- See the new video from the Emigration festival
The Southern Norway Emigration Centre.
The Southern Norway Emigration Centre (Sørlandet Utvandrersenter) consists of the Viking Lodge Kvinesdal Lyngdal, The Emigration Festival Kvinesdal, the Emigration Monument for Southern Norway and Lister Emigration Museum.
The emigration from Norway to the United States of America started in 1825 when Mr Cleng Person, together with 51 other emigrants from the county of Rogaland crossed the Atlantic on the rig Restaurasjonen. Theirs was the beginning of the migration, which lasted 150 years. The migration started early in the Agder counties in Southern Norway, but declined and stopped in other parts of Norway in the inter-war years. The emigration continued from the Agder counties after the Second World War, especially from Kvinesdal and the local councils in the westerly part of Vest Agder County and continued up until the mid-1970s. The majority of the emigrants settled in the mid-west.
Those who emigrated after the Second World War settled mainly in Brooklyn and they became an important part of the Norwegian colony there. During the 1970s and 80s, many returned to Norway. A survey carried out in the mid 1980s showed that ten percent of the inhabitants in Kvinesdal were American Citizens. This trend was also strong in other councils in the Vest Agder County. The heavy contraceptive emigration from Southern Norway influenced this part of Norway more than other parts of the country not only economically, but also culturally and socially. These influences can be found in the language, music, dress, names and parish traditions. A survey conducted a few years back, showed that 17 percent of all Norwegian inhabitants with the name Steven and Stanley lived in Kvinesdal, while the County’s share of the Norwegian population is only 0.1 percent. Many people from Southern Norway still travel to the USA to visit relatives and friends. For the same reason, many Norwegian Americans visit Southern Norway every year. The bond between Southern Norway and Norwegian America is therefore very strong.