History

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Quarantine and financial support for plagues were already in place in the 1600s

Plagues have ravaged Norway many times over the centuries. As early as 1625, the state took systematic action to prevent the plague from spreading. Isolation was a new idea that would prove to be effective. Strict restrictions were imposed on social gatherings, including limits on the number of people who could be present at weddings and funerals. Measures were also introduced to compensate the business community for the financial losses resulting from closures.

A young man greetings an old woman through a glass window. Both holding their hands on the window from opposite sides

Coronavirus measures have actually been pretty mild

Norwegians are unspeakably tired of the measures imposed by the country’s Minister of Health, Bent Høie. But historian Erik Opsahl says the measures are mild compared to the old days. Imported infection during pandemics used to be stopped by gunfire.

Reitgjerdet hospital

Less psychiatric coercion in the early 1900s than in the 1970s

It’s easy to believe that society’s treatment of difficult, violent and criminally mentally ill people has become more humane over time. But that’s not the case. How patients at the end of the 19th century actually felt is difficult to say, but they were at least less exposed to mechanical coercion, according to an NTNU historian.

An illustration showing Standard Oil as an enormous hostile squid, stretching across the US

The first battle for oil in Norway

The world’s richest man and the world’s largest oil company dominated the petroleum market in Norway long before landmark finds on the Norwegian continental shelf and the Norwegian oil fund.

Interior from the old thermal power laboratory at the Norwegian University of Technology. The picture shows machines and equipment and people at work.

110 years of engineers who built Norway

We often associate innovation with someone who invents something completely new. But innovation is also about improving and expanding on existing technology. One hundred and ten years of Norwegian engineering history provides plenty of examples.

Uncertain future for rock art in Norway

Regular protective treatment of rock carvings and paintings has done a good job protecting this important part of Norway’s cultural heritage. But according to the current schedule, the unique programme will end next year.

WITH VIDEO

From royal crown to a crown of thorns

Church art from the Middle Ages reflects the dramatic societal changes that were underway during this period. Artists changed the way they depicted Christ from a regal figure with a crown of gold to a suffering Christ with a crown of thorns.

WITH VIDEO

Cheerful Madonna with a lot of bling

A Madonna figure from Grong municipality is one of the best preserved and special church sculptures in Norway from the Middle Ages. She looks like a sweet, friendly girl who’s been asked to model for the sculpture.

So what is “gand” sorcery – really?

Some people may have heard about the magical phenomenon of gand. When life seems to be against you or you’re plagued by one misfortune after another, you might jokingly say that you’ve been ‘ganda’ if you’re Norwegian. But what did gand really look like and why do we associate it with the Sami people?

What the Vikings put in their pillows

Not too many people are able to identify birds by examining a single feather. But a number of folks need to know that sort of thing, and it can actually save lives.