Ole Vig was born on the tenant farm Vikmarka, of the farm Vikan, on February 6th 1824. He left his home at 17 and travelled to Klæbu Teacher´s College. A happy childhood was over, but he kept close contact with his family throughout his lifetime.
In the summer of 1843, Ole Vig received his teacher´s degree and was appointed as the private tutor for minister Magelsen in Åfjord, on the other side of the Trondheim Fjord. Two years later he started teaching in Kristiansund. In 1851, he moved to Oslo where he was employed as a secretary by the Society for the Advancement of the People´s Education, and as an editor for the magazine, The People´s Friend ("Folkevennen").
During 1852-1856, he took the initiative to publish his own magazine, The Norwegian Elementary School. Beginning in 1856 he was a board member for the Norwegian Theatre where he worked closely with Henrik Ibsen, the theatre´s artistic leader.
Ole Vig is best known for his poem "The Norwegians Song" ("Nordmannssang") with the known first stanza, "Among all lands in the east and the west". This poem eventually became the Norwegian people´s second national song, and even today it is sung on many occasions. Through publications and speeches, Ole Vig implemented the teachings of the great Danish poet Grundtvig and beame one of the pioneers in the establishment of public colleges in Norway. However, his work ended abruptly.
He died December 19th, 1857, at only 33 years of age. The life and writings of this tenant farm boy came to influence Norwegian school development well into the 20th century. He is buried at the memorial graveyard, Our Savior´s Cemetery ("Vår Frelsers Gravlund"), in Oslo.
Good friends of Ole Vig raised a stone monument in his honour in Vikmarka in Stjørdal; the unveiling was August 23rd 1885. In 1861, Nedre Stjørdal´s township board purchased the property were Stjørdal Town Hall is located today. The year after, a two-story building with a meeting hall for the city council and Halsen school district was completed. The building was named Ole Vigs Minde (Ole Vig´s Memory).
In 1964, the the old county hall was torn down, and the Stjørdal city hall was built on the property. The entire area in front of the city hall was named Ole Vig´s Square. Inntrøndelag´s Youth Association carried out a country-wide and exhaustive fund-raiser in order to finance a statue of Ole Vig. In 1971, the statue -- named "Såmannen" (the Sower) -- was unweiled. The remaining funds formed the foundation for what became the Ole Vig Fund, which has awarded the Ole Vig Prize since 1979.