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Nordic FAQ - 6 of 7 - NORWAY

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A Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) file for the newsgroup
S O C . C U L T U R E . N O R D I C
*** PART 6: NORWAY ***

Fact Sheet
General information
Geography, climate, vegetation
Population, language, culture
! Kings & Queens
Olof Skøtkonung and his friends
Main tourist attractions
Norwegian literature
Sons of Norway
Dictionaries and other study material

Subject: 6.1 Fact Sheet

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Name:  Kongeriket Norge (Bokmål)
       Kongeriket Noreg (Nynorsk)

Telephone country code:   47

Area:  323,878 km² / 125,065 sq mi.

Overseas territories:  Svalbard     62 700,0 km²
                       Jan Mayen       380,0 km²
                       Bouvet Island    58,5 km²
                       Peter I Island  249,2 km²

Land boundaries:  Sweden, Finland, Russia

Terrain:  mostly high plateaus and rugged mountains broken by fertile valleys;
          small, scattered plains;
          coastline deeply indented by fjords;
          arctic tundra in north

Largest glaciers:  Jostedalsbreen, 486 km²
                   Svartisen, 369 km²
                   Folgefonni 212 km²

Highest point:  Glittertinden, 2,472 m (8,110 ft)

Natural resources:  crude oil, copper, natural gas, pyrites,
                    nickel, iron ore, zinc, lead,
                    fish, timber, hydropower

Population:  4,413,800 (1997)

Population density:  13.6 persons per km² (35 per sq mi).
                     (lowest in Finnmark: 1.7 persons per km²)

Distribution:  71% urban, 29% rural. (1990)

Average annual growth:  3.5% (1997)

Life expectancy:  women 81 years; men 75 years (1994)

Infant mortality:  5.2 per 1,000 live births. (1994)

Average fertility:  1.87 (1995)

Average age at marriage:  women 32.6; men 29.5 (1994)

Divorces per marriage:  53% (1994)

Capital:  Oslo (population: 500,000) (1997)

Other major towns (1995):  Bergen (223,000),
                           Trondheim (144,000),
                           Stavanger (104,000)
                           Fredrikstad (65,700)
                           Kristiansand (62,300)
                           Tromsø (56,600)

Flag:  a blue Nordic cross outlined in white on a red background.

Type:  Constitutional monarchy

Head of state:  King Harald V

National anthem:  Ja, vi elsker dette landet

Royal anthem:  Kongesangen

Languages:  Norwegian (two written forms: Bokmål and Nynorsk).
            Small Finnish- and Sámi-speaking minorities.
            The North Sámi language has official status in
            the northern parts of the country.

Currency:  krone (Norwegian crown, NOK).
           for the current exchange rate,
           see the URL <>

Climate:  temperate along coast, warmed by the Gulf stream;
          colder interior. Rainy year-round on west coast.
          Average temp. in Oslo:
          -7°C -  2°C in Jan.,
          13°C - 22°C in July.
          Current and historic data on temperature/precipitation/humidity
          from 50 stations all over the country are available at:

Religion:  Evangelic-Lutheran (88%) (official state-religion)

Exports:  petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, fish,
          aluminium, ships, pulp and paper.


Subject: 6.2 General information 6.2.1 Geography, climate, vegetation Norway is located on the Scandinavian peninsula; its long, craggy coast forms the western margin of the peninsula and fronts the Atlantic Ocean (sometimes known as the Norwegian Sea) for most of the country's length. To the southwest the North Sea separates Norway from the British Isles, and directly to the south the Skagerrak separates it from Denmark. In the east Norway shares an extensive border with Sweden and for a shorter one with Finland and Russia in the north. From north to south, Norway is about 1,770 km long, but for much of the distance it is very narrow, exceeding 160km of breadth only in the south. About one third of the country lies within the Arctic Circle, where the sun shines 24 hours at the height of the summer. Characteristic of the terrain are rugged mountains interrupted by valleys that cut into the land. Along much of the coast cliffs drop impressively to the sea, forming the fjords which are among the most distinctive features of Norwegian geography. The longest and deepest of them is the Sogne Fjord. About 150,000 offshore islands serve as a barrier that helps to protect Norway's coast from Atlantic storms. Among these, the Lofoten Islands are the largest and also a very popular tourist attraction. The climate is temperate, and the severity of winter along the coast is moderated by southerly air currents brought in above the waters of the North Atlantic Drift, which is warmed by the Gulf Stream. Summers are relatively cool throughout the country; rainfall is high everywhere, most of all on the coasts, of course. The rivers contain abundant salmon and trout, which are among the country's most famous exports. Spruce and pine are the most common trees in Norway's forests, and deciduous trees, such as birch and ash, are common in the lowlands. In the mountain regions, heather is abundant, as well as low bushes that provide numerous delicious berries. Timber is one of the foremost natural resources. In addition, Norway has tremendous resources in its offshore oil and gas fields in the North Sea as well as in the hydroelectric potential of the numerous rapids and waterfalls. Iron and copper are also mined. 6.2.2 Economy Only about 3% of Norway is arable land; for this reason Norway's main source of livelihood has traditionally been fishery. Norway emerged as an industrial nation from the beginning of this century, partly due to local elites investing money in shipbuilding, woolspinning, timber and pulp production, and partly because of foreign companies building up on electrochemical industry based upon cheap hydro-electric power. Norway has also had one of the biggest merchant fleets of the world. The financial surplus made by this type of service made it possible to outweigh the deficit of trade with other countries, and hence is an important economic and political factor in Norwegian history. Production of petroleum and gas has, however, become the foremost industry with the discovery of offshore fields. Food, beverage, and tobacco processing rank second. The manufacture of transportation equipment, primarily ships and boats (the major export), ranks third, followed by production of metal and metal products. 6.2.3 Population, language, culture Norway's population is primarily Germanic. The largest ethnic minority are Sámi (Lapps) living Northern Norway (Finnmark) who number about 20,000; a few thousand Norwegian Finns (Kvens) live in northern Norway. Norwegian is a Germanic language developed from the Old Norse spoken in the viking age; it is closely related to both Danish and Swedish. Norway has hundreds of dialects of spoken Norwegian (corresponding to different geographical regions or locales) and two official written norms, Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål, which has its basis in large part in the Danish spoken during the period of Danish rule, serves as the written norm for most of the dialects of the larger urban centers. Nynorsk, created by the philologist Ivar Andreas Aasen (1813-96) who drew it from the old rural dialects that preserve Norwegian as it descended from Old Norse, serves as the written norm for most of the dialects of rural areas and some smaller urban centers. Norway, while becoming increasingly urbanized, is still one of the least urbanized countries in Europe. Population is extremely sparse in northern Norway and inland; except for Iceland, it is the lowest in Europe. It's worth to note that both Nynorsk and Bokmål are pure written languages. No one actually speaks these languages - in Norway all spoken languages are regarded as dialects. But one has to remember that over 80% of the pupils in Norwegian schools chose to learn Bokmål, and that the vocabulary of Bokmål is influenced by Danish whereas the vocabulary of Nynorsk lies closer to Swedish. The minority language Nynorsk is thus protected by laws, ensuring for instance that at least 25% of the radio and tv transmissions are in Nynorsk, and a national theater Det Norske Teatret playing in Nynorsk, Frequently questions about common Scandinavian names come up in the newsgroup. The national statistical office of Norway has made tables over the most common names to make your choice easier. :-) Norway has a strongly developed tradition of folk music; its most distinguished classical composers were Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Christian Sinding (1856-1941), and Johan Svendsen (1840-1911), all of whom made much use of traditional music. The painting of Edvard Munch (1863-1944) has achieved worldwide recognition. Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) produced a vast body of sculpture, which has been collected in Frogner Park in Oslo. For Norwegian literature, see section 6.5. 6.2.4 Government Norway is a hereditary constitutional monarchy, with a constitution that was drafted in 1814. It gives broad powers to the king, but the council of ministers, headed by the prime minister, generally exercises this power as king in council. The 165 members of the Storting, or parliament, are elected for a fixed term of 4 years by all Norwegians 18 years of age or older. The major political parties are the Labor party (Arbeiderpartiet), the largest single party, the Conservative party (Høyre), and the Center Party (Senterpartiet). The Labor party, which was responsible for creating the social-democratic welfare state, headed the government for 37 years during the period 1935-81. A debate about high taxes and rising inflation caused the Labor party to lose ground to center-right groups. The Conservatives under Kare Willoch were in office from 1981 to 1986, when they were ousted by Labor, led by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway's first woman premier. Brundtland has since resigned as the party leader (the office is currently held by Torbjørn Jagland), but still represents the party as the prime minister. In the current election period (1993-1997), Senterpartiet (Center Party) is bigger than Høyre. [ the sections above are available at the www-page ]
Subject: 6.3 History Norway's history is divided in two parts: Before 1387, and after 1814. :-> A chronology of important dates: 800's The bloody conflicts between tribal kingdoms, as well as a craving for adventure, prompted Norwegians to leave their lands in what are known as Viking voyages. Warriors from the fjords (Vik in Norse) raided throughout western Europe and into the Mediterranean. 890's Harald Hårfagre ("fair-hair") unites Norway to a single kingdom. Ireland falls under Norwegian rule. Iceland is colonized. 995 King Olav Tryggvason converts to Christianity. 1000 (circa) Norway is split in three parts by Olof Skötkonung, King of Svealand, his step-father Svend Forkbeard, King of Denmark, and the exiled Jarl Eirik. King Olav Tryggvason is defeated. Jarl Eirik gets a third of Norway as his own, and the part of Olof Skötkonung's as his vassal. The viking chieftain King Olav Haraldsson defeats and slays the son of Jarl Eirik, but unites with Eirik against King Olof of Svealand. Unpease pesters the life in Jämtland and Bohuslän. 1022 King Canute the Great (of Denmark) conquered also Norway. King Olav escaped to his relative King Jaroslav in Novgorod, where he raised an army. The new King of Sweden, Amund Jakob, supports king Olav Haraldsson. 1029 Bishopric in Trondheim 1030 The battle of Stiklestad in Trøndelag, in which Olav Haraldsson (canonized as St. Olav) is killed. The pilgrimages to his grave in Nidaros (Trondheim) begin. When King Canute the Great dies in 1035 the Danish supremacy over Norway is exchanged in a Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance. It was settled that if one of the two realm's kings should die without heirs, then the other would succeed him. 1042 King Hardeknud of Denmark dies without an heir, and Denmark and Norway is again united - now under King Magnus. 1047 A retired colonel from Constantinople, later called Harald Hårdråde, and actually an uncle of King Magnus, returned to his native country and made demands on half of the kingdom. As King Magnus refused, the uncle, allied with a claimant to the Danish kingdom. King Magnus was defeated and the union between Denmark and Norway was split. 1066 Harald (Hårdråde) killed in the battle of Stamford Bridge while attempting to conquer England. Viking raids come to an end. 1184 After a civil war, the illegitimate son of King Sigurd, Sverre, is acknowledged as sole king. He consolidated the power of monarchy, created a new nobility and replaced an aristocratic administration with royal officials. His firm hand in ruling the church led Pope Innocent III to excommunicate him and lay Norway under interdict. 1261/62 Greenland and Iceland are subjected to Norwegian rule. 1266 King Magnus VI Lagabøter (Law-Mender) ended a lingering war with Scotland by selling the Isle of Man and the Hebrides to Scotland. 1274 Magnus VI introduces a general code of laws which remains in use for more than four centuries, replacing local legal systems with a unified code for the entire kingdom. It strengthened the position of the monarch by treating crime not as a private matter but as an offense against king and country. Magnus also promulgated municipal laws and accepted a basically independent status for the church. 1319 The three-years old King Magnus of Norway is elected King of Sweden too. This marks in many ways the end of Norway as an independent kingdom, although the Norwegian magnates in the Norwegian Senate (Council of the Realm) will continue to meet for several hundreds of years. 1349-50 Black plague, "Svartedauen", kills one third of Norways inhabitants. 1379 Marriage ties linked Norway with both Sweden and Denmark, and Queen Margarete, the wife of Haakon VI, succeeded in gaining control of the country as their son the king was only five years old. (He had, by the way, been elected King of Denmark already.) 1387 The under-age king died, and with him the Norwegian royal house died out. The nobles of the Senate (the Council of the Realm) elected Erik of Pomerania, Margarethe's grandnephew, as their king. Margarethe is appointed Regent and unites Norway, Sweden, and Denmark in the Union of Kalmar. _______________________________________________ 1536 Norway becomes a subject of the Danish crown, little more than a Danish province. Danish becomes the written language of Norway. Reformation makes Norway Lutheran. 1645 The provinces of Jämtland and Härjedalen are ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway's participation in the Thirty Years' War. In 1658, Bohuslän is lost to Sweden, too. 1716-18 Sweden attacks Norway, but has to retreat when king Karl XII is killed at Fredrikshald. _______________________________________________ 1814 The peace treaty of Kiel gives Norway to Sweden. Norway declares independence at Eidsvoll, but after a short war against Sweden Norway agrees to a personal union with Sweden. The Norwegian constitution was written. 1905 The union with Sweden falls apart and Norway becomes an independent kingdom. The Danish prince Karl becomes king Haakon VII of Norway. 1940 The Altmark Incident February 16th British blockaders discovered the German war-ship Graf Spee heading home along the Norweigan coast with 299 British merchant seamen captured. The Brititsh Admiralty ordered their rescue at all costs. The destroyer Cossack pursued the Altmark into Jøssing fjord near Stavanger, and despite Norweigan protests boarded and captured her, releasing the prisoners. Norweigan protests of this violation died away in the face of British proof that Norway had permitted an armed vessel to take refuge in neutral waters. April 2-3rd Germany's naval forces start their journey to occupy Norway and Denmark, operation Weserübung. April 8th the British Navy placed mines in Norwegian territorial waters off North Norway, in an attempt to halt the shipment of Swedish iron ore over the port of Narvik. This concurrence of events was purely coincidental. The German occupation of Norway had been planned in meticulous detail months in advance and had no connection with the British mine-laying. Germany attacks Norway on 9th of April, and after two months of resistance completes the occupation. The Norwegian king and government flee to England. The leader of Norways National Socialist party, Vidkun Quisling, is nominated by Hitler to form a puppet regime. 1941-45 The Norwegian resistance, "Hjemmefronten", is organized. With its 50,000 members it made life more difficult for the Nazi occupiers in Norway, while many Norwegians joined British or American forces to fight the Germans. The Norwegian merchant fleet played a vital role in aiding the Allies. Although it lost half of its fleet, the country recovered quickly after the war. 1945 Germany surrenders to the Allies and the Nazi-occupation ends in Norway. 1949 Norway joins NATO. 1957 Olav V becomes king after the death of Haakon VII. 1970s Large oil finds in the North Sea make Norway prosperous. 1972 Norway holds a referendum about joining the EEC: the people vote NO. 1991 On Olav's death in January, his son Harald V succeeded him as the king of Norway. 1994 A referendum about joining the EU will was held November 27-28th. Again, the Norwegians voted "NO" by a clear majority and thus remained outside the union while Sweden and Finland joined. [ the sections above are available at the www-page ]
Subject: 6.4 Main tourist attractions 6.4.1 Bergen Bergen located about 300 km west of Oslo, on a sheltered inlet of the North Sea, it is an important port and the country's second-largest city. Warm Historical landmarks include the King Haakon's Hall (1261), St. Mary's Church (12th century), the Rosencrantz Tower (1562) and the old wooden merchant's quarters (Bryggen) at the harbour. One of the Bryggen buildings (Finnegården) houses a Hansaetic Museum, another (modern one) houses a medieval museum (Bryggens museum). The city also has a university (1948) and National Theater (1850), and it was the birthplace of the composer Edvard Grieg and the violinist Ole Bull. Fantoft stave church (built 1150) and Grieg's home Troldhaugen are located a short distance to the south of the city. The city was founded in 1070 by King Olaf III; it became a leading trade center and Norway's capital during the 12th and 13th centuries. It joined the Hansaetic League in the 14th century, and German merchants from the league developed trade monopolies here that lasted into the 18th century. Occupied during World War II by the Germans, the city suffered heavy damage during Allied bombings. Bergen is surrounded by mountains low enough to be climbed on foot but sufficiently high to offer a great view. There are many good paths for hikers, but there are also a cable cars going to the highest peak, mount Ulriken (606m above sea), and to Fløyen (314m) which is a bit closer to the centre. <The following from an article by Daniel R. Juliano> I am not sure how you are getting from Bergen to Oslo, but I would suggest the beautiful scenic train that takes you between the two if you are not flying. It stops quite often and lets you get out in the mountains and look around. It is warm up there, yet there is tons of snow. At least there was when I was there two years ago this month. If you could get to Oystese and see the Hardanger fjord that is the most beautiful one I ever saw. But, you have to take a bus or drive there. When we were there the buses were on strike (of course) and we rented a car. Scary. You have to drive on these huge mountains with no guard rail where you are literally one foot from the edge and you have to go through huge tunnels. A police man actually pulled us over for going to slow. :) We did take a boat tour in Bergen of the fjords which we enjoyed. My family went to see Grieg's house. They enjoyed that. They also saw the stave church. I didn't go along to those so I don't know if I should recommend them. On most days in Bergen there is a fish market in the main part of town which is quite interesting. They sell fish that they have just caught, as well as fresh fruit, flowers, bread and handicrafts. It is closed on Sundays. Oh, we also went on a tour of some church and of the Hansa houses. That was neat. Ok, I'll stop. Again. If you have any more specific questions, just ask. <From: Jan Setnan> I always recommend taking the boat from Bergen to Balestrand in the evening. Then the express ferry from Balestrand to Flåm. The trip from Bergen to Flåm will give you an impressive view of the fjords. Then you take the nighttrain flom Flåm to Oslo, arriving the next morning. The boat from Bergen to Balestrand may be filled with tourists so you probably should reserve tickets. But the ferry from Balestrand to Flåm should give you no problems. The train tickets you should reserve beforehand. The luggage is another problem travelling from boat to boat to train. If you have several items, you could send most of it with the train from Bergen to Oslo, and only take the necessary minimum with you on the boats. The boat ticket from Bergen to Flåm is about $65. <From: Melvin Klasse> When I went to Bergen, in early-July 1988, the "Tourist Information Centre" (*very* close to the SAS Hotel in Bergen) had all sorts of accomodation available, from a "pension" (bed & shared bathroom & NO-breakfast) to "tourist-class" hotels. * Get an umbrella -- if it isn't raining, you're not in Bergen!!! * Walk around the Fish Market, of course. * The WW II "War Resistance" museum chronicles the time of the German presence. * Take the Fløybanen (train ride at 23 degrees "up" the hill). * See Edward Greig's summer-house "Troldhaugen". * Make reservations for dinner & entertainment with "Fana Folklore". 6.4.2 Oslo Oslo lies at the head of Oslo Fjord, about 97 km from the open sea. The city first occupied the small Åkershus Peninsula, where a fortress was built in 1300. Oslo was founded about 1050 to the east of the present city. Early in the 17th century fire destroyed the town, mostly built of wood. King Christian IV ordered the city to be rebuilt on the Åkershus Peninsula below the fortress, which could protect it. The new city was laid out on a square plan and was named Christiania after its founder (the name Oslo was readopted in 1925). The city remained small until the 19th century; in 1814, it's population was only 11,200. That year, Norway was separated from Denmark and was joined into Sweden by a personal union. Christiania became the national capital and started to grow. The Royal Palace was built, and the Storting (Parliament) and government offices were established. By 1910, the population had already reached 225,000. Today Oslo is a well-planned city with wide, straight streets. Government offices and the central business district are focused on Karl Johansgate, which is the main street in Oslo. By the harbour is the two-towered City Hall (completed 1950), the city's most famous landmark, facing the fjord and the downtown area. Oslo is also the cultural heart of Norway. The university, which was founded in 1811, is the largest in the country. The city also contains the National Theater, the Bygdøy folk museum with a large collection of traditional buildings, and a museum of excavated Viking ships. On Holmenkollen, a mountain overlooking the city, is a famous ski jump, the site of many winter sports competitions. Frogner Park contains the statuary of Gustav Vigeland. <From: Ken Ewing> I spent a week in Oslo in July, 1989. I don't know what you might be interested in, but here's a rundown of stuff that I did (please forgive any misspellings...I don't have my travel info in front of me. :-) * City Hall. Called "Rådhuset" in Norwegian. This is a large, twin-towered building right on the waterfront. The ground floor is the national tourist office. Here you can arrange for tours, find out interesting things to see, buy guidebooks, etc. * Akershus Fortress. Easy to find. It's a genuine medieval fort right on the waterfront. It's something of a symbol for Oslo in that having been under siege nine times since its construction in the 1300's, it has never fallen to an enemy. Guided tours are available. In or near the Akershus Fortress are many museums, including: + Resistance Museum. A "must-see" for WWII enthusiasts. It looks very small from outside the door, but it's quite large inside. It documents the German occupation and TONS of artifacts, photos, etc. + Christiania Exhibit (I think it's called that). This is a model and show about the history of Oslo. Oslo was originally located a but further south, and the current site of Oslo used to be called Christiania, named after King Christian IV. * Take a water taxi across the bay to Bygdøy. There are several museums over there, including: + Maritime Museum. Pretty big place. If you're into maritime topics (which I am) you can spend a few hours here. + Fram Museum. The Fram is a sailing ship built around 1897. It was basically designed to be a wooden-hulled icebreaker. The designer had a theory that the Arctic ice cap flowed with "currents" matching those of the ocean underneath, and that if a ship could lodge itself in the ice, it could ride these currents across the North Pole. He built this ship, lodged it into the ice, and proved his theory (coming with five degrees of the North Pole). The ship is now housed within this museum. + Kon-Tiki museum. Contains Thor Heyerdahl's ships Kon-Tiki and Ra II. You might remember Ra II from the movie made in 1973 (I think). There is also a life-size copy of a statue from Easter Island, and also a genuine, taxidermed, 30-foot whale shark suspended underneath the Kon Tiki. All three of these museums are right next to one another. A little farther down the road (easy walking distance) you'll find: + Viking Ship Museum. This building looks like a church from the outside, and is not marked very well with signs. It contains three actual Viking ships dug up from the ground, plus a bunch of artifacts from the Viking era. + Folk Museum. This is a large park that contains exhibits of the inland culture of Norway (as opposed to the maritime culture, as the other museums in this area display). The creators of this park went all over Norway and collect farm houses (whole houses!), stave churches (pronounced "stahv" -- some of these structures date back to the 1200s and are still in active use), etc. to show how Norwegian people lived. There are tours available. Employees wear authentic cultural dress. Back in Oslo: * Vigeland Statue Park. This is a 20-acre or so park with 250 statues by Mr. Vigeland, a famous Norwegian sculptor. It's best to get a guidebook of some kind, as the park has a theme to its organization. As I understand it, Vigeland statues are not found outside of Norway. * Historical churches. Olso has been around for a long time, and there are interesting old churches all over town. * The Royal Palace. Norway has a royal family, although the parliament is the governing body. The palace has a military guard that changes regularly. * Downtown shopping. The downtown area of Oslo is really quite small and easily explored by walking. The main street, Karl Johansgate, starts right in front of the Royal Palace and proceeds straight into the downtown area. About halfway or so the street becomes closed to traffic, and thus turns into a large walking mall. The street life is fascinating, with the usual contingent of street musicians and other entertainers. In the harbour is the new shopping complex, Akersbryggen; gleaming modern architecture, restaurants, etc. Other general tips: * In Norway (as well as other Scandinavian countries) you can obtain a "Tourist Card". You can get them for one, two, or three days, and you buy them at the city hall (Rådhuset). This card gives you: + Free transport on busses, trams, and subways. + Discount admission to most museums. + Discounts at some restaurants. Among other advantages. I considered it worth the expense. With the three-day card, you can get discounts on railroad fare to other places in Norway, but you have to purchase tickets *before coming to Norway* (which apparently means that you can obtain a tourist card through a travel agency or perhaps through a Norwegian consulate). * Restaurants seem to be rather rare around Oslo. I like eating out, and I had a rather hard time finding restaurants around town. * Alcohol is strictly controlled. Beer costs $6-$7 for a pint glass. Drunk driving laws are strictly enforced with heavy penalties, and foreigners cannot claim ignorance as an excuse. * Oslo seems to be a safe place. I never felt in danger of physical harm at any time. Virtually everyone there (natives, that is) speaks English (it is a requirement in the school system). 6.4.3 Trondheim Trondheim, a city on the west central coast of Norway, is situated about 400 km north of Oslo. The city is the site of the Technical University of Norway (1900) and the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences (1760). Histoical landmarks include the impressive Nidaros Cathedral (started in 1075, finished c. 1320, burned badly six times, restauration started in 1869), where several Norse kings and Kings of independent Norway have been crowned. The cathedral, built from Norwegian blue soapstone and white marble, contains the tomb of St. King Olaf II (Saint Olaf), which made it an important centre of pilgrimage in the middle ages. Founded as Kaupangr by King Olav Tryggvason in 997, Trondheim was an archbishopric from 1152 until the Reformation (1537). The city was an important administrative and commercial center during the 12th and 13th centuries, but its importance later diminished. Erkebispegården, the archbishop's house by the cathedral survives from the middle ages. Stiftsgården is a long wooden building with a rococo interior. Folkemuseum has a collection of traditional houses and a stave church. The fortified island of Munkholmen just off the city can be reached by a boat. 6.4.4 Hurtigruta Anne Lise Falck <> wrote: I have one particular thing in mind: you should take the time to travel with `Hurtigruta` or Coastal Line as they say in English. It is a beautiful boatride from Bergen to Kirkenes by the Russian border in the north. You have the possibility of stopping in different cities along the coast if you want to, and I believe that the whole trip takes about a week or two. Mike Jittlov adds: IMHO, it's the finest boat cruise in the world. You might consider a variety of travel (it seems to invite adventure and wonderful meetings): take the train from Oslo toward Bergen, but just before that switch trains at Myrdal, winding down the steep gorge to Flåm, and take the ferry through the spectacular fjord (either to Bergen, or a bus to the city); treat yourself to a day or two in Bergen (wonderful fish & rolls at the harborside market), then board the Hurtigruten northbound; the route through the Lofoten Islands is breathtaking, and incredibly healing for spirit and body (weather permitting, the steamer takes a sidetrip into the Trollfjord, and plays Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King" over loudspeakers); continue to Tromsø, then to Nordkapp (incredibly touristy at the northernmost point of Europe - but the contrast can be wild), every village and stop along the way enticing you to stop and explore and learn and enjoy; take the plane to Trondheim, and then the train back to Oslo (with a sidetrip to Hell, a beautiful fjord-town with a unique stamp for your passport ;) -- check out postcards and the free tourist brochures for places that excite your interest. Ask for directions and advice -- everyone is helpful, gracious, and honest; most speak English, and will help you with your Norwegian. The Hurtigruta has also a home page on WWW (both in English and Norwegian): <>. [ the sections above are available at the www-page ]
Subject: 6.5 Norwegian literature The earliest Norwegian literature, the Poetic Edda, was composed in Norway but written down on Iceland in the early middle ages by the descendendants of Norwegian settlers of Iceland. A more ornate and technically complicated poetry was composed by court poets, or skalds, mainly in praise of the battle exploits of various chieftains. From the 16th through the 18th century, Norwegian literature was written in Danish, mostly by priests and civil servants educated in Denmark. The two principal literary figures were Petter Dass in the 17th century and Ludvig, Baron Holberg in the 18th. Dass has given a marvelously vivid picture of life in the north of Norway in his topographical poem, The Trumpet of Nordland (1739; Eng. trans., 1954); Holberg was the first professional author in Dano-Norwegian literature. A highly learned person, he wrote in a variety of genres; his comedies in particular have remained popular. Norways newly won independence from Denmark in 1814 inspired authors to regard themselves as the creators of a national literature and national identity. Henrik Arnold Wergeland, considered by some the Norwegian national poet, enthralled his countrymen with e.g his monumental cosmological poem, Skabelsen, mennesket, og messias (Creation, Man, and Messiah, 1830). The conservative poet and critic Johan Sebastian Cammermeyer Welhaven, however, reproached Wergeland for his refusal to recognize the existence of a shared Dano-Norwegian cultural heritage. But he little effect on either Wergeland or oesther contemporaries, such as Peter Christen Asbørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Møe, who were enthusiastically rediscovering Norway's great past. Asbjørnsen and Møe published their celebrated Norske folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folk Tales) in 1842-44. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, a great Norwegian patriot, also used folklore in his novels describing peasant life. The dramatist Henrik Ibsen is Norway's most famous literary figure; some of his plays are considered to rank with the works of Shakespeare. In the 20th century, three Norwegian novelists have won Nobel Prizes: Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in 1903, Knut Hamsun, most famous for Growth of the Soil (1917; English translation 1920), and Sigrid Undset, author of the epic novel Kristin Lavransdåtter (1920-22; English translation 1923-27). Other important writers of this century include the novelist John Bøjer, the poet Olaf Bull, novelist Olav Duun, playwright and novelist Nordahl Grieg, and novelist Terje Vesaas. More recent authors of note are short-story writer Terje Stigen, novelist Jens Bjørnboe, poet Stein Mehren, the feminist writer Bjørg Vik, and Jostein Gaarder, a former school teacher whose novel on the history of western philosophy (Sophie's World, 1991) has had tremendous success all over the world. For electronic versions of some of the works of Nordic literature, see the collection of Project Runeberg: * Icelandic Literature * Literature from the Viking Age * Medieval Nordic Literature * Danish Literature * Norwegian Literature * Literature of Finland * Literature from the Age of Liberty [ in Sweden and Finland (1719-1772) ] [ the sections above are available at the www-page ]
Subject: 6.6 Sons of Norway <From: Ruth M. Sylte> (Ruth, if you'd like to write a more comprehensive intro I won't say no. :) In recent years, Sons of Norway has been actively reaching out to the "younger" community of Norwegian-Americans. The Viking magazine has many interesting articles that cover subjects on modern Norway. There are also specific pages for children each month that look at various cultural and historical subjects. Sons of Norway also has special membership categories for children and young people. Children (up to age 15) who are the children *and/or* grandchildren of Sons of Norway adult members can be FREE "Heritage" Members in Sons of Norway. This entitles them to a number of benefits, including a quarterly newsletter geared specifically for that age group. The newsletter often carries penpal requests from American and Norwegian children. Young people - (about ages 15-22) can join SoN at a reduced membership rate and receive a newsletter geared toward their age group. SoN also sponsors summer camps where children can go to get an introduction to Norwegian language and culture. They also offer scholarships to study at "Camp Norway" - a 6 week summer language camp in Sandane, Norway - and the University of Oslo's International Summer School. There are a number of active SoN lodges in the San Francisco area. Indeed, anyone looking for Sons of Norway can usually find them organizing the local Syttende Mai events. :-) Sons of Norway has a Heritage Books department (run out of a store called "Tomten") that offers books in Norwegian and English that deal with the subjects listed above (and many others). They can be reached at: Heritage Books 7616 Lyndale Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55423 tlf: 1-800-468-2424 or 1-612-866-3636 fax: 1-612-866-3580 Ruth - Vice-President of Midnattsolen Lodge #6-156 in Orange County ;-) [ the sections above are available at the www-page ]
Subject: 6.7 Dictionaries and study-material Nynorskorboka (Det Norske Samlaget) and Bokmålsordboka (Universitetsforlaget) form the official standard of the the two forms of written Norwegian, "nynorsk" and "bokmål". Nynorskordboka and Bokmålsordboka are available on the huge web of the world at this location: <> This page is entirely in Norwegian, though, so a minimal knowledge of Norwegian (or Swedish or Danish) is necessary. In addition, the following dictionaries can be mentioned: * W. A. Kirkeby. Norsk-engelsk ordbok (Kunnskapsforlaget). Especially good for Norwegian-speakers looking for the idiomatic way to say something in English. * Aschehoug og Gyldendals Store norske orbok ("moderat bokmål og riksmål") * W. A. Kirkeby. Engelsk-norsk ordbok * Einar Haugen. Norsk-engelsk ordbok. Universitetsforlaget. OR the American edition, Norwegian-English Dictionary (not sure of publisher). Especially useful to English-speakers learning Norwegian; includes both Bokm}l and Nynorsk words. * The latest, most up-to-date version of Guttu's dictionary is Norsk illustrert ordbok. Moderat bokmål og riksmål (Oslo 1993, 1009 pages). The format is now almost exactly like that of Bokmålsordboka (17cm x 25.5cm). Both are excellent dictionaries, which can be recommended. However, Norsk illustrert ordbok has a layout that makes it easier to find what you are looking for in big articles. Dave Golber writes: (1) Get Einar Haugen's Norwegian-English dictionary. It's great. (Also, it's got a introductory section that describes Nyn-Bokm.) It's written in English in the sense that the explanations, extended descriptions, etc, are in English, not Norwegian. For English-Norwegian, I don't have any strong opinion. I have and use Kirkeby's Dictionary, and it's good. The Haugen you should be able to order from your local bookstore. The Kirkeby might be harder. I can get you the particulars (publisher, ISBN number, etc). You might have to order it from Norway, but that isn't as hard as you think. Perhaps someone else in the group here will have suggestions. (2) I started using the tapes "Norsk for Utlendingar" (Norwegian for Foreigners). This is used in Norway for teaching Norwegian to immigrants. I think it's great. I wish I'd started using it long ago. It's available in the USA from Audio Forum, with the Norwegian texts that go with it, plus an American supplement. For an outrageous price. But it's worth it. [ the sections above are available at the www-page ] -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- END OF PART 6 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- © Copyright 1994-98 by Antti Lahelma and Johan Olofsson. You are free to quote this page as long as you mention the URL for the original archive (as: <>), where the most recent version of this document can be found. -- e-mail: s-mail: Majeldsvägen 8a, 587 31 LINKÖPING, Sweden www:

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