History, geography and way of life

Religions and Ethics in Norway

Religiøse symboler

There is complete freedom of religion in Norway. This means that you can practise your religion without fear of persecution or punishment. It also means that everyone is free to decide which religion he or she wants to belong to. And, just as importantly, it means that everyone is free to choose not to belong to a religion.

The Church of Norway is the biggest religious community in Norway and the established church. This means that it in principle covers everyone and is based on christenings and the number of people who do not leave the church. Around 70% of the population are members. However, the high membership percentage does not necessarily mean that religion plays an important role in people’s lives. But the church is still important to most people in connection with ceremonies such as christenings, confirmations, weddings and funerals, in addition to Christmas.

The different religious communities receive funding from the government

Religious and spiritual communities can receive economic support from the state government and municipality. Official religious and spiritual communities receive just as much funding for each of their members as the Church of Norway.

Norway is a multicultural and secular society

Moské Kirke Shiva

Christianity was introduced to Norway around 1,000 years ago and, since the Reformation in the 1500s, Lutheran Christianity (Protestantism) has been the dominant religion in Norway.

In the past, Norwegians were not allowed to withdraw from the state church and it was only around a hundred years ago that it became legal to organise a non-Christian religious community in Norway.

Today’s society is becoming more and more secular. This means that religion has become less important in society than in the past among private individuals and when drafting the country’s laws.

Different religious and spiritual groups in Norway

About 30% of the Norwegian population are not members of the Church of Norway. Around half of these people are members of other religious or life stance communities, while the other half are not members of any such community.

Membership of religious and life stance communities other than the Church of Norway breaks down as follows:

Members of religious or spiritual communities outside The Norwegian Church


National Church

  • The Norwegian Church is a National church. It is the largest religious community in Norway, and practicing Lutheran-Protestant Christianity.
  • Previously, the Norwegian Church was the state church in Norway.
  • Norway no longer has any state religion.