Human habitation in Norway may be traced back to 11,000 BC, following the conclusion of the last Ice Age. Stone Age tools have been discovered in the north and west, and people transitioned into the Bronze Age approximately 1500 BC. Even though proof existed of tribes in commercial contact with the more technologically sophisticated Romans who conquered Gaul, just a few items from the Iron Age, which began around 500 BC, have been discovered.

Most of Norway’s festivals occur in the spring and summer when Norwegians go to the country to perform. To make up for the lengthy winter, it appears that they strive twice as hard to have fun. For example, the Viking Festival and the Northern Norway Arts Festival are pretty famous in the summer. Because Norway is a Christian country, Christmas dominates the winter holiday calendar, yet as you stroll through the markets, the celebrations take on a unique Scandinavian flavor. Norway believes itself to be forward-thinking in terms of current culture, as seen by the number of modern music and art events it holds, such as the Norwegian Wood Festival, which draws top talent worldwide.

Norway’s cuisine is greatly inspired by the North Atlantic’s bounty, which makes sense given the country’s 78,000-mile coastline. Norwegians are particularly fond of salmon and trout, which they have been cultivating for generations. Fresh seafood such as king crab and salt fish such as herring and cod are also prominently on menus. Gravlaks (sweet and salty cured salmon) and pickled herring are two examples of cured fish. Medium-hard, nutty cheeses like Jarlsberg or other dairy items like sour cream help balance these intense tastes.

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