Creative Industries Norway
Population: 5,207,689 (July 2015 est.)
Internet country code: .no
Kingdom of Norway / Kongeriket Norge (Norwegian Bokmål) / Kongeriket Noreg (Norwegian Nynorsk)
Two centuries of Viking raids into Europe tapered off following the adoption of Christianity by King Olav TRYGGVASON in 994. Conversion of the Norwegian kingdom occurred over the next several decades. In 1397, Norway was absorbed into a union with Denmark that lasted more than four centuries. In 1814, Norwegians resisted the cession of their country to Sweden and adopted a new constitution. Sweden then invaded Norway but agreed to let Norway keep its constitution in return for accepting the union under a Swedish king. Rising nationalism throughout the 19th century led to a 1905 referendum granting Norway independence. Although Norway remained neutral in World War I, it suffered heavy losses to its shipping. Norway proclaimed its neutrality at the outset of World War II, but was nonetheless occupied for five years by Nazi Germany (1940-45). In 1949, neutrality was abandoned and Norway became a member of NATO. Discovery of oil and gas in adjacent waters in the late 1960s boosted Norway’s economic fortunes. In referenda held in 1972 and 1994, Norway rejected joining the EU. Key domestic issues include immigration and integration of ethnic minorities, maintaining the country’s extensive social safety net with an aging population, and preserving economic competitiveness.
The Norwegian economy is a prosperous economy with a vibrant private sector, a large state sector, and an extensive social safety net. Norway opted to stay out of the EU during a referendum in November 1994; nonetheless, as a member of the European Economic Area, it contributes sizably to the EU budget.
The country is richly endowed with natural resources in addition to oil and gas, including hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals. The government manages the country’s petroleum resources through extensive regulation. The petroleum sector provides about 9% of jobs, 18.6% of GDP, and 46% of exports, according to official national estimates. Norway is one of the world’s leading petroleum exporters, though oil production in 2014 was nearly 52% below its peak in 2000; annual gas production, conversely, more than doubled over the same time period.
In anticipation of eventual declines in oil and gas production, Norway saves state revenue from petroleum sector activities in the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, valued at over $800 billion as of mid-2015. The government allows itself to use up to 4% of the fund’s value, it’s annual expected real rate of return, to help balance the federal budget each year. After solid GDP growth in 2004-07, the economy slowed in 2008, and contracted in 2009, before returning to modest, positive growth from 2010-15. Lower oil prices in 2015 caused growth to slow; higher extraction costs, particularly in the Barents Sea, is also expected to deter investment.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$352.8 billion (2015 est.)
$349.7 billion (2014 est.)
$342.2 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars