20 peculiar facts about Norway

Beauty of nature and all that – but here are some fun (and not so fun) facts about Norway. Impress the Norwegians when you get here!

  1. Norway’s Easternmost mainland point is Kibergneset (70°17′20,96″N 31°03′51,55″E), which is further East than Istanbul (41°00′44″N 28°58′34″E)

    Kibergneset_in_Finnmark Hans Olav Lien

    WW2 fortification remnants at Kibergneset, Northern Norway. (Image: Hans Olav Lien)

  2. The World’s Longest Road Tunnel is the Lærdal Tunnel at 24.509 meters.

    lærdalstunn visitsognefjorden

    The Lærdal Tunnel. (Image: visitsognefjorden.no)

  3. Salmon Sushi was “invented” by Norwegian fish exporters, who gave the idea to Japanese sushi chefs in the early 1980s. It didn’t get much popularity until the 1990s.

    salmon sushi

    Norwegian/Japanese delicacy.

  4. USA is 27 times bigger than Norway in square meters, but the Norwegian coast line is longer – actually 2nd only to Canada.
  5. It is illegal to bury the dead at the island of Svalbard: The permafrost pushes the corpses out of the soil, thus exposing them. The dead has to be exported to the mainland for burial.
  6. Norway has rejected EU membership twice (1972, 1994), but is nevertheless better than any EU member country when it comes to implementing EU regulations and directives.
  7. The humane treatment of prisoners at Bastøy and Halden prisons has gained world wide fame after documentary film maker Michael Moore portrayed the prisons, their inmates and guards. Recurrence among prisonsers who have served their time at these prisons are record breaking low.

    halden fengsel

    The music room at Halden Prison.

  8. Norway is the most-winning medalist country in the Winter Olympics, with 329 medals. USA is 2nd with 281 medals, while Germany has 209 (prior to the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea).
  9. The World’s largest deep sea corral reef is outside the Lofoten Islands, near the Røst island. The Røst Reef is more than 35 km long, “several” kms wide, and lays at ca 300-400 meters depth.

    røstrevet nrk

    The Røst Reef. (Image: NRK)

  10. The Hornindal Lake is Europe’s deepest, at 514 meters.

    hornindalsvatnet visitnordfjord

    Hornindal Lake. Don’t dive to the bottom.

  11. Finland is famously known as “The Land of a Thousand Lakes” with its 180.000 lakes. Norway has 450.000.
  12. At its narrowest, Norway is only 1.6 km wide. The place is between Elvenes and the Russian border.

    smaleste punkt

    Hang on there!

  13. The coldest temperature ever measured in Norway was in Karasjok in Finnmark county, where the gauge stopped at -51.4C on 1 January 1886. The day before, 31 December 1885, the 2nd coldest temperature was recorded at the same place, -51.3C.
  14. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) planet Hoth scenes were partially filmed in wintery Finse, close to the railway connecting Oslo and Bergen, in 1979. No tauntaun has been observed since.


    Darth Vader and crew awaiting the Battle of Hoth.

  15. The Troll A gas production platform is the largest object ever moved by humans. The platform is 472 meters high – of which 369 under water – and weighs about 656 million kgs. This huge structure is two times heavier than Empire State Building in NY City, the underwater part of Troll is exactly the height of Empire State Building top floor. Troll A is mostly a concrete structure that contains reinforcing steel corresponding to 10 times the entire Eiffel tower.

    troll a

    Most of the Troll A structure is below the sea surface.

  16. Singer/songwriter Katie Melua performed the World’s deepest concert in one of the Troll A shafts at 303 meters below sea level in 2006, commemorating Troll A’s 10 years in service.

    katie melua troll a

    Katie Melua at Troll A

  17. More Norwegians speaks English than Canadians, according to 2011 Canada Cencus and Statistics Norway figures. 89 vs 86 percent, respectively
  18. The Monthy Pyton cult classic movie “Life of Brian” was banned in Norway in the 1980s. So was skateboards.

    Life of Brian

    Norwegian cinemas were finally allowed to reel Life of Brian if they included a text that said that “Brian is not Jesus” in 1980.

  19. The first European on the American continent was not Christopher Colombus, but the Icelandic-born Norwegian Leiv Eriksson ca year 1000, pre-dating Colombus’ landing in the West Indies by nearly 500 years.
  20. In 2017, Norway was ranked as the World’s Happiest Nation by the UN. We’ve been competing with the Danes for several years, but this time we surpassed them.

    Lykkelige land

    Happy, perhaps, but not historically correct: The Vikings did not wear helmets with horns.

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