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Eye-Opening Facts About Norway That Show The Nation’s True Colors

What comes to mind when you think about Norway? Is it the vicious Vikings that ruled those lands for ages? The fabulous fjords along the chilly coasts? The scrumptious salmon they share with the rest of the world?

While all of these answers are part of Norwegian culture, there is so much more to the western Scandinavian country than you might imagine! We’re here to present you with what it’s really like to live in Norway — so take a sitteplass and pay opmerksomhet!

1. Norwegians are among the happiest peoples in the world. In 2017, Norway took first place in World Happiness report, and in 2018, the nation placed second.

2. King Herald refused to marry anyone if he couldn’t marry the love of his life, the daughter of a fabric salesman, Sonja Haraldsen. Eventually they were allowed to marry with the support of the nation, and she became queen of Norway.

3. No one is allowed to be buried in the town of Longyearbyen because the permafrost won’t let the bodies decompose. Disturbing the ground could unleash a type of flu from the early 1900s that wiped out 5 percent of the population.

4. Sami people are traditionally reindeer herders who inhabit the northern parts of Scandinavia. They speak their own language, practice their own cultural norms, and wear special clothing that sets them apart from other Norwegians.

5. There’s a king penguin, named Nils Olav (residing in Edinburgh’s Zoo) who was presented the title of Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King’s Guard by the king of Norway. Quite an honor, even for an Emperor.

6. In addition to mainland Norway, the nation includes the Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. These places are not densely inhabited, but they are visited for their spectacular natural scenery.

7. Norway’s national dish is Fårikål, a stew made by layering mutton (sheep’s meat) and cabbage in a large pot and cooking it very slowly for several hours. Add some boiled potatoes and enjoy your super soft meal!

8. Two of the country’s stunning fjords, the Geiranger Fjord and the Nærøy fjord, are featured on the Unesco World Heritage List, and they are quite a sight.

9. Norway has the most expensive gas in the world at $7.82 per gallon (the average gallon in the U.S. is $2.99). Rather than subsidize the fuel, they use the money for free college tuition.

10. During the oil crisis in 1973, Norway’s King Olav had no problem taking public transport during a car-free weekend — he even paid for a ticket. These weekends were once held frequently to preserve gas.