Crown Prince Haakon opened Hans
Nielsen Hauge's visitor centre and anniversary exhibition. Photo: Sven Gj.
Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court
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Hauge 250 years
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,
Hans Nielsen Hauge was one of those who laid the
foundation for the democratic Norway before the Eidsvoll men put their name to
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
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
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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