This article deals with the Norwegian people as an ethnic group. For information about residents or nationals of Norway, see Demography of Norway. For information on other uses please see the disambiguation article Norwegian.
Norwegians (Nordmenn)
Norwegians (ethnic group).jpg
Peder TordenskjoldNiels H. AbelFrederik StangFridtjof Nansen
Roald AmundsenEivind GrovenLiv UllmannAri Behn
Total population
10 to 12 million including ancestry (est.)
Regions with significant populations
 Norway:4.3 million[1]
 United States 4.5 million[2]
 Canada 363,760[3]
 Brazil 150,000 - 350,000 est.
 Argentina 50,000 - 200,000 est.
 Sweden 44,773[4]
 Chile 25,000 - 60,000 est.
 Denmark 15,782[5]
 Uruguay 15,000 - 30,000 est.
 Australia 15,000[6]
 Spain 12,586[7]
 England 10,000[8]
 Germany 6,251[9]

Related languages include Danish, Faroese, Icelandic, Swedish, and to a lesser extent, all Germanic languages. As well, very distantly, Manx Gaelic.


83% of the population of Norway are members of the Christian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway.[10] Norway is highly secularized, and only about 10% of the population attend religious services more than once a month.[11]

Related ethnic groups

Danes, Swedes, Icelanders, Faroese, and to a lesser degree all other Germanic peoples as well as the Manx Celts.

Norwegians in Norway[]

See also History of Norway and Demography of Norway.

There are nearly 4.6 million ethnic Norwegians living in Norway today. The Norwegians are a Scandinavian ethnic group, and the primary descendants of the Norse (along with the Swedes, Danes, Icelanders and Faroese).

According to recent genetic analysis, both mtDNA and Y chromosome polymorphisms showed a noticeable genetic affinity between Norwegians and central Europeans, especially Germans. (these conclusions are also valid for Swedes) [12] For the global genetic make-up of the Norwegian people and other peoples, see also: [9] and [10]

Norwegians in the Rest of the World[]

Norwegian citizens abroad[]

As with many of the people from smaller European countries, Norwegians are spread throughout the world. There are more than 100,000 Norwegian citizens living abroad permanently, mostly in the USA, the UK and in the other Scandinavian countries.

The Netherlands[]

During the 17 and 18th Century, many Norwegians emigrated to the Netherlands and in particular Amsterdam. This emigration is regarded as the second of the waves of emigration from Norway (the first being the trek to the Atlantic islands, Normandie etc. during the Viking age, and the third was to North America, not counting the Gothic emigrations to Continental Europe in the 2nd and 3rd Century AD.) Loosely estimated some 10 % of the population may have emigrated, in a period wheh the entire Norwegian population consited of some 800 000 people. Whole valleys in the south of Norway were decimatedand. The Norwegians left with the Dutch trade ships that in Norway traded for timber, hides, herring and stokfish (dried codfish). Young women took employment as maidens in Amsterdam. Young men took employment as sailors. Large parts of the Dutch merchant fleet and navy came to consist of Norwegians and Danes. They took Dutch names, so no trace of Norwegian names can be found in the Dutch population of today. One well known illustration is that of Admiral Kruys. He was hired in Amsterdam by Peter I to develop the Russian navy, but was originally from Stavanger in Norway (Kruys means 'cross', and the Russian maritime flag is today also a blue cross on white background). The emigration to the Nethelands was so devastating to the homelands that the Danish-Norwegian king issued penalties of death for emigration, but repeatedly had to issue amnesties for those willing to return, announced by posters in the streets of Amsterdam. Increasingly, Dutchmen who search their genealogical roots turn to Norway. Many Norwegians who emigrated to the Netherlands, and often were employed in the Dutch merchant fleet, emigrated further to the many Dutch colonies such as New Amsterdam (New York).

United States of America[]

See the complete article on Norwegian-Americans

Many Norwegians emigrated to the USA between the 1850s and the 1920s. Today, the descendants of these people are known as Norwegian-Americans. According to the 2000 US Census, 3 million Americans consider Norwegian to be their sole or primary ancestry. It is estimated that as many as a further 1.5 million more are of partial Norwegian ancestry.

Travelling to and through Canada and Canadian ports were of choice for Norwegian settlers immigrating to the United States. In 1850, the year after Great Britain repealed its restrictive Navigation Acts in Canada, more and more emigrating Norwegians sailed the shorter route to the Ville de Québec (Quebec City) in Canada, to make their way on to USA cities like Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay by steamer. For example, in the 1850s, 28,640 arrived at Quebec, Canada en route to the USA, and 8,351 at New York directly.

Norwegian-Americans represent between 2 and 3% of the white non-Hispanic population in the US. They mostly live in the Upper Midwest.


As early as 1814, a party of Norwegians was brought to Canada to build a winter road from York Factory on Hudson Bay in northern Canada to the infant Red River settlement at the site of present-day Winnipeg, Canada. Norway House is one of the oldest trading posts and Native-Canadian missions in the Canadian West. Willard Ferdinand Wentzel served the North-West Company of Canada in the Athabasca and Mackenzie regions and accompanied Sir John Franklin on his overland expedition in 1819–20 to the Canadian Arctic.

Norwegians immigrated to Canada in search of the Canadian Dream. This immigration lasted from the mid-1880s until 1930. It can be divided into three periods of roughly fifteen years each. In the first, to about 1900, thousands of Norwegians homesteaded on the Canadian prairies. In the second, from 1900 to 1914, there was a further heavy influx of Norwegians immigrating to Canada from the United States because of poor economic conditions in the USA, and 18,790 from Norway. In the third, from 1919 to 1930, 21,874 people came directly from Norway, with the peak year in 1927, when 5,103 Norwegians arrived, spurred by severe depression at home. They came with limited means and few of the skills needed in the rural west, many leaving dole queues and emigrating with government assistance.

From 1825 - 1900 some 500 000 Norwegians landed at Québec, Canada for traveling through Canada was the shortest corridor to the central American states. In spite of efforts by the Government of Canada to retain these immigrants for Canada, very few remained because of Canada's somewhat restrictive land policies at that time and negative stories being told about Canada from U.S. land agents deterring Norwegians from going to Canada. Not until the 1880s did Norwegians accept Canada as a land of the second chance. This was also true of the many American-Norwegians who moved to Canada from the USA with "Canada Fever" seeking homesteads and new economic opportunities. By 1921 one-third of all Norwegians in Canada had been born in the USA.

These new Canadians became British subjects in Canada, and part of the British Empire. Canadian citizenship, as a status distinct from that of a British subject, was created on 1 January 1947. Prior to that date, Canadians were British subjects and Canada's nationality law closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom. On 1 January 1947, Canadian citizenship was conferred on most British subjects connected with Canada. Unlike in the USA, Canada was part of the British Empire and most Norwegians would have become Canadians and British subjects at the same time.

According to the 2001 Canadian census, 363,000 Canadians reported Norwegian ancestry (Norwegian-Canadians). Approximately 47,000 of these consider Norwegian to be their sole or primary ancestry, and another 316,000 are of partial Norwegian ancestry.

Norwegians represent 1.5% of the total white Canadian population.

Some Norwegians who once lived in the Russian city of Murmansk have left. There are very few of them left there today.

Other terms used[]

The Norwegians are and have been referred to by other terms as well. Of them are:

  • Nordmenn; a term used by Scandinavians to denote ethnic Norwegians and Norwegian citizens. It translates as "Norsemen". (Singular: Nordmann)
  • Northmen; old term used by other European peoples to denote the peoples originating in the northern regions of Europe
  • Norsemen or Norse; Viking age peoples of Nordic origin.
  • Vikings; used in Norway to denote people who went raiding during the Viking age. Used in a similar way by other peoples but can also mean Scandinavians in general.
  • Minnewegian; what a Norwegian-Minnesotan is called.

See also[]


  1. ^ Total residents in Norway (4 681 400 [1]) - people with immigrant background (387 000 [2]) =~ 4.3 million
  2. ^ The 2000 American census reports that the United States, in the 2000 census, has 4,477,725 inhabitants of Norwegian ancestry.
  3. ^ [3]Shows a list over Canadas different ethnic groups, reports that there is 363,760 Norwegians in Canada.
  4. ^ [4] Swedish Statistics from 2005. Shows the official number of Norwegians in Sweden at page 20.
  5. ^ Danish Statistics from October 2005.[5]
  6. ^ The ABS estimates in a 2003 study that there are between 10,000 and 20,000 people claiming Norwegian ancestry living in Australia. The middle number has been used, and no change since 03 has been assumed.[6]
  7. ^ Spanish National Statistics Institute from 2005. Now at over 20,000. [7]
  8. ^ Number of Norwegians registered at the Embassy for living in each of these countries.
  9. ^ Foreign population of Germany counted 31 December 2003 till 1 January 2004.[8]
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^

External links[]

  • Source for Norwegian-American population estimate: [11]
  • Source for Canadian population data: [12]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Norwegian people. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.