Explorers

It is one of history's coincidences that Norway's two giants of polar exploration, Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen, were contemporaries. Amundsen was born in 1872, eleven years after Nansen, near the town of Sarpsborg in southeast Norway. Abandoning a planned career in medicine, he decided instead to devote his life to polar research. A qualified seaman, he worked aboard a merchant ship in t... Read more

When Fridtjof Nansen was born in 1861, there were no new shores to discover. The outlines of the world map had been virtually completed; Nansen helped to fill in the details. Fridtjof Nansen was a scientist, statesman and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. His devotion to humanitarian causes saved the lives of countless thousands after WWI. But he regarded himself first and foremost as an explorer and... Read more

The most widely known contemporary Norwegian "explorer" Thor Heyerdahl, has probed the cultures of our earliest forefathers. His quest was to discover more about the historical landscape, not the geographical one. Heyerdahl was born in 1914 in the small town of Larvik, on Norway's south coast. Following exhaustive studies of ethnographic and archaeological material from Polynesia, the American... Read more

Norway's coast is long and jagged, and its fjords cut far into the land. From early history, the sight and sound of the sea has beckoned to its inhabitants, who have made only a meagre living from the soil. Small wonder that when tilling their small fields they lifted their eyes to the horizon; to the sea that could not only provide them with more food but could also bear them to richer lands a... Read more

Although only a few vessels took part in the initial Viking raids, their numbers gradually swelled, and the fleets that sailed westwards to England, Scotland, France and Ireland numbered many hundred ships. They came as raiders and pillagers, bringing terror to the coasts they frequented; but they were traders and administrators too. They founded cities such as Dublin, and colonies such as... Read more