Country - Norway
Norway Country Information
Norway bears, rather ironically, an intriguing name “the Land of Mid Night Sun”. Its proximity to the North Pole circle does all the wonders that are hard to believe. Perched on one of the oddest points on the globe near the Arctic Circle, the country has incredible natural miracles in store for stunning the visitors.
Norway is one of the wealthiest and cold Nordic countries situated in the northern edge of Scandinavian Peninsula. Scandinavian countries normally include Norway, Denmark and Sweden. In broader perspective, Nordic countries are referred to as Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Norway which is officially known as Kingdom of Norway consists of the northernmost land strip in the Scandinavian Peninsula, a remote volcanic island called Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. Norway is bordered by Sweden in the south and Finland in the southeast. The entire northern and western borders are a common coastline with Norwegian Sea. The southwest frontier is bounded by North Sea. Oslo is the capital as well as the largest city of Norway.
As per the estimate in 2018, the total population of Norway was 5,323,933 and the average density of population was 15 people per square kilometer. Norwegian and Sami are the two official languages, while 95% of people speak Norwegian. The per capita GDP (nominal) of Norway was US $82,711 which is the third largest in the world in 2018. The country ranks first in the world in terms of Human Development Index at 0.953. The form of government is unitary constitutional monarchy with the King of Norway as the head of the state and the Prime Minister as the head of the government. The parliament of Norway The Storting is unicameral with 169 members as the elected representatives for a maximum period of four years.
Norway is blessed with rich natural resources such as petroleum, hydel power, fish, forests and minerals. Since the country is of the advanced/developed mixed economy and dependent on exports, the fluctuating international prices make the nation economically vulnerable at times. Norway mainly exports petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, ships and fish. The chief items of imports are machinery equipment, chemicals, metals and foodstuffs. The total value of exports was US $ 92.4 billion in 2016 and that of imports was US $73.02 billion with a trade surplus of US$19.38 billion.
Norway retains its absolute exclusivity when it comes to international tourism. The crowning glory of the capital city Oslo (as well as of Norway) is the Frogner Park, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Vigeland Sculpture Park which is the life-time work of a single Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The Frogner Park occupies an area of breathtaking 110 acres and is embellished with more than 200 monolith statues spread across 80 acres. Many of these statues are made of single granite stones and some of them are of wrought iron and bronze alloy. Strong human emotions and the philosophy of human life cycle manifest in the statues, many of them are larger than life, as the innermost personal thoughts of the artist. The nudity of all the statues was specifically meant to convey the philosophical thought that all humans are on par with one another when considered as living beings not imbued with any religion.
The cynosure of the park is the single-stone tower reaching a height of 14.12 meters and the surface of the pillar was carved on with 121 human figures crammed together all along to the apex of the tower. The main sculptor Vigeland along with three other masons took 14 years to complete the creation. Numerous clusters of statues depicting soft skinned humans that seem to have engaged in mutually nurturing activity are omnipresent in the park. The massive dedicated work of innumerable statues took the legendary sculptor Vigeland almost 20 years from 1924 to 1943 and he donated all his masterpieces to the city of Oslo.
If we are not to speak of man-made creations, the prowess of nature that holds viewers speechless is undeniably the spectacular show of lights in the sky called “Norway Lights” or “Northern Lights”, technically Aurora Borealis. Words fail to describe the dazzling beauty of giant strobes, mostly in green hue, that adorn the night sky. Wavering velvet-green fabrics of light in a mild emerald texture dominate the skyscape that make the spectators gaze without batting an eye lid. The best time to see the natural wonder is from October and March. Observers get the feeling of peeping into the other world of mystery beyond earth. It is not an oddity to watch the colourful display in the sky even during the daytime when the shining sun is very much present at the centre of the sky.
The longest road tunnel extending 24.5 kilometers joining the cities of Laerdal and Aurland has a special feature that deserves appreciation. The air purification plant is installed in a 100-meter cavern and the toxic gases like nitrogen dioxide and dust are removed through exhaust outlets. Brilliant illumination of interiors, super smooth roadway and air purification equipment make the tunnel all the more traveller-friendly. The perfectly-carved portals at entrance and exit of the tunnel and green vegetation that surrounds the arches give the tunnel an elegant external look.
Competing with the natural phenomenon of Aurora Borealis, a permanent rock structure in the shape of human tongue jutted outward horizontally from the top of a mountain at a height of 700 meters is certainly a natural wonder that more or less resembles a leaping pad above a swimming pool. To behold the scene in its entirety an aerial view is inevitable. The site at Odda, Norway is aptly named Trolltunga meaning Troll’s Tongue.
Geirangerfjord ferry journey, Lofoten Islands, Hurtigruten coastal ferry, Landscapes of Bryggen, Jotunheimen National Park, Svalbard Iceland scape, Oslo-Bergen train journey, Pulpit Rock, the renovated town of Alesund, Tromso city of the world’s northern most Cathedral/botanical gardens and breweries, High-end Art Galleries and glacier-white Opera House in the capital city Oslo are some of the several worth seeing attractions a genuine tourist cannot stand to miss.