Geographic and Governmental Profile of Norway

Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, 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 Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a 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 EU. 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.
Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden
Geographic coordinates
62 00 N, 10 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
323,802 sq km
304,282 sq km
19,520 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than New Mexico
Land boundaries
2,542 km
border countries:
Finland 727 km, Sweden 1,619 km, Russia 196 km
25,148 km (includes mainland 2,650 km, as well as long fjords, numerous small islands, and minor indentations 22,498 km; length of island coastlines 58,133 km)
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
10 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm
temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior with increased precipitation and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast
glaciated; mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys; small, scattered plains; coastline deeply indented by fjords; arctic tundra in north
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Norwegian Sea 0 m
highest point:
Galdhopiggen 2,469 m
Natural resources
petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, titanium, pyrites, nickel, fish, timber, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
permanent crops:
97.3% (2005)
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Irrigated land
1,180 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
381.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
2.4 cu km/yr (23%/67%/10%)
per capita:
519 cu m/yr (1996)
Natural hazards
rockslides, avalanches
Beerenberg (elev. 2,227 m) on Jan Mayen Island in the Norwegian Sea is the country's only active volcano
Environment - current issues
water pollution; acid rain damaging forests and adversely affecting lakes, threatening fish stocks; air pollution from vehicle emissions
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
about two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much-indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of the most rugged and longest coastlines in the world
Country name
conventional long form:
Kingdom of Norway
conventional short form:
local long form:
Kongeriket Norge
local short form:
Government type
constitutional monarchy
geographic coordinates:
59 55 N, 10 45 E
time difference:
UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions
19 counties (fylker, singular - fylke); Akershus, Aust-Agder, Buskerud, Finnmark, Hedmark, Hordaland, More og Romsdal, Nordland, Nord-Trondelag, Oppland, Oslo, Ostfold, Rogaland, Sogn og Fjordane, Sor-Trondelag, Telemark, Troms, Vest-Agder, Vestfold
Dependent areas
Bouvet Island, Jan Mayen, Svalbard
7 June 1905 (Norway declared the union with Sweden dissolved); 26 October 1905 (Sweden agreed to the repeal of the union)
National holiday
Constitution Day, 17 May (1814)
17 May 1814; amended many times
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil, common, and customary law; Supreme Court can advise on legislative acts
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
King HARALD V (since 17 January 1991); Heir Apparent Crown Prince HAAKON MAGNUS, son of the monarch (born 20 July 1973)
head of government:
Prime Minister Jens STOLTENBERG (since 17 October 2005)
State Council appointed by the monarch with the approval of parliament
the monarchy is hereditary; following parliamentary elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch with the approval of the parliament
Legislative branch
modified unicameral Parliament or Storting (169 seats; members elected by popular vote by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
last held on 14 September 2009 (next to be held in September 2013)
election results:
percent of vote by party - Labor Party 35.4%, Progress Party 22.9%, Conservative Party 17.2%, Socialist Left Party 6.2%, Center Party 6.2%, Christian People's Party 5.5%, Liberal Party 3.9%, other 2.7%; seats by party - Labor Party 64, Progress Party 41, Conservative Party 30, Socialist Left Party 11, Center Party 11, Christian People's Party 10, Liberal Party 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Hoyesterett (justices appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders
Center Party (Senterpartiet) [Liv Signe NAVARSETE]; Christian People's Party (Kristelig Folkeparti) or KrF [Knut Arild HAREIDE]; Conservative Party (Hoyre) [Erna SOLBERG]; Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet) [Jens STOLTENBERG]; Liberal Party (Venstre) [Trine SKEI-GRANDE]; Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) or FrP [Siv JENSEN]; Socialist Left Party (Sosialistisk Venstreparti) or SV [Audun LYSBAKKEN]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (Naeringslivets Hovedorganisasjon) or NHO [President Kristin SKOGEN LUND; CEO John Gordon BERNANDER]; Norwegian Association of the Disabled; Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge) or LO [Roar FLATHEN]
environmental groups; media; digital privacy movements
International organization participation
ADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EFTA, ESA, FAO, FATF, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Wegger C. STROMMEN
2720 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
[1] (202) 333-6000
[1] (202) 337-0870
consulate(s) general:
Houston, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Barry B. WHITE
Henrik Ibsens gate 48, 0244 Oslo; note - the embassy will move to Huseby in the near future
mailing address:
PSC 69, Box 1000, APO AE 09707
[47] 22-44-85-50
[47] 22-44-33-63, 22-56-27-51
Flag description
red with a blue cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); the colors recall Norway's past political unions with Denmark (red and white) and Sweden (blue)
National symbol(s)
National anthem
"Ja, vi elsker dette landet" (Yes, We Love This Country)
Bjornstjerne BJORNSON/Rikard NORDRAAK
adopted 1864; in addition to the national anthem, "Kongesangen" (Song of the King), which uses the tune of "God Save the Queen," serves as the royal anthem
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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