Area (including the island territories of Svalbard and Jan Mayen: 385,199 sq. km. (approx sq. miles)
Cities (2007): Capital --Oslo (pop. 839,423, including suburbs). Other cities--Bergen (248,668), Stavanger (212,691, including suburbs) Trondheim (166,304).
Terrain: Rugged with high plateaus, steep fjords, mountains, and fertile valleys. Norway’s northern regions lie within the Arctic Circle, where there are borders with Finland and Russia, while much of the long border with Sweden runs through the Scandinavian mountains. This range, sloping to the south-east, is 1,530 km in length and has its highest areas in the south of Norway, where Galdhøpiggen, Norway’s highest point, reaches a peak of 2,469 m (8,100 ft). Almost all of Norway is high ground; in the north the country becomes narrower, with mountains overlooking the fjords and the islands along the coast, and in the centre and south the mountains form a high plateau, where there are permanent ice fields. The only area of low ground is around the Oslo fjord and along the coast to Stavanger. The principal rivers are the Glomma, the Lågen and Tanaelv. Some 6% of Norway’s total area of 323,802 sq km (125,020 sq miles) is inland water—mostly long, thin lakes. Two-thirds of the country is tundra, rock or snowfields, and one-quarter is forested, so good agricultural land is rare. Less than 3% of Norway is cultivated, and these areas are in the south-east and in the river valleys. The mountains of Norway are rich in minerals; there are deposits of iron ore, copper, titanium, coal, zinc, lead, nickel and pyrites, and large offshore reserves of petroleum and natural gas.
Climate: Temperate along the coast, colder inland. Although Norway crosses the Arctic Circle, the climate is not as cold as might be expected, since the North Atlantic Drift brings warm, damp air to the whole country. The geographical conditions give rise to great climatic variation: it is cooler inland and to the north, where winters are long and dark with much snow, but where the sun shines day and night for part of the summer. It is wetter on the west coast, where about 2,000 mm (78.7 ins) of rain falls annually on Bergen; the mean annual rainfall in the capital, Oslo, is 730 mm, most of which falls during the summer. Temperatures in Oslo are highest in July, when the average is 17.3°C (64°F), and lowest in January, when the average falls to −4.7°C (24°F).