The National Archives of Norway

The National Archives of Norway is an independent government authority under the Ministry of Culture, and comprehend the National Archives, eight regional state archives (statsarkivene), the Sámi Archives and the Norwegian Health Archives.

The National Archives are headed by the Director General (Riksarkivaren). The authority of the Director General and the The National Archives Services of Norway is vested in the Archival Act of 1992.

The tasks of the The National Archives of Norway are

  • to preserve archive material from state institutions
  • to make this material available for use to the public
  • to control the work on records administration within the ministries, regional and county authorities
  • to contribute to the preservation of private archives

Made by Daniel Dahn

What will you find in the Archives?

The National Archives (Riksarkivet) preserve the non-current records of government ministries and other central offices. Documents from these institutions are brought to the National Archives when they are 25 years old and out of administrative use. There are more than 125 000 metres of documents kept in the National Archives and the amount increases with approximately 4000 metres each year. The oldest complete document is from 1189 A.D.  

The Regional State Archives (statsarkivene) preserve documents from the regional and local branches of the state administration in their districts. There are eight regional state archives in Norway, situated in Oslo, Hamar, Kongsberg, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø. The Sámi Archives preserve documentation for the Sámi society (read more about The Sámi Archives below). 

Both the National Archives and The Regional State Archives preserve private archives from companies, organizations, political parties and private people.

The official records in the archives mirror the tasks of the government and official institutions through the centuries. They contain applications and decisions, court sentences, surveys and accounts. In addition the archives include different kinds of registrations, for example censuses and church records. The material is organized according to the authority which was in charge, not according to topics. You must therefore follow the trail of each case and you may have to look for it in several places in the archives.

Visitors from the United States and Canada who are interested in finding their ancestors and relatives in Norway, will find more information in the article "Start tracing your ancestry in Norway". Visitors who are able to read Norwegian, will find a register of the archive material in the National Archives and the regional archives in the two handbooks "Håndbok for Riksarkivet" and A. Kiil’s "Arkivkunnskap. Statsarkiva."

About The Sámi Archives

The Sámi Archives, situated in Kautokeino, were established in 1995 and has a national responsibility for preserving documentation for the Sámi society. Politicians, researchers, Sámi institutions, associations, reindeer herding districts, fishing associations, slaughterhouses and other organisations give their archives to The Sami Archives to ensure the knowledge of the Sami culture and society is safely secured for future generations (read more about The Sámi Arhcves in Norwegian and in Sami languages).