Norway is a Scandinavian country famous for its beautiful mountains and stunning scenery. People visit this country to explore the land of folktales, magical skies, and phenomenal lakes. If you are thinking about visiting Norway anytime soon, we have compiled a list of facts about Norway to prepare you for the journey.
Believe us, you’ll fall in love with Norway once you learn these interesting facts and experience them firsthand when you visit!
17 Surprising Facts about Norway
1. Oslo Hosts the Nobel Peace Prize Every Year
Oslo has the Nobel Peace Center that is located between the Aker Brygge development and the City Hall. The city is proud of hosting the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony annually since 1901.
It was the wish of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish chemist who left all his wealth for the Nobel Prize awards. He gave this amazing opportunity to Norway and no one knows why he did it.
2. More Than 1,500 Norwegians Cay Say They Live in Hell
There is a small village in Norway named Hell. It is close to the Trondheim International Airport and has its own train station. The place is an attractive tourist destination, especially the train station.
Many people visit the spot to take photos in front of the station sign. There is also a forest trail that leads to some rock reindeer carvings that are believed to be 5,000 years old.
3. Lærdal Tunnel Is the Longest Road Tunnel in the World
The Lærdal Tunnel is 15 miles long and connects the small communities of Aurland and Lærdal. It cost around $110 million to build this tunnel.
The tunnel is exquisitely designed to manage the drivers’ mental strain and help them along the route. The lighting feature is the most interesting part of this tunnel. It varies throughout the route to break routine.
4. A Scottish Penguin Is Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard
Brigadier Sir Nils Olav has held the title since 2005, and he is not the first of his kind to become a part of the Norwegian military. Three generations have carried the name of Nils Olav since 1972, and the current titleholder is Nils Olav III.
These penguins are not the only animals who served in the military. William ‘Billy’ Windsor was a goat who served in the British Army. Moreover, there is a brown bear named Wojtek who enlisted as a private in the Polish army.
5. All Income Records Are Public in Norway
Before 2013, anyone in Norway could search for a person’s data and easily find their total wealth without them knowing. But now, if someone searches for a citizen’s data, the person will know who looked them up.
This concept has made tax evasion difficult for people living in Norway. It has also made it easier for Norwegian media to generate their annual list of Norway’s richest people and its biggest taxpayers.
6. Norway Has More Olympic Medals Than Any Other Country
The total population of Norway is no more than 5 million, but the country has more Olympic medals than any other country in the history of the Olympics.
After the 2017 games in South Korea, Norway has 368 medals with 132 golds. The United States, with its 305 total and 105 gold, is its closest rival. Germany isn’t far behind either, with 238 total and 92 gold medals.
7. Norway Owns the Most Remote Island in the World
Bouvet Island is the most remote island globally located in the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s nowhere near the country, but it’s been administered by Norway since 1929. The island is almost 1,700 km north of the Antarctica coastline and 2,600 km from the coast of South Africa.
Norwegians have designated the island as a natural reserve since the 1970s, and they have an unmanned weather station there to keep a record.
8. Norwegians Introduced Salmon Sushi to Japanese
Sushi is indeed a Japanese invention, but salmon sushi is not! Norwegians were the first to suggest using salmon for sushi in the 1980s. The Japanese were short on their fish stock, but they had to meet the demand of their customers. Thankfully, Norway came to the rescue with its seafood that perfectly fits Japanese cuisine.
The salmon export deal has helped Norway improve its seafood trade, and now, sushi made from Norwegian salmon is one of Japan’s most popular dishes!
9. Norway Has an Active Volcano
The volcano is located on Jan Mayen island in the Norwegian sea. So, it’s safe for the mainland of Norway if the volcano were to erupt. The island is situated almost halfway between Norway and Greenland.
No permanent residents are living on the island, but scientists regularly visit the place for research purposes. Even cruise ships sometimes dock on the island.
10. The Name of Norway Is Not Norway!
Norway is just an English name, but Norwegians do not call their country ‘Norway.’ They call it Norge. If you wish to get more formal with the name, you can call it Kongeriket Norge, which means the Kingdom of Norway.
Other languages have different names for Norway. It‘s called Norwegen in Germany, Norja in Finnish, and Norvegia in Italian.
11. Oslo Wasn’t Always the Name of Norway’s Capital
The city was founded in 1040, and it was called Ânslo or Áslo at first. A fire destroyed many parts of the city, and people decided to rebuild it closer to Akershus Fortress. They also renamed the city Christiania after the ruling monarch, King Christian IV.
After the spelling reform of 1877, the city’s name changed to Kristiana, which was later changed in 1925 to Oslo, returning to its original form.
12. Roald Dahl Could Speak Norwegian
The famous British writer Roald Dahl is famous for his notable works, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and James and the Giant Peach. He was born to Norwegian parents and was well-versed in their native language.
He was proud of his Norwegian descent. In fact, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was inspired by a famous Norwegian chocolate brand, Freia. However, BBC claims that Dahl was inspired by Cadbury’s tasting tests at his boarding school.
13. London Gets A Christmas Tree Each Year from Norway
Norway has a unique way of thanking Britain for its help in World War II. The city of Oslo sends a Christmas tree each year to London. It is a great Norwegian spruce that dominates Trafalgar Square.
The tree is decorated in a traditional Norwegian way with white lights and becomes the focal point for carol-related festivities. The tree stays in the square throughout Christmas time.
14. Norway’s Coastline Is Still A Mystery!
Although it’s one of the most attractive locations in the world with stunning fjords and beautiful mountains, no one exactly knows how long Norway’s coastline is.
It has a fractal nature which makes it difficult to determine the length using specific length units. In situations where the total length differs from the unit length, the difference may be massive. That’s why it’s described as a landmass without well-defined length, or in simple words, a coastline paradox.
15. Norway Picked No Sides During the First World War
When World War I started, Norway announced its neutrality, but it made trade agreements with Britain. It also allowed them to use Norwegian sea vessels in 1917. The country’s neutrality remained until 1940, when Germany invaded during World War II.
Germans were interested in the seaports of Norway and wanted to extract iron from Sweden, which is located closer to Norway.
16. Norway Is Home to Europe’s Largest Wild Reindeer Herd
The largest wild reindeer herd roams the Hardangervidda located in Norway, the biggest mountain plateau in Europe. It’s a national park with lush valleys, vast plateaus, and stunning mountains with waterfalls and glaciers.
There are a total of 25,000 wild reindeer during winter, and 7,000 of those are present in the Hardangervidda. They used to roam freely in Norway for centuries, but due to the increased hunting rate, they have been forced to hide in the mountains since the late 19th century.
17. Harry Hole’s Favorite Norway Hangouts Really Exist!
Jo Nesbø is Norway’s top crime fiction writer who has grabbed his audience with the dark and moody portrayal of characters. They are part of the Harry Hole series that belongs to the crime thriller genre.
The book series features a range of places based on actual locations, and tourists can follow the footsteps of detective Hole to go around Oslo and take in the sights.
HOW TO BEHAVE IN NORWAY: 11 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO. Norwegian Etiquette
In 10 minutes, you can learn a full list of BASIC things YOU SHOULD NEVER DO or SAY in Norway. Make sure you are aware of them all before you book your trip to this wonderful country.
Are you excited about visiting Norway to see its breathtaking fjords and mountains? We hope these facts about Norway helped you learn more about the country and its attractive locations. Next time you are in Norway, make sure you visit the Nobel Peace Center, the city of Hell, the Lærdal Tunnel, and Hardangervidda.
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.