FACTBOX-Key facts about Norway

Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:03pm GMT
 

July 22 (Reuters) - A large bomb devastated the main government building in central Oslo on Friday, killing seven people. About two hours later a gunman fired shots at people attending a Labour Party youth camp on an island near Oslo, causing several casualties.

Here are some facts about Norway and its capital, Oslo.

-- Norway is one of the world's biggest oil and gas producers and its population of 4.9 million benefit from a generous welfare system.

-- Oslo is one of the world's most expensive cities and Greater Oslo has a population of 1.4 million, making it the fastest growing city in Europe because of increased immigration.

-- NATO member Norway has previously been the target of threats, but not bombs, notably over its involvement in conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya. Political violence is virtually unknown in the country.

-- Norway was one of the first European states to signal its willingness to implement a U.N. resolution aimed at protecting Libyan civilians. It deployed six F-16 fighters to fly missions over the country but said it would scale back its role once its three-month commitment ended on June 24.

-- Norway has played a key mediating role in the Middle East peace process, broking the Oslo Accords. It also brokered a 2002 ceasefire between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka and in 2005 it helped hammer out a peace deal between north and south Sudan.

-- Around 88 percent of Norwegians are Lutheran Christians while two percent are Muslims.

-- Oslo is home to the Nobel Peace Centre and a Norwegian committee awards the Nobel Peace Prize.

-- Founded in 1048 by King Harald Hardrade, Oslo is built in a horseshoe shape on the edge of Oslofjord and surrounded by forest. Its northern latitude means it has over 18 hours of sunlight each day in midsummer and only six hours in midwinter.

-- Famous Norwegians include playwright Henrik Ibsen, artist Edvard Munch and explorers Roald Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl. (Writing by Sophie Hares)

 
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