Portal:Norway

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Norway Portal
Norge Portal

Map of the mainland of Norway

Norway Listeni/ˈnɔrw/ (Norwegian: About this sound Norge (Bokmål) or About this sound Noreg (Nynorsk)), officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the subantarctic Bouvet Island. The Spitsbergen Treaty (also known as the Svalbard Treaty) of February 9, 1920, recognizes the full and absolute sovereignty of Norway over the arctic archipelago of Spitsbergen (now called Svalbard). Peter I Island is dependent territory (Norwegian: biland) of Norway but is not considered part of the Kingdom. Norway also lays claim to a section of Antarctica known as Queen Maud Land. Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of about 5 million. It is the second least densely populated country in Europe. The majority of the country shares a border to the east with Sweden; its northernmost region is bordered by Finland to the south and Russia to the east; in its south Norway borders the Skagerrak Strait across from Denmark. The capital city of Norway is Oslo. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords.

Two centuries of Viking raids tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav Tryggvason in 994. A period of civil war ended in the 13th century when Norway expanded its control overseas to parts of Britain, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. Norwegian territorial power peaked in 1265, but competition from the Hanseatic League and the spread of the Black Death weakened the country. In 1380, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by the Third Reich. In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a founding member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country's extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.

Norway is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with King Harald V as its head of state and Erna Solberg as its prime minister. It is a unitary state with administrative subdivisions on two levels known as counties (fylke) and municipalities (kommuner). The Sámi people have a certain amount of self-determination and influence over traditional territories through the Sámi Parliament and the Finnmark Act. Although having rejected European Union membership in two referenda, Norway maintains close ties with the union and its member countries, as well as with the United States. Norway remains one of the biggest financial contributors to the United Nations, and participates with UN forces in international missions, notably in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Sudan and Libya. Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and is also a part of Schengen Area.

Norway has extensive reserves of petroleum, natural gas, minerals, lumber, seafood, fresh water, and hydropower. The country has the fourth-highest per capita income in the world. On a per-capita basis, it is the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East, and the petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product. The country maintains a Nordic welfare model with universal health care, subsidized higher education, and a comprehensive social security system. From 2001 to 2006, and then again from 2009 through 2011, Norway has had the highest human development index ranking in the world. In 2011, Norway also ranked the highest on the Democracy Index.

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The Battle of Svolder, by Otto Sinding
The naval Battle of Svolder (Svold, Swold) was fought in September 999 or 1000 somewhere in the western Baltic between King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway and an alliance of his enemies. The backdrop of the battle is the unification of Norway into a single state, long-standing Danish efforts to gain control of the country, and the spread of Christianity in Scandinavia. King Olaf was sailing home after an expedition to Wendland (Pomerania), when he was ambushed by an alliance of Svein Forkbeard, King of Denmark, Olaf Eiríksson, King of Sweden, and Eirik Hákonarson, Jarl of Lade. Olaf had only 11 warships in the battle against a fleet of at least 70. His ships were cleared one by one, last of all the Long Serpent, which Jarl Eirik captured as Olaf threw himself into the sea. After the battle, Norway was ruled by the Jarls of Lade as a fief of Denmark and Sweden. The most detailed sources on the battle, the kings' sagas, were written approximately two centuries after it took place. Historically unreliable, they offer an extended literary account describing the battle and the events leading up to it in vivid detail. The sagas ascribe the causes of the battle to Olaf Tryggvason's ill-fated marriage proposal to Sigrid the Haughty and his problematic marriage to Thyri, sister of Svein Forkbeard. As the battle starts Olaf is shown dismissing the Danish and Swedish fleets with ethnic insults and bravado while admitting that Eirik Hákonarson and his men are dangerous because "they are Norwegians like us". The best known episode in the battle is the breaking of Einarr Þambarskelfir's bow, which heralds Olaf's defeat. In later centuries, the saga descriptions of the battle, especially that in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla, have inspired a number of ballads and other works of literature.

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The Arctic Cathedral illuminated by the midnight sun
Credit: Henrik

The Tromsdalen Church (Tromsdalen Kirke), which is more commonly known as The Arctic Cathedral (Ishavskatedralen, literally "The Cathedral of the Arctic Sea"), is a church in Tromsø, Norway, built in 1965.

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Gro Harlem Brundtland

Selected biography

Harriet Bosse as Indra's daughter in 1907
Harriet Bosse (1878–1961) was a NorwegianSwedish actress. A celebrity in her own day, Bosse is today most commonly remembered as the third wife of August Strindberg, one of the originators of modern drama. Having secured an engagement at the Royal Dramatic Theatre ("Dramaten"), the main drama venue of Sweden's capital Stockholm, Bosse caught the attention of Strindberg with her intelligent acting and exotic "oriental" appearance. Strindberg wrote a number of major roles for Bosse during their short and stormy relationship, especially in 1900–1901, a period of great creativity and productivity for him. Like his previous two marriages, the relationship failed through Strindberg's jealousy, which some biographers have considered paranoid. The arc of Strindberg's feelings about Bosse, from worship to rage, is reflected in the roles he wrote for her to play, or as portraits of her. Despite her real-life role as muse to Strindberg, she remained an independent artist. Bosse married Swedish actor Gunnar Wingård in 1908, and Swedish screen actor, director, and matinee idol Edvin Adolphson in 1927. All three of her marriages ended in divorce after a few years, leaving her as a hard-working single mother with a daughter by Strindberg and a son by Wingård. On retiring after a high-profile acting career based in Stockholm, she returned to her roots in Oslo.

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Anna Rogstad.

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The old Brygge buildings in Bergen, Norway
Credit: Gerd A.T. Mueller

Bryggen (Norwegian for the Wharf), also known as Tyskebryggen (the German Wharf) is a series of Hanseatic commercial buildings lining the eastern side of the fjord coming into Bergen, Norway. Bryggen is on the UNESCO list for World Cultural Heritage sites. The name has the same origin as the Flemish city of Brugge.

Selected quote

Franklin D. Roosevelt
If there is anyone who still wonders why this war is being fought, let him look to Norway. If there is anyone who has any delusions that this war could have been averted, let him look to Norway; and if there is anyone who doubts the democratic will to win, again I say, let him look to Norway.

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