February 5th, 2015
There is so much to be said of Norway, known for its breathtakingly beautiful natural environment, vibrant cultural life with cosmopolitan cities brimful of architecture that showcases the famous Scandinavian flair for design. But for the sake of brevity, in this post we’ll touch on a number of facts about the country and its education system and share a handful of fun facts. We realize we’re not doing Norway full justice, and apologize in advance, as there are so many interesting facts to share. We encourage you all to visit the links provided for even more fun facts and information.
First, we’ll start with the serious facts:
1. Known as the Land of the Midnight Sun
2. Head of State: His Majesty, King Harald V of Norway
3. Head of Government: Prime Minister, Erna Solberg (since 2013)
4. System of Government: Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary democracy
5. Won independence from Sweden in 1905
6. Area: 148,747 square miles (similar in sq. miles to the size of Montana)
7. Population (2014): 5,109,059
8. Capital city: Oslo [Population: 624,000 (statistics 2013)]
9. Languages: 2 official Norwegian languages: Bokmål and Nynorsk), in some districts, Sámi is also an official language Sámi (spoken by the Sámi people), 100% literacy
10. Education dates back as far as the 12th century
11. In 1827 Norway introduced public education (Folkeskole)
12. In the 1970s and 80s the Folkeskole was abolished and the Grunnskole was introduced.
13. Education is free, even higher education.
14. Ministry of Education, Research & Church Affairs prepares the national curriculum for grunnskole (primary &
lower secondary education) and videregående skole (upper secondary school)
15. Compulsory education: 10 years (Grade 1-10)
16. Upper secondary school is 3 years after 10th grade and divided into general/academic studies track or vocational and apprenticeship tracks
17. Norway has seven universities, nine specialized university institutions, 22 university colleges, two national colleges of the arts and a number of private higher education institutions. Norway’s University of Oslo ranks 89th in the 2013–14 QS University World Rankings, and the University of Bergen at 151st
And now, we’ll share some fun facts:
18. The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII. Source: Trafalgar Square Christmas tree
19. It is illegal to spay or neuter your dog in Norway except under specific circumstances regarding health, quality of life, or utility. Source: Should dogs be neutered?
20. Norway has the World’s biggest sovereign fund, where it has been saving almost all the money it gets from the sale of oil and is worth almost a trillion dollars Source: Norway: Is world’s largest sovereign wealth fund too big?
21. To encourage more men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, Norwegian law states that 14 weeks of parental leave is reserved for fathers. Norway is the first country to introduce compulsory paternity leave Source: Father’s leave still a burning issue
22. King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love; the daughter of a cloth merchant. They both later married with help from the Government of Norway and she became the Queen of Norway Source: Queen Sonja of Norway
Photo: King Harald & Queen Sonja
23. Norwegian prisons are known to be the most luxurious prisons in the world. Norwegian prisons have also won a design award. Though accommodations may be ultra luxurious, the criminals on release demonstrate the lowest rate of re-offending in Europe, if not the world.
Source: Crime and punishment, Norwegian style
Photos of prison cells and accommodations in Norway
24. A valley settlement in Norway that lives in shadow for nearly half of every year has installed giant mirrors on an adjacent mountain to redirect sunlight into the town’s square, all based on a plan that was thought up 100 years ago
25. If you own a TV in Norway, you have to pay an annual fee of $300 USD. Source: 22 Interesting Facts About Norway
26. Wondering how much your co-worker, boss, neighbor, friend, or cousin makes? It’d be no secret in Norway where income and wealth are public record; a practice shared by other Scandinavian countries. Making the data public demonstrates the Scandinavian tradition of jantelag, which translates roughly as nobody is better than anyone else.
ACEI (est. 1994) is a U.S.-based full service organization assisting individuals, colleges and universities, regulatory boards, employers and state and federal government agencies with the evaluation, verification and translation of international education credentials. In addition, ACEI’s webinars and training programs provide international education specialists with up-to-date information on world education systems, student mobility trends, and credential evaluation methodologies. For more information on ACEI and its services, please visit www.acei-global.org.