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Norway, Nor. Norge, officially Kingdom of Norway, constitutional monarchy (2015 est. pop. 5,200,000), 125,181 sq mi (324,219 sq km), N Europe, occupying the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Extending from the Skagerrak, which it borders in the south, c.1,100 mi (1,770 km) northeast to North Cape and Vardø on the Barents Sea in the extreme northeast, the country forms a narrow mountainous strip along the North Sea in the southwest and in the west the Atlantic Ocean, whose local waters are also called the Norwegian Sea. It has a long land frontier with Sweden in the east and in the northeast borders on Finland and Russia. Oslo is the capital and largest city. The nation's outlying possessions are Svalbard and Jan Mayen in the Arctic Ocean and Bouvet and Peter I islands in the S Atlantic; Norway also has claims in Antarctica.

Land and People

The coastline, c.1,700 mi (2,740 km) long, is fringed with islands (notably the Lofoten islands and Vesterålen) and is deeply indented by numerous fjords. Sognafjorden, Hardangerfjord, Nordfjord, and Oslofjord are among the largest and best known. From the coast the land rises sharply to high plateaus such as Dovrefjell and the Hardangervidda. Galdhøpiggen, in the Jotunheimen range, is the high point (8,098 ft/2,468 m); west of it lies Jostedalsbreen, the largest glacier field in Europe. The mountains and plateaus are intersected by fertile valleys, such as Gudbrandsdalen, and by rapid rivers, which furnish hydroelectric power and are used for logging. The Glåma, in the south, is the most important river. Because of the North Atlantic Drift, Norway has a mild and humid climate for a northern country.

Most of the population is concentrated along the southern coast and valleys, where the chief cities—Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Drammen—are located. Farther north along the coast is Trondheim, and in the extreme north are Narvik, Tromsø, and Hammerfest.

The majority of Norwegians are of Scandinavian stock, but in the northern county of Finnmark, Sami (Lapps) and Finns predominate. The literary language of Norway for many years was Danish, from which Riksmål (officially Bokmål), one of the two official idioms of Norway, is derived (see Norwegian language and Norwegian literature). Landsmål (officially Nynorsk), the other official idiom, is similar. Frequent spelling reforms account for the variation in Norwegian place names. The Lutheran Church is the state church, but all other religions enjoy freedom of worship. The king nominates the nine bishops and other clergy of the Lutheran Church.


Almost three quarters of Norway's land is unproductive; less than 4% is under cultivation and the country imports over 50% of its food. The vast mountain pastures are used for the grazing of cattle and sheep, and, in the north, for reindeer raising. Barley, wheat, and potatoes are grown. About one quarter of Norway is forested; timber is a chief natural resource and is the basis for one of the main industries. The beautiful Norwegian fjords and the midnight sun of the far north attract many tourists. Fishing (notably of cod, herring, and mackerel) is important, and fresh, canned, and salted fish are exported.

The country's chief industries are petroleum and natural gas production, shipping, and trading. Since the discovery of petroleum in the Ekofisk field in 1969, the petroleum and natural gas industries have become vital to Norway's economy, bringing increased employment, but also increased inflation and a vulnerability to fluctuations in the world petroleum market (most of the oil and gas is exported). Other mineral resources include iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, titanium, pyrites, and nickel. Aluminum, ferroalloys, and semifinished steel are produced. Almost all of Norway's electricity is supplied by hydroelectric power, and the country exports hydroelectricity as well. Food processing, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of pulp and paper products, metals, chemicals, and textiles are important to the economy. The great Norwegian merchant fleet carries a large part of the world's trade. Petroleum and petroleum products, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, ships, and fish are the main exports; imports include capital goods, chemicals, metals, and foodstuffs. The chief trading partners are Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, and France.


Norway is a constitutional monarchy governed under the constitution of 1814 as amended. The hereditary monarch is the head of state. The prime minister, who is the head of government, is appointed by the monarch with the approval of Parliament, as is the cabinet. Members of the 169-seat unicameral Parliament or Storting are popularly elected to four-year terms. Administratively, Norway is divided into 19 counties (Nor. fylker).


Medieval Norway

The history of Norway before the age of the Vikings is indistinct from that of the rest of Scandinavia. In the 9th cent. the country was still divided among the numerous petty kings of the fylker. Harold I, of the Yngling or Scilfing dynasty (which claimed descent from one of the old Norse gods), defeated the petty kings (c.900) and conquered the Shetlands and the Orkneys, but failed to establish permanent unity. Harold's campaigns drove many nobles and their followers to settle in Iceland and France. In the next two centuries Norsemen raided widely in W Europe and established the Norse duchy of Normandy. Harold himself concentrated on developing a dynasty; before he died (c.935) the country was divided among his sons, but one of them, Haakon I, defeated (c.935) his brothers and temporarily reunited the kingdom.

Christianity, brought by English missionaries, gained a foothold under Olaf I and was established by Olaf II (reigned 1015–28). Olaf II was driven out of Norway by King Canute of England and Denmark, in league with discontented Norwegian nobles; however, his son, Magnus I, was restored (1035) to the Norwegian throne. Both Magnus and his successor, Harold III, played a vital part in the complex events then taking place in England and Denmark. After Harold died while invading England (1066), Norway entered a period of decline and civil war, precipitated by conflicting claims to the throne.

Among the major events of 12th-century Norwegian history were the mission of Nicholas Breakspear (later Pope Adrian IV), who organized the Norwegian hierarchy, and the rule of Sverre, who created a new nobility grounded in commerce and, with the help of the popular party, the Birkebeiner, consolidated the royal power. His grandson, Haakon IV, was put on the throne by the Birkebeiner in 1217; under him and under Magnus VI (reigned 1263–80) medieval Norway reached its greatest flowering and enjoyed peace and prosperity. During this time Iceland and Greenland recognized Norwegian rule.

Norway and Denmark

The separate development of Norway was halted by the accession (1319) of Magnus VII, who was also king of Sweden. He was unpopular in Norway, which he was compelled to surrender (1343) to his son, Haakon VI, husband of Margaret I of Denmark. Margaret subsequently united the rule of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark in her person and in 1397 had the Kalmar Union drawn up. Although the union was strictly a personal one, Norway virtually ceased to exist as a separate kingdom and was ruled by Danish governors for the following four centuries. Its power had greatly declined even before Margaret's accession, however, and its trade had been taken over by the Hanseatic League, which maintained its chief northern office at Bergen.

Norway's political history became essentially that of Denmark. Christian III of Denmark (1535–59) introduced Lutheranism as the state religion. Under Danish rule Norway lost territory to Sweden but developed economically. The fishing industry flourished (late 17th cent.), lumbering became an important industry (18th cent.), the merchant class grew, and Norway became a naval power. During the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was blockaded by the British. In 1814, Denmark, which had sided with France, was obliged to consent to the Treaty of Kiel, by which it ceded Norway to the Swedish crown in exchange for W Pomerania.

Norway and Sweden

The Norwegians resisted union with Sweden and attempted to set up a separate kingdom, with a liberal constitution and a parliament, under Prince Christian (later King Christian VIII of Denmark). A Swedish army obliged Norway to accept Charles XIII of Sweden, but the act of union of 1814 recognized Norway as an independent kingdom, in personal union with Sweden, with its own constitution and parliament. Despite some Swedish concessions to growing Norwegian nationalism, Swedish-Norwegian relations were strained throughout the 19th cent. Johan Sverdrup, the Liberal leader, succeeded in making the ministry responsible to parliament despite royal opposition (1884), but other problems remained.

The Norwegian interest in obtaining greater participation in foreign policy came to a crisis in the late 19th cent. over the issue of a separate Norwegian consular service, justified by the spectacular growth of Norwegian shipping and commercial interests. Finally, in 1905, the Storting declared the dissolution of the union and the deposition of Oscar II. Sweden acquiesced after a plebiscite showed Norwegians nearly unanimously in favor of separation; in a second vote Norway chose to become a monarchy, and parliament elected the second son of Frederick VIII of Denmark king of Norway as Haakon VII.

Modern Norway

Two important features in Norwegian history of the late 19th and early 20th cent. were the large-scale emigration to the United States and the great arctic and antarctic explorations by such notable men as Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. Three outstanding cultural figures of the period were Edvard Grieg, Henrik Ibsen, and Edvard Munch. In World War I, Norway remained neutral. The industrial development of Norway, spurred by the harnessing of water power, contributed to the rise of the Labor (socialist) party, which has predominated in Norwegian politics since 1927. In the 1930s much social welfare legislation was passed, including public health and housing measures, pensions, aid to the disabled, and unemployment insurance.

Norway attempted to remain neutral in World War II, but in Apr., 1940, German troops invaded, and in a short time nearly the whole country was in German hands. King Haakon and his cabinet set up a government in exile in London, and the Norwegian merchant fleet was of vital assistance to the Allies throughout the war. Despite the attempts of Vidkun Quisling to promote collaboration with the Germans, the people of Norway defied the occupation forces. German troops remained in Norway until the war ended in May, 1945. Although half of the Norwegian fleet was sunk during the war, Norway quickly recovered its commercial position. Postwar economic policy included a degree of socialism and measures such as price, interest, and dividend controls.

Norway was one of the original members of the United Nations (the Norwegian Trygve Lie was the first UN Secretary-General), and it became a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949. King Olaf V succeeded to the throne in 1957. Norway joined the European Free Trade Association in 1959. Norwegian voters rejected membership in the European Community (now the European Union) in 1972, but trade agreements with the market were made the next year. Between 1965 and 1971 the Labor party was out of power for the first time since 1936.

The Labor party returned to power in 1971 under the leadership of Trygve Bratteli, whose government resigned but was restored to power in the 1973 elections. Bratteli was succeeded as prime minister by Odvar Nordli in 1976, who was quickly succeeded (1977) by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Norway's first woman prime minister. Brundtland was defeated by Conservative Kåre Willoch in the 1981 election, but she returned to the office of prime minster in 1986 and 1990. In 1991, Harold V succeeded his father Olaf V as king of Norway.

Norway sparked international controversy in 1992 when it refused to conform to the International Whaling Treaty (see whaling). During 1993, the Norwegian government facilitated secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, which led to agreements on Palestinian self-rule. Norwegian voters again rejected membership in the European Union (EU) in 1994. Bruntland resigned in 1996 and was replaced by Thorbjørn Jagland. Following elections in 1997, Jagland resigned and Christian Democrat Kjell Magne Bondevik became prime minister, heading a center-right coalition government that included the Center and Liberal parties.

In Mar., 2000, Bondevik resigned after losing a key vote in parliament, and Labor party leader Jens Stoltenberg formed a new government. In parliamentary elections in Sept., 2001, Labor suffered a significant setback, with nonsocialist opposition parties winning a bare majority of the seats. Bondevik again became prime minister, heading a center-right minority government consisting of the Christian Democrat, Conservative, and Liberal parties.

Parliamentary elections in Sept., 2005, brought Labor and its allies into office, and Stoltenberg became prime minister. The far-right Progress party, espousing a populist, anti-immigration platform, became the largest opposition party after the vote. The Labor-led coalition government remained in office after the Sept., 2009, parliamentary elections. In July, 2011, the country was stunned by the bombing of government offices in Oslo, which killed eight, and the killing of 68 people at a Labor party youth camp; the attacks were by an extreme rightist who accused the government of allowing the Islamization of Norwegian society.

The Sept., 2013, parliamentary elections resulted in a victory for the conservative opposition, though Labor won a plurality. The Conservative party formed a minority coalition government with the populist Progress party, and Conservative leader Erna Solberg became prime minister. The government remained in power after the Sept., 2017, polls, which largely mirrored the 2013 results, and in Jan., 2018, the Liberals joined the minority government. Solberg formed a majority government a year later when the Christian Democrats joined her coalition, but the Progress party left the government in Jan., 2020.


See K. Gjerset, History of the Norwegian People (1932, repr. 1969); A. Hagen, Norway (tr. 1967); M. Drake, Population and Society in Norway, 1735–1865 (1969); P. S. Andersen, Vikings of the West (1971); R. G. Popperwell, Norway (1972); T. K. Derry, A History of Modern Norway, 1814–1972 (1973); B. Vanberg, Of Norwegian Ways (1984); W. Galenson, A Welfare State Strikes Oil (1986); A. Selbyg, Norway Today (1987); J. J. Holst, Norwegian Foreign Policy in the 1980s (1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Norge), Kingdom of Norway (Kongeriket Norge)

Norway is a state in northern Europe, occupying the west and extreme north of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Its territory forms a narrow band that stretches for 1,750 km from southwest to northeast. The country has a maximum width of 430 km and a minimum width of 7 km around Narvik. About one-third of the country lies north of the arctic circle. Norway is washed by the Barents Sea in the north, by the Norwegian and North seas in the west, and by the Skagerrak Strait in the south. It shares borders with Sweden and, in the far north, with Finland and the USSR. It has an area of 324,200 sq km and a population of 3,975,000 (1974). The capital is Oslo. Administratively, Norway is divided into fylken, or counties (see Table 1).

Table 1. Administrative divisions of Norway
CountyArea (sq km)Population (1973)Administrative center
1Now part of Akershus 2Now part of Hordaland
Oslo (city)1 ..............453473,000
Buskerud ...............14,900202,000Drammen
Vesttold .................2,200179,000Tønsberg
Telemark ...............15,300157,000Skien
Aust-Agder ..............9,20082,000Arendal
Vest-Agder ..............7,300127,000Kristiansand
Rogaland ...............9,100275,000Stavanger
Bergen (city)2.............50213,000
Sogn og Fjordane ..........18,600102,000Leikanger
Møre og Romsdal ..........15,100227,000Molde
Troms .................26,000140,000Tromsø

Norway owns Spitsbergen and Bear Island in the Arctic Ocean (acquired under the 1920 Treaty on Spitsbergen), Jan Mayen Island in the northern Atlantic, and Bouvet Island in the southern Atlantic.

Norway is a constitutional monarchy. Its present constitution was adopted on May 17, 1814, with substantial changes made in 1905 and 1946. The head of state is the king, who nominally exercises broad powers: he appoints and dismisses the prime minister, the ministers, and other officials, approves laws, declares war and concludes peace, serves as the supreme commander in chief of the armed forces, and heads the state church.

Legislative power is vested in a parliament, called the Storting, consisting of 155 deputies popularly elected for a four-year term. At its opening session the Storting divides itself into two parts, with one-fourth of the deputies forming the Lagting and the remainder constituting the Odelsting. All citizens who have reached the age of 20 may vote. Executive power is vested in the government (cabinet), headed by the prime minister. All the ministers together constitute the Council of State, headed by the king, which discusses important bills and questions of administration.

The counties (fylker) are administered by a county governor (fylkesmann), who is appointed by the king and presides over the county council (fylkesting), composed of the chairmen of the councils of rural and urban communes. Each commune has an elected local governing body, the assembly of representatives.

The judiciary is composed of courts of original and appellate jurisdiction and a supreme court. All judges are appointed by the king. A special court of the realm may be convened to hear criminal cases involving ministers, members of the supreme court, or parliamentary deputies.


Norway is a mountainous country, with more than two-thirds of its territory lying above 500 m. Along the coast stretches a strip of lowland 40–50 km wide, called strandflat. Small low-lying areas are also found in the south and east.

Coast. The western coast is dissected by fjords, most of them with steep, high, and rocky shores. Among the largest are the Sognefjorden and Hardangerfjorden. The Trondheimsfjorden and Oslofjorden have gentle slopes in places. The coast is ringed by many large islands (Lofoten, Vesterålen, Senja, Megerøy, and Sørøya) and numerous islets and skerries.

Terrain. Much of Norway is occupied by the Scandinavian Mountains, a vast highland, broad and high in the south (Mount Galdhøppigen, 2,469 m) and narrow and strongly dissected in the north. The southern part of the Scandinavian Mountains is dominated by lithologically uniform peneplain plateaus, called fjelds, the largest of which are the Jotunheim, Dovrefjell, Jos-tedalsbreen, and Telemark. In places ridges and clusters of peaks, or nunataks, rise above the fjelds. Everywhere there are roche moutonnée hills surrounded by hollows with swamps and lakes. In the north is the Finnmarksvidda, a low hilly plateau with average elevations of 300–500 m and peaks rising to 1,139 m (Mount Tsjokkarassa). The fjelds contrast sharply with the steep and deeply dissected slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains, particularly their western slopes. Tectonic faults played an important role in the formation of the mountains. The eastern slopes are dissected by the valleys of large rivers (Østerdal, Gudbrandsdal, Numedal).


Geological structure and minerals. Norway may be divided into two tectonic regions. The southeastern part of the country belongs to the Baltic Shield, composed of Archean and Lower Proterozoic rocks, and the northwest lies mostly within the Caledonian folded region, formed by Upper Proterozoic rocks and volcanic and sedimentary strata of the Cambrian, Ordovi-cian, and Silurian. The latter region is characterized by an abundance of magmatic formations, multiple folding, and overthrust sheets facing the Baltic Shield. The Lofoten Islands have marine Jurassic and Cretaceous sandstone and clay sediments containing coal layers. The Scandinavian folded mountains were formed in the Devonian period. Subsequently they were eroded, but a gradual uplift occurred in the Neogene and Anthropogene, accompanied by a faulting of the crust. During the Anthropogene, Norway was covered by an ice cap. The country’s mineral resources include iron ores (magnetite and titanomagnetite) and ores of nickel, copper, molybdenum, cobalt, and silver. Oil and gas deposits were discovered on the North Sea shelf in 1970.


Climate. The climate is temperate, becoming subarctic in the far north. The coastal regions have a maritime climate with unusually mild winters for these latitudes (January temperatures of –2° to – 4°C in the north and 2°C in the south), owing to the warm North Atlantic Current that passes along the coast of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Summers are cool, with frequent rain and strong winds; the average temperature along the coast ranges from 10° to 15°C. Along the coast the annual precipitation varies from 1,000 to 2,000 mm, the maximum occurring in fall and winter. The intermontane basins of the eastern slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains have a continental climate with temperatures averaging— 9°C in January and 17°C in July. On the fjelds the climate is severe; the mean temperature ranges from—10° to— 12°C in January and from 6° to 10°C in July. The western slopes receive 2,000–3,000 mm of precipitation annually, and the eastern slopes and the Finnmarksvidda receive 300–800 mm. Many fjelds are covered with ice caps, among the largest of which are Jostedalsbreen and Folgefonni. Totaling about 5,000 sq km, the ice caps are the largest glacial area in continental Europe.

Rivers and lakes. Norway has a dense network of mountain rivers with deep and narrow valleys, many rapids, and high waterfalls of up to 600 m. The rivers, deep throughout most of the year, are fed by snow, rain, and, in some places, glaciers. High water occurs in spring and early summer. Norway’s rivers have the greatest hydroelectric potential of any Western European country. The largest rivers are the Glomma, Lågen (Gud-brandsdal), and Lågen (Numedal). About 4 percent of the country’s area is covered by lakes, most of them of tectonic or glacial origin. The largest lake is Mjøsa.

Soils and flora. Norway has well-defined tundra and forest zones. The north is covered with tundra and forest tundra, where meadow, lichen, and shrub vegetation is combined with sparse birch and spruce forests growing in river valleys; thin tundra soils predominate. South of 70° N lat. there are extensive taiga forests on mountain podzolic soils. In the mountains of the north taiga forests ascend to 300–500 m, and in the south they extend to 1,100 m. Most of the forests are of spruce and pine, but birch forests are also common. Mountain meadows and tundras are found at higher elevations. Beech and oak forests grow on brown forest soils in the south to 300–400 m. Forests cover about 24 percent of Norway’s territory. In the west large tracts of grass and small shrubs (heather, cowberries, and whortleberries) alternate with taiga forests.

Fauna. Norway’s fauna consists mainly of such forest species as foxes, lynx, wolverines, marten, ermine, elk, reindeer, hares, and squirrels. Lemmings are also common, and red deer and roe deer are found in the south. The coastal regions are inhabited by numerous birds, including sea gulls, ducks, geese, guillemots, and eiders, some of the species forming great colonies. The seas around Norway abound in cod, mackerel, and perch, and seals inhabit the coastal waters.

Preserves. Protected areas include the immense Børgefjell National Park, the Rondane and Nordkapp-Hornvika national parks, and the Nordmarka, Fokstumyra, and Junkerdalsura preserves.

Natural regions. The Finnmarksvidda has a severe subarctic climate and mountain-tundra and forest-tundra landscapes. The mountainous Kjølen region and the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands are characterized by an alpine topography and coniferous and small-leaved forests. The western coast, indented by large fjords, has a maritime climate and heath vegetation. The high fjelds support mountain-tundra and tundra-meadow vegetation and have permanent snow and glaciers. On the eastern slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains are large river valleys and taiga forests.


Eramov, R. A. Norvegiia. Moscow, 1950.
Norge, vols. 1–4. Oslo, 1963.


Norway is a country of one nationality, with Norwegians accounting for about 98 percent of the population. The principal national minorities are the Lapps, or Samer (about 20,000 persons) and the Kvener (Norwegian Finns), both of whom live mainly in the northern mountainous regions. Among other groups are Swedes (about 20,000 persons), Danes (about 18,000), and Germans (about 10,000), most of whom live in the south. The official language is Norwegian. About 97 percent of the population belongs to the Lutheran national church. The official calendar is the Gregorian.

Between 1963 and 1971 the population grew at an average rate of 0.8 percent a year, mostly through natural increase. According to 1972 data, Norway had a work force of about 1.7 million, of whom 34 percent were engaged in industry and construction, 12 percent in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, 10 percent in transportation and communications, and 44 percent in commerce and other services.

Norway has a low average population density of 12.8 persons per sq km, but its population is unevenly distributed. About half of the population lives in the lowland adjoining the Oslofjorden (one-third of the country’s territory), which has a density of more than 50 persons per sq km. In the north, in the Finnmarksvidda, the density decreases to about 2 persons per sq km. More than half of the population lives in cities and urban settlements. The largest cities are Oslo (473,000 inhabitants in 1973), Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Drammen.


Clan and tribal system and the rise of a class society (to the 11th century). The earliest traces of man in Norway—the Komsa and Fosna cultures—date from the postglacial period. Organized into clans, the people lived mainly along the coast and engaged in hunting, fishing, and in the north seal hunting. Kitchen middens and numerous rock carvings of deer dating from the Mesolithic have been found. During the Neolithic, the climate became milder and larger areas were settled; dolmens from the third millennium B.C. have survived. By this time, although the north was still inhabited by hunters and fishermen, the people in the south were engaged in herding and primitive farming.

There are few relics from the Bronze Age, which began in the middle of the second millennium B.C. During the transition to the Iron Age, which began about 500 B.C., farming developed, and a settled way of life was more firmly established. Teutonic tribes arrived on the Scandinavian Peninsula during this period, and nomadic Lapp (Samer) tribes lived in the north. In the fourth century A.D. other Teutonic tribes, the Ryger and Horder, appeared in Scandinavia. The clan system gradually disappeared in Norway, partly under the impact of broader contacts with other European peoples, although in Norway the process occurred more slowly than in Central and Southern Europe.

The transition from a pre-class society to an early class society was marked by a large-scale outward expansion, known as the Viking campaigns, from the late eighth to the mid-11th century. Norwegians settled Iceland and other islands in the North Atlantic, migrated to the parts of England and Ireland that were seized by the Vikings, and participated in the conquest of northern France. The political unification of Norway began at the turn of the tenth century, when the konungr (military leader) Harald Haarfager (Fairhair) subjugated the rulers of the various fylker. Harald’s kingdom was largely a tribal confederation, but under his successors it began developing into a state. The Christianiza-tion of Norway began in the late tenth century. Under Olaf II Haraldsson (ruled 1016–28), royal power and the church were strengthened. During a conflict with Canute I, Olaf was dethroned and Norway was ruled by Denmark until 1035. After his death in 1030 during a rebellion of bonders (peasant freeholders) in northwestern Norway, Olaf was canonized by the church in order to strengthen royal authority.

The period of early and developed feudalism, prior to Norway’s subjugation by Denmark (11th to 14th centuries). In Norway the transition from a clan and tribal social system to feudalism occurred under specific conditions. The scarcity of arable land hindered the development of farming, and an important place in the economy was held by livestock raising on mountain pastures, fishing, hunting, and seafaring (the country’s name means “northern way,” the sea route along the coast of Scandinavia). Feudalism in Norway did not incorporate the slaveholding relations of antiquity, although patriarchal slavery existed here until the 12th century. Vestiges of clan and tribal institutions—the extended family and collective ownership of land, or odal— continued to exist under feudalism. As a result of property and social differentiation among the bonders, a privileged elite of prosperous landowners, called holders, arose from among the bonders. The number of tenant bonders, or leilendinger, increased in the 11th and 12th centuries.

The clan aristocracy of the Viking period, decimated by immigration to other countries and by wars with centralizing kings, was replaced by a landholding aristocracy (lendmenn), royal retainers and servitors, and clergy. However, Norway’s new ruling class was relatively weak and did not establish its domination over the entire peasantry. Large landed estates based on corvée labor did not develop in Norway. The holdings of the church and the lendmenn consisted of scattered farmsteads whose tenants paid rent in kind and were independent farmers. Royal power played a major role in the development of feudalism in Norway. The kings collected taxes from the people and compelled them to “feed” their retainers during their regular journeys through the country. Subsequently, kings began granting their retainers and servitors the right to collect “feedings” (veitsle), which in time became grants of fiefs.

From the tenth century the entire population was subject to military service (leidang), which when added to other state obligations represented a heavy burden on the peasantry. The bonders had to serve in the militia, build warships at their own expense, and supply crews and food. Although the Norwegian peasants retained their personal freedom and the right to participate in local and district assemblies (things) and in the militia, they were oppressed by state obligations and had only a weak title to their land, which they were gradually losing. Their contradictory status prompted the peasants to resist the state. The most serious manifestation of the bonders’ discontent was their participation in the civil wars that began in the second half of the 12th century and lasted until the mid-13th century. These wars began as conflicts between contenders for the throne, but from the 1170’s many bonders, crushed by the oppression of the state and the feudal lords, were drawn into the struggles. The peasants hoped for improved conditions after the accession to the throne in 1184 of the pretender Sverre, who defeated King Magnus Erlingsson, the candidate of the magnates and the church. At first Sverre drew his support from the birkebeiner, many of whom were impoverished peasants. After seizing power, however, he embarked on a policy of strengthening the state and suppressing peasant uprisings. Many birkebeiner became the king’s servitors. Some of the disaffected peasants supported Sver-re’s enemies, the bagler, who belonged to the aristocracy and the higher clergy.

After Sverre’s death in 1202 there was a reconciliation between his successors and the church and later between the leaders of the birkebeiner and the bagler. In the late 1220’s, under Haakon the Old (ruled from 1217 to 1263), the struggles ceased and the Norwegian feudal state was firmly established. The civil wars closed the early feudal period of Norwegian history. In the course of these wars the ruling class rallied around the king, and antagonisms between various groups within this class faded when it became necessary to suppress peasant resistance.

In the first half of the 13th century feudalism gained strength in Norway without losing its distinctive national features. Although they remained personally free, the bonders were deprived of some of their rights, and their social status declined. The things, originally local peasant self-governing bodies, were now subordinated to royal representatives, who also controlled the courts. The knighthood—holders and royal servitors—made up the bulk of the army, and the bonders’ military service was replaced by a tax, although they retained the right to bear arms. Under Magnus VI Haakonsson (ruled 1263–80) a national code, the Landslov, was compiled to replace regional laws (it was the first national code in Scandinavia). The political unification of Norway was completed. Iceland became a Norwegian possession in 1262–64, and the Lapps in the north were subjugated. A treaty concluded between Norway and Novgorod confirmed the right of both states to collect taxes from the Lapps in the arctic regions. Social relations incorporated earlier traditions—the patriarchal order and the odal endured throughout the Middle Ages.

Poor in natural resources, Norway was economically the most backward of the Scandinavian countries. For a long time a barter economy predominated, and the cities were undeveloped. There was always a shortage of grain. All these factors contributed to the success of Hanseatic merchants in Norway, who made Bergen their base of operations. In the late 13th century agriculture declined, and when the Black Death reached Norway in 1347–50 (with sporadic outbreaks until the early 1370’s), the entire economy collapsed. The ruling class was also affected by the catastrophe, and the weak Norwegian nobility was unable to prevent the influx of Swedish and Danish feudal lords. A personal union was concluded with Sweden in 1319 and with Denmark in 1380, and the Union of Kalmar, uniting the three kingdoms, was ratified in 1397.

Norway under Danish rule (to the early 19th century). The Union of Kalmar was an important step in the subjugation of Norway by Danish kings and feudal lords. An anti-Danish uprising broke out in southeastern Norway in 1436 under the influence of Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson’s rebellion in Sweden. The Norwegian nobility exploited the uprising to bolster its privileges. Whereas in Sweden the anti-Danish movement led to the country’s de facto independence and in 1523 to its withdrawal from the union, in Norway Danish rule continued until the early 19th century. King Christian I (ruled 1450–81) retained the Norwegian Riksrad—a state council composed of representatives of the feudal aristocracy and the higher clergy established at the turn of the 14th century—but he ruled in the interests of the Danish feudal lords and granted them estates and castles in Norway. The weakening of the Hanseatic League’s hold on Norway in the late 15th century was paralleled by the growing ascendancy of English and Dutch merchants. The Norwegian burgher class remained small and economically and politically weak. Rising taxes impoverished the bonders, and a wave of peasant uprisings swept through Norway in the first half of the 16th century.

In 1536 the Danish state council accepted the Reformation. In Norway the Reformation became a means for further subjugating the country to the Danish kings and met stubborn resistance. An uprising led by the Norwegian archbishop Olaf Engelbrektsson was crushed. The Kingdom of Norway became a Danish province in 1537, thereby strengthening the position of the Danish king and nobility. The king owned almost half the peasant farmsteads in Norway.

In the 16th century, amid a general economic resurgence in Western and Northern Europe, Norway’s economy began to revive. Trade relations with northern Germany, the Netherlands, England, and Scotland expanded. Timber became an important export, along with butter and fish, the traditional exports. Copper, iron, and silver were mined, and merchant shipping developed. The first guilds were established in the 16th century. But Norway’s economic growth essentially benefited the Danish feudal lords. The oppressed population protested against abuses, and the Danish government was obliged to introduce reforms. In 1572 a central administration was reestablished in Norway, and the office of vicegerent was created. Norwegian noblemen were henceforth given state offices both in Norway and Denmark. As a result of the Danish-Swedish wars of the 17th century, the Norwegian territories of Jamdland and Härjedalen passed to Sweden in 1645, and Baahuslen was ceded in 1658.

After the establishment of absolutism in Denmark in 1660, the fief system was abolished in Norway, with the fiefs becoming administrative districts headed by officials called amtmands. Needing money, the government began selling crown lands. Large landholders also sold their domains, which had become unprofitable. Most of the land became the property of former tenants and other bonders. A minority in the mid-17th century, landholding bonders constituted a majority by the mid-18th century, and Norway became a country of peasant proprietors. Commodity-money relations developed rapidly, accompanied by a stratification of the peasantry. The nobility gradually disappeared as an estate, and the peasantry, primarily its more prosperous members, became an active political force.

The economic revival of the second half of the 17th century and the 18th also stimulated the growth of an urban bourgeoisie, and large firms controlled the lumber industry, mining, shipbuilding, and shipping. Some entrepreneurs entered the bureaucracy. Nevertheless, the country’s dependence on Denmark hindered its development. The economy was undermined by the Danish grain monopoly instituted in 1735 and by heavy taxation. Growing anti-Danish sentiment led to disturbances among peasants and urban dwellers. After an uprising in the Bergen region, the government abolished an extra poll tax, and a peasant movement in 1786–87 headed by C. J. Lofthus obliged the Danish government to enact several economic reforms.

Rise and development of capitalist relations (19th to the early 20th century). DANISH RULE (TO 1814). At the turn of the 19th century, the Danish-Norwegian kingdom’s neutrality in the European wars until September 1807 promoted the rapid development of manufactories and large commercial capital in Norway. Between 1750 and 1807 the tonnage of the Norwegian fleet doubled, and the number of vessels increased from 600 to 1,514. The growing export of fish, timber, and iron, mainly to Great Britain, benefited not only urban dwellers, as in the past, but also peasant proprietors. By the early 19th century some vestiges of feudalism still survived, such as the class privileges of the few remaining noble families and the bondage of the landless rural population. The bourgeoisie dominated the Norwegian economy, and 75 percent of the peasants owned their land despite the overall poverty of the country. There was a growth of national consciousness. The Anglo-Danish war of 1807–14, the continental blockade, and harvest failures brought Norway to the brink of catastrophe. Tens of thousands of Norwegians died of starvation (24,000 in 1808, 32,000 in 1809). The misery caused by the blockade isolated Norway from Denmark and intensified the Norwegians’ longing for political independence.

By the Treaty of Kiel (1814) between Denmark and Sweden, Norway (without its former possessions in the North Atlantic) was granted to Sweden “in full ownership.” The Norwegian people’s anger at this decision culminated in a revolutionary struggle for independence and a constitution. Prince Christian Frederik of Oldenburg, the Danish vicegerent of Norway from 1813, led this movement for dynastic reasons. A constituent assembly met in the southern Norwegian town of Eidsvoll on Apr. 10, 1814, and on May 17 the assembly adopted a constitution and elected Christian king of Norway. The Eidsvoll constitution of 1814 was progressive for its time: the king could not dissolve the Storting and exercised only a suspensive veto. (May 17 has been celebrated as Constitution Day in Norway since 1827.) Pressure from the great powers, Sweden’s allies, and Norway’s unsuccessful war with Sweden in the summer of 1814 made it impossible for the country to retain its independence. The Moss Convention of 1814 promised the Norwegian crown to the Swedish king but guaranteed the Norwegian constitution. On Nov. 4, 1814, the Storting elected the Swedish king to the Norwegian throne. Marxist historiography interprets the events of 1814 as an incomplete bourgeois revolution.

UNION WITH SWEDEN, 1814–1905. The union between Norway and Sweden was confirmed by law in 1815. Norway was assured autonomy in internal affairs, but it concluded a permanent military alliance with Sweden and did not conduct an independent foreign policy. A vicegerent resided in Christiana (present-day Oslo) until 1856.

In the years after 1815 several reforms stimulating capitalist development were enacted in Norway. The Storting rejected the repeated attempts of the regent (from 1818 King Charles XIV John) to revise the constitution. The first act of enclosure, passed in 1821, opened the way for the division of communal land and the abolition of the open-field system, but it also intensified the stratification of the peasantry. The Norwegian bank of issue was founded in 1816, and the privileges of the nobility were abolished in 1821.

Echoes of the revolutions of 1830–31 in Western Europe were heard in Norway. A moderate democratic opposition supported by the peasants emerged to challenge the old governing class. In 1833 representatives of the peasants gained a majority over the officials in the Storting. Headed by the teacher O. G. Ueland, the opposition called for parliamentary control over officials, economy in state expenditures, abolition of land taxes, and local self-government. After clashes in the Storting in 1836, self-government was introduced the following year in rural areas and in the cities. Under pressure from the opposition, whose press organ was the Morgenbladet (founded in 1819), Norway gained a more equal place in the union. In 1835 the Norwegian government began participating in foreign policy decisions affecting the country, and in 1844, Norway was permitted to use its national flag and emblem. An industrial revolution occurred in the 1840’s, when the first textile factories were established. A pulp-and-paper industry was founded in the 1860’s, and a fish-packing industry in the 1870’s.

Between 1850 and 1880 the tonnage of the merchant marine (sailers) increased five times, to 1.5 million tons. In the late 1830’s and early 1840’s restrictions on trade and industry were abolished, a liberal tariff was introduced (1842), and the silver parity of the Norwegian daler was established (1842), followed by the adoption of the gold kroner in 1875. The first private commercial banks were founded in the 1850’s, and the first railroad was put into operation in 1854. Capitalism was firmly established in Norway by the middle of the 19th century.

Social and economic change led to an intensification of the class struggle. Under the influence of the European revolutions of 1848, the first democratic mass movement arose between 1848 and 1851, drawing its support from farm laborers and poor peasants (husmenn), called Thranes after their leader, M. Thrane. The growth and proletarianization of the population outstripped the pace of industrial development, resulting in large-scale emigration to North America. Between 1866 and 1915, 750,000 persons emigrated from Norway, which had a population of 2,240,000 in 1900. The governing big bourgeoisie, allied with the bureaucracy, pursued a policy of economic liberalism. At the same time, conservative tendencies gained ground in the country’s political life. As Norway progressed economically and culturally there was growing resentment at Swedish tutelage, and in 1860 the Storting proclaimed Norway’s equality within the union. In the 1860’s and the years following, a democratic opposition uniting the peasants and the intelligentsia, led by the lawyer J. Sverdrup and his Venstre (Left) group in parliament, sought to expand the power of the Storting, to make the government responsible to parliament, and to weaken the union. The Venstre soon won a majority in the Storting. In 1882, after using his veto three times, King Oscar II (ruled 1872–1905) agreed to recognize ministerial responsibility to the Storting. In 1884 two national parties were established, the Venstre (Left) and the Høyre (Conservative). That year the king appointed the first Venstre cabinet, headed by Sverdrup (1884–89), thereby firmly establishing the parliamentary system of government. The Venstre extended the franchise, establishing universal suffrage for men in 1898 and for women in 1913, and instituted trial by jury in criminal cases.

In the late 19th century major changes occurred in the Norwegian economy. Industries began to use electric power in the 1880’s (the first power plant was built in 1887), and an electrochemical industry was founded in the 1890’s (its largest enterprise was Norsk Hydro, built in 1905). By 1900 more than 40 percent of the population was employed in industry, commerce, or transportation. The ranks of the industrial proletariat swelled. The first trade unions were organized in the 1870’s, the national Federation of Trade Unions was formed 1899, and the Norwegian Labor Party was founded in 1887.

The Venstre Party split into radical and moderate wings in 1888, and the radicals won an absolute majority in the Storting in 1891. During the years of the Venstre Steen government (1891–93), the Storting passed resolutions for the creation of an independent consular service for Norway (1892), but the king vetoed the resolution. Over the next few years Høyre cabinets made several attempts to resolve the question of diplomatic representation, but by early 1905 negotiations were deadlocked. Military preparations for a possible conflict with Sweden had begun in the late 19th century, including the building of a navy and border fortifications. Norway’s international prestige was growing as a result of the Storting’s role in settling international disputes through arbitration. Moreover, such internationally famous cultural figures as H. Ibsen, B. Bjørnson, K. Hamsun, E. Grieg, and E. Munch and the arctic explorers F. Nansen and R. Amundsen were also winning recognition for Norway. In May 1905 the Storting once again passed a law establishing a Norwegian consular service, but the king refused to sanction it, and C. Michelsen’s coalition government resigned. Oscar II was unable to form a new government, and on June 7 the Storting unanimously dissolved the union and restored the authority of the Michelsen government. A referendum, held in August 1905, approved the severance of the union. Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Karlstad (1905), establishing the conditions for dissolving the union, Oscar II relinquished the Norwegian crown. After a new referendum on the form of government for Norway, a Danish prince of the Glücksburg dynasty was elected to the throne as Haakon VII on Nov. 18, 1905. Russia was the first power to recognize Norway’s independence and to establish diplomatic relations with it (October 1905). With the attainment of independence the bourgeois revolution in Norway was completed. Norway’s independence and territorial integrity were guaranteed by the great powers under the Christiana Convention of 1907.

Imperialism and the crisis of the capitalist system, FROM 1905 TO 1918. In the first decade after independence industrialization accelerated and Nowegian capitalism entered the monopoly stage. Between 1900 and 1910 the largest hydroelectric power plants in Europe were built in Norway. The number of stock companies quadrupled between 1891 and 1913, increasing to 6,300. On the eve of World War I, Norway had thriving export industries, largely financed by British and Swedish capital. Under pressure from an antimonopoly movement, laws were passed in 1906 and 1909 establishing limitations on the granting of government concessions to both foreign and private Norwegian capital. The movement was headed by the radical Venstre, later known simply as Venstre. The Venstre leader G. Knudsen headed the government from 1908 to January 1910 and from 1913 to 1920.

The Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia influenced the Norwegian labor movement, giving impetus to the emergence of a left wing in the trade unions. During the labor conflicts of 1911, a syndicalist antiparliament trade union movement headed by M. Tranmaíl arose in opposition to the reformist leadership of the Labor Party and the Federation of Trade Unions.

At the outbreak of World War I, Norway declared its strict neutrality, but its policies tended to favor the Entente powers, primarily Great Britain. The war enriched the entrepreneurs and contributed to the industrialization of Norway. Between 1913 and 1918 the number of stock companies almost doubled and their capital quadrupled. At the same time, the living standard of the people deteriorated because of a shortage of basic neccesi-ties and rising prices. A mass movement protesting the high cost of living and speculation arose in 1917.

FROM 1918 TO 1939. The Great October Socialist Revolution had a powerful effect on Norway. Between 60,000 and 70,000 persons joined local workers’ councils in the first half of 1918. The councils demanded the requisition of food and its sale at government prices, demobilization of the army, reduction of military expenditures, and public control over production. However, the councils did not become revolutionary bodies, and their work was limited to supervision over the distribution of scarce goods. During the revolutionary upsurge the left wing of the Labor Party gained strength, and its leaders—K. Grepp, M. Tranmael, and O. Scheflo—headed the party. In 1919 the Labor Party joined the Comintern. Under pressure from the masses, the Norwegian electoral system was democratized, and an eight-hour workday was introduced. In 1918–20, Norwegian workers vigorously opposed the anti-Soviet intervention. The Norwegian bourgeoisie suffered great losses in the severe economic crisis of 1921–22: shipping revenues in 1921, for example, were one-third those of 1920, and some 50 banks stopped payments. The crisis precipitated acute labor conflicts, including a general strike involving 120,000 persons in May and June 1921. The leadership of the Labor Party took a centrist position, causing a split in the party and leading to the formation of the Communist Party of Norway in 1923. The Labor Party broke with the Comintern in 1923 and gradually returned to reformism.

Norway extended de facto recognition to Soviet Russia in September 1921 and de jure recognition in February 1924. The foremost representatives of the Norwegian people helped organize international relief for the victims of starvation in the Volga region (F. Nansen Fund). Under the Paris Treaty of 1920, Norway obtained sovereignty over Spitsbergen, but all the parties to the treaty (including future parties) were to have an equal right to exploit the natural resources of the archipelago. The treaty also provided for Spitsbergen’s permanent demilitarization and neutrality. The USSR acceded to the treaty in 1935. In its conflict with Denmark in 1931–33, Norway was unsuccessful in laying claim to eastern Greenland.

The world economic crisis of 1929–33 crippled Norway. More than 33 percent of the organized workers were unemployed in 1933, and industrial output declined by 25 percent between 1929 and 1932. Working people clashed with the police and strikebreakers at Menstad in June 1931. The influence of the Labor and Communist parties increased. In 1933 an openly fascist movement, the National Union headed by V. Quisling, arose out of several counterrevolutionary and paramilitary organizations. In the elections of 1933 the Labor Party for the first time won 40 percent of the votes, and in March 1935 it formed a government headed by J. Nygaardsvold (1935–45). The prewar boom enabled the Labor Party to carry out most of its recovery program, based on the creation of state monopolies, and to enact such social reforms as the labor protection act of 1936, compulsory unemployment insurance, nine-day paid vacations, and old-age pensions for persons over the age of 70. The Labor Party effected the first nationwide agreement between trade unions and employers in 1935, aimed at ensuring “peace in industry.” In the elections of 1936 the fascists were overwhelmingly defeated.

During the interwar years Norway became an economically developed country with a relatively high living standard. It had one of the world’s largest and most modernized merchant fleets and far surpassed all other countries in the per capita use of electric energy. A further concentration and monopolization of industrial production occurred, and the role of foreign capital declined, accounting for only about 16 percent of Norway’s joint-stock capital in 1936. Growing mechanization reduced the proportion of hired laborers in the rural population, and small tenant farmers and poor peasants almost entirely disappeared, entering the proletariat in industry and transport. In the prewar years Norway, following Great Britain’s example, pursued its own version of the policy of “nonintervention,” which in practice meant refusal to participate in the League of Nations’ collective security measures and strict neutrality in conflicts between the great powers (Copenhagen Declaration of 1938).

WORLD WAR II. At the outbreak of World War II, Norway proclaimed its neutrality, but on Apr. 9, 1940, the country was attacked by fascist Germany. After two months of fighting, in which Norway was aided by British and French troops, fascist Germany occupied the entire country. In July 1940 the government and the king fled to Great Britain, and Norway’s war with Germany continued beyond its borders; the Norwegian fleet transported cargo for the Allies. The actions of the fascist German occupation regime, headed by the Nazi Gauleiter J. Ter-boven, and the attempts of the Quisling puppet government to turn Norway into a fascist country provoked a nationwide resistance movement, called the Home Front, established in 1941. The Communist Party was in the vanguard of the armed struggle, and many Soviet soldiers who had escaped from fascist concentration camps participated in the fighting. In the course of the Petsamo-Kirkenes operation of 1944, Soviet troops entered northern Norway in October, initiating the country’s liberation from the fascist German invaders. Sabotage against the Nazis intensified in the summer of 1944, culminating in the “battle of the rails” in March 1945, aimed at preventing the transport of German troops. On May 8, 1945, the fascist German troops in Norway surrendered. Norway lost 10,000 people in the war, the country’s arctic regions were devastated by the retreating fascist German troops, and half of the tonnage of the Norwegian fleet was destroyed.

SINCE MAY 1945. Norway’s postwar development began amid growing social contradictions, a stronger organized labor movement, and an intensified struggle of the working people for their political, social, and economic rights. The trade unions rapidly grew larger and became an influential social and political force. Supported by the trade unions, the Labor Party strengthened its position. The influence of the Communist Party in the the labor movement increased, and Communists were included in Norway’s first postwar government, formed by the Labor Party in June 1945. After the war, trials of war criminals and traitors were held in Norway, and Quisling and other war criminals were sentenced to death.

The Labor Party was victorious in the parliamentary elections held in the fall of 1945, winning 41 percent of the votes and gaining 76 out of the 150 seats. The Communist Party received 12 percent of the votes and 11 seats. The head of the Labor Party, E. Gerhardsen, formed a one-party government on Oct. 8, 1945. As the governing party with a majority in parliament, the Labor Party had a decisive influence on the country’s social and political life until the mid-1960’s.

In 1945 the Labor Party announced a preelection program, called the General Program for the Postwar Reconstruction and Development of Norway, which included several measures aimed at strengthening the state’s role in economic life. However, by the late 1940’s, under pressure from the bourgeoisie, which had grown stronger economically and was demanding greater freedom of action, the right-wing leadership of the Labor Party made numerous concessions to the bourgeoisie. These concessions strengthened the position of big capital, promoted the concentration of capital, and encouraged the influx of foreign capital. Between 1947 and 1949 government control over imports and private capital investments was weakened, and virtually all limitations on dividends were abolished. A general amnesty for quislings was announced in 1948, and the prosecution of war criminals ceased in 1950. In 1947 the Labor government agreed to participate in the Marshall Plan, and Norway joined NATO in April 1949.

In the early 1950’s, amid the growing discontent of the popular masses with the Labor Party’s domestic and foreign policy and a spreading strike movement (there were 40 strikes in 1952, eight of them lasting more than a month), the governing Social Democratic circles undertook an offensive against the political rights of the working people. Emergency laws were adopted allowing the government to curtail democratic freedoms, and the compulsory arbitration of labor disputes was revived, limiting the right to strike. Anticommunist propaganda was intensified in order to undermine the influence of the Communist Party among the masses and to weaken its position in the Norwegian labor movement, especially in the trade unions.

The organized and persistent struggle of the working class resulted in the introduction of several social reforms: the workweek was reduced to 45 hours (42.5 hours in 1968), three-week paid vacations were introduced in 1947 (increased to four weeks in 1965), and the pension age was lowered from 70 to 67 years in 1973. The reforms improved the conditions of the working people and raised the living standard of the population. However, wages continued to lag behind prices by an average of 10 percent in the early 1970’s, and the tax burden on the working people steadily increased, with direct taxes taking 25 to 28 percent of the workers’ wages in the early 1970’s (about the same proportion as rent). Inflation continued to plague the economy.

Norway’s foreign policy is largely determined by its membership in NATO. Between 1949 and 1957, under pressure from progressive public organizations, the Labor government formulated a “base policy,” declaring that Norway would not permit the deployment of nuclear weapons or the stationing of foreign troops on its soil in peacetime. Nevertheless, the Northern European Command of NATO was established in Norway. In 1963 the Storting adopted a resolution allowing Norway to participate in NATO’s antiaircraft defense system in Europe, as a result of which the Norwegian antiaircraft defense units were placed under the commander in chief of the NATO armed forces in Northern Europe.

Pursuing a policy of expanding Norway’s political, military, and economic participation in imperialist groupings, the Norwegian ruling circles brought the country into the European Free Trade Association in March 1960. Subsequently, Article 93 of the Norwegian constitution was amended to permit restrictions on the country’s sovereignty in favor of supranational organizations. Norway’s official circles have repeatedly stated their desire to develop friendly relations with the USSR. This position was reaffirmed during official visits of Norwegian heads of government to the USSR in 1955, 1965, and 1974 and of Soviet leaders to Norway in 1964 and 1971.

Since the mid-1950’s the USSR and Norway have concluded agreements on air transportation (March 1956), cultural cooperation (October 1956), the water resources of the Pats River (December 1957), and the maritime border between the USSR and Norway near the Varangerfjorden (February 1957). The two countries signed a consular convention in December 1971 and an agreement on economic, industrial, scientific, and technical cooperation in May 1972. In March 1974, Norway and the USSR signed an agreement on shipping and on the right of Soviet aircraft to land at the Norwegian civilian airport on Spitsbergen.

The social and economic changes in Norway affected the political situation. In 1961, as internal contradictions intensified, the Labor Party expelled a group of opposition leaders who argued that Norway should withdraw from NATO and return to a policy of neutrality. The group soon founded the Socialist People’s Party. In 1961 the Labor Party lost its clear majority in parliament (the Labor Party won 74 seats, the bourgeois parties 74 seats, and the Socialist People’s Party two seats).

In the 1965 parliamentary elections the Social Democrats won only a minority of seats in the Storting for the first time since 1945. The Labor Party became the opposition party, relinquishing power to a bourgeois coalition government headed by P. Borten. In March 1971 disagreements between the bourgeois parties brought down Borten’s coalition, and the Social Democrats formed a minority government under T. Bratelli. After taking power, the Labor leadership began negotiations for admission to the European Economic Community (EEC), disregarding the wishes of the popular masses and protests within its own ranks. An agreement on Norway’s entry into the EEC was signed in Brussels in January 1972. However, in a referendum held in September 1972, 53.49 percent of the voters opposed Norway’s membership in the EEC, again defeating the policies of the Labor leaders. The Bratelli government resigned. In October 1972, during an acute political crisis, L. Korvald formed a bourgeois coalition government of the Christian People’s Party, the Venstre, and the Center Party. It was a minority government supported by less than one-third of the deputies. In the 1973 parliamentary elections, the Labor Party received 35.29 percent of the votes and 62 seats. A Social Democratic minority government headed by Bratelli was formed in October 1973.

The early 1970’s were marked by growing social and class contradictions and shifts in the balance of political power. On the eve of the 1973 parliamentary elections 14 political parties and groups were registered instead of the traditional seven. The new parties included the New People’s Party, formed after a split in the Venstre; the Democratic Socialists, founded by the left opposition in the Labor Party; and the Anders Lange Party, founded by profascist reactionary elements. The Socialist Electoral League, uniting political parties and groups belonging to the left wing of the Norwegian labor movement, was founded in April 1973. The league includes the Communist Party of Norway, the Socialist People’s Party, the Democratic Socialists, and independent socialists.


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A. IA. GUREVICH (to the 19th century), A. S. KAN (19th century to 1945), and V. K. FADIN (since 1945)

Political parties. The Norwegian Labor Party (Det Norske Arbeiderparti), a Social Democratic party founded in 1887, had a membership of 160,000 in 1972. It draws its support from workers and office employees and, to some extent, from small farmers, agricultural laborers, the urban petite bourgeoisie, and the intelligentsia. The Høyre, a right-wing conservative party, was founded as a national party in 1884 and numbers about 115,000 persons. It includes members of the bourgeoisie, higher officials, and the intelligenstia and represents the interests of the big industrial and financial bourgeoisie. The Venstre, a liberal bourgeois party, was organized as a national party in 1884 and has about 90,000 members, most of them from the petite or middle bourgeoisie. A split in the Venstre Party in late 1972–73 resulted in the formation of the New People’s Party in 1973. The Christian People’s Party (Kristelig Folkeparti), founded in 1933 and with about 3,000 members, represents the interests of the middle bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia. The Center Party (Sen-terpartiet), called the Peasant Party until May 1959 and the Norwegian Democratic Party between May and December 1959, was founded in 1920 and has about 65,000 members. It is backed chiefly by the middle and petite rural bourgeoisie and also receives some support from the urban bourgeoisie. The Socialist People’s Party (Sosialistiske Folkeparti) was established in 1961 and has about 5,000 members, including workers, office employees, and members of the intelligentsia. The Communist Party of Norway (Norges Kommunistiske Parti) was founded in 1923.

Trade unions and other public organizations. The Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions, founded in 1899, united more than 40 trade unions with a total membership of 603,300 in 1972. It works closely with the Labor Party and belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The Cooperative Society of Norway, founded in 1906, has about 430,000 members (1971) and holds an influential position in the country’s economy. The Union of Apartment Tenants, founded in 1939, has 8,500 members. The Workers’ Educational Union, founded in 1931, operates under the direction of the Labor Party. The Workers’ Youth League, founded in 1903 and numbering about 3,000 persons, is affiliated with the Labor Party. Communist Youth, the youth organization of the Communist Party, was founded in 1967 to replace the former Communist Youth League of Norway. The Democratic Women’s League, founded in 1947, belongs to the Women’s International Democratic Federation. The Norway-Soviet Union Society was founded in 1945.


General state of the economy. Norway is a capitalist country with a high level of industrial development. Industrial and electric-power output, accounting for 31 percent of the gross national product in 1971, is five times that of agriculture (6 percent). Shipping, accounting for 10 percent of the gross national product, and fishing are also important. Foreign economic relations include both trade and worldwide shipping services by the Norwegian merchant marine. Norway’s economy is oriented toward export, and exports of goods and services contribute one-third of the gross national product. The country depends heavily on imports, whose value exceeds one-third of the gross national product. With less than 0.2 percent of the population of the capitalist world, Norway produces about 0.5 percent of the capitalist world’s industrial output and contributes more than 1 percent of its exports. Norway owns 9 percent of the tonnage of the world’s merchant marine, occupying fourth place in shipping after Liberia, Japan, and Great Britain. Foreign capital investments play an important role in the Norwegian economy.

The development of the Norwegian economy since World War II has been marked by large capital investments in industry, hydroelectric projects, and the merchant marine. In the 1950’s the country had one of the highest rates of economic development in the capitalist world, and in the 1960’s economic reorganization resulted in the establishment of such new industries as electrical engineering and radio electronics. There has been a growing tendency toward state monopoly control. The nationalization of former German assets and the construction of new state enterprises brought the state sector’s share in industrial production to 12–15 percent or more. Industry is dominated by large monopoly associations in which foreign capital participates. The leading firms are Borregaard (pulp-and-paper and chemical industries), Norsk Hydro (electrochemistry and electrometallurgy), Aker (shipbuilding), Kværner (machine building), Elkem (electrometallurgy), and Wilhelmsen and Olsen (shipbuilding). The government encourages foreign capital investments in industry, where they account for about 15 percent of the total investments. US-Canadian and Swiss capital has been invested in the aluminum industry, Belgian capital in the production of zinc, Canadian capital in the nickel industry, British capital in the manufacture of ferroalloys, US and Anglo-Dutch capital in oil refining, Anglo-Dutch and Swiss capital in the food and fish-processing industries, British capital in the pulp-and-paper industry, and French capital in the electrochemical industry.

The intensification of social conflicts is reflected in the spreading strike movement (the number of workdays lost rose from 9,000 in 1965 to 47,000 in 1970) and in the rising cost of living (6–8 percent annually in the 1970’s).

Industry. Norway’s industries may be divided into those that sell mainly on the foreign market and those producing chiefly for the domestic market. The first group, accounting for one-third of the total industrial output, includes electrometallurgy, electrochemistry, the pulp-and-paper industry, and the fish-processing industry. These industries account for more than half the value of the country’s exports. In the second group, food processing and light industry, as well as machine building and metal-working, have expanded considerably in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The development of electrical engineering and shipbuilding may be partially attributed to export. (The branch structure of industry is shown in Table 2.)

Table 2. Branch structure of industry (1970)
  Number of workersGross output
  personspercentbillion kronerpercent
All industry ..........378,30010055.1100
Manufacturing ........356,00094.150.892.2
 Food and condiments …52,10013.812.021.8
 Textiles, clothing, and footwear.........34,2009.02.74.9
 Woodworking and furniture .........29,5007.83.56.4
 Pulp-and-paper ......24,1006.44.27.6
 Chemicals and oil refining27,8007.35.19.3
 Metallurgy .........28,3007.56.211.3
 Machine building and metalworking ......175,10029.912.923.4
Electric power ........13,7003.63.46.2

MINING. The leading branches of the mining industry are the extraction and enrichment of iron ore (the Sydvaranger mine near Kirkenes accounts for half the total output), titanium ore (650,000 to 700,000 tons annually), and pyrites (750,000 to 800,000 tons a year). Copper and zinc are mined along with the pyrites. Coal is mined on Spitsbergen, and between 400,000 and 500,000 tons are produced annually. Petroleum and gas are extracted from the Ekofisk deposit in the Norwegian part of the North Sea. The Phillips Petroleum Company, jointly owned by US, Belgian, Italian, and French capital, has been working the deposit.

ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY. Hydroelectric power and imported liquid fuels are the main sources of energy. Hydroelectric power plants produce more than 99 percent of the country’s electricity. Norway has the world’s largest per capita output of electricity (17,000 kW-hr in 1973). The largest hydroelectric power plants, each with a capacity exceeding 200 megawatts, are the Tokke, Rana, Vinje, Tonstad, Aura, Nedre Røssaga, Nes, Suldal, Nore, Fortun, Lyse, Matre, and Nedre Vinstra. The annual capacity of the oil refineries is 8 million tons (1972).

MANUFACTURING. The iron and steel industry specializes in producing electric pig iron, electric steel, and ferroalloys. The state-owned metallurgical plant Norsk Jernverk in Mo i Rana produces four-fifths of the country’s pig iron and three-fourths of its steel. Norway is Western Europe’s leading producer of aluminum and the fourth largest producer in the capitalist world, after the USA, Japan, and Canada. The aluminum plants are located along the southern and western coast, at Lista, Kopervik, Årdal, Sunndalsøra, and Mosjøen. Electrolytic zinc is produced in Odda, nickel and copper in Kristiansand, and magnesium in Porsgrunn. More than nine-tenths of the nonferrous metals and ferroalloys are exported.

The major branches of machine building and metalworking are shipbuilding, electrical engineering, and electronics. Norway is the capitalist world’s seventh leading producer of ships. The largest shipyards build tankers of up to 200,000–250,000 tons deadweight and gas carriers. The chief centers of shipbuilding are Oslo, Stavanger, and Bergen. Most electrical engineering and electronics plants are located around Oslo (the Tanberg Factory). Norway also produces turbines, electric locomotives, and equipment for the woodworking and fish-processing industries.

Electrochemistry is represented mainly by the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizers and calcium carbide. Most of the fertilizer is produced at plants owned by Norsk Hydro in Porsgrunn, Rju-kan, and Glomfjord.

The woodworking and pulp-and-paper industries operate on the basis of one of the country’s chief natural resources, its forests. Norway produces more than 8 million cu m of timber annually and is the fifth largest producer of paper pulp in the capitalist world. Most of the enterprises of these industries are located at the mouths of timber-floating rivers around Oslo-fjorden, mainly near Sarpsborg (Borregaard Company), Halden, Drammen, and Skien (Union Company).

Norway’s light industry produces woolen knitted goods, sports and work clothes (for fishermen and sailors), and footwear. The most highly developed branches of the food industry are fish processing, along the western and northern coasts, and the production of dairy goods, in eastern Norway. (See Table 3 for the output of major industrial products.)

Table 3. Output of major industrial products
Electric power (billion kW-hr)......9.93169
Petroleum (tons) .............2,000,000
Iron-ore concentrate (tons).......1,000,0001,600,0003,900,000
Pig iron (tons)...............174,000373,000690,000
Ferroalloys (tons) ............174,000345,000700,000
Steel (tons)................67,000490,000960,000
Aluminum, primary (tons)........29,000168,000620,000
Zinc (tons).................47,00044,00080,000
Nickel (tons) ...............30,00043,000
Copper (tons)...............11,00022,00026,000
Magnesium (tons) ............10,00041,000
Nitrogen fertilizers (nitrogen content, tons)...................90,000260,000600,000
Paper pulp (tons).............900,0001,516,0002,100,000
Paper and cardboard (tons) ......366,000789,0001,390,000
Cement (tons) ..............300,0001,200,0002,800,000
Herring oil (tons).............200,000
Fish meal (tons) .............350,000
Ships, launched (gross registered tons)55,000198.0001,071,000

Agriculture. Norway’s mountainous topography and large rocky areas restrict the agricultural use of land. In 1970 only 2.6 percent of the country’s area, or 795,000 hectares (ha), were cultivated, mainly in the southeast. Meadows and pastures cover another 115,000 ha, or 0.4 percent of the total area. Small (up to 5 ha) and medium-sized (5–20 ha) farms account for more than nine-tenths of the total number of farms and for three-fourths of the land and livestock. Many small farmers derive their main income from fishing and the sale of timber. Agricultural marketing cooperatives have been established throughout the country. The number of small farms is steadily declining, and increased output is achieved through the concentration and intensification of production on larger farms. On the whole, however, the cost of agricultural output is rather high, and the government must support farmers with grants and subsidies. Livestock raising for meat and milk is the most important branch of agriculture, and the chief crop is fodder. In 1973, 273,00 ha were planted to grain, chiefly oats and barley, yielding 912,000 tons (358,000 tons in 1950). That year 672,000 tons of potatoes were produced, as against 1,116,000 tons in 1950. In 1973 livestock numbered 23,000 horses, 963,000 head of cattle (414,000 dairy cows), 1,635,000 sheep, 737,000 pigs, and more than 6 million poultry. Norway produced 1.8 million tons of milk and 160,000 tons of meat in 1973. Fur farming is also important, producing more than 3 million pelts, mainly mink, annually.

FISHING. Norway’s fish catch, primarily cod and herring, is one of the world’s largest, totaling 2.7 million tons in 1973, and the country is a major exporter of fish and fish products. The main cod fishing grounds are off the coast of the Lofoten Islands and Finnmark. The bulk of the catch is processed into oil and meal. Cod is used to make the traditional dried stockfish and salted and dried klipfish, as well as frozen fillets. Whaling in the antarctic waters has been discontinued since 1970. Norwegian fishermen accounted for 30 to 40 percent of the whales caught in the 1950’s.

Transportation. Some two-thirds of the country’s domestic freight and nine-tenths of its foreign-trade cargo is transported by ship. As of July 1, 1974, the merchant marine totaled 24.3 million gross registered tons, with large tankers predominating. More than nine-tenths of the tonnage of the merchant fleet transports freight between foreign ports. Earnings from the transport of foreign cargo, totaling 10 billion kroner in 1973, largely offset Norway’s foreign-trade deficit. The principal ports are Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, and Narvik. Norway has 4,200 km of railroads, of which 2,500 km are electrified. In 1972 there were 74,000 km of highways, 807,000 passenger cars, 163,000 trucks, and 8,000 buses. The largest airports are Fornebu (Oslo), Sola (Stavanger), and Bodø.

Foreign trade. Norway has a substantial foreign-trade deficit, with imports of 35 billion kroner in 1973 and exports of 27 billion kroner. The chief exports are products of the elec-trometallurgical and electrochemical industries (about one-third of the total value of exports), the pulp-and-paper industry (10–15 percent), and the machine-building and fish-processing industries. Norway also exports repaired ships, which account for about 10 percent of the total value of exports. The major imports are ships, machinery and equipment, automobiles, liquid fuel, ferrous metals, textiles, and food products. Norway’s principal trading partners are Sweden (18 percent of exports and 19 percent of imports in 1972), the Federal Republic of Germany (13 percent and 14 percent), Great Britain (17 percent and 12 percent), the USA (8 percent and 7 percent), and Denmark (7 percent and 7 percent). The socialist countries account for about 4 percent of Norway’s foreign trade. Soviet-Norwegian economic relations are based on a trade agreement for 1971–75. More than 2 million foreign tourists visited the country in 1972. The monetary unit is the krone.

Economic regions. Eastern Norway, or Østerlandet, includes the lowland around the Gulf of Oslo and the forested slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains, dissected by river valleys, which descend toward the lowland. With one-third of the country’s territory and half of its population, Østerlandet is the country’s chief economic region, producing about three-fifths of its industrial output and about two-thirds of its grain harvest. Southern Norway, or Sørlandet, encompasses the southern slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains and a narrow low-lying strip along the coast of the Skagerrak and the North Sea. Its principal industries are woodworking, electrometallurgy, fishing and fish processing, shipbuilding, and oil refining (Stavanger). In the low-lying Jæren region there are thriving farms. Western Norway, or Vestlandet, occupies the steep western slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains and the coast of the North and Norwegian seas, cut by deep fjords. The principal economic activities are electrometallurgy, fishing and fish processing, and, on the mountain slopes, sheep raising. The region’s economic center is Bergen. Trøndelag includes the lowland and low wooded mountains around Trond-heimsfjorden. The principal economic activities are pyrite and iron-ore mining, woodworking, fishing, and dairying. The economic center is Trondheim. Northern Norway, with 35 percent of the country’s territory and 12 percent of its population, contributes 6 percent of its industrial output. An iron and steel industry has been developed at Mo i Rana, aluminum is produced at Mosjøen, and an electrochemical industry has been established at Glomfjord.


The Norwegian armed forces, consisting of an army, an air force, a navy, and a national guard, numbered 54,700 men in 1974. The king is the supreme commander in chief. Advisory bodies include the Defense Committee, attached to parliament, and the government’s Defense Council. The commander in chief exercises overall supervision of the armed forces through the joint staff, the general inspectors of the various branches of the armed forces and the national guard, and the commanders of the armed forces in northern and southern Norway. The armed forces are recruited on the basis of compulsory military service. The draft age is 20 years, and the term of active service is 12 months in the army and 15 months in the air force and the navy.

The 25,200-man army consists of the North Brigade, several infantry battalions and other units, training and mobilization units, and staffs of reserve units. The reserves are called up during mobilization. Armaments and military equipment are mainly of American and Swedish manufacture. The 12,400-man air force has about 150 aircraft and 40 helicopters. In addition, there is one battalion (36 launching installations) of Nike-Hercules antiaircraft guided missiles. The 11,700-man navy consists of a fleet of 100 combatant and auxiliary vessels, including 15 submarines, five patrol boats, two antisubmarine destroyers, 26 torpedo boats, 20 gunboats, and ten minesweepers. The navy also has coastal artillery, and its main bases are Haakonsvern, Ramsund, and Ramfjordnes.

Medicine and public health. In 1972, Norway had a birth rate of 16.6 per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of ten per 1,000; its infant mortality rate was 12.7 per 1,000 live births in 1971. The average life expectancy is 71.3 years for men and 74 years for women. The main causes of death are ischemic heart disease, malignant tumors, strokes, penumonia, and accidents. Communicable diseases include children’s infections, tuberculosis, and venereal disease. There are no significant differences in regional pathology. In 1970, Norway had 335 hospitals with 42,400 beds (28,300 of them in 172 state medical instiutions), or 10.1 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. There are also about 1,400 maternity and child care centers, and 2,100 industrial enterprises provided health services for 335,000 workers.

In 1971 there were 5,700 doctors, or one per 431 inhabitants, 3,300 dentists, 1,300 pharmacists, and about 14,000 middle-level medical personnel. Doctors are trained at two university medical faculties.

The spas of Saint Olaf Kilde and Sandefjord are known for their mineral springs, therapeutic mud, and sea bathing, and the Larvik resort has mineral springs and sea bathing. Along the western coast is the climatic resort of Bergen, and near Oslo is the climatic and mud-therapy resort of Hanke. In 1971 public health expenditures amounted to 526 million kroner, or 2.3 percent of the national budget.


Norway’s pension system has several distinctive features. There are two types of pensions: general pensions, paid to all persons, and social security pensions, paid only to wage earners. Thus workers and office employees may receive two pensions simultaneously. The minimum age for both pensions is 67 years for men and women, one of the highest retirement ages in the capitalist countries. Pensions do not exceed half the wage earner’s salary. Monetary assistance is given in case of sickness, but the first three days of illness are not covered. Unemployment compensation is paid for a maximum period of 21 weeks, although not all wage earners are eligible. Expenditures on social insurance are financed largely by payroll deductions amounting to about 10 percent of the monthly wage of industrial and office workers.

Veterinary services. Among the diseases that have been completely eradicated are foot-and-mouth disease (1952), hog cholera (1963), cattle brucellosis (1955) and tuberculosis (1965), and infectious equine anemia (1962). Noninfectious diseases predominate among farm animals. Infectious diseases include viral diarrhea, rhinotracheitis of cattle, erysipelas and atrophic rhinitis of swine, toxoplasmosis of sheep and goats, Marek’s disease, and coccidiosis of fowl. Outbreaks of babesiases have been recorded in some areas. All districts have veterinary services, and quarantine protection is well organized. Veterinary doctors are trained at the Veterinary College in Oslo. There were 919 veterinarians in 1975. Periodicals dealing with veterinary medicine and animal husbandry are published.

The first cathedral schools were founded in Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim in the mid-12th century. Parish schools were founded in rural areas from the mid-18th century, and “traveling schools,” in which instruction was given by an itinerant teacher, were organized from 1827. In 1848 a law was adopted establishing compulsory primary education for all children between seven and 13–14 years of age.

The present educational system begins with preschools for children 5–6 years of age. Primary compulsory education is provided by eight-year public schools and a one-year continuation school. In accordance with the school reform laws adopted in 1959 and 1969, a nine-year system of compulsory education is being organized. The general secondary school (gymnas) has a five-year curriculum and offers five sequences: science, natural science, modern languages, classics, and Norse. After completing the general secondary school, students must take examinations for admission to higher schools. In 1971–72, 571,600 students were enrolled in general compulsory schools, about 73,000 in secondary schools, and 67,000 in vocational and specialized secondary schools.

The higher educational system includes four universities: Oslo (founded 1811), Bergen (founded 1948), Trondheim (founded 1968), and Tromsø (founded 1972). The University of Trondheim was formed through a merger of the Norwegian Institute of Technology, founded in 1900, and the Norwegian College for Teachers, founded in 1922. There are also colleges of architecture, economics and business administration, agriculture, and veterinary medicine. In 1972–73 the higher schools had an enrollment of 34,000 students.

The largest libraries are the university libraries and the municipal library in Oslo. Among outstanding museums are the Norwegian Folk Museum (founded 1894), the University Museum of National Antiqities (1828), the National Gallery (1837), the Museum of Applied Art (1876), the Munch Museum (1963), the Vigeland Museum (1947), the Zoological Museum (1820), and museums exhibiting Viking ships, R. Amundsen’s and F. Nansen’s ship Fram, and T. Heyerdahl’s raft Kon-Tiki.

Norway’s geographical location promoted the early development of shipbuilding and navigation. In the late eighth century the ancestors of the Norwegians built keel ships and made long voyages that led to the discovery of Iceland in the late ninth century, of Greenland in the late tenth century, and of North America (Vinland) in about A.D. 1000.

After its annexation by Denmark in 1380, Norway became a backward province. Conditions favorable to the development of science arose only in the 17th and 18th centuries, when capitalist relations emerged in Norway and its contacts with other countries expanded. In the early 17th century J. Munk made several arctic expeditions. Noteworthy events of the 18th century include the publication of E. Pontoppidan’s Description of the Natural History of Norway in 1752–53 and J. E. Gunnerus’ Flora of Norway in 1766–72; the founding of the first specialized educational institution, the Kongsberg College of Mining, in 1758; and the establishment of the Royal Scientific Society (with a museum) in Trondheim in 1760.

The founding in 1811 of the University of Christiania (Oslo), built with money collected through subscriptions, was an important milestone in the development of the natural sciences. In the 1820’s the physicist C. Hansteen, who was working on terrestrial magnetism at the university, gathered around him a group of gifted young scientists who founded the Journal of Natural Science in 1823. The group included N. H. Abel, who became a prominent mathematician, and B. M. Keilhau, who compiled the first geological map of Norway from 1838 to 1850. The Zoological Museum was founded in Oslo in 1820, and the Museum of Natural History was established in Bergen in 1825.

The industrial revolution that occurred in Norway in the 1840’s stimulated the development of the natural sciences. P. C. Asbjørnsen studied Norway’s natural features, M. N. Blytt its flora, and M. Sars and G. O. Sars its marine fauna. A. Boeck and G. O. Sars conducted research in ichthyology and T. Kjerulfin geology. The mathematicians S. Lie, L. Sylow, and C. A. Bjerknes made important contributions. The chemists C. M. Guldberg and P. Waage established the law of mass action in 1864–67, the physician G. H. Hansen described the leprosy bacillus in 1874, and H. Mohn and V. K. Bjerknes did important research in meteorology. The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters was founded in 1857, an institute of geology in 1858, a meteorological institute in 1866, the Tromsø museum in 1872, an engineering society in 1874, and a geographical society in 1889.

In the late 19th century Norwegian industry expanded rapidly, stimulating applied research. In 1903, K. Birkeland developed a method for oxidizing the nitrogen of the air in an arc discharge. Medical research stressed hematology, dermatology (C. Boeck), ophthalmology, and psychiatry (R. Gjessing). In mathematics, A. Thue, A. Selberg, and V. Brun did important work in number theory, P. Heegaard in topology, and T. Skolem in mathematical logic. In the newer scientific disciplines, E. Hyl-leraas made an important contribution to the study of quantum mechanics, J. Holtsmark, H. Wergeland, and B. Trumpy to nuclear physics, E. Gleditsch to radiochemistry, K. E. Schreiner, A. Schreiner, and O. L. Mohr to cytology and genetics, F. Ramm and V. Magnus to hormone research, and B. Ebbel and A. Hoist to the study of vitamins.

Significant research was done in stratigraphy, paleontology, and petrography by W. C. Brøgger, in ore formation and petrography by J. H. Vogt, and in theoretical petrography by T. Barth. V. M. Goldschmidt was one of the founders of geochemistry. O. Holtedahl conducted comprehensive studies of the geology of Norway, the arctic, and Antarctica. The Bergen school, founded by V. F. Bjerknes, made a great contribution to meteorology. The school’s leading representatives—J. Bjerknes, H. Solberg, and T. Bergeron—developed the dynamic method of weather forecasting. The geophysicists C. Størmer and L. Vegard became famous for their studies of the aurora borealis, and the work of the astrophysicist S. Rosseland won acclaim.

Many scientific institutions were organized in the 20th century. Industrial laboratories were established at the Institute of Technology, founded in 1900 in Trondheim, and by several large companies. Technological and maritime museums were founded in Oslo in 1914. Institutes and laboratories of geophysics, physics, chemistry, mathematics, mineralogy, and paleontology were founded in Bergen and Oslo, an observatory was built in Tromsø, and biology stations were opened in Bergen and Trondheim. The Norwegian weather service was established in 1917.

Norwegian scholars have made an enormous contribution to the study of the arctic and antarctic regions. In 1886, F. Nansen and O. Sverdrup crossed Greenland on skis, and from 1893 to 1896, Nansen headed an expedition on the ship Fram. R. Amundsen led famous arctic expeditions on the Gjøa, from 1903 to 1906, on the Maud from 1918 to 1920, and in the dirigible Norway in 1926. Amundsen also led an antarctic expedition on the Fram from 1910 to 1912; in 1911 he was the first man to reach the south pole. Other important explorations were undertaken by C. Larsen (1893), O. Sverdrup and G. Isachsen (on the Fram, 1899–1902), J. Hort (1910), H. U. Sverdrup (1920–21), H. Riiser-Larsen (1929, 1930–31), L. Christensen (1933–37), and K. Mikkelsen (1935).

Since World War II applied research has been conducted on a major scale in public health, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry, fishing, and the metallurgical, electrical-engineering, electrochemical, shipbuilding, and pulp-and-paper industries. The Blindern scientific complex near Oslo includes university, government, and industrial research institutions. Since the mid-1960’s, Norway has been working jointly with Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and nine other countries on the construction of a nuclear reactor at Halden. Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have also been cooperating in building atomic-powered cargo ships (the Malmö Project). Norway has participated in Scandinavian programs in mathematics, geophysics, oceanography, astronomy, and other sciences. O. Hassel’s studies of the structure of organic molecules (Nobel Prize, 1969) have received world acclaim, as have T. Heyerdahl’s journeys on the raft Kon-Tiki and the reed boat Ra. Norwegian scientists are also doing important research in agrochemistry, pedology, the breeding of fodder and food crops, and zootechny (dairy farming and sheep raising for meat and wool).


Social sciences, PHILOSOPHY. Norway’s prolonged political dependence on Denmark hindered the development of philosophical thought in Norway prior to the second half of the 18th century. The first half of the 19th century was a period of growing interest in history, the individual, and freedom. N. Tres-chow, the first prominent Norwegian philosopher and an adherent of Locke’s empiricism, proposed the concept of continuous development in nature and history leading to the perfection of the individual. W. F. Sverdrup was concerned with the relation between the individual and the state. The struggle against positivist and evolutionary ideas in the second half of the 19th century was led by the right Hegelians, interested primarily in theological problems. The leading Hegelians were M. J. Monrad, G. V. Lyng, W. Dons, J. Mourly Vold, H. Hansen, and G. Kent. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries idealist philosophy gave way to positivism, which sought support in the findings of experimental psychology. The founders of experimental psychology in Norway were A. Aall and K. B.-R. Aars. Positivist ideas influenced the philosophy of law (A. Eriksen, B. Getz, F. Hagerup), historiography (E. Sars), and literature (B. Bjørnson). In the early 20th century interest in sociology and culture quickened, and religious humanism, propounded by C. Collin, gained many followers.

In the middle of the 20th century logical positivism became the dominant philosophical current. The ideas of A. Naess, the founder of empirical semantics, were adopted by the Oslo school of linguistic analysis, whose leading representatives are H. Of-stad, H. Tennesen, and P. W. Zapffe. Norwegian scholars working on the history of philosophy, notably A. Stigen, E. Wyller, K. E. Tranøy, and D. Føllesdal, frequently employ the principles of analytic philosophy. Standing apart from the philosophy of logical and linguistic analysis are Christian anthropology (C. V. Schjelderup, J. D. Landmark), psychoanalysis (H. Schjelderup, I. Nissen), and existentialism. The leading exponents of empirical sociology and social psychology are A. Naess, I. Gullvag, J. Galtung, and R. Rommetveit.

Marxism spread to Norway in the late 1880’s, and its influence grew after the founding of the Norwegian Communist Party in 1923. Contemporary Marxists, such as H. I. Kleven and A. Pet-tersen, have focused on an analysis of the class struggle and changes in the structure of Norwegian society and have studied the transition from capitalism to socialism.

The principal philosophical journals are Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy and the Social Sciences (since 1958) and Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift (since 1966).


HISTORIOGRAPHY. The earliest works on the history of Norway were the History of Norwegian Kings by the monk Theo-dricus, written in Latin, and the Saga of King Sverre, in Old Icelandic, both dating from the late 12th century. The anonymous Latin History of Norway, written in the early 13th century, was followed by the first sagas about Saint Olaf. The anonymous chronicle Excerpts From the Sagas About Norwegian Kings, the first survey of the history of Norway in Old Norwegian, dates from the late 13th century. Several works on the early history of Norway, notably the Heimskringla (History of Norwegian Kings), attributed to Snorri Sturluson, were written in Iceland or by Icelanders in Norway.

Between the 16th and 18th centuries, when Norway was ruled by Denmark, historical writing in the two countries was closely interwoven. The first great modern Norwegian historian was G. Schøning, who was active during the 18th-century Enlightenment. Norwegian historiography made rapid progress in the 19th century. The country’s historians were primarily interested in national problems, the development of Norwegian social and political institutions, and national liberation. Special attention was given to the period of Norway’s independence prior to the 14th century. The leading historians of the first half of the 19th century, R. Keyser and P. A. Munch, belonged to the liberal romantic school. In the last third of the 19th century and the early 20th, a positivist and national-democratic school formed around E. Sars, who developed, from an idealist standpoint, an overall interpretation of Norwegian history from earliest times to his own day. Sars emphasized the distinctive aspects of the Norwegian people’s historical experience and their peasant democracy, and he regarded history as an organic and evolutionary process. The 13-volume History of Norway for the Norwegian People (1907–17), written by Sars, A. Bugge, E. Hertzberg, A. Taranger, and O. A. Johnsen, reflects Sars’ interpretation. Less influential was the conservative trend in Norwegian historiography, represented by M. Birkeland and Y. Nielsen, the first great student of 19th-century Norwegian history.

During the first decades of the 20th century, historical research methods were refined, new material was gathered, and, after the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian union in 1905, social and economic questions came to the fore, supplanting national and political problems. Older approaches to several important problems in Norwegian history were modified. The Social Democratic historians H. Koht and E. Bull, who were strongly influenced by Marxism, played an important role in the reinterpretation of Norwegian history. Opposing the idea of Norway’s unique historical development, Koht and Bull showed the parallels between Norwegian and general European history—treating medieval Norway as a feudal society—and sought to analyze several aspects of Norwegian history from the standpoint of the class struggle. The new interpretation of Norwegian history was reflected in the multi volume Life and History of the Norwegian People Through the Ages (vols. 1–11, 1930–38), written by Bull, H. Shetelig, and S. Steen.

Since World War II, nationalist tendencies have revived and interest in social and economic history and the class struggle has declined. The history of World War II and the origin of current foreign policy have been thoroughly studied by M. Skodvin, S. Hartmann, and N. Örvik. Much research has also been done on local history. Volumes of the comprehensive History of Our People have been published since 1962.

Twentieth-century Norwegian historians have made notable contributions to the study of world history. The Institute for Comparative Research in Human Culture was founded in Oslo in 1922 to study ethnology and the cultural development of various peoples. International relations since World War II are studied at the Institute of Problems of Peace, established in Oslo in 1959. K. Tønnesson has done important work on mass movements during the French Revolution.

The leading historical journal is Historisk Tidsskrift, published since 1870.


ECONOMICS. The industrial revolution and the rapid development of capitalism that began in Norway in the 1840’s were strongly influenced by economic liberalism. Its Norwegian version, developed chiefly by A. Schweigaard and T. Aschehoug, called for government aid to those producers who could make the greatest contribution to the country’s economic development and for organization by the government of enterprises vital to the economy as a whole. Furthermore, such enterprises were to be established with private capital. In foreign economic policy, the liberal economists advocated free trade with all countries and the abolition of all tariff barriers.

Along with economic liberalism, the theory of communications, or associations, first propounded in France, gained currency in Norway. It rested on the idea that economic progress depended on the combined efforts and capital of entrepreneurs. The leading exponents of this theory—O. Brox and A. Stabell—not only developed the theory but also implemented it by establishing private banks and industrial companies.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Norway adopted a protectionist policy. Since the world economic crisis of 1929–33 and especially since World War II, Norwegian economics has been dominated by Keynesians and neo-Keynesians, led by E. Brofoss, R. Frisch, J. Vogt, P. Bjerve, and O. Aukrust. The adherents of economic neoliberalism, W. Keilhau and E. Petersen, continue to be influential in Norwegian economics.

Econometrics has gained many followers since World War II. Its foremost representatives—R. Frisch, L. Johansen, and T. Haavelmo—have developed and applied the theory of productive functions and the welfare theory. A group of economists headed by R. Frisch and L. Johansen has used econometric models for long-range economic forecasting (until the end of the 20th century) and the development of four-year plans.

The main economic journals are Statsøkonomisk Tidsskrift (since 1887), Socialøkonomen (since 1947), and Bedrifts-økonomen (since 1938).


Scientific institutions. In 1973, Norway had some 300 research institutes, 300 laboratories operated by industrial or commercial firms, and 40 learned societies. More than 150 of the research institutes specialize in the natural, exact, or technical sciences. Norway is one of the few capitalist states to have achieved a high degree of efficiency in research, design, and testing. The introduction of modern science and technology into production accounts for more than half of the annual increase in the country’s industrial output.

About 28 percent of the country’s research institutions, excluding those devoted to the humanities, agriculture, or medicine, are operated by the government; 60 percent of the research institutes are affiliated with universities; and 12 percent are private or independent research organizations. The university research institutes enjoy considerable autonomy and specialize in fundamental research. The most extensive research facilities are at the universities of Oslo (90 research institutes and laboratories) and Trondheim (50 institutes and laboratories), which run several of the country’s largest research institutions, including institutes of physics, chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. The chief centers of social-science research are the faculties of Oslo and Bergen universities and the institutes of social research, psychology, and economics at Oslo University. The Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, the Norwegian Historical Society, and the Economic Association of Norway also conduct research in the humanities.

Government research institutions are affiliated with the ministries of agriculture, fisheries, industry, transportation, and defense. The largest state-run research organizations are the Institute of Atomic Energy (founded in 1948), the Polar Institute (1948), the Central Institute for Industrial Research (1950), the Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense, and the Norwegian Computer Center. Independent nonprofit research organizations include the SINEF Association for Industrial and Technological Research, the Institute of Oncology, and the C. Michelsen Institute (natural sciences and technology). The leading private research institutions are the institutes and laboratories operated by the Noratom and Norsk Hydro companies and the J. T. Hoist Institute of Nutrition. In 1970 the country’s institutions for research, design, and testing employed about 10,000 specialists, including about 4,300 scientists and engineers. Of these, 58 percent worked for government institutes, 26 percent for university institutes, and 26 percent for industrial laboratories and for private or independent nonprofit institutes.

The guidelines of the government’s scientific policy and current and long-range plans for the development and financing of research, design, and testing are worked out by the State Committee for Science and Technology, founded in 1965, aided by the Advisory Council for Scientific Research, also founded in 1965. The government’s scientific policies and plans must be approved by the Storting. About 60 percent of the research and testing is financed by the state, 30 percent by the private sector, 7 percent by foreign and international organizations, and 3 percent by earnings from contract work, donations, and other sources. In 1970, 879.8 million kroner, or 0.98 percent of the gross national product, were spent on research. Of this amount 25.8 percent was allocated for fundamental research, 30.6 percent for applied research, and 43.6 percent for technical development. The government finances almost all the fundamental research and much of the applied research in agriculture and industry; 30 percent of all industrial research and testing is financed by the state, including research in shipbuilding, electronics, atomic energy, and armaments. In addition to budget appropriations, various government, public, and private foundations support research. Among the largest foundations are the Foundation for Industrial Research and Development, the Soccer Foundation, and the F. Nansen and A. Jahre foundations. Norway maintains scientific ties with many countries and is a member of more than 50 international and regional scientific organizations.



Amundsen, Z. “Forskning og forkskere gjennom 150 år.” In Dette er Norge 1814–1964, vols. 1–3. Oslo, 1963–64.
Fersknings—og utviklingsarbeid 1969: Utgifter og personale. Oslo, 1971.
Istoriia filosofii, vols. 3–5. Moscow, 1959–61.
Sovremennaia filosofiia i sotsiologiia v stranakh Zapadnoi Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1964.
Myslivchenko, A. G. “Problemy sovremennoi burzhuaznoi filosofii v stranakh Severnoi Evropy.” In the collection Skandinavskii sbornik, vol. 12. Tallinn, 1967.
Aall, A. Filosofien i Norden. [No place] 1919.
Aall, A. “Die norwegische Philosophic” In F. Ueberweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophic part 5. Berlin, 1928.
Psykologi og psykologar i Norge. Edited by A. G. Skard. Oslo, 1959.
Twelve Years of Social Science Research. Oslo, 1962.
Holm, S. Filosofien i Norden før 1900. Copenhagen, 1967.
Holm, S. Filosofien i Norden efter 1900. Copenhagen [no date].
Pokhlebkin, V. V. “O razvitii i sovremennom sostoianii istoricheskoi nauki v Norvegii.” Voprosy istorii, 1959, no. 9.
Gurevich, A. Ia. “Osnovnye problemy istorii srednevekovoi Norvegii v norvezhskoi istoriografii.” In the collection Srednie veka, vol. 18. Moscow, 1960.
Gurevich, A. Ia. Review of O. Dahl’s Norsk historieforsking i 19. og. 20. arhundre (Oslo, 1959). In Voprosy istorii, 1962, no. 3.
Istoriografiia novogo vremeni stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1967. Pages 626–42.
Evoliutsiia form organizatsii nauki v razvitykh kapitalisticheskikh stranakh. Moscow, 1972.

In 1974, there were 158 newspapers in Norway, with a total circulation of 1,875,000. Of these, 81 were daily newspapers, most of them published in Oslo. The most influential dailies are Aftenposten (since 1860, circulation of the morning edition 200,500; evening edition, 168,900), an organ of the Høyre Party; Dagbladet (since 1869, circulation 111,300), an organ of the Venstre Party; Verdens Gang (since 1945, circulation 96,400), reflecting the views of the Høyre Party; and Adresseavisen (since 1767, circulation about 74,000, published in Trondheim), an organ of the Høyre Party. Other influential dailies are Arbeider-bladet (since 1884, circulation more than 75,000), the main organ of the Norwegian Labor Party; Bergens Tidende (since 1868, circulation 81,600), an organ of the Venstre Party, published in Bergen; Stavanger Aftenblad (since 1893, circulation 47,000), an organ of the Venstre Party, published in Stavanger; Várt Land (since 1945, circulation 19,700), reflecting the views of the Christian People’s Party; and Nationen (since 1896, called Landsmannposten until 1918, circulation 22,000), the organ of the Center Party. The leading weeklies are Orientering (since 1953, circulation 17,000), the organ of the Socialist People’s Party, and Friheten (founded in 1923 and called Arbeideren until 1940), the principal organ of the Communist Party. The country’s news agency, the Norwegian Telegraph Bureau, was founded in 1867. It is a joint-stock company owned by the Norwegian newspapers.

Radio and television broadcasting is controlled by the Norwegian State Broadcasting Service, established in 1933. There are more than 70 radio stations, and regular television broadcasting was initiated in 1960.


Many elements of Norwegian literature have been reconstructed through studying old Icelandic literature, created by Norwegians who had settled in Iceland and who brought with them the traditions of oral folk poetry. The founders of ancient skaldic poetry were the Norwegian skalds Bragi Boddason and Eyvind Finnson. The influence of feudalism and Christianity is apparent in two 13th-century works of purely Norwegian origin—the narrative poem Dream Vision and the didactic King’s Mirror. The ballad arose in the 14th and 15th centuries, but the country’s decline and subjugation by Denmark hindered the development of literature during this period. For a long time Danish was the literary language of Norway. There was a renewal of literary activity in the 16th century, but the first important works appeared only in the 17th century. An outstanding work of this period is the narrative poem The Trumpetof Nordland, written between 1678 and 1692 by P. Dass (1647–1707).

The resurgence of Norwegian literature in the 18th century was associated with the growth of national feeling. The Norwegian writers L. Holberg (1684–1754), J. N. Brun (1745–1816), and J. H. Wessel (1742–85) made an important contribution to the development of Danish literature. The Norwegian Society was founded in 1772 in Copenhagen to promote a national literary revival. In the last third of the 18th century and in the early 19th century the leading genres were drama and lyric poetry; national and patriotic themes held a prominent place in the verse of this period. The struggle for separation from Denmark and the union with Sweden (1814) were first reflected in journalism and lyric poetry. The poet and playwright H. A. Wergeland (1808–45), the leader of the radical patriots, dominated literary life in the 1830’s. His lyric poetry combined social, philosophical, and personal themes. Wergeland also played a major role in the development of the literary language.

In the 1840’s a literary movement known as national romanticism sought to reinforce national elements in the country’s culture by turning to folklore and peasant life. The movement was headed by J. S. Welhaven (1807–73) and included such writers as H. A. Bjerregaard (1792–1842) and A. Munch (1811–84). P. C. Asbjørnsen (1812–85) and J. I. Moe (1813–82) published folk tales, and M. B. Landstad issued a collection of Norwegian folk ballads. About 1850, when the social and political struggle intensified, the national romantics, who often idealized life, were severely criticized by P. Botten-Hansen (1824–69), A. Vinje (1818–70), and H. Ibsen (1828–1906). In the second half of the 1850’s the work of Ibsen and B. Bjørnson (1832–1910) was enriched by realistic elements. Ibsen’s play The Vikings at Helge-land (1857) and Bjørnson’s novel Synnøve Solbakken (1857) revived the austere and restrained style of the ancient sagas. Ibsen’s highly original philosophical verse dramas Brand (1866) and Peer Gynt (1867), blending romantic symbolism with realism, depict a broad panorama of the world, extraordinary characters, and the spiritual poverty of contemporary life. Bjørnson’s dramatic trilogy Sigurd the Bad (1862) is remarkable for its psychological insight. The novel Governor’s Daughters (1854–55) by Jacobine Camilla Collet (1813–95) contains elements of realism.

The flowering of critical realism from the mid-1870’s to the early 1890’s was associated with changes in the country’s economic, social, and political life and with the rise of a radical-democratic national liberation movement based on strong democratic traditions. “For the past 20 years,” F. Engels wrote in 1890, “Norway has witnessed a literary revival such as no country except Russia can boast of (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 37, p. 351). Bjørnson’s plays The Editor and A Bankruptcy, both written in 1875, portray contemporary life. Ibsen’s analytic plays, notably A Doll’s House (1879), show the inherent malaise of bourgeois life and the impossibility of resolving its conflicts. The novels of J. Lie (1833–1908) combine convincing characterization with precise depiction of various spheres of life.

Social problems are most forcefully depicted in the work of A. Kielland (1849–1906), whose novels taken as a whole constitute an epic of the Norwegian capitalist city, and the prose of K. Elster, Sr. (1841–81), best known for his novel Dangerous People (1881). The works of Amalie Skram (1847–1905) and A. Garborg (1851–1924), noted for his novel Peasant Students (1883), offer vivid descriptions of contemporary life. The plays of G. Heiberg (1857–1929) focus on social themes, and the poetry of P. Sivle (1857–1904) is saturated with social and patriotic motifs. Many writers of the 1880’s attached considerable importance to biologism, which they combined with extreme individualism. The foremost representatives of this trend were H. Jaeger (1854–1910) and J. D. Hansen (1854–95).

The writers who appeared on the literary scene in the late 1880’s and the early 1890’s were preoccupied with the irrational. K. Hamsun (1859–1952) combined profound psychological insight with vivid descriptions of nature and scenes from everyday life, blending lyricism with carefully selected detail. His most outstanding early works are the novels Hunger (1890), Mysteries (1892), Pan (1894), and Victoria (1898). Hamsun contrasted nature and man’s inner world with the breakdown of understanding between people in industrial and urban society. His antidemocratic tendencies are especially apparent in such plays as At the Gates of the Kingdom (1895). In later works Hamsun frequently depicted life in the Norwegian north, idealizing the patriarchal way of life in Growth of the Soil (1917).

The impressionistic lyric poetry of S. Obstfelder (1866–1900) and V. Krag (1871–1933) became popular in the early 1890’s, but by the late 1890’s and early 1900’s realism again came to the fore, although it did not achieve the depth and power of the literature of the 1880’s. Regionalism and psychological realism developed in literature and were combined in the novels of O. Duun (1876–1939), particularly his family chronicle The People of Juvik (vols. 1–6, 1918–23). The work of J. Bojer (1872–1959) is remarkable for its synthesis of disparate elements.


In the early 20th century, Norway’s attainment of independence from Sweden (1905) and the intensification of the class struggle stimulated writers’ interest in contemporary problems. Realism became firmly established, invigorated by other literary currents of the late 19th century.

The realistic literature of the 20th century absorbed elements of symbolism, impressionism, and naturalism. Sigrid Undset (1882–1949) was concerned with the emancipation of women; H. Christensen (1869–1925), K. Elster, Jr. (1881–1947), and R. Jølsen (1875–1908) wrote about the decline of urban bourgeois culture; and T. Ørjasaeter (1886–1968) portrayed the maturing of a young man in the trilogy Gudbrand Langleite (1913–27). A. Haukland (1873–1933), K. Uppdal (1878–1961, Dance Through the Shadow World, vols. 1–10, 1911–24), J. Falkberget (1879–1967), and O. Braaten (1881–1939) depicted social conflicts in the workers’ milieu. Regional literature, which emphasized local color and the life of simple folk, was represented by J. Tvedt (1857–1935), P. Egge (1869–1959), J. Bojer, G. Scott (1874–1958), and S. Moren (1871–1938). In lyric poetry images of contemporary life were combined with a concern for philosophical problems and nature descriptions. Symbolist and impressionist influences are clearly present in the works of Ørjasaeter, O. Aukrust (1883–1929), O. Nygard (1884–1924), and A. Larsen (1885–1967) and, to a lesser extent, in the prose of T. Andersen (1866–1920), N. Kjaer (1870–1924), and J. Ellefsen (1888–1921). The philosophical and nature poetry of H. Wildenvey (1886–1959) and O. Bull (1883–1933) was influenced by realism.

World War I, the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, and the building of socialism in the USSR made a strong impression on Norwegian society. The world economic crisis of 1929–33, the growth of the labor movement, and the threat of fascism drew attention to Marxism. Mysticism and the ideas of Bergson and Freud also aroused interest. The advocates of intuitivism and individualism were led by the expressionist playwright R. Fangen (1895–1946), and their opponents rallied around the journal Mot Dag (Toward Daybreak), edited by the Marxist E. Falk (1887–1940). In 1936–37 the organ of Norway’s progressive forces was the journal Veien From (The Road Ahead), published by the poet, playwright, and prose writer N. Grieg (1902–43), the founder of socialist realism in Norwegian literature. Grieg’s heroic drama The Defeat (1937) dealt with the Paris Commune of 1871. Revolutionary themes appeared in the poetry of R. Nilsen (1901–29), whose best collections are On Rocky Soil (1925) and Day In, Day Out (1929), and in the verse of A. Paashe Aasen (born 1901). The works of S. Hul (1890–1960) and H. Krog (1889–1962) combined a critique of bourgeois reality with profound psychological analysis. T. Vesaas (1897–1970) and A. Sandemose (1899–1965), who tended toward symbolic generalizations, wrote about the development of the individual. The historical novel was best represented by Undset’s trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter (1920–22), Falkberget’s The Fourth Watch (1923), and the novels of Duun and Uppdal. Regional writers included I. Refling Hagen (born 1895), O. Sletto (1886–1963), and I. Krokann (1893–1962). The short stories of N. J. Rud (born 1908) were noteworthy for their descriptions of Norway’s natural beauty. A. Øverland (1889–1968), the author of the verse collection The Red Front (1937), and G. Reiss-Andersen (born 1896) wrote poems about the threat of fascism and war.

In the 1930’s many writers searched for new ways of depicting reality. S. Christiansen (1891–1947), who was influenced by Dostoevsky, devoted much attention to psychological problems. Modernist influences may be seen in the plays of J. Borgen (born 1902), the novels of G. Larsen (1900–59), Vesaas, and Sandemose, and the poetry of R. Jacobsen (born 1907), E. Bojson, C. Gill (born 1910), A. Vaa (1889–1965), Ø rjasaeter, O. Bull, and Wildenvey.

During the fascist German occupation, all Norwegian writers were active in the antifascist struggle, with the exception of Hamsun, who collaborated with the Nazis. The poems of Grieg and I. Hagerup (born 1905), inspiring faith in the victory over fascism, were distributed in leaflet form. About 300 underground newspapers were published. S. Evensmo (born 1912) and Øverland were imprisoned, and Undset, Sandemose, Grieg, and Hagerup emigrated.

The resistance movement has been a frequent theme in postwar literature. Among the best works on this subject are the short-story collections Axe Behind the Cupboard (1945) and The Last Polka (1964) by T. Nedreaas (born 1906), Evensmo’s autobiographical novel The Fugitives (1945), Borgen’s novels Path of Love (1946) and Blue Summit (1964), the novels Five Years (1951) and After the Battle (1954) by I. Svinsaas (born 1912), the novel The Speculator (1947) by Ø. Bolstad (born 1905), and the novel Terrible Winter (1964) and play Hero’s Death For Sale (1968) by S. HØlmebakk.

Since the war the realistic novel has been the dominant genre. Borgen’s trilogy, comprising Little Lord (1955), Dark Fountains (1956), and We Have Him Now (1957), depicts the tragedy of a man alienated from society. Nedreaas’ short-story collections The Magic Glass (1950) and Stop (1953) and her novels Music From a Blue Well (1960) and By the Next New Moon (1971) deal with an adolescent’s confrontation with bigotry and hypocrisy. In The Bad Shepherd (1960), J. Bjørneboe (born 1920) holds capitalist society responsible for the rising crime rate. Falkber-get’s cycle of novels Bread of Night (1940–59) portrays the life of miners. Vesaas’ novels, short stories, and poems are concerned with the struggle between creative and destructive forces. In his novel Gemini (1969), F. Alnaes (born 1932) appeals for a “cosmic” perception of the world. In the novels Line (1959), Joachim (1961), and Epp (1965) by A. Ensen (born 1932), social criticism is weakened by excessive attention to the protagonists’ sexual experiences. The novel Song of the Red Ruby (1956) by A. My-kle (born 1915) and Bjørneboe’s novel Without a Stitch (1966) attack bourgeois bigotry.

Strong civic consciousness marks I. Hagerup’s verse collections Farther (1945), The Seventh Night (1947), My Ship Sails (1951), From the Crater of the Heart (1964), and The Tattooed Heart (1969). She is also noted for her children’s books How Strange (1950) and The Little Parsley (1961). The poems of H. Børli (born 1918) and H. M. Vesaas deal with social themes and young people. Many poems by A. Bjerke, F. Bjørnseth, M. Takvam, and J. M. Bruheim convey a fear of the future. Kari Bakke (born 1908) writes poems about everyday life, and R. Skrede (born 1904) tends toward experimentation.

Most Norwegian plays of the 1960’s are devoted to contemporary problems, for example, Borgen’s The Andersens and City on the Sea (1962) by T. Skagestad (born 1920). The antiwar play He Said No by A. Kielland (1907–63) contains sharp social criticism. In his play Bird Lovers (1966), Bjørneboe warns against a revival of fascism. H. Hagerup, born 1933, is noted for his play The Man From Yesterday (1962) and his collection of plays The Cats’ Castle (1967), written in the expressionist style. Some playwrights have staged plays about workers at enterprises and workers’ settlements, for example, H. Hagerup’s My Place Is Here (1972).

The Norwegian Writers’ Union, founded in 1893, strives to promote the development of Norwegian literature and to defend writers’ rights. E. Haslund (born 1917) was elected chairman of the Writers’ Union in 1970.


Brandes, G. Sobr. soch, 2nd ed., vol. 1. St. Petersburg [1906]. (Translated from Danish.)
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Istoriia zarubezhnoi literatury kontsa XIX-nachala XX v. (1871–1917). Moscow, 1968.
Istoriia zarubezhnoi literatury posle Oktiabr’skoi revoliutsii, part 1 (1917–45). Moscow, 1969.
Elster, K. Illustreret norsk litteraturhistorie, 2nd ed., vols. 1–2. Oslo, 1935.
Houm, P. Norsk litteratur efter 1900. Stockholm, 1951.
Norsk litteraturhistorie, 2nd ed., vols. 1–5. Oslo, 1957–63.
Beyer, H. Norsk litteraturhistorie. Oslo, 1963.
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Norsk litteraer drbok. Oslo, 1972.


The oldest works of art discovered in Norway are Neolithic and Bronze Age rock drawings of deer, the sun, plowing scenes, and schematic human figures. The animal style was introduced by Teutonic tribes who settled southern Norway in the middle of the first millennium A.D. Medieval Norwegian art emerged during the late eighth and ninth centuries, the period known as the Viking age. The animal style continued to develop and came to include geometric patterns and human figures, for example, the ninth-century carvings on the burial ship in Oseberg. Later, floral designs and scenes from everyday life were incorporated into the animal style. Wooden frame buildings appeared at this time. Medieval Norwegian architecture culminated in the distinctive wooden stave churches of the 11th century. Among the finest examples are the churches in Urnes (1060–1130) and in Borgund (c. 1150). Stone architecture developed between the 12th and 14th centuries under the influence of English Romanesque architecture, exemplified in the cathedral in Stavanger (1130–1300). The influence of Gothic architecture may be seen in the cathedral in Trondheim (c. 1140–1320) and the Håkonshallen in Bergen (1246–61). Norwegian Gothic art found its fullest expression in the religious paintings, sculpture, and miniatures of the 13th and 14th centuries.

Norway’s loss of independence and economic decline hindered the development of its artistic culture from the late 14th to the 16th century. In the second half of the 16th century Norwegian architects again turned to European styles. Renaissance architectural motifs appeared in the second half of the 16th and the 17th centuries; baroque and rococo elements predominated in the 18th century; and the early classical style was used in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Throughout this period, however, high tile roofs and light wooden galleries and loggias were preserved in town and country houses, attesting to the strong traditions of Norwegian wood architecture. Between the 17th and early 19th centuries, the influence of European art styles, mainly baroque and rococo, was most apparent in the decoration of interiors, chiefly by foreign artists such as the German M. Blu-menthal. In applied art, ivory carving and painting on wood were developing alongside wood carving, which was increasingly inclining to rich baroque floral designs.

In the early 19th century, Norway’s liberation from Danish rule and its attainment of a measure of autonomy within the Swedish-Norwegian union (1814–1905) gave impetus to the development of a Norwegian national culture. The somewhat staid academic classicism of the first half of the 19th century gave way in the second half of the century to eclecticism, incorporating pseudo-Romanesque and English neo-Gothic features, and to imitation of the decorative elements of the national wood architecture, known as the dragon style (H. Munthe). Outstanding examples of classical architecture include the Royal Palace (1824–48), the Stock Exchange (1826–28), and the university buildings (1838–52), all in Oslo.

The first major national artist of the 19th century was the painter and graphic artist J. C. Dahl, one of the founders of the National Gallery in Oslo and the Society for the Preservation of Antiquities. His landscapes reflect a deep feeling for the grandeur of Norway’s natural beauty. In the mid-19th century scenes from the life of the common people were painted by A. Tide-mand, and the Norwegian landscape was depicted by H. Gude and F. Collett. In the 1870’s and 1880’s, under the influence of French art, Norwegian painters became interested in the rendering of light and air (H. Backer, E. Peterssen, H. Heyerdahl, F. Thaulow). Most 19th-century Norwegian sculptors studied in Copenhagen and more or less imitated the classical style of B. Thorvaldsen. Among them were H. Michelsen, J. Middel-thun, M. Skeibrock and B. Bergslien.

In the late 19th century progressive Norwegian artists responded to the changes brought about by industrialization and intensified social conflicts and to the growth of national consciousness. The paintings of C. Krohg, E. Werenskiold, G. Munthe, and T. Kittelsen, expressing democratic and patriotic ideas, attest to the rise of a national realistic school. The sculpture of G. Vigeland also belongs to the realist tradition. Vigeland later became an exponent of symbolism and a crude naturalism. Also important during this period was the work of E. Munch, one of the forerunners of expressionism in European art and a master of mural painting, woodcut, etching, and lithography.

Eclecticism continued to dominate architecture in the first two decades of the 20th century, to be replaced by functionalism in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. After World War II much attention was given to the expansion and reconstruction of cities (the Greater Oslo plan, 1948–50) and to large-scale housing construction. Seeking indigenous forms, architects again turned to folk architecture, which influenced the construction of tourist hotels and private houses. Brutalism became popular in the 1960’s; examples include the town hall in Asker, near Oslo, built in 1963 by the architects K. Lund and N. Slaatto, and the museum in Høvikodden (1964–68), designed by J. Eikvar and S. E. Engbretsen.

In the Norwegian countryside there are many farmsteads (gårds) whose dwellings and other buildings are arranged in compact groups or chains in mountainous areas or in U-shaped clusters or closed squares where the topography is less rugged. Several gårds form a village, or tun. The wooden buildings—dwellings, storerooms, and farm buildings—have stone foundations, are surrounded by galleries, and are decorated with carvings.

Monumental decorative art, always representational, held an important place in Norwegian art in the first half of the 20th century. Among the leading mural painters were A. Revold, P. Krohg, A. Rolfsen, and R. Aulie. The second half of the 20th century has seen the emergence of a great variety of trends, ranging from abstract to pop art and other modern styles. The foremost representatives of these contemporary trends are the painters J. Weidemann, K. Rumohr, G. S. Gundersen, and I. Sitter. Democratic realistic traditions have been preserved by the painter H. Finne and the graphic artists V. Tveteraas and Pola R. Gauguin, who excel in landscapes, portraits, and everyday scenes from the lives of fishermen and lumberjacks. The neoclassical style in 20th-century sculpture is best represented by W. Rasmussen, R. Lunde, G. Janson, and Ø. Bast. Decorative-applied art—furniture, ceramics, textiles, and metal articles—is characterized by simple rational forms, and adaptations of folklore motifs are frequently used in ornamentation.

Applied art, important in peasant life since ancient times, is represented by the casting and forging of metal articles, the carving of figured vessels from wood, weaving, embroidery, knitting, and lacemaking. Many traditional crafts have been replaced by industrial production and have survived only in remote regions.


“Iskusstvo Norvegii.” In Vseobshchaia istoriia iskusstv, vol. 2, book 1; vol. 5; vol. 6, book 1. Moscow, 1960–65.
Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vols. 7, 10, 11. Leningrad-Moscow, 1966–73.
Stewart, J. Norwegian Art Treasures. London, 1959.
Abrahamsen, H. Norwegian Architecture. Oslo, 1960.
Askeland, J. Norskmalerkunst.[Oslo, 1963.]
Norwegische Volkskunst: Bildteppiche. Holzarbeiten. Ausstellung. Vienna, 1963. (Catalog.)

Excavated objects dating from the second century B.C., rock drawings of musical instruments from the second century A.D., and depictions of musical instruments in wood ornamentation attest to the ancient origin of Norwegian music. The sagas mention various instruments played by the skalds, including the gige and fele fiddles, the lur horn, the krogharp, and the langeleik. Among ancient instruments that have been preserved are the bukkehorn (goat horn), prillar horn (bull horn), trillehorn (small horn), and selje (a kind of flute). S. Fønesbane and H. Runge were famous wandering folk poets and singers who performed on the fele. From early times Norway had virtuoso folk fiddlers, such as K. Lurås and N. Rekve, whose traditions were continued in the 19th century by T. Audunsøn. Norwegian folk airs (slåtter) and instrumental melodies (lyarslåtter and langeleikslåtter) are distinctive and colorful. The songs about mountain spirits (trolls and gnomes), wood nymphs (huldrer), and giants are unique. Vocal genres include lullabies, love songs, humorous ditties, improvisational airs, and fishermen’s and shepherd’s songs (hauking, liljing). The pastoral songs end on grace notes imitating mountain calls and horn melodies. Lyric and epic songs about Vikings, skalds, knights, and the first Norwegian kings, composed between the 12th and 16th centuries, have been preserved. Folk dances for men, such as the springar and hailing, have rapid tempi and syncopated rhythms. Norwegian medieval church music developed within the mainstream of European music. The songs of syngemestere (folk singers) became popular in the 16th century. In the 17th century city councils employed musicians, mainly Germans and Danes.

Between the 14th and 16th centuries, when Norway was under Danish rule, professional music stagnated. The first prominent Norwegian musicians appeared in the second half of the 18th and early 19th centuries—the organist and conductor F. Groth, the composer A. Flintenberg, and the organist F. Vogel. The Lindeman family of organists and composers, sometimes called the Norwegian Bachs, became prominent in the late 18th century. The most famous member of the family was L. M. Lindeman, the first collector of Norwegian folk music and a teacher and theoretician. The national liberation movement that arose during the Swedish-Norwegian union (1814–1905) stimulated interest in folk music. L. M. Lindeman’s folk song collections 68 Norwegian Mountain Melodies (1841) and Older and Newer Mountain Melodies (1848–67) were followed by the collections of C. Elling, O. M. Sandvik, and A. Bjørndal. The first composer to draw on folk melodies was W. Thrane, whose song of the mountaineer, written for H. Bjerregaard’s play Mountain Adventure, became a folk song.

A national music school evolved in the 1850’s and 1860’s. Its founders were H. Kjerulf, who created the Norwegian art song, O. Bull, who became a famous composer and violin virtuoso, and R. Nurdraak, an advocate of national music and the composer of the national anthem. Their work prepared the ground for the flowering of the music of E. Grieg, one of the world’s great composers, who led the national romantic movement and created outstanding examples of national music. Grieg’s most important followers were J. Svendson, the first Norwegian symphonic composer and a conductor, the romantic composers J. Halvorsen and C. Sinding, and G. Schjelderup, who wrote Wagnerian musical dramas. H. Borgstrøm, P. Lasson, S. Lie, H. Cleve, and J. Backer Lunde combined national motifs with late German romanticism. The influence of Debussy is apparent in the work of A. Hurum, T. Torjussen, and D. M. Johansen. The early-20th-century composers A. Eggen, O. Kielland, L. I. Jensen, H. Lie, and M. M. Ulfrstad belong to the national school. Famous singers of this period include S. Arnoldson and G. Graarud.

The founder of contemporary Norwegian music, F. O. Valen, a disciple of Schönberg, introduced dodecaphony into Norwegian music and influenced many Scandinavian composers. H. Saeverud is noted for his symphonic works, including the Seventh Symphony with chorus, written in 1944 to celebrate the Soviet victories over the fascist occupation forces. The best-known composers of the mid-20th century are K. Egge, B. Brus-tad, P. Hall, K. Andersen, K. Kolberg, and K. Nystedt. Egge was one of the founders and from 1946 to 1948 chairman of the Composers’ Union of the Scandinavian Countries and Norway’s representative on the UNESCO music committee. Church music and organ playing, both highly developed, are represented by L. Nielsen and A. Sandvold. In the late 1940’s Norwegian music came under the influence of Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Bartók; such influences are especially strong in the works of J. Kvandal. Eminent musicians include the composers L. Jensen, O. Kielland, and S. Jordan; the conductors Ø. Fjelstad, O. Griiner-Hegge, and K. Garaguly; and the soprano K. Flagstad. A group of avant-garde composers arose in the 1950’s. The most important among them are B. Fongaard, F. O. Arnestad, A. Nord-heim, and A. Janson.

There are eight musical associations in Norway, including the Norwegian Composers’ Union (chairman A. Nordheim); the Committee on Music, founded in 1946 to organize orchestras and other musical groups and institutions; the Norwegian Opera in Oslo (founded 1958); the Oslo Conservatory (1883); the Bergen Conservatory (1905); the symphony orchestra and string quartet of the Philharmonic Society; and the musicology section of the University of Oslo (1954). The orchestra of the Harmonic Society performs in Bergen, where music festivals have been held annually in May since 1953.


Findeizen, N. Muzyka v Norvegii: Ocherki ee razvitiia. St. Petersburg [1910].
Lange, K., and A. Østvedt. Norvezhskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)
Østvedt, A. Music and Musicians in Norway Today. Oslo, 1961.


Dance interludes were introduced into theatrical performances in the early 19th century. Throughout the 19th century Danish dancers of the Royal Danish Ballet, headed by A. Bour-nonville, and French ballet dancers performed in Christiania, present-day Oslo. When the National Theater was founded in 1899, T. Hals Olsen became its ballet master. The German “free” dance, introduced in Norway by followers of E. Jacques-Dalcroze and’K. Jooss, became popular in the 1920’s.

After World War II attempts were made to create a national ballet. In 1945 the choreographer G. Kjølaas staged C. Sinding’s ballet Ballad of Courage, and later he and L. Browne organized a traveling company called the New Norwegian Ballet, which was renamed the Norwegian Ballet in 1953. When the Norwegian Opera was founded in 1959, it merged with the ballet company. Foreign ballet masters and choreographers—H. Algeranoff (1960), N. Orloff (1961), J. Harris (1961–66), and S. Arova (1966–70)—were invited to direct the company. Its repertoire includes Delibes’ Coppélia, Adam’s Giselle, ballets by the Swedish choreographer B. Cullberg (Medea to Bartók’s music, Riisager’s Moon Reindeer, and Froken Julie to Rangstr0m’s music), I. Cramer’s ballets (Sønstevold’s Bendik and Årolilja and Romantic Suite to Grieg’s music), ballets by G. Balanchine (Stravinsky’s Apollon Musagè te, Symphony in C to Bizet’s music, and Hindemith’s Four Temperaments), and A. Tudor’s ballets (Lilac Garden to Chausson’s music, Dark Elegies to Mahler’s music). Partos’ Mythical Hunters (choreographer G. Tetley) and Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloë (choreographer G. Skibine) were staged in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

The leading ballet dancers are A. Borg, H. Mürer, R. Daleng, L. Leahy, R. Lucas, I. J. Rütter, E. Kjellberg, and M. Sætter.


The Norwegian theater has its roots in religious rituals and popular customs. In the 16th century students in ecclesiastical Latin schools staged mystery and morality plays. Amateur theatrical groups arose in Christiania (Oslo) and Bergen in the middle of the 18th century. A permanent theater founded in Christiania in 1780 staged Shakespeare’s and Goldoni’s plays. It also presented adaptations of B. Anker’s and E. Falsen’s prologues, thereby laying the foundation for a national repertoire. A theater was established in Bergen in 1794 and in Christiania in 1827, but these companies did not create a national theater because the plays were staged in Danish and performed mostly by Danish actors.

The Norwegian Theater, opened in Bergen in 1850, was headed by the playwright H. Ibsen and later by B. Bjørnson. The Norwegian Theater prepared the way for the flowering of a national theater. However, the advocates of an indigenous theater still had to struggle against domination by Danish theatrical culture. The struggle ended in 1899 with the establishment of the National Theater in Oslo. Ibsen’s and Bjørnson’s plays were prominent in the theater’s repertoire, together’with the plays of Shakespeare, Schiller, Strindberg, and Shaw. The theater’s company included such outstanding Norwegian actors as H. Christensen, A. Oddvar, H. Stormoen, D. Knudsen, H. Aa-bel, G. Grieg, T. Segelcke, A. Maurstad, A. Mowinckel, and J. Dybwad. Other theaters were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Christiania, Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the best dramatic groups staged antibourgeois dramas by H. Krog and the communist writer N. Grieg. Soviet plays, including works by M. Gorky and A. G. Glebov, were presented in Norwegian theaters for the first time.

The fascist occupation interrupted the development of a progressive theater. World War II was a period of ideological and artistic crisis for the Norwegian theater, and many actors emigrated to Sweden. After the liberation, theaters staged plays about the resistance. In an attempt to prevent the commercialization of the theater, some directors have organized experimental groups that set themselves high artistic goals. These democratic dramatic groups are supported by the progressive intelligentsia. However, most of the companies encounter financial difficulties and soon disappear. The National Theater stages foreign and national classics and contemporary foreign plays. Other dramatic groups include the Little Stage, which is affiliated with the National Theater and produces only one-act plays; the Norwegian Theater, founded in 1913; and the New Theater in Oslo, founded in 1929. There are numerous cabarets. The plays of A. P. Chekhov and I. S. Turgenev are frequently produced. The State Drama School, opened in Oslo in 1953, trains actors and directors.


Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 5. Moscow, 1970.
Lorentzen, B. Det første norske teater. Bergen, 1949.
Rønneberg, A. National theatret gjennom femti ár, vol. 1. Oslo, 1949.

In Norway the first films were made in 1908, and most of the films produced in the 1920’s were screen adaptations of literary works idealizing the patriarchal way of life. Films dealing with social and ethical problems appeared in the 1930’s, among the best of which were The Tramp (1934) and Two Living and One Dead (1937), directed by T. Ibsen.

During the fascist German occupation the authorities were unable to turn the film into a tool of Nazi propaganda; the leading directors produced motion pictures far removed from contemporary life. After World War II the best Norwegian films dealt with the resistance movement and the struggle against the occupation forces: We Will Live (1946, directed by O. Dalgard), The Fugitives (1946, directed by T. Sandø), The Battle for Heavy Water (1948, directed by T. Vibe-Müller and J. Dréville), and The Flight From Dakar (1951, directed by Vibe-Müller). The heroism of the resistance is also the theme of Forced Landing (1952), Nine Lives (1957), and Surrounded (1960) by the outstanding Norwegian director A. Skouen.

In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, N. Müller and N. R. Christensen made films about young people rebelling against the bigotry of their fathers. Comedies were produced by Vibe-Müller and Ø. Vennerød. In 1968, Norwegian filmmakers participated in the production of the Soviet-Norwegian film Only One Life (directed by S. G. Mikaelian) about F. Nansen. Documentaries and popular-science films are produced by P. Høst, A. Berg, J. Wikborg, and T. Heyerdahl, and the director I. Caprino is noted for his animated cartoons. The National Film Archive was founded in Oslo in 1955.

Norway’s most popular film stars are A. Maurstad, T. Maur-stad, A. Malland, H. Kolstad, and J. Fjelstad. Between four and six feature films are released every year.


Evensmo, S. Det store tivoli. Oslo, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Kingdom of Norway

Capital city: Oslo

Internet country code: .no

Flag description: Red with a blue cross outlined in white that extends to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)

Geographical description: Northern Europe, bordering the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Sweden

Total area: 148,725 sq. mi. (385,199 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate along coast, modified by North Atlantic Current; colder interior with increased precipita­tion and colder summers; rainy year-round on west coast

Nationality: noun: Norwegian(s); adjective: Norwegian

Population: 4,627,926 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Norwegian (Nordic, Alpine, Baltic); Sami, a racial-cultural minority of 40,000; foreign nationals (415,000) from Nordic and other countries

Languages spoken: Bokmal Norwegian (official), Nynorsk Norwegian (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities; note - Sami is official in six municipalities

Religions: Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1%

Legal Holidays:

Christmas DayDec 25
Constitution DayMay 17
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Labor DayMay 1
Maundy ThursdayApr 21, 2011; Apr 5, 2012; Mar 28, 2013; Apr 17, 2014; Apr 2, 2015; Mar 24, 2016; Apr 13, 2017; Mar 29, 2018; Apr 18, 2019; Apr 9, 2020; Apr 1, 2021; Apr 14, 2022; Apr 6, 2023
New Year's DayJan 1
Palm SundayApr 24, 2011; Apr 8, 2012; Mar 31, 2013; Apr 20, 2014; Apr 5, 2015; Mar 27, 2016; Apr 16, 2017; Apr 1, 2018; Apr 21, 2019; Apr 12, 2020; Apr 4, 2021; Apr 17, 2022; Apr 9, 2023
Second Day of ChristmasDec 26
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a kingdom in NW Europe, occupying the W part of the Scandinavian peninsula: first united in the Viking age (800--1050); under the rule of Denmark (1523--1814) and Sweden (1814--1905); became an independent monarchy in 1905. Its coastline is deeply indented by fjords and fringed with islands, rising inland to plateaus and mountains. Norway has a large fishing fleet and its merchant navy is among the world's largest. Official language: Norwegian. Official religion: Evangelical Lutheran. Currency: krone. Capital: Oslo. Pop.: 4 552 000 (2004 est.). Area: 323 878 sq. km (125 050 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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