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Rogaland

It is said that the rich and diverse scenery of Rogaland is responsible for the diversity of its people. The county contains most of what Norway has to offer in terms of nature: mountains with snow and ice that never melt, untamed fjords, fertile pastures and bare shorelines.

In Jæren the land is so flat you can see the curvature of the earth. Norway's most beautiful beaches are also found here. Large sections of this coast are protected.

However, nothing can protect the land from the sea itself. Sometimes the water washes tenderly over the white beaches; other times its wild energy slams against the smooth rocks.

The author Alexander Kielland described the relationship the people of Rogaland have with the sea: They live their whole lives facing seaward. The sea is their companion, counsellor, friend, enemy, livelihood and graveyard.

About 10,000 years ago people wandered around the land that is now covered by the North Sea. In the northeast they saw clouds that told of the land on the other side. They set off in their boats; paddling through the Norwegian Channel to find the southwestern part of the land we now call Norway.

Artefacts attesting to the lives of these people have been found at several places in Rogaland. One large settlement was found in 1998, when the oil company Statoil began building an underground gas pipeline to Kårstø. In a way, a circle thousands of years in the making has been completed: today Rogaland is Norway`s oil and gas region, and many of its residents work on the offshore oil platforms, the "land" of the North Sea today.