The Norwegian economy has long been based on the exploitation of natural resources, such as hydropower, minerals and fish. The 1960s saw the emergence of the Norwegian oil and gas industry. Today, Norway is the world’s third largest exporter of gas. Norway is also among the world’s leading producers and exporters of fish and seafood. The fishing industry is still important for many local communities. Norway has an open economy, based on extensive trade.
Norway has been a constitutional monarchy since it gained independence from Sweden in 1905, but as a nation its roots date back to the ninth century. The population today is just over five million.
The Sami are Norway’s indigenous people, and Sami is one of the two official languages. Norway also has several national minorities, and as a result of globalisation it has become a more multicultural country. Today, around 13 % of the population are immigrants.
King Harald and Queen Sonja ascended to the throne in 1991. Crown Prince Haakon is heir to the throne. He married to Crown Princess Mette Marit.
The Storting – the Norwegian parliament – is made up of 169 representatives who are elected every four years. Since the Second World War, the average voter turnout in parliamentary elections has been around 80 %.
The Sámediggi (Sami parliament) is a representative body for the Sami in Norway. The Sámediggi seeks to strengthen the political position of the Sami and to promote their interests.
Equal rights and opportunities
Norway, like the other Nordic countries, has a large public sector. The level of taxation is relatively high by international standards, but on the other hand health services and education are publicly funded. Norway also has extensive welfare services that are publicly funded.
The modern welfare state is firmly based on values such as equality and equal rights. All citizens have the same rights, regardless of gender, sexual identity, ethnicity or functional ability. Norway ranks high internationally in terms of gender equality and living standards. Around 70 % of women participate in the workforce. A high degree of gender equality is one of the reasons for Norway’s strong economic growth and the steady improvement in living standards since the 1960s.
The Norwegian authorities have managed the country’s oil and gas revenues in a way that has created prosperity and benefitted society as a whole. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the Government Pension Fund Global, was established for this purpose. When the oil runs out, the returns from the Fund will continue to provide substantial revenues that can then be used to benefit the population.
Global climate change is making it necessary for countries all over the world, including Norway, to adapt. Norway has signed and ratified the Paris Agreement, and we have committed ourselves to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030.
Norwegian parents are entitled to 12 months leave in connection with the birth of a child. Ten weeks of this leave are reserved for fathers, and nine in ten fathers take paternity leave.
40 % women on boards
Under Norwegian law, women are to make up at least 40 % of boards in publicly-owned enterprises and privately-owned public limited companies.
Government Pension Fund Global
The Government Pension Fund Global is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. It has invested in more than 9 000 companies in nearly 80 countries.