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 highest standards of living in the world, in large part due to the discovery in the late 1960s of offshore oil and gas deposits.
Norway’s annual oil revenue amounts to around $40bn (£21bn), and more than half of its exports come from this sector. To counter inflation, spending of oil revenue was restricted.
The considerable surplus is invested in a sovereign wealth fund that, with assets of some $880bn in 2014, is the world’s largest.
What to do with the money is one of the country’s most contentious political issues. The centre-right want more of it to be used to fund infrastructure improvements, while the centre-left wants to keep it invested for future generations.
The royal family in Norway has a strong identity
Norway declared its independence in 1905 when the union with Sweden was dissolved. Norway’s people value their independence and prosperity highly. The Norwegians rejected membership of the then European Economic Community in 1972, and of the European Union in 1994, despite being urged by their governments to vote “yes”.
At a glance
- Politics: Erna Solberg heads a right-wing minority coalition government assembled following elections in September 2013
- Economy: Norway enjoys massive oil and gas wealth. Surplus revenue is invested in a sovereign wealth fund. Unemployment is low
- International: Norway is a Nato member and maintains troops in Afghanistan. Voters have rejected EU membership
In recent decades, Norway has forged a stronger role for itself in international politics. It has mediated between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and from 2000 to 2009 was the chief mediator in the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil separatists.
Norway has a rich, sea-faring tradition and its lengthy, rugged coastline has been central to its development.
More than a thousand years ago, Viking raids on the coasts of Britain and France were commonplace. The Vikings also mounted expeditions to the coast of North America.
Later, the Norwegians began to trade. Originally, the coastal waters provided fish for export. Today, Norway is among the world’s largest exporters of fuels and fuel products.
Norway registered objections to the 1986 International Whaling Commission (IWC) ban on whaling and resumed the practice on a commercial basis in 1993. It argues that whaling is no more cruel than fishing and that stocks are sufficient to allow it to continue. Conservationists disagree.
Norway offers you a unique student experience and Norwegian institutions of higher education welcome applications sent by qualified students from all over the world.
Internationalisation is a priority within all sectors of the Norwegian education system, and universities and university colleges are constantly working to facilitate for international students. Around 15 000 foreign nationals are currently enrolled at Norwegian institutions of higher education. International students may apply for admission to a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programmes. You may come to Norway as student through established exchange programmes, institutional agreements or as a so called “free mover”, where you arrange the stay by yourself (type of study, length and financing).
Quality education With a wide range of high quality courses and great flexibility, Norwegian institutions prove to be an ideal study destination. From vocational subjects to postgraduate and doctorate level, there are plenty of opportunities for students to fulfil their ambitions. You will also benefit from the informal atmosphere at Norwegian universities and university colleges, where teachers are easily approachable and tuition often takes place in small groups. Most institutions also have well equipped computer facilities with free Internet access.
Study off the beaten track In our northern corner of the world you can combine your studies with exciting outdoor activities, both winter and summer. You can see the Aurora Borealis (“Northern lights”), experience the midnight sun, fjords and mountains. Challenge yourself with skiing, white water rafting or climbing. Or simply enjoy the fresh air, clean water and lots and lots of space. As a student in Norway you will never be short of possibilities for unique nature experiences.