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Norway/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies

Within the last fifteen years a large museum reform that aims to reduce the number of museum units at the regional level and to strengthen the existing units professionally and administratively has taken place and led to a public debate. The process, which is often termed "consolidation", has focused on mergers between museums in the same regions and on the establishment of national thematic networks. While this process has been substantiated by the importance of professionally and administratively strong museum units, critics have warned that this could result in isomorphism and the loss of local engagement and autonomy in the museum sector.


The latest white paper on archives (2015) focuses particularly on digitalization and accessibility. The white paper highlights the importance of preserving digital content as well as digitalizing written and printed documents. The development of the Digital Archives[1](an internet based open access archive) is part of this strategy making archives available for the public.


The Norwegian library policy is grounded in the Act relating to public libraries (The Public Libraries Act) enforced in 1986. This act (Chapter 1) states that:

  • The task of public libraries is to promote the spread of information, education and other cultural activities through active dissemination and by making books and other media available for free use by all the inhabitants of Norway.
  • Public libraries are to be an independent meeting place and arena for public discussions and debates.
  • The individual library shall place emphasis on quality, versatility and topical relevance in its services for children and adults.
  • The library’s contents and services are to be made known.
  • The public libraries are part of a national library system.

In 2015, the Minister of Culture presented a paper outlining the strategies for Norwegian Library policy for the next four years (2015-2018). This strategy focused particularly on a common national infrastructure for libraries (Norwegian libraries is a municipal task), the development of digital content, including e-books, and the importance of libraries as cultural venues and social arenas.


For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Norway

Chapter published: 20-03-2017

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