The Kingdom of Norway is the second least densely populated country in Western Europe with just 5m people (after Iceland) on 385,000 sq km. It faces the Eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean which over the millennia has carved a rugged coastline with its Fjords that makes Norway famous.

The UK was invaded by Norwegian Vikings for over two hundred years before Christianity took hold. You could easily argue that Harald Hardrada was responsible for the Norman Conquest in 1066 in diverting Harold Godwinson to fight at the battle of Stamford Bridge, giving William of Normandy the opportunity of preparing for battle in Hastings. The Gene pool in Scotland has also been influenced heavily by Norsemen.

The defeat of 1066 of Stamford Bridge and Harald Hardrada’s death marked the end of the Viking Age. An empire which included Greenland, Iceland, large parts of Scotland and Ireland and Denmark began to shrink. Norway was in union with both Denmark and Sweden during the course of the next 900 years or so.

In a bloodless coup of 1905, the union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved, with Prince Carl of Denmark offered the throne of Norway when the nation decided unanimously to accept a Monarchy over a Republic.

Norway claimed neutrality in WW1 but their merchant were heavily involved with shipments to the UK which became targets for “U Boats”. During WW2 Norway was again neutral at the outset but were invaded by Nazi Germany. King Haakon escaped to England where lived in Rotherhithe in London, from where he helped to co-ordinate the resistance movement. The German Nuclear was halted thanks to the “Heroes of Telemark”, immortalised by the film who managed to blow up the Norsk-Hydro heavy water plant at Vemork.

Tourists are attracted to Norway by the Fjords, lakes, ski resorts and woods, while city break destinations include Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Tromsø. Norway’s most popular tourist attraction is the Fløibanen funicular railway in Bergen, which runs up the mountain of Fløyen and receives over 1 million tourists per year. The ski jumping hill in Olso and the Heritage Wharf of Bergen also attract over 500,000 visitors per year.


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