Europe's northernmost country, the Kingdom of Norway is famed for its mountains and spectacular fjord coastline, as well as its history as a seafaring power.
It also enjoys one of the world's highest standards of living, in large part due to the discovery in the late 1960s of offshore oil and gas.It is the world's number seven oil exporter and has resisted the temptation to splurge its windfall, choosing instead to deposit the surplus wealth into its oil fund - now the world's largest sovereign wealth fund.
What to do with the money is a hot political issue: whether to use more of it to improve infrastructure or keep it for a rainy day and future generations.
Norway plays an active international role. It has mediated between Israel and the Palestinians as well as in the Sri Lankan conflict, and has participated in military action in Afghanistan and Libya. Ex-premier Jens Stoltenberg is Nato's secretary general. It defies a global ban on commercial whaling, along with Japan and Iceland.
The Schibsted group, publisher of Aftenposten and the mass-circulation VG, is one of Scandinavia's largest media concerns. Norway-based Telenor is a leading Nordic broadband, telecoms and satellite TV provider.
Digital television via cable and satellite offers a wide range of specialist channels. Norway has completed the switch from analogue to digital terrestrial TV.
Norwegians are among the world's keenest newspaper readers. The number of titles is impressive, given the small population. Most of the press is privately-owned and openly partisan.
Press freedom is guaranteed by the constitution and public radio and TV broadcast without official interference.
By December 2011, more than 4.5 million Norwegians were online - around 97% of the population (InternetWorldStats).
For more media information contact Yvonne Foster: