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The Returnees and Newcomers

Queen of the Atlantic Ocean
Most of the Norwegians made their return crossing with Kristianiafjord, Bergensfjord or Stavangerfjord that belonged to The Norwegian - American Line. Making her maiden voyage in 1913, Kristianiafjord was the first ship in operation, but Stavangerfjord soon became the most popular. Often called the "Queen of the Atlantic Ocean", she transported more than 640,000 passengers from 1918 to 1964. When Stavangerfjord called the port of Stavanger, the city welcomed her with music and cheerful people waiting to reunite with their loved ones.

American Influences
The remigrants brought change in many forms: New words, "American houses" - new-style houses of brick rather than wood, fancy clothes, as well as ideologies and philosophies. Many of those returning to Europe also displayed an openness that shook off the old and helped transform the peasant world. Remigration contributed to a mingling of cultures which encouraged change as well as helping bring a gradual integration of the cultures of Europe and America.

But there was also a direct influence. In 1896 the first public movie performance took place in the United States. Eight years later, in 1904, the first movie theater opened in Oslo. By 1914 there were more than 150 cinemas in all of Norway. Half of the films shown in Norway were by then American. The America appearing in many of these films had an immense and worldwide appeal. It was largely built on the Wild West, Buffalo Bill, and Nick Carter image that was already familiar from the mass literature. The films, the music and entertainment industry had a massive impact on the cultural development in Europe and Norway. Today American brands and symbols have become part of our daily life and environment.

Norway Today
The ebb and flow of migration can be explained by an interplay of domestic and international economic circumstances. Economic growth and prosperity in postwar Norway and new national quota systems in the 1960s in the United States reduced overseas migration from Norway. Not more than 49,500 Norwegians emigrated to the United States between 1946 and 1978.

Immigration takes over
Today the trend has turned: emigration has been replaced by immigration. At the end of 2007 Norway had 4 681 000 residents. About 415 000 persons of the population, or 8,9 percent, are immigrants. The Swedes, counting 23 424, are the largest ethnic group among the first generation immigrants. People from the third world constitute close to one third of all immigrants. Oslo has the largest contingent of immigrants, followed by Bergen, Stavanger, Bærum and Trondheim.

The ten largest foreign groups. First generation immigrants and people born in Norway by two foreign parents. Statistics from janurary 1st 2007

 First generation immigrants 

 People born in Norway by two foreign parents


341 930


75 488


 23 424


 12 526


 17 747


 6 374


 17 621


 4 971


 17 246


 4 958


 15 752

Sri Lanka 

 4 642


 14 698


 4 172


 13 494


 2 770

Bosnia - Hercegovian

 13 266


 2 543


 12 409

Bosnia - Hercegovina 

 2 401


 12 308


 2 395

* All nations
Source: SSB

A comparison between western and non-western immigrants indicates that 99 000 persons, or 30 per cent of all immigrants originated from a western country. In the last 10 years the immigrant population grew by 72 per cent. Except for people with North American and Oceanian background, all immigration groups increased during this decade. The number of Eastern-Europeans increased the most. Currently there are almost three times as many people from Eastern European countries in Norway as there were ten years ago. Also the group of people with background from Asia, Africa and South America increased markedly. The total number of immigrants with the latter background doubled during the last decade.


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