Norway: Fun Interesting Facts and Resources
Fun Facts about Norway
Norway is located in northern Europe and is part of Scandinavia. Its land is rich with vast fjords, thousands of tiny islands and lakes and dramatically cascading waterfalls. The country has a total land area of almost 150,000 square miles, and is bordered to the east by Sweden, to the north by Finland and Russia, to the south by Denmark (across the Skagerrak Strait), and to the west by the North Atlantic Ocean. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 4.9 million, 88% of which were native Norwegian and Sami peoples. The facts below are a sample of how the country was formed over hundreds of years to make Norway the country that it is today.
1. The coastline of Norway is one of the longest and most winding oceanfronts in the world.
Its jagged coastline measures 25,000 kilometers in length because of all its bays, fjords and jutting coastline. Without all these irregularities, the coastline would be a fractional 10% of that distance. Near all these irregularities are approximately 45,000 islands that are small and large, inhabited and uninhabited.
2. Oslo is the capital of Norway
Oslo is located in the southern part of Norway and was founded in the 11th century by King Harald III of Norway. It is believed that Hakon V (the king from 1299 until 1319) declared Oslo to be the capital of the country.
Today, the city is Norway’s largest, and as such, functions as a center for culture, science, economy and government for the country. It was twice been ranked as the world’s most expensive city and retains an annual population of 907,288. The city’s layout is unique because it branches out in three long projections due to surrounding fjords.
3. Vetisfossen is the country’s highest waterfall
Norway is the land of a thousand waterfalls. Because of the country’s extensive lakes and fjords, water falls around every corner. Vetisfossen is the country’s tallest freefalling and unregulated waterfall. It is located in the Jotunheimen mountain range in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. It measures 275 meters in height and has not been altered by man for hydroelectric power. The power of the water is unrestricted and it vaults over the edge at overwhelming rates. It can be reached by a handful of walking paths and roads, including one that takes hikers to the top of the falls.
4. Sognefjorden is Norway’s largest Fjord
Beginning at the intersection of the Norwegian and North Seas, the Sognefjorden is the largest fjord in Norway, and stretches 127 miles inland, with dozens of smaller fjords branching off of the main artery. At its maximum depth, the fjord sinks to 4,291 feet below sea level. Its average width is almost 3 miles, and the height of the cliffs surrounding the waterways climb to heights of 3,300 feet at their highest. Located along the fjord is the Flam Line, the world’s steepest unassisted railway. Today, passengers can ride on the precarious train as it weaves its way through some of Norway’s most picturesque landscapes.
5. Norway is part of Scandinavia
Scandinavia is an area that is comprised of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Finland and Iceland are Nordic countries (as are the Scandinavian countries), but are not actually classified as being part of Scandinavia. The area is characterized geographically by Norwegian fjords, Scandinavian Mountains, and archipelagos in both Sweden and Norway. The climate is varied, as the countries extend from the arctic circle all the way down to western Europe. Denmark is classified as having a marine west coast climate, while Norway and Sweden have a humid continental climate in the summer and a subarctic climate in the winter.
6. Norway is nicknamed “The Land of the Midnight Sun”
This nickname originates because of Norway’s proximity to the Arctic Circle. During the summer months, land near the latitude of the Circle experiences daylight for 24 hours each day. Svalbard, Norway is the northernmost community in the country. From mid-April until mid-August each year the sun does not set. Other areas further south of Svalbard experience the midnight sun to a lesser degree. In some areas, the sun does not set for the months of June and July only, but during the months surrounding these two, the days become very long.
7. 99% of all electricity generated in Norway is hydropower
With 27 million kilowatts of hydroelectric generation each year, Norway produces 99% of their electricity from hydropower. This power is generated at 850 hydroelectric plants located throughout the country. Other renewable energy practices that the country engages in include solar, biomass and wind power. Oftentimes, these alternate sources are used on boats or at vacation homes located on fjords, where power is otherwise unable to be brought to the location. Norway exports unused power through cables linked to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
8. Oslo is the location for the annual presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize
Oslo, Norway was the site decided on by Alfred Nobel for the annual presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize. The other Nobel Prizes are awarded annually in Sweden. The Peace Prize might have been created by Nobel because of his work with Bertha von Suttner, his warfare and assassination inventions. The prize is awarded to one person annually who was demonstrated exemplary efforts in humanitarian and peace movements, human rights, mediation of international conflicts, and arms control.
9. Norway rejected membership to the European Union in 1972 and again in 1994
Although Norway is not a member of the European Union, it keeps close contacts with the EU through its participation in the EEA (European Economic Area). Votes were held, once in 1972 and once in 1994. Both times, the majority of voters chose to not become part of the European Union.
10. Norway is one of the world’s richest countries
Norway has been ranked as one of the richest countries in the world numerous times in the past decade. This wealth can be largely attributed to the discovery of oil and natural gas in 1969. The country is now one of Europe’s leading exports of the two energy sources.