- Norway’s population numbers just under 5 million, of whom 600,000 or so live in Oslo, the capital. Bergen, Norway’s second city, clocks up about 250,000 residents, while around 40,000 indigenous Sámi (Lapps) live mostly in the north of the country.
- Norway has a surface area of 386,000 square kilometres, of which half is mountain and a further third forest, lake and river.
- Norway is a constitutional monarchy and the present king, Harald V, came to the throne in 1991. The parliament – the Storting – sits in Oslo, but many functions are devolved to a complex network of local authorities.
- Forget the seafood – frozen pizza can lay claim to being Norway’s national dish: Norwegians eat over 20 million of them each year.
- Norway is not a member of the EU, but has signed up to the EEA (European Economic Agreement) free-trade deal.
- The Lutheran Church of Norway is the official state church and over eighty percent of the population belong to it, however nominally. Lutheran jokes are legion: one shipwrecked sailor to another “Don’t worry: I make 50,000kr a week and I tithe; my Lutheran Pastor will find us.”