Norwegian Tourist Board
Drammensveien 40
PO Box 2893 Solli, N-0230 Oslo
Tel: 47 22 92 52 00, Fax: 47 22 56 05 05


Physical geography

Norway is one of the five Nordic nations which lie within the northern stretches of the European continent. It is bordered to the east by Sweden, Finland and Russia; to the west by the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; the north by the Barents Sea, and to the south by the North Sea. In total area, Norway measures 386,958 sq km. The country is long and narrow, with more than 30 per cent of the land covered by forests, many rivers and lakes. Nearly half of the country is given over to mountain ranges.


Temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior; rainy year-round on west coast. Average daily temperatures in winter are between 7°C and -3°C and in summer from 17°C (in Oslo) and 11°C. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Economic geography</H3> Norway has a mixed economy involving 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) and extensively subsidises agriculture, fishing, and areas with sparse resources. Norway imports more than half its food needs. <P>Industries: petroleum and gas, food processing, shipbuilding, pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, timber, mining, textiles, fishing. <P>Agriculture: accounts for three per cent of GDP and about six per cent of labour force; among world's top ten fishing nations; livestock output exceeds value of crops; fish catch of 1.76 million metric tons in 1989. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Demography</H3> Population 4,330,951 (July 1995 est.). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>A brief history</H3> A number of small Norwegian communities were gradually organised into larger regions in the ninth century and around the year 900, King Karald Fairhair unified the realm and became its first supreme ruler. In the years 800-1050 Vikings from Norway settled in England, France, Ireland and Iceland. Norway and Denmark subsequently formed one kingdom from 1380 to 1814 when, in the wake of the Napoleonic wars. Norway was united with Sweden, adopting a modern constitution in the press. In 1905 Norway and Sweden went their separate ways peacefully and Norway has been independent since then. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Religions</H3> Evangelical Lutheran 87.8 per cent (state church), other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3.8 per cent, none 3.2 per cent, unknown 5.2 per cent (1980). <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Languages spoken by nationals</H3> Norwegian. Small Lapp- and Finnish-speaking minorities. Many people also speak English. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Currency</H3> Norwegian currency consists of krone (NOK) made up of 100 ore. Travellers can bring in notes and coins to the amount of NOK25,000. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Official holidays (all offices and shops closed) </H3> 1 January, New Year's Day; 27 March, Maundy Thursday; 28 March, Good Friday, 31 March, Easter Monday; 1st May, Labour Day; 8 May, Ascension Day; 17 May, Constitution Day; 19 May, Whit Monday; 25 December, Christmas Day; 26 December, Boxing Day. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What one should not fail to see</H3> Oslo: The Viking ships, Vigeland Park and the Holmenkollen ski jump are the attractions which most people remember, but take a little time to dig deeper into what the capital has to offer. See Nidarosdomen Cathedral or the Munch Museum housing 'the Shriek'. <P>Many people come to Norway to travel along the world-famous fjords - Kristiansend, Haukeligrend, Seljested, Kinsarvik, Kvanndal, Bergen, Alesund, Dombas, Oslo is a journey of some 1,238km with the Jostedalen glacier. Or try Bergen, Byrkjelo, Hellesylt, Geiranger, Groti, Lom, Kaupanger, Kudvangen and Voss which is 763km and take in the Briksdal glacers, Europe's deepest lake, Hornindalsvatn, and Hellesylt's magnificent waterfall or Voss's mediaeval church and ancient Molstertun farmyard. Also tour the mountains ranges and see Kongsberg with its old silver mines, the stave churches of Numedal and open-air museum at Fagernes. <P>See Trondheim in June, with its street markets, open-air concerts and Cutty Sark Tall Ships race. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>How to dress</H3> Pack the clothes you would normally wear in Northern Europe, including jumpers and a raincoat and take some strong walking shoes. The mountains can be chilly, so bring some warmer garments. You do not usually dress for dinner at Norwegian restaurants. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main holiday sports</H3> Golf, hunting, mountain hiking, skiing, swimming, tennis, riding, sailing, rafting, waterskiing/windsurfing, cycling, diving, fishing, canoeing. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to eat and drink</H3> Fish naturally plays a large part in Norwegian: smoked salmon, cod, catfish, mountain trout, lutefisk (fish in lye); but also reindeer steaks, grouse, prawns and forest mushrooms and cloudberries. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>What to buy</H3> Popular souvenirs from Norway include knitted jumpers, cardigans, gloves and mittens, pewterware, silver jewellery and cutlery, china, hand-painted wooden objects, eg, bowls with rose designs, trolls and fjord horses carved out of wood, goat and reindeer skin, enamel jewellery, woven wall coverings, furs, handicrafts, glass and pottery. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Frontier formalities</H3> Australian and New Zealand passport holders can enter Norway without a visa and stay up to three months as tourists. Other nationals should contact the nearest Norwegian embassy or a Norwegian consulate. <H3>Pets</H3> Norway is one of the few European countries where there is no rabies and every effort is being made to maintain the status quo. Should you wish to take an animal with you on holiday you are required to present a permit issued by the Norwegian Veterinary Field Services. The animal must then also spend at least four months in quarantine in Norway. For further information please contact the nearest Norwegian embassy or a consulate. <P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"><H3>Main travel routes</H3> <B>By air</B>: SAS, Breathens SAFE Finnair and Icelandair link Scandinavia in a comprehensive air route network and are joined by other airlines such as Lufthansa, KLM and British Airways to Oslo. <P><B>By sea</B>: scheduled ship services are operated between other countries in Scandinavia/Europe and Norway. The ships are also car ferries and all are modern cruise liners furnished for total comfort. <P><B>By rail</B>: Numerous rail services link Norway with the rest of Scandinavia and Europe. From the continent express trains operate to Copenhagen when inter-Scandinavian trains connect to Oslo. There are train connections from Oslo to other cities in Norway. <P><P><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="3"> <I>We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Norway thanks to the co-operation of the Norwegian Tourism Board. <!-- End of article --> <P> <CENTER><IMG SRC="../NEWPICS/Strip.gif" WIDTH="532" HEIGHT="4"></CENTER> <P> <CENTER><A HREF=#TOP><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteTopbut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A> <A HREF="../../../watanetwork/NTOs/Countrieslist/"><IMG SRC="Countrypics/WhiteNTObut.gif" BORDER="0" hspace="5"></A></CENTER> </TD> </TR> </TABLE> </BODY> </HTML>