Ease of Doing Business Rank: 9
Norway is the westernmost Scandinavian nation on a peninsula in Northern Europe. It is surrounded by the North Sea, Skagerrak, and the Norwegian and Barents Sea.
Sweden and Finland lie to the east, Denmark to the south, and Iceland to the west.
Norway has two official languages: Norwegian and Sami. The most widely spoken and administrative language for the country is Norwegian, spoken by 95 percent of the population.
Swedish and Danish are closely related Germanic languages and mutually understandable. English is widely spoken in Norway and taught as a core subject in school.
Norway’s 2019 population is approximately 5.39 million. More than 80 percent of the population lives in urban centers along the coast. The Oslo metropolitan area accounts for half the population.
The top industries in Norway are oil and gas, fish and products, machinery and carriers, metals, pulp and paper, chemical goods, and manufacturing.
NJ Med’s 2019 World Best Education Systems rankings list Norway fifth globally in the first quarter of this year.
US News ranks Norway 12th in global education in 2019.
The Times Higher Education World Rankings lists five Norwegian universities in the top 500 in the world, with the University of Oslo ranking highest.
The most common business entities in Norway are Sole Trader, Private Limited Liability Company, Public Limited Liability Company, and Norwegian-Registered Foreign Enterprise.
The most commonly incorporated entities in Norway are Private Limited Liability Company and Public Limited Liability Company.
Limited liability companies that pay taxes on their income abroad can sometimes offset their payments against Norwegian taxes. Norway also allows business to carry forward unused credits for five years.
The Ministry of Finance may also grant tax relief on asset transfers between group companies or partnerships. They can also grant tax relief to companies when they reorganize and transfer assets, providing it increases business efficiency.
Norway has a research and development tax incentive scheme called SkatteFUNN. It’s intended for trade and industry stimulation and can lead to a deduction of up to 20 percent on incurred costs for a period of three years.
Applicant companies must aim to develop a new or improved asset, service, or production process, excluding day-to-day business operations. Any business type can apply.
The two largest business districts in Norway are in Oslo and Trondheim. Oslo is the economic and governmental center of Norway. Trondheim is a technological hub.
Norway includes 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the West Norwegian Fjords of Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord. These steep crystalline rock walls rise as high as 1,400 meters above the Norwegian Sea.
Jotunheimen (home of the giants) National Park includes 60 glaciers and 275 mountains over 2000 meters, including Norway’s highest peak Galdhøpiggen. The park’s stunning beauty and countless walking trails make it a very popular destination.
The rock art in Alta dates between 4000 and 6000 years ago and includes more than 6000 carvings and 50 rock paintings. Bryggen, a small seaside village lined with colorful wooden buildings was the center for trade between Norway and Germany during the mid-1300s to mid-1700s.
Hop on a dog sled, visit a stave church, or take a journey on the Oslo-Bergen Railway cited one of the worlds’ most scenic. Norway is also one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights during the winter months.
Besides outstanding natural beauty, Norway is also a modern nation. Oslo features countless art galleries and museums, including the Viking and Fram Museums and many modern architectural wonders.
The glacier white Snøhetta’s opera house appears to slide into the water and the city also has a manmade ski hill rising out of the sea called the Holmenkollen. Other modern marvels include Technopolis near the airport and the iconic offices of oil producer Statoil.
Norway also has many noteworthy historic buildings including the Norwegian Royal Palace, Oslo Cathedral, and Akershus Fortress, dating back to 1299 AD. The imposing, blackened timber Urnes stave church was built around 1140 AD, but still stands today.
The first settlers in Norway were hunters and gatherers, but by the 8th century the sailor/warriors known as the Vikings emerged. The country was comprised of small, warring kingdoms until a Viking leader Harald Hårfagre (Fair-Hair) unified the kingdoms around 872 AD.
By 1000 AD, reigning King Olav had converted the people to Christianity. The last of the royal line died and the Viking Age ended. At various times, Norway joined forces with Denmark and Sweden.
Between 1814 and 1905 Norway and Sweden had a single king, but the Norwegian parliament ruled under its own constitution. In 1905, Norway peacefully split from Sweden and became a constitutional monarchy in its own right.
Norway remained neutral during the world wars, by Germany occupied the country in 1940. At the end of the war, the royal family returned to reign once again.
By the 1960s Norway was an active member of the European Free Trade Association. In the following decades the government instituted countless reforms and the oil and gas industry and others boomed. By 1990 Norway was Europe’s largest oil producer and by 1995 it was the world’s second-largest oil exporter.
Today, Norway is democratic society with a high standard of living. It has a developed mixed economy with state-ownership in strategic areas. Norway often tops the World Economic Forum’s Index of Exclusive Economies, because the country generates sustained growth in many sectors.
Norway is primarily Christian (77.3%). Non-Christian faiths include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Bahá’í, and Judaism.
According to data collected in a 2012 government study, 86.2% of the total population is ethnic Norwegian. Minorities include Scandinavian Romani, Roma, Jews, Kvener, and Finns.
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business Norway ranks 15th overall globally for conducting business. Norway is not part of the EU, but a strong contributor to the European Economic Area.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Norway 26th globally and states, “Norway’s business environment benefits from monetary stability and an independent judicial system that provides strong protection of property rights.”