Norway finally able to borrow important historical documents from Denmark

Hardenbergianus, Magnus Lagabøte's national law, is on display in the exhibition Enlightened at the National Library. The National Library in Oslo will be able to borrow five valuable manuscripts from Norwegian medieval history from Denmark after several years of negotiations. Photo: Gorm K. Gaare / The National Library / NTB
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The National Library in Oslo will be finally able to borrow five valuable manuscripts – dated to Norway’s medieval period – from Denmark, after several years of negotiations.

Work has been going on for several years to get the historical documents to Norway from the Royal Library in Copenhagen. They will be part of the National Library’s major investment in disseminating Norwegian medieval history.

So far, several of the most important documents on culture and tradition in Norway during the Middle Ages have only been on display at Danish institutions.

“This is a major breakthrough for the dissemination of Norwegian medieval history. We are very pleased that the Royal Library will now give us the opportunity to make more manuscripts available to the public for the first time,” said national librarian Aslak Sira Myhre in a press release.

Hoping to create new interest

It was Minister of Culture and Gender Equality Abid Raja (V) who formally requested the documents in August.

“I believe and hope the exhibition will create new interest in our important Norwegian medieval history,” said Raja about the document loan.

The well-known version of Magnus Lagabøte‘s national law, which is already on loan in Norway, remains in the country at the same time as four new manuscripts are made available to the public.

The new manuscripts are: Codex Hardenbergianus and Codex Tunsbergensis, Rantzauboken, Kristin Håkonsdatter’s psalter, and Nidarosantifornariet MS Add. 47 fol.

In addition to aquiring these five, the National Library is awaiting answers regarding the lending of seven documents from the Arnamagnæan Collection, which have also been requested.

Back in Norway for the first time in 500 years

Many Norwegian documents were originally brought to Copenhagen from the royal court in Bergen, Akershus Fortress in Oslo, and from the Chancellor in St. Mary’s Church in Oslo when Norway was in union with Denmark from the end of the 14th century until 1814, according to Aftenposten.

No documents were returned until between 1820-1823, and many still haven’t been.

This is the first time in 500 years that the four retrieved manuscripts – which are to be exhibited at the National Library – will be back in Norway.

Source: ©️ NTB Scanpix / #NorwayTodayTravel

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