General Information


HIFO – Den norske historiske forening
HIFO – The Norwegian Historical Association

Karsten Korbøl

Institusjonen Fritt Ord
Uranienborgveien 2
N - 0258 Oslo
Phone: +47-22-856759
Fax: +47-22-855278
Homepage association:

Homepage competition

About the organisation

Founded in 1869, the Norwegian Historical Association is today an organisation with extensive and varied tasks serving the historical discipline and promoting the interests of historians in Norway. It aims to promote historical research, develop the teaching of history at all levels and strengthen the position of the discipline in the public eye. Local branches have been set up in Tromsø, Bodø, Trøndelag, Nordvestlandet, Sogn og Fjordane, Bergen, Rogaland, Agder, Vestfold and Østlandet (Oslo). The association accepts as members history graduates and teachers who hold a historical degree on university level. Others can be accepted as members after an evaluation by the board.

The organisation runs the annual national seminar, various seminars by the local branches,as well as post-qualifying courses offered to teachers. It also publishes Historisktidsskrift and Historikeren. HIFO promote the setting up of historical research projects sponsored by firms and organisations in order to have their members write their history. The Association represents Norwegian historians in international bodies like the CISH or the committee for the Nordic history conferences.

The history competition

In June 1999, the Council of Europe's secretariat hosted and organised a seminar and held it in Oslo. It was part of the project "Learning and Teaching about the History of Europe in the 20th Century." During this seminar the idea of a Norwegian history competition was presented, and contact with the Körber-Stiftung was established. The International Congress of Historical Sciences arranged the first competition "Prosjektkonkurransen" in co-operation with the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs, the Norwegian Historical Association and the Aschehoug Publishing House. The competition aims at giving young people an opportunity to achieve an in-depth historical understanding of Norway's relations to a world community that is on the threshold of a new millennium; to create an understanding both of long-term historical relationships and for the fact that the past, the present, and the future are closely linked; to promote curiosity, reflection, and a critical point of view; to encourage the use of modern communication technology. Over the years the topic of the competition has varied, but for the last 10 years it has been “My family in history”. Still the participants shall conduct an in-depth historical investigation, but with a bottom-up perspective. The aim is to promote teaching of history with a wider perspective and to consider ordinary people’s lives both as interesting and important for the pupils' broader understanding of history.


The competition is open to students attending primary and secondary schools. The project should be presented as a research report, by one or several students. The report can also be the result of a group or class project. Most of the participants hand in written reports, but audio/visual products are also accepted.


A national jury is appointed every year and is composed of professional historians, schoolteachers, and specialists in pedagogy. They assess the project according to certain guidelines: Primary-school-level pupils should be able to accomplish several tasks:

  • define clearly the problem in their project; keep the project
  • closely related to the sources and material;
  • state their criteria for selection of sources and material;
  • list sources and material and give meaning to them;
  • present results either as a linear course of events or a combination of events;
  • evaluate research by combining or explaining sources and quoting them in their own texts; write a report about the work process;
  • relate the project to their own identity and environment.

Secondary-school-level gymnasium students should be able to accomplish a larger portion of the project's tasks:

  • define clearly the problem in their project;
  • have a well-structured project;
  • have a presentation of the problem complex;
  • present open questions;
  • state clearly both sources for material and research methods;
  • relate sources and material and give meaning to them;
  • quote properly and write citations; use language precisely;
  • include the questions that did not lead anywhere or gave results that could not be verified;
  • report on the work process.


The awards consists of a sum of money, books and diploma. All prize winners will receive a diploma.

Competition Details