Norwegian Church Abroad

St. Olav's Church, London, England

The Norwegian Church Abroad or The Norwegian Seamen’s Church (Norwegian: Sjømannskirken) is a religious organisation serving Norwegians and other Scandinavians travelling abroad. Founded in 1864, The Norwegian Seamen’s Mission – Sjømannsmisjonen – was established to secure the moral and religious education of Scandinavian seafarers, but also to give them a "breathing room" where a fellow countryman was available to lend an ear and give some attention. Today, the churches and their staff together with travelling pastors around the globe represent a "resource center" for all Norwegians travelling internationally.

Sjømannskirken annually serves around 700 thousand Norwegians through over 30 churches and 16 mobile services in 30 countries around the world. Several churches operate on a Scandinavian basis. The Norwegian Church Abroad, its main office in Bergen, is a charitable organization supported by the Church of Norway and the Norwegian Government. Sjømannskirken is also a member of the ICMA and the Council of Nordic Seamen's Missions.

For most Norwegians travelling abroad, Sjømannskirken is a nice place to rest: one can read newspapers from home, buy Norwegian food and speak to other Norwegians. Many Norwegians living permanently abroad use the seamen's churches instead of the local ones.





Norwegian Church in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

North America

Norwegian Seamen's Church, San Pedro entryway

There has been a Norwegian Seamen's church in Miami since the early 1980s. In November 2011, Crown Princess Mette-Marit opened a new building for the church. The church was built as a center for the 10,000 Scandinavians that live in Florida. Around 4,000 of them are Norwegian. The church is also an important place for the 150 Norwegians that work at Disney World. [6]


South America


There is also a special travelling mission for workers in the North Sea and one for students in most parts of the world.

Notable former churches

See also

Media related to Norwegian churches abroad at Wikimedia Commons

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