Norway at a glance

Norway at a glance

Norway's four million inhabitants live in one of the most northerly parts of the world, on the Scandinavian peninsula. The Gulf Stream and westerly winds provide a climate which is not so different from the rest of Europe, and much warmer than generally assumed. The average July temperature in Oslo is about the same as in London, Zurich and Bonn (16.4° C). But the weather can get much warmer, approaching the kind of temperatures better known in the Mediterranean. In January, the average temperature in Oslo is -4.3° C.

Norway has common borders with Sweden (1,619 km), Finland (721 km) and Russia (196 km).

Population

Norway covers an area of 386,958 square kilometers, meaning that in mainland Norway there are 13 Norwegians for every square kilometer. The country's population is 4,348,410 (January 1995.) Almost three-quarters of the population live in the major towns and cities. Oslo, the country's capital, has 483,401 inhabitants (1995). Men have a life expectancy of 74.2 years, while women have 80.3 years. Families have an average of two children.

The Sami, the indigenous people of the far north, number some 30,000, and form a distinct ethnic minority with their own culture and language.

History

The Kingdom of Norway first came into being around the year 900 AD. The Vikings founded many settlements in Britain, France, Ireland, Iceland and Greenland and reached America about 500 years before Columbus. After a period of internal feuding and the Black Death, which wiped out two-thirds of Norway's population, the country came under Danish rule in a union which lasted from 1380 until 1814. Thereafter, Norway was united with Sweden until the association was dissolved peacefully in 1905. During the Second World War, Norway was occupied by the Germans from 1940 until 1945.

Norwegian Geography

Constitutional monarchy

Norway is a constitutional monarchy, with full parliamentary democracy. Executive power is vested formally in the King, but is exercised through the government. There are general elections every four years for the 165 seats in the national assembly, the Storting. The 19 counties and 435 municipalities also have an extensive system of local government. The monarchy holds a strong position in Norway, not least on account of the admirable fulfilment of its functions, firstly by King Haakon VII, (1872 - 1957) who became king in 1905 after a referendum following the dissolution of the union with Sweden, and subsequently by his son King Olav V (1903 - 1991). Public expressions of gratitude and affection were particularly strong when King Olav V died. The present king, Harald V, is carrying on the royal traditions and working procedures of his father and grandfather.

Business and industry

The Norwegian economy has undergone major structural changes over the last decade with a decline in traditional industries and manufacturing and increases in the service sector and oil-related and advanced industries, such as engineering and data technology. Foreign trade amounts to approximately 45 per cent of Norway's GDP. Access to the rich supply of hydroelectric power from Norwegian waterfalls gives a large part of the Norwegian industry its competitive edge on international markets. Hydropower is an important industry in itself (accounting for 3.6 per cent of the GDP in 1992). Service industries make up around 34.8 per cent of the GDP.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Norway expanded at an annual rate of 0.90 percent in the last quarter. Norway Gross Domestic Product is worth 450 billion dollars or 0.73% of the world economy, according to the World Bank. The Norwegian economy features a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for nearly half of exports and over 30% of state revenue.

Norway has a proud tradition as a seafaring nation and after the establishment of the Norwegian International Ship Register (NIS) in 1987, the Norwegian merchant fleet is the world's fourth biggest. Norwegian shipowners control nearly 10 per cent of the world fleet, or 48 million dwt, in 1993. Included in the figure are 12.5 million dwt in Norwegian hands which sail under foreign flags. Norway also has 20 per cent of the world's offshore fleet.

Agriculture represents only a small portion of the gross domestic product and it is maintained through government subsidies to keep up employment in rural areas. Although Norway lies far north, its farmers supply it with most agricultural products. Over 20 per cent of mainland Norway is covered with productive forests, and forestry provides the basis for a thriving wood processing industry. The country's fisheries industry is among the biggest in Europe. In recent years, it has been augmented by a rapid expansion of the fish-farming business, because the coastal fjords are particularly suited for the trade.

Full employment is a prime political goal in Norway. Unemployment remained low in Norway from 1945 to the mid-1980s. However, on account of market stagnation and structural changes in business and industry, it rose from 1987 to a peak of about 6 per cent in 1993. The situation has improved and in 1994 joblessness sank to 5.4 per cent of the working force. A further decrease is expected.

Other traits of the Norwegian economy in 1994 were the low rate of inflation (1.4 per cent, the lowest rate since 1960), record growth in export of industrial goods (up 14 per cent from 1993), and the biggest jump in industrial production in 20 years. The GDP rose by 5.1 per cent (the same rise as in the boom year 1985).

Oil and gas

Norway's oil and gas industry accounts for around 16 per cent of the GDP. In 1994, exports of oil and gas from the continental shelf earned Norway nearly NOK 114 billion. Unless considerable new discoveries are made, oil production will slowly decrease in the next century. But based on the present proven reserves, it is estimated that the gas fields will last for another 100 years at current production levels.

Foreign policy

Norway was a founding member of the UN since its inception in 1944-45 and of NATO in 1949. It joined the OECD in 1949.

Norway's strategic position and the importance of Nordic security policy was further emphasized by the discovery of large amounts of oil and gas in the North Sea, which gave Norwegian foreign policy a new dimension.

Norway's key economic figures

Percentage changes from previous year, fixed prices

  • ...................................................1994....1995....1996 ....1997-99
  • Private consumption.........................4.4.......2.6.......2.2.......1.9
  • Public consumption..........................2.7.......1.2.......0.9.......1.4
  • Oil investments.................................1.8.......4.0....-24.4.....-2.4
  • Other businesses.............................4.8.....19.3.......9.8.......3.4
  • Housing investments.......................33.8.....19.9.....10.2.......5.1
  • Domestic demand.............................4.7.......4.5........0.7.......1.8
  • Export...............................................7.6.......8.3........6.2........2.8
  • Import..............................................7.2.......7.5........0.1........2.9
  • GDP..................................................5.1.......5.1.......3.6.........1.9
  • Mainland Norway.............................3.9........3.1.......2.5.........2.2
  • Current balance in $billions..............4.2.......5.8......10.5
  • Unemployed (%)...............................5.5..................5.0
  • Interest Rate: 1.75%
  • Growth Rate: 0.90%
  • Inflation Rate: 2.50%
  • Jobless Rate: 3.20%
  • Current Account: 95469
  • Exchange Rate: 5.9048
Year Mar Jun Sep Dec Average
2009 -0.70 -0.90 0.90   -0.23
2008 0.50 0.20 -0.70 0.00 0.00
2007 0.00 0.10 1.30 1.00 0.60
2006 -0.60 1.40 0.60 1.40 0.70

norway gdp growth rate
Norway is a member of the European Free Trade Association, EFTA.By a referendum in November 1994 a majority of the Norwegians rejected membership in the European Union. However, the agreement on the European Economic Area, EEA, ensures Norway full access to EU markets and participation in a great number of the Union's various cooperation schemes, e.g. within research.
For more depth economic data visit: http://www.ssb.no/en/indicators/
Norway GDP according to world bank
Oil and Gas sector in Norway: http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/oed.html
Travel Essential For Visiting Norway: http://travellersdata.com/norway



People who viewed 'Norway at a glance' also found interest in following Norwegian articles . . .

About Norway

Official name: Kingdom of Norway System of government Constitutional monarchy Parliamentary democracy The Royal House of Norway Harald V, King of Norway, born 21 February 1937 Sonja, Queen of Norway...

Facts and figures - Norway

Norway is bounded by Sweden, Finland and Russia to the East, The Arctic Ocean to the North, the Atlantic Ocean (the North Sea) to the East, and Denmark to the south (sea border). "Norway" means the...

Norway Tourism and Vacation

The main tourist attractions of Norway are the fjord-indented coastline and its mountains, the unspoiled nature of the inner parts of the country, and the cities and smaller towns. As of 2008 and...

The Norwegian language - Norway Language history

Two languages are spoken in Norway, Norwegian and Sami. Norwegian is spoken and written throughout the country, while Sami is most common in the far north where the Lapps traditionally live....

Norway: Information in English, Norwegian and many other languages

Official sites Norge.no Government (ODIN) Municipalities Supreme Court The Parliament Office of the Prime Minister The Royal House...

Brief History of the Norwegian Language - A summary of 1500 years

1500 years is a long time, and during that period the Norwegian language has gone through many stages and undergone many changes. Modern Norwegian has borrowed countless words from German, English,...

Domestic travel in Norway

By Airline Long hauls in Norway is best done by airline. Norway is a long country and distances are greater than in most of the other European countries. You can fly from Oslo to most of the cities...