·         Hans Nielsen Hauge 250 years





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Crown Prince Haakon opened Hans Nielsen Hauge's visitor centre and anniversary exhibition. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court

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·         Hans Nielsen Hauge 250 years (News article)

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Hans Nielsen Hauge 250 years

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince's speech at the 250th anniversary of Hans Nielsen Hauge's birth, with the official opening of the visitor centre at his childhood home in Fredrikstad on 3 June 2021.

County Governor, Mayor,

Dear all!

Hans Nielsen Hauge was one of those who laid the foundation for the democratic Norway before the Eidsvoll men put their name to it.

In a time of great class differences and all power in few hands, Hauge initiated a movement for freedom and equality. A movement built on the idea that all people were of equal value: women and men, young and old, rich and poor, high and low.

Hauge preached a message of faith based on grace and love, not on judgment and punishment. He wanted everyone to read for themselves and make up their own minds. He wanted everyone to go to the source: the Bible, his own writings, and other edifying literature. He was one of those people who really stimulated ordinary people to read. Therefore, the Haugians were often called readers. That way, everyone could make up their own minds, find their point of view, and stand firm in their faith. It was the path to freedom and a life of meaning.

Hauge traveled around this and preached in houses of worship and private homes.

He himself was a serial entrepreneur and wanted others to start businesses as well. He called for establishing businesses on a completely new foundation: that it should be possible to work their way to a better life for themselves and their loved ones without being dependent on the factory owner or the big farmer. This is how he traveled around like a traveling incubator.

All of this was seen as a threat both to the church and other established power structures. And no one sets himself against the establishment with impunity in such a powerful and comprehensive way as Hans Nielsen Hauge did.

But without people like him, it takes so much longer to create change. Hauge spent several years in prison for sedition – and was released the same year we got our constitution – in 1814.

Hauge created a higher sky above society. He helped the poor people to straighten their backs and become aware of their human dignity. Hauge helped lay the foundation for the modern Norway – with many of the values that characterize our society today: Democracy, freedom of expression and equal rights – which also guided the constitutional work at Eidsvoll.

The legacy of Hans Nielsen Hauge is important to pass on to new generations. For it is not primarily about historical knowledge of a man who was born 250 years ago. It is part of the story of the emergence of the Norway we know today.

The story of Hans Nielsen Hauge is a reminder to us all to meet forces that want to create positive change by peaceful means – in a way that can withstand the light of posterity. It is a reminder to us not to feel threatened by those who want more freedom and justice for all.

Thank you to those who have contributed to making Hans Nielsen Hauge's legacy known and accessible through the new visitor centre. And happy 250th anniversary!

With this, I declare Hans Nielsen Hauge's visitor center and the anniversary exhibition open.



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