Photo: Nils-Erik Bjørholt -
Fjord Tours Articles / 13 Feb 2020

Surprising Facts About Norway

If you’re planning a trip to Norway, we bet you’ve done a lot of reading on the country, the culture, and the history. So, you probably already know the basics. That’s why today we’re sharing some of the more obscure and surprising fun facts about Norway and the Norwegian lifestyle that we bet you haven’t heard yet. We hope we can teach you something new about this beautiful country!

Kelvin Zyteng Z5tsnuguttw Unsplash
Photo: Kelvin Zyteng / Unsplash

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!

Salmon Sushi 

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.

Maximum Prison Sentence 

Life in jail? Not in Norway The maximum prison sentence is 21 years. The Norwegian prison system focuses on rehabilitation and low reoffending rates. 

Vipeace 2016 VO06857 Foto Susanne A. Finnes
Photo: Susanne A. Finnes/

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. 

Ikea Furniture

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.

Ian Parker Tlcldigmtke Unsplash
Photo: 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. 

Photo: Tamas Katona/ Unsplash