Facts About Norway
1. Norway has a total area of 125,021 square miles, making it just slightly larger than New Mexico. It is a long and narrow country that is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the northeast by Finland and Russia, on the east by Sweden, on the South by Skagerrak (a narrow strait), on the southwest by the North Sea, and on the West by the Norwegian Sea of the Atlantic Ocean. With all that water surrounding it, Norway boasts a coastline of approximately 13,624 miles. By comparison, Florida’s coastline is only 1,350 miles.
2. Norway is home to Freia, a very famous hot chocolate factory which was the inspiration for Norwegian-American author Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Freia chocolate was one of the main sources of sustenance for another Roald, Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian famous for being the first person to reach the South Pole.
3. Minnesota is the unofficial Norwegian capital of the United States with more Norwegians living there than in any other state.
4. If you own a television in Norway, you have to pay an annual licensing fee equal to nearly $500 US dollars.
5. Norway has won more medals in the Winter Olympics than any other country with 332 to date. Ole Einar Bjøerndalen, a cross-country skier, is the most decorated Winter Olympian, with 13 medals total. The country has hosted the Winter Olympics twice: Oslo in 1952 and Lillehammer in 1988.
6. Norwegians read more than any other population in the world, spending an average of 500 kroner ($76 US dollars) per person annually on books. More than 2,000 book titles are published every year in Norway.
7. Norway is committed to environmental protection. It gets 98-99% of its electricity from hydroelectric power – the most of any country. Additionally, the country has very strict rules against advertising cars as “green” – saying “cars do nothing good for the environment except less damage than others.”
8. The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree to London every year in gratitude for the city’s assistance during WWII.
9. In order to encourage men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, Norwegian law states that fathers are required to receive 14 weeks of parental leave. Norway is the first country to introduce compulsory paternity leave.
10. In 2008, Norway knighted a penguin. Nils Olav, standing 3-feet tall, was made honorary colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King’s Guard in 2005 and subsequently made Sir Penguin 3 years later. The tuxedoed-bird was picked out as the Guard’s mascot while they were touring Edinburgh for the Scottish capitol’s annual military music festival, The Tattoo. Nils is a resident at the city’s zoo.