34 FUN & Interesting Facts About Norway You Should Know

Seeking some facts about Norway? Norway happens to be one of the safest and most beautiful countries on earth! It’s a fascinating part of the world filled with natural wonders and history. We love Norway and it’s one of our favorite countries to travel around. So we decided to share some of our favorite Norway facts!

Fun Norway Facts You’ll Love

1.) Vikings are Norwegian

Facts About Norway Viking History
This is one of my favorite facts about Norway!

One of my favorite Norway facts is this one. Partially, anyway. Vikings were a formidable force of not just Norwegians, but Danes and Swedes, too. The Vikings went on fierce raids and conquered lands around Northern Europe, even as far as the Volga River in Russia.

Why all the hate? Possibly because of Christian missionaries getting up in their business and “holy” wars in the south of their lands for the Norsemen not becoming Christian. 

2.) Vikings discovered Iceland by accident

Watch the Moss in Iceland - Travel Water Bottle

A happy accident – that’s all discovering Iceland was. On a routine voyage to the Faroe Islands, a Viking longship rocked up at Iceland by mistake. Now we have all the awesome music and Game of Thrones shooting locations to enjoy.

3.) Norway has a royal family

Well, we bet you never knew that. It dates back to the 12th century. Currently sitting on the Norwegian throne are King Harold V and Queen Sonja.

Much like the Queen of England, King Harold has no official power but comprises the country’s constitutional monarchy. They live in the 19th-century Royal Palace in Oslo.

4.) It’s a great spot for the aurora borealis

Northern Lights Cruise - Norway
Nordlys over Arnøya, Skjervøy

What now? We mean the Northern Lights, of course. This astounding light show happens when charged particles from the sun meet atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, releasing photons (light particles). Regardless of its science, the aurora borealis is beautiful, like green, red, and blue ribbons in the sky. Best seen further north.

5.) A Norwegian discovered Greenland

This is a very interesting Norway fact. Specifically, it was explorer Erik the Red (named after his beard, it’s thought), whose father was banished to Iceland from Norway for multiple murders.

Greenland is part of Denmark today, but with more indigenous people than settlers, it may be moving towards independence.

6.) Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish are mutually intelligible

So, if you don’t speak Norwegian but Danish, then you can have a conversation. Likewise, if you’re in Sweden and you speak Swedish and happen to meet a Norwegian person, you’ll probably be able to understand each other. That’s a Nordic language for you.

7.) Norway has celebrated independence twice

Yes, twice. An unequal partnership between a greedy Denmark in 1523 led to the union of Denmark-Norway. There was a glimmer of independence in the early 19th century, but then it became part of another bum deal as Sweden-Norway from 1814 to 1905. So it’s a relatively new country, which is (we’re guessing) a little-known fact about Norway.

8.) There are 400,000 lakes in Norway

This is one of my favorite Norway facts! Solely because when you think about what an insane amount of water that is. One of these lakes, Hornindalsvatnet, is the deepest lake in the whole of Europe. It’s 1,512 feet deep, to be exact.

9.) Norway is famous for its fjords

In fact, fjord is a Norwegian word. There are 1,190 fjords in Norway, the highest density in the world, each of which is incredibly beautiful. It also boasts the second-deepest and longest fjord – the uber dramatic Sognefjord, which is 127 miles long and its depth is 4,291 feet. It’s known as the “King of the Fjords,” naturally. 

10.) Norway is LGBT-friendly

In 1993, it was the first country in the entire world to enact a law punishing discrimination against gay and lesbian citizens. It was also the second nation in the world to legalize civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Today, there is full marriage equality

11.) Vikings discovered America

A third-generation “Icelander,” Norwegian, was the first European to set foot on continental America. We’re talking way before Chris Columbus here. Leif Erikson, son of Erik the Red (founder of Greenland, remember?), was the man with the plan who made it all happen.

Determined to explore the region to the west of Greenland, around 1000 AD, Erikson landed at what came to be known as Vinland. Though mentioned in Norse sagas, actual archaeological evidence came in the 1960s at the southern tip of Newfoundland.

12.) The oldest humans in Norway are really old

Well, according to archaeological evidence, they are. Along a massive former ice shelf from the last ice age that melted between 11000 and 8000 BC, evidence of human existence way back when has been found.

We’re talking stone tools and other implements that date to around 9500-6000 BC. That’s pretty old.

13.) The sun never sets in Norway

Facts About Norway Midnight Sun Landscape

Well, in Norwegian summers, it doesn’t. And not all of Norway, but anywhere north of the Arctic Circle – which is a lot of Norway – the sun will never set in the summertime. The rest of the country sees around 20 hours of daylight. Get ready with those black-out blinds.

14.) The sun never rises in Norway

Norway in Winter

Just like in summer when the sun never sets, in Norway in the winter, it’s perpetually dark. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun literally never rises. If you’re a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder, this probably isn’t a good time to visit.

15.) Norway still practices whaling

Japan gets a lot of hate for whaling, but Norway is just as guilty. The hunting of minke whales for commercial gain actually resumed in 1993, following the international moratorium on whaling.

The government-set quota is not only for human and animal food in Norway but for export to other countries, like (you guessed it) Japan.

16.) Norway introduced salmon sashimi to Japan

Facts About Norway Sushi

To offload their salmon onto Japan as part of the Norwegian marketing campaign called Project Japan in the 1980s, the raw fish market in the Land of the Rising Sun was targeted because the markup of sashimi and sushi was high and attractive for buyers. The result? Raw salmon is very popular in Japan.

17.) Every Christmas, Norway gives the United Kingdom a Christmas tree

As thanks for helping them out during WWII, Norway gifts the UK a huge (really huge) Norwegian pine as their Christmas tree. It goes up in Trafalgar Square, London, each Christmas, and a big ceremony takes place at the time. Isn’t that a fun fact about Norway?

18.) Svalbard was the place where the last German troops surrendered in WWII.

Never heard of it? This far-flung northern outpost was never taken over by the Nazis, but they did have a secret meteorological station there.

After the surrender in May 1945, they were stuck on the island until September, when they surrendered to a seal hunter and became the last German soldiers to surrender in WWII.

19.) Norway is home to some BIG animals

facts about norway polar bear

You can see basking sharks and the gargantuan, giant-squid-eating sperm whales in the surrounding seas. On land, however, you can find massive polar bears, brown bears, and huge elks. This is a land of true wilderness.

20.) Norway had a queen called the Lady King

Apparently the first “great” ruling queen of any European country. Queen Margaret I ruled not only Norway but also Sweden and Denmark during the 14th century. She was a fierce queen that formed unions across Scandinavia.

21.) Christmas is big news in Norway

It’s winter. It’s almost always dark. Christmas, with all the lights, festivities, and seasonal good cheer, is a welcome break when it arrives.

There are many Christmas markets, making it an amazing winter place to visit in Europe if you’re planning on a festive break during the holiday season.

22.) The Sami people are the indigenous people of Norway

facts about norway sami people

This is one of those Norway facts I love! These folks are the original inhabitants of Norway, with evidence pointing back to more than 10,000 years of Sami people living in the country.

They have their own language (around a third of the Norwegian population speak it), their own capital called Karasjok, complete with its own parliament, and many still live off the land as reindeer herders.

23.) Norway celebrates National Day on May 17

Everyone’s got to have a National Day, right? Norway’s is on May 17, which is the day in 1814 on which Norway got its own constitution (even if it wasn’t actually independent). Children put on parades through town, there are general festivities, and many people dress up in traditional costumes known as bunad. They’re just enjoying being Norwegian.

24.) The Laerdal Tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the world

If you’re a fan of tunnels and totally geeky facts about Norway, sit tight; the Laerdal Tunnel, connecting Oslo and Bergen, is exactly 15.23 miles long (that’s 24.51 kilometers). This massive feat of engineering slices through an impassable mountain range and was opened in 2000.

25.) Mountains make up two-thirds of Norway’s landscape

These massively uninhabited landscapes comprise 300 peaks that soar more than 6,500 feet above sea level. Mountaineers, hikers, and adventurers will love the sheer wilderness of this rugged country. It’s pretty epic!

26.) There are more bears in Svalbard than people

The Norwegian island of Svalbard, close to the North Pole (the one with the German soldiers who surrendered to a seal hunter), is remote and wild. Think glaciers, tundra, and yes – a lot of bears.

Around 2,000 people live there, which is relatively high for a nowhere sort of place; we think that’s because you don’t actually need a visa to live in Svalbard!

27.) Norwegian passports are really cool

Trust us, they really are. Put a genuine, 100% authentic Norwegian passport under a UV light, and boom – you can see the Northern Lights!

Not the actual aurora borealis, but a picture of one that makes these passports probably the coolest in the world, if you ask us. And it’s one of the coolest fun facts about Norway, too.

28.) Norway has won the most medals at the Winter Olympics

Olympia Ski Jump

Like, ever. Winter Sports are Norway’s forte. We mean, there’s a lot of snow in this country. And winter lasts for about half the year.

No wonder they’ve got so many medals. To be precise, the total number of medals they’ve won is 368 (132 gold, 125 silver, 111 bronze). They’re winners, alright. 

29.) The Nobel Peace Prize is decided by a committee in Norway

Though the Nobel Prizes are named after the Swedish inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel, the Nobel Prize is the only accolade on the Nobel roster that isn’t handed out in Stockholm. A committee in admittedly very peaceful Norway decides on who should get it, and the event is put on in Oslo Town Hall.

30.) Norway has no official religion

But it does have a state religion. This means it joins just a handful of countries worldwide as those with governments intertwined with religion. For example, in England, the Queen is the head of the English Church.

31.) It’s illegal to advertise to children in Norway

Well, children under 12 years old. Remember all those action figure commercials and stuff when you were up early watching morning cartoons at the weekend?

Well, they don’t have any of that in Norway, which is one of the most interesting facts about Norway! Bad news for capitalism, good news for childhood innocence.

32.) Reoffenders almost don’t exist in Norway

With more progressive tactics in terms of incarceration, Norway’s recidivism (reoffending) rate is one of the lowest in the world at 20%, compared with the US rate of more than 60%.

Norway’s jails are some of the best and most humane in the world, focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

33.) Police brutality also doesn’t exist (almost)

Whereas police can be pretty trigger-happy in other countries, Norway is not that sort of place. At all. In fact, the last time anyone was shot and killed by Norwegian police was in 2006.

In 2007, no shots were fired by police at all. Only ten police officers have been killed in Norway since WWII. By comparison, an analysis in 2015 found that US police kill more people in one day than Norway has in the last nine years.

34.) Norway is home to the Tallest waterfall in Europe

This is one of the most crazy Norway facts. The highest waterfall in Europe is Vinnufossen, at 2,280 feet tall, making it the eigth-highest waterfall in the world. Norway is nuts when it comes to nature.

Plan For Your Trip

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

9 thoughts on “34 FUN & Interesting Facts About Norway You Should Know”

  1. Agree it is a beautiful country, but in spite of the comparisons you chose, still nothing like the U.S.A. 🇺🇸 ♥️💙

Leave a Comment