Norway Geography

Norway Geography


Norway borders in the south with the North Sea (including Skagerrak), in the west with the European Arctic Ocean (known as the Norwegian Sea off the central Norwegian coast), in the north with the Barents Sea (Arctic Ocean), in the north-east with Russia (196 km long border with the Murmansk region) and Finland (727 km) and to the east by Sweden (1 619 km). Svalbard (Spitzbergen), which also includes Bear Island (Bjørnøya), and Jan Mayen. External possessions (»neighboring countries«) are Bouvet Island in the South Atlantic and Peter I Island in the South Pacific. Norway claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica. Norway lies in the west of the Scandinavian Peninsula (Scandinavia); the great north-south extension of 1,752 km is opposed to a greatest width of 430 km and a smallest width of only 6.3 km. Including the fjords and bays, the coastline is around 21,000 km (2,650 km without it). One third of Norway lies north of the Arctic Circle (the northernmost point is the northern tip of the island of Magerøy [Knivskjelodden]: 71 ° 11 ′  08 ″north latitude). Two thirds of the country is mountainous, partly alpine, partly plateau-like, partly low mountain range.

Norway’s relatively high average altitude of around 550 m above sea level, which is already climatically unfavorable for the northern latitudes, essentially limits settlement to the coastal areas (which are favorably influenced by the foothills of the Gulf Stream) and the large valleys of eastern Norway, i.e. the area between the central Norwegian mountains and the Swedish border. The wide valleys (Numedal, Hallingdal, Gudbrandsdal, Østerdal), the valley floors of which are used for agriculture and the slopes of which are coniferous, are sunk into mostly bare plateaus (“Plateaufjelle” or “Vidden”). To the south, this area merges into the deeper, very fertile area around the Oslofjord (Oslograben). Jæren, the most intensively used agricultural area in Norway, has its own natural landscape. Western Norway (provinces Rogaland, Hordaland, Sogn og Fjordane and Møre og Romsdal) is mainly characterized by the fjords (such as Hardanger, Sogne, Nord, Romsdalsfjord) (up to 200 km long). These narrow estuaries, cut deep into bare plateaus, are only occasionally accompanied by small, flat stretches of coastline. Visit for how to get to Norway.

Climatic favored areas are the inner parts of the western Norwegian fjords with a summer warm and dry climate (fruit growing). The shores of the Trondheimfjord are the second largest agricultural area after Jæren and the Oslograben area.

The highest peaks are in the Jotunheimen massif, Glittertind (2,472 m above sea level) and Galdhøppigen (2,469 m above sea level). The coast of western Norway, today almost without forests, is preceded by a large number of islands. Northern Norway (roughly north of 65 ° north latitude) has much shorter fjords in the southern part, the islands of the coastal platform (Strandflate) are more numerous. Beyond the chain of Lofoten, however, wide fjords again reach deep into the country; on the coasts of the province of Finnmark they alternate with flat, leveled peninsulas.


The country is richly endowed with natural resources such as coal, oil and gas, waterways very useful for the production of hydroelectric energy, fishy seas, forests and, to a lesser extent, mineral deposits, especially iron.. But since a third of Norway’s exports go to oil and gas (only Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation export more oil than Norway), the national economic balance depends heavily on the oil industry and the international price of crude oil. Strengthened by the painful experience of the 1986 crisis caused by the drastic drop in the price of oil, Norway has strengthened the restructuring of obsolete productive sectors, especially shipbuilding, and has provided for a vast privatization of state industries. It has also invested in research and innovation of oil facilities becoming an exporter of platforms and support vessels. In view of the exhaustion of the reserves in about twenty years a policy of saving oil resources was introduced: internal consumption is completely guaranteed by hydroelectric energy, of which it is one of the world’s largest producers, and extraction only feeds exports. At the same time, huge investments were made abroad to ensure continuity of supplies and also to reduce the high extraction costs. While not joining the EU, its exports are mainly directed towards member countries of which it is one of the most important partners. The country’s economic well-being also derives from the low level of unemployment (2.6%, 2008) and the equally low rate of inflation, accompanied in 2002 by a reduction in the interest rate that brought it to the lowest levels after the war. This has stimulated both consumption and investment. However, after a period of very stunted growth (2002-2003) 2004 achieved a GDP growth of 3.9% and this seems to have sent the Norwegian economy into a small boom.

Norway Geography