OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Norway
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 324,219 Sq Km (125,182 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 4,400,400
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Norway is located on the western
part of the Scandinavian Peninsula in North West Europe.
It is bound by the Arctic Ocean to the north, Sweden, Finland
and Russia to the east, the Norwegian Sea to the west and
the Skagerrak Strait to the south. The territory also includes
many island groups such as the Lofoten and Vesteralen groups
as well as individual islands including Senja, Soroya, Ringvassoy
and Hitra. Norway is a mountainous country with the Kjolen
Mountains in the north, the Dovrefjell Range in the central
area and the Jotunheim group in south central Norway. Extensive
plateau regions called Fjells or Vidde dominate the southwest
and central regions, and are characterized by incised troughs
that form narrow gorges in the interior with fjords towards
the coast. The country has numerous lakes, of which the
largest is Lake Mjosa while the principal rivers include
the Glama, Dramselv and Lagen. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Oslo 482,600, Bergen 221,700, Trondheim 142,800, Stavanger
103,500, Baerum 95,600 (1995). Land Use; forested 27%, pastures
0.5%, agricultural-cultivated 3%, other 69.5% (1992).
CLIMATE: Norway has a temperate climate with mild winters and
cool summers along the coast while in the interior the winters are cold
and summers are hot. Strong winds with snow or severe frost are experienced
in the Arctic winters of the interior highlands. Rainfall is heavy and
frequent on the west coast with an average annual precipitation in Bergen
of 1,958 mm (77 inches). Average temperature ranges in Oslo are from -7
to -2 degrees Celsius (19 to 28 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 13 to
22 degrees Celsius (55 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) in July.
PEOPLE: The majority of the population are of Nordic descent
with an ethnic minority of Sami or Lapps. The non-Nordic ethnic minorities
include about 25,000 Asian, Black African and Latin American immigrants.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 13 persons per sq km (34
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 75.0% urban, 25.0% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 49.4% male, 50.6% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
74.0 years male, 80.1 years female (1992). Age Breakdown; 19% under 15,
23% 15 to 29, 22% 30 to 44, 15% 45 to 59, 14% 60 to 74, 7% 75 and over
(1990). Birth Rate; 14.3 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 10.7 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 3.6 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 6.4 per 1,000
live births (1991).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with about 88% of the population
Evangelical Lutheran while 1% are Pentecostal.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Norwegian which is a north
Germanic language with two forms, Bokmal an urban Dano-Norwegian language
and Nynorsk or New Norwegian. Lappish and Finnish are also spoken by the
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1945 Norway joined the UN and
in 1949 became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
In 1957 King Haakon VII died and was acceded by his son, who was crowned
King Olav V. In 1961 the Labor Party (DNA) lost its parliamentary majority
which it had held since Dec. 1945. In 1965 Per Borten formed a nonsocialist
coalition government and again in 1969, however, he resigned in 1971 over
disagreements as to whether Norway should join the European Community (EC).
In 1972 a referendum was held to determine whether Norway would apply for
EC membership, which resulted in a 53.5 to 46.5% "No" vote. In
1973 Lars Krovald, head of a minority coalition government, signed an industrial
free trade agreement with the EC. In 1973 after elections, Trygve Bratteli
formed another minority government. In 1976 Odvar Nordi succeeded Bratteli
as Prime Minister and in Feb. 1981 Norway's first woman Prime Minister
was elected, Gro Harlem Brundtland. In Sept. 1989 Jan P. Syse took office
under a minority three party Liberal-Conservative coalition which collapsed
in Nov. 1990 after disagreements over Norway's future relationship with
the EC. This resulted in Brundtland forming her third minority government.
In April 1990 a fire on a Norwegian passenger ferry resulted in the deaths
of 159 people and in June, Crown Prince Harald replaced his father King
Olav V, who suffered a stroke, as regent. In Jan. 1991 King Olav V died
and on Jan. 21, 1991 Harald V formally declared his loyalty to the constitution
before the Parliament (Storting). Also in Jan. 1991 the government fearing
a collapse of the banking system due to worsening economic conditions setup
a 5 billion kroner guarantee and in Aug. 1991 provided aid to two of the
country's largest banks totaling 2.5 billion kroner. Also in 1991 Prime
Minister Brundtland continued negotiations to establish a European Economic
Area (EEA) consisting of EFTA and EU member countries that led to an agreement
in October 1991 that linked a 19-nation single market. In 1992 the banking
and finance sector suffered further with the country's largest insurance
group, UNI Storebrand, being placed under administration following a failed
take over of a Swedish insurance concern that had cost several billion
kroner. In June 1992 Prime Minister Brundtland announced that Norway would
commence commercial whaling of minke whales, that resulted in condemnation
from environmentalists around the world. In Oct. 1992 the government ratified
the EEA Treaty, despite internal fears that the pact would lead to the
importation of cheap workers and give EU fisherman increased access to
Norway's resources. On Nov. 19, 1992 the government approved an application
for EU membership. In March 1993 the EU approved Norway's application for
membership with negotiations over accession on issues of fisheries, agriculture
and petroleum beginning in Aug. 1993. In April 1993 Foreign Minister Thorvald
Stoltenberg relinquished his Cabinet post to Johan Jorgen Holst so that
he could replace Cyrus Vance as joint mediator in the Balkans conflict.
In Aug. 1993 UNI Storebrand was released from administration and relisted
on the stock exchange following its 1992 collapse and in the same month
Norway announced it had played a behind the scene role of mediator in secret
talks between Israel and the PLO that led to the signing of the historical
Middle East peace agreement in Washington, USA in Sept. 1993. On Sept.
13, 1993 Prime Minister Brundtland's minority Labor government retain power
following parliamentary elections. Also in 1993 the economy showed signs
of recovery with GDP growing 3.3% in 1992 and the two leading commercial
banks forecasting a return to profit in 1993, following the government's
financial injection of 30 billion kroner into the sector since 1987.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Krone (NKr) divided into
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $113,527,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $23,430,000,000 (1990). Imports; NKr 192,963,300,000 (1994).
Exports; NKr 244,475,100,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $1,849,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; NKr 51,512,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 2,151,000 or 49.7% of total population (1994). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the UK,
Germany, Sweden and Denmark.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Apples, Barley, Coal, Copper, Crude Oil,
Fish, Iron, Lead, Livestock, Natural Gas, Nickel, Oats, Potatoes, Silicon,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Chemicals, Crude Oil and Natural Gas Refining,
Fishing, Food Processing, Forestry, Mineral Refining, Mining, Ship Building,
MAIN EXPORTS: Aluminum and other Non Ferrous Metals, Chemicals,
Crude Oil and Natural Gas, Fish, Iron and Steel, Machinery, Paper, Petroleum
Products, Ships, Timber Products.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 4,184 km (2,600 mi) (1989),
passenger-km 2,136,000,000 (1,327,000,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km
2,780,000,000 (1,904,000,000 short ton-mi) (1989). Roads; length 88,174
km (54,789 mi) (1989). Vehicles; cars 1,612,674 (1989), trucks and buses
320,411 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 2,557 (1990), deadweight tonnage
41,206,815 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 5,916,000,000 (3,676,000,000
passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 148,860,000 (101,954,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 64 with a total circulation
of 2,858,935 (1994). Radio; receivers 3,342,000 (1994). Television; receivers
2,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 2,334,800 (1993).
MILITARY: 32,500 (1994) total active duty personnel with 55.4%
army, 20.3% navy and 24.3% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 3.1% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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