Norway is one of the five Nordic nations which lie within the northern stretches of the European continent. It is bordered to the east by Sweden, Finland and Russia; to the west by the Norwegian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; to the north by the Barents Sea, and to the south by the North Sea. In total area, Norway measures 386,958 square kilometers.
The country is long and narrow, with more than 30% of the land covered by forests, many rivers and lakes.
Norway is a ruggedly beautiful country of mountains, fjords and glaciers. The 'Land of the Midnight Sun' has delightfully long summer days, pleasantly low-key cities, unspoiled fishing villages and rich historic sites that include Viking ships and medieval stave churches.
Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The monarchy holds a strong position i Norway, and the present monarch, King Harald V, enjoys great popularity.
Norway is a country of socio-economic equality with a high standard of living and a homogeneous population. Apart from Oslo and adjacent suburbs, there are no metropolitan cities in Norway. Norwegians usually live in small communities with well developed road, air and ferry communication. Many communities are built up around one major business or industrial enterprise. The sea along the coast is rich in natural resources like oil and fish.
Norway is truly the "Cradle of Skiing". What we today know as a sport, skiing developed in Norway as a means of getting around. Furthermore, Norwegians invented ski waxing, the modern binding, and the laminated ski.
Norwegian food has always been very closely related to the natural ingredients available at any given time in the various parts of the country. Since Norway has a long history as a fishing nation, the delicacies of the sea play an important part on the food map. Cod, coalfish and salmon are the most usual fish found on the menu, served for example poached or as fishcakes. In spite of the country’s old traditions, Norwegians´ eating habits have, like the rest of the world, become international. Outdoor snack bars and chain restaurants often feature dishes such as pizza, hamburgers etc., and both Chinese and Italian food is available throughout the country.
In Norway we have three official written languages and a myriad of spoken dialects. Sounds complicated? Don't worry, the reality is much easier, and it's not considered to be more difficult to learn Norwegian than any other European language. And if you know the words "ski" and "fjord" you already have a head start :o)