Norway History and Politics

According to, the country of Norway is famous for its “Viking Age”, a period believed to have started with the looting of England’s Lindisfarne monastery by Norse pirates in 793 BC. The Vikings were great sailors and warriors who conquered many lands.

The Viking leader Harald Hårfagre “the one with the beautiful hair”, unifies Norway around the year 900 and becomes its first sovereign. At the same time, some Vikings settled in England, France, Ireland and Iceland. From 1380, Denmark and Norway became a single kingdom. This union will be dissolved in 1814, when Norway joins Sweden.

In 1905, both countries peacefully separate: Norway is finally independent. When, in 1940, the country was invaded by German troops, the king and queen refused to recognize the imposed government.

For five years, the Royal Norwegian Government, exiled in London, supported the Norwegian Resistance of the Homeland Front. Norway has a great attachment to the values of democracy and tolerance; an attachment that is clearly reflected in the way of life of its citizens. Norway remained neutral during the world wars, but was occupied by the Nazis in 1940, who rampaged through towns and villages to quell resistance. The royal family returned to power at the end of the war.

In 1960 Norway joined the European Free Trade Association and for the next two decades instituted reforms that made it the largest egalitarian social democracy in Western Europe. Norway has achieved one of the highest standards of living in the world.

It was Viking

The Viking period (between the 9th and 11th centuries) meant the unification and expansion of Norway. The Norwegian royal line died in 1387 and the country entered a period of union with Denmark from 1450 through a treaty. This marked the beginning of what is now known in Norway as the “night of 400 years”, being considered the weakest link in the union with Denmark. After Denmark’s alliance with Napoleon, Norway was ceded to the King of Sweden in 1814.

Norway again independent

In Norway irritation grew during the 19th century about the union of the two kingdoms, and finally the personal union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, when the Norwegian government offered the throne of Norway to Prince Charles of Denmark. After a plebiscite approving the establishment of the monarchy, the parliament unanimously elected him king. It took the name Haakon VII, following the lineage of the kings of independent Norway. Norway remained neutral during World War I, but as a result of the invasion by Nazi Germany and the occupation of Norway during World War II, Norwegians became skeptical of the concept of neutrality.

Norway was one of the signatories to the founding treaty of NATO in 1949 and was a founding member of the United Nations. Norway rejected its membership of the European Union (EU) by referendum on two occasions (1972 and 1994), but is linked to it through the European economy area.


Norway is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. The functions of the king are mainly ceremonial, but it has an influence as the symbol of national union. Although the 1814 constitution guarantees important executive powers to the king, these are in almost all cases executed by the council of state in the name of the king (king’s council). The council of state or cabinet consists of the Prime Minister and his council, appointed by the king. Since 1884, the parliamentary system has ensured that the council has the approval of parliament, so the appointments made by the king are a mere formality.

The 165 members of the Norwegian Parliament, or Storting, are elected from the 19 counties for four-year terms according to proportional representation. Although it is a unicameral legislature, to consider or modify the legislation, the Norwegian parliament elects a quarter of its members to form an upper house or Lagting, while the other members constitute a lower house or Odelsting.

The capital

Oslo, a cheerful, open and lively city, has 500,000 residents. It is the seat of government and the economic and cultural center of the country. This city, located in the middle of nature, next to a fjord covered with islets, has managed to preserve the Norwegian tradition of tranquility and respect for the environment.

Oslo emerged as a center of power in the 13th century and continued to foster the golden age until the mid- 14th century when the bubonic plague ravaged the city. At various times in history, Norway was part of Denmark and Sweden. Rising nationalism led Norway from peaceful secession from Sweden in 1905.


North Norway, Fjords Norway, East Norway, Center Norway, South Norway, Svalbard (the pearl of the Arctic).

In Norway, nature and culture come together harmoniously throughout the country and deep within each Norwegian family. From this union the works of Munich, Grieg, Ibsen and Hamrun drew their strength. For all Norwegians it is very important to preserve their roots, their historical and cultural heritage.

Norway History and Politics