Population. – In 1957 the number of residents was 3,477,786 with an average density of 10.7 residents per km 2 ; since 1946 the increase in the population has therefore been 444,449 units. Only the fourth part of the total population lives in the cities, 25% is grouped in small towns and the rest dispersed in the countryside. The demographic situation remains good and in fact the surplus of births between 1940 and 1950 was equal to 11.4 ‰; in 1955 the birth rate was 18.6 ‰ and the mortality rate was 8.3 ‰.
Economic conditions. – Despite the low percentage of productive land (3.6% of crops, 24% of forests) agriculture and livestock tend to evolve and strengthen species by organizing themselves industrially; in fact there is a further decrease in the area cultivated with wheat, which from 29,157 ha in 1947 goes to 14,000 ha in 1957, but an increase in the production of barley (3,160,000 q), oats (1,380,000 q) and potatoes (10,100,000 q). The breeding is highly specialized in the production of cheese (364.800 q in 1957) and butter (134.000 q in 1957) although the zootechnical patrimony recorded a decrease in cattle and goats and an increase in sheep and pigs in 1947; the latter farm is still below its potential in relation to the development of the dairy industry. L’3 of wood but in 1951-52 it reached a peak of 13 million. The fishing is still the major source of wealth (in 1955 constituted 23% of exports) and the most widespread employment (in fact it dedicates theab. out of five); it has maintained the character of a small business and the boats generally have 12-15 crew men; in 1957 the catch was 1,738,900 t, most of which herring. About 5% of the active population is dedicated to whale hunting; the particularly well-equipped whaling flotilla operates especially in the Southern Ocean where in 1955 it captured 14,500 whales, from which 149,000 t of oil were obtained. The fish industry in 1955 supplied 435,000 q of salted cod, 365,020 q of dried cod, 852,000 q of salted herring, 226,900 q of canned herring. The development of each type of industry is remarkable and the industrial production index went from 100 in 1949 to 146 in 1955 showing values higher than the average in some specific sectors such as 188 in the electrochemical one.
Commerce. – The imbalance that arose in the economy after the end of the war was not completely remedied and the value of imports of 9,103.3 million crowns was not balanced in 1957 by that of exports (5,866.9 million crowns). Exports were mainly directed in 1957 to West Germany, England, Sweden and the USA; the same countries are found in the ranking of imports; imports prevail considerably in relation to West Germany. The values of exchanges with Italy are modest and exports prevail (in 1957 163 million crowns against 132 million).
Communications. – In 1958 the Norwegian roads measured 49,535 of which 24,135 km were highways. The number of vehicles that in 1947 were 115,480 in 1958 had risen to 227,600. The railway network from 4194 km in 1945 was increased in 1958 to 4380 km, of which 1450 are electrified. The merchant navy, having replaced the gaps caused by the war, went from 1747 units with a total tonnage of 3,936,000 tonnes in 1948 to 2624 units with tonnage over 100 gross tonnes for a total tonnage value of 9,384,830 tonnes in 1958 In 1958 civil aviation made up of 59 aircraft served 43 countries.
Finances. – The economic development marked by the national income is mainly related to the strengthening of the merchant fleet (which has reached the fourth place in the world) and to the expansion of local industries, connected with the production of electricity (one of the most elevated) and with the exploitation of conspicuous forest resources. It has been accompanied by a constant deficit in the balance of payments which has weighed on the large imports of ships financed with foreign capital. The surplus of foreign capital movements allowed for an accumulation of foreign exchange reserves which, after a pause in 1953-54, has intensified in recent years.
The Norwegian banking system consists of the central bank (which was nationalized in 1949), 74 commercial banks and about 600 savings banks, as well as smaller private and public credit institutions. After the general devaluation of September 1949, the official parity was maintained at 7.142 kroner to one US dollar.The krona was declared convertible for non-residents starting in December 1958.
History. – The experience of the Second World War, during which (1940) was invaded by Germany despite its declared neutrality, made Norway sensitive to the initiatives of defensive organization taken in Western Europe, from which it promised a guarantee for its safety. Therefore, on the one hand it adhered to the Atlantic Pact, signed on April 4, 1949, and on the other hand resumed traditional contacts with the other Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland) in order to deepen mutual political and economic collaboration. If the policy of close rapprochement with the other Nordic countries had a peaceful development and resulted, in 1952, in the creation of a Nordic Council, participation in the Atlantic Pact was a reason for the Oslo government to periodically argue with the Moscow government. Already in 1951 there was a lively exchange of notes for the inclusion in the North Atlantic area of the Spitsbergen archipelago, considered by the USSR as an area of particular strategic importance. The Soviet government recalled that the Treaty of Paris of February 9, 1920 provided that the aforementioned islands should “never be used for military purposes”. The controversy continued until Prime Minister Einar Gerhardsen’s trip to Moscow in November 1955, when he assured that Norway would not endorse any aggressive policies and would not allow the creation of foreign bases on its territory until had been attacked or threatened with attack. In the following years, the Norwegian government showed itself the most ready to favor the relaxing attitudes aimed at overcoming the division of the world into two blocs, and to accentuate a defensive interpretation of the Atlantic Pact by underlining its political aspects above purely military evaluations. This point of view was particularly reiterated on April 25, 1957, in the response of Foreign Minister H. Lange to a Spanish protest for his previous declarations against the inclusion of Spain in the Pact: he declared that the Norwegian government did not consider the alliance Atlantic as a pure and simple military alliance but as an instrument of wider political collaboration, so “. For Norway history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.
In the internal field, on the other hand, the opposition to the Nordic union policy – only in the economic aspect, however – was more insistent than to the Atlantic policy.
The Social Democratic Party, which in the political elections of 1949 won, as has been the case for 15 years, an absolute majority in parliament (Storting), with 85 seats out of 148, continued to dominate the political scene undisputed – even if in the elections of 12 October 1953 it lost 8 seats; 6 of which regained in those of 7 October 1957 – constituting a series of single-color governments chaired successively by Gerhardsen (1949), Oscar Torp (1951) and again by Gerhardsen (1955). The Torp government was responsible for the reform of the electoral law (November 1952) which abolished the so-called “farmers clause” contained in the constitution of May 17, 1914 – according to which two thirds of the members of parliament had to be elected by the electoral districts of the countryside – and divided the country into 20 constituencies – with Oslo and Bergen as separate constituencies – in which the smaller cities and the counties they belong to form a single constituency. Oslo, up to then represented by 7 deputies, with the reform sent 13 representatives. The Torp ministry was also responsible for the elaboration (1953) of a four-year plan for the economic, social and cultural development of the country, having as its fundamental objectives full employment and a more equitable distribution of national income.