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14 Facts You Didn’t Know About Norway

We thought it would be interesting to give you a few facts you probably haven't run across yet.

As you prepare for your Norway cruise, you may be combing the Internet for information about the country you're about to visit. It's understandable to be so excited – but we thought it would be interesting to give you a few facts you probably haven't run across yet. Here are 14:

  1. The town of Kirkenes is as far east as Cairo and only 9 miles from the Russian border.
  2. The Hardangervidda Plateau is the largest mountain plateau in Europe – and it also houses the largest herd of wild reindeer on the continent!
  3. Though settlements did not come from the discovery, Leif Eriksson "discovered" America in 1000 – well before the time of Columbus and the other European explorers of North America.
  4. Dublin, Ireland, was actually founded by Norwegians in the year 836.
  5. Norway has the most gold, silver and bronze medals for Winter Olympic performance, making it the most accomplished country in the winter games. Norway has a long history of winter sport – indeed, this is where skiing was invented.
  6. Norway's electricity is 98 to 99 percent derived from hydroelectric power – and this is more than any other country in the world.
  7. The love story of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway is a very romantic one. King Harald said he would never marry unless he could marry his true love Sonja. She was the daughter of a clothing merchant, and therefore not traditionally a suitable royal spouse. Because of King Harald's insistence that he would go unmarried if not allowed to marry her, his father, King Olav V, permitted the two to wed.
  8. The King and Queen have two children, a son and a daughter. Their son is Crown Prince Haakon, and their daughter is Princess Martha Louise.
  9. Though we think of it as a uniquely Japanese dish, salmon sushi actually comes from Norwegians introducing the fish to chefs in Japan.
  10. Thirty-seven percent of Norwegians have finished a postsecondary degree, making the country the best-educated in Europe.
  11. In Norway, new mothers are given 44 weeks, or 13 months, of leave at 80 percent of their salary, or 34 weeks, or 10.5 months, at full salary. An additional 12 weeks of paid leave is allocated to the father of a new child.
  12. Norwegians have a taste for the classics. The book "Heimskringla," or "The History of Kings," was written by Snorre Sturluson in the Old Norse Period and is still a bestseller in modern Norway. You might want to pick up an English version before your trip to see what all the fuss is about.
  13. Norwegians read more than any other nation. Each person spends an average of $76 on books in a year, and the country sees 2,000 new books come out annually.
  14. Norwegian Monica Kirstensen received the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society in London for leading an expedition to the South Pole. She was the first woman to win this coveted honor in 50 years.

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