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Country Reports

Norway Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

The calm and prosperous Scandinavian kingdom of Norway (population 5.2 million), which stretches north of the Arctic Circle, offers visitors excellent travel conditions.

CRIME

Travelers are advised to take to basic precautions and use common sense when visiting the country. Incidents of pickpocketing and purse-snatching are often reported in areas frequented by tourists, and on public transport, especially in Oslo, the country's capital. Oslo also suffers from high crime rights in the neighborhood around the central station (e.g. drug trafficking at night).

Cases of rape and other sex crimes are increasing in Oslo. It is advised to avoid parks and remote areas at night. In general, walking alone at night is advised against in Oslo.

TERRORISM

As is the case in the majority of Western countries, Norway is facing an increased terror threat. In May 2016, Norway announced that it will increase its support of the US-led international coalition combating Islamic State (IS), which could raise the risk of a terrorist attack on Norwegian soil. In April 2016, Norwegian authorities arrested and charged two men with possible links to IS, on charges of planning to carry out such an attack.The escalation of the Syrian conflict in July 2014 increased the chances of individuals carrying out attacks on Norwegian soil, leading the authorities to issue a terrorist threat alert. The current security threat is actively combatted by Norwegian authorities who have implemented a number of security measures, particularly surrounding public buildings, borders, airports, and train stations.

The Norwegian Police Security Service also believe that due to rising tensions between immigrant communities and certain fringe groups, the risk of right-wing extremist terrorist attacks against Muslims has also increased. On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik, a Norwegian citizen, set off a bomb at government headquarters in central Oslo, killing eight people and seriously injuring twelve others, before going on a murderous rampage at a summer camp two hours later (70 dead; Utoya Island, 30 km northwest of the capital). Prior to the attacks, Breivik spent nine years developing a manifesto in which he expressed ultranationalist and Islamophobic sentiments.

On April 9, Norway's intelligence agency raised the national threat level in response to developments in the regional terror threat (e.g. the truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden on April 7). Norway's threat level, previously rated "possible," was upgraded to "probable." The threat level was set to remain in effect for two months.

POLITICS

Norway is constitutional monarchy and is not part of the European Union (EU), but is a member of the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area. Two referendums were held on EU membership (in 1972 and 1994), however neither referendum passed.  

MIGRANT CRISIS

Europe's migrant crisis has heavily affected the Scandinavian nations, where tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have been settled. Norway is an attractive final destination for asylum seekers due to its relatively liberal asylum policies; however, the government began implementing border controls in November 2015 in a bid to stem the flow of migrants. Border control measures within the Schengen zone were renewed by the European Union Commission in January 2017.  In 2015, almost a third if the 31,000 asylum seekers registered in Norway were Syrian, however requests from Eritreans, Somalians and Afghans are also registered. 

SOCIAL UNREST

While social unrest is not common in Norway, strikes and protests do occasionally occur and could potentially inconvenience travelers.

NATURAL RISKS

It is advised to monitor weather channels during travel to Norway as weather can change very rapidly, especially in northern areas. It is possible to experience arctic weather in the middle of summer.

Flooding is common in Norway, especially during spring; landslides often accompany the floods.

North of the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise at all from mid-November to the end of January. Snowstorms or blizzards are common during winter time and can lead to electricity outages and transportation disruptions.

Hikers should be conscious of the dangers inherent to mountainous and polar regions. All hikers should be well-equipped and properly trained before any excursion. It is advisable to hire a professional guide if hiking on glaciers. It is advised against going alone. In case of a trip to Svalbard, and archipelagos between Norway and the Northern Pole, it is crucial to prepare meticulously for the trip by reading up on current laws and following local authorities' advice regarding polar bears attacks and avalanches. 

TRANSPORTATION

The Norwegian motorway network is in good condition. Due to geographical and climatic constraints, the road network is more developed in the South than in the North.

Weather conditions can disrupt travel. Some roads can be closed during the winter due hazardous conditions; mountain roads, particularly those that are narrow and winding, are very dangerous. Vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires from November 1 until April 15.

Trains mostly serve major cities and can be slow in some areas. When train services are disrupted, rail replacement bus services are provided.

Sea and air transportation - more than 50 airports are spread across the country- is very well developed in Norway. Since 2015, identity controls have been reinstated at harbors for departures and arrivals to and from Denmark and Germany. Similar controls could be established with the Swedish land border.

HEALTH

Medical services are of very high quality throughout the country.

LEGAL

Norway is not a member of the European Union (EU) but is a member of the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area. The Svalbard archipelago is an exception and does not belong to the Schengen Area; to enter a valid passport is necessary.

Climate

Norway's climate is characterized by considerable fluctuations in weather patterns from one year to another, particularly in the country's most northerly regions. The average annual temperature ranges from 8°C along the western coast to below freezing in mountainous areas. The two coldest months are January and February. Precipitation is relatively constant throughout the year, with snow common in the winter, particularly in inland regions.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: 47 Police: 112 Fire Dept.: 110 Ambulance: 113

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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