200 years of community building

The Royal Norwegian Society for Development has had 200 years of history as community builder and innovator. In the years leading up to Norwegian independence from Denmark in 1814, the project consisted of no less than to lay the foundation for a new national state. Since that time, the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has contributed in different ways to building the country. Here you can see some of the most important matters with which the Royal Norwegian Society for Development has worked over the course of 200 years.

Public education and self-sufficiency

1809: The Royal Norwegian Society for Development founded on 29 December

1810: Establishes publishing house for in-house printing and distribution. Functions as patent office; state takes over in 1886. 

1811: Driving force for establishing The Royal Fredrik's University of Christiania, known today as the University of Oslo.

1829: Reorganisation of the Royal Norwegian Society for Development. Greater emphasis on agriculture – important for social development.

1840: Supports the establishment of several agricultural colleges. Establishes its own “Seminar”; the precursor of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

1851: Employs the first alpine dairymen from Switzerland to teach animal and milk husbandry. Norway’s first “travelling agronomist” appointed.

1860: Supports the development of better fishing boats, hatcheries for fish, lobsters and oysters.

1888: Long and faithful service medal established.

1889: Organises a number of plant-nurturing experiments.

1890: Runs several domestic science schools.

Commissioning and facilitation

1905: The Seter-farming committee, Plant-breeding committee, Soil committee, Cooperative committee, Technical committee and Building-care committee were all founded in this period.

1908: Supports the foundation of “Selskapet til emigrasjonens indskrenkning” (the association for the limitation of emigration).

1911: Initiates surveys of agricultural operating conditions.  

1921: Forms “Den norske Landbruksveka” (Norwegian agricultural week).

1926: Initiates national exhibition for sowing crops.

1930: Buys Apelsvoll Farm in Østre Toten to run grazing experiments.

1941: Organises own counselling service in grazing techniques and grazing investigations.

1942: Petter Øverland leaves all his property in Bærum to the Royal Norwegian Society for Development.

1947: Buys Hellerud Farm in Skedsmo.

1955: Initiates rural-sociological research.

1959: Arranges the agricultural Jubilee Exhibition at Ekebergsletta in Oslo.

1960: Forms the agricultural technical committee. Guidance in neighbourhood cooperatives.

1965: Public-education action “Youth and rural industrial initiatives”.

1968: “Keep Norway Clean” action – for improved hygiene and environmental protection along country roads.

1970: Norwegian Fish Farmers Association is formed, with the Royal Norwegian Society for Development running the secretariat. The beginnings of the modern seafood and fish-farming industry.  

1976: Debate about the role of the cooperative movement in foreign aid. 

1978: First collaborative agreement between the Royal Norwegian Society for Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation concerning southern development aid. Headquarters of the Royal Norwegian Society for Development moves to Hellerud. Opening of the Stem-cell centre at Hellerud. Hellerud college farm opens.

1980: Hellerud seed centre opens.

1983: Hellerudsletta exhibition area opens.

1984: Hellerud animal feed centre opens.

1985: Co-founds the Norwegian Bio-energy Association. Begins collaboration with Gambia Cooperative Union.

1987: Initiates work with cooperatives in new areas. Begins cooperation with the Nicaragua farmers union.

1990: Involved in city borough development in Zambia.

1991: Takes initiative to found the Norwegian Avløserlag (farm-worker supply organisation) and Maskinringer (machinery organisation).

1993: Driving force to establish rural services organisation. 

1995: National conference on commercial development under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Society for Development.

1996: Involved in Tanzania with organising farmers and fishermen.

1997: Initiates the “rural collaboration” study programme. “Levande støler” project initiated. Collaboration with Mokolodi Wildlife Foundation in Botswana.

Economic development and wealth creation

2000: Opens Exporama centre at Hellerudsletta. Initiates a national network for “the farm as educational resource”.

2002: Project leader for developing “Odelia” culinary rape-seed oil. Takes over agricultural project in Kosovo from CARE Norway.

2003: Organises the world congress for International Cooperative Alliance in Oslo. Increasing focus on commercial development in relation to food and tourism, including through the “Smak av Nordsjøløypa” project.

2004: Algae cultivation project on Madagascar, financed by Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

2006: Reorganisation of the Royal Norwegian Society for Development. Honing skills, more focus on general commercial development, less focus on traditional agricultural development. 

2007: Regional office opens in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, establishing at the same time a nature-based and marine-based commercial development programme.  

2008: Bio-energy project at the Adem Gllavica school in Kosovo. Development of “Commercial development on the farm” programme in collaboration with the Norwegian agricultural advisory service.  

2009: The Royal Norwegian Society for Development celebrates its bicentenary with a number of activities around the country. The highlight was a festival event at the Norsk Folkemuseum (museum of cultural history) on Bygdøy, in the presence of Her Royal Highness Queen Sonja. 

2011: The Royal Norwegian Society for Development establishes two daughter companies:  Norges Vel Eiendom AS (property) and Norges Vel Consult AS (consultancy).

2012: The Nordic Development Fund, through the Nordic Climate Facility, NCF, grants support to the Royal Norwegian Society for Development’s climate project in Uganda and Tanzania. 

2013: The framework agreement with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation is extended from 17 to 21 million kroner per year.


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