The Kingdom of Norway traces the rugged western coast of Scandinavia. Settlements are largely restricted to southern and coastal areas. Vast oil and natural gas revenues bring prosperity.
Geography: The western coast is indented with numerous fjords and features tens of thousands of islands. Mountains and plateaus cover most of the country.
Climate: Mild coastal climate. Inland, the weather is more extreme, with warmer summers and cold, snowy winters.
People and Society: Fairly homogeneous; influx of refugees from 1990’s Bosnian conflict. Strong family tradition despite high divorce rate. Fair-minded consensus promotes female equality, boosted by the generous childcare provision. Wealth is more evenly distributed than in most developed countries. Voted not to join EU in 1994.
The Economy: Western Europe’s top oil and natural gas producer: trust fund saves for post-oil future. Metal, chemical, and engineering industries. Generous aid donor. High cost of living.
Insight: Near Narvik, mainland Norway is only 4 miles (7 km) wide
Official Name: Kingdom of Norway
Date of Formation: 1905
Population: 4.81 million
Total Area: 125,181 sq. miles (324,220 sq. km)
Density: 41 people per sq. mile
Languages: Norwegian* (Bokmål and Nynorsk), Sámi
Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 89%, other 10%, Roman Catholic 1%
Ethnic Mix: Norwegian 93%, other 6%, Sámi 1%
Government: Parliamentary system
Currency: Norwegian krone = 100 øre