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Norway and Norgay:
Pictures and Slapstick


On Norgay, Norway, a Norg, and Norge -


Sherpa Norgay The dramatic photo of the Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mount Everest in 1953 got world famous. It was taken by the New Zealand explorer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008).

Norway: Facts and Findings

THE SPECIAL 15th anniversary issue of the National Geographic magazine includes coastal Norway among "the 50 greatest places of a lifetime. These are destinations we believe no curious traveler should miss." And National Geographic Traveler of March 2004 has Fjord-Norway as the very best destination. Well, summertime may not be all bad, but it is expensive in Norway today. ◦National Geographic's Coastal Norway.

OF TOURISM: According to National Geographic Traveler, March 2004:

  1. Fjord-Norway: 82 of 100 attainable points.
  2. Cape Breton Islands, Canada: 78
  3. Smith Island, New Zealand: 78

The Geiranger Fjord in Sunnmøre, Western Norway

The magazine used 200 experts on sustainable tourism to evaluate the destinations. Other travel agencies, including Lonely Planet, have ranked similarly. A cruise could work well, for the West coast climate is "exotic" and rather "unstable". Tastes differ; there are those who like plains above fjords too.

And in their October 21 issue of 2009, National Geographic once again selected the fjord region of Norway as the best destination. An independent panel of 437 experts were behind the choice. One panelist found Norway's fjords to be "about as good as can be done." Well, the rugged terrain impresses, and a limited population around some fjords pollutes less than a large one . . .

SCENIC WORLD HERITAGE FJORDS TOO: On 14 July 2005 the scenic Geiranger fjord and the Nærøy fjord - the latter lies deep in Sogn - were included on the United Nations' "World Heritage List", chosen for natural scenic value, and are hence in the company with the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia and the Galapagos Islands.

A SADDER NOTE against faulty idyllisation: It should be good to know there is a list from 2007 of 34 poisoned Norwegian fjords and their main poisons. Generally quicksilver, PCB, cadmium, and lead stand out. One is advised not to eat fish and shellfish from these fjords.

Not extremely bad living conditions by and large

Norway lies as far north as Siberia and Alaska.

Not only the scenic beauty, but main sides to the living conditions are good in Norway too. What is called the Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of (1) life expectancy (a sign of health and longevity), (2) education (years of schooling), and (3) income indices (signs of the standard of living) that the United Nations use to rank countries. For six years in a row the United Nations selected Norway as the best country to live in (2001-2007). In 2008 Iceland first topped the list, with Norway as second (2008). until the late 2008 Update - which put Norway on top and Iceland after that. For that year a bank crisis hit Iceland, with a resulting economic downfall and a lesson: "Don't praise the year until it is ended." The UN statistics published in 2009 has Norway on top again, closely followed by Australia, Iceland, Canada og Ireland.

UN's Human Development Index for 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 has Norway on top also. Australia, Switzerland and Netherlands rank high too. [WP, sv. "Human Development Index"]

Admittedly, there is more to life than these three "strands of the rope". It is difficult to capture all the factors that go into human conditions in a single index. For example, climate is also factor to consider in real life, and the degree of inequality - "where some get rich and influential, and many more poor". The difference between the have's and have not's is into it. A mere average masks these much significant inequality sides to life as well.

So a Norwegian doesn't have to agree wholly with the ranking. Professor Svein Sjøberg at the University in Oslo, for example, says the UN report's criteria are too crude, and the variables that go into it, are a selection based on figures from before the global financial crisis that hit Iceland very hard. Norway has oil money that goes into funds that Norwegians do not get much from so far. A part from such reserves, there are a lot of countries en par with Norway. The professor finds it completely unreasonable to say it is better to live in Norway than in any other of the twenty countries on top of the list.

I may add I don't agree completely with that: Different countries are not all alike. Besides, what you prefer - much and free access to nature, wildlife, the sea, a warm climate, cheap wine and scenic beauty, the prices, for example, will make some countries stand out as better than others for you; it is also somewhat individual, in other words.

Norway seems better than Sweden only because of the oil reserves and oil funds, and seems better than Denmark because Danes do not live as long as Norwegians, holds the professor. What the UN reports misses, is that Danes say they are happier than others . . . They say so. Maybe it is true. [◦Wikipedia link]

A glance at a happiness report too

The World Happiness Report 2016 Update ranks 156 countries by their happiness levels, The 2016 report, published in March 2016. The yearly report uses happiness and subjective well-being to indicate the quality of human lives. The data result from subjective well-being research can enable policies that support better lives.

The 2016 Report Update measures the consequences of inequality in the distribution of well-being among countries and regions, and finds that people are happier living in societies where there is less inequality of happiness. They also find that happiness inequality has increased significantly (comparing 2012-2015 to 2005-2011) in most countries, in almost all global regions, and for the population of the world as a whole.

It shows up once again that when self-declared happiness is used to figure out how good a country is to live in, Denmark is number one. The six on top: Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Canada. Sweden is no. 10, the USA no. 13 and Germany is ranked as no. 16.

Back to Norway

If a count of the poor goes into the reckoning, Sweden used to be best, even though it is ranked as number 15 when it comes to wealth - and Norway has used to be second best for the poor. But different statistics are found, calculated by different means, and with different results. Anyway, Norway is ranked among the best countries still. "Tomorrow" it can be different, in part due to tens and thousands of migrants, in part due to less oil money to spend.

"In Norway you know you are poor if the food in your fridge is placed to make it look fuller than it actually is." Joking aside, other and more relevant measures (parameters, variables) go into the over-all reckoning of poverty, which exists mostly among immigrants and single parents. Besides, poverty is a greater problem in the big cities than in the countryside, according to recent findings by SSB (2011). [Wikipedia, s.v. "Fattigdom"] [1]

An unwelcome facet of Norwegian has been long queues of ill persons that wait for hospital treatment. So Norway is less than ideal to live in for many - but may not be if you like the cold.

Also, Finland is ranked as number one in technology.

Finally, the UN report above has focused on health, education, and economy. But living in a society is more that that, says Sjøberg. Freedom of speech counts, legal security, democracy, absence of corruption, happiness in life, and conditions for realising oneself are significant factors too. However, they are not measured in this UN report, which therefore is not really a proper documentation that "Norway is the best country to live in". We can agree with that. The report does not really say that, even though some seem oblivious of such apt points, concludes the professor. And climate influences thriving too. [Ibid]

Football Crazy

Football dreams
Therapy. Football and Freud

Football, soccer, is a team sport played between two teams. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal. Balls are in for getting serious kicks (see illustration).

Football is the most popular sport in Norway in terms of active membership. There are 393,801 registered football players. So 8.5 % of the population play organized Football. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Football in Norway"]


More Pictures from Norway

There is more than one way to present one's background. Now for some pictures with comments.
Borgund Stave Church
Borgund Stave Church in Western Norway

You could say the rustic stave church attempts to rise toward the sky in a flatfoot kind of way. There are many more Norwegian sceneries and memorable cultural facets. A picture of another stave church, which is one of the six Unesco sites in Norway, is here: [Link]

Norwegian fjord horses: The coming Queen Elizabeth once had a Fjord horse, Glen Tanar. Picture of the two of them.

Drowned Cattle and the Geiranger Fjord

High above a valley and fjord. Geiranger may be glimpsed too. Detail
High above a Norwegian valley and Geiranger. [See all]

Norway is mountainous for most part. Along the west coast of our country there are mountains and steep and high cliffs that one may throw oneself out of with a hang-glider to ride the wind or fail. If the view from the mountain top is a quite all right experience and you don't trip and fall, you may typically do without a hang-glider ...

Landslides are expected; tourists are welcome

There is a snag to the magnificent view along stupendous fjords in Norway: There are unstable mountain areas along some of them. Landslides have killed many people earlier, in part drowning them by tsunami-like waves. For example, the Tjelle avalance in Sunnmøre in 1756 caused a 25 meter high tsunami. 32 people were killed.

In 1905 a catastrophe struck Loen in Stryn when Ramnefjellet ("the mountain of ravens") unleashed a rock slide, and 61 people were killed.

The pretty fjord around Tafjord on the west coast of Norway was a victim of another landslide in 1934. All of a sudden a huge avalanche of rocks - maybe 3 million cubic meters - rushed into the sea and drowned cattle and pigs and 40 people in Tafjord and Fjørå. The tsunami waves were up to 64 meters high. Most houses, roads, bridges, boats, and quays were washed away.

There have been other deadly landslides into fjords over the last hundred years too, and also quick clay slides and avalances of snow and slush. A clay slide in Gauldal, Trøndelag, killed 500 people in 1345. A clay slide in Verdal in 1893 killed 118 people, for instance.

Astor Furseth writes of these and other natural catastrophes, telling there have been more than 3000 avalanche and landslide disasters in Norway over the past 400 years, and over the last 200 years nearly 2500 persons have been killed so far, and there is more in store. [◦Link].

Norwegian Fjord
The Geiranger Fjord

Landslides occur almost everywhere in the country. Modern researchers expect more landslides to come along Storfjorden ("the big fjord") in the Møre and Romsdal county, but cannot tell exactly when. For example, at Åkerneset near Stranda a major avalanche of up to 100 million cubic metres is expected, and tsunamilike waves that are tens of metres high, depending on how big the landslide is, and some more factors. The cracks in the mountain side above the fjord are widening year by year. If a major landslide comes in the summer, several visiting cruise ships in the fjord may be at risk.

The Geiranger fjord area is now a Unesco site too, along with Bryggen in Bergen, Urnes Stave Church, Røros Mining Town; Rock Art of Alta; The Vega Archipelago; and another West Norwegian Fjord, the Nærøyfjord. Struve Geodetic Arc may be counted in too.

The Astronaut's Range of Vision

Just the earth . . .
IT IS reported that a certain fjord cruise tourist - was it the US astronaut John Glenn or was it Neil Armstrong? - later was shipped to the moon. He looked toward our sunlit and blue planet surrounded by blackened space.

Ss he stood there, he was asked by eager ones from Houston, Texas: "Have you ever seen anything more breath-taking?"

"Only the elps and fjords of the Sunnmore district of Norway." [This is a brief rendition only]


A person who grows up near these elps may sooner or later get bored with them, go way to a flat, windy, and moist country like Denmark, only to discover than he misses those mountains, that scenery.

Be that as it may; there are lots of gulches and sagging fjords along the west coast of Norway. There is also a lot more to earth living than plenty of fjords and mountains.

And Tao needs to be put to good use.

Vøringfossen, one of the most visited waterfalls in Norway. It falls 183 m, and the waterflow is regulated - Many waterfalls in Norway are "hydroelectric-tamed".

Norge, Noreg, Norway

Der böse Norg - The evil Norg

On the Riffianer Alm a bad Norg often appeared after sunset and damaged the cattle so that they died of poisoning. (Riffian.) [Sagen aus Tirol, collected and edited by Ignaz V. Zingerle, Innsbruck 1891, No. 129.]


People who are dainty must not come to Norway. [Mortimer, p. 286]

The magpie . . . is the favourite bird. [Mortimer, p. 289]


SIGHT-SEEING. If you get disappointed with the castles in Norway for some reason, you can affirm, "A temple of bones is more than a castle of stones," and enjoy the sight of a sheep or a whole flock of them. That could serve you well throughout. And not everyone would disagree with you; that is to be hoped.

Norway, facts and pictures - END MATTER

Norway, facts and pictures, LITERATURE  

Ebu: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010 Ultimate Reference Suite DVD. London: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2010.

Mortimer, Favell Lee. The Countries of Europe Described. Philadelphia: Appleton and Co., 1850.

  1. Rasmussen, John. "Her er fattigdommen størst". Dagbladet, 25 April 2011.

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