Europe’s northernmost country, the Kingdom of Norway is famed for its mountains and spectacular fjord coastline, as well as its history as a seafaring power.
It also enjoys one of the world’s highest standards of living, in large part due to the discovery in the late 1960s of offshore oil and gas.
It is the world’s number seven oil exporter and has resisted the temptation to splurge its windfall, choosing instead to deposit the surplus wealth into its oil fund – now the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund.
What to do with the money is a hot political issue: whether to use more of it to improve infrastructure or keep it for a rainy day and future generations.
Norway plays an active international role. It has mediated between Israel and the Palestinians as well as in the Sri Lankan conflict, and has participated in military action in Afghanistan and Libya. Ex-premier Jens Stoltenberg is Nato’s secretary general.
- Kingdom of Norway
- Capital: Oslo
- Population 5 million
- Area 323,759 sq km (125,004 sq miles)
- Major language Norwegian
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 79 years (men), 83 years (women)
- Currency Norwegian krone