17 Things About Norway You Just Won't Believe

May 20, 2015

Norway has always been a popular cruise destination with its varied landscape, weird and wonderful wildlife and interesting culture. The www.CRUISE.co.uk team recently wrote an article about eight views in Norway that will terrify you… and it made us wonder what else there is about Norway that you might not believe!

So we have come up with 17 things that you probably didn’t know about Norway!


Sir Pingu

[1] In 2008 Norway knighted a penguin… no – really! The penguin had previously been made Colonel-in-chief of the Norwegian army was knighted at Edinburgh Zoo. His name is Nils Olav and he had been an honorary member and mascot of the Norwegian King’s Guard since 1972! (Although there have been a few replacement “Nils Olav’s” over the years…) But the current Nils made sure to inspect the troops at the ceremony and continues to be visited by the troops several times a year.

penguin knight


Criminal Minds

[2] The prisons in Norway are most comfortable in the world – in fact – they’ve won awards for architecture! The prisoners even have internet in their cells. Halden Fengsel is known as the world’s most humane maximum security prison as it allows prisoners to free to do as they wish within the confines of the island. However, despite this, Norway actually has the lowest rate of re-offending criminals in Europe!

Norwegian prison


Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

[3] There are a few famous faces that have come from Norway… They include Marilyn Monroe – whose father was born in Norway…

Marilyn Monroe


[4] … and also Paris Hilton – who descends from Norwegian grandparents!

paris hilton


Christmas Miracles

[5] Taxes are very high, due to the government spending a lot on public services and subsidising farmers. However, at Christmas Norwegians only have to pay half tax in December – making sure that everyone can enjoy the celebrations debt free! (We hope that David Cameron copies this idea soon!)



A Pretty Penny

[6] Food prices are so high in Norway that people often cross the border into Sweden to buy their groceries. However, for the savvy traveller this just means that you get to try a greater variety of foods when you are ashore! Giving you a more cosmopolitan experience.

Norway store


Butter Crisis

[7] Speaking of food, in 2011 Norway went through a butter shortage. Whilst you might think this is a bit comical – it made Christmas a difficult experience for chefs and led to butter smuggling, black market butter auctions and arrests over butter! Packets of butter were being sold for as much as $77. Thankfully, the butter market is now back to normal.

butter carving


That’s Crackers

[8] And staying on the dairy theme… the most famous invention from Norway is the cheese slicer. In fact, did you know that their most popular cheese (which is called brunost) is brown?

cheese slicer


A Tipple or Two

[9] Binge drinking is called “helgefylla” which literally means “weekend binge drinking.” It is a common tradition in Norway, which is surprising when you consider that they also have extortionate alcohol prices. However – if you ever want to enjoy a drink on holiday – Norway is sure to show you a good time!



Un, Deux, Huh?

[10] There are three official national languages and over 100 dialects… so if you’re thinking of brushing up on the local lingo before you visit – it could take a while!

learning languages



[11] Norway is considered to be the birthplace of skiing, with the word “ski” being Norwegian for a “piece of wood.” Ancient rock carvings actually show that skis were used in Norway as far back as 4000 years ago.



Forbidden Death

[12] It is actually illegal to die in the small town of Longyearbyen! If you fall ill and people expect the worst or if you are terminally ill you will be despatched to another part of Norway. This is because the town’s graveyard stopped accepting bodies when they realised that they wouldn’t decompose due to the permafrost.

Although if you think this is ludicrous, then you should know that a law making it illegal to die in the houses of parliament was voted the most ridiculous law in the UK in 2007!

Grim Reaper


Don’t Get Too Attached

[13] The paper clip was invented and patented in Norway. During the Second World War, paper clips were worn on lapels as a symbol of resistance to the Nazi’s.



North of The Wall

[14] Norway literally means “the North Way”… which perhaps isn’t surprising considering how far north it is! Half of Norway is so north that it is actually in the Arctic Circle.

arctic circle


Tunnelled Under

[15] It is home to the world’s deepest underwater tunnel which is 287 meters below sea level. The Eiksund Tunnel is part of a network that helps to connect islands to the mainland. To put this into perspective – the Channel Tunnel is only between 50 and 75 meters below sea level!

underwater tunnel


She’s Electric

[16] Norway gets 97% of its power from hydroelectric despite making their wealth from fossil fuels, as they are one of the world’s leading producers of oil!



A Slice Is Nice

[17] The unofficial national dish is frozen pizza. They consume more than 20 million Grandiosa Pizzas a year, as well as other the frozen pizzas on the market. Don’t worry though – they don’t tend to serve them to tourists!

Pizza by the slice


Did you already know any of these facts? Have you ever visited Norway? Let us know in the comments below!

Are you interested in travelling to Norway? Then click here