Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/
Similar to Nordic and Germanic countries
It is no surprise that the four most similar countries to Norway were all once part of the Kalmar Union, which united these Nordic countries for over a century. These countries tend to have cooler climates and sparsely populated landscapes. In addition, their governments are very democratic and liberal.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Norway
- Sweden and Norway were a united country for nearly 100 years, until Norway declared independence in 1905. The countries have similar geography, although Sweden is less mountainous. Both countries are constitutional monarchies with similar egalitarian laws and generous welfare benefits. Sweden and Norway are the two most successful countries at the Olympics in cross-country skiing. While both countries enjoy soccer and handball, Sweden is more interested than Norway in ice hockey.
- Denmark and Norway were also a united country until 1814, but they were united much longer than Norway and Sweden. Danish was the official language in Norway for many years and therefore it is extremely similar to Bokmål Norwegian. Both languages use the same alphabet. However, Denmark’s geography is quite different from Norway, since it is extremely flat, has a far greater percentage of agricultural land, and a more temperate climate. Still, both countries have a lot of coastline.
- Iceland and Norway’s demographics are nearly identical, in part due to the fact that Iceland was settled by Norwegians. Both countries use a lot of energy and primarily rely upon hydroelectricity to produce it. They are also mountainous and have a lot of coastline. Their legislatures are unicameral and their governments have similar laws, although Iceland does not have a monarch.
- Finland is another Nordic country on this list. The countries have a similar standard of living. They also have similar climates and grow nearly the same agricultural products with barley being the dominant crop. However, Finland is less mountainous. In addition, its language is not even in the same language family as Norwegian, unlike other countries on this list.
- Netherlands is much more densely populated than other countries on this list. It is also on of the flattest countries in the world, in contrast to Norway. Still, the two countries share many similar traits. Both countries are constitutional monarchies with generous welfare systems. They both also have a high standard of living. Another similarity is that the Netherlands and Norway are the two most successful countries at the Olympics in speed skating.
- Austria, 7. Germany, 8. United Kingdom, 9. Switzerland , 10. Luxembourg
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Norway
- Yemen is a war-torn and extremely conservative Muslim country that unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is not well developed due to civil war. The countries have no linguistic similarity as well, since Arabic is an Afroasiatic language that does not use the Latin script.
- Somalia is located across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It is another anarchic, war-torn, Muslim country in stark contrast to Norway. Furthermore, Somalia has little infrastructure, while Norway has many cars and trains per person. However, both countries do use the Latin alphabet.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is another poor Muslim country, like others on this list, that has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, next to Sudan. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
- Bangladesh is another Muslim country with underdeveloped infrastructure on this list. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world, while Norway is quite sparse. In addition, it is extremely flat, since it is located in a large river delta. While both countries speak Indo-European languages, Bengali uses a completely different writing system.
- Cambodia, 7. Mauritania, 8. Afghanistan, 9. Chad, 10. Ethiopia
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Norway
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