Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Category:Landscapes of Norway
Norway may be divided into a number of geographical landscapes. Many landscapes have deep historical roots, and does only partially coincide with todays administrative units of counties and municipalities. The landscapes are defined by geographical entities, often valleys/mountain ranges, fjords, plains, or coastlines, or combinations of the above. Many such regions were petty kingdoms up to the early Viking age.
A high percentage of Norwegians identify themselves more by the landscape they live in or come from, rather than the formal administrative unit(s) they are citizens of. A significant reason for this is that the landscapes, through their strong geographical limits, have traditionally delineated the region(s) within which one could travel without too much trouble and/or expenditure of time and money (here we're talking of traveling on foot or skis, by horse/ox-drawn cart or sleigh or dog sled, or by one's own small rowing/sail boat). Thus, dialects and regional commonality in folk culture tended to correspond to those same geographical units, despite any division into administrative districts by authorities.
It is not before modern times, from the mid-to-late 1800s, but particularly after WWII, that the administrative districts, and, indeed, the whole country, have become more closely connected, based on the following:
- The construction of mountain crossings and tunnels, and bridges and undersea tunnels; many of these projects, particularly the larger bridges and the undersea tunnels, were undertaken as late as the 1970s forward.
- The establishment of a coastal express route of combined passenger/cargo ships, like the Hurtigruten, sailing regularly from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again, and stopping by at a host of cities and towns along the western and northern coast.
- The construction of railroads between distant parts of the country.
- The opening of dozens of new airports all over the country through the 1960s and 70s.
- The release of private cars from government rationing/import restrictions from the 1950s onwards.
A concrete display of the Norwegian habit of identifying themselves by landscape can be seen in the many regional costumes, called bunad, strictly connected to distinct landscapes across the country. Commonly, even city dwellers proudly mark their rural origins by wearing such a costume, from their ancestral landscape, at weddings, visits to/by members of the royal family, constitution day (May 17th), and other ceremonial occations.
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