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Germany and Norway: Bilateral relations

07.09.2022 - Article

German‑Norwegian relations are very close and amicable. The German occupation of Norway during the Second World War led to a profound rift in the traditionally very good relations between the two countries. Willy Brandt, who had lived in political exile in Norway from 1933 to 1940, played a key role in reconciling the two countries after the War.

Today, bilateral political relations are excellent. For Germany, Norway is an important partner in its role as an energy provider and when it comes to implementing the energy transition and addressing many international issues (Alliance for Multilateralism). The Norwegian Government’s Germany Strategy plays a major role in shaping bilateral relations. The most recent version was presented to Germany’s then Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, during his visit to Oslo in 2019. Norway regards Germany as a most important partner in Europe and a key country when it comes to its relations with the EU. As well as stepping up contacts between the two societies, the aim is increased cooperation with Germany with a view to defending multilateral institutions, international codes of conduct and free trade. Norway is Germany’s most important energy supplier.

In 2021, Germany was Norway’s third‑largest supplier after China and Sweden, accounting for 11% of Norwegian imports. Norway imported goods worth 9.3 billion euro from Germany, primarily motor vehicles (31%), machinery (16%) and chemical and pharmaceutical products (14%). Norway has traditionally been a highly popular travel destination for Germans, who make up the country’s largest group of foreign tourists. Following greatly reduced travel activity in the past two years on account of restrictions owing to the pandemic, almost 1.4 million overnight stays by German visitors in Norway were recorded in the first seven months of 2022 alone. In 2019, this number stood at almost two million overnight stays. The Norwegian‑German Willy Brandt Foundation, which was established in 2000, awards the annual Willy Brandt Prize for outstanding achievements in bilateral relations. In 2021, the prize went to the Förderverein Kongsnæs e.V. association in Potsdam and the developer Michael Linckersdorff as well as the diplomat Sverre Jervell.

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