Norway before? Before what? Before we go. This post is dedicated to all the preconceived notions and what little I know about Norway. Sure I’ve done a little research as we plan for this trip but I think what I read and see online obviously pales in comparison to actually visiting said country. I know, crazy concept. It also implies that there will be a Norway after. If I can keep my poop in a group, I plan to write a before and after segment on each country we visit. I’ll spew out what random and possibly incorrect things I know/think about Norway in the before post and then go back and cringe as I re-read my post once I’ve visited and see just how embarrassingly wrong or validatingly right I was. I’ve got no travel shame. Spell check is telling me that validatingly is not a real word but I like it so let’s just go with it. Moving on…
Time to play word association when I think of the word Norway. Now that I’ve said it, I bet you’re doing it real quick in your own head aren’t you. You’re seeing what random images come to mind before you read mine to see if we think the same weird stuff. Okay, here it goes:
Norway….Norway. Fjords. Blondes. Aurora Borealis. Velkommen. Expensive. Hygge. More blondes. Oil-rich. Cuisine with lots of potatoes and cured fish, smoked fish, pickled fish, salted fish, all the fishes. Large percentage of population speaks good English. Universal healthcare. Little daylight in the winter (see Hygge). Polar bears and reindeer. Ferry boats, lots of em. Kind, welcoming people but straightforward. Low crime. Neutral country. More jaw dropping fjords. Winter sports. Olympics. Beautiful landscape. Cold. Vikings. Sheep. Overall, a country that has it’s shit together (see #8 below).
Okay, enough of my brain vomit. Now I’ll fill you in on a few couple interesting tidbits I’ve learned about Norway since I started digging a little deeper than just blondes and fjords.
- In Norway, parents are entitled to 46 weeks at full salary, or 56 weeks at 80 percent pay. See #8.
- Norway is the eight-largest oil exporter and third-largest gas exporter in the world, but it is not a member of OPEC. And interestingly enough, rumor has it Norway would like to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2025. Hmmmm. Isn’t this a little bit like the box of cigarettes containing a warning label letting you know smoking will kill you? Anyway…
- Norway is also the world’s 2nd-largest exporter of fish (in value, after China). All the fishes!
- Hydroelectric plants generate roughly 98–99% of Norway’s electric power, more than any other country in the world.
- Norwegians enjoy the second-highest GDP per-capita among European countries (after Luxembourg), and the sixth-highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Rich countries = expensive Big Macs.
- Today, Norway ranks as the second-wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation at around $850 BILLION (some resources say it’s almost a TRILLION.)
- Norway is not part of the EU but they are part of the EEA (European Economic Area, the EU internal market).
- The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy Magazine ranks Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world’s most well-functioning and stable country aka: they’ve got their shit together.