Norway is a land of unparalleled beauty wealth and mystery. It was given its off-the-grid status as well as how expensive it is to even visit. Most people know little about it; we seek to remedy that ignorance with 10 things you didn’t know about Norway.
10: Cost of Living in Norway
The cost of living in Norway is known to be one of the highest in the world. Oslo is specifically recognized in a variety of surveys as being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Mercer’s cost of living survey for 2015 ranked Oslo as the 38th most expensive city in the world. Out of 207 cities, it ranked higher than Paris, Melbourne, and Washington DC. While Norwegians themselves have high salaries and the high tax burden pays for their well-functioning welfare system.
It cannot be denied that Norway is an expensive place to live or even visit. So, if you ever want to experience paying something like $15 for a beer then you might want to head on over to Oslo to get that experience. Despite the high cost of living there’s also a very high standard of living. Most Norwegians end up doing quite well in life whether they earn a tremendous amount of money or not.
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Norway has one huge advantage compared to other Nordic countries and that is its oil wealth. In the 1960s, the Norwegian government seized control over the NCS or Norwegian Continental Shelf in the hopes of taking advantage of possible oil reserves that might be there and taking advantage they did. The government spent a great deal of money on exploration in an effort to find the juicy oil spots. Once they did the black gold started to flow and the rest is history. One interesting thing the Norwegian government has done in contrast to many other countries with access to large quantities of oil is to put money earned via the oil way in terms of savings.
In the 1990s a Norwegian government set up a sovereign oil fund, “The Government Pension Fund Global”. The government stores the profits from its oil riches and saves them for future generations. The fund is largely financed by high oil taxes. Oil companies are taxed up to a whopping 78% of their profits from Norway oil. The government only spends 4% of the funds’ assets per year. Today Norway has put away over $1 Trillion in money saved for emergencies and future generations. The oil seems to continue to be flowing so there is no sign of this thrift disappearing.
8: The Kalmar Union
The Kalmar Union called Kalmarunionen in Danish Norwegian Swedish was a political union. It was formed from 1397 to 1523 under a single monarch that joined the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden as well as Finland, and Norway. Together with the Norwegian territories of Iceland, Greenland the Faroe Islands, and the Northern Isles. The union was not entirely uninterrupted and there were several short breaks. Legally the countries remained separate sovereign states with their domestic and foreign policies being directed by a common monarch. The driving force behind its formation was to block German expansion northward into the Baltic region.
Conversely, the main reason for its failure to survive was the perpetual struggle between the monarch and the Swedish and Danish nobility, which did not. Diverging interest gave rise to conflicts that would hamper the union at several intervals. From the 1430s until its final and definitive breakup in 1523, when Gustav Vasa became King of Sweden. Norway continued to remain a part of the realm of Denmark Norway. They remain there until the Oldenburg dynasty for nearly three centuries until its dissolution in 1814.
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7: Language Conflict and Nationalism
The Norwegian language conflict called Sprogstriden in Norwegian refers to an ongoing controversy within Norwegian culture and politics related to written versions of the Norwegian language. From the 16th to the 19th centuries Danish was the standard written language of Norway due to Danish rule as a consequence of the Kalmar Union. As a result, the development of modern written Norwegian has been subject to controversy related to nationalism, rural versus urban, Norway’s literary history, dialect versus standard language, spelling reforms, and orthography. Thus, in contrast to something akin to Hawk Dodge of Germany.
Norwegian actually has two official standard variants of Norwegian. Bokmål is one variety that could be regarded as more traditional older and conservative and is sometimes viewed as Norwegianise Danish and Nynorsk is regarded as a pure form of Norwegian. More Norwegian than Danish and is a more nationalistic flavor to it. Both variants are used but the variety tends to be found mostly in the written language. Surveys from the early 2000s indicated that upwards of 86.3% of Norwegians used Bokmål as their primary means of written communication with the remainder using Nynorsk or a combination of the two. Although historically there has been a great deal of tension concerning the matter. The age of conflict has long passed and the differences in the language are more curiosity than those then a point of contention to be fought over.
6: Norway is The Birthplace of Skiing
These days everyone enjoys skiing but that might not be true and the Norwegians not founded the sport and created the tools to help people enjoy it. The word ski originally comes from the Old Norse Skid, which means a split piece of wood or firewood. This of course makes sense given the very northern climate and abundance of snow in the country. Every time an American, Italian or German ski down a slope enjoying this winter sport, they ultimately have to thank the Norwegians for developing the ski and the activity associated with it.
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5: Food of Norway
If you have become familiar with Scandinavian food and like it, the Norwegian food will not disappoint you. Salmon is a staple food when it comes to the Norwegian diet. With the country’s long coastline, they produce ample amounts of this fish. Due to the colder temperatures, the fish grow over a longer period of time. This allows them to develop a deeper and richer flavor. Meat also makes up a number of popular Norwegian delicacies. Such as Kjottboller or Kjottkaker, these can be described as different versions of Swedish meatballs. Those with a sweet tooth can satisfy their cravings with Krumkake, translated as curved or crooked cake. Krumkake comes with paper-thin rolls of a waffle-like pancake. They are then filled with whipped cream or any other desired filling.
Perhaps the geological phenomenon most associated with Norway. The Fjords itself is in Norwegian word. This of course makes sense given the wide-scale presence of these majestic structures. A Fjord is a long narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs created by glacial erosion. A fjord is formed when a glacier cuts a u-shaped valley by eye segregation abrasion of the surrounding bedrock. Glacial melting is accompanied by the rebound use of Earth’s crust as the ice load and eroded sediment is removed.
The foundations of Fjords often reach many thousands of feet below sea level. For example, Sonya Fjord is the largest and most well-known fjord in Norway. It is also the second-longest one on earth. It extends a whopping 4265 feet below sea level. Within the waters between fjords there exists an abundance of fish such as salmon and mackerel and opportunities to see whales. Regardless, the fjords are part of the Norwegian heritage and a testament to the beauty of the land and its people.
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3: Norway has the Longest Tunnel in the World
LÆrdalstunnelen in Norwegian, this tunnel is the longest tunnel ever constructed in the world. It is a staggering 15.3 miles from start to finish. The tunnel does not have emergency exits in case of accidents and/or fire. Although, many safety precautions have been taken. There are emergency phones marked SOS every 820 feet. This can contact the police, fire departments, and hospitals. Fire extinguishers have been placed every 410 feet and high air quality in the tunnels has been achieved in two ways, ventilation, and purification. This keeps the tunnel operating at maximum performance.
2: Immigration in Norway
Norway has such a small total population which barely goes over 5 million people. A surprising percentage of that population is in fact not Norwegian in origin, currently making up 16.3% of the population. The five largest immigrant groups in Norway are in order Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Somali and Pakistani. This is a huge change from previous decades. In 1992 the immigrant population in Norway was 183,000 people, 4.3% of the total population. At the beginning of 2015, this number had risen to 815,000 or 15.6% of the total population. Immigrations in Norway have increased drastically in recent years with net immigration exceeding 40,000. Whether or not this will be a long-term benefit to Norway remains to be seen.
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1: Norway is the Most Gender Equal Society
Depending on the year of the survey taken and the study shows Norway is the most general equal society on earth. What does it actually mean? Well, on average for every $1 a woman earned in Norway, a man earned $1.27. This translates to an average annual salary equaling about $57856 for women and $73257 for men. It is adjusted of course for more hours of work by men. Just slightly under 76% of Norwegian women are part of the national labor market. While Norwegian men’s participation is 80% far better than most other countries. Women’s political participation is greater than in most countries too. Overall being a woman in Norway is not a bad deal and maybe even better than being a man.