Monday, February 21, 2022

Travel the World - Norway

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...


Norway is a long, skinny country that covers just under 150,000 square miles. Its borders include Sweden to the east, Finland and Russia (yes, Russia!) to the north-east, the Norwegian Sea (part of the Atlantic Ocean) to the west, and the North Sea to the south.

It is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe.

Norway isn't called Norway. At least, not in Norwegian. Norway is the name of the country in the English language. In Norwegian, the country is called Norge. In the lesser-used nynorsk variety of Norwegian, the spelling is Noreg.

Norway is a Nordic country that’s part of the Scandinavia region. It is known as one of the most mountainous countries in Europe and for its stunning fjords and outdoorsy people.

Nearly 70% of the country is uninhabited.

In land size, Norway is slightly smaller than Sweden.

Mountains make up two-thirds of the country's landscape. These massively uninhabited landscapes comprise 300 peaks that soar more than 6,500 feet above sea level. Mountaineers, hikers, and adventurers will love the sheer wilderness of this rugged country.

No one knows the length of the Norway coastline, which is known throughout the world for its jagged mountains and stunning fjords.

There are 400,000 lakes in Norway.

In the northern part of Norway, the sun doesn't set in the summer. For example, in the northern city of Tromso the sun only sets for 3-5 hours each night in May and July, but not at all in June.

Northern Norway falls right in the center of what is known as the Northern Lights Belt, a zone that is known for its auroral frequency and intensity.

Norwegian passports display Aurora Borealis under UV lights.

There is a 6-7 day, 780 mile long Hop-On, Hop-Off Cruise along the coast of Norway

Norway's Rail journeys are voted the best in Europe.

In Norway, taxis are cheaper than personal cars for the same distance driven. This is done to encourage the use of public transport.

The world's longest road tunnel is in Norway. The Lærdal Tunnel is an astonishing 15 miles long. Costing 1 billion Norwegian kroner to build (that's about USD $110 million), the tunnel connects the small communities of Lærdal and Aurland.

Norway is home to the six highest waterfalls in Europe.

Every year, the Kingdom of Norway donates a Christmas tree to the United Kingdom. The Norwegian spruce stands proudly in Trafalgar Square in London. The annual tradition goes back to 1947 and is a token of gratitude for the British support to Norway during the Second World War.

Europe's biggest herd of wild reindeer is in Norway. The number of wild reindeer in winter totals around 25,000 animals.

In Norway's surrounding seas, you can catch a glimpse of basking sharks and the gargantuan, giant-squid-eating sperm whales. On land, however, you can find not only massive polar bears, but also brown bears and huge elks. This is a land of true wilderness.

Norway's national symbol is the lion.

Elk is the national animal of Norway.

The Norwegian island of Svalbard, close to the North Pole is super remote and super wild. Think glaciers, tundra, and yes – a lot of bears. Around 2,000 people live there, which is relatively high for a nowhere sort of place. Even still, there are significantly more bears than people on the island.

Norway isn't powered by oil. Around 98% of Norway's domestic power usage is drawn from hydroelectric power plants.

The country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and it was voted as the best country to live in by the UN.

With more progressive tactics in terms of incarceration, Norway’s recidivism (reoffending) rate is one of the lowest in the world at 20%; compare that with the US rate of more than 60%. Norway’s jails are some of the best and most humane in the world, and the focus is on rehabilitation rather than punishment.

The Sami (or Saami) are an indigenous people who inhabit the northern reaches of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. There are about 80,000 of these people left today, and roughly half of them live in the northern reaches of Norway. Traditionally, the Sami people were reindeer herders, and they still manage vast herds of reindeer (though today most of them use snowmobiles!). They also are known for their colorful costumes, traditional handicraft products, and oral traditions like singing (known as joik).

In 2008, Norway donated $1 Billion to help save the Amazon rainforest.

The paperclip was patented by Norwegian Johan Vaaler in 1890.

Norway is the world's largest producer of salmon.

Norway introduced Salmon Sushi to Japan.

Brown cheese is a staple on Norwegian breakfast and lunch tables.

The cheese slicer was invented in Norway in 1925 by Thor Bjørklund. Irritated with the problems of cutting nice slices of the cheese with a regular knife, he invented the slicer.

Norwegians eat a lot of tacos.

After Finland, Norwegians drink more coffee per person than any other country.

The Aerosol spray can was invented by a Norwegian – Eric Rotheim in 1920.

Odd and Even are popular names for men in Norway.

In 2017, Norway was recognized as the happiest country in the world.

Norway's life expectancy rates is one of the highest in the world.

Norwegians are avid readers. They spend more time reading than any other country in the world.

Whenever a book is published in Norway, the government buys 1000 copies of it and it distributes it to the libraries in the country so that people may have access to it without having to pay.

It is against the law to advertise to children under the age of 12 in Norway.

May 17th is celebrated as children’s day in Norway.

Norway is the world's most successful nation at the Winter Olympic Games.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Norway... The Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian King's Guard is a Scottish Penguin. Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III has held the title since 2005, but the involvement goes back to 1972 when the regiment adopted a penguin from Edinburgh Zoo as its Colonel-in-Chief.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp/Punch Sets: Stampin' UP! Penguin Place and Sugar Pea Designs Have an Ice Day stamped with Lawn Fawn Carrot Ink and Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Paper: Neenah 110# Solar White, Recollections Black, and SU Balmy Blue CS and DP from my scrap file

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Stitched Snow Drifts

Embellishments: Paper Studio Brads and a Snowflake from an unknown vendor


Lynn McAuley said...

Hope you're staying warm!! Precious card!!

kiwimeskreations said...

Fabulous card Jeanette, based on a fun fact. wonder what orders the Colonel-in-chief gives :)
Stay safe

Shelly Schmidt said...

Love your fun Penguin card! Your travel write ups are always so interesting! The pictures I have seen of the scenery here are beautiful!!! Awesome series!