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Norwegian Humanist Association


The Norwegian Humanist Association


Changing the Norwegian Constitution

The Norwegian Constitution of 1814 states in § 2:
"All inhabitants of the realm enjoy the free exercise of religion. The religion of the state remains Evangelical-Lutheran. Inhabitants of that confession are committed to raising their children in the same."

The Norwegian Humanist Association want an amendment to this § 2. The aim is to

*separate Church and State, and
*introduce liberty for all religions and life stances on equal terms.

Other aims
The Norwegian Humanist Association also strives for:

  • a society without a state religion or religious stipulations for public institutions,
  • a society free from any law or ordinance discriminating citizens outside the State Church,
  • a public school and kindergarten system free from denominational control, without obligatory participation in religious ceremonies,
  • offering adequate civil ceremonies for the rites-of-passage,
  • promoting and fighting for human rights,
  • spreading information about humanism.


The Norwegian Humanist Association:

  • is a forum for discussions about ethical and philosophical subjects,
  • acts as officiates at ceremonies celebrating the rites-of-passage in a non-religious way:
    - celebration of birth,
    - coming of age,
    - marriage,
    - death.
  • acts as lobbyists in national and local politics against religious and philosophical discrimination,
  • acts as critics against superstition and bigotry,
  • arranges meetings for our members.

Activity for young people: Civil confirmations

For hundreds of years the Lutheran State Churches have had a monopoly on confirmation ceremonies for 14-year-olds. As a result of religious liberty, modernism, and secularisation, non-believers felt a need for a different kind of celebration that is just as emotionally satisfying for the participants but which is based on new knowledge of the world, new ideas of a good life and freed from religious dogmas.

In 1951 the first civil confirmation in Norway took place in Oslo starting with 34 civil confirmations in that year. In 1956 the Norwegian Humanist Association took over this responsibility. Now around 16 % of the young people in Norway do a civil confirmation instead of a religious confirmation. In the year 2002 there were in total 8700 youngsters. Around Oslo the percentage of young people doing a civil confirmation is above 20 %.

To take part in the civil ceremony, participants attend a course where they discuss life stances and world religions, ethics and human sexuality, human rights and civic duties. In short, the question that is addressed during the course is: "how shall we behave towards one another?". At the end of the course the participants receive a diploma at a ceremony where there is music, poetry and speeches.

Internship Programme for youth

The Norwegian Humanist Association is taking part in the IHEYO-internship programme 2003. This is a programme where a young humanist can do an internship for a month at a humanist organisation in another country. The Norwegian Humanist Association will be one of the hosting organisations; accommodation, food and travel costs will be provided by the programme. For more information about the programme, click here.

Youth volunteers

Young persons in Norway can contribute to the activities of the Norwegian Humanist Association and can become active as volunteers! For more information, you are encouraged to contact Norunn Kosberg at or contact


The Norwegian Humanist Association is the largest group outside the State Church. The number of members has grown considerably since the seventies and today amounts to approximately 63.000.

According to a questionnaire the Norwegian Humanist Association has members from all groups in society -farmers and factory workers as well as bankers and politicians. Typical although is that membership is over-represented among students, teachers, health and social workers and university teachers.


The Norwegian Humanist Association publishes the journal "HUMANIST" and the bi-monthly magazine "FRI TANKE". FRI TANKE is sent for free to all members.

The association also publishes a wide variety of brochures, leaflets and posters. Over the years a number of books have been published as well by the association and in 1995 the association established the publishing firm "Humanist Forlag".


Address: St. Olav's Plass 27, Postboks 6744, 0130 Oslo
Tel: + 47 22 11 10 10 (general number)
(Hans Cristian Nes) (Norunn Kosberg for youth activities in region Oslo)

@Written by Hans Christian Nes and norunn Kosberg

Involvement in IHEYO

The Norwegian Humanist Association is a full member organisation of IHEYO.

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