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 key role in shaping bilateral relations. Norway’s Foreign Minister presented the most recent version during Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’s visit in mid‑June 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 second‑most important energy provider. In 2020, Germany was Norway’s second‑largest supplier after China, accounting for 11.5% of Norwegian imports. Norway imported goods worth 8.2 billion euro from Germany, primarily motor vehicles (30%), machinery (23%) and chemical (9%) and pharmaceutical (6%) 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 2020, the prize went to three schools: the Kongshavn videregående Skole in Oslo and the Paul‑Natorp‑Gymnasium and Felix‑Mendelssohn‑Bartholdy‑Gymnasium, both in Berlin.