.

Among the many books on Zionism and Israel, The Right to Survive (1976), edited by Pater Hallvard Rieber-Mohn and Professor Leo Eitinger – "a book about Israel, Norway and antisemitism" – merits special mention. It includes articles by eleven Norwegians (two of them Jews). Lectures given at the university seminar in Oslo in 1976 in a series called "The Jews and Judaism," with the subtitle "From the Old Testament to the Middle-East Conflict," were published in 1977.

During the 1980s books by Norwegian Jews as well as books on Norwegian Jewry appeared, only some of which are mentioned here. Professor Leo Eitinger edited Human among Humans: A Book of Antisemitism and Hatred Against Strangers (1985), the lectures from the Nansen Committee hearing on antisemitism. An autobiography was published by Jo *Benkow; Mona Levin, a well-known author and cultural critic, wrote the biography of her father, the Norwegian Jewish pianist Robert Levin: Med livet i hendene ("My Life in My Hands," 1983). Robert Levin (1912–1996), a pianist and professor of piano and interpretation, was one of Norway's most renowned musicians. The author of the two-volume History of the Jews in Norway during 300 Years (vol. 1, 1969; vol. 2, 1986; second edition, 1987), Oskar Mendelsohn, was awarded a knighthood, 1st Class, of the Royal Saint Olav Order in 1989 for his work on the history of the Norwegian Jews and in 1993 he received the gold medal of the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Arts, the oldest Norwegian society of science (founded 1760), for his "comprehensive scientific work in the investigation of the history of the Jewish minority in Norway." A concise popular edition of Mendelsohn's work was published in 1992. Mendelsohn died in 1993.

The Holocaust was the subject of many Norwegian books and of several books translated into Norwegian during the 1980s. A Norwegian, Jahn Otto Johansen, wrote Det hendte også her ("It Also Happened Here"). In the 1980s came several accounts of concentration camps by survivors still living in Norway: Ernest Arberle, written by Arvid Møller, Vi måikke glemme ("We Must Not Forget," 1980); Robert Savosnik with Hans Melien, Jeg ville ikke dø ("I Did Not Want to Die," 1986); Herman Kahan with Knut M. Hansson, Ilden og lyset ("The Fire and the Light," 1988); Mendel Szanjfeld, with Simon Szajnfeld, Fortell hva som skjedde med oss; erindringer fra Holocaust ("Tell What Happened to Us; Memories From the Holocaust," 1993); Kai Feinberg with Arnt Stefansen, Fangenr 79108 vender tilbake ("Prisoner No. 79108 Returns," 1995); Vera Komissar with Sverre M. Nyrønning, "På tross av alt: Julius Paltielnorsk jøde i Auschwitz ("Despite Everything: Julius Paltiel – Norwegian Jew in Auschwitz," 1995). Vera Kommisar also wrote a book about Norwegian Jews who escaped to Sweden in 1942, Nådetid: norske jøder på flukt 1942 ("Time of Grace: Norwegian Jews on the Run 1942," 1992).

Kristian Ottosen, a Norwegian historian, wrote the account of the deportation of Norwegian Jews during World War ii: I slik en natt (1994); Karoline Frogner, a Norwegian film producer, did the film and book Mørketid: kvinners møte med nazismen ("Time of Darkness: Women's Encounters with Nazism," 1995). It records interviews with several women who survived the Ravensbrueck concentration camp, among them four Jews.

During the late 1990s and early 2000s several books and chapters of books on Judaism were written in Norwegian for all school levels and at university level. As part of a series on religious texts from all religions, central Jewish religious texts were translated and published in Norwegian for the first time. Bente Kahan, a Norwegian Jewish actress and singer, has become known in Norway and Europe for her interpretations of Yiddish songs.

In 2001, the Wergelands Barn (The Children of Wergeland) project was made to commemorate the 150 years since Jews were allowed into Norway in 1851. Brit Ormaasen and Oskar Kvasnes interviewed a number of Norwegian Jews who were alive before the war and collected photographs to depict Jewish life in Norway from the first immigration up until 1945. This work was made into an exhibition that has been shown all over Norway and in 2004–5 in the United States. In 2004 two Norwegian film producers produced a film called Mannen som elsket Haugesund ("The Man Who Loved Haugesund"), a story about Moritz Rabinowitz, a Norwegian Jew who lived in Haugesund and who was arrested and killed by the Nazis in 1941.

Relations with Israel

Norway voted for the establishment of a Jewish state in 1947, and Trygve Lie, as secretary-general of the United Nations, used all his diplomatic skill to remove obstacles to the adoption of the resolution. Diplomatic relations between Norway and Israel were soon established, first through nonresident ministers, and since 1961 on the level of resident ambassadors. At the United Nations, Norway frequently came out in support of Israel. The friendly relations found expression in great celebrations of Israel's tenth anniversary and in official visits by prime ministers, foreign ministers and other public figures.

The murder in 1973 of an Arab from Morocco living in Lillehammer temporarily created anti-Israel feelings in the Norwegian press and public. Strained relations developed between Norway and Israel when some of the alleged perpetrators were arrested at the home of an Israeli attaché.

Israel's right to exist within secure borders remained the basic foreign policy of Norway and the Norwegian delegation withdrew from the Geneva Conference on racism in 1978. Israeli policy on the West Bank has been criticized, but all demands for recognition of the plo were rejected at this time because of the plo Charter. Representatives of different parties in many cases spoke in favor of Israel, not least those of the Christian People's Party, and Israel has many friends in Christian quarters. However, there is also a smaller Christian pro-Palestinian group.

The group "With Israel for Peace," consisting mostly of non-Jewish youth, including university students, was founded in 1976 for the purpose of disseminating information about Israel and to fight anti-Israel and anti-Zionist propaganda from the Norwegian left-wing.

Cooperation between universities in Norway and Israel was strengthened through technical-scientific symposiums held in Trondheim and in Israel. The organization "Norwegian Friends of the Hebrew University" (reestablished in 1977) raised money for a Norwegian-Israeli research fund. Israeli artists held exhibitions and concerts in Norway, among them the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Trondheim and Petaḥ Tikvah became twin towns.

Norway became the center of world attention during the 1990s due to the negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords, a part of the Middle East peace process directly connected with Norway. Due to the close relationship that had developed over the years between the Norwegian and Israeli Labor parties, Norway already had a long-established connection with Israeli officials. During the 1990s Norway also established increasing contacts with the plo through research projects in the area. Using Norwegian mediators, secret negotiations were conducted between representatives of the plo and Israel at several locations in Norway. On August 20, 1993, in Oslo, an agreement in principle was signed regarding the establishment of an autonomous Palestinian state. In 1994 Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, and Shimon Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway for this breakthrough. On September 28, 1995, the Oslo ii agreement was signed, which was supposed to be the next step in the peace process. Over the years public opinion regarding Israel has changed from being very supportive to being more critical and more in favor of recognizing the Palestinian struggle. Increased hostility towards Israel and its policy continues to characterize the Norwegian press, left-wing intellectuals, and several politicians.

[Oskar Mendelsohn /

Lynn Claire Feinberg (2nd ed.)]

bibliography:

H.M. Koritzinsky, Jødernes historie i Norge (1927); O. Mendelsohn, Jødernes historie i Norge (1969). holocaustperiod: H. Valentin, in: yivoa, 8 (1953), 224–34, passim; B. Höye and T.M. Ager, The Fight of the Norwegian Church Against Nazism (1943); Eduyyot Ha-Yo'eẓ ha-Mishpati la-Memshalah Neged Adolf Eichmann (1963), 475–80; J.M. Snoek, in: The Grey Book (1969), 116–9. websites: www.dmt.oslo.no; www.dmt.trondheim.no.

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NORWAY

Compiled from the October 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Kingdom of Norway


PROFILE

Geography

*Area: (including the island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen) 385,155 sq. km. (approx 150,000 sq. mi.); slightly larger than New Mexico.

*Cities: (2004) Capital—Oslo (pop. 521,886). Other cities—Bergen (237,430), Trondheim (154,351), Stavanger (112,405).

Terrain: Rugged with high plateaus, steep fjords, mountains, and fertile valleys.

Climate: Temperate along the coast, colder inland.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Norwegian(s).

Population*: (2004 est.) 4,574,560.

Annual growth rate*: (2004) 0.41%.

Density: Approx. 15 per sq. km.

Ethnic groups: Norwegian (Nordic, Alpine, Baltic), Sami, a racial-cultural minority of 20,000; foreign nationals (315,147) from Nordic and other countries.

Religions: (2002) Evangelical Lutheran, 86%; other Christian, 4%; Muslim, 1.5%; other, none, and unknown, 8.5%.

Languages: Bokmaal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities, English is widely spoken.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Literacy—100%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2004)—3.73/1,000. Life expectancy (2004 est.)—men 76.64 yrs; women 82.01 yrs.

Work force*: (2003, 2.33 million) Government, social, personal services—37.6%; wholesale and retail trade, hotels, restaurants—17.5%; manufacturing and mining—12.7%; transport and communications—7.4%; financing, insurance, real estate, business services—12%; agriculture, forestry, fishing—3.9%; construction—6.7%; oil extraction—1.4%.

*(Source: Central Bureau of Statistics Norway 2004).

Government

Type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.

Independence: 1905.

Constitution: May 17, 1814.

Branches: Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative—modified unicameral parliament (Storting). Judicial—Supreme Court, appellate courts, city and county courts.

Political parties: Labor, Conservative, Center, Christian Democratic, Liberal, Socialist Left, Progress.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

Administrative subdivisions: 19 fylker (counties), and Svalbard.

National holiday: May 17.

Economy

(Source: Central Bureau of Statistics Norway 2004).

GDP: (2003 est.) $171.6 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2003 est.) 0.3%.

Per capita GDP: (2003 est.) Purchasing power parity $37,700.

Natural resources: Oil, gas, fish, timber, hydroelectric power, mineral ores.

Arable land: 3%.

Agriculture: Products—dairy, livestock, grain (barley, oats, wheat), potatoes and other vegetables, fruits and berries, furs, wool.

Industry: Types—food processing, pulp and paper, ships, aluminum, ferroalloys, iron and steel, nickel, zinc, nitrogen, fertilizers, transport equipment, hydroelectric power, refinery products, petrochemicals, electronics.

Trade: (2003) Exports (f.o.b.)—$62.27 billion. Major markets: U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands, U.S. (2002, 8.6%), Sweden. Imports (f.o.b.)—$40.19 billion. Major suppliers: Sweden, Germany, Denmark, U.K., U.S. (2002, 6.2%), France, Netherlands.

GDP by activity: (2003) Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing, and fish farming—1.9%; Oil and gas extraction incl. services and mining and quarrying—12.3%; Manufacturing—18.2%; Electricity, gas, and water supply—2.0%; Construction—6.4%; Wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair, hotels and restaurants—10.7%; Transport industries—9.7%; Post and telecommunications, financial intermediation, dwellings, business services—20.6%; Public administration and defense—4.8%; Education, health and social work, and other social and personal services—13.4%


PEOPLE

Ethnically, Norwegians are predominantly Germanic, although in the far north there are communities of Sami who came to the area more than 10,000 years ago, probably from central Asia. In recent years, Norway has become home to increasing numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and asylum-seekers from various parts of the world. Immigrants now total over 300,000; some have obtained Norwegian citizenship.

Although the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church, Norway has complete religious freedom. Education is free through the university level and is compulsory from ages 6 to 16. At least 12 months of military service and training are required of every eligible male. Norway's health system includes free hospital care, physician's compensation, cash benefits during illness and pregnancy, and other medical and dental plans. There is a public pension system.

Norway is in the top rank of nations in the number of books printed per capita, even though Norwegian is one of the world's smallest language groups. Norway's most famous writer is the dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Artists Edvard Munch and Christian Krogh were Ibsen's contemporaries. Munch drew part of his inspiration from Europe and in turn exercised a strong influence on later European expressionists. Sculptor Gustav Vigeland has a permanent exhibition in the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo. Musical development in Norway since Edvard Grieg has followed either native folk themes or, more recently, international trends.


HISTORY

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 period of union with Denmark. By 1586, Norway had become part of the Danish Kingdom. In 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, Norway was separated from Denmark and combined with Sweden. The union persisted until 1905, when Sweden recognized Norwegian independence.

The Norwegian Government offered the throne of Norway to Danish Prince Carl in 1905. After a plebiscite approving the establishment of a monarchy, the Parliament unanimously elected him king. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the kings of independent Norway. Haakon died in 1957 and was succeeded by his son, Olav V, who died in January 1991. Upon Olav's death, his son Harald was crowned as King Harald V.

Norway was a nonbelligerent during World War I, but as a result of the German invasion and occupation during World War II, Norwegians generally became skeptical of the concept of neutrality and 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. The first UN General Secretary, Trygve Lie, was a Norwegian. Under the terms of the will of Alfred Nobel, the Storting (Parliament) elects the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who award the Nobel Peace Prize to champions of peace.


GOVERNMENT

The functions of the king are mainly ceremonial, but he has influence as the symbol of national unity. Although the 1814 constitution grants important executive powers to the king, these are almost always exercised by the Council of Ministers in the name of the king (King's Council). The Council of Ministers consists of a prime minister—chosen by the political parties represented in the Storting—and other ministers.

The 165 members of the Storting are elected from 19 fylker (counties) for 4-year terms according to a complicated 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 special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases; the regular courts include the Supreme Court (17 permanent judges and a president), courts of appeal, city and county courts, the labor court, and conciliation councils. Judges attached to regular courts are appointed by the king in council after nomination by the Ministry of Justice.

Each fylke is headed by a governor appointed by the king in council, with one governor exercising authority in both Oslo and the adjacent county of Akershus.


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Until the 1981 election, Norway had been governed by majority Labor Party governments since 1935, except for three periods (1963, 1965-71, and 1972-73). The Labor Party lost its majority in the Storting in the 1981 elections. Since that time, minority and coalition governments have been the rule.

From 1981 to 1997, governments alternated between Labor minority governments and Conservative-led governments. Labor leader Gro Harlem Brundtland served as Prime Minister from 1990 until October 1996 when she decided to step out of politics. Labor Party leader Thorbjorn

Jagland formed a new Labor government that stayed in office until October 1997. A three-party minority coalition government (Center, Christian Democratic, and Liberal parties) headed by Christian Democrat Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik moved into office when Jagland, after the September 1997 election, declared that his government would step down because the Labor Party failed to win at least 36.9% of the national vote, the percentage Labor had won in the 1993 election. That government fell in March 2000 over the issue of proposed gas-fired power plants, opposed by Bondevik due to their impact on climate change. The Labor Party's Jens Stoltenberg, a Brundtland protégé, took over in a minority Labor government but lost power in the September 2001 election when Labor posted its worse performance since World War I. Bondevik once again became Prime Minister, this time as head of a minority government with the Conservatives and Liberals in a coalition heavily dependent upon the right-populist Progress Party.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/25/04

King: Harald V
Prime Minister: Bondevik , Kjell Magne
Min. of Children & Family Affairs: Davoy , Laila
Min. of Culture & Church Affairs: Haugland , Valgerd Svarstad
Min. of Defense: Krohn Devold , Kristin
Min. of Education & Research: Clemet , Kristin
Min. of the Environment: Hareide , Knut Arhild
Min. of Finance: Foss , Per-Kristian
Min. of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs: Ludvigsen , Svein
Min. of Food & Agriculture: Sponheim , Lars
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Petersen , Jan
Min. of Health and Social Care: Gabrielsen , Ansgar
Min. of International Development: Frafjord Johnson , Hilde
Min. of Justice & Police: Dorum , Odd Einar
Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: Hoybraten , Dagfinn
Min. of Local Govt. & Regional Development: Solberg , Erna
Min. of Modernization: Meyer , Morten Andreas
Min. of Petroleum/Energy: Widvey , Thorhild
Min. of Social Affairs: Hoybraten , Dagfinn
Min. of Trade & Industry: Brende , Borge
Min. of Transport & Communications: Skogsholm , Torild
Governor, Bank of Norway: Gjedrem , Svein
Ambassador to the US: Vollebaek , Knut
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Lovald , Johan Ludvik

Norway maintains an embassy in the United States at 2720—34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-333-6000) and consulates in Houston, Minneapolis, New York, and San Francisco.


ECONOMY

Norway is one of the world's richest countries in per capita terms. It has an important stake in promoting a liberal environment for foreign trade. Its large shipping fleet is one of the most modern among maritime nations. Metals, pulp and paper products, chemicals, shipbuilding, and fishing are the most significant traditional industries.

Norway's emergence as a major oil and gas producer in the mid-1970s transformed the economy. Large sums of investment capital poured into the offshore oil sector, leading to greater increases in Norwegian production costs and wages than in the rest of western Europe up to the time of the global recovery of the mid-1980s. The influx of oil revenue also permitted Norway to expand an already extensive social welfare system. Norway has established a state Petroleum Fund that exceeded $119 billion as of April 2004. The fund primarily will be used to help finance government programs once oil and gas resources become depleted. Norway is currently enjoying large foreign trade surpluses thanks to high oil prices. Unemployment remains currently low (3%-4% range), and the prospects for economic growth are encouraging thanks to the government's stimulative fiscal policy and economic recovery in the United States and Europe.

Norway voted against joining the European Union (EU) in a 1994 referendum. With the exception of the agricultural and fisheries sectors, however, Norway enjoys free trade with the EU under the framework of the European Economic Area. This agreement aims to apply the four freedoms of the EU's internal market (goods, persons, services, and capital) to Norway. As a result, Norway normally adopts and implements most EU directives. Norwegian monetary policy is aimed at maintaining a stable exchange rate for the krone against European currencies, of which the euro is a key operating parameter. Norway is not a member of the EU's Economic and Monetary Union and does not have a fixed exchange rate. Its principal trading partners are in the EU; the United States ranks sixth.

Energy Resources

Offshore hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in the 1960s, and development began in the 1970s. The growth of the petroleum sector has contributed significantly to Norwegian economic vitality. Current petroleum production capacity is more than 3 million barrels per day. Production has increased rapidly during the past several years as new fields are opened. Total production in 2003 was about 263 million cubic meters of oil equivalents, over 63% of which was crude oil. This represents a slight decline in crude oil production over the past year, accompanied by sharp increases in gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. Hydropower provides nearly all of Norway's electricity, and all of the gas and most of the oil produced is exported. Production increased significantly in the 1990s as new fields come on stream.

Norway is the world's third-largest oil exporter and provides much of western Europe's crude oil and gas requirements. In 2003, Norwegian oil and gas exports accounted for 56% of total merchandise exports. In addition, offshore exploration and production have stimulated onshore economic activities. Foreign companies, including many American ones, participate actively in the petroleum sector.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Norway supports international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of disputes, recognizing the need for maintaining a strong national defense through collective security. Accordingly, the cornerstones of Norwegian policy are active membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and support for the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Norway also pursues a policy of economic, social, and cultural cooperation with other Nordic countries—Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—through the Nordic Council.

In addition to strengthening traditional ties with developed countries, Norway seeks to build friendly relations with developing countries and has undertaken humanitarian and development aid efforts with selected African and Asian nations. Norway also is dedicated to encouraging democracy, assisting refugees, and protecting human rights throughout the world.


U.S.-NORWAY RELATIONS

The United States and Norway enjoy a long tradition of friendly association. The relationship is strengthened by the millions of Norwegian-Americans in the United States and by about 10,000 U.S. citizens who reside in Norway. The two countries enjoy an active cultural exchange, both officially and privately.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

OSLO (E) Address: Drammensveien 18, 0244 OSLO; APO/FPO: AmEmbassy Oslo, PSC 69 Box 1000, APO AE 09707; Phone: [47]2130-8550; Fax: +47-2243-0777; Workweek: 0800-1630; Website: www.usa.no

AMB:John Doyle Ong
DCM:Christopher W. Webster
POL:Michael A. Hammer
CON:Ellen Conway
MGT:J. Kent Stiegler
AGR:Margaret E Thursland (Stockholm)
CLO:Laura Pageau
DAO:James G. Stevens
ECO/COM:Douglas J. Apostol
EEO:Ned Nyman
FAA:Joseph Teixera (London)
FMO:J. Kent Stiegler
GSO:Andrew B. Graves
ICASS Chair:Kenneth D. Enzor
IMO:David A. Douthit
IRS:RESIDENT LONDON
ISSO:Mohamed B. Farah
LEGATT:RESIDENT COPENHAGEN
PAO:Andrew Schilling
RSO:Roy B. Stillman
State ICASS:Andrew Schilling
Last Updated: 12/1/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

September 17, 2004

Country Description: Norway is a highly developed stable democracy with a modern economy. The cost of living in Norway is high and tourist facilities are well developed and widely available. Tourism to Norway is increasing and outdoor activities are popular. English is a popular second language in Norway. Additional information about Norway is available at http://www.usa.no/.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A valid passport is required. U.S. citizens may enter Norway for tourist or general business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days.

Since March 2001, Norwegian entry visas are governed by the rules of the Schengen Agreement. Under this agreement, a visa issued for admission to most European Union countries (including non-EU members Norway and Iceland) is also valid for admission to other member countries. EU members Ireland and the United Kingdom have opted not to participate in the Schengen arrangement at this time. Under Schengen visa procedures a tourist is only permitted to spend a total of three months in the "Schengen area" within any six-month period.

Tourists who enter Norway without a visa cannot usually change status in Norway in order to reside or work there. Travelers planning a long-term stay, marriage or employment in Norway should therefore seek the appropriate visa before departing the United States.

For information concerning entry requirements, travelers can contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008-2714, Tel.: 1-202-333-6000, or the nearest Norwegian Consulate; and on the Internet at http://www.norway.org. Consulates are located in Houston, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco. Information can also be obtained from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration at http://www.udi.no.

Travelers should also be aware that in an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points which often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.

Dual Nationality: In addition to being subject to all Norwegian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Norwegian citizens. For additional information, see the Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality information leaflet.

Safety and Security: Norway remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Norway's open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime Information: Norway has a relatively low crime rate. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property. Residential burglaries, auto theft, and vandalism to parked cars can also occur. Most high-end value vehicles, especially in Oslo, have visible alarm system indicators to discourage joy riders or thieves. Persons who appear affluent or disoriented may become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, especially during the peak tourist seasons (May-September). Thieves frequently target tourists in hotels, particularly lobby/reception and restaurant areas. Often such thieves work in pairs, and use distraction as a method to steal purses or briefcases. While passports are frequently stolen in the course of these thefts money, credit cards and jewelry are the actual objects of interest. In some cases stolen passports are recovered. Violent crime, although rare, occurs and appears to be increasing. Some thieves or burglars may have weapons. The phone number for the police in Norway is 112.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a troublefree journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities are widely available and of high quality, but may be limited outside the larger urban areas. The remote and sparse populations in northern Norway, and the dependency on ferries to cross fjords of western Norway, may affect transportation and ready access to medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy in Oslo maintains a list of emergency clinics in major cities.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747), fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Norway is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of roadside assistance: Fair

Public transportation in Norway is generally safe and the maintenance and condition of urban roads are generally good. Rural road conditions are fair, and the availability of roadside assistance is limited. The roadway system beyond Oslo's limits and other major cities tends to be simple twolane roads. In mountainous areas of Norway, the roads also tend to be narrow and winding and there are many tunnels. The northerly latitude can also cause road conditions to vary greatly depending on weather and time of year. Many mountain roads are closed due to snow from late fall to late spring. The use of winter tires is mandatory on all motor vehicles from November to April.

Norwegian law requires that drivers always use their vehicle headlights when driving. Norwegian law also requires drivers to yield to vehicles coming from the right. In some, but not all, instances major roads with "right of way" are marked. Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers.

Norway has some of the strictest laws in Europe concerning driving under the influence of alcohol and those laws proscribe heavy penalties for those convicted of even a low blood alcohol level. Frequent road checks with mandatory breathalyzer tests and the promise of stiff jail sentences encourage alcohol-free driving. The maximum legal blood alcohol content level for driving a car in Norway is 0.2 per cent.

Automatic cameras placed by the police along roadways help to maintain speed limits, which are often lower than in other European countries.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroad_roadsafety.html. For specific information concerning Norwegian driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Norwegian Tourist Board office located at P.O. Box 4649, Grand Central Station, New York, New York 10163-4649 (Tel.: 212-885-9700; fax–212/885-9710) or visit their website on the Internet at http://www.norway.org/travel.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Norway's Civil Aviation Authority as Category 1—in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Norway's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Customs Regulations: Norway's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Norway of such items as firearms, antiques, etc. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Norway in Washington or one of Norway's Consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. In many countries around the world, counterfeit and pirated goods are widely available. Transactions involving such products are illegal and bringing them back to the United States may result in forfeitures and/or fines. A current list of those countries with serious problems in this regard can be found here.

Norway's customs authorities encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and trade fair purposes. ATA Carnet Headquarters located at the U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036, issues and guarantees the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information call (212) 354-4480, send an email to [email protected], or visit http://www.uscib.org for details.

Travelers with pets should note that Norway is a rabies–free country, and seek advance information about the strict quarantine requirements for all incoming pets.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Norway's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Norway are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

All controlled substances are prohibited in Norway. The possession of even small amounts of drugs (e.g. marijuana, hashish) can result in arrest in Norway. If drugs or controlled substances are discovered upon one's arrival in Norway, the result can be a charge of importation, a more serious crime than simple possession. Penalties usually include detention, a hefty fine and deportation, usually back to the United States.

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html, or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Norway are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Norway, Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Oslo near the Royal Palace at Drammensveien 18; tel. (47) 22-44-85-50, consular fax (47) 22-56-27-51. Information about consular services can be found in the Consular Section of the Embassy's home page at http://www.usa.no. Normal hours for public visitors are 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, except for Norwegian and American holidays. Wednesdays are reserved for special appointments or emergencies.

International Parental Child Abduction

January 2005

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

The Ministry of Justice and Police, the Department of Civil Affairs, has been designated as the Central Authority for Norway for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Being an administrative authority, the Ministry itself has no jurisdiction to make a decision on whether the child should be returned or not. This jurisdiction belongs entirely to the courts.

Immediately upon receiving an application from the Central Authority of another contracting state, the Ministry will give the application a preliminary examination, to ensure that it is in conformity with the formal conditions laid down by the Convention, and that the documents required in Article 8 are enclosed. If that is not the case, the application will immediately by returned to the requesting state for completion, or the lacking information will be asked for more informally by telephone or telefax to the requesting state. If the documents are not in English or Norwegian, there may be a delay of some days while a translation is obtained.

When all formal requirements are met, the application will immediately be sent to the competent local court for decision. The Act of 8 July 1988, Section 18, paragraph 1, lays down that the enforcement provisions of the Children's Act of 8 April 1981 and the general provisions of the Enforcement of Claims Act of 26 June 1992, shall apply correspondingly to decisions on the return of children.

The courts may also adopt an interim decision for the period up to the final judgment in the case, and may even adopt an interim decision before proceedings are instituted. According to the Act of 8 July 1988, Section 18, paragraph 2, the judge may order that the Child Welfare Authorities shall take over custody of the child until the Hague application is finally decided.

According to the Act of 8 July 1988, Section 16, paragraph 1, the courts are to act quickly and without delay in dealing with applications for return of abducted children from another contracting state. If a court has not decided an application within six weeks of the application's filing, it shall report to the Central Authority of the requesting state the reasons for the delay—if the applicant or requesting state so demand.

NOTE: Norway has made a reservation according to Article 42 of the Convention, provided for in Article 26, third paragraph. Norway will therefore not be obliged to assume any costs referred to in Article 26 that result from the participation of legal counsel or advisers, or from court proceedings, except insofar as those costs may be covered by Norway's system of legal aid and advice. An application for legal aid can be forwarded through the Ministry to the competent authority (the County Governor). Please note that the authority will do a means test of the application, based on the applicant's gross, net and capital income.

Norway has also made a reservation to Article 24 of the Convention. The Ministry will read and answer correspondence only in English. Correspondence in other languages will have to be translated, which will substantially delay progress in this matter.

Appeals: A decision by the local court can be brought before the High Court (Appeals Division) by either party. A decision by the High Court (Appeals Division) can be brought before the Supreme Court, but only on the grounds that the law has been incorrectly applied or interpreted. In the case of an appeal, an enforceable decision cannot be given with six weeks (see Article 11, paragraph 2).

Central Authority for Norway: The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Police; Department of Civil Affairs; PO Box 8005 DEP.; N-0030 Oslo; NORWAY. Telephone: 011-47-22-245481; Telefax: 011-47-22-242722.

views updated

Norway

Compiled from the September 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Kingdom of Norway

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-NORWAY RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: (including the island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen) 385,155 sq. km. (approx 150,000 sq. mi.); slightly larger than New Mexico.

Cities: (2004) Capital—Oslo (pop. 521,886). Other cities—Bergen (237,430), Trondheim (154,351), Stavanger (112,405).

Terrain: Rugged with high plateaus, steep fjords, mountains, and fertile valleys.

Climate: Temperate along the coast, colder inland.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Norwegian(s).

Population: (2005 est.) 4,593,041.

Annual growth rate: (2005) 0.41%.

Density: Approx. 15 per sq. km.

Ethnic groups: Norwegian (Nordic, Alpine, Baltic), Sami, a racial-cultural minority of 20,000; foreign nationals (315,147) from Nordic and other countries.

Religion: (2004) Church of Norway (Lutheran), 85.7%; Pentecostal Christian, 1%; Roman Catholic, 1%; Other Christian, 2.4%; Muslim, 1.8%; other, none, or unknown, 8.1%.

Languages: Bokmaal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities, English is widely spoken.

Education: Years compulsory—10. Literacy—100%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2004)—3.73/1,000. Life expectancy (2004 est.)—men 76.78 yrs; women 82.17 yrs.

Work force: (2004, 2.38 million) Government, social, personal services—37.6%; wholesale and retail trade, hotels, restaurants—17.5%; manufacturing and mining—12.7%; transport and communications—7.4%; financing, insurance, real estate, business services—12%; agriculture, forestry, fishing—3.9%; construction—6.7%; oil extraction—1.4%.

Government

Type: Hereditary constitutional monarchy.

Independence: 1905.

Constitution: May 17, 1814.

Government branches: Executive—king (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative—modified unicameral parliament (Storting). Judicial—Supreme Court, appellate courts, city and county courts.

Political parties: Labor, Progress, Conservative, Socialist Left, Christian Democratic, Center, Liberal.

Suffrage: Universal over 18.

Political subdivisions: 19 fylker (counties), and Svalbard.

National holiday: May 17.

Economy

(Source: CIA World Factbook 2005)

GDP: (2004 est.) $183 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2004 est.) 0.4%.

Per capita GDP: (2004 est.) Purchasing power parity $40,000.

Natural resources: Oil, gas, fish, timber, hydroelectric power, mineral ores.

Arable land: 3%.

Agriculture: Products—dairy, livestock, grain (barley, oats, wheat), potatoes and other vegetables, fruits and berries, furs, wool.

Industry: Types—food processing, pulp and paper, ships, aluminum, ferroalloys, iron and steel, nickel, zinc, nitrogen, fertilizers, transport equipment, hydroelectric power, refinery products, petrochemicals, electronics.

Trade: (2004) Exports (f.o.b.)—$76.64 billion. Major markets: U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands, U.S. (2004, 8.4%), Sweden. Imports (f.o.b.)—$45.96 billion. Major suppliers: Sweden, Germany, Denmark, U.K., U.S. (2004, 4.9%), France, Netherlands.

GDP by activity: (2003) Agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing, and fish farming—1.9%; Oil and gas extraction incl. services and mining and quarrying—12.3%; Manufacturing—18.2%; Electricity, gas, and water supply—2.0%; Construction—6.4%; Wholesale and retail trade, motor vehicle repair, hotels and restaurants—10.7%; Transport industries—9.7%; Post and telecommunications, financial intermediation, dwellings, business services—20.6%; Public administration and defense—4.8%; Education, health and social work, and other social and personal services—13.4%

PEOPLE

Ethnically, Norwegians are predominantly Germanic, although in the far north there are communities of Sami who came to the area more than 10,000 years ago, probably from central Asia. In recent years, Norway has become home to increasing numbers of immigrants, foreign workers, and asylum-seekers from various parts of the world. Immigrants now total over 300,000; some have obtained Norwegian citizenship. Although the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church, Norway has complete religious freedom. Education is free through the university level and is compulsory from ages 6 to 16. At least 12 months of military service and training are required of every eligible male. Norway’s health system includes free hospital care, physician’s compensation, cash benefits during illness and pregnancy, and other medical and dental plans. There is a public pension system. Norway is in the top rank of nations in the number of books printed per capita, even though Norwegian is one of the world’s smallest language groups. Norway’s most famous writer is the dramatist Henrik Ibsen. Artists Edvard Munch and Christian Krogh were Ibsen’s contemporaries. Munch drew part of his inspiration from Europe and in turn exercised a strong influence on later European expressionists. Sculptor Gustav Vige-land has a permanent exhibition in the Vigeland Sculpture Park in Oslo. Musical development in Norway since Edvard Grieg has followed either native folk themes or, more recently, international trends.

HISTORY

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 period of union with Denmark. By 1586, Norway had become part of the Danish Kingdom. In 1814, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, Norway was separated from Denmark and combined with Sweden. The union persisted until 1905, when Sweden recognized Norwegian independence.

The Norwegian Government offered the throne of Norway to Danish Prince Carl in 1905. After a plebiscite approving the establishment of a monarchy, the Parliament unanimously elected him king. He took the name of Haakon VII, after the kings of independent Norway. Haakon died in 1957 and was succeeded by his son, Olav V, who died in January 1991. Upon Olav’s death, his son Harald was crowned as King Harald V.

Norway was a nonbelligerent during World War I, but as a result of the German invasion and occupation during World War II, Norwegians generally became skeptical of the concept of neutrality and 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. The first UN General Secretary, Trygve Lie, was a Norwegian. Under the terms of the will of Alfred Nobel, the Storting (Parliament) elects the five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee who award the Nobel Peace Prize to champions of peace.

GOVERNMENT

The functions of the king are mainly ceremonial, but he has influence as the symbol of national unity. Although the 1814 constitution grants important executive powers to the king, these are almost always exercised by the Council of Ministers in the name of the king (King’s Council). The Council of Ministers consists of a prime minister—chosen by the political parties represented in the Storting—and other ministers. The 169 members of the Storting are elected from 19 fylker (counties) for 4-year terms according to a complicated system of proportional representation. After elections, the Storting divides into two chambers, the Odel-sting and the Lagting, which meet separately or jointly depending on the legislative issue under consideration.

The special High Court of the Realm hears impeachment cases; the regular courts include the Supreme Court (17 permanent judges and a president), courts of appeal, city and county courts, the labor court, and conciliation councils. Judges attached to regular courts are appointed by the king in council after nomination by the Ministry of Justice.

Each fylke is headed by a governor appointed by the king in council, with one governor exercising authority in both Oslo and the adjacent county of Akershus.

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Until the 1981 election, Norway had been governed by majority Labor Party governments since 1935, except for three periods (1963, 1965-71, and 1972-73). The Labor Party lost its majority in the Storting in the 1981 elections. Since that time, minority and coalition governments have been the rule.

From 1981 to 1997, governments alternated between Labor minority governments and Conservative-led coalition governments. The first government coalition led by Christian Democrat Kjell Magne Bondevik came to power in 1997, but fell in March 2000 over the issue of proposed gas-fired power plants, opposed by Bondevik due to their impact on climate change. The Labor Party’s Jens Stoltenberg, a Brundtland protégé, took over in a minority Labor government but lost power in the September 2001 election when Labor

posted its worse performance since World War I. Bondevik once again became Prime Minister, this time as head of a minority government with the Conservatives and Liberals in a coalition heavily dependent upon the right-populist Progress Party. The September 2005 elections ended the Bondevik government, and the Labor party came back with its most substantial victory in years, securing 60 of the 169 seats in Parliament. While this election result once more made Labor the undisputed heavyweight in Norwegian politics, Stoltenberg, chastened by his previous stint as the head of a minority government, reached out to the far left Socialist Left party and agrarian Center party to form a coalition government that commanded a majority of seats in Parliament. The current government is the first majority government in Norway in over 20 years, but the governing coalition has had to bridge substantial policy differences to build this majority.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/3/2006

King: HARALD V

Prime Minister: Jens STOLTENBERG

Min. of Culture & Church Affairs: Trond GISKE

Min. of Defense: Anne-Grete STROM-ERICHSEN

Min. of the Environment: Helen BJORNOY

Min. of Equality & Integration: Karita BEKKEMELLEM

Min. of Finance: Kristin HALVORSEN

Min. of Fisheries & Coastal Affairs: Helga PEDERSEN

Min. of Food & Agriculture: Terje Riis JOHANSEN

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Jonas Gahr STORE

Min. of Health & Social Care: Sylvia BRUSTAD

Min. of International Development: Erik SOLHEIM

Min. of Justice & Police: Knut STORBERGET

Min. of Knowledge: Oystein DJUPEDAL

Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: Bjarne Hakon HANSSEN

Min. of Local Govt. & Regional Development: Aslaug HAGA

Min. of Modernization: Heidi Grande ROYS

Min. of Petroleum & Energy: Odd Roger ENOKSEN

Min. of Trade & Industry: Dag Terje ANDERSEN

Min. of Transport & Communications: Liv Signe NAVARSETE

Governor, Bank of Norway: Svein GJEDREM

Ambassador to the US: Knut VOLLEBAEK

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Johan Ludvik LOVALD

Norway maintains an embassy in the United States at 2720—34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-333-6000) and consulates in Houston, Minneapolis, New York, and San Francisco.

ECONOMY

Norway is one of the world’s richest countries in per capita terms. It has an important stake in promoting a liberal environment for foreign trade. Its large shipping fleet is one of the most modern among maritime nations. Metals, pulp and paper products, chemicals, shipbuilding, and fishing are the most significant traditional industries.

Norway’s emergence as a major oil and gas producer in the mid-1970s transformed the economy. Large sums of investment capital poured into the offshore oil sector, leading to greater increases in Norwegian production costs and wages than in the rest of western Europe up to the time of the global recovery of the mid-1980s. The influx of oil revenue also permitted Norway to expand an already extensive social welfare system. Norway has established a state Petroleum Fund that exceeded $132.6 billion as of December 2004. The fund primarily will be used to help finance government programs once oil and gas resources become depleted. Norway is currently enjoying large foreign trade surpluses thanks to high oil prices. Unemployment remains currently low (3%-4% range), and the prospects for economic growth are encouraging thanks to the government’s stimulative fiscal policy and economic recovery in the United States and Europe.

Norway voted against joining the European Union (EU) in a 1994 referendum. With the exception of the agricultural and fisheries sectors, however, Norway enjoys free trade with the EU under the framework of the European Economic Area. This agreement aims to apply the four freedoms of the EU’s internal market (goods, persons, services, and capital) to Norway. As a result, Norway normally adopts and implements most EU directives. Norwegian monetary policy is aimed at maintaining a stable exchange rate for the krone against European currencies, of which the euro is a key operating parameter. Norway is not a member of the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union and does not have a fixed exchange rate. Its principal trading partners are in the EU; the United States ranks sixth.

Energy Resources

Offshore hydrocarbon deposits were discovered in the 1960s, and development began in the 1970s. The growth of the petroleum sector has contributed significantly to Norwegian economic vitality. Current petroleum production capacity is more than 3 million barrels per day. Production has increased rapidly during the past several years as new fields are opened. Total production in 2003 was about 263 million cubic meters of oil equivalents, over 63% of which was crude oil. This represents a slight decline in crude oil production over the past year, accompanied by sharp increases in gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production. Hydropower provides nearly all of Norway’s electricity, and all of the gas and most of the oil produced is exported. Production increased significantly in the 1990s as new fields come on stream.

Norway is the world’s third-largest oil exporter and provides much of western Europe’s crude oil and gas requirements. In 2003, Norwegian oil and gas exports accounted for 56% of total merchandise exports. In addition, offshore exploration and production have stimulated onshore economic activities. Foreign companies, including many American ones, participate actively in the petroleum sector.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Norway supports international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of disputes, recognizing the need for maintaining a strong national defense through collective security. Accordingly, the cornerstones of Norwegian policy are active membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and support for the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Norway also pursues a policy of economic, social, and cultural cooperation with other Nordic countries —Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland—through the Nordic Council.

In addition to strengthening traditional ties with developed countries, Norway seeks to build friendly relations with developing countries and has undertaken humanitarian and development aid efforts with selected African and Asian nations. Norway also is dedicated to encouraging democracy, assisting refugees, and protecting human rights throughout the world.

U.S.-NORWAY RELATIONS

The United States and Norway enjoy a long tradition of friendly association. The relationship is strengthened by the millions of Norwegian-Americans in the United States and by about 10,000 U.S. citizens who reside in Norway. The two countries enjoy an active cultural exchange, both officially and privately.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

OSLO (E) Address: Henrik Ibsens gate 48, 0244 OSLO; APO/FPO: AmEmbassy Oslo, PSC 69 Box 1000, APO AE 09707; Phone: [47]2130-8550; Fax: +47-2243-0777; Workweek: 0800–1630; Website: www.usa.no.

AMB:Ben Whitney
AMB OMS:Linda Semere
DCM:Kevin Johnson
DCM OMS:Olivia Lindenberg
POL/ECO:Kristen Bauer
CON:Maria Silver
MGT:Kent Stiegler
AGR:RESIDENT STOCKHOLM
CLO:Chris Hield
DAO:James G. Stevens
ECO/COM:Douglas J. Apostol
EEO:Patricia Attkisson
FAA:RESIDENT LONDON
FMO:Kent Stiegler
GSO:Andrew B. Graves
IMO:David A. Douthit
IRS:RESIDENT LONDON
ISSO:Donal Godfrey
LEGATT:RESIDENT COPENHAGEN
PAO:Patricia Attkisson (Acting)
RSO:Colin Sullivan

Last Updated: 11/14/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : September 28, 2006

Country Description: Norway is a highly developed stable democracy with a modern economy. The cost of living in Norway is high and tourist facilities are well developed and widely available.

Entry Requirements: A valid passport is required. Norwegian entry visas are governed by the rules of the Schengen Agreement. U.S. citizens may enter Norway for tourist or general business purposes without a visa for up to 90 days. That period begins when you enter any of the Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. Contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008-2714, Tel: 1-202-333-6000, website: http://www.norway.org or the nearest Norwegian Consulate. Consulates are located in Houston, Minneapolis, New York City, and San Francisco. Information can also be obtained from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration at http://www.udi.no.

Note: Although European Union regulations require that non-EU visitors obtain a stamp in their passports upon initial entry to a Schengen country, many borders are not staffed with officers carrying out this function. If an American citizen wishes to ensure that his or her entry is properly documented, it may be necessary to request a stamp at an official point of entry. Under local law, travelers without a stamp in their passports may be questioned and asked to document the length of their stay in Schengen countries at the time of departure or at any other point during their visit, and could face possible fines or other repercussions if unable to do so.

Safety and Security: Norway remains largely free of terrorist incidents. However, like other countries in the Schengen area, Norway’s open borders with its Western European neighbors allow the possibility of terrorist groups entering/exiting the country with anonymity. The U.S. government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. In the post-9/11 environment, Norway shares with the rest of the world an increased threat of international Islamic terrorism. Norway was among a list of countries named as legitimate targets in al-Qa’ida audiotapes released in 2003, 2004, and 2006. Americans are reminded to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime Information: Norway has a relatively low crime rate. Most crimes involve the theft of personal property. Residential burglaries, auto theft, and vandalism to parked cars can also occur. Most high-end value vehicles, especially in Oslo, have visible alarm system indicators to discourage joy riders or thieves. Persons who appear affluent or disoriented may become targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, especially during the peak tourist season (May-September). Thieves frequently target tourists in airports, train stations and hotels, particularly lobby/reception and restaurant areas. Often such thieves work in pairs, and use distraction as a method to steal purses or briefcases. While passports are frequently stolen in the course of these thefts, money, credit cards and jewelry are the actual objects of interest. In some cases stolen passports are recovered. Violent crime, although rare, occurs and appears to be increasing. Some thieves or burglars may have weapons. The phone number for the police in Norway is 112.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Norway has a program to provide financial compensation to victims who suffer serious criminal injuries. Claimants can obtain application forms from the Norwegian police and other government agencies as well as on the Internet at http://www.ft.dep.no. The claimant receives notification of the decision within six months. Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Oslo for further information.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical facilities are widely available and of high quality, but may be limited outside the larger urban areas. The remote and sparse populations in northern Norway, and the dependency on ferries to cross fjords of western Norway, may affect transportation and ready access to medical facilities. The U.S. Embassy in Oslo maintains a list of emergency clinics in major cities.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: Healthcare in Norway is very expensive and healthcare providers sometimes require payment at time of service. The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Norway is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Public transportation in Norway is generally safe and the maintenance and condition of urban roads are generally good. Rural road conditions are fair, and the availability of roadside assistance is limited. The roadway system beyond Oslo’s limits and other major cities tends to be simple two-lane roads. In mountainous areas of Norway, the roads also tend to be narrow and winding and there are many tunnels. The northerly latitude can also cause road conditions to vary greatly depending on weather and time of year. Many mountain roads are closed due to snow from late fall to late spring. The use of winter tires is mandatory on all motor vehicles from November to April.

Norwegian law requires that drivers always use their vehicle headlights when driving. Norwegian law also requires drivers to yield to vehicles coming from the right. In some, but not all, instances major roads with “right of way” are marked. Seatbelts are mandatory for drivers and passengers.

Norway has some of the strictest laws in Europe concerning driving under the influence of alcohol and those laws prescribe heavy penalties for those convicted of even a low blood alcohol level. Frequent road checks with mandatory breathalyzer tests and the promise of stiff jail sentences encourage alcohol-free driving. The maximum legal blood alcohol content level for driving a car in Norway is.02 per cent.

Automatic cameras placed by the police along roadways help to maintain speed limits, which are often lower than in other European countries. Fines—and sometimes jail time—are imposed even for slight infractions.

For specific information concerning Norwegian driver’s permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Norwegian Tourist Board office located at P.O. Box 4649, Grand Central Station, New York, New York 10163-4649 (Tel.: 212-885-9700; fax – 212/885-9710) or visit their website on the Internet at http://www.norway.org/travel.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Norway’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Norway’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Norway’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Norway are strict and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration and Embassy Location: Americans living in or visiting Norway are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Norway. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in Oslo near the Royal Palace at Henrik Ibsensgate 18); tel. 47/2244-8550 (24 hours), consular fax 47/2256-2751. The Embassy’s website is http://www.usa.no.

International Adoption : October 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: There are very few children eligible for intercountry adoption from Norway, with a long waiting list of Norwegian prospective adoptive parents. While legally possible, intercountry adoption of a Norwegian orphan by foreigners is unlikely.

Patterns of Immigration: For at least the last five years, no Norwegian orphans have received U.S. immigrant visas. Within Norway, in 2003 (the latest year for which statistics are available), 870 orphans were adopted, most of them step-children.

Adoption Authority: The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs (known by the Norwegian acronym “Bufdir”), a unit of the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, is the authority on both domestic and intercountry adoptions in Norway.

The Act on Adoption, which came into force on January 1, 1987, and government guidelines constitute the regulations for adoptions in Norway. Bufdir supervises the work of the Norwegian adoption organizations, maintains central adoption records and assigns a government grant to those who receive approval to adopt a child. Bufdir is also the Central Authority for the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention, which came into force for Norway January 1, 1998.

Address:
Barneungdomsog familiedirektoratet
Postboks 8113 Dep
Universitetsgata 7, 0032 Oslo
Tel: 47/2404-4000
Fax: 47/2404-4001
Email: [email protected]
Web sites: www.bufdir.no and
www.bufetat.no/?module=Articles;action=Article.publicShow;ID=1339

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Applications by parents who are 45 years or older than the prospective child are given additional scrutiny. There are cases, for example, in which one of the spouses is considerably younger than the other, or the family has already adopted a child. The prospective parents must show documents certifying their good health status, stable financial situation and have a clean police record. Those who apply together must be married, generally for at least two years. Persons living in registered partnership are not eligible to apply to adopt a child from outside Norway.

Residency Requirements: Temporary visitors to Norway cannot apply to adopt in Norway.

Time Frame: In general, it takes close to a year to prepare the required reports about the applying family.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Please review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family for a list of agencies.

Adoption Procedures: In nearly all cases, the adoption is arranged through one of three accredited adoption organizations (specified on Bufdir web site). In intercountry adoptions, the Professional Board for Adoptions, composed of a medical doctor and two psychologists/psychiatrists, is responsible for the procedure. If Bufdir reaches a negative conclusion about a requested adoption, the matter may be appealed to the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.

Documentary Requirements: Documentary requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • a social report detailing the prospective adoptive parents’ background, marriage, everyday life, interests and motives for wanting to adopt a child from abroad;
  • the social worker’s written impression of the applicants and their suitability to be adoptive parents;
  • birth and marriage certificates;
  • doctor’s reports;
  • police certificates, and;
  • documentation of financial standing.

Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington:
2720 34th St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202/333-6000
Fax: 202/337-0870

Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.norway.org/Embassy

Norway has Consulates General in New York, Houston, San Francisco and Minneapolis. See www.norway.org

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Norway:
Henrik Ibsens Gate 48
0244 Oslo
Tel: 47/2244-8550
Fax: 47/2256-2751
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.usa.no

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Norway may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Norway. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

International Parental Child Abduction : February 2007

The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.

Procedures: The Ministry of Justice and Police, the Department of Civil Affairs, has been designated as the Central Authority for Norway for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Being an administrative authority, the Ministry itself has no jurisdiction to make a decision on whether the child should be returned or not. This jurisdiction belongs entirely to the courts.

Immediately upon receiving an application from the Central Authority of another contracting state, the Ministry will give the application a preliminary examination, to ensure that it is in conformity with the formal conditions laid down by the Convention, and that the documents required in Article 8 are enclosed. If that is not the case, the application will immediately by returned to the requesting state for completion, or the lacking information will be asked for more informally by telephone or telefax to the requesting state. If the documents are not in English or Norwegian, the transmitting authority will be asked to provide a translation.

When all formal requirements are met, the application will immediately be sent to the competent local court for decision.

For more information, please read the International Parental Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov.

Appeals : A decision by the local court can be brought before the High Court (Appeals Division) by either party. A decision by the High Court (Appeals Division) can be brought before the Supreme Court if the Court agrees to hear the case.

Central Authority for Norway:
Address
The Royal Norwegian Ministry of
Justice and Police
Department of Civil Affairs
PO Box 8005 DEP.
N-0030 Oslo
NORWAY
Telephone
011-47-2224 9090
Telefax
011-47-22-242722
E-mail: [email protected]

For further information on international parental child abduction, contact the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State at 1-888-407-4747 or visit its web site on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. You may also direct inquiries to: Office of Children’s Issues; U.S. Department of State; Washington, DC 20520-4811; Phone: (202) 736-9090; Fax: (202) 312-9743.