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Norway - Overview

Capital: Oslo

Population: 4,610,820 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; note - Sami is official in six municipalities

Religions: Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1% (2004)

Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)

Timezone: GMT+1 (Daylight saving time: +1 hour)

Norway is located in northern Europe, on the western side of the peninsula of Scandinavia, bordering Sweden, Finland and Russia. It has a coastline of some 2735 km. Norway is renowned for the natural beauty of its many coastal fjords, many of which exceed 100 km in length, and its inland scenery of mountains, forests, rivers and lakes. The country is relatively sparsely populated and there are vast areas of unspoilt countryside, most of which are legally accessible to the public, even if privately owned. The main centres of population are in the south.

Norway's economy used to be dependent on the fishing industry, but it has now become a major exporter of fuel and fuel products, due to the discovery in the 1960s of offshore gas and oil reserves. The majority of expatriates living in Norway are employed in the oil industry. Norway is one of the most expensive countries in which to live, but it offers one of the highest standards of living in the world, and has a low crime rate.

Although located in Europe, Norway has not joined the European Union. However, it is a member of the European Economic Association, and is therefore covered by the EU/EEA Freedom of Movement legislation.

Norway's capital of Oslo is located at the head of a long fjord in the south-east of the country. Although a small city, with a population of just over 500,000, Oslo has become a bustling centre with a good range of shops, theatres, restaurants and bars. Bergen and Stavanger, on the south-west coast, are also lively cities with large expatriate communities mainly employed in the oil industry.

Read more about this country

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