The official language is Norwegian, a Nor-Germanic language directly related to Danish and Swedish. For the most part Norwegian, Danish and Swedish speakers can easily understand each other.
80.7% of Norwegians were members of the Church of Norway to 1 of January of 2009, recording a decrease of 1% compared to the previous year, and 2% compared to two years ago.
Norwegians are registered as members of the Church of Norway when they are baptized, and they make use of baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral services, which are deeply ingrained in the culture of this country.
However, only 20% of Norwegians say that religion occupies an important place in their lives (according to a recent Gallup poll). Norway is one of the most secular nations in the world (only Estonia, Sweden and Denmark have lower percentages of people who consider religion important). In the early nineties of the twentieth century it was estimated between 4.7 and 5.3% of Norwegians attend church once a week. About 40% of Norwegians registered with the church attended at least once a month.
According to the 2005 Eurobarometer, 32% of citizens responded “I believe there is a God”, while 47% responded “I believe there is a type of spirit or vital force (but not a personal God)”, and a 17% stated “they do not believe in a spirit, life force or God” According to Gustafsson and Pettersson (2002), 72% of Norwegians do not believe in “personal God”
Slightly more than 10% of the population was not affiliated with the official church as of January 1, 2009. Other Christian denominations make up 4.2% of the population, including the Evangelical Free Lutheran Church, the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, Adventist Church, Methodist Church, and Pentecostal congregations, among others. Islam is the largest among non-Christian religions, and the second fastest growing. 1.5% of the population are Muslim.
This is practiced by Somali, Arab, Albanian and Turkish immigrants, as well as Norwegians of Pakistani descent. Other religions that have less than 1% are Judaism, Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Hindu immigrants introduced Hinduism, which has fewer than 5,000 followers. Buddhism has 11 associations and is home to 0.42% of the population.
Many non-religious are associated in the “Norwegian Humanist Association”, to which 1.5% of the population belongs. Like other Scandinavian countries, there is paganism, or better neo-paganism. In this case Nordic paganism. At the end of the 11th century Norwegians were Christianized and their non-Christian practices were forbidden.
However, remnants of pagan religion and practices remained in the names, the days of the week, and the names of cities and places. Some modern pagans practice a form of Asatru. An association called “The Norwegian Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost” was formed in 1996, and as of 2005 it had 200 members. Parts of the Sami minority retain their shamanistic religion even though they were converted to Christianity in the late 18th century by Norwegian and Danish missionaries.
The fastest growing religion is Orthodox Christianity, with a rate of 23.1% from 2000 to 2009, followed by Islam with a rate of 64.3% in the same period.
- University of Oslo
- University of Tromsø
- Bergen University
- Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, located in Trondheim)
- Molde University
- Stavanger University
- Ås University
- Agder University
- Bergen School of Architecture
According to educationvv, Norwegian culture should be understood within the context of its history and geography. The Norwegian Rural Culture of unique characteristics has resulted not only from the scarce available resources and the harsh reintant climate, but also from Old Norwegian Property Laws that sustain a unique but visible character in that country today. This characteristic resulted from a strong Norwegian Romantic nationalist movement in the 18th century that is present today in their language and media.
Norwegians celebrate their national day on May 17th dedicated to the Constitution of Norway. Many people wear bunad (traditional costumes) and most participate during Norway’s National Constitution Day, with the largest attendance of children from various cities and towns. Romantic nationalist Henrik Wergeland was the founder of the May 17 festival.
Christian festivals are also celebrated, the most important being Christmas, called Jul in Norway, after the pagan Viking solstice and Easter.
Jonsok (The death of Saint John), or Saint Hans (Saint John’s Day) on June 24, is also a commonly used date. It marks the middle of the summer season and the beginning of the holidays, usually celebrated with fireworks.
For big celebrations, both private and family parties, Norwegians like to dress in the “bunad”, which is the national costume. The bunad has been changing over time. More than a simple element of Folklore, this garment constitutes the true symbol of a national and cultural identity that the many centuries of dependence only reinforced.
The importance attached to this party costume is unique in this region of the world. This is manifested, as at no other time, during the national holiday, May 17.