Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fun First World Factoids

If you were as rich as Norway, you'd do some of these too:

-While education is free, all are entitled to a laptop since 2005 once they get to around 10th grade.

-You can claim social security at 18. Some kids take advantage of this and the amount of money is certainly enough to live. It is a bit problematic as you can just lollygag through life without doing much!

-Like Sweden, all men must go into the military for 1 year after high school. Or, they can choose to do a social project for a year. Norway actually does have soldiers in Afghanistan. However, the soldiers there are not the ones that have been in the military for 1 year. After 1 year of service, you could continue in the military, and these are the people that tend to go. They send some people up north to ‘protect’ the border with Russia.

-The income tax rate is something like 35%. But they also tax lots of other ‘bad’ thing. For example, alcohol and chocolate have very high tax rates. For some reason, meat does as well!

-Norway is part of the Schengen zone but not the EU. They get all the benefits of being in the Schengen zone (which I think includes free trade), but are pretty much in their own isolated bubble and not dragged down economically by the EU. That’s nice, cause with such high oil and salmon exports they’re flush with money!

-They have a King and Queen! Although they are basically there for show nowadays.

-Norway is one of three countries where you can buy whale. The hunt the Minke (which I guess is the most populous whale), during a regulated whale season.

-They also sell lots of reindeer and moose.

-They still have a pretty big native group living up north.

-I didn’t previously know that Norway was occupied by German for some years during WWII.

-Svalbard, Norway’s massive island/archipelago just south of the north pole, has some pretty massive tax incentives for people to move there. Like Ushuaia, in Argentina (but probably much more substantial).

-Norwegian is similar to both Swedish and Danish, but in different ways. In speaking, certainly closer to Swedish, many words are the same. The alphabet is more similar to Danish, though. For example, Norwegian and Danish have a letter that is formed if you pushed the a and e together ‘ae’, but in Swedish, this is accomplished by an a with two dots above it. The Danish influence is likely due to the Danish occupation when most of Scandinavia was actually Denmark. Otherwise, all the languages are of Viking origins. Anyways, nobody in this world can learn Danish very well nowadays, it’s a bit of a freak language, even according to the Danes.

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