macrohistory & world report

Kingdom of Norway

map of Norway

Norway, its capital, Oslo, and neighboring states

World Factbook as of October 2014: "The Norwegian economy is a prosperous mixed economy, with a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through extensive regulation and large-scale state-majority-owned enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources – petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals – and is highly dependent on the petroleum sector, which accounts for the largest portion of export revenue and about 30% of government revenue. Norway is the world's third-largest natural gas exporter; and seventh largest oil exporter, making one of its largest offshore oil finds in 2011. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget. In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from the petroleum sector in the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at over $830 billion in January 2014 and uses the fund's return to help finance public expenses."

The Norway Post (15 Nov 2014): "For the sixth time in a row, Norway is named the most prosperous country in an annual ranking by Legatum Institute. The institute has evaluated 142 countries based on their economic performance, as well as other important ares such as education, health, personal freedom, security and safety."

Budget surpluses as percentage of GDP
2013: 13.1%
2012: 13.8%

Economic growth rate
2013: 1.6%
2012: 3.0%

Unemployment rate estimate
2013: 3.6%
2012: 3.2%

Norway Post, Dec 10, 2014: "New study shows that 40,000 young Norwegians belong to a group called NEET - not in employment, education or training. These individuals do not work or study, and they are not registered with NAV, the Norwegian Welfare Administration. They survive either by the support of their parents, by working under the table or by committing crime, NRK reports."

2012: Norway is the world's second largest exporter of fish – after China.

2012: Ninety-nine percent of Norway’s electricity is produced by water-power. None is nuclear. 

2009: Norwegians have a progressive income tax, a gross assets tax, a value added tax of 23%, and taxes on gasoline which leave the price of gas more than what people in the US are accustomed to paying. Norwegians speak of paying much in ordinary taxes, but many of them, especially in the big city of Oslo, are content in doing so, appreciating the reduction in traffic, clear air and safe neighborhoods. In 1999, the federal tax burden was 41.8% of GDP, compared to 26% for the United States.

2014: Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 135th among 141 countries (higher rank number –not to be confused with score number – is more equal, lower rank number is less equal). More equal than Britain, which ranks 104th, and the US, which ranks 41st.

2010: A compulsory National Pension plan provides universal child support, one-year paid maternity leave, pensions for old age, disability, rehabilitation, widow, and widower. Health insurance is mandatory for all inhabitants. The state, the employer, and the individual all contribute to the health fund. Health services are distributed based on need rather than the ability to pay. Medical treatments, including hospitalization and medication, are free of charge.

Norway leads the world in the average number of years spent in education: 16.9

Military expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2005:1 .9%


Norway is an expensive place to compared to most other countries, but for Norwegians living is cheap relative to their high earnings and amount of time off work.

Most Norwegians have five weeks of vacation time each year, and there are eleven paid holidays

Gender Gap
The World Economic Forum lists Norway as second (behind Sweden) in the elimination of a gender gap. 

Living in an urban area
2010: 79%

Net migration rate
2014: A net gain of 7.96 persons per 1,000 population
2011: A net gain of 1.7 persons per 1,000 population

2012: Both Norway and the United States have a suicide rate of around 10 per 100,000 persons per year.

2004: Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% .


Scandinavia, west of Sweden. Capital: Oslo.


Norway is a constitutional monarchy. 


The courts are organized on three levels: The Supreme Court, six Courts of Appeal and sixty-five City/District courts.

Criminal cases in district courts have one professional judge and two lay judges.

The purpose of lay judges is to provide a counterbalance against any offical power of the establishment represented by a professional judge and to allow people to be judged by one's peers. In lengthy or other special criminal cases the court is extended to two profesional judges and three lay judges.

In cases for crimes punishable by no more than six years in prison, the court consists of three professional judges and four lay judges. All judges have equal votes. For the court to convict, at least five of the seven judges must vote for conviction.

Juries are used only in criminal cases tried in district courts. The jury consists of ten people and has to reach a majority verdict consisting of seven or more of the jurors. The jury never gives a reason for its verdict, just a "guilty" or "non-guilty" verdict.

Recent History

In 1949, Norway abandoned neutrality and joined the NATO alliance.

the late 1960s, oil and gas were discovered off Norway's coast.

In 1972 and 1974, the Norwegians rejected membership in the European Union.

Harald V became king in 1991 at the age of 54. He and Queen Sonya have two children: Princess Martha Louise and Crown Prince Haakon. The Crown Prince also married a commoner – an  unpretentious, attractive and worthy single mother, Mette-Marit Tjessem Hoiby, welcomed to the royal family by the Norwegian people.

"In 2001 a 15-year-old boy with an African father was killed in Oslo. Police believed the killing was racially motivated. Authorities charged three young persons with aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter for their role in the killing; all three were linked to a neo-Nazi  organization." (The US Department of State –

Complaints arise among Norwegians that with the new wealth the work ethic has declined. Norwegians stay home from work more than any other people in Europe, including the Swedes.  According to the New York Times (July 25, 2004) "On an average day, about 25 percent of Norway's workers are absent from work, either because they have called in sick, are undergoing rehabilitation or are on long-term disability."

Mar 2008: Children in need of state care and protection has doubled since 1990. The reason given is a weakening of family ties and structure, parents splitting up and getting new partners, creating unstable homes. And grandparents are busy working.

Apr 2008: Although Norway is an affluent paradise, Norwegian drivers are rude and aggressive, according to an insurance company survey – Trysvesta Research.

Apr 4, 2011: According to the Norway Post, the number of offences reported to the police in Norway is lowest in 20 years. Norway enjoys less crime than most countries. Some people credit the country's social security programs – paid for by what some American conservatives consider robbery: taxes. Someone adds that rape is a serious crime problem in the world but in Norway it's difficult to rape someone in fifty layers of clothing. Someone else credits low imNet migration rate and Norway's high homogeneity – less homogeneity in Oslo, where the crime rate is greater per capita.

Jul 2, 2012: "In 2011, 3.6 per cent fewer criminal offences were reported to the Norwegian police than in 2010." (The Norway Post)

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.