Country of the World Norway

About the country Norway, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Located on the westernmost strip of the Scandinavian Peninsula, in northern Europe, this mountainous northern nation sits about 600 ft. higher than Europe as a whole. The periphery is slashed with countless fjords. About 25% of the land is under forest; 1.5% is under glacier. Only 4% is arable.

Size: 125,181 sq. mi. (324,219 sq. km.), about the size of New Mexico.

Population: 4.1 million. Languages: Norwegian, 98%; Lapp and Finnish, 2%.

Who Rules: King Olav V, 75, has been the sovereign of this constitutional monarchy since 1957. Succession is hereditary through the eldest son. If the royal line is about to die out, the king may suggest a successor, but the Storting, the legislature, has the final say. The king can veto legislation, but if three separate Stortings pass a certain bill, it becomes law regardless.

Who REALLY Rules: The Socialist Labor Party, currently headed by Premier Odvar Nordli, is the real power in Norwegian politics. For 36 of the last 43 years, the Labor Party has held a majority in the Storting and controlled the executive branch. Unlike other socialist parties, the Labor Party has not stressed nationalization--only 9% of the country's industry is in government hands. Instead, it has relied on massive taxation of personal incomes (in the $30,000 bracket the tax is 50%) and of corporate earnings (typically, a 30% federal tax and 20% local tax), in order to build Norway's social welfare state.

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