Norway

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Norway is a Scandinavian country sharing land borders with Sweden, Finland and Russia and possessing a enormously long sea coast that stretches from far north of the Arctic Circle to the North Sea. The capital is Oslo (population 521,886). Other major cities include Bergen (population 237,430), Trondheim and Stavanger (population 112,405).

The estimated 2005 population of Norway is 4,593,041. By 2025 it is expected to increase to 4.8 million. The infant mortality rate is a mercifully low 3.73 per 1000. Roughly the same size as the Minnesota, Norway is still the land of wide open spaces, even empty spaces in the northern reaches. Population density is only 15 per square mile.

Official languages are Norwegian (Bokmål), Norwegian (Nynorsk) and Samisk (the language of the "Lapplanders").

Contents

Counties

  • Finnmark
  • Nordland
  • Troms
  • Nord-Trøndelag
  • Sør-Trøndelag
  • Møre og Romsdal
  • Sogn og Fjordane
  • Hordaland
  • Rogaland
  • Vest-Agder
  • Aust-Agder
  • Telemark
  • Vestfold
  • Østfold
  • Buskerud
  • Oppland
  • Hedmark
  • Akershus


Norway officially won its independence in 1905. The country is a liberal democracy, a unitary parliamentary system and a constitutional (figurehead) monarchy, presently King Harald. The 165 Norwegian parliament called the Storting is elected under a proportional representation electoral system from 19 multimember constituencies.

Two-thirds of the world's Sami (Lapplander) population live in Norway. The rest live in Sweden, Finland and Russia. Located in the largest Sami settlement in the county of Finnmark, the Sami Assembly may only make recommendations on public policy affecting the Sami population.

Political Parties

  • Labor (Arbeiderparti)
  • Progress (Fremskrittsparti)
  • Conservative (Høgre)
  • Socialist Left (Sosialistisk Venstreparti)
  • Christian Democratic (Kristeleg Folkeparti)
  • Center (Senterparti)
  • Liberal (Venstre)
  • Far Left (Raud Valallianse)

Religion

  • Church of Norway (Lutheran): 85.7%
  • Pentecostal Christian: 1%
  • Roman Catholic: 1%
  • Other Christian: 2.4%
  • Muslim: 1.8%
  • Other (including the Humanist-Ethical Union), none, or unknown: 8.1%.

The concept of separation of church and state comes up every few years. It is presently (November 2006) being discussed formally and seriously.

Public schools and pre-schools are committed to promoting Christianity (Evangelical Lutheran).

Oil Resouces

Norway is a major exporter of Oil and natural gas; although its production may have peaked and begun a long term decline. Its state owned oil firm is Statoil.

Human Rights

Amnesty International Norway's Secretary General Petter Eide has criticized the government of Norway for not following the example of the new German Chancellor Angela Merkel in opposing the Guantanamo Bay policy decision of the United States. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre rejected the criticism saying that he had twice raised the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Source: n.a. "Government Criticised For Stand on Guantanamo." The Norway Post. January 11, 2006.

Norwegian-Americans

Roughly 1 million Norwegians emigrated betwen 1825 and 1981, with 850,000 of them going to the United States. Today, many of their descendants may be found in Iowa, Minnesota, Washington and other states. Second Bush administration presidential advisor Karl Rove claims to be of Norwegian extraction.

Trivia

According to UN statistics, Norway is the best country in the world to live in and the second richest. This, along with the fact that Norway is heavily socialist, disproves the old conservative maxim that "socialism = poverty."

References

  • n.a. "State Department Issues Background Note on Norway." U.S. Fed News. October 1, 2005.
  • Paul Roberts. 2004. The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World. Mariner Books. ISBN 0618562117.
  • Knut Heidar. 2001. Norway: Elites on Trial. Westview. ISBN 0813332001.
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