Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway's economic fortunes. The current focus is on containing spending on the extensive welfare system and planning for the time when petroleum reserves are depleted. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU.
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
about two-thirds mountains; some 50,000 islands off its much indented coastline; strategic location adjacent to sea lanes and air routes in North Atlantic; one of most rugged and longest coastlines in the world
name: Oslo geographic coordinates: 59 55 N, 10 45 E time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
chief of state: King HARALD V (since 17 January 1991); Heir Apparent Crown Prince HAAKON MAGNUS, son of the monarch (born 20 July 1973) head of government: Prime Minister Jens STOLTENBERG (since 17 October 2005) cabinet: State Council appointed by the monarch with the approval of parliament elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following parliamentary elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch with the approval of the parliament
modified unicameral Parliament or Storting (169 seats; members are elected by popular vote by proportional representation to serve four-year terms); note - in 2009 the number of seats will change to 165 elections: last held 12 September 2005 (next to be held in September 2009) election results: percent of vote by party - Labor Party 32.7%, Progress Party 22.1%, Conservative Party 14.1%, Socialist Left Party 8.8%, Christian People's Party 6.8%, Center Party 6.5%, Liberal Party 5.9%, other 3.1%; seats by party - Labor Party 61, Progress Party 38, Conservative Party 23, Socialist Left Party 15, Christian People's Party 11, Center Party 11, Liberal Party 10 note: for certain purposes, the parliament divides itself into two chambers and elects one-fourth of its membership in the Lagting and three-fourths of its membership in the Odelsting
Center Party [Aslaug Marie HAGA]; Christian People's Party [Dagfinn HOYBRATEN]; Conservative Party [Erna SOLBERG]; Labor Party [Jens STOLTENBERG]; Liberal Party [Lars SPONHEIM]; Progress Party [Siv JENSEN]; Socialist Left Party [Kristin HALVORSEN]
chief of mission: Ambassador Wegger C. STROMMEN chancery: 2720 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008 telephone:  (202) 333-6000 FAX:  (202) 337-0870 consulate(s) general: Houston, Minneapolis (may be closed in 2008), New York, San Francisco
chief of mission: Ambassador Benson K. WHITNEY embassy: Henrik Ibsens gate 48, 0244 Oslo; note - the embassy will move to Huseby in the near future mailing address: PSC 69, Box 1000, APO AE 09707 telephone:  (22) 44 85 50 FAX:  (22) 44 33 63, 56 27 51
The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector, through large-scale state enterprises. The country is richly endowed with natural resources - petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals - and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices, with oil and gas accounting for one-third of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway. 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. The government has moved ahead with privatization. Although Norwegian oil production peaked in 2000, natural gas production is still rising. Norwegians realize that once their gas production peaks they will eventually face declining oil and gas revenues; accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-and-gas-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and now is valued at more than $250 billion. After lackluster growth of less than 1% in 2002-03, GDP growth picked up to 3-5% in 2004-07, partly due to higher oil prices. Norway's economy remains buoyant. Domestic economic activity is, and will continue to be, the main driver of growth, supported by high consumer confidence and strong investment spending in the offshore oil and gas sector. Norway's record high budget surplus and upswing in the labor market in 2007 highlight the strength of its economic position going into 2008.
general assessment: modern in all respects; one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Europe domestic: Norway has a domestic satellite system; moreover, the prevalence of rural areas encourages the wide use of cellular mobile systems instead of fixed-wire systems international: country code - 47; 2 buried coaxial cable systems; submarine cables provide links to other Nordic countries and Europe; satellite earth stations - NA Eutelsat, NA Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Norway shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden) (1999)
Norwegian Army (Haeren), Royal Norwegian Navy (Kongelige Norske Sjoeforsvaret, RNoN; includes Coastal Rangers and Coast Guard (Kystvakt)), Royal Norwegian Air Force (Kongelige Norske Luftforsvaret, RNoAF), Home Guard (Heimevernet, HV) (2006)
18-44 years of age for male compulsory military service; 16 years of age in wartime; 17 years of age for male volunteers; 18 years of age for women; 12-month service obligation, in practice shortened to 8 to 9 months; although all males between ages of 18 and 44 are liable for service, in practice they are seldom called to duty after age 30; reserve obligation to age 35-60; 16 years of age for volunteers to the Home Guard, who serve 6-month duty tours (2006)
Norway asserts a territorial claim in Antarctica (Queen Maud Land and its continental shelf); despite dialogue, Russia and Norway continue to dispute their maritime limits in the Barents Sea and Russia's fishing rights beyond Svalbard's territorial limits within the Svalbard Treaty zone