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The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life/Innovation Norway
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The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life/Innovation Norway

Religion in Norway

Norse mythology held sway until Norway became Christian around the year 1000. Today there is religious freedom.

According to Norse mythology there was a great void before the world was created. In this void Midgard appeared. This was where people lived. Right in the centre of Midgard lay Åsgård. This was where the gods lived.

Norse mythology was not based on a religious community. It had more to do with actions than with faith. Human beings worshipped the gods through ceremonies and offerings. It was important to keep the gods happy. There are supposed to have been human sacrifices, but usually it was animals that were sacrificed.

The battle of Stiklestad

The transition from the Norse chieftain society to kingdom and Christendom happened around the year 1000. The battle of Stiklestad in 1030 is considered the turning point. Here Olav Haraldsson fell – he became Saint Olav, Norway’s most important saint. He was buried by Nidelven in Trondheim. Tradition has it that the high Altar of Nidaros Cathedral now stands on the exact spot of this burial site.

Christian Norway belonged to the Roman Catholic church until the reformation of 1537. A prohibition on the Catholic Church was introduced, which was not repealed until 1843.

Religious freedom

Today Norway enjoys religious freedom, but the evangelical Lutheran faith is the official religion. 86% of the population are members of the Church of Norway, which is organised as a state church.

However, we can see increasing religious and lifestyle diversity, with tolerance and openness in the greater part of the population. Islam is an example. Scandinavia’s largest mosque is in Grønland in Oslo.

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Last updated:  2012-05-29
 - Photo: Per Eide/Innovation Norway

Interest:  Norwegian culture, About Norway, Religion

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The Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway - Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic life/Innovation Norway

Religion in Norway

Norse mythology held sway until Norway became Christian around the year 1000. Today there is religious freedom.

Religion in Norway

Source: Visitnorway

Explore Norway

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Norway has a population of about 5 million and covers an area of 385,155 square kilometres. The official Head of State is King Harald V.

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17 May is Norway's Constitution Day and is celebrated with children's parades and festivities.

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