Europeana/1914-18/Wikimedia Norge

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Norway is at times referred to as The Neutral Ally during World War I. The term was coined by Norwegian historian Olav Riste in the 1960s. In 1905, when Norway gained independence, the nation's politicians agreed that in matters of international conflict, Norway should remain neutral. Still, the political direction was clear: fearing Russian ambition in the north, the sentiment was that Norway should be neutral if war broke out, and rely on help from Great Britain if attacked.[1]

At the core of the neutralist policy was a desire to stay out of the war. Norwegian foreign policy should therefore balance the neutrality by considering both the import of food and supplies, and the export industries. Problems arose, however, as Norway was situated within several spheres of influence. Because of this Norway became friendlier towards the allies at end of the world war.[2]

In the Europeana 1914–18 online campaign Wikimedia Norge is focusing on how Norway, after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, is focused on nation-building and constructing and structuring a national identity. This was done by building important infrastructure (for example building railways and power development). Norway had one of the world's largest merchant fleets at the time. The war also took place in Norwegian waters and several British ships went down in Norwegian waters, such as HMS India, HMS Mary Rose, HMS Strongbow, HMS Marmion and HMS Partridge.

Norway became the first independent country to introduce women's suffrage in 1913 when a motion on universal suffrage for women was adopted unanimously by the Norwegian parliament (Stortinget).

Just before the first world war the Norwegian explorer of polar regions, Roald Amundsen had led the Antarctic expedition of 1910–12 which was the first to reach the South Pole, on 14 December 1911. In 1926, he was the first expedition leader for the air expedition to the North Pole.


  • K-lab: K-lab is a cooperation between with Norwegian Mapping Authority, Arts Council Norway, Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the National Archives, with focus on making public data on cultural heritage and related geographical data more accessible, while also facilitating innovation through its reuse. K-lab have helped with organizing all activities and hosts the workshop 19 June. The National Archive has donated the Quisling letters and uploaded these and the collection of letters from The National Library. Images are uploaded to Wikimedia Commons from both The National Archive and The National Library


These are the activities Wikimedia Norge have planned for the Europeana 1914–18 online campaign:

How to take part[edit]

You are very welcome to join the workshop at The Arts Council 19 June, participate in the online editing contest, transcribe letters or add content to Wikipedia articles. If you have any other ideas or questions, please reach out to!