World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Norway Travelling Guide
Norway Travelling Guide

General background: Despite its neutrality, Norway was not able to avoid occupation by Germany in World War II. 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.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than New Mexico.

Climate: Temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior with increased precipitation and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast.

Terrain: Glaciated; mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys; small, scattered plains; coastline deeply indented by fjords; arctic tundra in north.

Population: 4,525,116 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Norwegian, Sami 20,000

Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 86% (state church), other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%, other 1%, none and unknown 10% (1997)

Language: Norwegian (official)
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Oslo

Legal system: Mixture of customary law, civil law system, and common law traditions; Supreme Court renders advisory opinions to legislature when asked; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: 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; in 1999, oil and gas accounted for 35% of exports. Only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway. Oslo opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994. Growth picked up in 2000 to 2.7%, compared with the meager 0.8% of 1999, but fell back to 1.3% in 2001. The government moved ahead with privatization in 2000, even proposing the sale of up to one-third of the 100% state-owned oil company Statoil. With arguably the highest quality of life worldwide, Norwegians still worry about that time in the next two decades when the oil and gas begin to run out. Accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and now is valued at more than $43 billion.

Communication/Telephone system: Modern in all respects; one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in Europe.

Places of interest:
Norway is a ruggedly beautiful country of mountains, fjords and glaciers. It offers incredible wilderness hiking, year-round skiing, and some of the world's most scenic ferry, bus and train rides. The 'Land of the Midnight Sun' has delightfully long summer days, pleasantly low-key cities, unspoiled fishing villages and rich historic sites that include Viking ships and medieval stave churches.

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