Norway ,officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Scandinavian unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the subantarctic Bouvet Island.[note 1] Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of about 5 million. It is the second least densely populated country in Europe. The country shares a long border with Sweden (1,619 km, or 1,006 mi, long), which is the longest uninterrupted border within both Europe and the Schengen Area. Norway is also bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak Strait across from Denmark to the south. It shares maritime borders with Russia by the Barents Sea; Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland by the Norwegian Sea; and Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom by the North Sea. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is home to its famous fjords. The capital city and the largest with the highest population at almost 1 million is Oslo.
The first inhabitants were the Ahrensburg culture (11th to 10th millennia BC) which was a late Upper Paleolithic culture during the Younger Dryas, the last spell of cold at the end of the Weichsel glaciation. The culture is named after the village of Ahrensburg, 25 km (15.53 mi) north-east of Hamburg in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, where wooden arrow shafts and clubs have been excavated. The earliest traces of human occupation in Norway are found along the coast, where the huge ice shelf of the last ice age first melted between 11,000 and 8,000 BC. The oldest finds are stone tools dating from 9,500 to 6,000 BC, discovered in Finnmark (Komsa culture) in the north and Rogaland (Fosna culture) in the south-west. However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslo Fjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.
Norway comprises the western part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. The rugged coastline, broken by huge fjords and thousands of islands, stretches 25,000 kilometres (16,000 mi) and 83,000 kilometres (52,000 mi) and include fjords and islands. Norway shares a 1,619-kilometre (1,006 mi) land border with Sweden, 727 kilometres (452 mi) with Finland and 196 kilometres (122 mi) with Russia to the east. To the north, west and south, Norway is bordered by the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea and Skagerrak.
Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita (after Luxembourg) and fourth highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Today, Norway ranks as the second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation. According to the CIA World Factbook, Norway is a net external creditor of debt. Norway maintained first place in the world in the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for six consecutive years (2001–2006), and then reclaimed this position in 2009 and 2010. The standard of living in Norway is among the highest in the world. Foreign Policy Magazine ranks Norway last in its Failed States Index for 2009, judging Norway to be the world's most well-functioning and stable country. Continued oil and gas exports coupled with a healthy economy and substantial accumulated wealth lead to a conclusion that Norway will remain among the richest countries in the world in the foreseeable future.
The Norwegian farm culture continues to play a role in contemporary Norwegian culture. In the 18th century, it brought about a strong romantic nationalistic movement, which is still visible in the Norwegian language and media. In the 19th century, Norwegian culture blossomed as efforts continued to achieve an independent identity in the areas of literature, art and music. This continues today in the performing arts and as a result of government support for exhibitions, cultural projects and artwork.
Top 25 places in Norway
An exotic offshoot of the Setesdalen valley
The Southern Norway archipelago
The Telemark Canal
Rjukan with the power station and the "heavy water" museum