Poles in Norway documented
Poles are now the largest immigrant group in Norway. Norwegian and Polish archive institutions have jointly documented the last 300 years of Polish immigration to Norway.
The Polish community in Norway has increased rapidly in recent years. With 49,000 Poles currently registered in Norway, the Polish community is the country’s largest group of immigrants – outnumbering Swedes and Germans that rank second and third.
300 years of emigration
Post-enlargement labour migrants may have driven up numbers, but Polish emigration to Norway is not a new phenomenon. The State Archive in Cracow and Maihaugen, Oppland Archives in Norway have in an EEA and Norway Grants-financed project tracked the history of Polish-Norwegian connections over the last three centuries and the contribution of Polish immigrants to Norwegian culture, economy and science.
In addition to archival research, interviews with contemporary migrants form an important part of the project. The collected material has resulted in an English-Polish publication placing Polish emigrants into a wider context of immigration in Norway.
Political activist Ludwik Szaciński fled a death sentence in Poland in the late 1860s and established himself as a popular photographer in Oslo for the Norwegian elite, including the Norwegian-Swedish king and parliamentarians. Szaciński’s photos, part of Oslo City Museum’s photo collection, are currently on display in an exhibition at the State Archive in Cracow. In September another exhibition will open at Maihaugen, Norway, on Polish emigration to Norway over the last 300 years.
The project is linked to a larger project at Oppland Archives documenting immigration to Norway and benefits from support from the Polish-Norwegian Cultural Exchange Fund.
Photo credit: Karen Bleken, Maihaugen, Oppland Archives in Lillehammer