Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden

The dissolution of the union (Bokmål: Unionsoppløsningen; Nynorsk: Unionsoppløysinga; Landsmål: Unionsoppløysingi; Swedish: Unionsupplösningen) between the kingdoms of Norway and Sweden under the House of Bernadotte, was set in motion by a resolution of the Norwegian Parliament (the Storting) on 7 June 1905. Following some months of tension and fear of war between the neighbouring nations – and a Norwegian plebiscite held on 13 August which overwhelmingly backed dissolution – negotiations between the two governments led to Sweden's recognition of Norway as an independent constitutional monarchy on 26 October 1905. On that date, King Oscar II renounced his claim to the Norwegian throne, effectively dissolving the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, and this event was swiftly followed, on 18 November, by the accession to the Norwegian throne of Prince Carl of Denmark, taking the name of Haakon VII.

A postcard from around the time of the Norwegian plebiscite. Ja, vi elsker dette landet ("Yes, we love this country") are the opening words of the Norwegian national anthem.


Norwegian nationalistic aspirations in 1814 were frustrated by Sweden's victory in a brief, but decisive war that resulted in Norway entering into a personal union with Sweden. The Norwegian constitution was largely kept intact. Norway legally had the status of an independent state, with its own parliament, judiciary, legal system, armed forces, and currency. However, Norway and Sweden shared a common monarch and conducted a common foreign policy through the Swedish ministry of foreign affairs. There were largely feelings of goodwill between the two peoples, and the King generally tried to act in the interest of both Kingdoms.

However, over the years, a divergence of Norwegian and Swedish interests became apparent. In particular, Norwegians felt that their foreign policy interests were inadequately served by Sweden's ministry of foreign affairs. There were several driving factors behind the growing conflict:

  • Norway's economy was more dependent on foreign trade and thus more sensitive to the protectionist measures favoured by the Swedish government at the time.
  • Norway had trading and other links with the United Kingdom but Sweden had closer links with Germany.
  • Norway had more interests than Sweden outside Europe.

In addition, Norwegian politics were increasingly dominated by liberal tendencies characterized by the extension of parliamentary democracy, while Swedish politics tended to be more conservative. Under the Norwegian Constitution, the Norwegian Parliament, the Storting, was the most powerful legislature on the Continent. The king only had a suspensive veto in Norway, and the Storting resisted numerous royal attempts to be granted the absolute veto that the monarchy had in Sweden. Additionally, by 1884, the Storting's power had grown to the point that a king could no longer appoint a Norwegian government entirely of his own choosing or keep it in office against the will of the Storting. In contrast, the king remained a near-autocrat (at least on paper) in his Swedish domains until 1905, just before the end of the union.

When free trade between the two countries was restricted in 1895 by the abolition of the "Interstate laws" (Mellomrikslovene), the economic reasons for the continued union were also diminished.

The conflict came to a head over the so-called "consul affair" in which successive Norwegian governments insisted that Norway should establish its own consular offices abroad, rather than rely on the common consulates appointed by the Swedish foreign minister. As the longstanding practice for the conduct of joint foreign policy had been that a Swede always hold the office of foreign minister, the Swedish government and king opposed this insistence, seeing it as a rejection of the throne's right to set foreign policy.

While Norway's Liberal Party had pioneered an uncompromising position through the so-called "fist policy," the Conservative Party also came to adopt a strong policy in favour of at least de facto independence and equality within the personal union. Although both parties made efforts to resolve the issue through negotiations, Norwegian public opinion became gradually more entrenched.

Both Sweden and Norway increased their military expenditure, and Norway modernized the frontier forts at Kongsvinger and Fredriksten and built a series of new military strongholds along its border with Sweden.

Prelude to dissolution

Norwegian storting 2005 06 07
The Norwegian Storting passes the "revolutionary" resolution
Rene flagget heises Akershus DEX W 00026
The Norwegian flag, without the union mark, is raised at Akershus Fortress following the dissolution resolution

In early 1905, Christian Michelsen formed a coalition government consisting of liberals and conservatives, whose only stated objective was to establish a separate Norwegian corps of consuls. The law was passed by the Norwegian parliament. As expected and probably as planned, King Oscar II refused to accept the laws, and the Michelsen government resigned. When the king declared himself unable to form a cabinet under the present circumstances, a constitutional crisis broke out on 7 June 1905. Later that day, the Storting voted unanimously to dissolve the union with Sweden, taking the line that Oscar had effectively abandoned his role as King of Norway by refusing to appoint a replacement government. The text of the unanimous declaration, remarkable for the fact that the declaration of the dissolution was an aside to the main clause, read:

Since all the members of the cabinet have resigned their positions; since His Majesty the King has declared his inability to obtain for the country a new government; and since the constitutional monarchy has ceased to exist, the Storting hereby authorizes the cabinet that resigned today to exercise the powers held by the King in accordance with the Constitution of Norway and relevant laws – with the amendments necessitated by the dissolution of the union with Sweden under one King, resulting from the fact that the King no longer functions as a Norwegian King.

Initially reacting to this declaration as a rebellious act, the Swedish government indicated an openness to a negotiated end to the union, insisting among other things on a Norwegian plebiscite. However, the Norwegian government had anticipated this, and had already scheduled a plebiscite for 13 August—thus avoiding the appearance that it had been called in response to demands from Sweden.

Besides internal changes within Norway, a major key factor that allowed Norway to break from Sweden was the emerging Swedish social democratic movement. In the early years of the 20th century, Hjalmar Branting led the Social Democrats in opposing a war to keep Norway united with Sweden. When the crisis came in 1905, he coined the slogan "Hands off Norway, King!" The Social Democrats organized resistance to a call-up of reserves and a general strike against a war. The majority of Sweden supported a free state of Norway as much as the people of Norway did.

The plebiscite was held on 13 August and resulted in an overwhelming 368,208 votes (99.95%) in favour of confirming the dissolution of the union against only 184 (0.05%) opposed. It is one of the most lopsided referenda in history.

The government thereby had confirmation of the dissolution. 85 percent of Norwegian men had cast their votes, but no women as universal suffrage was not extended to women until 1913. Norwegian feminists however collected 279,878 signatures in favour of dissolution.[1]

Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen weighed in heavily for dissolving the union and travelled to the United Kingdom, where he successfully lobbied for British support for Norway's independence movement.

Karlstad negotiations

Peace monument karlstad
Peace monument in Karlstad, erected on the city square on the 50th anniversary of the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden

On 31 August, Norwegian and Swedish delegates met in the Swedish city of Karlstad to negotiate the terms of the dissolution. Although many prominent right-wing Swedish politicians favoured a hard-line approach to the issue, historical scholars have found that the Swedish King had determined early on that it would be better to lose the union than risk a war with Norway. The overwhelming public support among Norwegians for independence had convinced the major European powers that the independence movement was legitimate, and Sweden feared it would be isolated by suppressing it; also, there was little appetite for creating additional ill will between the countries.

Even as the negotiations made progress, military forces were quietly deployed on both sides of the border between Sweden and Norway, though separated by 2 kilometres (1.24 miles). Public opinion among Norwegian leftists favoured a war of independence if necessary, even against Sweden's numerical superiority.

On 23 September, the negotiations closed. On 9 October the Norwegian parliament voted to accept the terms of the dissolution; on 13 October the Swedish parliament followed suit. Although Norway had considered the union with Sweden ended as of 7 June, Sweden formally recognised Norwegian independence on 26 October when King Oscar II renounced his and any of his descendants' claims to the Norwegian throne.

Choosing a Norwegian king

Kong Haakon ankommer Norge 1905
The new king Haakon VII arrives in Norway with Crown Prince Olav on his arm and is greeted on board the ship Heimdal by Prime Minister Christian Michelsen

In its resolution of 7 June, the Storting had made what is called the "Bernadotte Offer," invited King Oscar II to allow one of his younger sons to assume the Norwegian throne. The offer was at one level an attempt by the Norwegian government to demonstrate goodwill towards Sweden and its royal house, notwithstanding the separation of the two countries. At another, more significant level, it was also intended to reassure the other European powers that the secession of Norway was not a radical revolutionary project, despite the influence of socialists. The continuation of the monarchical system would signal that tradition, continuity and order would be cherished as before in the new country. In this way, Norway aimed to gather support from the other large European countries which, with the exception of France, were all hereditary monarchies.

Unlike the declaration of independence, the Bernadotte Offer was a matter of contention and controversy within the Norwegian government. Five socialists in the parliament voted against the idea of having a monarchy, and the finance minister Gunnar Knudsen, a republican member of the cabinet, resigned over this issue. It was known that King Oscar II was not amenable to accepting the Bernadotte offer, but the issue remained unsettled until the offer was formally declined by the king when he renounced his claim on 26 October.[2]

The King's rejection of the Bernadotte offer had been anticipated months earlier, and already during the summer a Norwegian delegation had approached Denmark with a proposal regarding the 33-year-old Prince Carl of Denmark, the second son of Crown Prince Frederick. Prince Carl's mother, Louise of Sweden, was the only child of King Charles XV of Sweden and niece of King Oscar II himself, and therefore a link to the royal house of Sweden would be preserved. Also, Carl was married to Maud, daughter of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. By bringing in a British-born queen, it was hoped that Norway could court Britain's support. Another advantage was that Prince Carl was already the father of a son, the two-year-old Alexander, which provided security of succession to continue the line. The Norwegian parliament considered other candidates but ultimately chose Prince Carl.

Prince Carl impressed the delegation in many ways, not the least because of his sensitivity to the liberal and democratic movements that had led to Norway's independence. Though the Norwegian constitution stipulated that the Storting could choose a new king if the throne were vacant, Carl was aware that many Norwegians — including leading politicians and high-ranking military officers — favoured a republican form of government. Attempts to persuade the prince to accept the throne on the basis of Parliament's choice failed; Carl insisted that he would accept the crown only if the Norwegian people expressed their will for monarchy by referendum and if the parliament then elected him king.

1905 swearing in of Haakon VII
The swearing in as king of Haakon VII in the Parliament of Norway Building

On 12 and 13 November, in the second constitutional plebiscite in three months, Norwegian voters decided by a nearly 79 percent majority (259,563 to 69,264) to establish a monarchy instead of a republic. Many who favoured a republic in principle voted for a monarchy because they felt it would help the newly independent Norwegian nation gain legitimacy among the European monarchies.

Following the November plebiscite affirming Norwegians' desire for a monarchy, the parliament by an overwhelming majority offered Carl a clear mandate to the Norwegian throne on 18 November, and the prince accepted the same evening, choosing the name Haakon, a traditional name used by Norwegian kings. The last king with that name was Haakon VI, who died in the year 1380.

The new king therefore became Haakon VII, while his son Alexander was renamed Olav and became crown prince. The new royal family arrived in the capital Kristiania (later renamed Oslo) on 25 November.

Haakon VII was sworn in as king of Norway on 27 November.

The coronation of King Haakon VII and Queen Maud took place in Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim on 22 June 1906. This was the last coronation held in Norway.

Important individuals in the dissolution

The following individuals played a role in the events surrounding the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden:

Importance of the events of 1905

Haakon VII 7. juni plassen 18jun2005
Statue of King Haakon VII in 7th of June Square, Oslo

In many ways, the events of 1905 formed a sequel to the events of 1814, but there were some important differences:

  • Whereas the 1814 independence movement in large part was driven by political opportunism among the national elite, the 1905 movement was a result of political trends largely driven by elected officials with massive popular support.
  • In 1905, Norway was not put in play by war as a territorial prize.
  • By 1905, Norwegians had established many of the institutions and infrastructure of a sovereign, independent state.
  • By 1905, European statesmanship was more inclined to favour Norwegian independence than in 1814.

Much has been made of the supremacy of diplomacy in averting war between Sweden and Norway in 1905. In truth, the Norwegians had much more to fight for than the Swedes if it had come to war. Both parties recognized that their geographical proximity made long-term hostility untenable under any circumstance.

Many documents related to the specific events of 1905 were destroyed during and following those years. Some historians speculate[3] that foreign interests played a stronger role than had previously been assumed; in particular, that Great Britain influenced the dissolution in order to reduce German influence over Atlantic ports. Although Sweden's close relationship with Germany did not last long, Norway's independence immediately put it inside the British sphere of influence.

See also


  1. ^ Kvinneaksjon for unionsoppløsning Archived 2015-05-05 at the Wayback Machine (In Norwegian) Arkivverket, retrieved January 24, 2013
  2. ^ Haakon VII Biography of King Haakon VII in connection with NRK's series "Store norske" (Great Norwegians) (in Norwegian)
  3. ^ "Britene ønsket å sprenge unionen". Aftenposten.

External resources

Abel Prize

The Abel Prize (Norwegian: Abelprisen) is a Norwegian prize awarded annually by the King of Norway to one or more outstanding mathematicians. It is named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) and directly modeled after the Nobel Prizes. It comes with a monetary award of 6 million Norwegian Kroner (NOK) (€620,000 or $700,000).

The Abel Prize's history dates back to 1899, when its establishment was proposed by the Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie when he learned that Alfred Nobel's plans for annual prizes would not include a prize in mathematics. In 1902 King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway indicated his willingness to finance a mathematics prize to complement the Nobel Prizes, but the establishment of the prize was prevented by the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. It took almost a century before the prize was finally established by the Government of Norway in 2001, and it was specifically intended "to give the mathematicians their own equivalent of a Nobel Prize." The laureates are selected by the Abel Committee, the members of which are appointed by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

The award ceremony takes place in the Aula of the University of Oslo, where the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded between 1947 and 1989. The Abel Prize board has also established an Abel symposium, administered by the Norwegian Mathematical Society.

Andreas Tostrup Urbye

Andreas Tostrup Urbye (8 May 1869–16 May 1955) was a Norwegian civil servant, lawyer, and politician. He served as a county governor and also as a Minister in the Norwegian Cabinet from 1913-1917. He was also the secretary at the Karlstad negotiations that led to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden.

Battleships Asbjørnsen and Moe

The battleships Asbjørnsen and Moe were two fictitious ships that raised concern in the Swedish intelligence services at the time of the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.

A Norwegian emigrant to Argentina, the wealthy businessman and diplomat Peter "Don Pedro" Christophersen, had negotiated with the government of Argentina to purchase two battleships. In the end, no deal was concluded, but the rumor disturbed the Swedes—and Prime Minister Christian Michelsen declined to deny that the purchase had taken place. The non-existent battleships were christened the Asbjørnsen and Moe after the writers Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe.The incident took place in the context of naval tensions between Norway and Sweden following Norwegian independence, which came to a head in the Admiral Conflict (Norwegian: Admiralstriden). At the time, the Royal Norwegian Navy was more suitable for coastal defense, but the Swedish navy was much stronger. Norway's naval commanders wanted to demonstrate that Norway was capable of defending itself at sea but did not want to provoke Sweden into armed conflict. Commanding Admiral Christian Sparre and his chief of staff, Rear Admiral Jacob Børresen, strongly disagreed on the best strategy to pursue in the event of war with Sweden.

Christian Michelsen

Peter Christian Hersleb Kjerschow Michelsen (15 March 1857 – 29 June 1925) was a Norwegian shipping magnate and statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of independent Norway from 1905 to 1907. Michelsen is most known for his central role in the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, and was one of Norway's most influential politicians of his time.

Christopher Knudsen

Christopher Knudsen (4 October 1843 – 28 July 1915) was a Norwegian priest and politician for the Conservative Party. He was Minister of Education and Church Affairs from 1905 to 1906.

Knudsen was born in Drammen as a son of railroad worker Knud Larssen (1814–66) and Marie A. Christophersen Aaserud (1812–1890). He was married twice; first from February 1869 to Marie Charlotte Andrea Hermanstorff (1849–1873), then from September 1874 to Ida Regine Lohne (1855–1949). He was an uncle of politician Knud Christian Knudsen.He finished his secondary education in 1861, graduated with the cand.theol. degree in 1867, and in 1879 he became vicar in the newly established parish of Nedre Eiker. When Nedre Eiker became its own municipality in 1885, he sat in the municipal council and on the school board and was elected mayor. He left Nedre Eiker in 1886, and became a curate in Drammen. He was elected to the Parliament of Norway from that city in 1894 and 1897. He was then elected for a third term in 1900 from the constituency Tønsberg, where he had been appointed vicar.On 11 March 1905, when Michelsen's Cabinet assumed office, Knudsen was appointed Norwegian Minister of Education and Church Affairs. This cabinet oversaw the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. Knudsen left the cabinet on 26 January 1906.

Coalition Party (Norway)

The Coalition Party (Norwegian: Samlingspartiet) was a Norwegian political coalition drawn from the Conservative Party, the Moderate Liberal Party and independent Liberals. Its main issues were opposition to the Liberal Party's political union radicalism, as well as to the rising growth of social democracy. Originally formed to pursue a more careful negotiating line towards Sweden, the party turned around and took part in Michelsen's Cabinet, which carried through the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905. The coalition's leading members included Christian Michelsen himself, Wollert Konow (SB) and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.

Dag Thorkildsen

Dag Thorkildsen (born 12 August 1951 in Oslo) is a Norwegian theologian, priest and Professor of church history. He received his cand. theol. from Det teologiske fakultet, University of Oslo, in 1977 and took his exam in practical theology at the same place in 1978. He was ordained priest in Hamar Cathedral on 19.12. 1978. Thorkildsen worked as a vicar and seamen's priest 1979-80. From 1980-1989 he was a research assistant and vicar teaching assistant of Christian science of the Faculty of History and Philosophy at the University of Oslo. Thorkildsen argued for his doctorate in theology in 1989 with work on the Church and the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden (1905).

The main points of his research lie in Norwegian and Nordic history and church history after the reformation, particularly the Church's role in Nordic nation-building in the 1800s and 1900s. He has worked on nationalism theory, the religious events of the 1800s, Grundtvigianism and Danish nationalism, particularly on the relationship between state and church. He has also taken part in many Nordic research projects in these fields.

Evald Rygh

Evald Rygh (26 May 1842 – 9 May 1913) was a Norwegian banker and politician for the Conservative Party. He served as Minister of Finance and Customs and mayor of Kristiania.

He was born in Verdal, and was the brother of Karl Ditlev and Oluf Rygh. He was educated in law, holding a cand.jur. degree. Both his brothers were noted archaeologists, and Karl Ditlev was a conservative politician too.From 1880 to 1889 Evald Rygh served as burgomaster of Kristiania. On 13 July 1889, when the first cabinet Stang assumed office, Rygh was appointed Minister of Finance and Customs. He lost this post when the first cabinet Stang fell on 5 March 1891. Instead, he was elected to the Norwegian Parliament in 1892 for the constituency of Kristiania, Hønefoss og Kongsvinger. He only served one term, having also served as mayor of Kristiania from 1893 to 1894. Rygh reportedly turned down a request to return as a government minister when the second cabinet Stang was formed in 1893. In 1895 and 1896 he led the committee that negotiated a new Mellomrikslov between Norway and Sweden, as Sweden had annulled the existing laws in 1895. The negotiations were fruitless, as such contributing to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.

Outside politics Rygh was the CEO of Christiania Sparebank from 1893. He was also the first chair of the National Theatre. Together with Hans Hagerup Krag he worked to establish an outdoors area around Holmenkollen, Voksenkollen and Frognerseteren accessible to the city populace. Through the Holmen-Voksenkoll Society, founded in 1888, they helped in the building of Holmenkollen Chapel and, together with the Association for the Promotion of Skiing, the establishment of the Holmenkollen ski jump and Korketrekkeren, a luge and bobsleigh course. To commemorate this a bauta of Rygh was erected at Holmenkollen. The road Ryghs vei and the square Evald Ryghs plass, both in Oslo, have been named after him. Rygh was also proclaimed a Commander, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1891.

Rygh died in 1913. He was buried at Vår Frelsers gravlund.

Haaken L. Mathiesen

Haaken Larpent Mathiesen (7 April 1858 – 5 October 1930) was a Norwegian landowner and businessperson in the forestry sector.

He was born in Christiania as the son of landowner Haaken C. Mathiesen (1827–1913) and his wife Anna Sophie Josephine Larpent (1833–1863). He was a brother of politician Christian Pierre Mathiesen, nephew of art collector Sophus Larpent, and a great-grandson of Haagen Mathiesen.His family owned the manor Linderud as well as large forests in Eidsvoll and Hurdal. Mathiesen intended to become a military officer, but as his older brother died in 1875, it fell upon him to inherit the family company. After a period of education, his first foray into business was the foundation of the company Nilsen, Mathiesen & Co. in Fredrikstad in 1883, together with Anthon B. Nilsen. The company was dissolved in 1893, though a small remnant existed, managed by Haaken Mathiesen's younger half-brother Arthur. In the same year, Haaken Mathiesen joined forces with his father and bought Eidsvold Værk, creating the company Mathiesen Eidsvold Værk which still exists today. He was the sole owner from 1895, and under his leadership the company ventured into the pulp and paper industry. He was also among the founders of Orkla Gruber in 1904, and also invested in Sydvaranger and Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani.He was a Commander, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and the Danish Order of the Dannebrog, as well as a Grand Officer of the Monegasque Order of St. Charles. He knew the Prince of Monaco from an investment venture in Portuguese East Africa. Mathiesen was also a close friend of Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden, but nonetheless supported the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.In January 1891 he married Erikka Cappelen Kiær (1866–1929), a daughter of Anders Ferrand Kiær. Their son Jørgen Mathiesen inherited the family business, starting as a manager in the 1920s. He had to cope with debt problems, which came to be as a part of the general economic hardships of the World War I and the interwar period. Haaken Mathiesen died in October 1930 in Eidsvoll. His son became the sole company owner, managed to survive economically and passed the company down to his son in the 1950s.Tha mountain group of Mathiesenfjella and the mountain Haakentoppen at Spitsbergen, Svalbard, are named after him, and also the glacier of Haakenbreen.

Hans Nilsen Hauge

Hans Nilsen Hauge (3 November 1853 – 17 December 1931) was a Norwegian priest and politician for Norway's Conservative Party. He was Minister of Education and Church Affairs from 1903 to 1905.

Knudsen was born in Nord-Audnedal,

and was the grandson of the revivalist lay preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge and son of priest Andreas Hauge. He enrolled as a student in 1871 and graduated as cand.theol. in 1877. He was acting vicar in Brevik from January to July 1879, and then worked in Skien until 1887, except for the years 1881 to 1886 when he was a sailors' padre in North Shields. In 1887 he became vicar in Brevik on a permanent basis. He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament from the city in 1895 and 1898. In 1900 he became vicar in Eidanger.On 22 October 1903, when the second cabinet Hagerup assumed office, Hauge was appointed Norwegian Minister of Education and Church Affairs. The cabinet resigned on 10 March 1905 as a part of the build-up for the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden; Hauge did not retain the job. He did not return to Eidanger either, instead he became vicar in Skien. He changed job to dean in 1918, and retired in 1924.Hauge was appointed a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav and a Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog.

Otto Blehr

Otto Albert Blehr (17 February 1847, – 13 July 1927) was a Norwegian attorney and newspaper editor. He served as a politician representing the Liberal Party. He was Prime Minister of Norway from 1902 to 1903 during the Union between Sweden and Norway and from 1921 to 1923 following the Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden.

Royal mottos of Swedish monarchs

The royal motto of the Swedish monarch is a Swedish royal tradition stemming from the early 16th century. All reigning monarchs of Sweden, beginning with Gustav I, have had their own mottos during their respective periods of reign. The Swedish royal motto in many ways is equivalent to a national motto. The tradition among Swedish monarchs, in common with the Danish and Norwegian monarchies, but different from that of most other modern European monarchies, is that the motto is not the same for one dynasty, but is personal to each monarch. Historically the royal motto has been used in connection with the Swedish coat of arms, and until 30 June 2017 it could be seen in print on the 1 krona coin. The new generation of coins does not feature a motto.

Gustav III was the first king to have his motto only in Swedish. Up until Adolf Frederick, the motto for every regent had been in Latin and Swedish (or, as in the case of Gustav II Adolf, in German). Due to the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, Oscar II had to change his motto.

Sigurd Ibsen

Sigurd Ibsen (23 December 1859 – 14 April 1930) was a Norwegian author, lawyer and statesman, who served as Prime Minister of Norway in Stockholm (1903–1905) and played a central role in the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.


Svorsk (Norwegian: [ˈsvɔʂk]) or Svorska (Swedish: [²svɔʂka]) is a portmanteau of svensk(a) "Swedish" and norsk(a) "Norwegian" to describe a mixture of the Swedish and Norwegian languages.

The term "svorsk" is used to describe the language of someone (almost exclusively a Swedish or Norwegian person) who mixes words from his or her native tongue with the other language. The phenomenon is not uncommon, especially in light of the close business and trade ties between the two countries and the mutual intelligibility between the two languages, the latter in its turn being due to the common ancestry and parallel development of both Norwegian and Swedish from Old Norse (see North Germanic languages). The term originates from the 1970s.

Individual Swedish loanwords and phrases that are assimilated into the Norwegian language are called svecisms (svesismer). This trend has been ongoing since the dissolution of the Dano-Norwegian Union in 1814; however, it gained momentum substantially after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 and has been an ongoing phenomenon of Norwegian linguistics, and still is. Indeed, the prominent Norwegian linguist Finn-Erik Vinje characterizes this influx since World War II as a breaking wave.

Union mark of Norway and Sweden

The union mark of Norway and Sweden (Swedish: unionsmärket or unionstecknet, Norwegian: unionsmerket) was a symbol of the Union between Sweden and Norway. It was inserted into the canton of the Swedish and Norwegian national flags from 1844 to denote the partnership of the two countries in a personal union. The mark combined the flag colours of both kingdoms, equally distributed, to reflect their equal status within the union. The stand-alone design of the mark was used for the diplomatic flag and the naval jack of the union. The union mark remained part of the flags of both countries until it was removed from the merchant and state flags of Norway in 1899 because of increasing Norwegian dissatisfaction with the union. It remained on the naval ensign of Norway and all Swedish flags until the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905.

Vilhelm Andreas Wexelsen

Vilhelm Andreas Wexelsen (5 June 1849 – 9 July 1909) was a Norwegian bishop and politician for the Liberal Party. He served five terms in the Norwegian Parliament, was Minister of Education and Church Affairs from 1891 to 1892 and from 1898 to 1903 and bishop of Nidaros from 1905 to 1909.Wexelsen graduated as cand.theol. from the Royal Frederick University in 1872. He was appointed vicar in Kolvereid in 1877 and was then vicar in Overhalla from 1884 to 1891. While stationed here he became involved in local politics, being mayor of Overhalla municipality from 1878 to 1884 and 1889 to 1891. Later, he was the regional school director from 1896 to 1898.

Wexelsen was elected to the Norwegian Parliament in 1883, representing the constituency of Nordre Trondhjems Amt. He had previously been a deputy representative during the term 1880–1882. He was then re-elected in 1883, 1886, and 1889.On 6 March 1891, when the first cabinet Steen assumed office, Wexelsen was appointed Minister of Education and Church Affairs. He held this position until 1 July 1892, when he was moved to the Council of State Division in Stockholm. He lost this job on 1 May 1893, when the first cabinet Steen fell. Instead he was re-elected in 1895 for a fourth term in Parliament. He was re-elected for a fifth term in 1898, this time representing the constituency Trondhjem og Levanger, but on 17 February 1898 he returned as Minister of Education and Church Affairs as a part of the new second cabinet Steen. He retained this job when the second cabinet Steen was replaced by the first cabinet Blehr on 21 April 1902. However, when that cabinet fell on 21 October 1903, he left national politics.In 1905, Wexelsen was appointed bishop of the Diocese of Nidaros. In 1906, he became historic when he carried out the coronation of the new King Haakon VII and Queen Maud, who had been named King and Queen following the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden and the Norwegian monarchy plebiscite in 1905. Wexelsen remained bishop until 1909, the year he died.

Wexelsen was the father of politician Einar Wexelsen. He was also father of entertainer Vidar Wexelsen, best known by his pen and stage name Per Kvist.

Wilhelm Christopher Christophersen

Wilhelm Christopher Christophersen (15 December 1832 – 26 July 1913) was a Norwegian diplomat, noted for his contributions in facilitating the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905 and later his service as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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