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Friday 24th May
Norway Information - Page 2
Hunters and gatherers inhabited Norway in the Stone Age. By the Bronze Age many communities had made the transition to farming although hunting remained a way of life in the northern areas such as Finnmark.

Many of the inhabitants of Norway were seafaring people and traders. The Vikings, also from Denmark and Sweden, are remembered for raiding and pillaging. The Viking Age is said to have started in 793 with a raid on the monastery on Lindisfarne in Northumberland in England.

Between 800-1050 Vikings settled in many lands including Iceland, Greenland, the Shetlands, the Hebrides, the Orkney Isles, Northern Scotland, the North of England, the Isle of Man, Ireland and France.

Norway (including Iceland) and Denmark formed a union in 1380 and remained united until 1814. During the Napoleonic Wars Denmark fought with the French and Napoleon. Following Napolean's defeat the Congress of Vienna recognised the union of Norway and Sweden that lasted until Norway's independence in 1905.

Norway was neutral in the First World War (1914-1918) but during the Second World War German troops occupied Norway from April 1940 to May 1945.

In 1972 and 1994 the Norwegian people took part in referenda to decide whether to join the EU. Both times the country rejected membership. However, Norway became associated with the Union through membership of the European Economic Area.

In 1960 oil and gas were discovered off the Norwegian coast providing an enormous boost to the economy. Norway's other natural resources include natural gas, copper, iron ore, lead, nickel, zinc, timber and hydropower.

A phosphate rock deposit containing minerals said to last for up to a hundred years was discovered in Norway July 2023. Phosphorus contained in the rock is an essential component in lithium iron batteries, solar panels and computer chips. The first mine is estimated to open by 2028.

Norway has a strong industrial sector; industries include pulp and paper products, shipbuilding, chemicals, textiles and food processing. The fishing fleet provides cod, herring and mackerel; fish farming produces salmon and trout.

Norway does not grow all its own food. Agricultural products include barley, wheat, potatoes and dairy products. Cattle, sheep and pigs are reared.

The service sector plays a major part in the Norwegian economy. Tourism is an important earner of foreign currency.

Norway's earliest examples of art are the petroglyphs (4200 BC to 500 BC) in the Alta Fjord, near the Arctic Circle.

The country's most famous artist is Edvard Munch (1863-1944). Munch was a predecessor of the Expressionist Movement, his most well known painting, The Scream, was painted in 1893.

Norway has a number of writers of note including Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) and the poet Henrik Wergeland (1808-1845). There have also been a number of Norwegian Nobel Prize winners. Bjornstjerne Bjornson, the poet, won the Prize for Literature in 1903 and Knut Hamsun (1859-1952) was awarded the Prize for his novel Growth of the Soil. Sigrid Undset was a Prize winner in 1920 for her trilogy of life in fourteenth-century Scandinavia, Kristin Lavransdatter: The Bridal Wreath, The Mistress of Husaby and The Cross.

Perhaps the most well known Norwegian writer is Henrik Ibsen who was born in Skien in 1828. Ibsen was a poet and world famous playwright known for Hedda Gabler, Emperor and Galilean, Pillars of Society, A Doll's House, Ghosts, The Wild Duck and When We Dead Awaken.

Norwegian music was at its best from the late nineteenth century. Composers included Johan Svendsen (1840-1911) and Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). Grieg is known throughout the world for the Peer Gynt Suites (Morning, Hall of the Mountain King).

People in Norway have been skiing for thousands of years. In the nineteenth century skiing gained wider recognition as a sport with the Norwegian Sondre Norheim taking the lead in its development.

Many Norwegians participate in sporting activities including cross-country skiing, skating, curling, rowing, sailing and football. Norway organises a football tournament for young people called the Norway Cup.

New Year's Day, Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Constitution Day (17 May) marks the 17 May 1814 when the Norwegian Constitution was signed.

News from Norway is available from Newslink.

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