Facts about Norway

Lysefjorden
Photographer
Johannes Jansson/norden.org
For many people, Norway is synonymous with oil and fjords, with dramatic and beautiful scenery – from the beaches and cliffs of the south, to the mountains in the middle and the midnight sun at the North Cape.

It is a country of mountain ranges, huge forests and vast empty expanses, with only about 3% arable land. The population is approximately 5.3 million, around 1.2 million of whom live in and around the capital city, Oslo.

Politics

Norway is a constitutional monarchy. King Harald V wields no real political power and the parliament, Stortinget, is the highest authority. Although not in the EU, Norway is part of the European Economic Area and a member of NATO.

  • National day: 17 May (Constitution Day, 17 May 1814)
  • Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
  • Parliament: Stortinget (169 MPs)
  • Membership of the EU: No
  • Membership of the EEA: Since Saturday, 1 January 1994
  • Head of state: King Harald V
  • Head of government (since September 2013): Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservative)

Population

Norway has a slightly smaller population than Denmark and it is spread out over a much larger area – from Lindesnes in the south, to Kirkenes in the north. 1.2 million people live in and around Oslo.

  • Population in 2020: 5,367,580
  • Population, Oslo (+ the former Akerhus county), 2016: 1,281,127

Population trend

Economy

The biggest source of national income is the extraction and export of offshore oil and gas. Other significant industries include fishing, steel, shipping and tourism.

  • Per capita GDP: €45,700 (2020)
  • Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)

Geography

Norway has an extensive coastline and is surrounded by sea. Although long, it is not very wide. The scenery is varied and includes deep valleys and high mountains. The highest peak is Galdhøpiggen, 2,469 metres above sea level. Norway also includes the islands of Svalbard and Jan Mayen.

  • Total area (excluding Svalbard and Jan Mayen): 323,781 km2
  • Lakes and rivers: 18,351 km2
  • Land area: 305,420 km2
  • Arable land and horticulture: 8,103 km2
  • Forests: 125,301 km2
  • Largest lake: Mjøsa 365 km2
  • Highest point: Galdhøpiggen, 2,469 m
  • Mainland coastline: 28,953 km
  • Borders: 2,562 km (border with Sweden): 1,630 km, Finland: 736 km, Russia: 196 km)
  • ice cap and glaciers: 2,790 km2

Climate and the environment

The climate in Norway is varied, reflecting the size of the country. In the north, close to the Finnish and Russian borders, winters are long and cold winters, in the south it is milder due to the coastal climate. 

  • Average temperature Oslo (2018): 7.8° C (max. 34.6°C, min. -15.9°C)

Average temperature (°Celsius) Oslo

Miscellaneous

The official national language is Norwegian. Uniquely, it has two written forms – Bokmål and Nynorsk – both of which enjoy equal status. Work on Nynorsk commenced under Ivar Aasen as a reaction to the fact that Bokmål is based more on written Danish. The idea was to reflect the many, unique dialects in Norway.

  • Official website: www.norge.no
  • Official language: Norwegian

Are you interested in moving to Norway?

If you are interested in moving to Norway, contact Info Norden, the Nordic Council of Ministers’ information service.

Do you want to know more about Norway and the rest of the Nordic countries?

The biennial report State of the Nordic Region provides a comprehensive and unique insight into the Nordic countries, drawing on statistical data on demographics, the labour market, education and the economy in the Region.

Interested in more statistics?

We have collated relevant Nordic data and statistics in the Nordic Statistics database. Learn more here.