The kingdom was established as a merger of a large number of petty kingdoms.
Norway maintains close ties with both the European Union and the United States.
Norway is a founding member of the United Nations, NATO, the European Free Trade Association, the Council of Europe, the Antarctic Treaty, and the Nordic Council; a member of the European Economic Area, the WTO, and the OECD; and a part of the Schengen Area.
The interpretation as "northern", as reflected in the English and Latin forms of the name, would then have been due to later folk etymology.
This latter view originated with philologist Niels Halvorsen Trønnes in 1847; since 2016 it as also advocated by language student and activist Klaus Johan Myrvoll and was adopted by philology professor Michael Schulte.
The petroleum industry accounts for around a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Norway has two official names: Norge in Bokmål and Noreg in Nynorsk.According to the traditional undisputed view, the first component was originally norðr, a cognate of English north, so the full name was Norðr vegr, "the way northwards", referring to the sailing route along the Norwegian coast, and contrasting with suðrvegar "southern way" (from Old Norse suðr) for Germany, and austrvegr "eastern way" (from austr) for the Baltic.According to another theory, the first component was a word nór, meaning "narrow", referring to the inner-archipelago sailing route through the land ("narrow way").However, theories about two altogether different cultures (the Komsa culture north of the Arctic Circle being one and the Fosna culture from Trøndelag to Oslofjord being the other) were rendered obsolete in the 1970s.More recent finds along the entire coast revealed to archaeologists that the difference between the two can simply be ascribed to different types of tools and not to different cultures.The country maintains a combination of market economy and a Nordic welfare model with universal health care and a comprehensive social security system.