Norwegian Quakers are gathering today for their annual yearly meeting and are celebrating a continuing presence of Quakers in Norway for 200 years since 1814.
The Norwegians’ Society of Friends began in 1814 when released Norwegian prisoners from prison ships in England returned home and began silent meetings for worship in Stavanger and Oslo (which was known then as Christiania). The Norwegians had been prisoners of the Napoleonic wars and had been held in ships along the Thames. They suffered years of hardship while prisoners but around 20 returned home and began to practise their new religious convictions having had support and friendship from English Quakers.
However, this was not the first Quaker presence in the country. Norway’s Quaker history goes much further back with the first Quaker visits to the country believed to have taken place around 1657/8.
Today, Norwegian Quakers’ faith and practice is similar to that of most other members of the Friends World Committee for Consultation Europe and Middle East Section. There are around 150 Quakers in Norway and they have a regular publication Tidsskriftet Kvekeren (Quaker Journal).
Norwegian Quakers meet in Oslo and Stavanger every Sunday, in Kristiansand on alternate Sundays, in Farsund/Mandal on third Sundays, in Bergen on first Sundays and in Trondheim and in Bo in Telemark by arrangement.
The Norwegian Quaker Press has published around 70 books and pamphlets since it was set up in 1978.