Monaco, officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco (French pronunciation ; Monégasque: Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco; Occitan: Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign city state, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. Bordered by France on three sides, sony vgp-bps2 battery with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea, its center is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy, and is only 13 km (8.1 mi) north east of Nice, France. It has an area of 1.98 km2 (0.76 sq mi), and a population of 36,371, making Monaco the second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of only 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), and a width that varies between 1.7 km (1.1 mi), and 349 metres (382 yards) sony vgp-bps3 battery. The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires district, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. After a recent expansion of Port Hercules, Monaco's total area is 2.05 km2 (0.79 sq mi), with new plans to extend the district of Fontvieille, with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Seasony vgp-bps4 battery.
Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Even though Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he still has immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. sony vgp-bps5 batteryThe state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full UN voting member in 1993, after much political debate. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defence is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units, totaling 263 officers and men, the Corps des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Monaco, and the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Princesony vgp-bps7 battery.
Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad line to France, and the opening of the first casino, Monte Carlo. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world-famous as a tourist and recreation center for the rich and famous. However, in more recent years Monaco has become a major banking center holding over €100 billion worth of fundssony vgp-bpl7 battery, and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into the services and small, high-value-added, nonpolluting industries. The state has no income tax and low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at $153,177, GDP PPP per capita at $132,571, and GNI per capita at $183,150. Monaco also has the world's highest life expectancy at nearly 90 years, and the lowest unemployment rate at 0%sony vgp-bps8 battery,with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. For the third year in a row, Monaco in 2011 had the world's most expensive real estate market, at $65,600 per square metre. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world's lowest poverty rate, and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.
Monaco's name comes from the 6th century BC nearby Phocaean Greek colonysony vgp-bps8a battery. Referred to the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek "μόνοικος", "single house", from "μόνος" (monos) "alone, single" + "οἶκος" (oikos) "house", which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikossony vgp-bps8b battery.
Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was refounded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco was first ruled by a member of the House of Grimaldi in 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi, known as "Il Malizia" (translated from Italian either as "The Malicious One" or "The Cunning One"), and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while dressed as a Franciscan monk – a Monaco in Italiansony vgp-bpl8 battery, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name. Francesco, however, was evicted only a few years afterwards by the Genovese forces, and the struggle over "the Rock" continued for another century.
In 1419, the Grimaldis purchased Monaco from the crown of Aragon and became the official and undisputed rulers of "the Rock of Monaco", and in 1612 Honore II began to style himself "Prince" of Monaco. In the 1630s, Honore II sought French protection against the Spanish forces and was eventually, in 1642, received at the court of Louis XIII as "Duc et Pair Etranger".sony vgp-bps9 batteryThe princes of Monaco thus became vassals of the French kings while at the same time remaining sovereign princes. As successive princes and their families spent most of their lives in Paris, and through marriages with French nobilities, the House of Grimaldi, though Italian in origin, became thoroughly French in character. The principality continued its existence as a protectorate of France until the French Revolutionsony vgp-bps9/s battery.
In 1793, Revolutionary forces captured Monaco and it remained under direct French control until 1814, when the Grimaldis returned to the throne. The principality was reestablished that year, only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained in this position until 1860 when, by the Treaty of Turin, the Sardinian forces pulled out of the principality and the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy) was ceded to Francesony vgp-bps9a/s battery. Monaco became a French protectorate once again. Prior to this time there was unrest in Menton and Roquebrune where the townspeople had become weary of heavy taxation by the Grimaldis. They declared their independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia, France protested. The unrest continued until Charles III gave up his claim to the two mainland towns, (some 95% of the principality at the time) which had been ruled by the Grimaldis for over 500 years. sony vgp-bps9/b battery These were ceded to France in return for 4,100,000 francs. The transfer and Monaco's sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. In 1869, the principality stopped collecting income tax from its residents—an indulgence the Grimaldis could afford to entertain thanks solely to the extraordinary success of the casino. This made Monaco not only a playground for the rich, but a favored place for them to live. sony vgp-bps9a/b battery
Albert II, Prince of Monaco
Until the Monegasque Revolution of 1910 forced the adoption of the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers. The new constitution, however, barely reduced the autocratic rule of the Grimaldis and in any case Albert I soon suspended it. In July 1918, the Franco-Monegasque Treaty was signed, providing for limited French protection over Monacosony vgp-bps9a battery. The treaty, endorsed in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests, and resolved the Monaco Succession Crisis.
In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a Fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following the collapse of Mussolini, the German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and the Nazi deportation of the Jewish population begansony vgp-bps9b battery. René Blum (Paris, 13 March 1878 – Auschwitz, 30 April 1943), the prominent French Jew who founded the Ballet de l'Opera in Monte Carlo, was arrested in his Paris home and held in the Drancy deportation camp outside Paris, thence he was then transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was later killed. Blum's colleague Raoul Gunsbourg, the director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, helped by the French Resistancesony vgp-bpl9c battery, escaped arrest and fled to Switzerland.
Rainier III, who ruled until 2005, succeeded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. On 19 April 1956, Prince Rainier married the American actress Grace Kelly; the event was widely televised and covered in the popular press, focusing the world's attention on the tiny principality. sony vgp-bpl9 battery
A 1962 amendment to the constitution abolished capital punishment, provided for women's suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties. In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights. In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynastysony vgp-bps10 battery, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco's military defense, however, is still the responsibility of France.
On 31 March 2005, Prince Rainier III, too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them to his only son and heir, Prince Albert II. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005 after a reign of 56 years. His son Prince Albert II succeeded him and was thereafter titled Albert II, Sovereign Prince of MonacoSony VGP-BPS12 Battery.
Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monegasque throne was a two-step event, with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate Levée, held on 18 November 2005, at the historic Prince's Palace in Monaco-VilleSony VGP-BPL12 Battery.
Satellite view of Monaco, with the Monegasque-French border shown in yellow
Monaco is a sovereign city state, with 5 Quartiers and 10 Wards, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Its center is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy and only 13 km (8.1 mi) south east of Nice, France. It has an area of 1.98 km2 (0.76 sq mi)Sony VGP-BPS13 Batteryor 198 ha (490 acres) and a population of 36,371, making Monaco the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Having a land border of only 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), a maritime claim that extends 22.2 kilometres (13.8 mi), and a width that varies between 1.7 km (1.1 mi) and 349 meters (382 yards), Monaco is unique.
The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires district, 161 meters (528 feet) above sea levelSony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery. The lowest point in the country is the Mediterranean Sea, at sea level. Saint-Jean is the longest flowing body of water, around 0.19 km (0.12 miles) in length, and Fontvieille is the largest lake, approximately 0.5 ha (1.24 acres) in size. Monaco's most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. After a recent expansion of Port Hercules, Monaco's total area is 2.05 km2 (0.79 sq mi) or 205 ha (506 acres), and there are plans to extend the district of FontvieilleSony VGP-BPS13/Q battery, with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea. There are two ports in Monaco, Hercules and Fontvieille, as well as the neighboring French port of Cap d'Ail. Monaco's only natural resource is fishing; with almost the entire country being an urban area, Monaco lacks any sort of commercial agriculture industrySony VGP-BPS13A/B battery.
Monaco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is influenced by the oceanic climate and the humid subtropical climate. As a result, it has warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Cool and rainy interludes can interrupt the dry summer season, the average length of which is also shorter. Summer afternoons are infrequently hot (indeed, temperatures > 30 °C/86 °F are rare) Sony VGP-BPS13/S battery as the atmosphere is temperate because of constant sea breezes. On the other hand, the nights are very mild, due to the fairly high temperature of the sea in summer. Generally, temperatures do not drop below 20 °C (68 °F) in this season. In the winter, frosts and snowfalls are extremely rare and generally occur once or twice every ten yearsSony VGP-BPS13/B battery.
Main article: Politics of Monaco
Monaco has been governed under a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State as the head of government, who presides over a five-member Council of Government. Until 2002, the Minister of State was a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government; since a constitutional amendment in 2002Sony VGP-BPS13B/S battery, the Minister of State can be French or Monegasque. However, Prince Albert II appointed, on 3 March 2010, the Frenchman Michel Roger as Minister of State.
Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his veto power with the unicameral National Council. The 24 member National Council are elected for five-year terms; 16 are chosen through a majority electoral system and 8 by proportional representation. All legislation requires the approval of the National CouncilSony VGP-BPS13A battery, which is currently dominated by the central-right Union of Monaco (UPM), who hold twenty-one seats. The only other party represented in the National Council is the right-wing Rally and Issues for Monaco (REM), which holds just three seats. The principality's city affairs are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of fourteen elected members and is presided over by the mayor. As with the National Council UPM holds the majority with ten seats, while REM holds two seats, and the rest are independent. Sony VGP-BPS13A/S battery
Monaco is the second smallest country (by size) in the world; only Vatican City is smaller. Monaco is also the world's second smallest monarchy, and is the most densely populated country in the world. The state consists of only one municipality (commune). There is no geographical distinction between the State and City of Monaco, although responsibilities of the government (state-level) and of the municipality (city-level) are different. Sony VGP-BPS13AS battery According to the constitution of 1911, the principality was subdivided into three municipalities:
Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco, or simply Le Rocher (the Rock);
Monte Carlo, the principal residential and resort area with the Monte Carlo Casino in the east and northeast;
La Condamine, the southwestern section including the port area, Port HerculesSony VGP-BPS13S battery.
The municipalities were merged into one in 1917, after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto "divide and conquer," and they were accorded the status of Wards or Quartiers thereafter.
Fontvieille, was added as a fourth ward, a newly constructed area reclaimed from the sea in the 1970s;
Moneghetti, became the fifth ward, created from part of La Condamine;
Larvotto, became the sixth ward, created from part of Monte CarloSony VGP-BPS13A/Q battery;
La Rousse/Saint Roman (including Le Ténao), became the seventh ward, also created from part of Monte Carlo.
Directly ahead is La Condamine, to the right with the smaller harbour is Fontvieille, with the "Rock of Monaco" (the old town, fortress, and Palace) jutting out between the two harbours; to the left with the high-rise buildings is Monte Carlo
Subsequently, three additional wards were created:
Saint Michel, created from part of Monte Carlo;
La Colle, created from part of La Condamine;
Les Révoires, also created from part of La CondamineSony VGP-BPS13A/R battery.
An additional ward was planned by new land reclamation to be settled beginning in 2014; but Prince Albert II announced in his 2009 New Year Speech that he had ended plans due to the current economic climate. However, Prince Albert II in mid 2010 firmly restarted the programSony VGP-BPS13AB battery.
Traditional quarters and modern geographic areas
The four traditional Quartiers of Monaco are: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo and Fontvieille. However, the suburb of Moneghetti, the high-level part of La Condamine, is generally seen today as an effective fifth Quartier of the Monaco, having a very distinct atmosphere and topography when compared with low-level La Condamine.
Currently Monaco is subdivided into ten Wards, with their official numbers; either Fontvieille II or Le Portier, would become the effective eleventh ward, if built: Sony VGP-BPS13B battery
Palace guard in Monaco, just before the Changing of the Guard.
The wider defence of the nation is provided by France. Monaco has no navy or air force, but on both a per-capita and per-area basis, Monaco has the largest police force (515 police officers for 35,000 people) and police presence in the world. Its police includes a specialist unit which operates patrol and surveillance boatsSony VGP-BPS13B/B battery.
There is also a small military force. This consists of a bodyguard unit for the Prince and the palace in Monaco-Ville called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince's Company of Carabiniers), which is equipped with modern weapons such as M16A2 rifles and 9 mm pistols (Glock 17), and which together with the militarizedSony VGP-BPL21 battery, armed fire and civil defence Corps (Sapeurs-Pompiers) forms Monaco's total public forces. The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 116 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. In addition to their guard duties as described, the Carabiniers patrol the Principality's beaches and coastal watersSony VGP-BPS21 battery.
Fontvieille and its new harbour.
One of Monaco's main sources of income is tourism. Each year many are attracted to its casino and pleasant climate. Monaco's own citizens are not allowed to gamble in the casino. In 2001, a major new construction project extended the pier used by cruise ships in the main harbour. The principality has successfully sought to diversify into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermicsSony VGP-BPS21A battery.
The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be fully owned by the state; it now owns only 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by both Cable & Wireless Communications (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas. Sony VGP-BPS21B battery
Monaco is not a member of the European Union. However, it is very closely linked via a customs union with France, and as such, its currency is the same as that of France, the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on its national sideSony VGP-BPS26 Battery.
The plan for casino gambling was mooted during the reign of Florestan I in 1846. Under Louis-Philippe's petite-bourgeois regime, however, a dignitary such as a Prince of Monaco was not allowed to operate a gambling house. All this changed in the dissolute Second French Empire under Napoleon III. The House of Grimaldi was in dire need to generate cash. Menton and Roquebrune, which had been main source of income for the Grimaldis for centuriesSony VGP-BPS26A Battery, now accustomed to much improved standard of living and lenient taxation thanks to Sardinian intervention, clamored for financial and political concession, even for separation. The Grimaldis hoped the newly legal industry would help alleviate the difficulties they faced, above all the crushing debt the family had incurred, but Monaco's first casino would not be ready to operate until after Charles III assumed the throne in 1856Sony VGP-BPS13 battery(without CD).
The grantee of the princely concession (license) was unable to attract enough business to sustain the operation and, after relocating the casino several times, sold the concession to French casino magnates François and Louis Blanc for 1.7 million francs. The Blancs had already set up a highly successful casino (in fact the biggest in Europe) in Bad-Homburg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Homburg, a small German principality comparable to MonacoSony VGP-BPS13B/Q battery(without CD), and quickly petitioned Charles III to rename a depressed seaside area known as "Les Spelegures (Den of Thieves)" to "Monte Carlo (Mount Charles)." They then constructed their casino in the newly dubbed "Monte Carlo" and cleared out the area's less-than-savory elements to make the neighborhood surrounding the establishment more conducive to tourismSony VGP-BPS13/Q battery(without CD).
The Blancs opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858, and the casino benefited from the tourist traffic the newly built French railway system created. Due to the combination of the casino and the railroads, Monaco finally recovered from the previous half century of economic slump, and the principality's success attracted other businesses. In the years following the casino's opening Monaco founded its Oceanographic Museum and the Monte Carlo Opera HouseSony VGP-BPS13A/B battery(without CD), 46 hotels sprang up and the number of jewelers operating in Monaco increased by nearly 500 percent. By 1869, the casino was making such a vast sum of money that the principality could afford not to collect tax from the Monegasques; a master stroke that was to attract affluent residents from all over Europe.
Today, Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which owns Le Grand Casino still operates in the original building the Blancs constructedSony VGP-BPS13/S battery(without CD), and has since been joined by several other casinos, including the Le Casino Café de Paris, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club & Casino, and the Sun Casino. The most recent addition in Monte Carlo, is the Monte Carlo Bay Casino, which sits on 4 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea, and among other things, offers 145 slot machines, all equipped with "Ticket-In, Ticket-Out" (TITO); it is the first Mediterranean casino to use this technologySony VGP-BPS13/B battery(without CD).
Monaco levies no income tax on individuals. The absence of a personal income tax in the principality has attracted to it a considerable number of wealthy "tax refugee" residents from European countries who derive the majority of their income from activity outside Monaco; celebrities such as Formula One drivers attract most of the attention, but the vast majority of them are less well-known business peopleSony VGP-BPS13A battery(without CD). This applies to all residents of Monaco of any nationality except French citizens whose residency started after 1957. These French citizens still must pay French income tax.
Monte Carlo Casino
In 1998, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a first report on the consequences of the tax havens' financial systems. Monaco did not appear in the list of these territories until 2004, when OECD became indignant regarding the Monegasque situation and denounced it in its last report, as well as Andorra, LiechtensteinSony VGP-BPS13A/S battery(without CD), Liberia and the Marshall Islands, underlining its lack of co-operation regarding financial information disclosure and availability.
In 2000, a report by the French parliamentarians, Arnaud Montebourg and Vincent Peillon, alleged that Monaco had lax policies with respect to money laundering, including within its famed casino, and that the government of Monaco had been placing political pressure on the judiciary, so that alleged crimes were not being properly investigatedSony VGP-BPS13AS battery(without CD).
In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) stated: "The anti-money laundering system in Monaco is comprehensive. However, difficulties have been encountered with Monaco by countries in international investigations on serious crimes that appear to be linked also with tax matters. In addition, the FIU of Monaco (SICCFIN) suffers a great lack of adequate resourcesSony VGP-BPS13S battery(without CD). The authorities of Monaco have stated that they will provide additional resources to SICCFIN." The Principality is no longer blamed in the 2005 FATF report, as well as all other territories. However, since 2003, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified Monaco, along with 36 other territories, as a tax havenSony VGP-BPS13A/Q battery(without CD).
The Council of Europe also decided to issue reports naming tax havens. Twenty-two territories, including Monaco, were thus evaluated between 1998 and 2000 on a first round. Monaco is the only territory that refuses to perform the second round, initially forecast between 2001 and 2003, whereas the 21 other territories are implementing the third and last round, planned between 2005 and 2007. Sony VGP-BPS13A/R battery(without CD)
However, Monaco has high social insurance taxes payable by both employer and employee. The employer's contribution is between 28%–40% (averaging 35%) of gross salary including benefits and the employee pays a further 10%–14% (averaging 13%).
Main articles: Monegasque euro coins and Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Monaco)
In Monaco, the euro was introduced in 2002, having been preceded by the Monegasque franc. Sony VGP-BPS13B battery(without CD) In preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001. Like Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands and Spain, Monaco decided to put the minting date on its coins. This is why the first euro coins from Monaco have the year 2001 on them, instead of 2002, like the other countries of the Eurozone that decided to put the year of first circulation (2002) on their coins. Three different designs were selected for the Monegasque coinsSony VGP-BPS13B/B battery(without CD). However, In 2006, the design was changed after the death of ruling Prince Rainier to have the effigy of Prince Albert.
Monaco also has a rich and valuable collection of collectors' coins, with face value ranging from €5 to €100. These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of minting silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the Eurozone. For instance, a Monegasque commemorative coin cannot be used in any other country. Sony VGP-BPL21 battery(without CD) The same practice concerning commemorative coins is exercised with all eurozone countries. Commemorative coins are legal tender only in their country of issue, unlike normal circulation coins, which are accepted in all euro-zone countries.
Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix
Since 1955, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to completeSony VGP-BPS21 battery(without CD), and the removal after the race takes another three weeks. The circuit has many elevation changes and tight corners, along with a tunnel. This together with being incredibly narrow and tight makes it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Only two drivers have ever crashed into the harbor, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix, just four days before losing his life at MonzaSony VGP-BPS21A battery(without CD). The other was Paul Hawkins, during the 1965 Monaco Grand Prix.
Monte Carlo Rally
The Monte Carlo Rally has been held since 1911, having originally been held at the behest of Prince Albert I, and is considered to be like the principality's Grand Prix, organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying, and from 1973 to 2008 was the opening round of the World Rally Championship. Sony VGP-BPS21B battery(without CD) From 2009 until 2011, the rally served as the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, having most recently been run on the 19–22 January 2011 in celebration of the event's centenary.
2012 marked the return of the Monte Carlo Rally to the WRC calendar with the event taking place from the 20–22 January 2012. Sony VGP-BPS14/B Battery
Monaco hosts two major football teams in the principality; men's football club AS Monaco FC, and women's football club OS Monaco. AS Monaco plays at the Stade Louis II, and competes in the Ligue 2, the second division of French football. The club is historically one of the most successful clubs in France. However, it suffered relegation in the 2010–11 season. Because of the popular appeal of living in Monaco, and the lack of income taxSony VGP-BPS14B Battery, many international stars have played for the club, such as Marcelo Gallardo, Jürgen Klinsmann, Oliver Bierhoff, George Weah, John Collins, Fernando Morientes, Thierry Henry, Fabien Barthez, Rafael Márquez, Javier Saviola, Akis Zikos, David Trezeguet, John Arne Riise, Patrice Evra, Shabani Nonda, Emmanuel Adebayor, Eiður Guðjohnsen, Jan Koller, Victor Ikpeba, Park Chu-Young and Mahamadou DiarraSony VGP-BPS14/S Battery.
The club reached the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final, led by the likes of Dado Pršo, Fernando Morientes, Jérôme Rothen, Akis Zikos, and Ludovic Giuly, losing 3–0 to Portuguese team F.C. Porto. The Stade Louis II also plays host to the annual UEFA Super Cup, which is played between the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa LeagueSony VGP-BPL14/B Battery. The women's team, OS Monaco, competes in the women's French football league system. The club currently plays in the local regional league deep down in the league system, however once played in the Division 1 Féminine in the 1994–95 season, but were quickly relegated. Current French women's international goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi had a short stint at the club before going to the Clairefontaine academySony VGP-BPL14 Battery.
The Monaco national football team represents the nation in association football, and is controlled by the Monegasque Football Federation, the governing body for football in Monaco. However, Monaco is the only sovereign state in Europe that is not a member of UEFA, and so does not take part in any UEFA European Football Championship or FIFA World Cup competitions. The team play their home matches in the Stade Louis IISony VGP-BPL14B Battery.
Main article: Rugby union in Monaco
Monaco's national rugby team, as of March 2012, is 90th in the International Rugby Board rankings.
View of the Port of Hercules, La Condamine, Monaco
View of Monte Carlo
The Monte-Carlo Masters is currently held annually in neighbouring Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, as a professional tournament for men as part of tennis' ATP Masters Series. The tournament has been held since 1897. Golf's Monte Carlo Open was also held at the Monte Carlo Golf Club at Mont Agel in France between 1984 and 1992Sony VGP-BPL14/S Battery. Monaco has also competed in the Olympic Games, although, as of 2008, no athlete from Monaco has ever won an Olympic medal.
In 2009, the Tour de France, the world's premier bicycle race, started from Monaco with a 15 km closed-circuit individual time trial starting and finishing there on the first day (4 July) and the 182 km second leg starting there on the following day and ending in Brignoles, France.
Monaco also stage part of the Global Champions Tour (International Show-jumping). Acknowledged as the most glamorous of the seriesSony VGP-BPS14 Battery, Monaco will be hosting the world's most celebrated riders, including Monaco's own Charlotte Casiraghi, in a setting facing out over the world's most beautiful yachts, and framed by the Port Hercule and Prince's palace. In 2009, the Monaco stage of the Global Champions tour took place between 25–27 June.
The Monaco Marathon is the only marathon in the world to pass through three separate countries, those of Monaco, France and Italy. The 2010 event took place on 21 March. Runners complete the race by returning to the Stade Louis IISony VGP-BPL15/B Battery.
The Monaco Ironman 70.3 triathlon race is an annual event with over 1000 athletes competing and attracts top professional athletes from around the world. The race includes a 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike ride and 21.1 km run.
Since 1993, the headquarters of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body of athletics, is located in Monaco. An IAAF Diamond League meet is annually held at Stade Louis IISony VGP-BPS15/B Battery.
Monaco has ten state-operated schools, including: seven nursery and primary schools; one secondary school, Collège Charles III; one lycée that provides general and technological training, Lycée Albert 1er; and one lycée that provides vocational and hotel training, Lycée technique et hôtelier de Monte-Carlo. There are also two grant-aided denominational private schoolsSony VGP-BPL15/S Battery, including Institution François d'Assise Nicolas Barré and Ecole des Sœurs Dominicaines, and one international school, the International School of Monaco.
Colleges and universities
There is one university located in Monaco, namely the International University of Monaco (IUM), an English-language school specializing in business education and operated by the Institut des hautes études économiques et commerciales (INSEEC) group of schoolsSony VGP-BPS15/S Battery.
Monaco's population is unusual in that the native Monegasques are a minority in their own country comprising 21.6% of the population. The largest group are French nationals at 28.4%, followed by Monegasque (21.6%), Italian (18.7%), British (7.5%), Belgian (2.8%), German (2.5%), Swiss (2.5%) and US nationals (1.2%).
Naturalized citizens of Monaco are called Monacans, while Monegasque is the proper term for describing someone who was born in Monaco. Sony VGP-BPS15 Battery
Main article: Languages of Monaco
The official language of Monaco is French, while Italian is spoken by the principality's sizable community from Italy. English is used by American, British, Canadian, and Irish residents. The traditional national language is Monégasque, now spoken by only a minority of residents. It resembles Ligurian, which is spoken in Genoa. In Monaco-Ville, street signs are printed in both French and MonégasqueSony VGP-BPS18 battery.
The official religion is Roman Catholicism, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution. There are five Roman Catholic parish churches in Monaco and one cathedral, which is the seat of the archbishop of Monaco. The diocese, which has existed since the mid-nineteenth century, was raised to an archbishopric in 1981 as the Archdiocese of Monaco. The patron saint is Saint DevotaSony VGP-BPS22 Battery.
Christians comprise a total of 83.2% of Monaco's population.
There is one Anglican church (St. Paul's Church), located in the Avenue de Grande Bretagne in Monte Carlo. In 2007 this had a formal membership of 135 Anglicans resident in the principality, but was also serving a considerably larger number of Anglicans temporarily in the country, mostly as tourists. The church site also accommodates an English-language library of over 3,000 books. The church is part of the Anglican Diocese in Europe Sony VPCCA15FA/B Battery.
The Association Culturelle Israélite de Monaco (founded 1948) is a converted house containing a synagogue, a community Hebrew school, and a kosher food shop, located in Monte Carlo. The community (approximately 1,000) mainly consists of retired Jews from Britain (40%) and North Africa. Two thirds of the Jewish population there are Sephardic, mainly from North Africa, while the other third is Ashkenazi. SONY VGN-FZ29VN batteryThe flag of Monaco is one of the world's oldest national flag designs. The flag of Monaco is identical to the flag of Indonesia, except for the ratio of height to width.
Main article: Transport in Monaco
Further information: Rail transport in Monaco
The Monaco-Monte Carlo station is served by the SNCF, the French national rail system. The Monaco Heliport provides helicopter service to the closest airport, Côte d'Azur Airport in Nice, FranceSONY VGN-FZ31B battery.
Oslo (English pronunciation: /ˈɒzloʊ/, oz-loh, Norwegian pronunciation: is the capital of and most populous city in Norway. Founded around 1048 by King Harald III, the city was elevated to a bishopric in 1070 and a capital under Haakon V around 1300. Personal unions with Denmark from 1397 to 1523 and again from 1536 to 1814 and with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 reduced its influence. After being destroyed by a fire in 1624SONY VGN-FZ31E battery, the city was moved closer to Akershus Castle during the reign of King Christian IV and renamed Christiania in his honour. It was established as a municipality (formannskapsdistrikt) on 1 January 1838. Following a spelling reform, it was known as Kristiania from 1877 to 1925, when its original Norwegian name was restored.
Oslo is the economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shippingSONY VGN-FZ31J battery. It is an important centre for maritime industries and maritime trade in Europe. The city is home to many companies within the maritime sector, some of which are amongst the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers and maritime insurance brokers. Oslo is a pilot city of the Council of Europe and the European Commission intercultural cities programmeSONY VGN-FZ31M battery.
Oslo is considered a global city and ranked "Beta World City" in studies performed by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group and Network in 2008. It was ranked number one in terms of quality of life among European large cities in the European Cities of the Future 2012 report by fDi Magazine. For several years, Oslo has been listed as one of the most expensive cities in the world along with such other global cities as Zurich, Geneva, Copenhagen, ParisSONY VGN-FZ31Z battery, and Tokyo. In 2009, however, Oslo regained its status as the world's most expensive city. A survey conducted by ECA International in 2011 placed Oslo 2nd after Tokyo.
As of 2010 the metropolitan area of Oslo has a population of 1,442,318, of whom 912,046 live in the contiguous conurbation. The population currently increases at record rates, making it the fastest growing city in Europe. This growth stems for the most part from immigration and high birth rates among immigrantsSony VAIO VGN-CR110 battery, but also from intra-national migration. The Norwegian population in the city is not decreasing in absolute numbers, but in relative terms the percentage of native Norwegians of the total population in the city proper is decreasing due to a growing immigrant population and thus a growing total population. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts more than 25% of the city's total. Sony VAIO VGN-CR11H/B battery
As of 1 January 2012, the population of the municipality of Oslo in excess of 610,000. The urban area extends beyond the boundaries of the municipality into the surrounding county of Akershus, (municipalities of Bærum, Asker, Røyken, Lørenskog, Skedsmo, Gjerdrum, Sørum, Oppegård) its agglomeration total 912,046 inhabitants. The metropolitan area of Oslo, also referred to as the Greater Oslo Region (Norwegian: Stor-Osloregionen) Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/L battery, has a land area of 8,900 km2 (3,400 sq mi) with a population of 1,422,442 as of 1 April 2010. The Inner Oslo Fjord Region, or the Capital Region made up by the five counties of Oslo, Akershus, Buskerud, Vestfold (west bank of the Oslo fjord) and Østfold (east bank) has a population of 1,908,231 people (as of October 2010). The city centre is situated at the end of the Oslofjord, from which point the city sprawls out in three distinct "corridors" from its centreSony VAIO VGN-CR11S/P battery; inland north-eastwards and southwards along both sides of the fjord giving the city area more or less the shape of a reclining "Y" when seen from the north.
To the north and east, wide forested hills (Marka) rise above the city giving the location the shape of a giant amphitheatre. The urban municipality (bykommune) of Oslo and county of Oslo (fylke) are two parts of the same entity, making Oslo the only city in Norway where two administrative levels are integrated. Of Oslo's total area, 115 km2 (44 sq mi) is built-up and 7 km2 (2.7 sq mi) is agricultural. The open areas within the built-up zone amount to 22 km2 (8.5 sq mi) Sony VAIO VGN-CR11S/W battery.
The city of Oslo was established as a municipality on 3 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). It was separated from the county of Akershus to become a county of its own in 1842. The rural municipality of Aker was merged with Oslo on 1 January 1948 (and simultaneously transferred from Akershus county to Oslo county). Furthermore, Oslo shares several important functions with Akershus county. The neighbouring industrial commune of Aker was incorporated into Oslo in 1948. the population after that went down fast at about 531,124Sony VAIO VGN-CR11Z/R battery.
For full article, see History of Oslo's name
The origin of the name Oslo has been the subject of much debate. It is certainly derived from Old Norse and was—in all probability—originally the name of a large farm at Bjørvika, but the meaning of that name is disputed. Modern linguists generally interpret the original Óslo or Áslo as either "Meadow at the Foot of a Hill" or "Meadow Consecrated to the Gods", with both considered equally likely. Sony VAIO VGN-CR120 battery
Erroneously, it was once assumed that "Oslo" meant "the mouth of the Lo river", a supposed previous name for the river Alna. However, not only has no evidence been found of a river "Lo" predating the work where Peder Claussøn Friis first proposed this etymology, but the very name is ungrammatical in Norwegian: the correct form would have been Loaros (cf. Nidaros). The name Lo is now believed to be a back-formation arrived at by Friis in support of his spurious etymology for Oslo. Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E battery
Main article: Seal of Oslo
Oslo is one of very few cities in Norway, besides Bergen and Tønsberg, that does not have a formal coat of arms, but which uses a city seal instead. The seal of Oslo shows the city's patron saint, St. Hallvard, with his attributes, the millstone and arrows, with a naked woman at his feet. He is seated on a throne with lion decorations, which at the time was also commonly used by the Norwegian KingsSony VAIO VGN-CR120E/L battery.
According to the Norse sagas, Oslo was founded around 1049 by King Harald Hardråde. Recent archaeological research has uncovered Christian burials which can be dated to prior to AD 1000, evidence of a preceding urban settlement. This called for the celebration of Oslo's millennium in 2000Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/P battery.
It has been regarded as the capital city since the reign of King Haakon V (1299–1319), the first king to reside permanently in the city. He also started the construction of the Akershus Castle. A century later, Norway was the weaker part in a personal union with Denmark, and Oslo's role was reduced to that of provincial administrative centre, with the monarchs residing in Copenhagen. The fact that the University of Oslo was founded as late as 1811 had an adverse effect on the development of the nationSony VAIO VGN-CR120E/R battery.
Oslo was destroyed several times by fire, and after the fourteenth calamity, in 1624, King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway ordered it rebuilt at a new site across the bay, near Akershus Castle and given the name Christiania. Long before this, Christiania had started to establish its stature as a centre of commerce and culture in Norway. The part of the city built starting in 1624 is now often called Kvadraturen because of its orthogonal layout. Sony VAIO VGN-CR120E/W battery The last plague outbreak ravaged Oslo in 1654. In 1814 Christiania once more became a real capital when the union with Denmark was dissolved.
Many landmarks were built in the 19th century, including the Royal Palace (1825–1848); Stortinget (the Parliament) (1861–1866), the University, Nationaltheatret and the Stock Exchange. Among the world-famous artists who lived here during this period were Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun (the latter was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature)Sony VAIO VGN-CR131E battery. In 1850, Christiania also overtook Bergen and became the most populous city in the country. In 1877 the city was renamed Kristiania. The original name of Oslo was restored in 1925.
Main article: Old Town, Oslo
Under the reign of King Olav Kyrre, Oslo became a cultural centre for Eastern Norway. St. Hallvard became the city's patron saint and is depicted on the city's seal.
In 1174, Hovedøya Abbey (Hovedøya kloster) was built. The churches and abbeys became major owners of large tracts of land, which proved important for the city's economic development, especially before the Black DeathSony VAIO VGN-CR131E/L battery.
During the Middle Ages, Oslo reached its heights in the reign of King Haakon V. He started the building of Akershus Castle and was also the first king to reside permanently in the city, which helped to make Oslo the capital of Norway.
In the end of the 12th century, Hanseatic traders from Rostock moved into the city and gained major influence in the city. The Black Death came to Norway in 1349 and, like other cities in Europe, the city suffered greatly. The churches' earnings from their land also dropped so much that the Hanseatic traders dominated the city's foreign trade in the 15th centurySony VAIO VGN-CR13/B battery.
Over the years, fire destroyed major parts of the city many times, as many of the city's buildings were built entirely of wood. After the last fire in 1624, which lasted for three days, King Christian IV decided that the old city should not be rebuilt again. His men built a network of roads in Akershagen near Akershus Castle. He demanded that all citizens should move their shops and workplaces to the newly built city of ChristianiaSony VAIO VGN-CR13G battery.
Port of Christiania anno 1800
Aquatint by John William Edy
The transformation of the city went slowly for the first hundred years. Outside the city, near Vaterland and Grønland near Old Town, Oslo, a new, unmanaged part of the city grew up with citizens of low status.
In the 18th century, after the Great Northern War, the city's economy boomed with shipbuilding and trade. The strong economy transformed Christiania into a trading portSony VAIO VGN-CR13G/B battery.
In the 19th century, several state institutions were established and the city's role as a capital intensified. Christiania expanded its industry from 1840, most importantly around Akerselva. The expansion prompted the authorities to construct several important buildings, most of which remain as tourist attractions. There was a brief building boom from 1880, with many new houses, but the boom collapsed in 1889Sony VAIO VGN-CR13G/L battery.
Auctioning off of children was prohibited by law (Fattigloven) in 1900, as a result of court cases related to children having died/been killed.
The kommune developed new areas such as Ullevål Hageby (1918–1926) and Torshov (1917–1925). City Hall was constructed in the former slum area of Vika, from 1931–1950. The municipality of Aker was incorporated into Oslo in 1948, and suburbs were developed, such as Lambertseter (from 1951). Aker Brygge was constructed on the site of the former shipyard Akers Mekaniske Verksted, from 1982–1998Sony VAIO VGN-CR13G/P battery.
On 22 July 2011, Oslo was hit by a bomb blast that ripped through the city central government district, also damaging Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's office while he was absent and the nearby Ministry of Petroleum. The terrorist blast killed at least eight people prior to a shooting spree on the island of Utøya on lake Tyrifjorden, which killed 69 youths participating in a Norwegian Labour Party youth camp. The culprit is Anders Behring BreivikSony VAIO VGN-CR13G/R battery.
Oslo occupies an arc of land at the northernmost end of the Oslofjord. The fjord, which is nearly bisected by the Nesodden peninsula opposite Oslo, lies to the south; in all other directions Oslo is surrounded by green hills and mountains. There are 40 islands within the city limits, the largest being Malmøya (0.56 km2/0.22 sq mi), and scores more around the Oslofjord. Oslo has 343 lakes, the largest being Maridalsvannet (3.91 km2/1.51 sq mi) Sony VAIO VGN-CR13/L battery. This is also a main source of drinking water for large parts of Oslo.
Although Eastern Norway has a number of rivers, none of these flow into the ocean at Oslo. Instead Oslo has two smaller rivers: Akerselva (draining Maridalsvannet, which flows into the fjord in Bjørvika), and Alna. The waterfalls in Akerselva gave power to the first modern industry of Norway in the 1840, and later in the century, the river became the symbol of the stable and consistent economic and social divide of the city into an East End and a West EndSony VAIO VGN-CR13/P battery; the labourers' neighbourhoods lie on both sides of the river, and the divide in reality follows Uelands street a bit further west. River Alna flows through Groruddalen, Oslo's major suburb and industrial area. The highest point is Kirke
A climate chart of Oslo, Norway. The red line depicts daytime high; blue is nighttime low.
Oslo has a hemiboreal humid continental climate (Dfb according to the Köppen climate classification system). Because of the city's northern latitude, daylight varies greatly, from more than 18 hours in midsummer, when it never gets completely dark at night, to around 6 hours in midwinter. Sony VAIO VGN-CR13T/L batteryDespite its northerly location, the climate is relatively mild throughout the year because of the Gulf Stream.
Oslo has pleasantly mild to warm summers with average high temperatures of 20–22 °C (68–72 °F) and lows of around 12 °C (54 °F). Temperatures exceed 25 °C (77 °F) quite often, and heatwaves are common during the summer. The highest temperature ever recorded was 35 °C (95 °F) on 21 July 1901. Due to the fjord being a relatively enclosed body of waterSony VAIO VGN-CR13T/P battery, the water temperatures can get quite high during long warm periods. Winters are cold and snowy with temperatures between −7 °C (19 °F) up to −1 °C (30 °F). The coldest temperature recorded is −27.1 °C (−16.8 °F) in January 1942. Temperatures have tended to be higher in recent years.
Annual precipitation is 763 millimetres (30.0 in) with moderate rainfall throughout the year. Snowfall can occur from November to April, but snow accumulation occurs mainly from January through MarchSony VAIO VGN-CR13T/R battery. Almost every winter, ice develops in the innermost parts of the Oslofjord, and during some winters the whole inner fjord freezes. As it is far from the mild Atlantic water of the west coast, this large fjord can freeze over completely, although this has become rare. Oslo receives around 1,650 hours of sunshine annually and is average for the northern half of EuropeSony VAIO VGN-CR13T/W battery.
Climate data for Oslo, Norway
Main article: Parks and open spaces in Oslo
Oslo has a large number of parks and green areas within the city core, as well as outside it.
Frogner Park is a large park located a few minutes walk away from the city centre. This is the biggest and most reputed park in Norway with a large collection of sculptures of Gustav Vigeland
Bygdøy is a huge and green area, commonly called the Museum Peninsula of Oslo. The beautiful location, surrounded by the sea, makes it the most expensive Norwegian districtSony VAIO VGN-CR13/W battery.
St. Hanshaugen Park is an old public park on a high hill in central Oslo. 'St. Hanshaugen' is also the name of the surrounding neighbourhood as well as the larger administrative district (borough) that includes major parts of central Oslo.
Tøyen Park stretches out behind the Munch Museum, and is a vast, grassy expanse. In the north, there is a viewing point known as Ola Narr. The Tøyen area also includes the Botanical Garden and Museum belonging to the University of Oslo. Sony VAIO VGN-CR21/B battery
Oslo (with neighbouring Sandvika-Asker) is built in a horseshoe shape on the shores of the Oslofjord and limited in most directions by hills and forests. As a result, any point within the city is relatively close to the forest. There are two major forests bordering the city: Østmarka (literally "Eastern Forest", on the eastern perimeter of the city), and the very large Nordmarka (literally "Northern Forest", stretching from the northern perimeter of the city deep into the hinterland) Sony VAIO VGN-CR21E/L battery.
The municipality operates eight public swimming pools. Tøyenbadet is the largest indoor swimming facility in Oslo and one of the few pools in Norway offering a 50-metre main pool. The outdoor pool Frognerbadet also has the 50-metre range.
Oslo's cityscape is being redeveloped as a modern city with various access-points, an extensive metro-system with a new financial district and a cultural citySony VAIO VGN-CR21E/P battery. In 2008, an exhibition was held in London presenting the award-winning Oslo Opera House, the urban regeneration scheme of Oslo's seafront, Munch/Stenersen and the new Deichman Library. Most of the buildings in the city and in neighbouring communities are low in height with only the Plaza, Postgirobygget and the highrises at Bjørvika considerably taller.
This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2012)
Oslo's architecture is very diverseSony VAIO VGN-CR21E/W battery. The architect Carl Frederik Stanley (1769–1805), who was educated in Copenhagen, spent some years in Norway around the turn of the 19th century. He did minor works for wealthy patrons in and around Oslo, but his major achievement was the renovation of the Oslo Katedralskole, completed in 1800. He added a classical portico to the front of an older structure, and a semicircular auditorium that was sequestered by Parliament in 1814Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/L battery as a temporary place to assemble, now preserved at Norsk Folkemuseum as a national monument.
When Christiania was made capital of Norway in 1814, there were practically no buildings suitable for the many new government institutions. An ambitious building program was initiated, but realised very slowly because of economic constraints. The first major undertaking was the Royal Palace, designed by Hans Linstow and built between 1824 and 1848Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/P battery. Linstow also planned Karl Johans gate, the avenue connecting the Palace and the city, with a monumental square halfway to be surrounded by buildings for University, the Parliament (Storting) and other institutions. Only the university buildings were realised according to this plan. Christian Heinrich Grosch, one of the first architects educated completely within Norway, designed the original building for the Oslo Stock Exchange (1826–1828), the local branch of the Bank of Norway (1828) Sony VAIO VGN-CR21S/W battery, Christiania Theatre (1836–1837), and the first campus for the University of Oslo (1841–1856). For the university buildings, he sought the assistance of the renowned German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.}
German architectural influence persisted in Norway, and many wooden buildings followed the principles of Neoclassicism. In Oslo, the German architect Alexis de Chateauneuf designed Trefoldighetskirken, the first neo-gothic church, completed by von Hanno in 1858Sony PCG-5G2L battery.
A number of landmark buildings, particularly in Oslo, were built in the Functionalist style (better known in the US and Britain as Modernist), the first being Skansen restaurant (1925–1927) by Lars Backer, demolished in 1970. Backer also designed the restaurant at Ekeberg, which opened in 1929. Kunstnernes Hus art gallery by Gudolf Blakstad and Herman Munthe-Kaas (1930) still shows the influence of the preceding classicist trend of the 1920sSony PCG-5J1L battery. The redevelopment of Oslo Airport (by the Aviaplan consortium) at Gardermoen, which opened in 1998, was Norway's largest construction project to date.
Main article: Politics and government of Oslo
Stortinget is the seat of Norway's parliament.
Oslo is the capital of Norway, and as such is the seat of Norway's national government. Most government offices, including that of the Prime Minister, are gathered at Regjeringskvartalet, a cluster of buildings close to the national Parliament—the Storting.
Constituting both a municipality and a county of Norway, the city of Oslo is represented in the Storting by seventeen Members of Parliament. Six MPs are from the Labour Party; the Conservative Party and the Progress Party have three each; the Socialist Left Party and the Liberals have two each; and one is from the Christian DemocratsSony PCG-5J2L battery.
Slottet is the home of the Royal Family.
The combined municipality and county of Oslo has had a parliamentary system of government since 1986. The supreme authority of the city is the City Council (Bystyret), which currently has 59 seats. Representatives are popularly elected every four years. The City Council has five standing committees, each having its own areas of responsibility. The largest parties in the City Council after the 2011-elections are the Conservatives and the Labour Party, with 22 and 20 representatives respectivelySony PCG-5K1L battery.
The Mayor of Oslo is the head of the City Council and the highest ranking representative of the city. This used to be the most powerful political position in Oslo, but following the implementation of parliamentarism, the Mayor has had more of a ceremonial role, similar to that of the President of the Storting at the national level. The current Mayor of Oslo is Fabian StangSony PCG-5K2L battery.
Since the local elections of 2003, the city government has been a coalition of the Conservative Party and the Progress Party. Based mostly on support from the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, the coalition maintains a workable majority in the City Council. After the 2007 local elections on 10 September, the conservative coalition remained in majoritySony PCG-5L1L battery. After the elections in 2011 the Conservative Party remained in power after a strong election. The Progress Party chose to leave the city government after losing support in the election and a dispute over the new Munch Museum. The Liberals and the Christian Democrats replaced the Progress Party in the city government.
The Governing Mayor of Oslo is the head of the City government. The post was created with the implementation of parliamentarism in Oslo and is similar to the role of the prime minister at the national level. The current governing mayor is Stian Berger RøslandSony PCG-6S2L battery.
Office buildings in Bjørvika, part of the redesign of former dock and industrial land in Oslo known as The Barcode Project.
Oslo has a varied and strong economy and was ranked number one among European large cities in economic potential in the fDi Magazine report European Cities of the Future 2012. It was ranked 2nd in the category of business friendliness, behind AmsterdamSony PCG-6S3L battery.
Oslo is an important centre of maritime knowledge in Europe and is home to approximately 1980 companies and 8,500 employees within the maritime sector, some of which are the world's largest shipping companies, shipbrokers, and insurance brokers. Det Norske Veritas, headquartered at Høvik outside Oslo, is one of the three major maritime classification societies in the world, with 16.5% of the world fleet to class in its register. Sony PCG-6V1L battery The city's port is the largest general cargo port in the country and its leading passenger gateway. Close to 6,000 ships dock at the Port of Oslo annually with a total of 6 million tonnes of cargo and over five million passengers. The gross domestic product of Oslo totalled NOK268.047 billion (€33.876 billion) in 2003, which amounted to 17% of the national GDP. This compares with NOK165.915 billion (€20.968 billion) in 1995Sony PCG-6W1L battery. The metropolitan area, bar Moss and Drammen, contributed 25% of the national GDP in 2003 and was also responsible for more than one quarter of tax revenues. In comparison, total tax revenues from the oil and gas industry on the Norwegian Continental Shelf amounted to about 16%.
Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. As of 2006, it is ranked tenth according to the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey provided by Mercer Human Resource Consulting and first according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Sony PCG-6W2L battery The reason for this discrepancy is that the EIU omits certain factors from its final index calculation, most notably housing. Although Oslo does have the most expensive housing market in Norway, it is comparably cheaper than other cities on the list in that regard. Meanwhile, prices on goods and services remain some of the highest of any city. Oslo hosts 2654 of the largest companies in Norway. Within the ranking of Europe's largest cities ordered by their number of companies Oslo is in fifth positionSony PCG-6W3L battery. A whole group of oil and gas companies is situated in Oslo. According to a report compiled by Swiss bank UBS in the month of August 2006, Oslo and London were the world's most expensive cities.
Oslo is a compact city. It is easy to move around by public transportation and you can access rentable city bikes all over the city centre. In 2003, Oslo received The European Sustainable City Award and in 2007 Reader's Digest ranked Oslo as number two on a list of the world's greenest, most liveable citiesSony PCG-7111L battery.
See also Transportation
Norwegian School of Management (BI) main building.
Institutions of higher education
University of Oslo (Universitetet i Oslo (UiO))—undergraduate, graduate and PhD programs in most fields.
Oslo and Akershus University College of applied sciences (Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus (HiOA)), former Oslo University College. Focuses on 3–4 year professional degree programs.
BI Norwegian Business School (Handelshøyskolen BI)—primarily economics and business administrationSony PCG-7112L battery.
Norwegian School of Information Technology (Norges Informasjonsteknologiske Høyskole (NITH))
Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo (AHO))
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences (Norges idrettshøgskole (NIH))—offers opportunities to study at the Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral level
Norwegian Academy of Music (Norges musikkhøgskole)
MF Norwegian School of Theology (Det teologiske Menighetsfakultet - MF)
Oslo National Academy of the Arts (Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo - KHIO)
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Universitetet for Miljø og Biovitenskap - UMB) located in Ås, right outside of OsloSony PCG-7113L battery
Norwegian Army Academy (Krigsskolen)
The Norwegian Defence University College (Forsvarets høgskole)
The Norwegian Police University College (Politihøgskolen - PHS)
Norwegian School of Veterinary Science (Norges Veterinærhøgskole)
Oslo Academy of Fine Arts (Statens kunstakademi)
Oslo School of Management (Markedshøyskolen - MH) located at the Campus Kristiania education centerSony PCG-7133L battery.
The level of education and productivity in the workforce is high in Norway. Nearly half of those with education at tertiary level in Norway live in the Oslo region, placing it among Europe's top three regions in relation to education. In 2008, the total workforce in the greater Oslo region (5 counties) numbered 1,020,000 people. The greater Oslo region has several higher educational institutions and is home to more than 73,000 studentsSony PCG-7Z1L battery. The University of Oslo is the largest institution for higher education in Norway with 27,400 students and 7,028 employees in total.
Oslo has a large and varied number of cultural attractions, which include several buildings containing artwork from Edvard Munch and various other international artists but also several Norwegian artists. Several world-famous writers have either lived or been born in Oslo. Examples are Knut Hamsun and Henrik IbsenSony PCG-7Z2L battery. The government has recently invested large amounts of money in cultural installations, facilities, buildings and festivals in the City of Oslo. Bygdøy, outside the city centre is the centre for history and the Norwegian Vikings' history. The area contains a large amount of parks and seasites and a large amount of museums. Examples are the Fram Museum, Vikingskiphuset and the Kon-Tiki Museum. Oslo hosts the annual Oslo Freedom ForumSony PCG-8Y1L battery, a conference described by The Economist as “on its way to becoming a human-rights equivalent of the Davos economic forum.” Oslo is also known for giving out the Nobel Peace Prize every year.
Historic buildings at Norsk Folkemuseum
Oslo houses several major museums and galleries. The Munch Museum contains the Scream and other works by Edvard Munch, who donated all his work to the city after his death. The City-Council is currently planning a new Munch Museum which is most likely to be built in Bjørvika, in the southeast of the city. Sony PCG-8Y2L battery The museum will be named Munch/Stenersen. 50 different museums are located around the city. Folkemuseet is located on the Bygdøy peninsula and is dedicated to Folk art, Folk Dress, Sami culture and the viking culture. The outdoor museum contains 155 authentic old buildings from all parts of Norway, including a Stave Church. The Vigeland Museum located in the large Vigeland Park by many people known as the Frognerpark is free to access and contains over 212 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland including an obelisk and the Wheel of Life. Sony PCG-8Z1L batteryAnother popular sculpture is Sinnataggen, a baby boy stamping his foot in fury. This statue is very well known as an icon in the city. The Viking Ship Museum features three Viking ships found at Oseberg, Gokstad and Tune and several other unique items from the Viking age. The Oslo City Museum holds a permanent exhibition about the people in Oslo and the history of the city. The Kon-Tiki Museum houses Thor Heyerdahl's Kontiki and Ra2. Sony PCG-8Z2L battery
The National Museum holds and preserves, exhibits and promotes public knowledge about Norway's most extensive collection of art. The Museum shows permanent exhibitions of works from its own collections but also temporary exhibitions that incorporate work loaned from elsewhere. The National Museums exhibition avenues are the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and the National Museum of Architecture. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/P batteryA new National Museum in Oslo will be built in the next 10 years. The winner was Forum Artis, and the building will be located at Vestbanen behind the Nobel Peace Center. The Nobel Peace Center is an independent organisation opened on 11 June 2005 by the King Harald V as part of the celebrations to mark Norway's centenary as an independent country. The building houses a permanent exhibitionSony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q battery, expanding every year when a new Nobel Peace Prize winner is announced, containing information of every winner in history. The building is mainly used as a communication centre.
A large number of festivals are held in Oslo, such as Oslo Live, a rock and roll event, and the Oslo Jazz festival is a six-day festival which has been held annually in August for the past 25 years. Oslo's biggest Rock festival is Øyafestivalen or simply "Øya". It draws about 60,000 people to the Medieval Park east in Oslo and last for four days.Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W battery
The Oslo International Church Music Festival  has been held annually since 2000. The Oslo World Music Festival showcases people who are stars in their own country but strangers in Norway. The Oslo Chamber Music Festival is held in August every year and world-class chambers and soloists gather in Oslo to perform at this festival. The Norwegian Wood Rock Festival is held every year in June in OsloSony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R battery.
The Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony is headed by the Institute; the award ceremony is held annually in The City Hall on 10 December. Even though Sami land is far away from the capital, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History marks the Sami National Day with a series of activities and entertainmentSony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/T battery.
The World Cup Biathlon in Holmenkollen is held every year and here male and female competitors compete against each other in Sprint, Pursuit and Mass Start disciplines.
Other examples of annual events in Oslo are Desucon, a convention focusing on Japanese culture and Færderseilasen, the world's largest overnight regatta with more than 1100 boats taking part every yearSony VAIO VGN-CS13H/P battery.
Rikard Nordraak, composer of the Norwegian national anthem, was born in Oslo in 1842.
Norway's principal orchestra is the Oslo Philharmonic, based at the Oslo Concert Hall since 1977. Although it was founded in 1919, the Oslo Philharmonic can trace its roots to the founding of the Christiania Musikerforening (Christiania Musicians Society) by Edvard Grieg and Johan Svendsen in 1879. Sony VAIO VGN-CS13H/Q battery
The National Theatre is the largest theatre in Norway
Oslo houses over 20 theatres, such as the Norwegian Theatre and the National Theatre located at Karl Johan Street. The National Theatre is the largest theatre in Norway and is situated between the royal palace and the parliament building, Stortinget. The names of Ludvig Holberg, Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson are engraved on the façade of the building over the main entranceSony VAIO VGN-CS13H/R battery. This theatre represents the actors and play-writers of the country but the songwriters, singers and dancers are represented in the form of a newly opened Oslo Opera House, situated in Bjørvika. The Opera was opened in 2008 and is a national landmark, designed by the Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta. There are two houses, together containing over 2000 seats. The building cost 500 million euro to build and took five years to build and is known for being the first Opera House in the world to let people walk on the roof of the buildingSony VAIO VGN-CS13H/W battery. The foyer and the roof are also used for concerts as well as the three stages.
Most great Norwegian authors have lived in Oslo for some period in their life. For instance, Nobel Prize-winning author Sigrid Undset grew up in Oslo, and described her life there in the autobiographical novel Elleve år (1934; translated as The longest years; New York 1971).
The playwright Henrik Ibsen is probably the most famous Norwegian author. Ibsen wrote plays such as Peer Gynt, A Doll's House and The Lady from the SeaSony VAIO VGN-CS13T/W battery. The Ibsen Quotes project completed in 2008 is a work of art consisting of 69 Ibsen quotations in stainless steel lettering which have been set into the granite sidewalks of the city's central streets.
In recent years, novelists like Lars Saabye Christensen, Tove Nilsen and Roy Jacobsen have described the city and its people in their novels. Early 20th-century literature from Oslo include poets Rudolf Nilsen and André BjerkeSony VAIO VGN-CS16T/P battery.
The newspapers Aftenposten, Dagbladet, Verdens Gang, Dagens Næringsliv, Finansavisen, Dagsavisen, Morgenbladet, Vårt Land, Nationen and Klassekampen are published in Oslo. The main office of the national broadcasting company NRK is located at Marienlyst in Oslo, near Majorstuen. TVNorge (TVNorway) is also located in Oslo, while TV 2 (based in Bergen) and TV3 (based in London) operate branch offices in central OsloSony VAIO VGN-CS16T/Q battery. There is also a variety of specialty publications and smaller media companies. A number of magazines are produced in Oslo. The two dominant companies are Aller Media and Hjemmet Mortensen AB.
Supporters cheering for their team in Bislett Stadion
Holmenkollen National Arena and Holmenkollbakken is the country's main biathlon and Nordic skiing venue. It hosts annual world cup tournaments, including the Holmenkollen Ski Festival. It has hosted Biathlon World Championships in 1986, 1990, 1999 and 2002. FIS Nordic World Ski Championships have been hosted in 1930, 1966Sony VAIO VGN-CS16T/R battery, 1982 and 2011, as well as the 1952 Winter Olympics.
Ullevål Stadion is the home arena for the Tippeligaen football side Vålerenga Fotball, the Norwegian national football team and the Football Cup Final. The stadium has previously hosted the finals of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1987 and 1997, and the 2002 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. Røa IL is Oslo's only team in the women's league, Toppserien. Each year, the international youth football tournament Norway Cup is held on Ekebergsletta and other places in the citySony VAIO VGN-CS16T/T battery.
Bislett Stadion is the city's main track and field venue, and hosts the annual Bislett Games, part of IAAF Diamond League. Bjerke Travbane is the main venue for harness racing in the country. Oslo Spektrum is used for large ice hockey and handball matches. Bækkelagets SK and Nordstrand IF plays in the women's Postenligaen in handball, while Vålerenga Håndball plays in the men's league. Jordal Amfi, the home of the ice hockey team Vålerenga IshockeySony VAIO VGN-CS16T/W battery, and Manglerudhallen is the home of Manglerud Star, both of whom play in GET-ligaen. The 1999 IIHF World Championship in ice hockey were held in Oslo, as have three Bandy World Championships, in 1961, 1977 and 1985. The UCI Road World Championships in bicycle road racing were hosted 1993.
Oslo Police District is Norway's largest police district with over 2300 employees. Over 1700 of those are police officersSony VAIO VGN-CS17H/Q battery, nearly 140 police lawyers and 500 civil employees. Oslo Police District has five police stations located around the city. The National Criminal Investigation Service is located in Oslo, which is a Norwegian special police division under the NMJP. PST is also located in the Oslo District. PST is a security agency which was established in 1936 and is one of the non-secret agencies in NorwaySony VAIO VGN-CS17H/W battery.
Oslo police stated that the capital is one of Europe's safest. But the statistics have showed that crime in Oslo is on the rise, and some media have reported that there are four times as many thefts and robberies in Oslo than in New York City for example. This was echoed by the German travel guide Dumont who now describes the city as being unsafe for female tourists. The guide also named Oslo "The Crime capital of Scandinavia".Sony VAIO VGN-CS19/P battery According to the Oslo Police, they receive more the 15.000 reports of petty thefts annually. That is per capita more than seven times the number of Berlin for example. Approx 0.8% of those cases get solved.
The City has witnessed annual spikes in Sexual assault cases in recent years. The official Committee on Sexual assaults (Voldteksutvalget) have reported that around 90% of rape incidents in Norway go unreported. And that there is about 1% chance that the rapist will be convictedSony VAIO VGN-CS19/Q battery. Activists have claimed that women's lack of due process in rape cases is seriously affecting women's rights in Norway.
On 22 July 2011, Oslo was the site of one of two terrorist attacks: the bombing of Oslo government offices, and a shooting at a youth camp in Utøya.
Oslo has Norway's most extensive public transport system, managed by Ruter. This includes the six-line Oslo Metro, the world's most extensive metro per resident, the six-line Oslo Tramway and the eight-line Oslo Commuter Rail. Sony VAIO VGN-CS19/R batteryThe tramway operates within the areas close to the city centre, while the metro, which runs underground through the city centre, operates to suburbs further away; this includes two lines that operate to Bærum, and the Ring Line which loops to areas north of the centre.
Oslo Central Station acts as the central hub, and offers rail services to most major cities in southern Norway as well as Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden. Sony VAIO VGN-CS19/W battery The Airport Express Train operates along the high-speed Gardermoen Line. The Drammen Line runs under the city centre in the Oslo Tunnel. Some of the city islands and the neighbouring municipality of Nesodden are connected by ferry. Daily cruiseferry services operate to Copenhagen and Frederikshavn in Denmark, and to Kiel in Germany.
Many of the motorways pass through the downtown and other parts of the city in tunnels. The construction of the roads is partially supported through a toll ringSony VAIO VGN-CS21S/P battery. The major motorways through Oslo are European Route E6 and E18. There are three beltways, the innermost which are streets and the outermost, Ring 3 which is an expressway.
The main airport serving the city is Gardermoen Airport, located in Ullensaker, 47 kilometres (29 mi) from the city centre of Oslo. It acts as the main international gateway to Norway, and is the sixth-largest domestic airport in Europe. Gardermoen is a hub for Scandinavian Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and WiderøeSony VAIO VGN-CS21S/R battery. Oslo is also served by two secondary airports, which serve some low-cost carriers, such as Ryanair: Rygge Airport and Torp Airport, the latter being 110 kilometres (68 mi) from the city.
An estimated 29.6% of Oslo's residents are of an immigrant or non-Norwegian background (about 181,000 inhabitants), predicted to increase to between 44% and 51% around 2030. In 2008, the immigrant population accounted for about 82% of the population growth of the citySony VAIO VGN-CS21S/T battery. From 1970 to 2007, the ethnic Norwegian population decreased by 10.1% while the immigrant population increased by 823.6%. Pakistanis make up the singe largest ethnic minority, followed by Swedes, Somalis, and Poles —these are the four largest ethnic minority groups. Other large immigrant groups are people from Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Turkey, Morocco, Iraq and Denmark.
By June 2009, more than 40% of Oslo schools had a majority of people of immigrant backgrounds, with some schools having up to a 97% immigrant share. Sony VAIO VGN-CS21S/V battery Schools are also increasingly divided by ethnicity, with white flight being widespread in some of the eastern parts of the city. In the borough Groruddalen in 2008 for instance, the ethnic Norwegian population decreased by 1,500, while the immigrant population increased by 1,600. From 2000–2007, 7,250 ethnic Norwegians moved out of the city, while 32,700 people of immigrant background, mostly non-western, moved in. Sony VAIO VGN-CS21S/W battery
The population of Oslo is currently increasing at a record rate of nearly 2% annually (17% over the last 15 years), making it the fastest-growing Scandinavian capital. The increase is due, in almost equal degree, to a high birth-rate and immigration, though both are largely due to immigration, since the number of ethnic Norwegians in the city of Oslo is actually decreasing. In particular, immigration from Poland and the Baltic states has increased sharply since the accession of these countries to the EU in 2004Sony VAIO VGN-CS21Z/Q battery.
Oslo is a city with various religious communities. In 2008 63% of the population were members of the Norwegian Church, lower than the national average of 82%. .In 2011 almost 20% of the polulation were registered in other religious or life stance communities.
In 2012 there were about 48 000 registered Muslims in Oslo, making up about 8% of the population, and about 33, 000 registered Catholics. Life stance communities, mainly Norwegian Humanist Association had about 18, 000 members in 2011Sony VAIO VGN-CS23G battery.