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25 fun facts about Norway

Norway. Midnight Sun. Northern Lights. Skis. Fjords. Mountains. That might be the extent of associations foreigners have of the country. So, we decided to put together 25 fun facts about Norway that you can impress travel companions and locals alike with, when you come to visit!
Constitunional day in Oslo - Norway
Asgeir Helgestad/Visitnorway.com

From Vikings to 20th-century kings, from odd food habits to ingenious inventions, here are 25 facts you probably didn’t know about Norway:
1. The National Symbol. The national symbol is a rather exotic animal, the lion.
2. Skiing. Norwegians invented skiing some 4000 years ago. The island of Rødøy, in northern Norway, is home to rock carvings of «a skier» that dates back 4000 years.

3. Winter Olympics. Norway has won more medals in the Winter Olympics than any other country, with 368 to date since the first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924.

4. Viking fashion. The Vikings did not, in fact, wear helmets with horns. However, they did drink from polished horns. In particular, their favorite drink, mead - a type of fermented beer-like drink.

5. Viking superfoods. The Viking diet was actually more varied and healthier than what is the common perception. Their travels, also with trade as a purpose, not just pillaging and murdering, gave them access to various spices. They also enjoyed drinking skyr a fermented, creamy yogurt-like cheese that today is considered a «superfood».
The Viking Village - Gudvangen. Norway
Georg Hansen
6. Vinmonopolet. Today, alcohol consumption is somewhat more regulated than in Viking times, and wine and stronger liquor are only sold in official stores, state-controlled, called Vinmonopolet («the wine monopoly»).
7. Coffee consumption. Norwegians tend to be fond of alcoholic beverages but appreciate their (generally black) coffee even more. Their annual consumption of 9.9 kg of coffee per capita is only surpassed by the Finns (12 kg).
8. Dublin. The Norwegians founded Dublin, Ireland, in A.D. 836.
9. Literature. Norwegians read more than any other population in the world, shelling out an average of 500 NOK (US $76) a year per capita on books. More than 2,000 book titles are published annually. Following in the footsteps of literary giants Knut Hamsun and Henrik Ibsen, today’s most famous authors include the crime-writer Jo Nesbø and the author of «My Struggle», Karl-Ove Knausgård.
10. The Scream. The most famous artwork to come out of Norway is Edvard Munch’s iconic «The Scream», and once held the Guinness World Record for «the world’s most expensive painting» when a version of it (there are 4 ), was sold for almost $120 mill. at Sotheby’s in 2012.
11. Minnesota is the unofficial Norwegian capital of the United States, and more Norwegians live in Minnesota than in any other state. Prince, however, was not one of them.
12. The Northe Cape bills itself as the northernmost point in Europe. The settlement is nearer to the North Pole than to Oslo.
Midnight sun at North Cape - Norway
Christian Roth Christensen / Visitnorway.com
13. In Svalbard, an island 2030 km north of Oslo, 1050 km south of the North Pole it is required by law to be armed when you leave a settlement due to the danger of a polar bear encounter.
14. Sognefjorden is the largest fjord in Norway and the second largest in the world. It is the longest ice-free fjord in the world and stretches 205 km inland from the ocean.
15. Lærdalstunnellen is the world’s longest road tunnel at 24.5 km. It was opened in November 2000, and it is well-lit and pleasant to drive through.
Water on the Hardangervidda- Norway
Therese Ruud/ Statens Vegvesen
16. Hardangervidda mountain plateau is the biggest of its kind in Europe. It is also the home of the largest reindeer population on the continent.
17.The samis. Half the world’s Sami population lives in Norway. They are a Finno-Urgic people who inhabit a region known as Sápmi, which includes large parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Murmansk region of Russia.
18. Stave Chruches. Norway’s most famous architectural «invention» is probably the stave church. The singular medieval wood churches look like something straight out of a fantasy novel. Today only 28 are left (from over 1000), and a must-see when visiting the country.
19. Black Metal. Talking about stave churches, a mention must be made of black metal as Heavy Metal, «satanism» and the burning of stave churches (now rebuilt in Oslo and Bergen) created an unholy symbiosis in the 1990s Norway. Today, fortunately, «Norwegian black metal» is more synonymous with the global success of trail-blazing bands like Satyricon and Dimmu Borgir.
20.The Troll car. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that there used to be a car brand named Troll! Only 5 cars were ever made, and thankfully they are all preserved in «car museums» and the like. The car was in production between 1956 and 58 in the factory in Lunde, Telemark. The Think car, a pioneering electric car, was another Norwegian car project that was permanently parked (after being bought by Ford).
21. Brown cheese is a staple on Norwegian breakfast and lunch tables. If you are a cheese lover who does not feel tempted by the caramel-like brown cheese, don’t worry! Norway has a number of world-class artisanal cheese producers like «Ostegården» winner of «World cheese awards» in 2018 and «Tingvoll» winner of the same in 2016. It was also a Norwegian who invented the cheese slicer.
22. Chocolate factory. Roald Dahl, the English author of Norwegian descent, based his «Charlie and the Chocolate Factory» on the Freia chocolate factory in Oslo.
23. The paperclip. On the subject of inventions, the paperclip was patented by Norwegian Johan Vaaler in 1890.
24. The King on the tram. King Olav V took the public tram during the oil crisis in December 1973. The king paying his ticket is one of the most iconic photographs in Norway.
25. Happy Country. According to The Happiness Research Institute, Norway is the second happiest country on earth, only beaten by Finland (must be that extra coffee they consume!).
Things to do in Bergen - Fjord cruise and lunch at Cornelius's on Holmen - happy chef - Bergen.  Norway

More Surprising Facts About Norway

Fresh Air

Don’t be alarmed if you see an infant sitting outside in cold temperatures. Norwegians are strong believers in the healing power of fresh air and will often let their children nap outdoors from as young as two weeks old—even on cold days!
Kelvin Zyteng / Unsplash


Do you love salmon sushi? You can thank Norway for that. In the 1980s, Norway introduced the idea of salmon sushi to the Japanese as a way of promoting the export of salmon. You could definitely say the idea took off. Salmon sushi is now a staple in just about every Japanese restaurant in the world.
Nobel Peace Price - Oslo, Norway
Susanne A. Finnes/ Visitoslo.com

Nobel Peace Prize

Since 1901, the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony has been held in Oslo. The ceremony occurs in December at Oslo’s City Hall building. When you are in Oslo you can go visit the Nobel Peace Center to get more information about the history behind the prize and check out all the winners.


Ever wondered how Ikea comes up with their product names. Well, some of them are inspired by places in Norway! The furniture chain draws inspiration for its product names from a number of Scandinavian countries.

Illegal Death

Yes, you read that correctly. In Longyearbyen, a region of Norway’s Arctic, dying is illegal. This is because the temperatures are so cold that bodies don’t decompose. This raises concerns about the spread of diseases. Researchers have actually successfully extracted samples of the deadly Spanish Flu which ravaged many areas in 1918, killing upwards of 100 million people. Scientists hope that studying these samples will help prevent similar outbreaks from occurring in the future. When occupants of the archipelago are close to death, they are transported to the mainland to live out their final days.
Suprising facts about Norway - Penguin
Ian Parker / Unsplash

Knighted Penguin

Yes, again, you might have thought you misread that. But, Norway has, in fact, knighted a penguin who lives in Scotland. When Lieutenant Nils Egelien of the Norwegian King’s Guard visited the Edinburgh Zoo in the 1960s, he fell in love with the penguin colony. When he returned he adopted a penguin and named him Nils Olav. The original Nils Olav, unfortunately, passed away and was replaced with Nils Olav II who received his knighthood in 2008. When Nils Olav II passed away he was replaced by Nils Olav III who became a brigadier in 2016. You can’t make this stuff up!

Gas Prices

If you plan on renting a car for your travels around Norway, you will likely be a little bit alarmed when you see the prices. Gas prices in Norway are amongst the most expensive in the world. Instead of subsidizing the cost of gas, the government uses the money to fund progressive programs like free college education for residents.

Frozen Pizza

Grandiosa Pizza is essentially an unofficial national dish in Norway. Every year, the country’s 5.3 million people consume a whopping 47 million frozen pizzas. Try one while you’re there!

Voss Bottled Water

Ever wondered where the popular glass bottled water company originated? You guessed it, Voss is a Norwegian company.
Voss water - Norway
Tamas Katona/ Unsplash

Get to know the Norwegians

The typical Norwegian cherishes nature and embraces the great outdoors. Minimalist in design and lifestyle, they prioritize practicality. Norwegians honor heritage and folklore, fostering a vibrant, inclusive society that blends tradition with a modern, open-minded outlook while embracing sustainability.