Nordic Norway

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The origins of the name Norway is believed to have come from words that literally mean “north way”, as anyone might have guessed, and Norway certainly lives up to that. If you look at the map, Norway wraps around Sweden and Finland towards the north, as if deliberately denying them access to the northern coast. Naturally then, the northernmost part of continental Europe lies in Norway, at Nordkapp.

This “small” country (ranks 213/241 in terms of population density), lays claim to quite a few other things besides being “north”. They have the most number of fjords, and also the longest fjord – Sognefjord, as well as the largest glacier – Jostedalsbreen, in mainland Europe (both of them also rank second in the world). More importantly, they top the list of countries for the Human Development Index and they have the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the world. They are also the third happiest country in the world (all top 4 spots are held by the Scandinavian countries). A visit to Norway gives you some insight as to how they achieved these.

They don’t work long hours. Many of the private hotel receptions don’t open until 3pm, and most shops are closed by 5pm. When they work, they generate a lot of income simply by demanding a lot in return for what is offered! However, as noted that despite being one of the most expensive places on earth, they are actually cheap considering their high income and short working hours. Their inflation rate – at around 2.4% in 2010, is low as well. You could say that their wealth has to be attributed to the ownership of rich petroleum natural resources, which is true to some extent since they are 5th in terms of production per capita. However, without good governance, natural resources are useless.

As examined in this article, economic policies were singled out as the key to Norwegian economic success. Equally important are factors such as education, equality, culture and opportunity as pointed out in the same article, which i can attest to. You’ll be surprised by the abundance of book shops, and you will also find decent libraries in every major city/town. I was taken aback by how much they trusted each other and how honest they were. I couldn’t agree more with what the article says that their culture is one which “instills that people should do their duty and deliver the goods”. They demonstrated the tremendous gain in efficiency achieved if everyone did their job proper – the end result is that everyone works fewer hours.

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They are truly blessed, with such pristine water said to contribute to long life, and wonderful landscapes of fjords, snow capped mountains and waterfalls. Every house has a view! How could they not be happy people? Deservingly i must say.

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