The Nordic Games and the Olympic platform as arena for the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian Union


  • Sebastian Kühn Innland Norway University of Applied Sciences and Norwegian Olympic Museum


Norway, Nordic Games, Olympic Games, Nationalism, Boycott, Fridtjof Nansen


Throughout their existence since 1896, the modern Olympic Games have seen quite a number of political conflicts and boycotts. They have been an arena for diplomatic controversies between sovereign countries and even internally within state structures. Still today, the political map in some cases does not correspond with the Olympic world map. In this regard, also the historical case of Norway and Sweden is an interesting one. Formally, both countries had been in a personal union under the Swedish crown since 1815. Nonetheless, Norway participated in the Olympic Games in Paris 1900 in its own right, due to the huge degree of Norwegian self-governance within the union and the subsequent development of its own sports system. This article examines the role of sport for the Norwegian nation building process and the impact of the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian Union onto the Nordic Games and Norway’s early involvement in the Olympic Movement. Being the most important predecessor for the Olympic Winter Games, the Nordic Games are of particular interest also for Olympic history.