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Shalom, Norway: A Jewish Culture Guide

Although there are only an estimated 1200 to 1400 Jews residing in a country of over 5 million, Norway has a strong Jewish community in both Oslo and Trondheim that is continuing to grow and thrive.

By: Sarah Bauder
Published: November 12th, 2013 in Culture » Society » News
Det Mosaiske Trossamfunn synagogue in Trondheim

And we’re off, to anywhere and everywhere, as we say ‘Shalom’ every week to different global travel destination. World cities, provincial towns, and even the most unassuming of suburbs are infused with Jewish history and culture, some of which is waiting to be discovered.

For the pious follower, the curious traveler, or the intrepid adventurer, we’ll unearth the best of what to do and where to go. Be it an emerging subculture, a historical landmark, or simply a triumph of art in any form, Jewish experiences are found around the world; and likely as well in your backyard.

It may be in the destination, the journey, or the company, but there is much to uncover and celebrate near and far, so hurry up and get going.

Shalom, Norway


The first recorded Jewish presence in Norway was Conversos, who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal by royal decree in 1492 during the Spanish Inquisition. Undoubtedly however, Jewish merchants, traders, et al visited the country prior to that date.

Unfortunately, the “Portuguese Jews” as they were deemed, faced further restrictions in Norway. Under the reign of Christian IV from 1588 to 1648, Jews were given limited rights to travel within the region. Yet, in 1687 during the rule of his grandson, Christian V, Jews were expelled from Norway and prohibited to return.

In 1814, 127 years later, this mandate was included in Norway’s first national constitution, which outlined in the second paragraph, a ban of both Jews, and Jesuits from the country. By 1844 however, sentiment shifted somewhat, when the Ministry of Justice and Public Security decreed that “Portuguese Jews” were permitted to reside in Norway. Thanks in part to the lobbying by Norwegian poet and writer, Henrik Wergeland among others, in 1851, said ban was struck from the constitution, and Jews were permitted to immigrate to Norway. Eleven years later, the nation’s first synagogue was built in Kristiania (present-day Oslo).

Find out more about the Jewish history and present day community of Norway on the next page!

Related articles: Shalom, Norway, Jewish, Culture Guide, Norway, Oslo, Trondheim, Travel, Tourism, Backpacking, Vacation, Guided Tour
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