norway

Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the subantarctic Bouvet...

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Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the subantarctic Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres and a population of about 5 million. It is the second least densely populated country in Europe. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland to the south and Russia to the east; in its south Norway borders the Skagerrak Strait across from Denmark. The capital city of Norway is Oslo. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords.

Two centuries of Viking raids tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav Tryggvason in 994. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of Britain, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, but competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country. In 1380, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by the Third Reich. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the European Union. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.

Norway is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with King Harald V as its head of state and Jens Stoltenberg as its prime minister. It is a unitary state with administrative subdivisions on two levels known as counties and municipalities. The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Although having rejected European Union membership in two referenda, Norway maintains close ties with the union and its member countries, as well as with the United States. Norway remains one of the biggest financial contributors to the United Nations, and participates with UN forces in international missions, notably in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sudan and Libya. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and is also a part of Schengen Area.

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experiences (3)

have you spent time in norway? share your experiences

4

norway - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/26/13.

I've lived in Norway for a little over 4 years now, since August of 2009. I was just about to turn 23 when I moved here, 27 now.

The year before I moved here I met a Norwegian girl while backpacking across Europe. We spent the next year talking on Skype, I visited her for 2 weeks during the winter break from University, and then I decided to try and move here. I was finishing my Master’s degree at the time in Texas and wasn't a huge fan of staying in Texas. I had traveled around Europe two summers in a row and really wanted to give living in Europe a shot. I applied for a lot of jobs, none of which came through, but luckily for me I had some fortunate connections with the technical university in Norway and managed to get a PhD position.

I originally moved to Trondheim, where the university is, although my girlfriend at the time was living in Bergen. The first year of the PhD study requires classwork, but once that was finished I moved in with her in Bergen. I lived there for about a year and a half or so, and then moved back to Trondheim when the relationship ended. However, even while living in Bergen I maintained a small room in a collective apartment in Trondheim since I...

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3

norway - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/16/13.

How much time have you spent in Norway?

I've been in Norway for almost 14 years.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in Norway?

I came to Norway in my 20's.

What brought you to Norway? Where were you before?

I came to Norway to be with my boyfriend at the time. Before that I lived in the state of Michigan.

Describe the city you live in in Norway.

I live in Sandnes, which is just south of one of Norway's biggest cities, Stavanger. The best meeting spot for most people is the long walking street of shops, restaurants and cafes called Gågata. Sandnes has somewhat of a lack of strong identity - there isn't a strong defined aesthetic but there are several places trying out new things, such as a gourmet restaurant run by a world-renowned chef, and a fantastic, locally run coffee shop. Sandnes has a strong industrial base, especially near the village I live in called Ganddal. There are less free standing homes and more apartments and connected housing here. It's a generally quiet area, though the city center can be a bit more unpredictable. It's a small city, but is very well connected via train and bus. There are several nearby forests with easy to access...

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1

norway - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/16/13.

I moved to Norway at 24 and still live here two years later. I moved here with my husband's job. He works for an international company which moves him around a lot. I am from New York City, and have lived in Washington DC, Indiana, Connecticut, and Hong Kong before this.

I live in Bergen, Norway. It is a beautiful city in western Norway known as the "Gateway to the Fjords." It's Norway's second largest city after Oslo. It is also the rainiest city in Europe, which can get slightly annoying, but you get used to it.

Making friends with Norwegians can be difficult. People are not very talkative to people they don't know. That being said, I have made a dozen Norwegian friends through my husband's work, and its usually a lot easier to meet other expats who are also looking for company. Bergen is a decently sized city with a small town feel. I constantly run into people I know in the city sentrum. The best activities for getting to know people are inviting them to pre-drink at your apartment before going to clubs, and going for hikes or skiing.

I am an American caucasian woman. Norwegians react fairly positively to Americans. It helps that I look like I could be Norwegian, so...

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demographics

population

4,707,270 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Norwegian 94.4% (includes Sami, about 60,000), other European 3.6%, other 2% (2007 estimate)

languages

Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

religions

Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran - official) 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 17.7% (male 425,815/ female 408,243)

15-64: 15-64 years: 65.9% (male 1,568,928/ female 1,531,467)

65+: 65 years and over: 16.4% (male 339,305/ female 433,512) (2012 est.)

urbanization

79% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

80.32 years

obesity rate

10% (2009)

literacy rate

100%

average years of education

17 years

economics

cost of living

11/10 (very-high)

economic overview

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous mixed economy, with a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. The government controls key...

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The Norwegian economy is a prosperous mixed economy, with a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through extensive regulation and large-scale state-majority-owned enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for the largest portion of export revenue and about 20% of government revenue. Norway is the world's second-largest gas exporter; and seventh largest oil exporter, making one of its largest offshore oil finds in 2011. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from the petroleum sector in the world's second largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at over $500 billion in 2011 and uses the fund's return to help finance public expenses. After solid GDP growth in 2004-07, the economy slowed in 2008, and contracted in 2009, before returning to positive growth in 2010-11, however, the government budget is set to remain in surplus.

major industries

petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textiles, fishing

petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textiles, fishing

gdp per capita

$53,400 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

1.5% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 2.8% industry: 39.5% services: 57.8% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

3.3% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

NA%

gini index

25 (2008) country comparison to the world: 132 25.8 (1995)