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. The Norwegian Government’s Germany Strategy plays a key role in shaping bilateral relations. Norway’s Foreign Minister outlined the most recent version to Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during the latter’s visit in mid-June 2019. Norway regards Germany as an 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 second-most important energy provider. In 2018, Norway imported goods worth around 8.8 billion euros from Germany, primarily vehicles, machinery, and chemical and pharmaceutical products. Norway has traditionally been a highly popular travel destination for German tourists, who make up the largest group of foreign tourists in the country. Every year, there are approximately 1.5 million overnight stays by German visitors in Norway.
The Norwegian-German Willy Brandt Foundation, which was established in 2000, awards the annual Willy Brandt Prize for outstanding achievements in bilateral relations. In 2019, the Norwegian writer Erik Fosnes Hansen and Marie-Theres Federhofer, a German Professor of German literature and cultural studies at Tromsø University, were awarded the Willy Brandt Prize at the Frankfurter Buchmesse – Frankfurt Book Fair.