A coastal nation into the 21st century

Photo: Wilse/ Norwegian Fisheries Museum.
Photo: Wilse/ Norwegian Fisheries Museum.

With this survey we have attempted to provide insight into what characterizes Norway as a coastal nation, both historically and today. Emphasis has been placed on economic development. At the same time the point has been to show how coastal and marine-based resources, and their use, have been and continue to be crucial for Norway’s prosperity, and how they have moulded Norwegian society also in other ways. Another point has been to show how the close connection to the coast has left Norway a significant inheritance in the form of a diverse cultural heritage.

This can be seen in the physical evidence of building structures and boat types, but also in lasting features of spiritual and social life. The Norwegian relationship to the sea has however changed markedly over the last 200 years. Changes in the market and technological advances have required a great ability to adjust and adapt, changes that up to now have contributed to growth and prosperity.

Even though marine and maritime industries still have much to say for Norwegian economic development, it is nevertheless the case that the coastal industries do not employ anything like the numbers they did in earlier times. All the same, very many Norwegians do have an active relationship to the coast, but in connection with recreation and holidays, and often enriched by the active use of the abundant cultural heritage that the recent or more distant past has left. At the same time it is perhaps here that we perceive clearest today’s foremost global environmental challenges regarding climate, pollution, and biological indiv idua l it y and diversity.
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