Norges Bank celebrates 200 years

Norway’s central bank marks its bicentenary with events, exhibitions, books, and a new coin design

Photo: Nils S. Aasheim / Norges Bank  Norges Bank’s birthday has its own hashtag.

Photo: Nils S. Aasheim / Norges Bank
Norges Bank’s birthday has its own hashtag.

Molly Jones
Norwegian American Weekly

This June marks 200 years since the central bank of Norway, Norges Bank, was founded in 1816. To commemorate its history, Norges Bank has arranged a series of events around the country. Leading up to the main bicentennial celebrations on June 16, events have included an opening of “The king and the elk: Two hundred years of coin and medal design,” an exhibition at the Norwegian Mining Museum in Kongsberg; a presentation in Molde on “Saving Norway’s Gold,” the exciting story of the evacuation of Norway’s gold reserves during World War II; and much more.

New coin design
In search of a design for a commemorative 200th-anniversary 20-kroner coin, Norges Bank welcomed artists from around the country to submit their visions. The winning design was created by Oslo National Academy of the Arts student Kjersti M. Austdal, whose minimalist design “Norgespulsen” depicts an inflation chart inspired by a lecture she attended on Norway’s economic history.

“In its simplicity, the chart is a powerful symbol. It is a stylized illustration of inflation and deflation in Norway through history. The chart shows that Norges Bank monitors both economic and financial fluctuations and is able to steer them towards stability,” said the jury about its reasoning for selecting Austdal’s design.

National case championship
Norway’s central bank has also used this opportunity to arrange the first-ever national case championship for students. Teams of four students each compete to solve what-if scenarios selected by the case master, Nina Midthjell of Norges Bank. The previous preliminary competitions have been held in Oslo in March and Stavanger in May and the final two will be held in Bergen in September and Trondheim in October. The winning team from each of the preliminary competitions will then compete in the finals in Oslo in October.

At the Museum of Contemporary Art, visitors will be able to view all of the entries in the competition to design the new coin, including the winning designer’s vision. This exhibition will be on view there from June 19 until September, when it be relocated to the Norwegian Mining Museum in Kongsberg.

Until December, guests can explore 20 buildings that were constructed for Norges Bank from 1827 to 1986 at the “Open Up! Norges Bank’s Bicentenary” exhibition at the National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design.

Book launches
After nine years in the making, four books relating to the history of Norges Bank are set to be published this year, honoring the bicentennial. Norges Bank 1816-2016, written by Einar Lie and co-authors in both Norwegian and English, explores the history of Norges Bank as well as the development of Norwegian society over the last two centuries and will be launched on June 10. Also being published in June are Norges Bank 1816-2016. A Pictorial History edited by H. Bøhn, Ø. Eitrheim, and J.F. Qvigstad and Central Banks at a Crossroads: What Can We Learn From History? edited by M.D. Bordo, Ø. Eitrheim, M. Flandreau, and J.F. Qvigstad, which is based on the 2014 conference “Of the Uses of Central Banks: Lessons From History.” Lastly, A Monetary History of Norway 1816-2016, by Ø. Eitrheim, J. T. Klovland, and L. F. Øksendal, will be published by Cambridge University Press this fall.

On June 16, “The interaction between monetary policy and financial stability: going forward” symposium will be held. Key speakers include Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund; Augustin Carstens, Bank of Mexico; Lars Rohde, Danmarks Nationalbank; Erkki Liikanen, Bank of Finland; Stefan Ingves, Sveriges Riksbank; Már Gudmundsson, Bank of Iceland; Hyun Song Shin, Bank for International Settlements; and Yngve Slyngstad, Norges Bank Investment Management.

In addition, the new Central Banks at a Crossroads book will be launched at this event.

Main celebration
The bicentenary celebration will take place on June 19 as guests can choose between a rare opportunity to experience a guided tour of the bank itself and one of four lectures.

In addition, everyone is invited to join the all-ages festivities at Bankplassen, the square in front of the bank, and celebrate 200 years with a slice of birthday cake.

This article originally appeared in the May 20, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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