GEOGRAPHY OF NORWAY Location: Northern Europe, borderingthe North Sea and the North AtlanticOcean, west of Sweden Area Total: 323,802 sq km Country comparison to the world: 68 Land: 304,282 sq km Water: 19,520 sq km Area – comparative: Slightly larger thanNew Mexico Land boundaries Total: 2,542 km Border countries: Finland 727km, Sweden 1,619 km, Russia 196 km Coastline: 25,148 km (comprisesmainland 2,650 km, as well as longfjords, several tiny islands, and minorindentations 22,498 km; length of islandcoastlines 58,133 km)
RELIGION IN NORWAY In Norway, nominal religion is predominantlyProtestant (Evangelical-Lutheran) with 77% of thepopulation being affiliated with the stateEvangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. Similar to most Scandinavian peoples, earlyNorwegians were believers of Norse paganism; theSámi had a shamanistic religion. Norway, due to the efforts of Christianmessengers, was steadily Christianized in aprocess that began around 1000 and, to a largeextent, was completed by 1150. Before the Protestant Reformation of the 16thcentury, Norwegians belonged to the CatholicChurch; the conversion to Protestantism began in1536. In current times, Norway- similar to other Europeannations- has undergone a shrink in religiosity, atleast among non-immigrant Norwegianendemics, and many Norwegians are not religious;as such, the most common metaphysical viewsheld, according to Zuckerman, are atheism andagnosticism.
RELIGION STATISTICS (2004) Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran – official): 85.7% Pentecostal: 1% Roman Catholic: 1% Other Christian: 2.4% Muslim: 1.8% Other: 8.1%
RELIGION IN NORWAY (CONT.) Also according to Zuckerman, the most recent Norwegiancensus indicates that Islam is the third-biggest religion, owingto recent migration trends. Since at least the early 21st century, Islam has become thefastest-growing religion all over numerous regions of largely-Christian and secular Europe. By and large, Orthodox Christianity is the fastest-growingreligious tradition in Norway with a rate of 231.1% incomparison to Islam’s 64.3% between 2000-2009. Nevertheless, Muslims outnumber believers of any particularChristian denomination (the Lutheran Church of Norwayaside); Muslims account for 2.1% of the population incomparison to Orthodox Christians (0.2%), Seventh-dayAdventists (0.1%), Baptists (0.2%), and on down the line. The most recent Eurobarometer Poll 2010 revealed that: 22% of Norwegian citizens answered that “they believe thereis a God”. 44% said “they believe there is some sort of spirit or lifeforce“. 29% said "they do not believe there is any sort ofspirit, God, or life force“. 5% said they “do not know”. Phil Zuckerman, an Associate Professor of Sociology at PitzerCollege, guesstimates the atheism rate in Norway as beingbetween 31-72%, based on different evaluations.
INTRODUCING NORWAY’S POLITICAL SYSTEM The political system of Norway functions in the structure of aparliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. The King’s council, the cabinet (supervised by the PM of Norway)exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in both the government and theStorting, elected within a multi-party structure. The Judiciary is independent of the executive branch and thelegislature.
GOVERNMENT OF NORWAY Capital (and largest city): Oslo Official language(s): Norwegian (Bokmål/ Nynorsk) Recognized regional language(s):Northern Sami, LuleSami, Kven, Southern Sami Demonym: Norwegian Government: Unitary parliamentaryconstitutional monarchy King: King Harald V Prime Minister: Jens Stoltenberg (AP) President of the Storting: Daj TerjeAndersen (AP) Chief Justice: Tore Schei Current coalition: Red-Green coalition Legislature: Storting
PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES Labour Party (Bokmål: Arbeiderpartiet;Nynorsk:Arbeidarpartiet) Progress Party (Bokmål:Fremskrittspartiet; Nynorsk:Framstegspartiet) Conservative Party (Bokmål: Høyre;Nynorsk: Høgre) Socialist Left Party (SosialistiskVenstreparti) Centre Party (Senterpartiet) Christian Democratic Party (Bokmål:Kristelig Folkeparti; Nynorsk: KristelegFolkeparti) Liberal Party (Venstre)
KING HARALD V Born 21 February 1937 in Skaugum. Ascended to the throne of Norway following thedeath of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991. Son of then-Crown Prince Olav and of PrincessMärtha of Sweden; was born at the Crown PrinceResidence at Skaugum, Akershus in Norway. Member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, originally from NorthernGermany; became the first Norwegian-born princesince Olav IV, who was born in 1370. Is the official head of the Church of Norway and theNorwegian Armed Forces. Has two children: Crown Prince Haakon andPrincess Märtha Louise. Is closely related to other European monarchs; isthe King Albert II of Belgium’s first cousin, the firstcousin once removed of Grand Duke Henri ofLuxembourg, the second cousin of Elizabeth II ofthe United Kingdom and the CommonwealthRealms, and of Margrethe II of Denmark, and thesecond cousin once removed of King Carl XVIGustaf of Sweden.
JENS STOLTENBERG Born 16 March 1959 in Oslo. 27th and current PM of Norway; assumed office on 17 October2005, and also served as PM from 2000-2001. Also the current leader of the Labour Party. Was elected to Parliament in 1993 for the Oslo constituency;served as State Secretary in the Ministry of the Environmentfrom 1990-1991 and as Minister of Industry from 1993-1996 inthe third Brundtland Cabinet. After Brundtland resigned in 1996, Thorbjørn Jagland waselected leader of the Labour Party and became PM, whileStoltenberg was nominated Minister of Finance, a post he helduntil Jagland and the whole government stepped down on 17October 1997. Served in the standing commissions on energy affairs while inparliamentary opposition. Was nominated PM on 3 March 2000 after a motion of noconfidence was passed against the first BondevikCabinet, even though he was Labour’s deputy leader and notits party leader. Successfully ran against Thorbjørn Jagland for leadership ofLabour, in 2002, following bad results in the 2001parliamentary election, and his government’s subsequent fallon 19 October of the same year; led the party to victory in the2005 parliamentary election by creating a Red-Green coalitiongovernment with the Centre Party (Sp) and the Socialist LeftParty (PV). Was re-elected PM of Norway for another term, in the 2009parliamentary election.
DAG TERJE ANDERSEN Born 27 May 1957 in Frogn, Akershus. 18th and current President of the Storting since 8 October2009, following his election. Member of the Labour Party. Apart from professional politics, he has worked at a steelmill and as a lumberjack; this has awarded him a statusfor representing the typical man in political life. Was elected into the Storting as a delegate fromVestfold, in 1997; was re-elected in the 2005parliamentary election. Served as the Mayor of Lardal from 1987-1992; wasinitially a political consultant at the Ministry of ForeignAffairs before becoming Secretary of State at theMinistry of Social Affairs in 1992. Subsequently served as party secretary for the LabourParty from 1992-1996; became Minister of Agriculture in1996, and served in that position for a little less than ayear. Later became Minister of Trade and Industry on 29September 2006, when Odd Eriksen stepped down.
TORE SCHEI Born 19 February 1946 in Oslo. 19th and current Chief Justice of the Supreme Courtof Norway; assumed office on 1 August 2002. Was born as one of Andreas Schei’s sons; is one ofNikolai Schei’s nephews. Graduated in law in 1971; was given the right towork with Supreme Court cases in 1974. Worked for the Office of the Attorney General ofNorway between 1972-1981; also served as adeputy judge in Ytre Follo District Court in thisperiod, from 1975-1976, and advanced to presidingjudge in the Eidsivating Court of Appeal. Was named Justice of the Supreme Court on 18October 1985; assumed office the following year. Also presided over the Scandinavian inquiryinvestigating the Scandinavian Star accident. Was named, in 2002, Commander with Star of theRoyal Norwegian Order of St. Olav.