My goal for this project is to create a running visual lexicon of all things Norway, (and) an illustrated diary of my explorations here. An illustrated resource for those within and far beyond Norway's borders. • This "small" country of five million people is home to Europe's deepest lake, highest waterfall, second longest coastline, over 100,000 islands, the world's northern-most university and endless stocks of rugged beauty, grit and wonder. • As a non-native illustrator based in Norway (since 2009), this project felt both obvious and necessary. As a subject, this corner of the globe is endless.
– Max Estes
Illustrator, editor, project curator
Marka is the name of the forested and hilly areas surrounding Oslo. The area is 116 sq. miles ( 300 km2 ) in size and contains many lakes, ponds and streams. The fauna of marka includes lynx, beaver, Eurasian elk and roe deer.
Longyearbyen is the world’s northernmost town. The only settlement on Spitsbergen island in the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard. Svalbard lies midway between continental Norway and the North Pole.
Population: 2,075. Coordinates: 78°13′N 15°33′E
Roughly 1/3rd of mainland Norway lies above the tree line, the edge of the habitat at which trees are capable of growing.
Norway has 74, 523 islands in salt water and 42, 593 in fresh water. A grand total of 117,116 islands.
(source: Norwegian Mapping Authority)
The first aerosol spray can patent was granted in Oslo in 1926 to Erik Rotheim, a Norwegian chemical engineer. Norwegian Patent No. 46613.
Cod has historically been Norway's largest food export, and is a staple of the national cuisine. Cod liver oil, rich in vitamin D, is also a major export. The Barents Sea is Norway's most important cod fishery.
Norway's national flower is the purple heather (Calluna vulgarism). Extremely common, they are found everywhere from the coast to high mountain terrain.
The Oslo Opera House (Operahuset) opened in 2008. It is the largest cultural building constructed in Norway since the Nidaros Cathedral was completed circa 1300. Architect: Tarald Lundevall for Snøhetta
Gløgg is a traditional Norwegian and Swedish holiday drink. Served hot, one version calls for red wine, bourbon, white rum, a cinnamon stick, white sugar, raisons, cardamom pods, slivered almonds and whole cloves.
Juleøl (Christmas beer) is a malted beer exclusively available at Christmas time. Traditionally this was a strong ale which was brewed at home. Today many Norwegian breweries produce a variety of Christmas beers.
Red currants, rips in Norwegian, are native to western Europe and parts of Scandinavia. In Norway this tart berry is used to make saft juice, jam and can be found in many cakes and pastries.
In 1957 Norwegian furniture designer, Hans Brattrud (b 1933), designed his “Scandia” chair collection. Consisting of a stackable chair, a lounge chair and an easy chair, the series quickly achieved international recognition. One of very few Norwegian mid-century furniture classics, these chairs are still in high demand today.
The provinces of Telemark and Hardanger are known for their Gravenstein apple orchards. These tart apples, ranging in color from yellow to red, are commonly used for cider. Johannes Pedersen Aga planted the first Gravenstein tree in Norway in 1792.
The white-throated dipper (Cinclus cinclus), also known as the European dipper, is Norway's national bird.
Bjering was the brand name of the unique tandem seat automobile constructed by Hans C. Bjering in Gjøvik, Norway. A mere 6 were built between 1918 and 1920.
Henrik Ibsen (1828 - 1906) was a Norwegian playwright and poet born in Skien. His works include the world famous plays A doll's house, Ghosts and Hedda Gabler. Ibsen is often referred to as the Father of Realism, and has earned international acclaim as the most influential dramatist of his time.
The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight.
In Svalbard, Norway, the northernmost inhabited region of Europe, there is no sunset from approximately 19 April to 23 August.
Bergen (est. 1070 AD) is Norway's second-most populous city. Laying at the foot of Byfjorden on the west coast, Bergen is known as the city of The Seven Mountains. The city’s historic wharf, Bryggen, is a World Heritage Site.
Akershus Fortress (c. 1290) is a medieval castle initially built to protect Oslo. It has also be used as a prison. After World War II, eight Norwegian traitors, tried for war crimes and sentenced to death, were executed at the fortress.
A stave church is a medieval wooden Christian church building once common in north-western Europe. The name derives from the buildings' structure of post and lintel construction, a type of timber framing where the load-bearing posts are called staff in Old Norse and stav in modern Norwegian. The Heddal stave church (c. early 13th century) in Notodden is the largest stave church in Norway.
The Astrup Fearnley Museum (f. 1993) is a privately owned contemporary art museum in Oslo. The collection's main focus is the American appropriation artists from the 1980s and the international contemporary art scene. In 2012 the museum relocated to a duo of buildings designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano.
Settled in the year 871, Tønsberg is generally regarded as Norway's oldest town. Archaeological excavations
conducted in the 1980's found Viking graves, confirming the age of the original settlement.
Ole Bornemann Bull (1810 – 1880) was a Norwegian violinist and composer born in Bergen. He is believed to have composed more than 70 works, but only about 10 are known today. Best known is his Sæterjentens søndag (The dairymaid's Sunday).
The ostehøvel (cheese slicer) was invented by Norwegian cabinet maker and inventor, Thor Bjørklund (1889-1975), in 1925. The iconic tool has become a signature export for Norway.
Holmenkollen ('bakken' meaning hill) hosted the 1952 Winter Olympics, and hosts the World Cup Nordic skiing events every winter. With over 1 million visitors annually, it is Norway's most popular tourist attraction.
The massive ski jump, rebuilt 19 times, originally opened in 1892. The jump is constructed of 1000 tons of steel and raises to a height of 60 meters. The top is cut horizontally to accommodate a viewing platform with a panoramic view of Oslo below.
Mandal is the southernmost town of Norway and the birthplace of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and the painter Adolph Tidemand. Mandal is also famous for its shipbuilding and engineering industries.
In 1965 Norwegian designer, Ingmar Relling (1920 - 2002) introduced his Siesta chair. The chair took top honors at the Norwegian Furniture Council competition that year. Accolades far beyond Scandinavia soon followed. The chair is now sold in more than 50 countries and shown in galleries the world over. The iconic chair can even be found at the White House, Washington D.C..
The NORVEG Cultural Centre and Coastal Museum on the shores of Rørvik was designed by architect, Gudmundur Jonsson. Opened in 2004, its sail-form roof structure pays homage to the maritime location and seafaring tradition of the region.
Fjord, from the old norse "fjörðr", means "where you travel across" or "put across to the other side”. A fjord is a glacially carved valley which has extended below sealevel and filled with seawater (reaching depths up to 4250 ft. / 1300 m). The Sognefjord is the largest fjord system in Norway, penetrating more than 125 miles (200 km) inland from the coast of western Norway.
Grimstad (est. 1838) is a seaside town near the southern tip of Norway in the Sørlandet region. It is set among many small islands (Skjærgård). Notable past residents include Roald Dahl, Knut Hamsun and Henrik Ibsen.
In 2008 the Norwegian government opened the Global Seed Vault in the remote Svalbard arctic archipelago. Positioned just 810 miles (1,300 km) from the North pole, the vault is an attempt to insure against the loss of seeds in the event of a large-scale regional or global crises. Often referred to as the “Doomsday Vault”, it houses samples from approximately one-third of the world's most important food crop varieties.