The Evangelical-Lutheran religion has been the state religion in Norway since 1537. But there has been a state religion in this country since 1030, belonging to the Catholic Church before 1537. Today, on the 21th of May, the parliament decided to change the Constitution. We don’t have a state religion any longer, but the Norwegian Church will be Norway’s national church. 162 voted for, three voted against.
The reason is Norway has become a multicultural society in recent decades. We already had freedom of religion of course. The new Norwegian church is to be equal with other religious and spiritual groups in the society. The biggest of these are the Catholic Church, which is growing and has just passed 100,000 registered members, and so is Islam. While there were about 1000 members of the Muslim community in Norway in 1980, there are now about 100.000. There are also other religous groups in Norway. The big majority are members of the christian church, about 80 percent of the population, but the Christian society is quite secular. Most people only goes to church when there is a wedding, a funeral or christmas eve. But there is also a cultural aspect. There are thousands of old, and some new, churches in Norway. They are everywere, in the cities and in the countryside, so this is also a cultural heritage. Here are a few, and there are more in my photo gallery.
Hasselvika church, Rissa.
Christmas eve, Selbustrand chapel.