The Norwegian Helsebok

An official essential

Helsebok

Credit: Fabritius & Sønner, early 1960s
The first Helsebok


M. MICHAEL BRADY
Asker, Norway

In Norway, all residents using or applying for health services are required to have a Helsebok (Health Booklet), which is an easily obtained official permit for and a record of an individual’s use of health services. The first Heklsebok was a small (A6 format*) eight-page printed booklet published in the early 1960s by Fabritius & Sønner, a printing and publishing company that that existed in Oslo from 1844 to 1991.

The printed Helsebok became commonplace, going through periodically updated editions until the fifth and last of the autumn of 2014. Along the way, its publication changed. In 1992, the rights for its publication were acquired by Fagbokforlaget, a subsidiary of Vigmostad & Bjørke, a publishing venture started that year by Arno Vigmostad and Arnstein Bjørke, two graduate students at Norges Handelshøyskole (Norwegian School of Economics) in Bergen. Since then, Vigmostad & Bjørke has grown to become the fourth largest publishing house in Norway, with offices in Bergen, Oslo, Trondheim, Sopot (city in eastern Pomerania on the south coast of the Baltic sea in northern Poland), and Delhi (megacity in India).

In 2015, Marius Christensen, a general practitioner in Tromsø, initiated development of an app that essentially is an online version of Helsebok. Named Helseboka, the app now is online at helseboka.no.

* The A6 format is the international paper size typically used for postcards, leaflets, small pocketbooks, and the like.

This article originally appeared in the April 9, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.

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