This week we will explore the Kingdom of Norway, a nation with an extensive coastline that is famous for its beautiful fjords, or long skinny parts of the ocean that cut into the land and are surrounded by steep cliffs. Read on to find out more about the country sometimes known as "The Land of the Midnight Sun."
A closer look 說古論今
One of the most important parts of Norwegian history has to do with the Vikings who lived there from the eighth to 11th centuries. The Vikings united the groups of people living in Norway at the time and then expanded to Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and parts of the British Isles. Following Viking rule, Norway entered into a union with neighboring countries Sweden and Denmark. Although Sweden declared its independence in 1523, Norway remained a part of Denmark until 1814. Today, Norway is a land rich in natural resources and has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Its natural resources include petroleum (gas), water power, fish, forests, and minerals. Only Russia and Saudi Arabia export more oil per year than Norway. Norway is also now ranked the number-one nation in the UN Human Development Index. The Index measures how well-developed nations in the United Nations are based on things like how long a person is expected to live, how many people can read and write, and how much money a person can be expected to make. Norway has had the number-one spot since 2001. In the most northern parts of the country, the sun shines all day and all night for part of the summer because it is so close to the Arctic Circle. Because of this phenomenon, Norway is sometimes known as "The Land of the Midnight Sun."
In early 2005, a law was passed that stated that every cow in Norway had to have its own mattress to sleep on. The Ministry of Agriculture passed this law for a few reasons. One, of course, is to protect the animals and keep them healthy, but there are some good economic reasons behind the law too. If the cows are more comfortable, they do actually produce more milk. Thus, all Norwegian cows must be provided with a padded resting area, which must be no less than 4cm thick. Studies have been done to determine which types of mattresses are the best for the cows, and many people have found that sand works just as well as other bedding for the comfort of cows.