Norway and the UK

Our countries may have the North Sea between them, but Norway and the UK are close neighbours, friends and political allies. Our two nations also work together in international organisations, such as NATO, the UN and the EEA (European Economic Area).

For thousands of years, Norwegian and British ships and boats have been crossing the North Sea in search of trade, goods, human contact and culture. This has led to many adventures. The first known contact between our two countries was during the time of the Vikings. These seafaring invaders from Norway were fierce fighters and often raided the lands they discovered with force. Despite this, some Vikings stayed on in the UK to build trade and to create communities. Most of these small settlements became peaceful places, with craftsmen, farmers and merchants. The bustling city of York, in England, was one of the largest known Viking settlements.

Our Royal Families are closely related. Norway's King Harald V is the son of the late King Olav V, who was born in England to the English Princess Maud. She was the daughter of King Edward VII and later became Queen Maud of Norway.

More than a hundred years ago, British tourists were among the first to visit Norway and enjoy the Norwegian fjords and mountains. The west coast of Norway still has a large number of hotels built in the 19th century for these tourists to stay in, and many of them have English names. Today, the British are still among the most numerous – and most welcome – tourists in Norway. Thousands of Britons make the trip by air or sea every year to enjoy Norway's open spaces and spectacular scenery. Popular holidays include taking a boat trip along Norway's coastline, or seeing the midnight sun in summer or the northern lights in winter.



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Did You Know?

Today's monarchs, King Harald V and Queen Elizabeth II, are second cousins.