Religion in Norway

Norway is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe, bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east and Sweden to the east. It has a population of just over 5 million people, making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Norway is known for its stunning natural beauty, with dramatic fjords, majestic mountains, crystal clear lakes and glaciers. Its capital city is Oslo, which is home to many of the country’s most popular attractions like Vigeland Sculpture Park, Akershus Fortress and the Viking Ship Museum. Norway also has an active culture with plenty of festivals throughout the year such as Sankthansaften (Midsummer), Constitution Day on May 17th and Christmas Eve celebrations. The official language of Norway is Norwegian but English and German are also widely spoken. Norway is renowned for its high standard of living which includes excellent healthcare and education systems as well as low unemployment rates. See for other countries that start with letter N.


The population development in Norway has many similarities with the Swedish one. According to Countryaah data, large emigration during the late 19th century slowed the population growth, which again gained momentum in the early 1900s. During the period 1946–85, the natural population increase became smaller. However, birth rates began to rise during the second half of the 1980s (on average 13.5 per thousand) and the first half of the 1990s (on average 14 per thousand). During the second half of the 1990s, birth rates declined again, and in 2017 it was 11 percent. During the corresponding periods, the death toll has been around 10 per year per year. In 2017, it was 8 per thousand.

Until 1970, emigration was greater than immigration, but since then Norway has for most years been an immigrant country. The largest exchange rate has been with Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom and the United States. During the 1990s, immigration from countries such as Pakistan and Vietnam as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina was significant. In 2016, just over 16.3 percent of the population were immigrants or born of immigrant parents. Most of the immigrants come from Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Somalia and Germany.

Developments since the mid-1980s have meant that annual population growth in the country has increased from about 0.3 to 0.5 percent. However, growth has not been steady across the country. The metropolitan areas, especially the Oslo area, have received most of the growth. In many peripheral areas, such as Troms og Finnmark and Nordland county, where fishing and agriculture are the dominant industries, the relocation has been extensive. A large number of mountain and fjord municipalities in western Norway as well as forest municipalities at the Swedish border have had population reductions in recent decades.

According to thesciencetutor, Norway is the second most populous country in the Nordic region. The most densely populated are the areas around the Oslofjord and along the coasts of Sørland and Vestland. In 2018, 82 percent of the country’s residents lived in cities. The largest among these were Oslo (673 469 residents), Bergen (279 792) and Trondheim (180 557).

For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Country facts.

People in Norway


Native languages for the majority of Norway’s population and official language are Norwegian, which exists in two forms equated by law, bookmarks used by most Norwegians, and New Norwegian. In Northern Norway, about 30,000 Sami live, of which about half speak Sami; they have the right to education in and in their own language. In some municipalities in Finnmark, Sami are administrative languages, and in two of these, Kautokeino and Karasjok, Sami is the majority language. In northern Troms and Finnmark, some 3,000 women also live, which still partly use Finnish. In addition, there are several immigrant languages. In 1970 it was mainly English, Swedish, Danish and German; In 2011 they were joined by, among others, Polish, Serbo Croatian, Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Somali.


The earliest contact with Christianity, especially the Anglo-Saxon, came mainly through trade trips and Viking trains. Olav I Tryggvason initiated Christianity; Olav II Haraldsson, Norway’s national saint, completed it and tied the church to Hamburg-Bremen. The country was divided into dioceses (Selja/Bergen, Nidaros, Stavanger, Oslo and Hamar) with cathedrals. The first monasteries were founded about 1120 by Benedictine and Cistercian monks. In 1153, Nidaros (Trondheim) became Archbishop’s seat; In addition to Norway, Nidaros also obeyed Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. The first monasteries were founded about 1120 by Benedictine and Cistercian monks. At the end of the 1100s, a power struggle arose between King Sverre Sigurdsson and the church which was first built in 1277 through the Sættargjerden(settlement) in Tønsberg. During the Union period (from 1319), Queen Margareta, with the Pope’s support, operated a state-church line, which meant that the church in Norway had to fight against both royal power and papal power for its national church line.

The Reformation came late; Norway had no one who could give the Reformation a national identity. Formally, it was introduced through Kristian  III ‘s letter of June 17, 1537, to the royal commander at Bergenshus with orders for gentle reform. Not a word is said about educational issues or church abuse. As Norway was equated with the other Danish provinces, the future of the Norwegian church was marked; what applied to the Danish church also applied to the Norwegian. Through the Church OrdinanceIn 1537 (Latin; Danish translation 1539) the priesthood’s independence was limited; the priests would obey allegiance to the king. Norway received its first evangelical superintendent (in Bergen) in 1537. The bishopric was preserved in the Norwegian church, which, however, still lacks the archbishop. The Reformation was completed when Norway in 1607 received its own church coordination.

During the one-world era (after 1660), Norway’s freedom in relation to Denmark increased. Orthodox’s most prominent church poet was Petter Dass. The ideals of Pietism – to which the interest in the mission belongs – were largely conveyed by priests; Norway did not have an influential bourgeoisie. Thomas von Westen was given responsibility for the joint mission in Finnmark in 1716 by the Mission College in Copenhagen. Hans Egede began his mission in Greenland in 1721. Bishop Peder Hersleb (1689–1757) commissioned his priests to keep church books and make home visits. On his initiative came the final decree on confirmation in 1736. The state-pietist legislation includes the law on public schools from 1739. Under Bishop Erik Pontoppidan, the ideas of pietism became available to a wider circle. Pontoppidan’s catechesis of Confirmers, “Truth to Godliness” (1737), came to dominate Christianity teaching for 150 years. In 1813, two years after Norway gained its own university, teaching began at the Faculty of Theology, which made it possible to train priests within the country. With Hans Nielsen Hauge came the active and responsible layman revival, which had its greatest spread around 1800. It stimulated both church and social life. Faithfulness to the state church came to characterize the Haugians even after Hauge’s death. It stimulated both church and social life. Faithfulness to the state church came to characterize the Haugians even after Hauge’s death. It stimulated both church and social life. Faithfulness to the state church came to characterize the Haugians even after Hauge’s death.The Norwegian Mission Company was founded in 1842 under the influence of the Haugians.

The Constitution (from 1814) states that “the Evangelical-Lutheran Religion” should be the public religion of the state. Jesuits or members of the Order of Mouth were not allowed to stay in Norway, nor were Jews. The convention poster from 1741 was repealed in 1842. With the dissenter law in 1845, “all Christian Religious Societies” were allowed, but only by a royal decree in 1851 was the ban on Jews lifted. About 1855 dissent congregations began to be formed, mainly among Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholics and Mormons.

From 1850 a confessional revival passed through Norway. One of the most prominent representatives of this was Professor Gisle Johnson (1822–94). In 1863 he founded the Lutheran Church newspaper as a newspaper of faithful church traditionalism. By stating the great clergy shortage, Johnson could, without giving up his office, allow laymen to hold demons. In this way he managed to keep most of the revival in the church. During the last decades of the 19th century, more radical ideas emerged. Professor Fredrik Petersen (1839-1903) carefully tried to mediate between the church and the new ideas. Pastor Christopher Bruun (1839-1920), who had a basic Twigian background, fought for religious freedom and freedom of thought. He founded 1894, together with Thorvald Klaveness (1844-1915), the magazine For Church and Culture. The Church Handbook of 1889 came with a new, more timely high mass politic, which aroused great resistance in the conservative circles. In 1869 Magnus Brostrup Landstad’s hymn book was authorized; In 1892 came the first New Norwegian hymn book. A group of socially engaged priests tried to meet the new working class; the first small church in Oslo’s work district was built in 1907.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by the contradiction between liberal and conservative pietist views. In 1908, an independent Bible-based priestly school, the Faculty of the Congregation, was started. Its foremost teacher was Ole Hallesby (1879–1961), who until his death came to lead the struggle against liberal theology. When Norway was occupied in 1940, the theological factions had to cooperate. In October 1940, at the initiative of Eivind Berggrav, Kristet Samråd was formed, which also included Hallesby and the leader of the inmate, Ludvig Hope (1871–1954). The Church’s theological founding document, “The Church’s Ground,” was read from the pulpits throughout the country on Easter 1942. The Church’s independence from the state was emphasized by all priests, at the same time, shutting down the state portion of their offices.

The first post-war period was characterized by strong cultural optimism that also applied to the church. In 1945 it was founded, which later became the Institute of Christian Education(IKO) with the task of designing good Christian textbooks and continuing education of teachers. Soon there were contradictions between the low-church biblical faith in the community and the more liberal state-church direction. The 1953 hell debate between Hallesby, which emphasized the reality of hell, and the bishop of Hamar, Kristian Schjelderup (1894–1980), who turned to the doctrine of eternal punishment, concluded that in a royal resolution, Schjelderup was acquitted of the accusation of departing from the confession of the church. In the 1970s, the Norwegian church and the free churches were strongly involved in the fight against free abortion. Against the Free Abortion Act (1979), several priests responded by shutting down the state portion of their office; this has generally led to sales. Norway has participated in ecumenics after the war – in the World Council of Churches since 1948 and the Lutheran World Federation since 1949. The low church has protested strongly against the engagement. The post-war revivals have mainly been of a charismatic type, e.g. the one that was led by Pentecostal priest Aril Edvardsen (1938–2008) during the 1960s and 1970s, and which spread among other things. among Catholics in Norway. The Lutheran “Oasis” gatherings in the 1980s attracted people from all directions within the Norwegian Church.

  • Visit for business, geography, history, politics, and society of Norway. Also find most commonly used abbreviations and acronyms about this country.

The Norwegian church is to its organization a state church and to its propagation a national church. It is divided into 11 pins. In 1993 it got its first female bishop, in Hamar diocese. Baptism is a prerequisite for membership. Approximately 80% of the population belongs to The Norwegian Church (2010), 70% are baptized, 66% are confirmed, 42% are wed and 93% are buried in the church. Since 1984, the church has been governed by a council structure. The 86-member church meeting meets one fall week each year. Since 1969, all religious communities have the right to practice their religion and to receive government grants. The Roman Catholic Church is organized in one diocese (Oslo) and two prelatures (Trondheim and Tromsø). The number of members is about 85,000. Among the other major communities are the Lutheran Free Church about 40,000, Baptists about 10,000, Methodists about 11,000, Pentecostal friends about 40,000. There are about 107,000 Muslims (2011), mostly immigrants. The number of Jewish believers is about 800. In addition, there are about 78,000 membersHuman-Ethical Confederation, ie “Religionless agnostics” according to one’s own definition; they do not want to count themselves as a religious community.

Norway Religion