The European Free Trade Association: Bon voyage!

9 March 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage

© efta.int

© efta.int

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocks, but is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union. It was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently became the European Union. The Stockholm Convention, to establish the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the “outer seven“). Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy. As a result, its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries. To participate in the EU’s single market, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA), with compliances regulated by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead.   read more…

The European Free Trade Association: Bon appétit!

4 September 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

© efta.int

© efta.int

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocks, but is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union. It was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently became the European Union. The Stockholm Convention, to establish the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the “outer seven“). Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy. As a result, its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries. To participate in the EU’s single market, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA), with compliances regulated by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead.   read more…

Portrait: Cnut the Great

22 March 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Winchester Cathedral - Burial chest of Cnut the Great © Ealdgyth

Winchester Cathedral – Burial chest of Cnut the Great © Ealdgyth

King Cnut the Great, also known as Canute, was King of Denmark, England, and Norway, together often referred to as the Anglo-Scandinavian or North Sea Empire. The North Sea Empire was one of several forerunners of the European Union and the Eurozone. After his death, the deaths of his heirs within a decade, and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was mostly forgotten. The medieval historian Norman Cantor stated that he was “the most effective king in Anglo-Saxon history”, although Cnut himself was Danish and not a Briton or Anglo-Saxon. Cnut is popularly invoked in the context of the legend of King Canute and the waves, but usually misrepresents Cnut as a deluded monarch believing he has supernatural powers, when the original legend in fact states the opposite and portrays a wise king.   read more…

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl

1 December 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Tall ships, Yacht of the Month

Statsraad Lehmkuhl and Lord Nelson © flickr.com - Bruno Girin/cc-by-sa-2.0

Statsraad Lehmkuhl and Lord Nelson © flickr.com – Bruno Girin/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl is a three-masted barque rigged sail training vessel owned and operated by the Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation. It is based in Bergen, Norway and contracted out for various purposes, including serving as a school ship for the Royal Norwegian Navy.   read more…

Røros in Norway

13 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Hogne

© Hogne

Røros is a town and municipality in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is part of the Gauldalen region. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Røros. Røros was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838. It was split into four municipalities on 1 January 1926 (Røros town, Røros landsogn, Brekken, and Glåmos), but these four were merged together again on 1 January 1964.   read more…

Oslo in Norway

1 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

Oslo Montage © Cnygard

Oslo Montage © Cnygard

Oslo is a county and municipality, as well as the capital and largest city in Norway. Oslo was established as a municipality on 1 January 1838 (see formannskapsdistrikt). Founded around 1048 by King Harald III “Hardraade” of Norway, the city was largely destroyed by a fire in 1624. The Danish–Norwegian king Christian IV rebuilt the city as Christiania (briefly also spelt Kristiania). In 1925 the city reclaimed its original Norwegian name, Oslo. The diocese of Oslo is one of the five original dioceses in Norway, which originated around the year 1070. Oslo is the cultural, scientific, economic and governmental centre of Norway. The city is also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping. 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 them 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 programme.   read more…

NASA and ESA

12 August 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

NASA

© nasa.gov

© nasa.gov

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the United States government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.   read more…

Kongsberg in Norway

4 June 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Mint and silver works © Bjoertvedt/cc-by-sa-3.0-no

Mint and silver works © Bjoertvedt/cc-by-sa-3.0-no

Kongsberg is a town and municipality in Buskerud county. It is located at the southern end of the traditional region of Numedal. The administrative centre of the municipality is the town of Kongsberg. The town was founded in 1624 under the name Konings Bierg by Danish-Norwegian king Christian IV as a mining community. It was granted its royal charter of trade—amounting to official township—in 1802. The municipality of Kongsberg was established on 1 January 1838 (see Formannskapsdistrikt). The rural municipalities of Ytre Sandsvær and Øvre Sandsvær were merged into the municipality of Kongsberg on 1 January 1964.   read more…

Stalin’s last Red Army

4 May 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - www.afsc.noaa.gov

Red king crab © National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – www.afsc.noaa.gov

The king crab is native to the Bering Sea, north Pacific Ocean, around the Kamchatka Peninsula and neighbouring Alaskan waters. It was introduced artificially by Soviet Union‘s Joseph Stalin into the Murmansk Fjord, Barents Sea, during the 1960s to provide new, valuable catch for Soviet fishermen. The average temperature of the water for general survival of the crab is between 39°F (4°C) and 50°F (10°C). The crabs prefer to be in the lower temperatures but can continue a stable life cycle in the warmer temperatures. The depth at which it can live has a lot to do with what stage of their life cycle they are in; newly born crabs stay in the more shallow waters where there is plenty of food and protection for them to survive.   read more…

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